March 7 was a busy day for the candidates (or at least some of them). There were actually two debates/meetings.
Debate/Meeting 1: Eastern Commerce Collegiate – 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Participants Included: Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu, Craig Scott, Andrew Keyes, Grant Gordon, Bahman Yazdanfar
It was polite and civilized and the audience was students at Eastern Commerce. The moderator was (not completely sure, but it looked to me like) a teacher. His role was to ask questions that “apparently” were generated by the students. The room did NOT have a high level of energy. For the most part (and I think this was a mistake) the candidates did not tailor their answers to a “younger audience”. Possible exception – Grant Gordon. Mr. Gordon has impressed me as one of the candidates who is most likely to listen to and respond to the question actually asked. Andrew Keyes continued to “soldier on” and preach the virtues of the Conservative Party. Craig Scott continued to emphasize that he is (and wants to continue to be) a member of team NDP. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu and Andrew Keyes continued to demonstrate a strong commttment to Toronto Danforth. Bahman Yazdanfar continued to emphasize the importance of candidate over party.
In any case, after an afternoon break, these same candidates (Andrew Keyes excepted) appeared at the evening debate.
Debate/Meeting 2: 86 Blake St – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
It was intended to be an “All candidates” meeting/debate. The “no-shows” were the Libertarian Candidate (he has yet to appear – therefore hard to take him seriously) and interestingly Conservative Candidate Andrew Keyes (he may have a “one meeting a day” rule). In any case, that left nine candidates.
Twitter is an interesting addition to the campaign trail. Some of the parties (likely the Greens, Liberals and NDP) brought their resident twitter experts to comment in real time. Instead of a candidates meeting or debate we now have the Candidates “Tweeting” or “Twibate”. To see how prolific this was check out:
In any case, with nine candidates the openings and closings took up too much time. This did not leave a lot of time for questions. Both the NDP and Liberals brought significant supporters. The Liberal supporters tried to outapplause the NDP supporters and vice-versa.
These meetings don’t have winners and losers. But, they do provide lots of opportunity to increase or decrease momentum. Furthermore, these meetings do give candidates the opportunity to leave a distinct message/impression. So, my perception of what happened (or not) …
1. Christoper Porter – Canadian Action Party – Had a very good evening. Although he did not have the “dominant voice” (there were two questions that he was not given the opportunity to respond to), he delivered the strongest message. (Problems of debt, need for fiscal responsibility for people and governments, need for people to take responsibility for themselves.) Whether you like the message or not – at least there was a clear message.
2. Grant Gordon – Liberal – Only candidate to interact with the audience. He asked who would be willing to “mentor” young people. Yes, there is an audience (other candidates take note).
3. Dorian Baxter – Progressive Canadian Party – He has the strongest presence. He continues his message of returning half of his salary back to Toronto Danforth. Once again, no other candidate seems willing to join him in that commitment. Why not?
4. Craig Scott – NDP – He had a much better night than at the Applegrove meeting. He spends a lot of time reinforcing that he is part of “Team NDP” which dominates politics at all levels in Toronto Danforth. He did say one extraordinary thing though (assuming I heard this correctly). He said that the corporate tax rate for small businesses should be reduced! This was not a view that was echoed by the other candidates. I look forward to hearing more about this in the remaining days of this campaign. In fact, that would be a good question for the remaining debate on March 15 (perhaps all candidates should consider this).
5. Leslie Bory – Maple Party – Important to recognize that although Mr. Bory is the leader of the Maple Party of Canada he will appear on the ballot as an Independent. This is because the Maple Party of Canada is “not registered”. I thought I heard Mr. Bory describe his party as “not recognized”. The Maple Party is clearly recognized!
6. Brian Jedan – United Party – Overall a very good night for Mr. Jedan. (But, don’t hold the microphone so close to your mouth – your voice loses clarity). Very likable candidate who emphasizes that this election is about a candidate and not about a party.
7. Bahman Yazdanfar – Independent – Whereas Mr. Jedan did a good job of emphasizing that the election is about the candidate and not the party, Mr. Yazandar (one true independent) emphasized what may be wrong with party candidates. Bahman closed by emphasizing that has an “Independent Candidate” he is responsive to the constituents. He would not take his orders from: Union Bosses or Party Leaders …
8. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu – Green Party – The usual solid performance. She (along with Grant Gordon) projects the strongest commitment to the Toronto Danforth community.
9. John Turmel – Independent – His candidacy doesn’t seem to be motivated by a desire to specifically serve the Toronto Danforth community. He should explain how as a candidate/representative he wants to contribute specifically to Toronto Danforth. Since he doesn’t live in the riding and doesn’t seem to have any signs, the meetings/debates are his opportunity to do this. But, there is another opportunity on March 15 …
Remember that the usual Goldhawk debate is tonight March 8 – 9:00 p.m. – Rogers Cable 10 or 63. Apparently this will include only the main party candidates. It will therefore lose most of the energy of previous debates.