04.09.2010 04:35 PM

Or, possibly, resigning to spend less time with you

Globe and Mail, August 3, 2007:

The early days in the portfolio were stormy as Mr. Smitherman took on doctors, hospitals, nurses, drug companies, community-care advocates and pretty well anybody…Mr. Smitherman acquired a couple of nicknames, Furious George and Old Yeller, from his blunt dealings with health officials.

He told doctors looking for a contract that they could take or leave what he had offered. He pointed a finger at an Ottawa hospital official who was unused to being treated that way. He criticized Taj Ma-hospitals being built with fashionable atriums and he called optometrists “terrorists” for fighting cuts in health-insurance coverage…His staff rotated faster than the turnstiles at cinemas showing the new Harry Potter film…

“Spend more time with his family.” I always love that one.

UPDATE: Ryan adds an update over on Facebook: “Once upon a time I worked for him at Queen’s Park and I know exactly why Jeff, or anyone would quit. In 2003 Smitherman’s Press Secretary quit after one week on the job.”


  1. Brian says:

    I’ve been following the race pretty closely, and I have yet to see a single positive idea from Minister Happy. He’s been one of the senior ministers for the City for most of the decade; he’s a former Toronto Mayor’s chief of staff, and with all that experience, all he can do so far is bash other people and stomp around promising a “thorough budget review,” which is something like promising to show up for work five times a week.

    Even Rob Ford is doing better on the constructive ideas v. angry bile ratio, which is a stunning achievement for Rob Ford generally, but a damning one for Smitherman when you consider Ford’s been in the race a fraction of the time Smitherman has.

    • James Smith says:

      I’m also somewhat disappointed with this race. I don’t live in Toronto, but I work there and the leadership of the TeeHo is important to all Ontarians. I know folks don’t want to hear this (I didn’t like it when I lived out west) but a successful Toronto is important to all Canadians too. That Rob Ford is even considered as reasonable in contrast Mr S. is shocking & should worry folks.

      Mr K: I’m curious, as your fella decided not to run, do you have a horse in this race, or are you holding out to see who else might announce?

      • Warren says:

        There’s no way I’d support George, given how he treats people. Rocco, meanwhile, is all about people.

        In politics, I always say, your main strength is what comes up the elevator every morning: people.

        • Thom Neilson says:

          Rocco may be all about people one-on-one and in person connections. His prescriptions for Toronto show, however, that he’s only about a certain kind of people. Admittedly, it’s a trait he does seem to share with others.

        • Nick says:


          Rossi might be the most personable guy but that is only one part of what makes a good mayor. What is his vision for Toronto and does it include all the citizens of the vast and complex city? He comes across as far too cliched right wing for my liking. TO has already had a right wing mayor who governed from the burbs and ignored the core. We have had mayors like that in Halifax and we are still recovering from the damage. Remember George W. was personable as well.

          • Raj says:

            Nick, are you joking? Rossi spent a year working on Ignatieff’s campaign and 5 years with the canadian heart and stroke association charity helping little old ladies with health problems. You think THIS makes him a “right winger”? Get real.

            Rossi is a Liberal at heart (no pun intended). Just so happens that he also understands the fact that country, province and city are all broke, so he’s pushing the fiscal prudence button (as he should).

  2. Dave says:

    When’s the next poll coming out? Right now, Smitherman is coasting on name recognition but to know the man is to loathe him and I predict that the more Torontonians see of Sliterman, the more they’ll look at Rossi, Pantalone and even Ford.

  3. gretschfan says:

    It’s baffling how often I see people with poor social skills who choose politics and public service as their profession.

  4. Derek Lipman says:


    I attended Rocco Rossi’s Town Hall series in Leaside, and was impressed with his articulate, eloquent, and bold vision for Toronto. Also, he was very friendly. But he lost me on one point- see below.

    A few days later, I attended a Smitherman event in Thorncliffe, and found him to be equally impressive and possess all of the above qualities. What concerns me (and probably a lot of others on the “left”) is this obsession with “outsourcing”. If neither was so adamant about it, I’d probably volunteer my time for one of them. I guess my question is as follows, WK (and others): Can the next mayor of Toronto avoid pervasive outsourcing and secure revenues from other sources? Or, is outsourcing simply a rite of passage in these lean economic times? Should we not be concerned about the growing income disparity gap in this city, and commit ourselves to supply well-paid jobs and maintain strong public services?


  5. gretschfan says:

    Ha! Nah you’re okay, Warren. I meant it in the context of Mr. Grouchypants and others of his ilk who make a career out of treating others poorly.

  6. real conservative says:

    Gee let me figure this out now. He can’t manage or lead people so guess what.. let’s give him high position in society!!

  7. real conservative says:

    Uhh.. Derek, outsourcing is why Smitherman is running with $1 Million in his pockets doncha know?

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