Mayoral candidate John Tory calls on opponent Olivia Chow to own up to racially-charged comments made by a senior political operative.
The man at the centre of the controversy is Warren Kinsella, who assists the Chow campaign as a volunteer strategist, and also serves as president of a consulting company that is on Chow's payroll.
On Tuesday, Kinsella made comments on Twitter that insinuated John Tory's transit plan is essentially racist because it doesn't include expanding rail service to the Jane-and-Finch and Rexdale areas.
Chow and her campaign team dismiss Kinsella as a volunteer and add that he does not speak for their candidate.
"I just call on [Chow] ... to really accept responsibility for comments that are totally unacceptable in the politics of 2014 in Toronto, or in any other time or any other place," Tory says.
Kinsella's controversial tweet had a headline that said "Is John Tory’s Smart Track, you know, Segregationist Track?", and has a meme type photo with a thought bubble over Tory's head which says "You will note we were careful to exclude Jane/Finch and Rexdale from SmartTrack."
The tweet was later removed, and Kinsella posted the following on his own website:
Dear John Tory
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.
As such, 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.
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.
Finally, it is also fair – since you are so preoccupied with expressions of regret, this morning – whether you will now finally apologize for mocking the disability of my former boss, Jean Chretien. Will you finally do that? Will you?
Didn’t think so.
But when asked about the tweet and the resulting fallout, Olivia Chow said Kinsella is only a volunteer and does not represent the views of the campaign team.
However, Newstalk1010 has learned that the company Kinsella is president of, has been hired to do media monitoring for the campaign.
After the press conference, a member of the Chow team said they would be speaking with Kinsella about the tweet.
Kinsella later tweeted the following, while in Boston where he says he's watching a Red Sox game with his kids.