Ontario 2018 Election: The First Debate
Last week, the leaders of the three major political parties in Ontario participated in the first public debate for the upcoming election in June. This piece will go over what each of the party leaders have to offer, how they acted during the debate while under pressure, and whether or not I believe or agree with any one of them or their ideas. I want to be as clear as I have been thus far about my stance. I'm a progressive conservative, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm gung-ho for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Of the three on stage on May 7th, that is the party that I most identify with. But that doesn't mean that I don't agree with some of the ideas that the Liberals or the New Democrats have to offer. I just understand that Ontario cannot afford the social policies those two parties and their leaders are advocating, and that Ford’s plan so far is mostly about being fiscally reasonable.
I don't know how many of you actually watched the debate on City TV, so I will briefly explain the format of the discussion. Six questions were asked by audience members who were apart of City News stories over the last two years. Each speaker was given 45 seconds to answer the question, followed by a three minute open debate once all three leaders had answered the question. There were also three leader’s questions, where each of the contenders could choose an opponent of their liking and ask them a question on whatever they wanted. Again, the person being question was given 45 seconds to answer the question with no interruption, followed by three minutes of open debate where all three participants could voice their opinions and plans on the issue at hand. This piece will be broken up into the six questions asked by the audience members first, followed by the three leader questions in the order they were asked. At the end, I will total up who I believe won the debate based on who I think answered the most amount of audience questions best.
Question 1: What will the candidates do about de-escalation training for all police in Ontario, so that more altercations end peacefully like the one following the van attack in Toronto?
The question was posed by a woman by the name of Joanne McIsaac, the sister of Michael McIsaac. Michael was shot by Durham police officers in Ajax in 2013. Police received a number of calls from people in McIsaac’s neighbourhood, claiming he was running around naked, and harassing people as they drove by. McIsaac had already had a physical altercation with his family before leaving the house in the nude. As the calls came in, the harassment was escalating as he would bang on the windows of the cars that were passing by. Three police officers arrived on the scene, and one shot McIsaac as he ran towards the officers with a nearly metre long piece of metal (most likely a pipe based on the description). His family believes that the police were quick to shoot someone going through a mental illness episode. The officer that shot McIsaac, Constable Brian Taylor, was cleared by the Special Investigations Unit as well as the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
The first party leader to have the chance to answer was NDP leader Andrea Horwath. She gave her condolences to Joanne and the rest of her family, and praised officer Ken Lam on his calm response that ended the Toronto van attack peacefully. She then said that the NDP would not privatize policing in Ontario like the Wynne government has begun doing. I had to look this up, because it surprised me. The Ontario law that Horwath was talking about is Bill 175, titled Safer Ontario Act, 2018. I was personally blown away to find that in Schedule One, Section 3 (14) of that Act, a subheading titled “Provision by authorized policing providers” states the following:
“(1) Subject to subsections (2), (3) and (4), if the regulations provide that a policing function does not have to be provided by members of a police service or persons who are assisting those members while acting under their direction, a police service board, or the Commissioner, may, in accordance with the regulations, enter into a written agreement with another police service board, the Commissioner or a prescribed entity to have them provide the policing function in an area for which the board or the Commissioner has policing responsibility.”
So according to the Safer Ontario Act, the Wynne Liberal government does allow the responsibility of police officers to be contracted to private people or organizations. Those same responsibilities are what police officers must go through five months of training plus additional certification and training throughout their career after graduating the police college in Aylmer, Ontario (so remember that, because the person to answer this question next will say that this is not included in the Bill). However, Andrea Horwath continued by saying that police in Ontario have no standardized training. That is false, as all police in Ontario must complete five months of training at the police college in Aylmer, and two extra months if they work of the O.P.P or Toronto Police Service at the respective headquarters. I know this as a fact as my dad is a 29 year veteran of the Toronto Police, as well as other family members in both T.P.S. and the R.C.M.P. So that was either a purposeful lie by Horwath, or she just doesn’t understand how police are trained in the province.
