Below are some defining moments from the mayoral debate hosted Thursday by The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Region Board of Trade. (Watch the debate in its entirety here.)
'I was the opposition leader, Rob'
The debate got feisty early on when Mayor Rob Ford interrupted John Tory to ask about his time as leader of the opposition Progressive Conservatives at Queen's Park. The following exchange got a big laugh from the crowd.
Mr. Ford: "John, when you were at Queen's Park how much did you save the taxpayers besides giving yourself a $40,000 pay increase? You had three years to save taxpayers' money. How much did you save, John?"
Mr. Tory: "I stood up, Mr. Ford, day after day after day and my job was the opposition leader to ask questions. I made suggestions, I asked questions of the government and you can go back and look. I did it day after day. In fact, I was frustrated …"
Mr. Ford: "But you didn't save any money."
Mr. Tory: "I was the opposition leader, Rob. Do you understand?"
Mr. Ford: "But you didn't save any money."
'I have a very good working relationship with the prime minister'
The attacks by Mr. Ford on Mr. Tory continued as the mayor interrupted the front-runner's attempt to talk about funding transit expansion.
Mr. Ford: "I know the provincial government when I'm re-elected will work with me. You know I have a very good working relationship with the prime minister …"
Mr. Tory: "Are you kidding me?"
The rivals engaged in heated cross-talk, during which Mr. Tory said: "That's the only guy you can call – Jimmy Kimmel."
'No one, but no one, can buy the Fords'
The debate prompted a defence from Mr. Ford about questions about the intersection between the Ford family's company, Deco Labels, and the mayor and his brother's conduct as elected officials. In addition, Mr. Ford won an appeal of a conflict-of-interest lawsuit that involved his use of letterhead to raise money for his football foundation.
"Folks, let me tell you one thing, no one, but no one, can buy the Fords. Nobody. Deco Labels has not benefited one iota from any of these misnomers that are spread around. Rob Ford was taken to court on a conflict of interest for kids, for my Rob Ford Football Foundation helping kids. And who won? I won, using my letterhead, using my letterhead to help fundraise money for a foundation to help kids, the poorest kids in the city. And they took me to court and I won. So my conflict of interest is zero. You can listen to the innuendos and the rumours, folks, but the facts speak for themselves. Again, Deco Labels has not benefited once, not once from any city business that we've done."
'I don't own it. I should be so lucky'
A question about conflict-of-interest guidelines prompted Olivia Chow to call on Mr. Ford and Mr. Tory to put their business interests in a blind trust to maintain public integrity in the mayor's office. Mr. Ford is a part-owner of Deco Labels while Mr. Tory sits on the board of Rogers Communications Inc.
Mr. Tory: "Olivia, I would be thrilled to put Rogers in a blind trust, but I'd be even more thrilled if I had the ownership of it to be able to put it in a blind trust. I don't own the company. I should aspire to own the company, but I sit on the board and I have said many times that if I'm elected to be mayor, I will resign as a director of Rogers, of course I will. But the notion of putting into a blind trust, I don't own it. I should be so lucky."
Mr. Ford: "Do you know what a silent partner is? Do you know what a silent partner is?"
Ms. Chow: "Are you a silent partner?"
Mr. Ford: "I'm a silent partner at Deco."
Mr. Tory: "That'd be a first."
Mr. Ford: "That was a good one. I'll give you that," he said, leaning back laughing.
'We didn't need a source, Rob. They're there'
David Soknacki, the other mayoral candidate in the debate, also tried to hammer Mr. Ford on conflict-of-interest allegations, saying his campaign team had made a request under freedom-of-information legislation for details of his activities. Mr. Soknacki said about 2,000 pages of documents would be released soon showing Mr. Ford uses his office for campaign purposes, "a blatant violation of all of the rules."
Mr. Ford: "We'll see them. Let's wait and see them. I'm sure there's going to be an article about me every day for the next 60 days. More rumours, innuendos, FOIs, they don't stop. They just keep coming."
Mr. Tory: "You keep providing them material, they'll keep writing it up."
Mr. Soknacki: "But we didn't need a source, Rob. They're there."
Mr. Ford: "And you know what? Nothing's been true, has it John?"
Mr. Tory: "A lot of it actually. Come on."
Mr. Ford: "Well, let's keep bringing it on."
'A lot of people are stuck in gridlock, they can't move'
Ms. Chow came out strongly in favour of building a downtown relief subway line, a position that prompted an attack from Mr. Tory. Mr. Tory was the only candidate to bring a visual aid: a map of his SmartTrack plan to use existing rail track to create a surface subway in seven years.
Ms. Chow: "A lot of people are stuck in gridlock, they can't move. That's why I support the downtown subway relief line. It is the No. 1 priority for the TTC. That's why in my transit plan you will see that as a priority and I have identified funding sources to make sure it gets built."
Mr. Tory: "It's great, Olivia, that that's become a priority of yours because at the beginning of our campaign you said it shouldn't even be discussed in this election because it was so far away. And I guess that's my point. That downtown relief line, which I support too, but it will come only in 17 years and you haven't spelled out how you'd pay for it."