Wow, what an ending! Rocco Rossi went after George Smitherman, looking him in the eyes while completely dismissing his transportation plan, saying that it's one day "$7 Billion", the next day "$5 Billion", and here are some napkins and a pen to come up with the next figure! You couldn't help but smile when you saw that! :)
Tonight, the second televised 2010 Toronto Mayoral Debate took place on CP24, and it didn't disappoint.
If you didn't get a chance to watch it, CP24 has the full debate video available to be viewed for free on their website at the following link:
Your Vote - Toronto Mayor's Debate - June 8, 2010
Overall, it was a far better showing for all candidates in this debate. As mentioned above, Rocco Rossi stole the show at times, most notably when destroying Giorgio Mammoliti over his plan for a Red-Light District in Toronto -questioning, which neighbourhood he plans to put it in. Giorgio was so shocked by the move that he mumbled on about something or other until his time ended, never actually answering the question.
Sarah Thomson did much better in this debate, especially when given the opportunity to question Rocco Rossi. She asked him about his claims of being a "Political Outsider", while being deeply involved in politics from a young age, especially within the Liberal Party. It appears that she came far better prepared to this debate.
When Mammoliti wasn't getting attacked, he actually made some great points. He commented on how bike lanes are incorrectly becoming an issue in this election, and how there are far more important things at hand. It's just unfortunate that his recently released horrifying plan for Toronto's Waterfront (see No cars on the Gardiner in Mammoliti’s waterfront plan) completely dismiss him as a valid candidate in this race (watch for a post about that soon!).
(Photo: Rocco Rossi and Rob Ford at Parkview Hills Community Association Debate)
Rob Ford had another strong showing at this debate. I wish he would have gone after Smitherman over eHealth when he had the opportunity (it was a great showdown I was looking forward to), but oh well... Ford lashed the $6 Million being spent on converting one lane on Jarvis to bike lanes, and stressed that public consultation should be used when considering changes to neighbourhoods. He said he wants to give money back to Toronto Drivers, and one way he'll do it is via the abolishment of the Vehicle Registration Tax. Ford said that he loves parades, and that all parades should get a chance for funding from the city. He specifically noted the Santa Clause Parade, the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and the Greek Parade. He also stated that Transportation is a #4 Priority right now, with Government Spending being #1.
Joe Pantalone did better in this debate, at one point completely holding his ground against a Smitherman attack. Smitherman made the mistake of siding with the Ontario Government in regards to the TTC funding issue and the downloading of funds to Toronto. Who knows what Smitherman was thinking? Pantalone capitalized on this empty-netter if you will, and surprisingly came out on top. Pantalone also again confirmed his pro-bike attitude, saying he would give up his car if forced to give something up, and that he was for bike lanes on University.
Which brings me to George Smitherman... Is it possible that Smitherman came out on the losing end in this debate? Don't get me wrong, he performed very well like he usually does as a seasoned political operative. He correctly called out Rob Ford on his mistake in regards to taking people to a Show or a Jays game during the G20 (with both either being moved or cancelled as a result of the Summit). But, if Smitherman's not the clear winner in the debate (or at least in the top 3), wouldn't that constitute a loss for him? Anyway, an oh too classic part of the debate was when Smitherman was asked, "if ever, do you think it's ok to lie?"... Karma, I tell you is behind him pulling that question from the hat! Anyway, did you notice that he looked straight down the entire time he answered that question? Yes, he looked up for a second maybe 3 times, but that was it. Eyes down just...well...like a liar would... Ask any professional poker player what a newbie does when bluffing...
Anyway, who was the winner? Yes, yes, that's the question. Well, again, still, there were no clear winners. There were shining moments, many of which belonged to Rocco Rossi. Rob Ford again did very well, and one really can't help but believe him when he says that he will work the hardest for the little guy and Toronto -and that his biggest vice is that he loves to eat! Thomson, Pantalone and Mammoliti all did better, but were still amongst the middle of the pack. Smitherman did well, but not well enough, and therefore in my opinion finished last in this debate.
The one thing I'm happy to say is that the debate was very entertaining, at least when the candidates actually got air-time. I wanted to avoid bashing CP24 again this time, but damn, they really need to back off and focus on the point of the show, which is to hear the candidates!!! I mean, how many people do they need being MCs for this program? ...I'll leave it at that.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/markwatmough/4656290318/sizes/l/ by Mark Watmough on flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/roccorossi/4680601123/sizes/l/ by Rocco Rossi on flickr