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John Tory Plays Twister

Mayoral campaign mocks Chow, manages to draw attention to Tory's own reputation for flip-flopping.

Photo from John Tory Campaign Twitter account

Photo from John Tory Campaign Twitter account.

John Tory wants you to know he’s serious about this city’s transit system. If you’re willing to listen, he’ll happily tell you that we need to move beyond the politics of division and go not left, not right, but forward, toward a congestion-free city. And he will tell you that he’s the only candidate seriously committed to the Downtown Relief Line.

So to prove the seriousness of his commitment and call into question the transit commitment of a certain other mayoral candidate, today John Tory’s campaign team played Twister. Specifically, they played “Twister Chow,” a Twister edition they came up with in order to mock what they see as an inconsistent stance on the DRL from the candidate currently leading in the polls. That Olivia Chow has clarified her position in an op-ed went unmentioned, but perhaps it was hoped the sight of campaign adviser Nick Kouvalis contorting himself on a dotted mat would be enough to distract from that fact.

It was an odd media stunt for a candidate often accused of dithering and flip-flopping himself. Indeed, it was a reminder that Tory referred to the proposed Scarborough subway extension as “barely justifiable” on his radio show a few months ago, but now gives it a full-throated defence on the grounds that the City shouldn’t re-litigate its transit plans. At the same time, Tory has backed off from earlier expressions of support for LRT lines on Finch and Sheppard avenues and now says—in spite of his argument against re-opening the Scarborough debate—that he wants to wait until after the provincial budget is released to have a look at those transit routes.

Tory’s team might have enjoyed twisting (Twister-ing?) about Chow’s approach to the DRL, but Tory himself hasn’t outlined how he proposes the line should be funded. At this point in the campaign, with election day still six months away, it’s perhaps not surprising that most of the top candidates—with the exception of David Soknacki—are still light on policy details. But if Tory wants to prove he is seriously committed to the DRL, a substantive policy statement would be more to the point than a photo-op involving a parody version of “the game that ties you up in knots.”

Since his team’s board-game antics of the morning, Tory has released a statement about the speech Chow delivered today at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. In it, he suggests she would not build the DRL until 2031—in her speech, though, Chow stressed that it would be constructed “as soon as possible.”

Tory promises that he will deliver the DRL now, but he does not say when “now” is or what shape this delivery would take—which suggests he might be more interested in playing political games (or Twister) than in coming up with the solutions he says Toronto needs.


  • hawk777

    Remember when everyone thought Kouvalis was some sort of evil super-genius?

    Knock knock.
    Who’s there?
    Third place.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      Whatever magic Kouvalis brought to the Ford campaign in 2010 he seems to have misplaced now that he’s working for Tory. It’s a long race thpugh. maybe he’ll find it.

      • TheSotSays

        He doesn’t have much to work with.

        It could be worse though. Can you imagine being stuck with trying to get The Iron Chow across the finish line?

        • dsmithhfx

          She’s leading in the polls. That’s why Tory is attacking her with this silly stunt.

          If it’s all he’s got, he’s toast.

        • estta

          Iron Chow is like ‘fetch’ for you. It’s just not going to happen.

          • TheSotSays

            “Fetch,” sie sagen. Bitte denken Sie darüber in Englisch.

            Die Eisen Chow ist fertig.

          • OgtheDim

            Are you going to be around now that we have another tape of your boy doing stuff?

          • TheSotSays

            Of course, I want to show you the video I have of Rubber Jack. You should see the look on his face when that police axe came chopping through the door.

          • dsmithhfx

            Go ahead. Show it.


            Link? Thought not.

          • TheSotSays

            Private – I’m not a politically appointed NDP police chief.

          • dsmithhfx

            “I want to show you the video”


          It’s like to trying to start a car with an empty gas tank. You can try to make it a thing, but in case you haven’t noticed, the mayor just took a leave of absence after cascades of evidence showing him to be an addict snowballing his way to rock bottom. Large parts of that addiction were/are fed on the public’s dime. That’s rather bigger news than a swiftly-regretted and apologized-for meet-and-greet with someone her campaign should really have more thoroughly vetted.

          • TheSotSays

            “It’s like to trying to start a car with an empty gas tank.” ??????