The next politician to answer the question was Kathleen Wynne. She claimed that the Bill her government passed does not include the privatization of police responsibility, but as I just showed you it does open the door for just that. And it does so by not requiring these private people or companies go through the same training that the police officers must complete. So that’s her first lie of the night right off the bat. The Premier continued by saying that she hasn’t cut the budgets of the police forces in Ontario, and plans on giving them the resources they need. But that goes against what she has said in the past, when in 2016 she stated that she was open to policing technologies that would lower the cost of policing. So that is another lie from the Liberal.
The final leader to answer the question was the PC candidate Doug Ford. He said that Bill 175 does indeed include the potential privatization of police responsibilities. He also said that he would make the police forces in Ontario more effective by cutting out any inefficiencies. As I said earlier I have a number of police officers in my family, so when a politician raises the idea of cutting police budgets it is a red flag. However, Ford did not say he would cut their operational budgets, rather he would cut inefficiencies. My dad and other family members have said time and time again that the province could cut 95% of the people who work at their forces’ headquarters and it wouldn’t affect how front line officers perform their job. So as long as that is where Ford is finding these inefficiencies, I don’t see any problems like this.
In the open debate following the three answers, Wynne and Horwath both jumped on Ford. They demanded that he explain where exactly he would be finding these cuts. He responded by pointing to the alleged cuts that Wynne’s government has already made to the province’s police forces.
Now, of the three leaders who would I give victory over this question? I certainly know it was not Kathleen Wynne, who was caught lying about Bill 175 by both Horwath and Ford. But Andrea Horwath also alleged that there is no standardized training for police in Ontario, which is just not true. Ford also called Wynne out for lying about the Safer Ontario Act, but failed to explicitly say where he would find the inefficient parts of the police services. So in all honesty, I do not believe any of the leaders can count this question as a win.
Question 2: What actions would be taken to ensure that police officers who are found guilty of carding are held accountable?
This question was posed by Christien Levien, the creator of an app called Legalswipe. The app is designed to help people learn their rights when interacting with police officers, including their rights involved with being asked for identification. Police carding was made illegal in Ontario at the beginning of 2017. The regulations that were instituted made using race as a reason to ID someone invalid, and requires police to inform the person they are talking to that they have the right not to talk to the police. It does not mean that police cannot require or collect identification during traffic stops, when arresting someone, or when a search warrant is being executed.
The first leader to answer this question was Mr. Ford. He said that his government would have a zero tolerance policy for police officers who are found guilty of using race as an incentive to card a civilian. He also said that his government would have police forces do more community police (working with the people they serve), as well as ensure they have the resources they need so that carding would be unnecessary.
The second person to answer Mr. Levien’s question was Kathleen Wynne. She claimed that her government had already begun to make carding illegal, and would continue to do so. She also explained that police forces across the country have been using the tool of carding for decades, starting in the 1950s. Because of the long running use of carding, police officers need time to adjust to the new rules. Ms. Wynne said that the province’s police are in that adjustment period, and need time to break the habit.
The last leader to give her answer was Andrea Horwath. She said that it is sad that Christien Levien had to develop Legalswipe in the first place. While it is a little disappointing that the Ontario education system doesn’t teach children their rights well, I think Mr. Levien’s app is a perfect example of how the private sector does a better job at just about anything than government (something that socialist NDP supporters don’t ever want to admit). She then blamed the disproportionate number of black people in the justice system, as well as black children in child welfare systems, on the Wynne government. I don’t think that she can put the blame of something that large on any one person, even Wynne. Horwath also said that if elected, her NDP government would work to close all loopholes so carding is non-existent.
During the open debate, Ford stood quietly and allowed Wynne and Horwath have it out. They both explained what systemic racism is, and said that carding is a part of that system. Wynne also said that the Progressive Conservative government took all forms of equity teaching out of the education system, and that she added it once again in 2006 while the Minister of Education. Just as time ran out, Horwath slid in a comment about Wynne taking families of autistic children to court as the Minister of Education.
