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Mayor Ford drops out of 2 debates this week

Mayor Rob Ford has pulled out of two debates that were planned for this week, making it three he has not attended in less than a month.

Greenwood Communities Association will be holding its debate on Tuesday, while Film Ontario’s debate is on Wednesday.

According to a report in the Toronto Star, Ford’s director of communications, Jeff Silverstein, said “something has come up in his schedule,” but wouldn’t provide further details.

Meantime, candidates vying to become Toronto’s next mayor begin their final push leading up to the Oct. 27 election.

There are 40 public debates left to go until the municipal election. Some of the debates will be televised, while others will be smaller, localized sessions.

Olivia Chow will be making a “significant policy announcement” at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, at her campaign headquarters on Yonge Street near St. Clair Avenue West.

John Tory joined Scarborough-Centre MPP Brad Duguid to discuss transit expansion in Toronto and the Scarborough subway.

Tory, as well as other candidates, are preparing to roll out ad campaigns that they hope will convince undecided voters.

On Monday, Ford kicked its campaign into high gear by signing around 1,000 new bobblehead dolls outside his mother’s home in Etobicoke. The $30 dolls feature the chain of office, and proceeds from the sale went to the Humber River Regional Hospital.

“It’s going to be the biggest election in Toronto’s history. We’re going to have a record turnout,” the mayor said at the event.

“We’re going to get our ground troops out there. They’ve already been out there, but they’re going to come in like an army, and we’re going to cover the city and reach out to the people,” Ford’s campaign manager Doug Ford said.

The latest Forum Research poll shows Tory has a narrow lead over the mayor, with Chow trailing behind in third place.

Map of upcoming mayoral debates: