Why mayoral candidates didn’t question Ford on crack scandal

Watch the video above: Rob Ford has been widely, and surprisingly, declared the winner of the first debate. Sean Mallen reports. 

TORONTO – It took almost 70 minutes during Wednesday’s mayoral debate for Mayor Rob Ford to be directly asked about the crack scandal that has plagued his last year in office – and it came not from another candidate but from a reporter.

The mayor has repeatedly said people are tired of hearing about it but why haven’t other candidates gone after him for his admitted drug use?

They say they’d rather focus on policy.

John Tory told reporters following the debate that Ford has “over and over again” been “disrespectful of his office” but his scandals don’t need take up time in the debate.

“That sums it up I think,” he said. “And I don’t need to repeat all the gory details for everyone to hear because they know it very well.”

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Ford frequently ignores, evades or walks away from questions about his scandal when asked at city hall. Reporters asked candidates following the debate why they didn’t take the opportunity to ask him about his scandal when he couldn’t walk away.

In Depth: Rob Ford

Councillor and former TTC chair Karen Stintz said “there’s no news there.”

“And that’s not a policy. And the debates that we’re having over the next seven months are about the policies for the city of Toronto that are going to help build a better tomorrow,” she said. “So that’s the debate I want to focus on, and that’s the debate I think the city deserves.”

She did add however that there “is no question” the mayor’s behaviour makes him unfit to lead the city.

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Mayoral candidate David Soknacki said he is more disappointed by the mayor’s performance in office rather than his personal trials.

And Olivia Chow repeated her assertion that Ford is not a “good role model” for her grandchildren.

“It’s not just about his personal record it’s about his policies, his failed policies, the $1 billion wasted for his transit plan,” she said.

In an interview on AM640 Thursday morning, Ford suggested he wasn’t asked about it because people don’t care and “tune it out.”

“That’s water under the bridge, people are sick and tired of listening to this over and over and over again,” he said.

He went on to suggest that what people really want to know is how much the Toronto Police Service spent on Project Brazen 2, the ongoing investigation of Ford and his friend Sandro Lisi which has already resulted in Lisi facing extortion charges.

“What they really want to know is how much did the police spend on investigating this,” Ford said.

“They keep going on, going down to San Diego, going here and there, they must be close to $2 million. So that’s what people want, I’m moving on.”

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