Toronto mayoral debates kick off at the Daily Bread Food Bank

17 May 2023 / by Owen Thompson

Last night, the Daily Bread Food Bank hosted five of the 102 registered candidates for the upcoming mayoral election at the first debate. The candidates were asked three questions regarding affordable living and safety by a moderator.

The debate started with how each candidate would address the rising food cost in Toronto. This topic was raised because in March the Daily Bread Food Bank had a record breaking 270,000 clients come in for food. Candidates Olivia Chow, Ana Bailão, and Josh Matlow proposed the construction of community gardens as a program to help feed the city. All candidates said the first step to fight rising food costs was to make housing affordable.

“People shouldn’t have to decide between rent and putting food on the table,” said candidates Brad Bradford and Bailão.

Each candidate had a different idea on how to lower rent and protect those that do. Bradford, Bailão and Mitize Hunter said they want to build more affordable homes and to have “shovels in the ground.” Chow and Matlow have a different approach as they want to “go after” fraudulent landlords by increasing fines related to them.

“We cannot solve this problem with the same faces, from the same places, with the same ideas that aren’t working,” says Hunter.

The final questions before the candidate face off were on the fare rise and safety on the TTC. Each candidate had a different approach. Bradford, who voted to raise the fare in January, wants to increase security personnel on the TTC. Similarly, Bailão wants to increase security by installing more cameras across the TTC, while Matlow wants to expand the transit in Scarborough and develop bike trails and walking paths for people. Chow wants to decrease the fare and increase the city spending on the TTC and Hunter plans on pairing social workers with transit officers and ambassadors to keep the station clean.

“When you’re facing more delays throughout the city and waiting longer in the dark for your bus it doesn’t contribute to the reliability, safety or affordability,” says Matlow.

Towards the end of the debate, there was a candidate face off where candidates could question and debate anyone on the panel. Chow was debated by all four of the other candidates during this round. They all questioned her “math” when it came to raising money for the projects she proposed.

The next mayoral debate is set for May 25 at the Isabel Bader Theatre.

Listen below for details regarding the disruption from univited mayoral candidate Kevin Clarke: