By Anastasia Blosser
Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) hosted a mayoral by-election debate at the Ted Rogers School of Management building alongside United Way Greater Toronto and the Toronto Star on Wednesday evening.
As determined by the Toronto Star through an average of polls, Ana Bailão, Brad Bradford, Olivia Chow, Mitzie Hunter, Josh Matlow and Mark Saunders were invited to participate as the leading six candidates.
The debate was moderated by the Toronto Star’s city columnist Edward Keenan and focused on each candidate’s plans to tackle public safety and the cost of living in Toronto.
TMU president Mohamed Lachemi emphasized the need for solutions that shape Toronto as a vibrant city in his opening comments. “That is how we can ensure that students from around the world will continue to choose this city for their post-secondary education,” he said.
Lachemi also highlighted students’ need for reliable transportation and affordable housing, saying that “university students are the group most affected by this issue.”
As previously reported by The Eye, TMU students have expressed their struggle to find affordable housing near campus.
In August 2022, the university cancelled its plan to build residence spaces that would provide housing for 570 additional students. TMU cited “rising costs of material, labour and inflation” as contributing factors in the decision.
In a pre-recorded video segment shown at the debate, Cody Anthony, the founder of Ted Rogers Indigenous in Business, said Toronto is the sixth most expensive city in the world according to a TMU report.
The six mayoral candidates shared their solutions to Toronto’s affordability crisis, often suggesting to streamline the construction process and increase the number of rental properties.
Hunter, a member of the provincial parliament, proposed designated student housing zones around campuses. “Under my plan…students will be able to afford to pay their rent and be able to buy food at the same time,” she said.
As previously reported by The Eye, many TMU students said they didn’t feel inclined to participate in the last municipal election.
Election day is on June 26. More information on eligible voters and voting methods is available on the City of Toronto website.
A full broadcast of the debate was posted online by CP24.
With files from Daysha Loppie