On Monday, Christopher Peloso, husband of one-time mayoral candidate and former deputy premier George Smitherman, was found dead after being reported missing the previous day. Journalists working on the story were respectful of Smitherman’s grief—that is, except Sun News Network’s Ezra Levant. Here he is tweeting just a few hours after news of Peloso’s death started circulating:
All stories relating to George Smitherman
Christopher Peloso, husband of one-time mayoral candidate and former deputy premier George Smitherman, has been found dead, according to a statement posted earlier this morning on Smitherman’s website. Toronto Police had asked the public for assistance finding Peloso on Sunday evening. He was last seen on Sunday at 11 a.m., in the Bloor and Lansdowne area.
The two men married in 2007 and had adopted two children together. Smitherman’s statement calls Peloso a “son and brother, a husband and father of three.” Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Toronto’s mayoral elections are notorious for being drawn-out, soul-crushing marathons—and that’s when they start on schedule. Thanks to Mayor Rob Ford’s fractious influence, though, the 2014 campaign has been raging (albeit quietly) for more than a year ahead of its January 2, 2014 start date. With a less than a month to go, things are so tense that Oliva Chow—the leading left-wing contender—is already getting endorsements, even though she hasn’t actually said publicly that she’ll run.
Well, this is troubling: Christopher Peloso, the husband of former health minister and mayoral candidate George Smitherman, has been reported missing by Toronto Police, who say they are concerned for his safety. Peloso and Smitherman have been married for six years and adopted a son and a daughter together. The 39-year-old was last seen on Monday at 4 p.m. near Davenport Road and Bathurst wearing a dark-blue hooded jacket, shorts and flip-flops. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477. [Toronto Police]
UPDATE: Police say they found Peloso “breathing and conscious” near Lansdowne and Dupont just before 11 a.m. today, nearly two days after he disappeared. He is now receiving care at Toronto Western Hospital. [Canada.com]
Crackgate revealed that the city’s crippling political divide isn’t between downtowners and suburbanites—it’s between the rich and the poor, and it’s only getting worse
What will it take for Ford Nation to abandon their man? That’s become one of the great riddles of our time. In late May, as lurid stories swirled of crack videos, hashish trafficking, murders, firings and resignations—all coming on the heels of Ford’s lawsuits, the alleged ass grab and a reported removal from a military ball for drunken behaviour—a Forum Research poll showed that 40 per cent of Toronto voters continue to be die-hard Ford supporters. Among those who voted for the mayor in 2010, 75 per cent still approved of his job performance. The anti-Ford camp tends to explain this stubborn refusal to accept mounting evidence as a symptom of the culture war between downtown and the suburbs. On one side are the elitist downtown progressives who favour transit, walkability, cycling, densification, lattes and street festivals; on the other side are the suburbanites, who prefer private space, low-density living, commuting by car, Tim Hortons and backyard barbecues.
The race to be the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party is now, finally, an actual race. Three weeks quietly passed following Dalton McGuinty’s resignation as Ontario’s premier before any of his political brethren launched a leadership bid. Then, in the space of 24 hours, a pair of contenders revealed their candidacy: Toronto-Centre MPP Glen Murray broke the silence Sunday night and Don Valley West MPP Kathleen Wynne will follow suit early this evening. Wynne already received an endorsement from Liberal caucus member David Zimmer, who tweeted his early approval, while Murray had former RIM CEO Jim Balsillie and former health minister and failed mayoral candidate George Smitherman in the crowd when he announced his bid at Maple Leaf Gardens. At this very early juncture, we’re going to say Wynne’s off to the better start, purely from PR perspective. Having Balsillie and Smitherman’s support would be a certain boon for a politician mounting a leadership bid back in 2007. Today, we’re not so sure.
During his nine years as premier, Dalton McGuinty displayed a magical ability to maintain the squeaky clean persona of Premier Dad—that smiling paternalist whose ramrod-straight affect evoked a grown-up Michael Cera in a suit—while all hell broke loose around him. The eHealth boondoggle may have cost David Caplan his cabinet post and spiked George Smitherman’s run for mayor, but it never stuck to McGuinty. The same goes for the ORNGE scandal, from which McGuinty walked away with hardly a scratch. Over the past few months, Energy Minister Chris Bentley has become the public face of the cancelled power plants fiasco, and Education Minister Laurel Broten has morphed into the teachers’ favourite super-villain. Of course, you don’t stay premier for three terms without knowing how to bob and weave, but McGuinty’s decision to lock up the legislature as he stepped down was the first time he’s taken a direct hit for his party rather than the other way around. The unions will eventually settle, the Liberals will elect a new leader, and life will go on. McGuinty’s lasting image as premier, however, will be marred by the ignominious way he went out.
