Etobicoke-Lakeshore Candidates Square Off In Fiery Debate


This article discusses an all-candidates debate hosted by Toronto Taxpayers Coalition.

It was part political debate, part three-ring circus.

Candidates vying to represent Etobicoke-Lakeshore in an upcoming byelection squared off for the first time Thursday night at a legion branch on Lake Shore Blvd. Newstalk 1010′s John Tory moderated the event.

There were six candidates, but the hundreds of people in the audience seemed fixated on only two of them: Progressive Conservative Doug Holyday and Liberal Peter Milczyn, both city councillors. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford came to support Holyday, his deputy mayor.

“You know who I am”, Milczyn opened, touting his life-long residency in the riding and track record of fiscal responsibility on council.

Holyday too focused on dollars and cents, slamming the Liberal government for overzealous spending and not havings its priorities straight.

John Tory moved from moderator to ring-master as People’s Political Party candidate Kevin Clarke burst into the hall about an hour late, shouting to announce his arrival. Clarke often spoke out of turn, directly attacking his opponents, accusing Milczyn and Holyday of “crack head thinking”.

Holyday was pressed by Green candidate Angela Salewsky about why he did not step quit as deputy mayor and councillor before pursuing a provincial seat. In 2004, Holyday drafted a motion calling for councillors to step aside if they wanted to be elected in another level of government.

Agitated at the debate, Holyday insisted Salewsky had not read the motion and stressed that the text asked would-be councillors to commit to serve half their term, which he has done.

Holyday then called out a Toronto Star columnist who had called him a hypocrite over his decision not to step aside. “When you people do what you do down at the Toronto Star, you undermine your own credibility”, shouted Holyday pointing at the columnist sitting in the fifth row.

In the debate, Holyday and his closest rival clashed over GTA transit solutions.

Holyday suggested adding more parking to GO station lots, like Long Branch-next to the debate site, could encourage more people to consider hopping the train.

“To say that a solution to transportation in Toronto or anywhere else is more parking, is incredibly short-sighted, scoffed Milczyn. Among his ideas for transit: adding a GO station at Parklawn and extending the Bloor-Danforth subway line westward.

“If it’s short-sighted to be looking after the very people you intend to represent, I don’t see it”, replied Holyday.

Fiscal and political responsibility flavoured a couple questions posed to the candidates, with the Liberals’ cancellation of gas plants in Oakville in Mississauga taking center stage.

“Without a doubt, the power plants were not well thought out. We’ve apologized for that”, admitted Milczyn as the audience jeered.

Milczyn says the party has now adopted better community consultation practices to make better decisions around planning.

Also on the ballot in the Etobicoke-Lakeshore byelection are New Democrat PC Choo and Libertarian Hans Kunov.

The vote is set for August 1st.

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