Watch above: Toronto’s mayoral campaign descending into “dirty” politics. Mark McAllister reports.
TORONTO – John Tory condemned Olivia Chow for allegedly sidestepping comments from Warren Kinsella that Tory’s transit plan was “segregationist.”
“She refused this morning, when given several opportunities to do so, to take any real responsibility for this and just kind of sluffed him off as another volunteer among thousands, she implied she’d hardly recognize him if she went into the office and I think this is ridiculous,” Tory told reporters Wednesday.
Warren Kinsella, a Toronto-based lawyer and political consultant for Chow’s campaign, called Tory’s SmartTrack rail line proposal a “segregationist track” for excluding the neighbourhoods of Rexdale and Jane/Finch.
Kinsella has since deleted the comment, initially posted Tuesday morning, and issued an apology titled “Dear John Tory” on his website Wednesday.
“I unreservedly and genuinely express apologies for hurting your feelings,” he wrote. “And I’ve deleted the tweet to make that crystal clear.”
“It is fair, however, to criticize your transit plan. It is also fair to ask whether your plan considers some parts of the city more equal than others.”
WATCH: John Tory disappointed in Olivia Chow’s handling of Kinsella remarks
Kinsella later sent Tory an email apologizing for the remark, posting a screenshot of it on Twitter.
Following an announcement on transit at her campaign headquarters, Chow told reporters Wednesday that Kinsella is a volunteer and did not speak on behalf of the campaign.
“I’m glad that Mr. Kinsella apologized and retracted his statement,” she said.
WATCH: Olivia Chow tries to distance herself from Warren Kinsella’s comments calling him a “volunteer” who doesn’t speak for the campaign
She also characterized Kinsella as a campaign volunteer though she employs his consulting group.
Chow also said she had not yet spoken to Kinsella on the matter.
Tory’s campaign team responded to Chow’s comments by unleashing a flurry of tweets suggesting Kinsella has spoken on behalf of the campaign in the past and is being paid for his services.
Meanwhile, radio host Spider Jones responded on Twitter by saying “race-baiting is no way to campaign. @oliviachow can do better.”