I hate to admit it, but I think I have to give Kathleen Wynne this question. She is absolutely right, the government has introduced regulations that ban carding. She also is correct to say that police officers are in a transition phase following half a century of being allowed to card people. I know through my family that carding was an effective way to track down suspects, so it isn’t surprising that police officers are resisting the change. However, I don’t believe that she is right when it comes to carding contributing to systemic racism. I have been carded while walking home from work a number of times. I was taught that when that happens, I have the right to ask why and deny the officer’s request if he or she cannot give me a good enough reason. Parents should be doing that, rather than instilling a fear of police officers in their kids. I think the problems in the system can be boiled down to other reasons rather than race.
Question 3: The province is funding safe injection sites and will soon be running legal marijuana stores in our neighbourhoods. What will you do to keep those neighbourhoods safe?
The third question of the debate was asked by Patrick Penman, because the Queen West Community Health Centre across the street from his building was turned into a safe injection site.
Again, Doug Ford was given the first opportunity to answer the question. He said that his Progressive Conservative government would not allow safe injection sites in neighbourhoods, but rather put the funding towards rehabilitation efforts. Ford said that the people across the province that he’s talked to who have family members addicted to the drugs taken at these sites do not want more spaces for their loved ones to shoot up. They told him that they want the government to instead provide housing and addiction support. Ford continued by announcing that if elected, he would dedicate $9.9 million into mental health, addiction and housing support.
Before I continue on to the next answer, I just have to put my opinion on that last bit out there. It isn’t Ford’s fault, but it drives me crazy that a drug addict is considered to have a mental illness. Someone who has chosen to use extremely addictive drugs that damage their mental and physical health should not be put into the same category as someone born with autism, down syndrome, or any other serious mental illness. It’s extremely unfair to people born with an illness to have funding taken from services that could help them and given to drug addicts.
The second answer comes from Kathleen Wynne, who says the safe injection sites are about saving lives. She says her government will continue to work with professionals and continue to allow safe injection sites to pop up across the province.
The last answer regarding safe injection sites came from Andrea Horwath. She also said that they are very important at helping to save lives, and pledged to continue operating them with tax dollars. Horwath also included an anecdotal story about leaving her office one night, and coming across someone who was about to inject themselves with an illegal drug. She used the story to show that these sites get the dangerous habit off the street. I include this anecdotal story in her answer because she uses these and emotional arguments to prove that she cares, both of which are not effective debating tactics.
In the open debate following Mr. Penman’s question, Wynne also uses anecdotal evidence. She tells the audience a story about talking to an addict who told her “When I’m ready to quit, I know where to go. I’m not ready to quit yet though.” When she said this, I actually laughed out loud in my living room. Of course someone addicted to an extremely addictive substance isn’t ready to quit “yet”. As long as he or she is given a safe place to get high, there is no reason for them to be ready to quit. Wynne was also the first to draw attention to the marijuana aspect of the question, saying that she doesn’t want marijuana sold in every corner store. She says that the safety of children is the first priority while in the process of legalizing the drug (even though she’s allowed safe injection sites to be set up in parks where children play). Horwath stated that Wynne’s legalization plans will not stop illegal marijuana dealers from profiting, which is funny because the safe injection sites that she loves so much definitely do not prevent meth, heroin, and fentanyl dealers from profiting off of those more dangerous drugs (especially since the sites increase the number of dealers in the area). Ford said that he didn’t say that he would allow marijuana be sold in corner store, he said in LCBO stores. He also included a zero tolerance policy in regards to driving while under the influence of marijuana, and would work with the community and police forces to keep children and neighbourhoods safe. The last comment came from Andrea Horwath, who pledged an independent Ministry of Mental Health, and used more emotion by asking the audience “can you imagine not having the resources for a child suffering for mental illness?” But with her plan, those children may have to wait just as long as junkies get help first.
