Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday October 1, 2022
Hamilton mayoral candidates Horwath, Loomis trade barbs on debate stage
With less than a month before Hamilton chooses its next mayor, two main contenders have slugged it out on the debate stage while coronavirus sidelined a third.
Candidates Andrea Horwath and Keanin Loomis traded blows during a 90-minute televised debate, presented by Cable 14 and The Spectator, at the Westdale theatre Tuesday night ahead of the Oct. 24 election.
With rival Bob Bratina at home with COVID-19, the two hopefuls trumpeted their leadership qualities and challenged each other’s ability to lead the city.
Horwath aimed to burnish her image as a lifelong hometown fighter and a seasoned political veteran with knowledge of the inner workings of government.
“I really do have a handle on what this city’s all about and I really do believe that we have our best days ahead of us as a city,” the former Ontario NDP leader said in her opening pitch.
Loomis, meanwhile, drew on his business acumen, noting after 13 years in Hamilton, he’d stepped down from his post as local chamber of commerce leader in January to spark change.
Hamilton has progressed in recent years, but most of those strides have been “in spite of our leadership at city hall” and electing more “career politicians” isn’t the answer, he said.
“More of the same will only lead to more of the same and we cannot afford that. Their partisan baggage will only hold us back.”
Bratina, Horwath and Loomis are all running with platforms that promise change with Fred Eisenberger, a three-time mayor, exiting local politics at the end of this term.
Horwath, 59, and Loomis, 47, are relatively like-minded on a number of big-ticket items, including their enthusiasm for Hamilton’s future LRT line.
Both also agree with council’s decision to hold Hamilton’s urban boundary firm — in spite of pushback from Queen’s Park — to avoid sprawl into outlying farmland.
They thread the needle on police budgets, dismissing advocacy to cut budgets, but vouching for more resources of social and health services to aid on crisis calls.
On the same topic, Bratina, a 78-year-old former Liberal MP and mayor, hammered home his support for beefing up the police in a recorded Zoom call submitted to Cable 14.
“Our streets are unsafe due to violent crime and reckless driving and women are nervous about going out at night,” he said.
Horwath, who entered political life as a city councillor before becoming MPP and then Opposition leader, assured viewers her adversarial relationship with Premier Doug Ford wouldn’t hinder Hamilton’s chances of landing provincial funding.
“Absolutely not,” she said, adding Ford doesn’t bear a grudge over her party role in the Ontario legislature and, in fact, “sent a very positive, affirming note” after she announced her candidacy.
Loomis said the premier would take his calls, but not Horwath’s, arguing “there’s no expectation that they will be able to work together in the future.”
But Horwath, calling her rival’s take “really naive,” likened dust-ups in the legislature to pickup hockey games between “buddies” who later go for beers.
Loomis, focusing on his opponent’s erstwhile job as Hamilton Centre MPP, contended constituents who helped re-elect her in the June provincial vote were “upset” over her resignation to run municipally and had a “valid perspective.”
“My question is have you considered how this would cause people to lose trust with you?”
That’s a “gotcha type of politics” that resembles “U.S.-style” electioneering, responded Horwath, who asked whether Loomis, a lawyer who moved to Hamilton from the United States, planned to keep his American citizenship.
“OK, you seem pretty adept at U.S. politics yourself,” he fired back, before asking her to address “a lot of talk” of her “running for mayor as you were running for premier.” (The Hamilton Spectator)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro …