Andrea Horwath and Keanin Loomis face off in Hamilton mayoral candidate debates – Hamilton

Two of Hamilton’s best-known mayoral candidates have now had a few opportunities to trade beards, less than a month from the municipal elections.

Andrea Horwath and Keanin Loomis faced off in two debates on Tuesday, the first organized by HamiltoNEXT, a non-partisan group of local business organizations and developers.

Bob Bratina was the third mayoral candidate invited to attend the event, but he was unable to attend due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Addressing a room of about 200 people at Carmen’s Banquet Center, the duo answered questions about job creation, transit and transportation, business expansion and investment in the city. , climate change and the affordability and housing crisis.

“This is a very important election in Hamilton’s history and the city is at a critical time,” Loomis said during his closing remarks.

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« What we need right now is real generational change, and I’m here to tell you the sentiment is pervasive across the city. I’ve knocked on thousands of doors, I’ve been to hundreds of events and I can tell you Hamiltonians want someone for mayor who is all-in on the game, as I have been since January.

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Horwath pointed to her long history in Hamilton as an asset to the city if elected mayor.

« I know this city inside and out, and the passion that I bring every day to every job I’ve ever done comes from this city, » she said.

“It comes from the courage that the people of this city have. This comes from the care that the inhabitants of this city have for each other. It comes from the entrepreneurial spirit and the brilliant minds, the great workers, the fantastic skills that we have in the people of Hamilton, and it comes from the fact that we all know that we can achieve so much more if we work together and thoughtfully. .”

Loomis and Horwath were also the only two candidates in attendance at Cable 14’s televised mayoral debate, which became significantly more heated than the previous event when the candidates had a chance to ask each other questions.

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Loomis blamed Horwath for resigning as leader of the Ontario NDP and MPP for Hamilton Center after the provincial election, while Horwath targeted Loomis’ lack of political experience and time spent living and work in Hamilton.

“As CEO and president of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Loomis had one riding, but there are many, many ridings in Hamilton,” Horwath said.

« It’s dangerous to think that with no experience, with very little time in our city, with really a ‘story of a riding,’ that you can just walk into the mayor’s chair and fix everything. That’s not how it works.

« I was the voice of business in Hamilton, and now I’m running to be the voice of Hamilton, » Loomis replied.

« As a result, I’m listening and growing as a candidate and I think that’s exactly what the people of Hamilton want to see. »

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Loomis argued that Horwath hadn’t focused on Hamilton during his tenure in provincial politics, and Horwath countered by asking why he would be more qualified to be mayor than her based on how long he’s been in the city. city ​​– an issue that Loomis called transplants in Hamilton “disrespectful”.

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« I’m lucky to have been able to move here with my family in 2009, and Hamilton is a city that I quickly fell in love with, and I saw it as a city that could be so much more because it had been so much more too,” he said.

« We need great leadership in this community to live up to the potential we have here. »

Horwath argued that « leadership is not just a label you put on your own chest » and said it requires acknowledging the work that has gone before.

“Most importantly, a leader is someone who doesn’t just talk about change as if it were automatic. A leader has to have the skills, the experience, the ability to make things happen, and I’ve shown time and time again that’s exactly the kind of leader I am.

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More police pledge mayoral candidate Bob Bratina for a safer Hamilton

Bratina was among other mayoral candidates who did not attend the Cable 14 debate but submitted a video message which was played during the broadcast.

« I’m running to stop the takeover of City Hall by the special interest groups who have ruined the progress of our city, who don’t care about your safety and who will continue to waste your money, » he said. he said in the video.

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« The influence of unelected individuals on the previous council has led to the mess we are in now, and we cannot afford to have more of the same. »

Among Bratina’s priorities are hiring more police officers, installing high-end trail lighting in response to recent sexual assaults, and ending homeless encampments by ensuring those who are homeless « have access to a roof over their heads ».

Fellow mayoral candidates Ejaz Butt, Paul Fromm, Solomon Ikhuiwu, Hermiz Ishaya and Michael Pattison also released video messages during the debate, while Jim Davis declined to provide a recorded message.

Hamiltonians head to the polls on October 24.

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