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.

Jilian Saweczko: misled or missing?

Jilian Saweczko said in an email that she did not attend the all-candidates debate last night because she “Was notified that the debate was postpone [sic] to a future date.”

Saweczko showed yesterday, however, that she knew with certainty both where and when the debate would be. She said in a Tweet that she was going to be there.

I have emailed her campaign office for a response. I will post more details if I find them out.




“Ask about democracy”: Jilian Saweczko did not attend debate

Jilian Saweczko, the Conservative candidate for our ward, did not attend the only all candidates debate in York South–Weston, which was held tonight.

The start of the debate was delayed in the hopes that Saweczko would arrive. Organizers kept an empty chair for her throughout the night.

At the end of the debate, the moderator said “If I could just clarify one thing… we did actually send three, or four? … five invitations to [Jilian Saweczko]; we got a reply from the campaign manager saying she would be here. Her website is If you would like to send a question or a comment, be my guest. Ask about democracy.”

Questions For Federal Candidates – Election is on Monday, 2nd May 2011.

Before submitting these questions to our major Federal Election candidates, Weston Web invites readers to add their own through the comments facility of this article. These will be added to the list and presented to candidates on Wednesday, April 13. Responses from candidates will be published as they are received.

The candidates are (in alphabetical order):

Sonny Day – Green

Jilian Saweczko – Conservative

Mike Sullivan – NDP

Alan Tonks – Liberal


1. What has been your biggest contribution to the York South Weston community?

2. If your party forms the next government, what will you do to help your constituency?

3. If your party does not form the next government, what will you do to help your constituency?

4. What are the three biggest obstacles facing York South Weston in 2011?

5. What can you and your party do to overcome these obstacles?

6. Does York South Weston receive a fair share of Federal money in your opinion?

7. Do you live in York South Weston? If not, why not?

8. In what ways has Alan Tonks performed well as our MP?

9. In what ways could Alan Tonks have performed better as our MP?

10. What has the current federal government done for York South Weston?

11. What has the current government failed to do for York South Weston?

12. What makes you the best person for the job of our MP?

All candidates meeting announced

A reader has sent the following notice:

An All Candidates Meeting for the upcoming Federal Election will be held on Wednesday, April 13th at the Mount Dennis Legion, 1050 Weston Road, just south of Eglinton (west side), from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.  This event is sponsored by the Weston Village Residents’ Association, the Mount Dennis Community Association, the Greenhills Community Association and the Silverthorn Ratepayers’ Association.