            No Giller prize for you buddy but aside from that I’ve had it with tax plundering and hypocrisy from the Toronto Branch NDP so I’m voting for Rob Ford

          • dsmithhfx

            You seem to be obsessed with the Giller prize, for someone who swings with the illiterate bumpkin crowd. Do your friends even have a clue what you’re talking about? Um, assuming…

  • m_ax

    I’m so disappointed in what we’ve seen from John Tory’s campaign. After listening to him on the radio for a good six months before he declared his candidacy, I thought he make a good mayor. Is he just getting bad advice, or is this what being in politics does to a person?

    I’m not sure how you can come out so strong condemning Olivia Chow on not committing to building the DRL soon enough (whatever that means), while not having articulated a clear plan of your own. I get that it’s a long campaign but none of his criticism of her is valid at this point having not heard a word from him on how he’s going to get this done.

  • OgtheDim

    Tory is getting bad advice here; but I don’t think any of this stuff is getting heard of outside of the #topoli following crowd.

    June is when stuff will start to stick.

    • TheSotSays

      June you say? That should be just about the time we see a few free tuition graduates from the Jack Layton School of Political Activists.

      Do you happen to know if the taxpayers are footing the bill for the use of classroom space or is it being mysteriously funded from elsewhere?

    • torontothegreat

      Every single time Tory has run he’s pulled b/s like this. I fail to see how you can blame someone else, or does that mean that Tory has surrounded himself with people who give him bad advise for the last 30 years?

      Either way, he’s not showing much in terms of leadership, good choices or integrity.

  • Sean_Marshall

    C. Livett’s DRL map got appropriated by Team Tory.

  • OpportKnocks

    I am really puzzled at the politician and campaigner alliances this time around and it is time to engage in my favourite pastime, “Not so Unbelievable Conspiracy Theories”. What if:
    a) Lassinger is in the Chow camp to neutralize/sabotage Kinsella,
    b) Kouvalis is in Tory camp to help ensure Tory shoots himself in both feet,
    so that
    c) Rob Ford wins again!!!

    • OgtheDim

      Lassinger has been a supporter of the left on council since Miller – he was the guru behind Pantalone.

      Kinsella is becoming a caricature of the snide political operative.

      Kouvalis just makes me wonder what the heck is going to happen if Tory wins.


        Anyone on the Pantalone campaign in 2010 certainly was not in it for the glory.

  • torontothegreat

    1. Kouvalis
    2. Remember this? John Tory has shown historically that he’s nothing but a troll. Kouvalis is his perfect teammate in his mind I’m sure.

    • OpportKnocks

      Ahhh good, you found it again, The previous version was marked removed for copyright violation.

    • OgtheDim

      Kinsella’s no shrinking violet. And there are quite a few #topoli attack dogs having fun all day going on about anybody but Chow, or anybody but Tory.

      And, to be a bit more blunt, if its perfectly acceptable to yell at people like TheThotSays for dragging up stuff from the 90′s about Jack Layton, its perfectly acceptable to yell at people like you for dragging up stuff from the 90′s about John Tory.

      Walk the freaking walk.

      Get ticked at Tory for what he’s promising now, if you want. But if you seriously believe anybody in Toronto who is unsure of who to vote for Mayor gives a rats patootie about the Chretien ad, then you better not whine about the “massage parlor” crud from the Fordinistas.

      And, the kicker to this all:
      ALL of this crud from the campaigns is the same MO of the Rob Ford populist yell fest that progressives in this city have been, rightly, upset about since 2010.

      Chow, and Tory, got into this campaign talking about bringing civility to the discussion of who was going to be mayor. And their operatives have spent everyday since being uncivil to each other. Looks like RoFo may lose the mayoral battle. But his tone, the thing many people on here lament the most, is being seen in the Tory and Chow campaigns.

      People want the drama to end.

      Well, the Tory and Chow camps aren’t exactly showing it will.

      • torontothegreat

        What does Jack Layton have to do with John Tory? I’m not “dragging stuff up from the 90′s” about John Tory’s wife. What a stupid comparison.

        if its perfectly acceptable to yell at people like TheThotSays for dragging up stuff from the 90′s about Jack Layton

        It’s not. Considering you’re one of the few people that rants on about SotSays, I don’t see how that’s a valid point either. I don’t, so I don’t understand this point at all. You’re comparing the failures of a CANDIDATE to the failures of a CANDIDATES SPOUSE????? What fn planet do you live on? If you can make that comparison, you’re actually not better than SotSays at all. In fact, you’re using his argument to complain to me about this, then damning him for making the argument????

        And, the kicker to this all:
        ALL of this crud from the campaigns is the same MO of the Rob Ford populist yell fest that progressives in this city have been, rightly, upset about since 2010.

