No shortage of attacks as mayoral candidates square off in latest televised debate
Web Staff, cp24.com
Published Wednesday, September 22, 2010 8:02AM EDT
Supporters of the five leading candidates packed the seats at the Masonic Temple Tuesday night and set the stage for the fifth official televised debate on CP24.
There were no knock-out punches in the debate, but plenty of jabs and upper-cuts between candidates.
Rob Ford was a target for his ambitious cost-cutting plans.
Ford is promising to eliminate the city's vehicle registration tax and the land transfer tax, saying he'd pay for the cuts by finding unspecified efficiencies in city spending - prompting criticism from all opponents.
"Mr. Ford you can cut cut cut, but it comes up to billions and billions of dollars, and what we need to do is look at this and how we can create more jobs," said candidate Sarah Thomson.
"You've got to listen to the full stream. You add it up and it doesn't make sense," said candidate Rocco Rossi.
"The City of Toronto is a beatufiul garden, and yes you may need to trim it, shape it and prune it, but you have to protect it as well in order to continue flowering," said candidate Joe Pantalone.
"What is your secret plan for cuts, where are you coming up with a quarter of billion dollars reduction?" asked George Smitherman.
There were still several attacks on other candidates.
"Mr. Smitherman voted for a $35,000 pay increase a couple of years ago," said councilor Rob Ford. "How can you justify that to the taxpayers?"
Fresh on the minds of all the candidates was the latest batch of results from the Nanos poll, commissioned by CP24, CTV and the Globe and Mail, that found 30.4 per cent of decided Toronto voters see Ford as the candidate who can best represent Toronto.
Ford's closest contender, former deputy premier George Smitherman, was seen as the best representative by about half of that number, at 15.9 per cent.
Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone was seen as the best representative by 11.8 per cent of voters; while former political adviser Rocco Rossi and businesswoman Sarah Thomson trailed behind at 7.4 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively.
A notable 29.8 per cent said they were unsure who would best represent the city.
A total of 1,021 people were polled through random telephone interviews between Sept. 14 and 16. The margin of accuracy for a random sample of 1,021 likely voters is 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.