Top mayoral candidates set to meet in debate on CTV News at Six

The three leading contenders for mayor of Ottawa will face off in a televised debate on CTV News Ottawa this evening, with 11 days left in the municipal election campaign.

Bob Chiarelli, Catherine McKenney and Mark Sutcliffe are scheduled to participate in the mayoral debate during a special broadcast of CTV News at Six. CTV News Ottawa anchors Graham Richardson and Patricia Boal will moderate the debate.

You can catch the mayoral debate at 6 p.m. on CTV News at Six, Newstalk 580 CFRA and on 

A Nanos Research poll for CTV News Ottawa showed McKenney has a five-point lead over Sutcliffe.  Twenty-nine per cent of respondents said they would vote for McKenney, compared to 24 per cent for Sutcliffe and nine per cent for Chiarelli. The poll showed 35 per cent of respondents were undecided.

“This is going to be like ‘Political Survivor Island’; if someone makes a mistake, they’re going to be voted out of the race,” Nik Nanos of Nanos Research said during CTV News at Six on Wednesday.

“Expect the two frontrunners; it’s going to be interesting to see how they cope with the pressure because it’s going to be a pressure cooker for both of them. Neither are going to want to make a mistake, and both of them are going to try to knock the other person off balance. It’s going to be critical for both of the campaigns.”

The debate comes ahead of the final Advance Voting Day on Friday and Voting Day on Oct. 24.

Nanos said the debate is happening at a critical time for the campaigns.

“If someone makes a mistake now, there’s not a lot of runway to fix a mistake which is why the timing of this debate is actually critical for the outcome of this mayoral election,” Nanos said.

Respondents to the Nanos Research poll listed improving OC Transpo reliability as the most important priority for the new mayor, followed by managing the cost of living and fixing roads.  Experience in municipal politics, spending more money on policing and more bike lanes ranked as the least important priorities for voters.

CTV News at Five with Matt Skube will have pre-debate coverage ahead of the debate. will also broadcast a special post-debate show analyzing what the candidates said during the debate at 7 p.m., with guests Kristy Cameron of Newstalk 580 CFRA and Algonquin College professor and municipal affairs commentator Jon Willing.

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