Mississauga mayoral debate: 3 candidates square off

CBC News hosted a live debate with three of the 20 mayoral candidates running to be Mississauga's next mayor. (CBC - image credit)
CBC News hosted a live debate with three of the 20 mayoral candidates running to be Mississauga's next mayor. (CBC - image credit)

Hello everyone and welcome to CBC's Mississauga mayoral election debate — it's a beautiful sunny evening out here and we're excited to bring you this live event.

The debating candidates are: Dipika Damerla, Stephen Dasko and Alvin Tedjo. All three are current city councillors looking to take over the city's top job after the departure of Bonnie Crombie — now leader of the Ontario Liberals.

And we're off, with CBC's David Common moderating:

Well, we had a civil debate going, and then the topic of bike lanes came up.

Dipika Damerla, during an answer on housing, reiterated her call to scrap the Bloor Street redesign, which will remove a lane of traffic to add bike lanes to part of the street.

"You can't move on Bloor Street without cars," she said.

"It makes no sense."

Tedjo disagreed, saying city council has approved the plan and if the city doesn't build lanes then it's never going to get anyone out of their cars. "My wife will never go cycling with me," Tedjo said.

Dasko said he'd review the plan, but criticized Damerla for trying to reverse it, taking this swipe at her: "I don't think she has a friend on council right now."

A post-drama pick-me-up

Whew, hard to keep up but we've talked polarization, climate change and supporting seniors — we'll do our best to catch up and we'll also have video clips in this story once the livestream is done.

But first, a round of favourites:

  • Apparently all the candidates agree their favourite mall is Square One.

  • But when it comes to GO Stations they're representing their wards: Tedjo picks Clarkson, Damerla picks Cooksville and Dasko is down with Port Credit.

  • Damerla picks Snug Harbour (the site of her and her husband's first date) for her top restaurant, Dasko can't pick a favourite but apparently keeps a top five, and Tedjo recommends Capra's Kitchen.

Tax talk

The debate opened with a talk about taxes because while politicians can and do promise all sorts of things, what matters most, especially at the municipal level, is how they'll pay for them.

Alvin Tedjo is promising a property tax freeze for the next two years, saying it's "exactly" what Mississauga needs to do right now as people struggle with affordability issues.

Dipika Damerla said it's "responsible," however, to not freeze taxes but hold them at the rate of inflation. She's said she's a "hard no" on new taxes, and claimed rival Carolyn Parrish (who declined to join tonight's debate) is planning to implement a land transfer tax. As a quick fact check, that's not in Parrish's platform, but CBC News will be following up on Damerla's claim.

Stephen Dasko said he's also going to hold property tax increases below the rate of inflation, but that the city wouldn't sacrifice services to do that.

Closing time

Just 21 per cent of Mississauga residents voted in the 2022 municipal election.

We asked each candidate why Mississauga residents should vote for them.

Here's what they said:

Damerla argued this is a close election between her and Parrish, and that she's the real alternative to a candidate not on the stage.

She said she wants to be the mayor of a city where "ordinary people can get ahead."

Tedjo shot back, saying, "People do have a real choice in this election."

His message to the city: "We can have nice things and we should get them."

Dasko, for his part, said this is a consequential vote and the chance to elect a visionary leader. "We have greatness in us," he told Mississauga residents.

We'll keep updating this story, but you can also compare Damerla, Dasko and Tedjo's platforms using this online tool we've built.

Other must-know facts:

  • Election day itself is June 10, and yes, we'll have special coverage that night as well.

You can find more Mississuaga byelection coverage here: