One of the contentious issues regarding the 2023 Toronto mayoral by-election is the matter of who gets invited to the “official” debates and who does not. Granted, not all 102 (!) candidates can be accommodated in one debate, but by the same token, worthy candidates who have previously achieved elected office (i.e., Rob Davis, Giorgio Mammoliti) have been excluded. And the question arises: why?
So it was that on Thursday night at Toronto’s Faith Sanctuary Church, an alternative event was staged, The People’s Debate. It featured eight candidates – some well-known, others, not so much. The lineup included the aforementioned Mammoliti, anti-lockdown proponent Chris Sky, entrepreneur Frank D’Angelo, and former Liberal Member of Parliament Celina Caesar-Chavannes. The format was wide ranging, touching on subjects from affordable housing to 15-minute cities and SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification education.)
During the back-and-forth discussion on SOGI, things got especially heated. Most of the candidates condemned this brand of wokeism, none more so vociferously than Sky. And it was Sky who received the loudest and most prolonged standing ovation of the night when he condemned SOGI as being all about “sexualizing and confusing children.”
By way of contrast, Caesar-Chevannes said she supported the idea of “preferred pronouns” and said if elected mayor, Toronto City Hall would only feature gender neutral washrooms. These sentiments were met with a cascade of boos and catcalls.
Of note, one candidate, whose name we did not catch, focused on what seems to be her main policy plank: free rides for all on the Toronto Transit Commission. Alas, given that she arrived an hour late for the debate, this makes us ponder if she chose to take a TTC “Red Rocket” to get to the venue? Sad.
Post-debate, we interviewed Sky regarding his latest arrest (and incarceration for several hours) by the Toronto Police Service last Monday. Sky says this recent interaction with police resulted in his seventy-third charge to date; he notes he has already beaten the previous 72 charges.
So, the question arises: were any of these charges truly warranted in the first place? Or does this ongoing law enforcement harassment of Sky amount to banana republic-style political interference now that he is running for Mayor of Toronto? And if that is indeed the case, who is behind these intimidation tactics – and why?