… Although he tried, Syed was not allowed to answer questions from the audience

“Even before the debate got rolling, moderator Mathieu Chantelois called Ford’s absence “disappointing.”

“He’s scared!” someone yelled from the middle of the audience, a standing-room-only crowd numbering around 300…

Himy Syed, a mayoral candidate … took Ford’s vacant chair, joined the two candidates halfway through.

“Although he tried, Syed was not allowed to answer questions from the audience.

“I could have even answered from Ford’s perspective,” he jokingly told Xtra after the debate.”

andrea houstonAndrea Houston | Reporter
XTRA (10/18/2010)

… Rob Ford skips mayoral debate at the 519 Church Street Community Centre

“Two of Toronto’s top three mayoral candidates took questions from the public at the 519 Church St. Community Centre on October 18.

“Issues discussed included funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, support for local business, safe injection sites and bed bugs.

“IN Toronto was there.

“Candidate Rob Ford was not.”

Michael PihachMichael Pihach | Videographer
InTorontoMagTV (10/19/2010)

The 519 is an Agency of the City of Toronto whose mandate includes civic engagement and community development within the downtown and lesbian, gay, bi and trans communities of Toronto.

In 2014, The 519 made a commitment to engage Toronto’s LGBT community in Toronto’s electoral process.

We are working to ensure our communities participate in the October election and to raise awareness of LGBT issues throughout the electoral process through both traditional as well as new and creative methods.

One of the ways we will accomplish this goal is by publishing an accessible and creative ‘zine’ that will bring the policy, personality and message of Mayoral candidates to members of our communities in a fun and interesting way.

We are inviting mayoral candidates to contribute to the zine in one of two ways:

Provide a written response to the question below using fewer than 250 words,


Submit a creative response (drawing, painting, collage, etc.) to the question below using a 5.5”x8.5” piece of paper.

Regardless of the format of your submission, submissions should aim to address the following question:

“What is the most pressing issue for Toronto’s LGBT community today, and how would you address this issue as Mayor?”

Submissions from all candidates will be compiled in a zine alongside submissions from LGBT community members that relate to municipal and electoral issues and information about voting and election process. The publication will be released on Monday, October 2nd. Candidates are encouraged to be creative with your submission as ‘zines’ are often written in a variety of formats, from drawings to handwritten text. The finished ‘zine’ will be distributed both electronically on The 519 website and social media outlets as well as published to distribute by hand.

We Vote - LGBTQ - Zine Submission - HiMY SYeD for Toronto - RESPECT for EVERYBODY

from: Darin Squire (
to: Darin Squire (
date: 28 September 2014 18:29
subject: Re: attendance @ Mayoral debates

Dear Candidate,

I noticed that you did attend the LGBTQ or the Differently-abled mayoral debates. As someone who wants to lead this amazing city, you should be ashamed of yourself for publicly showing that you have no regard for these two groups of people.

Originally, I was unsure of whom to support. By not attending these two debates, you have made it so much easier for me to decide who gets my vote for Mayor of Toronto. And I assure you, It will not be you. I want a mayor who treats all people as equals and your absent at these two events tells me you are not such a person.

Save your excuses on why you were not there. You were invited and chose not to show. Simple as that.

On voting day, I will make sure not to show up in support of you.

Darin Squire
Proud Torontonian