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Statement from George Smitherman, MPP

Monday, November 9th 2009 10:51:12am


Yesterday I advised Premier McGuinty of my decision to resign from his Cabinet.

This was an important step for me as I begin to make the transition to being a candidate for mayor of Toronto. While I will no longer serve in the Cabinet, I will continue to serve as the MPP for Toronto Centre in the Ontario legislature for the time being.

I have appreciated the opportunity to work with a premier, and with a government, that has delivered real and positive change for the people of Ontario. It has been an honour to work alongside Premier Dalton McGuinty, a leader who continues to lead the province with distinction.

I am also proud of my own role in delivering on significant parts of the government’s agenda and leaving a lasting legacy. It is now time for me to turn my attention elsewhere. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have been considering entering the race for Mayor of Toronto.

I am a son of this city. It is where I was born, where I was raised. It’s a city that has been a source of great pride and a place where I’ve devoted a great deal of my energy trying to help build a stronger community. Toronto has had an amazing history, of which we should all be proud. I believe it can have an even brighter future.

However, one decade into the 21st century, this city is facing tremendous challenges, challenges that threaten to limit our great potential. Toronto is in desperate need of strong leadership if it is to address these challenges and build an even stronger city.

I believe that I can deliver the leadership that Toronto needs. I have the experience, the energy, the passion and record of accomplishment to lead this city in a new direction with confidence.

I’ve never been one to simply tinker with the edges when what’s required is bold action. During my time in the McGuinty Cabinet, I have tackled some of the government’s most challenging files and have demonstrated the ability to lead major transformation. As Ontario’s health minister, I led
major change initiatives that resulted in lower wait times, more nurses, improved community health care, and provided more Ontarians with access to a family doctor.

While I am proud of these accomplishments, I am even more proud of the changes I made to introduce accountability and sustainability into healthcare, particularly in addressing the significant cost pressures faced by hospitals.

Similarly, as energy and infrastructure minister, I led some of the government’s most critical environmental and economic initiatives. The Green Energy Act, which is the first of its kind in North America, holds the promise for real environmental and economic transformation that will make our air cleaner, contribute to the solutions to climate change, and create new jobs and economic growth for Ontarians.

Recently, I was privileged to celebrate 30 years of political activism surrounded by friends, family and political supporters. It reminded me of how many people have been there to have helped me in life’s journey and I am truly touched by the support that they have offered me over the years.

This is particularly true of those closest to me, particularly my family and my husband, Christopher. It has been an honour to have been able to work on behalf of the people Ontario. Today, however, I am looking to turn my focus exclusively on the needs of the City of Toronto as I prepare to enter the race for mayor. I hope to soon have the honour of serving the people of Toronto in that capacity, as their mayor.

In closing, I want to thank my friend and leader, Premier Dalton McGuinty for the opportunity to have been part of his government. I also want to thank the people of Toronto Centre who, in three successive elections, have shown their confidence in me to serve as their representative in the Ontario legislature.


For more information contact:

Victor Henriques
Office of George Smitherman, MPP Toronto Centre