POLITICS

John Tory's Remarks On Gender Pay Gap Spark Controversy

02/03/2014 07:12 EST | Updated 02/03/2014 07:59 EST
CP

Rumoured Toronto mayoral candidate John Tory is fighting back against accusations of sexism after his remarks on the gender pay gap sparked controversy on Monday.

Tory says his words are being spun unfairly to benefit NDP MP Olivia Chow — another rumoured but undeclared mayoral candidate.

Tory, a Newstalk 1010 host and former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, was a guest on Toronto's CP24 Live at Noon with Stephen LeDrew on Monday. Near the end of his segment, the conversation shifted to wage inequality between men and women, a topic he was set to address later on his show.

Tory said "quite a lot of writing" has suggested women make less money because they don't negotiate in the same manner as men and are less likely to ask for raises.

LeDrew pointed out that they have both worked for big law firms and female lawyers are "tough as heck" on salary negotiations.

"I will say to you the number of men who came to negotiate with me when I was running a law firm or a company was much higher than the number of women," Tory said. "The women don't come as often to complain, the men do. My experience is a little different in that I do think more men put a fuss up about their money and that may say a lot about both."

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Tory was president and CEO of Rogers Media before jumping into politics, first in a failed mayoral campaign in 2003 and then later as PC leader.

When LeDrew added that it is "a lot harder to say no to women," Tory responded with "no comment."

To put it kindly, the remarks didn't go over all that well on Twitter.

Lawyer and consultant Warren Kinsella, who is reportedly on Chow's team, was among the first to pounce.

Kinsella wanted Tory to run for mayor in 2010 but has made it abundantly clear on his personal website that he's not a supporter this time.

Tory later told CP24.com that Kinsella was "trying to spin a non-story, trying to help out Olivia Chow."

Tory said he was simply referencing other articles which suggest women have different negotiating styles and denied the remarks were sexist.

"Of course anybody who's ever worked for me knows my views," he told the site. "They know that I don't have a chance of being sexist. There is no sliver of percentage point of me being sexist."

But Tory probably didn't do himself any favours when he later suggested on his radio show that women should learn how to play golf in order to improve their career prospects.

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According to a recent Statistics Canada report, the median hourly wages for women in Canada were 87 per cent those of men in 2011, up from 77 per cent in 1981.

What do you think? Will Tory's remarks come back to haunt him if and when he decides to run? Tell us in the comments.

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