Who do I think can claim victory on question 3? I would have to say Doug Ford. He explained himself in regards to not having marijuana sold in every corner store like Kathleen Wynne claimed. He also wants to make driving while intoxicated on weed illegal, which I agree with since Canada has already proved we cannot be trusted to follow the legal limit for alcohol. Canada is the worst country per capita when it comes to drunk driving, with a third of all car accidents to have alcohol involved. Ford also is standing up for community members who do not want safe injection sites in their neighbourhood, where Wynne and Horwath want to show their virtue and allow them. Finally, Horwath’s idea of creating a new Ministry of Mental Health sounds swell, but it is ideas like those that put Ontario into the financial mess we’re in. We do not need more bureaucracy, but left-leaning people love big government.
Question 4: What incentives will the winner give for people to take public transit?
The question was asked by Leah Benincasa, who has to commute over an hour every morning from Vaughan to get to work.
Ford pledged $5 billion on top of current transit spending to build a regional transit system in the Greater Toronto Area and all the way into Niagara Region.
Wynne said that her government has dedicated $9 billion to transit just in Toronto, and to continue connecting transit across the province using GO transit. She also claimed that Doug Ford “buried” the Eglinton subway plan in Toronto while a city councillor.
Horwath’s answer was to put $330 million into the Toronto transit system. She wants to invest more in buses and streetcars rather than subway lines or expanding GO.
The open debate kicked off by Wynne saying the revenue collected by the gas tax in Ontario will be given to 99 municipalities to build on their public transit infrastructure. Horwath said that her plan could finish the Wynne plans faster than Wynne is doing, and that the Liberal government has taken the worst way possible to invest in infrastructure. She said that because of the P.P.P. plan (Public Private Partnership - a development method used by governments to split the cost of building between the public and private sectors) has wasted $8 billion. Ford denied Wynne’s earlier claim about him ending the Eglinton subway plan, claiming that Wynne wanted to have a two-tiered transit in Toronto, with one system working in one place and another in a different area (and he was right).
Again, I would have to give Doug Ford another win for this question. He was the only one to dedicate infrastructure across the province, not just in the G.T.A. It is extremely difficult to get around the province on GO and VIA Rail, with services being cut. If it wasn’t for Greyhound buses, getting around Ontario without a private vehicle would be nearly impossible. It’s about time the province makes long distance travelling easier for taxpayers.
Question 5: What will you do if elected to help autistic children in schools?
This question was asked by Daniela Tripolino, who’s son has autism. Due to the lack of funding and support offered to children like her son, Daniela had to put him into private school. She said she is lucky to have the funds to pay for the counselling and private school bills, but not everyone is so fortunate.
Kathleen Wynne was the first participant to answer this question. She began by saying it's unfortunate that the Tripolino family had to resort to using private school. She then continued by telling Daniela and the audience that Ontario’s education system has changed. According to Wynne, $62 million was added to funding schools to help kids facing challenges such as autism to ensure that students get more one-on-one time with the teacher, and so that teachers receive the training necessary to teach children with learning impairments. The Premier also included that the province has changed the system so that families receive direct funding so they can have access to the programs they need. I just want to say that at this point, the camera had turned to Daniela, who had the look of skeptical and dissatisfied look on her face. And I don't blame her for a second. This is the woman who has been the Premier while the Tripolino family had been scrambling to find the services, attention and counselling their son needed.
Doug Ford answered next. He said that he would make sure that schools have the proper funding they need, so that they will have a wider variety of resources to help children that need extra attention and assistance. He also ensured the audience that there would be no protest on the lawn of Queen’s Park like there had been over the last 15 years of Liberal governance. Ford ended by saying that his government would listen to parents, and give them more of a say in how the Ontario government operates the education system. That echoes his statements about the updated sexual education curriculum, and how Conservatives believe parents were not properly informed and asked for advice.