We’ve never really thought of Dalton McGuinty as a big-surprises kind of guy, but Premier Dad shocked the province last night by announcing his resignation as party leader—and the prorogation of the legislature. Today, most of Toronto is speculating about why McGuinty stepped down, and where, politically, the province goes from here. We rounded up the main threads of the discussion, including who might replace him, whether McGuinty has federal leadership aspirations and what Rob Ford thinks about it all. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
I suspect his chances at re-election are extraordinarily good, because even though he’s not exactly living up to everyone’s dreams of what a mayor ought to look like, and how a mayor ought to act and project himself, it’s working for a good cluster of folks.
It’s no secret Rob Ford is thinking ahead to the 2014 election—and now he has landed fundraising veteran Ralph Lean to help. Lean, a Bay Street lawyer, gushed over the mayor’s budget and labour victories in the Globe and Mail this weekend and confirmed that he’ll head up Ford’s fundraising team (a job he has done for various mayoral candidates since 1980). Most recently, Lean helped rake in more than $2.17 million for George Smitherman’s failed run against Ford and was partially responsible for that strange “unity dinner” that helped several candidates, including Ford, clear their campaign debts. It’s a coup for Ford, who only raised $1.08 million in 2010. That said, Lean has his detractors, who say he exaggerates his abilities and doesn’t always deliver. [Globe and Mail]
Loyal councillors have defied him. His approval ratings have plummeted. And his powerful Conservative backers are nervous. How did it all go so wrong? The strange story of Rob Ford’s city hall
On Newstalk 1010, the sly strains of the Hollies hit “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” offered the first clue. Then morning host Jerry Agar burst on the air with a surprise announcement: Rob Ford and his councillor sibling Doug were taking over the station’s Sunday afternoon talk-fest, The City. For the once-staid CFRB, landing the boisterous brother act that Margaret Atwood had puckishly dubbed the “twin Ford mayors” was clearly a coup, but that didn’t answer the more obvious question: why on earth would the Fords want to spend two more hours a week in front of an open microphone when they were hardly suffering from a lack of media exposure?
Rob Ford, after all, ranks as one of the most compelling and exhaustively chronicled figures in Canadian politics, adored and despised with equal gusto. His every pronouncement seems to turn into front-page fodder, his every grimace and belly scratch catalogued by rapt photographers. And who could forget the YouTube footage of comedian Mary Walsh arriving in his driveway, decked out with a velvet breastplate and a plastic sword? Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Rob Ford has remained non-committal about whether or not he’d forgo all Pride events this year (we believe his exact words were “We’ll see”), but he has confirmed he won’t be attending an outreach event leading up to the festivities. Ford’s office told organizers that he simply can’t squeeze in a flag raising at city hall on May 17 to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The event had seemed like the safest bet for a mayoral appearance since it’s usually quite low-key (and Brian Burke would be there, so they could talk about hockey if Ford felt uncomfortable). Kristyn Wong-Tam, who has suggested the mayor is just shy, not homophobic, told the Globe and Mail that the mayor’s presence at the “gentle” and “welcoming” event “might have taken the question away about whether or not he supports the LGBT community.” Instead, skipping out on the flag raising, plus keeping silent while Sun News Network host David Menzies makes bizarre comments about George Smitherman’s sexuality on Ford’s radio show, is keeping those questions very much alive. [Globe and Mail]
The Sun News Network’s David Menzies managed to be more controversial than Rob and Doug Ford on the brothers’ radio show this week (considering Mayor Ford’s comments on the show have already landed him in trouble on two separate occasions, that’s a feat). In the wake of the Daniel Dale brouhaha, the conversation this week repeatedly returned to the “left-wing media” and their treatment of the mayor—about which Menzies had plenty to say. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
I didn’t see it coming. For the rest of my life I will regret that.
—Former Ontario health minister George Smitherman during hearings held earlier this week at Queen’s Park, admitting he wishes he had foreseen the multi-million-dollar scandal that would overtake Ornge. Perhaps has was blinded by an irrational love for his own progeny—as the health minister from 2003 to 2008, Smitherman helped create the publicly funded air ambulance agency—or perhaps the bureaucrats at the health ministry should’ve been better at their jobs, as he alleges. Regardless, ol’ Furious is disappointed in himself. But to feel contrite for the rest of his life? Come on, Smitherman. If you want to take a regret to your grave, allow us to suggest something else you failed to see coming: that Rob Ford would walk all over you in Toronto’s 2010 mayoral campaign. [Toronto Star]