A chaotic scene broke out during Monday evening’s Toronto mayoral debate at the Daily Bread Food Bank when a man rushed the stage in a violent encounter that briefly derailed the event.
Candidates Ana Bailao, Brad Bradford, Olivia Chow, Mitzie Hunter, and Josh Matlow squared off (former police chief Mark Saunders declined to participate) in a heated but orderly debate, that is, until a man in the audience stormed the stage and began screaming into one of the microphones.
Candidate Mitzie Hunter was addressing the crowd when the unsanctioned speaker — purported to be perennial candidate Kevin Clarke — rushed the stage in an apparent attempt to have his platform heard by the masses.
Man crashes stage at @DailyBreadTO mayoral debate. #cdnpoli #Toronto #topoli pic.twitter.com/Lkaw4b1fZl
— Caryma Sa’d – Lawyer + Political Satirist (@CarymaRules) May 16, 2023
A pair of security guards attempted to pull Clarke from the stage, but he resisted, screaming in protest the entire way.
The scuffle disappears behind the curtain of the debate stage as Clarke continues to resist his removal vocally, but after a few seconds obscured from view, the rig supporting the stage curtain is pulled over in an off-screen boilover. In the moments after the literal stage-crashing, Bradford and Matlow are seen helping to prop the stage backdrop back into place.
Clarke was reportedly removed from the scene by police.
Kevin Clarke is just one of the 102 candidates who have thrown their hats in the ring in Toronto’s upcoming June 26 mayoral by-election, a job he has been seeking since the early 2000s.
Clarke’s political career, to date, has been overwhelmingly unsuccessful. The founder and former leader of the now-defunct People’s Political Party, Clarke has sought political positions since the early 1990s to no avail.
Most recently, Clarke ran in the 2022 mayoral election, garnering just 0.79 per cent of votes and placing a distant ninth place in the final tally.
Clarke officially entered the 2023 mayoral by-election on April 25.