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Pitbull's appointment signals start of election race

twodogsandacat
September 26th, 2006, 06:05 AM
I hate the title of the story as no self respecting pit bull would be as sleazy as George Smitherman is but here's the story. If anybody has been following Ontario politics lately they would know that the Liberals resorted to mud slinging in a recent by election and that it back fired and drove votes to the opposition. In just over a year Ontario will vote and pay back is due. It's going to be nasty.

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http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=205694&catname=Queens%20Park&classif=Queens%20Park

Pitbull's appointment signals start of election race

James Wallace
Queens Park - Monday, September 25, 2006

Ontarios MPPs return to work Monday and the nasty business of getting re-elected.

As the Legislature resumes, we are poised barely a year away from Oct. 4, 2007, the carved-in-stone date set by Premier Dalton McGuinty for the next provincial election campaign.

McGuintys government and the opposition parties will, from this point on, drop any pretense of hail-fellow-well-met in Question Period and instead conspire daily to do as much political damage as is humanly possible to the other guys.

So what may we expect in the days ahead?

McGuinty clearly set the tone Thursday by naming George Smitherman his deputy premier.

Smitherman has been a pit-bull in the health portfolio (which he will continue to hold) and can be counted upon to serve as a fiercely partisan and fiercely loyal spokesman when the Premier strays from the House and Queens Park.

Though arguably one of the most effective health ministers Ontario has seen in recent times, Smitherman wont (and likely isnt expected to) tone down his abrasive, combative manner when dealing with Opposition attacks in the Premiers absence.

This is the guy, remember, who was labeled Furious George for his bullying tactics with hospital officials, who apologized for going overboard by calling optometrists terrorists and more recently raised the ire of doctors across the country by suggesting their new president posed a threat to public health care.


McGuinty, being no fool, knows what hes getting in Smitherman, and is clearly signaling his intention, as he did in the recent Toronto by-election, to fight as hard as we can to win.

Theres nothing wrong with that.

But to what degree is McGuinty willing to go to protect and promote his own brand of utopia?

In the Parkdale-High Park contest, party polling reportedly showed the Liberals losing ground to NDP candidate Cheri Di Novo late in the campaign. The Liberals had been running on their health and education record articulated by a high-profile candidate, a city councillor.

When it appeared that plan was heading south, the Liberals orchestrated a smear campaign, attacking Di Novo by suggesting the United Church minister wanted pedophiles and axe-murderers ordained into the church and publicly deeming her unfit for public office because the former street kid sold drugs in her youth.

Naturally, that backfired and even helped propel Di Novo into the Legislature.

McGuinty, as the governments chief and best spokesman, has now begun the air war for the coming general election, a relentless cross-province trek of speeches, press conferences, bantering with radio talk show hosts and efforts to get his mug on the nightly news.

Party sources told Osprey News there has been some internal debate over whether the Liberals ought to stick to running on their record increased spending on education and health care that have produced real results or take a flyer by more aggressively advancing a new, expanded Liberal vision for the province.

In other words, does McGuinty play things safe by running on his record and hoping voters find no real reason to leap into the arms of Conservative leader John Tory (barring a miraculous resurrection of the NDP, Howard Hampton is looking for more seats, not government status) or roll the policy dice.

McGuintys appointment of Smitherman and recent public statements the Premier made in the wake of the by-election appear to signal hes preparing for the latter.

When asked about the lessons learned in Parkdale-High Park, McGuinty didnt muse on the dirty campaigning but instead focused on the failure of voters to warm to his partys record and some advice given by one particular voter.

What [the voter said] is Don't compare yourself to the previous government, (meaning his own government) was the advice McGuinty received. We're going to compare you and your record to what the others are offering today, he said he was told.

Smitherman echoed those sentiments at the press conference held to announce his appointment as deputy premier, saying voters expect government to fix problems in health and education but want to know what the Liberals plan to do for them next.

The dilemma, of course, is the Liberals were stung in their first year of office by a series of broken promises that got them labeled Fiberals.

Make a promise, get accused of being liars and have your past thrown in your face.

Run on your record, get called a liar anyway and hope rope-a-dope still works.

Either way, the coming campaign is shaping up to be the hardest fought and most interesting in more than a decade.

James Wallace is the Queen's Park bureau chief for the Osprey News Network.
Contact the writer at: jwallace@ospreymedialp.com.

seeker
September 26th, 2006, 07:34 PM
The appointment of Smitherman is a bit of a surprise if only because there is no reason for Mcguinty to do that unless he is concerned about the election already . Or maybe he just though George needed more to do now that the healthcare mess has been dealt with. :rolleyes:
Either way like the author stated this should be interesting .

mummummum
September 26th, 2006, 11:10 PM
Jeez Seeker was I ever glad I saw the rolley eyes there ! For a minute I thought you were serious...phew!

But come to think of it...maybe it's the stereotype as lived out by Get-'Em-In-the-Corner-and-Go-for-the-Throat- George which prompted Bryant to issue the Ban and Muzzle order.

It's all becoming clear to me now...:D

seeker
September 27th, 2006, 04:14 PM
Something was brought to my attention today .
On the day before the Highpark byelection the Liberals spoke about the NDP candidates troubled childhood and an admitted drug addiction . This is their eyes was cause for the voters to not vote for this woman that is now sitting in a seat in the Ont legislature .She has admitted to this long ago and was not trying to hide anything from the voters .
Apparantely Mr Smithermans 5 year addiction to party drugs something he reluctantly admitted to after Dalton had already appointed him to health minister . This is not any concern to Mr Mcguinty and when George admitted to the past addiction was actually praised for his honesty by the premier even though he had already decieved the voters by hiding this fact . Not to say we don't all have a past but isn't it typically "Dalton" how it is ok for a liberal but not for anyone else .

mastifflover
September 27th, 2006, 04:29 PM
Well I live in High Park and I voted for Cheri first of all because she is not liberal and the fact that she admitted these things herself. This made her look better for not hiding her past and showing that she had overcome it. The liberals buried themselves with that disgusting smear campaign. They were outside the subway on the morning of the election begging for votes. When I was approached I told them the smear tactics they used only made me think less of the liberals than I already did, and that I am a dog owner and that and liberals do not seem to mix.

babyrocky1
September 27th, 2006, 09:17 PM
Well I live in High Park and I voted for Cheri first of all because she is not liberal and the fact that she admitted these things herself. This made her look better for not hiding her past and showing that she had overcome it. The liberals buried themselves with that disgusting smear campaign. They were outside the subway on the morning of the election begging for votes. When I was approached I told them the smear tactics they used only made me think less of the liberals than I already did, and that I am a dog owner and that and liberals do not seem to mix.
You tell em Mastifflover!
:highfive:

seeker
September 28th, 2006, 05:38 PM
Yes mastifflover the message sounds as if it was loud and clear both from you and the majority of voters in your riding .