Chow strategist under fire for suggesting Tory's transit plan is racist
Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014 7:29PM EDT
One of mayoral hopeful Olivia Chow's volunteers has come under fire for suggesting that rival John Tory's transit plan was "segregationist."
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, veteran political consultant and campaign strategist Warren Kinsella noted that the former Ontario Conservative leader's Smart Track plan skips over the Rexdale and Jane-and-Finch neighbourhoods.
"Is John Tory's Smart Track, you know, Segregationist Track?" Kinsella wrote in a tweet.
Another tweet showed an image of John Tory standing in front of a map with the Toronto areas crossed out. A speech bubble coming out of Tory's mouth says: "You will note we were careful to exclude Jane/Finch & Rexdale from Smart Track."
The tweets have since been deleted, but they did not go unnoticed.
During a campaign event Wednesday morning, Chow distanced herself from the tweets, saying Kinsella was just one of "thousands of volunteers" and that his comments do not reflect her campaign's position.
"I do not believe Mr. Tory discriminates. My campaign did not say that," she said.
Tory reacted to the tweets, saying that they were "completely unacceptable." He was backed by Hall of Fame boxer Charles "Spider" Jones, who called the tweet an example of dirty politics.
"If John Tory's a racist, then I’m the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan."
Tory also called out Chow for her response to the Kinsella's tweets.
"When given the chance to take accountability for this, to accept responsibility for this, Olivia Chow said, 'Well this is just one of my thousands of volunteers,' as if the man in question wandered into her office to put a few stamps on envelopes," he said.
Kinsella has since seemingly retracted his statement, offering a backhanded apology to Tory on his blog posted Wednesday morning.
In the post, titled "Dear John Tory," Kinsella tells the mayoral candidate that: "Apparently you are getting ready to say you are deeply offended by a tweet I made yesterday. I can tell this, because your campaign staff have (a) noticed 24 hours later and (b) are busily promoting on Twitter the very thing you intend to say offends you."
He continues saying that he would like to "unreservedly and genuinely express apologies for hurting (Tory's) feelings….I've deleted the tweet to make that crystal clear."
Kinsella ends the blog post by reviving an old scandal, asking Tory about an attack ad against Jean Chretien in 1993, when he was the campaign directory for the Progressive Conservatives.
"Since you are so preoccupied with expressions of regret…whether you will now finally apologize for mocking the disability of my former boss, Jean Chretien."
Tory said he apologized, saying that "everyone learns lessons from these things and that includes me. I would hope Miss Chow might take some lessons and accept responsibility and show real leadership."
With a report from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson