Six mayoral candidates addressed a wide range of issues at a two-hour debate in North York Friday night.
Organized by the Diversity Advancement Network, the Black Canadian Mayoral Forum included candidates Olivia Chow, Rob Ford, Dewitt Lee, D!ONNE Renée, David Soknacki and John Tory.
Candidates discussed a number of topics, including affordable housing, Africentric education and the search for Toronto’s next police chief.
The issue of police carding – the system where people record the information of people stopped and questioned – was also discussed, with candidates asked whether they believed the practice should be abolished or permitted.
“No I wouldn’t abolish it, but I would continue to reform it, and I would monitor the results very, very closely,” John Tory said.
David Soknacki said he was “troubled” by the concept.
“I think this is added evidence for why we need an entire review of policing in our city,” he said.
“As your mayor, I will sit on the police board and stop racial profiling,” Olivia Chow offered to audible applause from the audience.
“We must stop this practice of carding, because you know who gets carded? It’s black folks and people with brown skin. That’s who gets carded,” she added.
Mayor Rob Ford said that “more justification and a good cause” was needed.
“We started it, and I admit, there have been problem,” he said.
“But I am not going to sit here and say everyone is not getting carded. I’m sorry, we treat everyone the same, and right now, I don’t think everyone is being treated the same.”
Tonight’s debate was one of roughly 40 planned as part of the ongoing mayoral campaign ahead of voting Oct. 27.