09.16.2018 06:55 AM

Ten shocking secrets about the John Tory mayoral campaign

I always quote Fight Club to war room staff. You know: “The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club!”

But I’m going to violate that rule.

I’ve been volunteering on John Tory’s campaign since it began, and there’s plenty of shocking backroom stuff. Here goes.

  1. Everyone gets along and is having fun. Shockingly so.
  2. John Tory in private is like he is in public: genial, considerate and shockingly polite. Also: smart.
  3. I have pairs of Converse older than the campaign boss, Luke Robertson. He is a shockingly brilliant young guy, and a campaign manager type in the tradition of giants like John Rae and Don Guy. (The campaign chairs, Vic Gupta and Vince Gasparro, ditto. Smart.)
  4. The campaign spokespeople, like Keerthana Rang, are exceptionally effective and calm. When, say, the Star runs a story that is totally made-up, for instance, Keerthana is shockingly restrained. (I’m not.)
  5. The ones who travel most with the mayor, like legendary former journalist Don Peat, start to become shockingly like the mayor. Don, for instance, now can fire off words like a machine gun and is probably going to get his own radio show.
  6. Nick Kouvalis isn’t just one of the best political pollsters Canada has ever seen, he’s also (shockingly, if you know the back story) one of my best friends. Nick is the only guy I’ve ever met who can oversee a winning campaign while mowing a lawn somewhere in Windsor. Smoking.
  7. Andrew Tumilty is a Daisy alumnus who has become one of the best war room guys around. Shockingly, Andrew can do this while taking his kids to the zoo (again) and being the happy warrior (always).
  8. The folks running the elected person’s office while the campaign is underway – like Chris Eby – have a job that is shockingly difficult. That’s especially the case when you have another level government tossing policy grenades everywhere, all the time. Eby catches them and throws them back.
  9. Some of the many brilliant women whom John Tory relies upon for their judgment – Courtney Glen, Amanda Galbraith – have exceptional judgment. They are shockingly smart. They should run everything.
  10. I have been welcomed with open arms – despite having last time worked for a lousy, terrible candidate who stabbed me in the back to save her own skin. It has been, dare I say, a shockingly good time.

But it ain’t over yet. More than a month to go!



  1. Matt says:

    1. Everyone gets along and is having fun. Shockingly so.

    Kind of easy to have fun and get along when your candidate doesn’t have a single serious contender chasing him, no?

  2. Robert White says:

    I’ve tried to work for numerous political candidates over the years and I even practically begged the PC Party of Ontario to give me a job as a tactician in their War Room pre-Ford era.
    After many years of attempting to help candidates in the PC Party I have given up entirely. When I joined the Liberal Party of Ontario I sent them my CV and asked to be considered for their War Room to no avail.

    This forum/website is as close to a War Room as I will ever get unfortunately. In brief, it’s always informative to read the experiences you have had, Warren. Learning via experience is not as easy as it looks.

    Tory sounds like a nice guy 24/7 but I have always thought that he wanted the Queen’s Park helm instead of the Hog Town helm.


  3. Allan Hayward says:

    I am no longer astute enough to know what the purpose of this interesting post is, but it does sound like the Mayor might be in trouble.

  4. Lucy M. says:

    I wish you and him success!

    10 August 2015, John Tory tweets: “@rooshv and his hate speech have no place in our city and should have no platform here either.” Roosh V, aka Daryush Valizadeh, is the notorious misogynist who advocates for making rape legal in private homes and offers techniques to seduce vulnerable women. The point is: John Tory is a gentleman with his eyes open and actively works to protect women and all citizens of Toronto from harm.

    As Roosh V, not everyone likes John Tory. Olivia Chow is backing Jennifer Keesmaat. March 2018, Keesmaat became the CEO of an enterprise to create 50,000 units of affordable rental housing in Toronto and Vancouver. Five months later Keesmaat abandoned the Creative Housing Society (CHS) to run for Toronto mayor leaving the developers high and dry. Jennifer Keesmaat is an opportunist who doesn’t finish what she commits to.

    For a time, Keesmaat floated the idea of Toronto becoming sovereign – “Now I have had a chance to sleep on it. Secession. Why should a city of 2.8 million not have self governance?” Once the largest city in G7 Canada, Toronto would join the ranks of Albania and Lithuania. As is typical of her opportunism and dithering, Keesmaat has walked back secession. One feels Olivia Chow, Jennifer Keesmaat and the rest want Toronto as their personal fiefdom and will use any means to get it. Rather Machiavellian.

    In short, only an insane person would vote for Jennifer Keesmaat.

  5. Mezba says:

    Two questions (and I am most likely to vote for him).

    1. What would you say is John Tory’s biggest achievement?

    2. Where is Smart Track?

  6. James Smith says:

    I suspect that the present premier of Ontario may be driving more “folks” to abandon Do nuth’n or do little John’s campaign. Likely not enough to tip the balance but enough to merit a bit of a wobble. Doing nuth’n seems to be a good way to get reelected.

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