Mayoral candidates kicked out, drop out after debate drama
Paul Johnston, CP24.com
Published Thursday, October 9, 2014 9:29PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 10, 2014 8:50AM EDT
The lineup for a mayoral debate scheduled for Friday night finally appears to be set.
As of 11 p.m., candidates Olivia Chow, Ari Goldkind and John Tory had all confirmed that they would be participating in tomorrow’s event organized by the Inner City Union.
The lineup for the event - which initially also included candidate Doug Ford – shifted a number of times Thursday night following a decision by event organizers earlier in the day to prevent Goldkind from attending the debate.
In a statement released shortly after 8 p.m., Tory confirmed that he had pulled out of the event after Goldkind was dropped.
"I was disappointed to learn this evening that due to the strong arm tactics of the Ford campaign Ari Goldkind was disinvited from tomorrow's debate,” the statement said.
“I am very disappointed in Doug Ford's behaviour. Doug Ford does not get to dictate the rules and disinvite confirmed candidates from debates. Because of this development I will not be attending this debate."
Speaking with CP24’s Stephen LeDrew Thursday night, Goldkind said that he learned that he would not be invited to take part in the event late Thursday afternoon via email.
“We regret to inform you that we will not be able to host Mr. Goldkind at the event on Oct. 10, 2014,” the email, provided to CP24.com by the Goldkind campaign, said.
“Due to (the) intention of the (Inner City Union) to have the leading candidates attend, combined with various requests from their campaign offices we are attempting to meet those requests.”
Speaking with CP24 Thursday night, ICU debate organizer Antonius Clarke said that Goldkind was dropped to ensure that Ford would take part.
“This week, the first thing that we heard was that Doug Ford is not going to be in any debates that Ari Goldkind is in,” Clarke said. “We thought that was preposterous in a sense, but we had to comply.”
On Monday night, Jeff Silverstein, Ford’s communication director, confirmed to CP24 that Ford would not be participating in any debate that Goldkind was invited to attend.
In a statement released shortly after 9:30 p.m., Ford said that he would no longer be taking part in the event.
"We have recently learned that John Tory has pulled out of tomorrow night’s debate discussing important issues facing our youth in the most troubled areas of the city," the statement read.
"If John refuses to face his two leading competitors, I will not be participating in tomorrow night’s debate. I will be available every day to debate against my two main competitors from now until election night."
Shortly after 10:30 p.m., Clarke confirmed that Goldkind had been re-invited to attend the event.
Tory subsequently confirmed that he would attend as well.
The debate is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.