Mayor Hopefuls Debate over Fighting Child Poverty

All three major candidates in race to become Toronto’s next mayor prepared their speeches and promises to speak about the “epidemic” of child poverty on Thursday. The debate was held at the Church of the Holy Trinity, where Olivia Chow, John Tory and David Soknacki spoke freely on the issue at a forum organized by local advocacy groups.

Each candidate was allowed to speak for three minutes, when all took turns and delivered pre-prepared answers on the topics of affordable housing, adequate child care and jobs. In his remarks, Mr. Tory stressed on getting the support of the provincial and federal governments to reinvest in big cities and boasted about his reputation as a civic leader to bring them onboard. Tory mentioned that “they’ve been withdrawing from this field in recent years and that is unacceptable in a country that has a housing problem, that has 80 per cent of its residents living in cities,” adding that “I will be that advocate to those other governments to get them back into this business and make a real difference.”

Whereas Soknacki vowed to bring other level of governments on board too. He highlighted a recent download from the province of millions in a fund known as “pooling compensation” that the city used for housing. He stressed that “that means that’s money coming out of our collective pockets for those who are most vulnerable for the services that we need.” Soknacki alleged that “we need to stand as council, the mayor needs to go to Queen’s Park, and not be afraid of saying to Queen’s Park that we need that money back.”

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