        Next time, before you start typing with your elbows, read the post. I’m pretty sure I covered that with Point #1 (holy dense, batman)

        Tory has shown time and time again that he’s not a leader, not as “polished” as his brand likes to convey and that he’s a political troll. I’m sorry that you’re making connections that aren’t apt or do not exist. Period.

        Chow, and Tory, got into this campaign talking about bringing civility to the discussion

        John Tory is conveying a brand that is historically not at all what he’s like. His past failures and bad choices are EXACTLY relevant points as someone who is seeking to be the next leader of this city. Or is it all in the past and we should all move on?

        You should just calm the F down and “think” before you “type”, kthxbai

        • OgtheDim

          Yelling to describe what people do on the net is poetic license but fair enough on that word. You don’t yell.

          Fordinistas whine about Chow and Layton about stuff they did in the 90′s (e.g. the Co-op housing kerfuffle)

          People , rightly, tell them to talk about something a little more recent then the a couple of decades ago.

          BUT, Tory and the Chretien ad………..that’s fair game?


          I see a huge disconnect here between what the two leading candidates said they would do and what their supporters are actually doing.

          Which will, more then likely, just lead to another demagogue eventually rising up again in 4-8 years.

          And, a warning, the next right wing populist demagogue is unlikely to be as destructively stupid as RoFo.

          • dsmithhfx

            You may be getting overwrought about inflammatory stuff on the internet. It is what it is.

          • OgtheDim

            Maybe……..we’ll see how things are going in August and September when the rubber hits the road.

          • torontothegreat

            I should clarify. I don’t yell on Torontoist (that much, anymore) ;)

      • TheSotSays

        Well now if it’s “perfectly acceptable” for the NDP trolling syndicate to screamingly attack Ford day after day after day on character issues, it seems pretty childish and hypocritical on the part of the NDP trollers to object when it gets thrown back at them.

        And as a matter of personal opinion I find the Layton/Chow observed moral transgressions much more outrageous and unacceptable than anything I’ve seen of Rob Ford.

        But on top of anything else, after doing a lot of homework, I’m happy with the job Ford’s been doing under difficult circumstances. He does not stray from his promised objectives

        • dsmithhfx

          Don’t remember his billion$$$ tax grab promise…


          Do you believe, as Ford did in 2005, that the best place for drug addicts to dry out is in jail?

  • torontothegreat

    The funny thing is that the entire conversation of Chow’s commitment to transit has been misrepresented by Tory since the first time he opened his mouth about it. That and Tory is blustering without a plan of his own, he is starting to remind me of simply the more “polished” Rob Ford.
    He’s also resorted to calling her NDP Candidate Olivia Chow, to which I wish Chow would start calling him Rogers Executive Candidate John Tory.

    • TheSotSays

      “I wish Chow would start calling him Rogers Executive Candidate John Tory.”

      She could really make ground with that. Poor old Ted could only see out of one eye.

    • Ronda Zwierz

      All she has to do is remind people of his history. Tory was Kim Campbell’s campaign manager. He authorized the attack ads that made fun of Chretien’s disability and accent. Shame.

      I would vote for Ford before I would vote for Tory.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    The last few years have shown what little value “committment” to a transit plan means in Toronto, so what’s the point of this?

  • SonuvaScrimbro

    Horse-drawn carriages. Iron sheiks. Twister games. Bobbleheads. So nice to see our leading contenders engaging in sober analyses of the issues of the day.

    On another, slightly less depressing note: Kouvalis, for all his faults, isn’t a complete idiot, and has more of an insight into the Ford campaign’s inner workings than most of the rest of us. So it’s very telling that his main man is targeting Chow with these kinds of stunts.

    • dsmithhfx

      Not sure Horse-drawn Thompson rates as a leading contender. If it gets to that point, we’re all screwed.

      • SonuvaScrimbro

        Yeah, agreed, I was probably stretching the definition of “leading” on that one. “More readily recognizable than the couple of dozen candidates who don’t get media coverage,” perhaps…?

  • TheSotSays

    The Toronto Branch NDP blew their big chance by running The Iron Chow

    She’s a dud candidate. No civic minded ratepayer is going to come out and vote for a tax plundering, NDP double dipper.

  • Ronda Zwierz

    Well I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at Tory using a low technique like this.

    Remember, he was Kim Campbell’s campaign manager and mastermind behind the very first attack ad – the one that poked fun at Chretien’s facial deformity due to Bell’s Palsy and his accent.

    For those who weren’t following politics then, or who don’t remember, enjoy!