June 4, 2014 4:20 pm
Updated: June 4, 2014 6:24 pm

Mayoral candidates face off in two debates Wednesday


WATCH ABOVE: Rob Ford is still in rehab but the other 4 top contenders will be participating in a debate in Etobicoke tonight. Sean Mallen reports.

TORONTO – The leading candidates in Toronto’s mayoral election – save Rob Ford – are squaring off in two debates Wednesday, roughly five months before voters head to the polls to elect a new city council.

The first debate featuring Olivia Chow, David Soknacki, Karen Stintz and John Tory was held in front of high school students at Toronto French School on Lawrence Avenue East.

READ MORE: Race for mayor doesn’t start until Rob Ford gets back, Doug says

The debate was moderated by students from the school’s Model UN Club and each candidate was allowed to speak on what three things they would do as mayor to make Toronto a better place for the current generation of teens.

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Wednesday night the four candidates will take part in a debate at Humber College at 7 p.m., and is being organized by Our Place initiative, an organization aimed at strengthening communities.

The debate will be moderated by Global News’ Sean Mallen, who is looking forward to a lively exchange of ideas.

“A good debate happens when there is a crackling exchange of views, with some passion and a limited amount of recitation of planned talking points,” said Mallen. “Everyone rehearses extensively for these things and there have been a few mayoral debates already, but we always hope for some unexpected and revealing moments.”

Mallen will be posing questions submitted from voters through social media. He says the biggest issue so far in campaign has been transit and expects it to be major issue in tonight’s debate.

READ MORE: Olivia Chow attacks John Tory as ‘flip-flopper’

Yesterday, Chow used her speech at the Canadian Club to take aim at Tory as an indecisive leader and criticized him for “flip-flopping” on his transit plan.

Stintz spoke to reporters yesterday about the need to increase access to sports field in the city, while reaffirming her commitment to extending the Bloor-Danforth line to Sheppard.

Mayor Rob Ford, who is seeking treatment at rehab facility, will not be attending either debate.

Toronto heads to the polls Oct.27 to elect a new city council.

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