Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
Smitherman to Adopt
September 27, 2009 permalink
Ontario's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman and his same-sex partner Christopher Peloso have been approved by the children's aid society to become adoptive parents. They are still waiting for their child. This is yet another case where high-level politicians, and gays, get the children that CAS has successfully wrested from parents. The disclosure appears in an article on the decision of Toronto mayor David Miller to not seek reelection.
Contenders to be the next mayor of Toronto
DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR
Mayor David Miller's decision has swung the door to his office wide open. Will councillors eyeing the threshold have the heft to challenge the heavyweights already touted for the job?
Sep 26, 2009 04:30 AM, Donovan Vincent, Rob Ferguson, John Spears, Staff Reporters
With David Miller out, the next question is inevitable.
While an array of centre and right-wing candidates are already gauging their chances to fill the mayoral seat in 2010, Miller's decision to step out of contention has opened a yawning gap on the left side of the political spectrum.
In his speech yesterday, the mayor issued a rallying cry to those with "progressive values'' to coalesce around a candidate. "If you work hard and fight hard, you can elect that champion,'' he said.
But while the left seeks its next best hope, John Tory, a fiscal conservative and the former provincial Conservative leader, and Deputy Premier George Smitherman, a Liberal widely viewed as centre-left, are already gathering support.
It's unclear to what extent traditional Millerites – New Democratic Party members, labour and so forth – would rally behind Smitherman.
While Smitherman was off visiting his mother in Collingwood yesterday, taking no calls, Tory held a news conference outside CFRB, where he has a radio show.
Tory wouldn't let himself be rushed into anything by Miller's September surprise. "I don't have any deadline,'' he said.
But he set a tone for his undeclared candidacy, saying the next mayor should be prepared to run the city in a "business-like'' manner.
"If we don't get the city's finances in order and get people better value for their money and start getting under control the taxing and spending, there (won't be) resources available to build more transit or to provide some hope for people in the neighbourhoods that need to have more hope."
Smitherman's advisers said Miller's decision doesn't alter the deputy premier's position to wait until the new year before formally deciding. "This announcement today has definitely thrown a new light, but it hasn't created a power vacuum that has to be filled,'' said one source.
Smitherman confidantes deny that a campaign organization is in place, but there is clearly a network of advisers positioning their man to run against Tory, a wealthy former chief executive of Rogers Cable.
Smitherman, a member of his inner circle pointed out, is "the son of a truck driver."
"Will he connect with the small guy? Yes. Does he know the small guy? Yes. Has he lived with the small guy? Yes. Has he been a small guy? Yes."
And while Miller hopes to spend more time with his children, Smitherman hopes to become a father. A close source said he and spouse Christopher Peloso were approved as adoptive parents by the Toronto Children's Aid Society last spring. "They're still on the waiting list," said the source.
But either contender would face a historic challenge: No one in recent memory who wasn't a sitting councillor has gone on to become mayor.
Right-of-centre councillors who have expressed interest include Karen Stintz, Denzil Minnan-Wong and Michael Thompson. Centre-left and left-wingers whose names have been bandied about are budget chief Shelley Carroll, TTC chair Adam Giambrone and Adam Vaughan.
Vaughan, who said categorically he "will not be running'' for mayor, said Miller's replacement must come from outside council.
"The mayor's job nowadays is so much like a governor's job, so much like a president's job, an executive position as much as legislative. ... If there's going to be a change it should come from (outside) council.''
Giambrone, 32, chuckled when asked if he's considering a run. Despite his high-profile post on the TTC, some view him as a bit green for the mayor's chain of office.
Nevertheless, he wasn't saying no to the idea. "It's a natural question that people are going to ask," he said.
Carroll, like Giambrone a Miller loyalist, wasn't saying no, either, and disagreed with Vaughan's assertion the next mayor should be from outside. "Certainly people at city hall know the inner workings of the city, but it's going to have to come down to vision (and a) real commitment to seeing that vision through,'' she said.
But with Miller polling so low, candidates with close ties will have to weigh whether they'd spend the campaign defending his policies and being a punching bag for Miller foes.
As Miller did in 2003 and 2006, the candidate on the left will probably target labour for support, though that fan base eroded during the civic workers' strike – notably when Miller publicly released details of the city's contract offer.
Mark Ferguson, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 416, said the city's labour council will meet to consider ways to find "candidates that hold transit, the environment, public service and working people high on the agenda."
Ferguson said "there is definitely a push from the right and corporate elite to gain control at city hall."
Environmental lobbyist Joe Cressy exuded an aura of gloom as he pondered a political landscape without Miller. After wedging into the cramped news conference, Cressy – a big part of last year's fight to curtail bottled water use on civic properties – said he sees no credible candidates on the left who can challenge Smitherman or Tory.
"Who do you want to put up to lose?" Cressy asked.
Minnan-Wong, a Miller critic who acknowledged he's considering a run, said a new path needs to be charted: "I've said publicly and through my work at the city that I think we do need new leadership and new direction."
Councillor Karen Stintz, another Miller opponent, shied away from discussing her intentions yesterday.
"Today is really Mayor Miller's day. Today we thank him for the work he did," Stintz said. Pressed, she said: "2010 will be an exciting election and I'm looking forward to it.''
Source: Toronto Star