May 31, 2023

By Jane Brown

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The top six in The Six debate the issues Wednesday evening, with Toronto’s mayoral byelection now less than 4 weeks away.

The six leading mayoral candidates, top left to right. Ana Bailao, Josh Matlow, Mitzie Hunter. Bottom row left to right Olivia Chow, Brad Bradford and Mark Saunders.

They will face off in a debate over what organizers call the critical social and economic challenges facing the city.

The two-hour livestreamed event co-hosted by Toronto Metropolitan University, the United Way and the Toronto Star is scheduled to get started at 6:30pm.

Olivia Chow continues to lead the polls, way out in front among decided voters.

Some critics of Chow are wondering if there is enough time to fuel an “Anyone But Olivia” campaign.

After all, they say, she was leading in the polls in 2014 but then finished third behind John Tory who won, and Doug Ford who came second.

Former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister and Toronto mayoral candidate George Smitherman told Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer, he doesn’t see this election being comparable to 2014.

“That’s the George Smitherman and Barbara Hall fate too,” Smitherman explained, “in a ten or eleven month campaign, where at the very beginning of it, when all of the contestants weren’t framed up. Polling was done and name recognition really stood out. This campaign, is a very short cycle, and she was sort of the last one in. She let most of the other contestants frame themselves up.”

Smitherman says he does think voter turnout will be a factor in who becomes Toronto’s next mayor

The candidates were making promises and “talking ideas” on the campaign trail Tuesday.

Olivia Chow was asked about her plan to deal with gun violence and gangs. She turned that into an opportunity for her to tout a program she started when she was a Toronto city councillor called After School Recreation Activities.

“And what this does is to hire very smart young people who are 18 to 20. They might be good with guitar, piano, basketball, badminton,” Chow explained, “They will come and teach young people that are 10 or 12 years old, a skill after school.”

Brad Bradford meantime, promised to expand the automatic speed enforcement camera programs and deploy 200 new speed cams across the city.

“All the new revenue generated from these speeding tickets will be dedicated to the city’s road repair budget. That means more resources working for you to fund state of good repair work without raising your taxes,” Bradford detailed, “This will improve the quality of our roads and see potholes fixed faster.”

Mitzie Hunter was at the Rosedale subway station for her latest announcement.

“The subway system will start at 5:30am Monday to Saturday beginning in September. This will make it easier for people who work the early shift to get to work,” Hunter promised.

Mitzie Hunter joins The Morning Zoom with Sam and Jane Thursday after the 9am news as Sam and Jane continue their one on one conversations with the top Toronto mayoral candidates.

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