George Smitherman
2 min

Will Rob Ford be at The 519 debate?

UPDATE: Rob Ford’s campaign says he will not be attending The 519 debate due to “previous commitments.” The listing for the debate has been removed from his calendar of events, though the calendar entry — which includes a call for Ford supporters to volunteer at the event — remains FordSmithermanPantalone (UPDATE 2: It’s been deleted — here’s the screengrab). It reads: “Debate Information: This mayoral debate is taking place on October 18th at the Church Street Community Centre located at 519 Church Street. The debate will begin at 7pm. Supporter Information: Anyone interested in volunteering their time at the event should meet campaign staff at the event location at 6:30pm. Staff members will be there ready to set up supporters with campaign materials. We’ll promote Rob for half an hour."


George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone are the only candidates confirmed to
attend the mayoral debate on Monday, Oct 18 at the 519 Church
Street Community Centre in Toronto, organizers say.

Matthew Cutler, manager of resource and development
at The 519, said candidate Rob Ford is the only candidate who has not
confirmed his attendance for the 7pm debate.

“It was pencilled into his calendar. We knew he was available,” he said. “But his campaign office said he couldn’t attend.” 

Although, as of Thursday afternoon, Ford’s website has the debate posted in his upcoming event listings.

Cutler said mayoral candidates should understand
the importance of community dialogue, especially considering the large
diverse community The 519 serves.

“I hope to hear dialogue of what the community will
look like under the new council and how the mayor will play a role in
that,” he said.

The town-hall debate is sponsored by The 519, Xtra and the Ontario Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

City council gave The 519 a jurisdiction bordered by Bloor to Gerrard streets and from Bay to Parliament streets, he said.

“The bulk of the issues will be LGBT related, but many of our members are straight newcomers,” Cutler said.

Cutler expects to hear a lot of discussion about
homelessness, poverty and policing, issues that are not inherently queer
issues, but are of interest to the queer community.

Xtra will live stream the event. Get your election
questions ready to put to the mayoral hopefuls by contacting Xtra.
Tweet Xtra your questions this weekend @Xtra_Canada or email

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