McGuinty Liberals enter race for Toronto mayor

At the June Hart House debate organized by Better Ballots, George Smitherman was adamant that political parties should stay out of Municipal politics.

If the following article is true, it appears that he has enlisted the help of provincial Liberals to help in his campaign to stop Rob Ford. We now have the Liberals (supporting George Smitherman) and the NDP (supporting Joe Patalone) involved in the Toronto mayoral race. Will the Conservatives jump in?

Rob Ford is NOT the candidate of the media (the mainstream media work against him).

Rob Ford is not the candidate of the political parties (both the Liberals and NDP want to stop him).

Rob Ford is (love him or hate him) the candidate of the people of Toronto who are disgusted with politicians in general, the ruling party elites, and Toronto City Council in particular.

Christopher Hume of the the Toronto Star commented that:

“The rage against politicians, élites, experts, panels and the entire power structure has reached the point where many Torontonians do in fact trust Ford because they recognize themselves in him. He is angry; so are they. He’s confused; they are too. He feels as threatened by change as they do. He, too, is suspicious of things he doesn’t understand. He also rejects complexity and ambiguity. He is a black-and-white, no-nonsense kind of guy, full of bull and bluster in the tradition of Don Cherry, Harold Ballard, Mel Lastman….”

The next two months will be interesting. Can the “party elites” and the mainstream media frustrate the will of the people? It all comes down to whether people vote. Those candidates who are supported by neither the political parties nor the media are running against voter apathy. Torontonians can reclaim Toronto. All they need do is vote. The office of mayor of Toronto is “the peoples seat“.

On October 25, 2010 get out and vote!


Liberals scramble to help George Smitherman stop Rob Ford

August 21, 2010

Robert Benzie

{{GA_Article.Images.Alttext$}}This flyer will be in up to 75,000 Toronto mailboxes starting monday.

Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are pulling out all the stops to help former deputy premier George Smitherman win the Toronto mayoral race.

Mindful that a municipal victory by Progressive Conservative Rob Ford would be a blow to the Grits in the city, pamphlets are being distributed to 75,000 identified Liberal voters by Smitherman’s campaign.

The brochures boast photos of Smitherman surrounded by headshots of 23 past and present Liberal MPPs, a dozen Liberal MPs, as well as former Tory MPP and cabinet minister Dan Newman.

“George Smitherman delivers for Toronto,” proclaims the purple and white leaflet, promising to “stop the waste and make city hall work for you.”

Hailing the fact he was “the Liberal MPP for Toronto Centre for 10 years,” the flyer also hypes his service as McGuinty’s deputy, minister of health, and minister of energy and infrastructure.

The touting of Smitherman’s partisan ties underscores a growing sense at Queen’s Park that the mayoral hopeful’s political fortunes are entwined with those of the governing party.

A senior provincial source confided to the Star that a Ford win on Oct. 25 would be a “disaster” for the Liberals.

“The last thing we need is to give (Progressive Conservative Leader Tim) Hudak a beachhead in Toronto,” said the high-ranking Grit, noting MPPs and cabinet ministers are helping raise money for Smitherman.

With a provincial election 14 months away, some Liberals view the municipal contest as a trial run and are closely watching to see if Ford’s message about slashing taxes and spending resonates with Torontonians.

“This could be a real warning sign,” another party insider said Friday.

The Liberals currently hold 19 of Toronto’s 23 seats. The New Democrats hold the other four, but Hudak is hopeful the Tories can win several city ridings in 2011.

While McGuinty is officially remaining neutral in the mayoral contest, he pounced on Ford’s controversial comments about curbing immigration to the cash-strapped city.

“I just don’t think it’s representative of Canadians. I just don’t think it’s representative of the society that we aspire to build here together,” the premier said Wednesday in an unusual plunge into Toronto politics.

“We are blessed with 120,000 new Canadians every year in this province,” he said, never mentioning the Etobicoke councillor by name, but pointedly rejecting “biased presumptions, assumptions or prejudices.”

On the Smitherman brochure, the roster of political backers includes former premiers David Peterson and Bob Rae – the latter of whom is now a Liberal MP.

Energy Minister Brad Duguid, Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten, Tourism and Culture Minister Michael Chan, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Eric Hoskins, Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne, Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best, Government Services Minister Harinder Takhar, Labour Minister Peter Fonseca, and Research and Innovation Minister Glen Murray are also listed as endorsing him.

Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon (Scarborough-Rouge River), a former city councillor who famously blew the whistle on the MFP computer leasing scandal, said he knows the challenges faced by the next mayor.

“You need someone with experience in doing some heavy shaking up at city hall,” Balkissoon said in an interview.

“George can do the job. He can reach out. It’s a $10-billion corporation and you need to build a team. That’s the only way to get things done there,” he said.

“I’ve always gotten along with Rob Ford – he was on my committee when I was chair of the audit committee – and he’s a good councillor, there’s no question about it, but he can’t lead council because he can’t make allies.”

Balkissoon, however, insisted he is less worried about a Smitherman defeat reflecting badly on the McGuinty government than other Liberals.

Tory strategists, meanwhile, are almost as transfixed by the mayoral race as their Liberal rivals.

Sources say if Ford wins, it could make it easier for Hudak to raise money and attract people to run in Toronto.

The flip side is that if Ford loses, he will—provided this week’s flood of damaging allegations about drunk driving and marijuana use subsides—be wooed as a Tory candidate in Liberal-held Etobicoke North.


2 thoughts on “McGuinty Liberals enter race for Toronto mayor

  1. votejohnrichardson Post author

    Looks like the Toronto Sun agrees:

    Endorsements ‘kiss of death’ for Smitherman

    By DON PEAT, Toronto Sun

    Last Updated: August 23, 2010 7:05pm

    An endorsement from Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Toronto-area Liberal MPPs may be the “kiss of death” for George Smitherman.

    Postcards featuring past and present Liberal MPPs, MPs and even former NDP premier-turned Liberal MP Bob Rae endorsing Smitherman to be Toronto’s next mayor are turning up in mailboxes this week.

    But Smitherman’s mayoralty foes are betting the blatant show of Liberal support behind their former colleague won’t turn into votes and serve as an ugly reminder.

    Adrienne Batra, spokesman for the Rob Ford campaign, criticized McGuinty and the Liberal caucus for jumping into the race but welcomed the message it sends to voters.

    “This could potentially be the kiss of death for the Smitherman campaign,” Batra told the Sun on Monday. “Smitherman and McGuinty were the architects of Mayor (David) Miller receiving more taxing authority from the provincial government,” she said. “They have delivered Toronto with the land transfer tax, vehicle registration tax, bag tax, HST and the recent tax grab in the form of an eco-fee.”

    Rocco Rossi blasted Queen’s Park for diving into Hogtown’s race.

    “The bottom line is Torontonians don’t want someone who is going to be McGuinty’s guy or Hudak’s guy, they want someone who is going to be their guy,” Rossi said. “They want a guard dog, not a lap dog.”

    Sarah Thomson said the endorsements reaffirm the idea Smitherman wouldn’t be able to rebuild Toronto’s relationship with the federal Conservatives.

    “Politicians are in the business of keeping each other in office for as long as possible and now we are seeing more of the same from the former health minister,” Thomson charged. “It’s fine that these legislators support him but I want to be sure that everyone is aware that these endorsements are from the same people who brought the people of Ontario the largest deficit in its history, not to mention the wasted money on e-Health for which (Smitherman) was personally responsible.”

    The Smitherman campaign shot back at criticism saying the postcard simply features “friends that are supporting George” who are politicians who represent the Toronto area and happen to be mostly Liberal.

    “George is very proud of the record he has at Queen’s Park,” said campaign spokesman Erika Mozes. “This is not about Queen’s Park … these are folks George has been working with for a long time.”

    The fact the politicians in the ad are mostly Liberals has more to do with who currently represents the Toronto area, she said.

    Mozes said Ford is so focused on Smitherman’s record at Queen’s Park because he doesn’t want to talk about his own record at City Hall.

    NDP leader Andrea Horwath said while endorsements aren’t unusual, she’s puzzled how it will help Smitherman.

    “You’ve got to be careful what you wish for,” she said. “(Smitherman) is risking having to carry the baggage of the government on his campaign.”

    While Premier Dalton McGuinty did comment on Ford’s comments about immigration last week, his office stressed Monday he’s not endorsing Smitherman or anyone else.

    “We will work with whoever gets elected,” spokesman Jane Almeida said.

  2. Pingback: Layton and the NDP endorse Patalone | Vote John Richardson – Independent Judgment For Toronto Danforth – Ward 29!

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