TORONTO –Doug Ford’s first mayoral debate Tuesday was a lively one, as candidates sparred over questions about transit, job creation, bike lanes and working with city council.
While most questions were about city policy, it was a question about whether or not candidates would march in Toronto’s annual Pride parade that Ford wouldn’t answer.
“As I’ve said I’ve been down to the Pride parade. I donated the $3,500 they asked me to donate. And I believe in equal rights for everyone,” Ford said.
John Tory responded by asking the Ford if he would march in the parade as mayor of the City of Toronto.
Ford said he was “down at the parade,” but failed to answer if he had marched in the parade.
Tory and Olivia Chow both jumped on the response and insist he answer whether he would actually be in the parade if elected mayor.
Doug’s brother Rob Ford has been criticized during his four years as mayor for refusing to march in the Pride parade, saying it conflicts with an annual family cottage weekend.
“I have no issue if you’re gay, straight, white, purple, or pink,” said Ford. “I know one thing when someone calls my line I don’t ask them if they are gay, straight, purple or pink. I show up to their door and you won’t John.”
Tory responded by saying, “you can still change your mind in the next 30 seconds to say yes as the leader of this city I will be there.”
Ford then tried to pivot to talking about transit before being asked by the moderator to stick to answering the question.
Chow ended the section of the debate by asking a now smiling Ford to simply answer yes or no, and by asking if he would support funding for the Pride parade.
“I’ve been there, I’ve supported it, I’ve been to the flag raising, I have no problem with the Pride parade whatsoever,” said Ford.
The race for Toronto’s mayor continues with roughly 20 more debates scheduled before the Oct. 27 election.