Chow's campaign volunteer under fire for 'segregationist track' comment
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:03AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 20, 2014 5:01PM EDT
Warren Kinsella, a veteran political consultant and campaign volunteer for mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, has issued an apology to John Tory for calling his SmartTrack plan a “segregationist track.”
On Tuesday, Kinsella sent out a tweet criticizing Tory’s SmartTrack plan for excluding stops in the neighbourhoods of Rexdale and Jane and Finch.
The tweet has since been deleted and on his website, Kinsella posted a written apology to Chow's mayoral rival Wednesday morning.
“I unreservedly and genuinely express apologies for hurting your feelings. I don’t think you are George Wallace. And I’ve deleted the tweet to make that crystal clear,” Kinsella wrote.
Kinsella, however, went on to defend his criticism of Tory’s transit plan, adding that he believes it is fair to ask whether Tory’s plan considers some parts of the city “more equal” than others.
Kinsella concluded the statement by accusing Tory of mocking former Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
In response to the comments, John Tory’s team demanded Olivia Chow take responsibility for the conduct of Kinsella, who they called her “war room director.”
“Olivia Chow has to answer for this. Does she think calling SmartTrack "segregationist track" is acceptable,” Tory’s campaign crew said in an emailed statement.
During a news conference at Chow’s campaign headquarters Wednesday morning, Chow addressed Kinsella’s controversial comments.
"Mr. Kinsella is a volunteer. I have thousands of volunteers," Chow told reporters, admitting that she had previously employed someone from Kinsella's company to do media monitoring.
“I do not believe Mr. Tory discriminates. My campaign did not say that.”
Chow said she has not spoken to Kinsella about his tweet but said she is glad that he retracted his comments and apologized.
Chow's campaign manager Jamey Heath said that it is, however, true that Tory's plan excludes parts of the city.
"He will build fewer stops in Scarborough, he is opposed to the Sheppard East LRT, he is not going to build the Finch LRT and he has no plan to invest in buses," Heath said.
"The characterization of that, this campaign did not say and does not support."
Tory not satisfied with Chow's response:
John Tory fired back Wednesday afternoon during a news conference with Spider Jones, who announced he is throwing his support behind Tory.
“When given the chance to take accountability for this, to accept responsibility for this, Olivia Chow said, 'Well this is just one of my thousand volunteers,' as if the man in question wandered into her office to put a few stamps on envelopes," Tory said, adding that Kinsella is a key player on her campaign team.
"I think this is ridiculous."
Jones, a former professional boxer and Canadian broadcaster, was quick to come to Tory's defence, calling Kinsella's comments "dirty politics."
“If John Tory is a racist than I’m the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan,” Jones said.