No One Gets Out Alive

I begin this already doubting its relevance to the wider general public. Which may ultimately be the point of it, I guess. doubtAlthough, why bother then, you could ask.


Earlier this week a whole lot of dust was kicked up when noted political thingie and Olivia Chow campaign volunteer whatsit, Warren Kinsella, referred to mayoral rival John Tory’s Smart Track transit plan as ‘Segregationist Track’ in a tweet. Outrage ensued. How Dare Hes abounded. Demands for an apology were issued.

The offending tweet was deleted. Kinsella apologized, put up a Gone Fishin’ sign, and went silent. The Chow team put some distance between itself and Kinsella, the volunteer. New news broke. People moved on. The earth kept spinning.

Honestly. Did you hear about any of this?gonefishing

If not, maybe the actual intent of the tweet is still at work.

During the initial fury, amidst the calls of misappropriation of the word and the accusations of ugly intimations of racism contained in the tweet aimed at John Tory, Siri Agrell, a communications strategist, consultant and a David Soknacki (another mayoral candidate) fan, dropped this into the debate:

“If intent is to plant a counter-narrative that Tory is racist, is getting everyone in the media to report tweet really a strategic stumble?”


Essentially, have someone who gives you plausible deniability take the hit for a contentious public statement and when the heat cools, the heat always cools especially in a 10 month long election campaign, what’s left behind, the residue if you will, is the question of why anyone would want to make you think John Tory is a racist.daffyduck

Arguably, Kinsella’s choice of words was inappropriate. Arguably, he should’ve apologized quicker and louder. Pull the pin. Detonate the grenade. Brush the smoke smudge from your face. Ooops. Sorry. Step back from the damage.


A couple days on now and all that really lingers, if anything is lingering from the incident at all, is that question. Why would anyone suggest that John Tory is a racist? ‘Segregationist Track’? What’s that even mean?

And then the explanation.

Take a look at Tory’s Smart Track map. That dark blue void of nothingness, up in the left hand corner, where a bright red line should be, representing the Finch West LRT and new rapid transit options for the residents of northwestern Toronto. A part of the city home to many of the city’s non-John Tory phenotypes, let’s say. New Canadians hailing from non-white countries around the globe. People representing places that give us bragging rights to our official municipal motto, Diversity, Our Strength.

How come John Tory isn’t prioritizing their transit needs? Why is he ignoring a fully funded by the province piece of vital transit infrastructure in their neighbourhoods? Does John Tory not care about visible minorities?

Don’t be ridiculous. I mean, seriously. Just stop… being ridiculous. John Tory isn’t a racist. Some of his best—Don’t be ridiculous.

OK, fine. Then why has John Tory’s Smart Track plan wiped the Finch West LRT off the transit map? Can he explain that for us?

There you have it. This thing that began as a question of Olivia Chow’s character judgement about those who are working on her campaign, even peripherally, becomes more a question of John Tory’s priorities and who he’s actually looking out for. Who exactly is part of John Tory’s vision of the city?

And those of us who like watching the insider baseball nod our heads, struck by the possible cleverness of the strategy. outragedHuh, we say. Well, let’s see how this all plays out. This is why these people get paid the big bucks, I guess. They know how to play the game.

Of course, we are in the minority, we close observers of the game. Quite possibly the far bigger audience, the general electorate out there who will ultimately determine the outcome, won’t see it that way. They won’t appreciate the nuance of the tactics like we do. Floating the John Tory is a racist balloon might be seen as nothing more than the worst kind of mudslinging. Everything they fucking hate about politics.

Or claim they hate, anyway. Going negative has a proven track record, going negative practitioners will claim. Hell, Rob Ford’s entire existence is built on a negative platform, a campaign of hate and hurled baseless accusations of corruption and incompetence.

People might not like it but they seem to take the bait an awful lot. At least, the people who continue to participate and come out to vote even if they’re not happy or enthused about doing so. The others? The growing number of people who’ve just tuned out and turned off? smotheredWhy bother voting? It only encourages them.

They’re the casualties of the war rooms. Democracy is dead to them. They’ve walked away and not looked back.

So, I guess the bigger question is, is it worth it? Is the shot at elected office worth the long term harm inflicted on democracy? We pay very smart people enormous amounts of money for the benefit of candidates, and at the expense of the general voting public. Is that a sustainable democratic model?

I don’t ask this rhetorically. I have no answer to it. I’m just a concerned citizen.

discontentedly submitted by Cityslikr

16 Responses to No One Gets Out Alive

  1. Jim Rootham says:

    I think a similar dynamic occurs when campaigns use canvassers to just identify voters and not spend time with them.

  2. Simon Says says:

    Except Warren Kinsella has deleted all of the blog posts showing his support for Olivia Chow and his work with the campaign.

    WK always states, “the internet never forgets”. All his posts are cached by Google, and the WayBack Machine.

