By Behdad Mahichi and Brennan Doherty
When asked how she got on stage, mayoral candidate D!ONNE Renée responded “I just walked up there.”
The Big Transit Mayoral Debate held in the George Vari Engineering Building today saw a moment of heckling and confusion as a rather obscure character sitting next to Olivia Chow finally spoke up and introduced herself — only to be escorted out by security moments later. Renée, a former Ryerson student, claims she was fighting for democracy.
“Once again, Olivia Chow stood by as democracy was being constained and did nothing,” she said. “Here I am as a mayoral candidate, there was another man in the audience who said he was a mayoral candidate, what kind of debate is that with one candidate?”
Scheduling issues were also apparent throughout the day as mayoral candidate John Tory dropped out hours before the debate. David Soknacki, Karen Stintz and Rob Ford were scheduled as well, but dropped out of the race prior to the debate.
Jesse Root, Ryerson Students’ Union vice-president education, said that Tory had also cancelled a scheduled appearance at a mayoral candidate Q-and-A session planned by the RSU for Monday morning.
“Obviously, we’re extremely frustrated, especially given the last-minute nature of the cancellation,” said Root. “We had planned for him to be here and to get a call at two in the afternoon when our debate was scheduled at five saying, ‘there are competing campaign priorities’ when we know he’s heading to a debate as we’re speaking, for 7 p.m. was frustrating, and frankly disrespectful to the work that went into it.”
Root explained that Renée’s request to join the panel was repeatedly rejected, as it was meant to be for leading candidates.
Renée is listed on the 2014 Municipal Election Candidate List, registered as as an official mayoral candidate on Aug. 15.
Call security #ttcdebate
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