The final answer came from the New Democrat candidate. Andrea Horwath once again used an emotional question, asking the audience to imagine if they had to worry about whether or not they could pay the bills, and how she's talked to parents who have had to sell their homes in order to afford the counselling their child needs. She assured Daniela and the audience that she would not take the parents of autistic children to court like Wynne had done as Minister of Education. Horwath has a point here, as Wynne appealed a ruling twelve years ago when 28 families took the Ontario Ministry of Education because they had set a cap on the age of children who got funding. They had initially won their case, but the ruling was overturned in the Ontario Court of Appeal (another reason why Daniela Tripolino had such skepticism on her face while Wynne was talking). Finally, Horwath ended by promising there would be educational assistants in every classroom across the province. I don't know how she plans on affording that, so I'll believe it when I see it.
During the open debate for the fifth question, after Wynne had basically repeated her answer she slammed Ford about his role in denouncing an autistic centre in his community. He answers by saying he actually approved the home. If you go and look at it (instead of taking Kathleen Wynne by her tarnished word), you will see that it is taken out of context. First of all it isn't a home for autistic children alone, rather a home for people with a variety of developmental disabilities. In 2014, Ford had said that the Griffin Centre had told the residence in the area that people leaving the home would be supervised, which turned out to not be the case. Residents also complained about a constant police presence at the Centre, and that there would be yelling late at night all the time. Neighbours had also reported an increase in the two months following the Griffin Centre opening, and that the property value had dropped by an average of $150,000. Ford defended the residents’ complaints saying that they had worked hard to be able to afford to live in the nice neighbourhood, and it wasn't fair that the Centre representatives had misled the public about who would be in the home as well as how it would operate. He also blamed the McGuinty Liberal government for the Centre’s existence altogether, alleging that the 43 acre Thristletown Regional Health Centre that was closed in 2012 had resulted in the families and patients being spread across the west-end of Toronto. He then finished the open debate by once again saying that he won't have to take parents to court like Wynne had done.
Who won question 5? Honestly, I don't believe any of the candidates did. They all promised the same thing without giving any evidence on how they would follow through. They all promised that they would give schools the resources they need, but not much more. The only one who gave any more information was Wynne, but based on her track record of taking parents to court and cutting funding to them to begin with, I don't think she can be trusted on the matter. Ford did make those comments about the Griffin Centre, and even though he was defending his constituents in Toronto’s Ward 2, should have chosen his words with more care. Horwath’s plan sounded like any other NDP promise; unaffordable and unrealistic.
Question 6: What steps will you take to level the real estate market’s playing field between homebuyers and developers?
The final question in this debate came from a man by the name of Karan Kundra. He had purchased a one bedroom unit in a new development in Toronto, and put down $60,000 on his $300,000 purchase. However, the developer of the condo cancelled the plans because they apparently did not get enough funding. As a result, he is not guaranteed have his down payment refunded, and even if he does get it back Mr. Kundra is not sure he could afford to live in that same development now that the developers could charge $400,000 for the same unit.
Andrea Horwath was the first person given the chance to answer Karan’s concerns. All she really said on the matter is that the NDP will level the playing field, without giving any specifics. She dove into a pretty standard NDP talking-point about affordable housing and ensuring people had homes. But the question wasn’t about affordable housing, it was about protecting buyers in a volatile real estate market.
Up next was Kathleen Wynne, who we all know has made a mess of Ontario’s real estate sector. She claims that her government’s Fair Housing Plan is currently and will continue to cool the market down, so prices will fall. In reality, it hasn’t necessarily done that. Yes, the Plan has imposed a foreign buyers tax and a vacant land tax (in Toronto) will make the permits required to build be approved quicker, but the margin of change has been very slow. The rent control only helps current renters, keeping their rent low. But it doesn’t help people who are new to renters, and doesn’t end the low supply for the high demand in the renters’ market. Plus when you add Wynne’s federal colleague's new mortgage rules, home buyers are facing an uphill battle. Trudeau’s new rules make it harder for people to qualify for cheap mortgages when buying a house by forcing them to qualify for the highest mortgage regardless of what they’re applying for. But Wynne believes that her Fair Housing Plan makes it fair for everyone. I don’t believe her, and I know that a lot of voters feel the same way. Like Horwath, she failed to grasp the meaning of the question and focused more on affordable housing and not on what Karan was asking.
