08.23.2014 08:54 AM

All Fired Up in the Big Smoke: read this

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.

Now, back the beach! (And, into the breach.)

I begin this already doubting its relevance to the wider general public. Which may ultimately be the point of it, I guess. Although, 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?

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.

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?


  1. Arnold Murphy says:

    It does seem when all things are considered that there is either a lack of consideration for minorities in this area or a purposeful agenda. I don’t know if John Tory is racist, it’s not something I can comment on without critical thought. What I can surmise from his plan is that he somehow has come to the conclusion that a transit line into this area of low income transport needy minorities is not a priority. It seems to me, that together with the Cons preference for TFW program and Tory being a good Con that they would want to ensure workers could make it back and forth to work, but as in the Temporary Foreign Worker program, the key is probably keeping them temporarily available and to that end providing a permanent solution would create a problem with the temporary factor. As in the past, they want the labor, but not the worker on a permanent basis. Had we the program some time ago I imagine the Chinese and Irish would still have been allowed to build the railroad that crossed Canada but never would they be allowed to benefit from their labor in the long term by being allowed to stay. It kind of reminds me of the situation in Dubai, where those building the city live in squalor and are shuffled in and out of the country as their usefulness expires. Maybe the plan is that this area of the city is temporary as well. I don’t know if this is racism in action, but I certainly would like to know if the people who build this new transit system, who work temporarily in Canada will ever benefit. I certainly know that their labor benefits Canada, but it seems a lop sided deal at best. Maybe it would be better for them to go home and develop their nations, and let John Tory’s and his likes children build their own infrastructure, if you can get the trust fund kids to lift a shovel.

  2. doconnor says:

    The orginal Transit City plan took priority nieghbourhoods into account. That’s probably one reason why it had a Finch West LRT, but no Finch East LRT, even though both routes are very busy.

    It is odd that his plan diverts along Eglintion towards Mississauga rather then continue to follow the railline north.

    The biggest problems with his plan is that will do little to divert riders from the overloaded Yonge line and Union station doesn’t have enough capacity to handle expected growth in GO ridership, never mind adding this on.

  3. The anonymous “cityslikr,” who wrote this post, kinda smells like a sock puppet.

  4. Houland Wolfe says:

    It’s a sleeper issue that will wake up in the Fall to become Tory’s nightmare. If it takes you three hours to get to a job, you’ve been excluded from a share of economic opportunities. Excluding minority neighbourhoods from transit improvements is a strategic error. Public funding for private schools anyone?

  5. Simon Says says:

    I’m a
    Neo- Naxi piece of shit

    I’m at


  6. Derek Pearce says:

    Good points all. It may have seemed indelicate in the way you hastily first tweeted about it. But, when you consider that the prosperity map of Toronto basically looks like an upside-down T, better transit options in the northeast and northwest of the city must be part of the solution to lowering crime and making the pie bigger for all.

  7. Doug Ragan says:

    People on the proverbial left seem to often worry about being “delicate” so as to not offend those in the middle. The facts are there. Call it what it is. Loudly.

    • Other Hockey Dad says:

      Garbage. People on the left are always the crazies invading speeches and shouting down everyone they don’t agree with. Conservatives don’t do that. The only thing “delicate” about progressives is your delicate little ears that can’t tolerate a different viewpoint, and doing every thing you can to make sure the middle or undecideds don’t even hear the opposing viewpoint. The way of progressives is – “if we like it, force everyone to do it; if we don’t like it ban it for everyone, no one gets to choose or think for themselves”. Hardly a delicate, tolerant approach.

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