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Why did the chicken cross the road? Maybe because he was paid to make fun of Rob Ford

Fun and fowl at city hall (Image: Marcus Gee)

The race for the mayor’s chair is still a five-person (or six-person, if you count ghost candidate John Tory) affair. Rob Ford has refused George Smitherman’s challenge to have a one-on-one debate on CFRB 1010 and Smitherman has reacted with all the grace and dignity we’ve come to expect from this election so far: he allegedly hired some guy in a chicken suit to make fun of Ford at a Smitherman press conference. The Toronto Sun has the story:

To underline the point, a man in a chicken suit with a Rob Ford For Mayor button and sign saying “afraid to debate” cavorted behind Smitherman’s campaign manager Bruce Davis as he spoke with reporters Wednesday afternoon.

“I think Rob Ford is a chicken, how does that sound?” Davis said, disavowing any direct knowledge of who was in the suit. “Rob Ford can and should debate and he’s a chicken so I suspect that’s why the chicken is there.”

The man in the chicken suit declined to identify himself.

There’s of course a long, proud history of cartoonish animals in elections: Warren Kinsella mocked Stockwell Day about his belief in creationism by waving a stuffed Barney doll and saying “The Flintstones was not a documentary.” And in Nevada, they recently banned chicken suits near polling stations because so many had been seen pecking at the ego of the Republican candidate Sue Lowden, who had advised voters to pay for health care with whatever they had handy—including chickens. For good measure, Smitherman himself mocked Ford saying “it’s disappointing that he has to send out his big brother.” This can only mean one thing—the city is about 40 days and nights away from the first Toronto Mayoral “yo momma” debate. Frankly, it’d be a nudge toward decorum. • Ford declines radio debate [Toronto Sun] • Ford rules out Smitherman debate – for now [Globe and Mail] • In his own words: The chicken scrum [Globe and Mail] • Ford says no to debate, so Smitherman camp cries fowl [National Post]