All Candidates Debate

The all-candidates debate for Federal election candidates was held at the Mount Dennis Legion on Wednesday, April 13th.

The event was well organized and attended with a well-structured questioning process which allowed both neighbourhood organizations and individuals a chance to address the candidates. An air of respect and courtesy was evident throughout the evening due mainly to the comportment of the candidates who answered questions without resorting to negativity, and the audience’s interest in listening to the candidates. It was evident that everyone was there to exchange and receive information rather than engage in the discussion of preconceived ideas. The Mount Dennis Legion should be congratulated for their contribution to the democratic process by hosting this event.

Unfortunately there was one negative aspect to the evening; the non-participation of the Conservative candidate who apparently had a more pressing engagement which prevented her from meeting with ordinary voters and responding to uncensored questions. Her empty chair stood as a testament to the discomfort the Conservatives seem to have with Toronto. No doubt voters will return the favour at the ballot box.

The other candidates showed an interest in helping Weston area residents and a knowledge of our needs. All three as stated above presented a professional attitude. Of the three, Sonny Day (Green Party), Mike Sullivan (New Democratic Party) and Alan Tonks (Liberal), Sonny came across as a genuinely nice man who demonstrated a generosity of spirit when he praised the good work Mike Sullivan has done for Weston. Mike came across as well prepared, confident, professional and articulate. Many of his answers met with the approval of the audience. Alan Tonks as the elder statesman of the group was suave and well-spoken. Unfortunately, he has developed and perfected the career politician’s habit of restructuring questions while answering them, thereby never really addressing questioners’ concerns. As a non-resident, he suffers in comparison to the other two candidates. Hopefully Weston has matured beyond the need to be represented by gentleman candidates who claim to know our concerns better than we do. It might be time to be represented by one of our own.

Each of the candidates had winning moments, the best was Sonny’s answer to a question about Harper’s proposed purchase of jet fighters designed for aircraft carriers (Canada has none). He won loud applause when he stated that Canada needs to purchase military equipment that meets Canada’s needs; ‘We are not a northern branch of the U.S. Air Force’.

Mike Sullivan had a lot of solid ideas on how to improve the Weston area and received loud applause many times throughout the evening. He stated that the proposed airport express should be an above ground subway line serving all of the communities along the line. This would be a good step towards bringing Toronto’s transportation system in line with other world cities which are extensively served by rapid public transit. Alan’s major good point was that he claims to be working to bring a campus of George Brown College to Weston, a great way to stimulate the Weston economy.

Overall, all three candidates did well but if one were to pick a winner it would have to be Mike Sullivan who presented clear answers and was able to point out some of Alan Tonks’ worse decisions as a Member of Parliament. As an experienced advocate for the Weston area, he is the most closely tied to the community and its improvement. Tonks came across as smooth and professional which is fine if Weston is happy with the status quo and sees no need for improvement. Sonny Day is well-intentioned and would certainly be a breath of fresh air in Ottawa.

8 thoughts on “All Candidates Debate”

  1. Hello,

    I was at the debate. Yes, I agree, it was a very civilized and structered event. I am not a resident of York South Weston but being at the debate I learned a lot about YSW and its concerns.

    My overall feeling was the audiance was an NDP audiance and at times felt like and NDP riding association meeting.

    I did enjoy the open and direct answers by Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Day and found Mr. Tonks to be a good representative in the past.

    I was happy to be there…thank you to the organizers for putting on the event.

    Nazaar Shadir

  2. I’m glad you stated that Mr. Tonks “claims” to be working towards bringing a George Brown Campus to Weston.

  3. Yeah, if Alan is working on bringing George Brown to Weston, it’s news to a few of us. There are a great roster of people who have been working on that but Alan is not one of them. He may have put his two cents in after the fact but it wasn’t his idea, it hasn’t been his priority and he has not attended any of the core meetings (as far as I have heard). Most of that credit can go to a few local residents who have made the fortuitous connections and have pressed the local Councillor and MPP to work on it. As Alan doesn’t live in Weston anymore (that sounds familiar… Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) and relies on his staff to give him details of what is happening, taking credit is like a slap in the face of those who have literally walked the walk and talked the talk. That is what I call a slick politician.

  4. I was not at the meeting, but i did watch some of the youtube clips, and I cannot find any basis for declaring Mr.Sullivan a winner. As the website and the views of the youtube clips are clearly Pro-Sullivan, the declaration of Mr.Sullivan being a winner is one of those classical informal fallacies.You try to prove a point by a comment of an”authority” who is no authority at all, nor a neutral judge, but a supporter of the so-called “winner”. To have declared a real winner, you needed neutral judges, or a panel who actually noted points. If Mr.Tonks no longer lives in the riding, why is he a candidate? I thought that residency was a requirement..”n’est-ce pas?”.. apart from an elected MP living in Ottawa but coming from a riding.
    i don’t know what the rules are on that, but you are going to use that as argument, then let us know what the actual rules are before using it as an attack. A MP does not have to be on every action group to bge a supporter of an action, so let’s not disqualify Mr. Tonks on the George Brown thing.. An MP can have a lot of influence but not be the originator. An MP cannot be on every action group.. So let’s get real about this and not fall into demagoguery. \that is what i call sick. Fair is fair, and your presentation of this debate (almost every video has Mr.Sullivan in view, and some with other candidates speaking, still have him in view.It is blatant and obvious.

  5. Sam you obviously have some bias towards Mr.Tonks. In my view Mr.Tonks has done little to nothing for this community over the past 8 years. I personally don’t care if its an NDP, Conservative or Liberal representing our riding. I just want someone that will actually do something for the community, and clearly that is NOT Mr.Tonks.

  6. Sam, Roy did not make the video; I, Adam Norman, did. His comments are entirely his own, not necessarily my view, though I own the site. He and I did not discuss his views before he published them.

    I hope, knowing this, that you can separate Roy’s editorial from my reportage. We always try to keep them apart.

    With respect to the substance of your comments, I can assure you that, in fact, Tonks does not live in the riding. Whether that matters to you is another issue. It certainly matters to some.

    I don’t think that Sullivan is in view more than any other candidate. If he is, I apologize. As you can see if you look carefully, Tonks sat apart from Sullivan and Day, like this: T_SD. The empty chair was for the missing candidate, Jilian Saweczko. I tried to keep Day out of Sullivan’s shots, and Sullivan out of Day’s, but I wasn’t always successful. As you can see, they shared a microphone.

    Thank you for your comment, though.

  7. Sam, if you had been there, you would have seen that Mr. Sullivan received the most steady applause from his answers. Mr. Tonks received polite clapping. Mr. Day’s answers were also well received and his support towards Mr. Sullivan was commendable and I told him so afterwards. If Mr. Sullivan was not running, I would probably vote for Mr. Day.

    And I also partially video-taped the meeting and also had Mr. Sullivan in many shots as it was almost impossible to not have him given he was in the middle of the other two. Taping this kind of event is difficult at best and we are not professionals with professional equipment. Often it is good to see the reactions of the other candidates when another is speaking — it is a true gauge of what is being said.

    I voted for Mr. Tonks at least twice. So have many people. But in the last few years, and at least in the last election, a lot of people decided Mr. Sullivan was a better representative for this community and it showed in the voting pattern. I have friends and neighbours who are staunch Conservatives who have voted for Mr. Sullivan because they believe in him and the work he has done to make Weston better. Same with some Liberals voters in the area. And I DO very much believe that if you don’t live in a community, you shouldn’t represent it. And especially if you did live here and then chose to move away — what does that say about how the candidate thinks of his community? Mr. Tonks is a very nice man, no doubt, and I have known him since 1986. But he has lost my vote for a variety of reasons.

  8. I have lived in this area now for approximately 4 years. I voted to Mr. Tonks in the previous elections based on his participation in federal government. However, as many have commented, he has done very little to make changes in this region. It seems as though he’s just riding the vote at this point. I do, also, feel that this community needs a change, and I think I will be voting differently in the coming election.

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