The last candidate to answer was Doug Ford, who actually understood the question and answered Karan. He said that he would make sure that the building permits are approved much quicker, so that the supply in the market goes up. He said that the province’s housing market is extremely high, and says that the regulations are the reason that supply isn’t keeping up with the demand which causes the prices we are seeing. He also said that he would protect the buyers, without saying how exactly. But by speeding up the building application process and allowing builders to begin developing quicker, it stops them from being able to back out of the contracts with buyers like Mr. Kundra’s did with him.
The open debate segment to the final question mostly revolved around Ontario’s Greenbelt. Wynne started off by criticizing Ford for getting caught telling developers that they would be able to develop the Greenbelt more than they are able to now. She claims that there is enough space in the area to build two Mississauga-sized cities without touching the Greenbelt. Ford cut in here and said that space is there because Wynne had cut out sections of the Greenbelt a number of times, giving that land to her supporters. Horwath said the question is about affordable housing, and that the other two leaders had not answered the question, but she was wrong. The question was about protecting buyers from being ripped off by their developers, not affordable housing. But Wynne finished off by saying the Liberals would force builders to leave a percentage of their developments for affordable housing, which is a very socialist idea. The government should not be able to tell a building company how to use the land they privately own any more than they already do.
This question would go to Doug Ford if you had to ask me. He was the only one to somewhat answer Karan’s original question, even without any specific policy. Just in the fact that he understands supply and demand where the other two clearly do not is enough to give him a win for this question.
Leadership Question #1: Andrea Horwath to Doug Ford “What are you going to privatize in the healthcare system? How many nurses will be cut?
Ford began answering this question by saying that Horwath must think Wynne’s government has been efficient if she believes that there are absolutely no inefficiencies in the current system. He said that he would be finding the wasteful spending and in doing so, driving the efficiency up by helping people get the services they need. Horwath countered by saying finding inefficiencies really means cuts to the front line workers. Doug Ford said that under his watch, CEOs of companies such as Hydro One would not be making $6.5 million, which I think means that he plans on cutting the salaries of big executives such as who Ford dubbed “the Six Million Dollar Man.” Horwath claimed that Ford will replace any Wynne supporting executive insiders with his own. Kathleen Wynne said that Ontario has been the most efficient in regards to spending per capita on public services, to which Ford said that Wynne doesn’t understand numbers, pointing towards the higher deficit and “cooked books” of the Liberal’s 2018 provincial budget.
So in all honesty, Doug Ford could have answered this question a lot more clearly. He was on the right track by bringing up the CEO of Hydro One and his salary (that is six times higher than when the Liberal government took over), but got sidetracked by pointing the finger at Wynne. If he had continued to say that it would be the executives in the different bureaucracies that would get the cuts, and not the front line workers, it would have been a very good response from him. But instead he was vague in his answer, which didn’t look good considering they are talking about cuts in our healthcare.
Leadership Question 2: Kathleen Wynne to Doug Ford “Why cut jobs and give the rich a tax cut?”