  3. […] Sent to me this morn, and now I send it to you. Apologies for the length, but the erroneous Globe report has me wanting to ensure some of you read it. Full post here. […]

  4. Simon Says says:

    No body is looking at the SmartTrack map, but looking at the Chow Campaign and how someone from the War Room is “just a volunteer” and subsequent deletion of posts from Mr. Kinsella’s blog.

    So the spot light is not on the transit plan but on the stumble as the media is not questioning the transit plan but Mr Kinsella’s role in the campaign.

  5. Simon Says says:

    PS: Revisionist history of Warren Kinsella’s blog can be found here – to compare with the current blog content.

    Oh, the “page not found”…

  6. Bocanut says:

    Kinsella isued 2 apologies 4 hours apart.
    First one was not an apology but a sleazy reference to somethimg that happened decades ago.
    Apology #2 sounded like it was forced upon Kinsella by the Chow campaign team.
    Kinsella ,still on vacation with family then wipes all reference to Chow from his blog site and claims it is “site maintenance”.Then he refuses to answer questions because he’s on vacation.His cp

    • TangJuliette says:

      A “climb-down” by any other name is still a “climb down.” Couldn’t happen to a more deserving fellow.

      About this alleged sacrosanct “vacation with family” thing? Today’s pose is that poor set-upon WK, apparently “hung by his tongue,” is presently “too busy having fun to respond to comments.

      This is nothing more than just another “climb down” from this now beleaguered and buffaloed wiseacre. Who hasn’t, over the past years been thrilled by Warren’s family “vacation times” blog posts.

      These postings of “various sorties for family vacation times,” came replete with tales of their related adventures, sagacious revelations and insightful epiphanies.

      They also bore fun anecdotes, with frequent accounts of the brilliant and incisive social/political commentary from ‘son one,’ ‘son two,’ ‘son three,’ and ‘sons eight-nine-ten – ?” ad infinitum, plus growing awarenesses from his college-bound, First Nations daughter, and even brilliant words of vacation time wisdom from his gun-toting, latest Significant Other.

      Most incidents recounted were excerpts from these many “family vacation times.” Tales and fables often came with selfies and other photo arrays.

      It is sad and strange that *Now,* he just can’t seem to be able to tear himself away from this sacred time. Another *Major* “climb down, for sure!.

      O, how this self-declared ‘mighty’ one has fallen.

      Amen to dat!


  7. Simon Says says:

    WK hasn’t done a very good job “covering his tracks”. Lots of errant posts on his FB and Youtube pages that are links back to now non-existing posts.

  8. GW says:

    For those still puzzled at the remaining support that Rob Ford is clinging to in the inner suburbs, I’d point out how easily one could view the Tory-Chow battle as a vicious fight between elites, between competing sets of insiders, with Tory representing the financial elites of the city and Chow the cultural elites. Bay Street versus the Annex, if you will.

    Despite the undeniable physical resemblance to Chris Farley, Rob Ford’s true comedic antecedent isn’t Tommy Boy, but rather the nouveau riche party animals Rodney Dangerfield made a career out of playing. “The snobs versus the slobs.” That’s his shtick. He hasn’t got a hope of winning at this point, but his lingering appeal is still pretty easy to understand, although it’s not quite so simple as Cityslikr is suggesting above.

    • Simon Says says:

      Warren Kinsella is also a sore loser. Posted links to his deleted blog posts and took offence. Not very thick skinned for someone in politics.

  9. My Name is Andy says:

    WK’s antics over shadowed Olivia Chow’s transit plan announcement. OC had a horrible press conference. She was unprepared, had horrible delivery and wasn’t convincing saying WK was “just a volunteer”.

  10. RogerB says:

    As mentioned ‘segregationist track’ is not a particularly apt descriptor, and the word is usually associated with race rather than class issues.
    One could also argue UPX, and the entire GO system which go through, but serve poorly (if at all) poor areas along the route, are even more exclusionary.

    That said, the proposed ST line spends a great deal of trouble tunnelling under Mount Dennis, to avoid using an available rail corridor, in order to head under wealthy low density Etobicoke.
    My guess is the billions needed for this unworkable detour are about getting targeted Etobicoke votes, not race, although campaigns assess multiple factors.

    Transit Platform
    Tory has described adding new buses & streetcars to address overcrowding as unaffordable, but has cash for express lines to chosen communities like Liberty Village, which also gets a SmartTrack stop. The DRL to Flemington and Thorncliffe Park is replaced by SmartTrack to Unionville and a Mississauga office park. The Sheppard LRT to Malvern, and the Finch LRT are no longer a priority, but the 3 stop subway ext. to Scarborough TC McCowan is.

    My biggest problem with Tory’s transit platform is that the transit proposals consistently fail the ‘biggest bang for the buck test’, but I think it is also worth highlighting that poorer areas would be particularly hard hit.
    Perhaps instead of an awkward tweet, he should have explained in his Sun column, if the pro-Tory paper would publish it.

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