This will be the fourth debate the mayor has participated in, but only the second debate in which the most prominent of his mayoral rivals are present. He took two months off to go to a rehabilitation facility in Muskoka while the other candidates met for a debate.
Upon his return from rehab, the mayor admitted to alcohol and substance abuse problems, which he said he has been battling for years prior to becoming mayor. Ford said he smoked crack while in office.
In the first debate, which was before main contenders John Tory and Olivia Chow filed to run for mayor, Ford caused controversy when he announced he would not go to Pride.
In the second debate, a televised affair that saw all five candidates including Tory and Chow talking over each other, Ford's mayoral adversaries did not broach the subject of crack use.
The third debate — minus Chow, who said she had prior commitments and concerns about the fairness of the moderator, conservative lawyer Ralph Lean — was more contentious. Tory referenced the mayor coming late to work and "continuing relationships with convicted criminals and gang types. The various people he has pledged to keep off our streets."
The Canadian Tamil Congress is hosting the debate on Tuesday night, which will be held at Global Kingdom Ministries at 1250 Markham Rd. Five high-profile candidates are taking part, including Ford, Chow and Tory. David Soknacki and Karen Stintz will also participate.
Members of the public are welcome to attend. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the debate will get underway a half-hour later.
Dozens of candidates have registered to take part in the mayoral race. The Oct. 27 election is still more than three months away.