Toronto’s top mayoralty candidates shared the debating stage for the last time in Scarborough on Tuesday evening, presenting themselves as the best choice for residents who feel overlooked by city hall.
Moderator and Global TV anchor Leslie Roberts asked Olivia Chow, Doug Ford (open Doug Ford's policard) and John Tory about Scarborough residents hiring private contractors — out of their own pockets — to cut overgrown grass on city-owned property because they were tired of waiting for city employees to do it. “They’re feeling ignored here in Scarborough,” Roberts said to the candidates in front of a packed auditorium on the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus.
“Are, in your opinion, the people in Scarborough getting the same level of service as those in other parts of the city,” Roberts asked.
“Scarborough hasn’t had a voice for 50 years, 60 years, they’ve totally been ignored until we stepped up to the plate,” Ford said referring to himself and his brother, Mayor Rob Ford (open Rob Ford's policard), whom he has replaced on the ballot. Voting day is Monday. “We’re the only ones who stood up for Scarborough and continue to stand up for Scarborough with rapid underground transit.” He repeated his claim that Scarborough didn’t have an outdoor ice rink until the Ford administration built one, overlooking the rink outside the Scarborough Civic Centre. He is promising four more rinks.
As the Star’s Daniel Dale reported Tuesday, outdoor rinks were covered up and turned into arenas by the pre-amalgamation Scarborough council.
Chow said because she has been an MP in Ottawa for the past few years, she can’t defend what has happened in the last four years. “But I do know services have been cut, I’ve seen bus routes being cut, even though TTC fares have gone up,” she said.
“My track record when I was a city councillor was that I extended programs right into Scarborough.” They included the old city of Toronto’s dental program for low-income seniors and children.
Scarborough is shaping up to be a key battleground for Ford and Tory — polls show the two are in a tight race. But while Ford tries to score points as the champion of underdog Scarborough, Tory has positioned himself as a conciliator trying to bridge the downtown-suburban divide
Instead of agreeing that Scarborough is gets neglected at city hall, Tory said he hears residents from across the city — not just Scarborough — who complain about the cleanliness and state of maintenance in the park system and other public facilities. “I think it’s a problem across the city that we’re seeing a deterioration not just in parks but in soccer fields and the other facilities,” Tory said.
Courtesy: Toronto Star