Ford begins his answer by saying that he’s listened to people such as teachers in a way that Kathleen Wynne doesn’t. He also said that she has ignored Ontario’s doctors and nurses. He also said that when making changes in the education and healthcare systems, he would consult with actual teachers, nurses and doctors because they are the ones who understand what would work best. Horwath accused Ford of not answering where the cuts would be coming from, and that previous PC leaders were at least honest about where they planned on making cuts. Ford responded by citing his work as a Toronto city councillor. He said that they made $1 billion in cuts, without having to lay off a single person while at the same time creating 56,000 new jobs. While they did cut a billion dollars from the budget (until City Council voted to reverse a number of those cuts), the job creation is hard to pin on any one person. While unemployment in the city did drop under Doug’s brother Rob Ford, it dropped across the country due to the national economy rebounding from the financial crisis. But Rob did cut a lot of red tape for developers, which create jobs in itself. Horwath finished the question by saying that the cuts would be enormous, and that he won’t be able to cut taxes and spending without laying off employees.
Leadership Question 3: Doug Ford to Kathleen Wynne “When did you lose your way in politics”
This question wasn’t meant to be one about policy. He was asking a moral question to the Premier who has claimed time and time again that she entered politics to help people. Wynne answered by saying that the government’s role is to help people do what they cannot do on their own. That is something that sounds great, but in reality isn’t actually the role of government. We live in a free society, and people are free to work hard and succeed just as much as another person. It isn’t the government’s responsibility to help people who don’t work as hard as a successful business owner live a frivolous life like a successful business owner. She also said that right now the province has a record low unemployment level. But like I just said for Wynne’s question to Ford, that is a hard thing to give any one person credit for. She has been Premier for the majority of the upswing following the 2008 financial crisis. But she was not the architect of that upswing, just as Rob Ford wasn’t. That’s just what happens as an economy rebuilds itself after a crash. Wynne also said that she’s helped people by building on provincial hydro lines so that blackouts come to an end, and giving them 25% off their hydro bills, to which Andrea Horwath was quick to say that her government and McGuinty’s before hers let it go up 300%. Ford also chimed in by saying that there was a blackout in Pickering the week before.
I will not be saying who won or lost the leader’s questions. They were intended for one specific person to answer, and even though other participants were able to contribute it was still directed to one leader. I was not surprised at all that both Horwath and Wynne aimed their questions at Ford. He is the only free market, fiscal conservative in the debate, making him an easy target for the bleeding heart Liberal and New Democrat. Ford also did not answer the first question well at all, but held his own in the second. His moral question to Wynne was a curveball, considering he could have asked her directly about any of the many scandals she’s been involved with. I thought “where did you lose your way” was a brilliant question to ask Wynne, because almost everyone in the province who isn’t a Liberal Party contributor feels like she has.
Who won the debate?
As I said before, I support the PC Party more than any other political party in Ontario. So I am biased towards Doug Ford and his proposals, as I believe they are the most fiscally conservative in a time when we need to be just that. So laying my bias out on the table for the sake of honest, I believe that Ford won the debate. He didn't start off strong; his opening statement was shorter than the 45 seconds given to them and he paused in it more than he spoke. He also didn't give much of an answer in the first question, and remained silent during the open debate for question one. But as the debate wore on, he came out of his shell. His answers were much clearer than the Liberal and NDP candidates wanted to admit, and he was the only one to actually answer the question about the housing market. Something also has to be said about proper debate etiquette. Ford rarely if ever cut another speaker off. He stood quietly while Wynne and Horwath tag teamed him with questions about where he would find inefficiencies. Wynne was talking down to him most of the time, and Horwath was by far the worst for interrupting. She stood back during discussions between Ford and Wynne, practically mocking them and saying things such as “you don't have to choose between the bad and the worse” and “this is how Ontario is run.” Ford also called Wynne out on her lies, and was willing to admit that he and Horwath can agree on how bad Wynne is. With his ability to remain calm when being attacked on two fronts (which a lot of people who dislike him, and even some PC supporters thought could be difficult for him), and his solid answers for the audience questions, I believe that Doug Ford won the first debate. It will be an interesting campaign to say the least. It is his election to lose, seeing that most of Ontario seems to finally understand that Wynne is a destructive force in Queen’s Park and Ontarians still have a bad taste in their mouths from Bob Rae’s NDP government.
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