ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Saunders releases transit plan as security threat upends planned mayoral debate
Mayoral candidate Mark Saunders makes an announcement about transit in North York Thursday, June 1, 2023.
Published Thursday, June 1, 2023 6:04PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 1, 2023 6:04PM EDT
A planned Toronto mayoral debate was upended Thursday by a threat against the candidate hours earlier.
OCAD University opted to cancel the debate after half the participants dropped out due to threats by an armed suspect against candidates.
While the disruption stole attention from the mayoral race Thursday, candidates nevertheless released a number of promises about what they would do if elected.
Mayoral candidate Mark Saunders laid out his transit plan Thursday, promising to speed up construction of the Scarborough subway extension, to connect the Sheppard Line (Line 4) to Sheppard West Station and to McCowan Road, and to extend the Ontario Line north to Sheppard Avenue.
“North York and Scarborough residents waited decades for City Hall to stop talking and start building the Line 4 extension and the replacement for the aging Scarborough RT,” Saunders said in a statement. “Enough is enough. We need to start making decisions on tomorrow’s transit system today, and see them through.”
Saunders said he would get the job done by working with other levels of government and “key infrastructure partners.”
Mitzie Hunter has also promised to extend the Sheppard Line to connect to Sheppard West Station, pegging the cost at $2 billion. She’s also pledged to extend the line eastward to connect with the Scarborough subway extension, estimating the cost of that project at $5 billion.
Saunders did not provide a cost estimate for the project or say how he would get the money to pay for it aside from working with the federal and provincial governments.
Saunders previously said he would let seniors ride the TTC for free on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. He said he would ask the province to provide funding for the program.
Elsewhere Thursday, Ana Bailao attended a Pride flag raising and announced a series of commitments to make life easier for renters, including $10 million to establish a specialized Anti-Displacement and Evictions Prevention Unit with 30 staff.
Candidates also began rolling out their signs Thursday, the first day they were able to do so.
While Thursday’s debate was cancelled, the candidates had a lively debate at TMU a night earlier which saw most of the other candidates hammer Olivia Chow on how high she might raise property taxes.
There are several more debates scheduled before candidates head to the polls on June 26.