“As much as Mr. Tory and I disagree on almost every policy, I appreciate what he’s done and his support for the democratic process,” Mr. Goldkind said. “If Doug is going to act this way unelected, how unfortunate the affairs of this city will look if he is elected.”
Doug Ford has said he is prepared to debate John Tory any where, any time. That's all fine, except for the fact that Ford doesn't debate - he takes potshots and pushes out platitudes. Ford shows no in-depth understanding of the issues, nor interest in them beyond how they feed into his soundbites.
Ford's interest isn't discussing issues and presenting visions - it's in tearing people down. He's a bully. Like most people, I'm not over fond of bullies.
It's fitting, then, that Doug has found his foil in Ari Goldkind. Ari, a defense lawyer (and Jewish, too, so you'd think Doug would be friendly with him), is used to standing up against bullies on behalf of those less well-off. He's got a powerful personal story of why he's running for mayor, too.
Ari is an ideal voice to hear from at a debate that focuses on the issues faced specifically by Neighbourhood Improvement Areas - he's studied these issues and debated these issues and brings important ideas to light around them.
At a recent Why Should I Care?, for instance, he dug beneath the headlines around police carding and explained why it's not just the practice, but the whole database of information already collected needs to go.
Given his chosen narrative as being the guy to protect "common folks" from City Hall, you'd think Ford would relish the opportunity to wade in to all the issues and depth Ari will bring to the Inner City Union debate.
Which leaves the question - why did he back out?
Doug Ford doesn't care about the issues or the substance of the debate. What he cares about is taking down rivals to win - and not being taken down himself.
Ford is afraid of having his integrity torn to shreds by Ari in front of a supposedly friendly audience. Ford is afraid of the headlines another encounter with Ari could produce, yes, but he's got to be terrified of having his brand as "fighter for the little guy" exposed for the lie it is.
Rather than engage with an opponent over issues that matter in front of an audience he needs to win, Ford has run away.
Yes, Ford continues to take his pot-shots at Tory and is trying to bait-and-switch the story from being about his weaknesses, but it all comes across as so much posturing in light of how desperate he is to avoid another confrontation with Ari Goldkind.
Tory knows full well that he's going to be square in Goldkind's sights in debates where Ford is absent - but supports his participation in the Inner City Union debate on principle. The narrative here is clear; John Tory has the back of the underdog whereas Doug Ford does not.
Bullies rely on the appearance of being undefeatable to succeed. Doug Ford has been publicly bested by Ari Goldkind and is now clearly running away from him.
We're not going to end up with Doug Ford as mayor, folks - and for that, you can thank Ari Goldkind.