Smitherman to run for seat on city council in 2018
George Smitherman is seen in this file photo.
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Monday, February 27, 2017 8:54AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 27, 2017 1:58PM EST
Former Ontario cabinet minister and Toronto mayoral candidate George Smitherman says he plans to run for a seat on city council in 2018.
Smitherman told CP24 Monday that he doesn’t want to threaten any incumbent and hopes to run in a new ward created by boundary changes.
“Even though it is a long ways off, I felt that people contemplating a run should know my plans,” Smitherman said Monday.
The former deputy premier stepped away from provincial politics in 2010 to run to become the mayor of Toronto but was defeated by the late Rob Ford.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Smitherman elaborated on his plans for a political comeback.
“The Toronto Centre territory where I have won the polls 4 times will have a new ward come the next election, so returning to politics can happen without any disruption to Councillors who are presently sitting and with whom I have terrific relations,” he wrote.
“It's not going to be easy juggling the needs of family and community but I know the responsibilities well and me and my kids are definitely up for the challenge.”
Smitherman said he has purchased property in Toronto Centre and his new home will be built in the next few years.
“The election is a long way off (October 2018) and there will be a Provincial election beforehand anyway. Meantime I will continue to tend to my family, business and community interests,” he said.
“I can't tell you enough how excited I am to be re-entering the arena, especially on the sacred territory of Toronto Centre where so much uplifting community happens.”
Speaking to CP24 Monday, Smitherman said he has always been drawn to public office.
"I had an extraordinary range of opportunities working with people like Barbara Hall, all the roles Premier McGuinty gave me and the like but at the heart of it, the local aspect of politics and the community aspect, that’s what’s always driven me," he said.
"And I look forward to being able to return to that in a ward that I can work and still do an excellent job as a solo parent, which is my first responsibility and not a minor one."
Smitherman said he looks forward to working in an environment without party politics.
"I’m really excited about the possibility to work in an environment where the seats are set up round, where there isn’t party politics and where you actually can work to build alliances with people on various issues. I’m neither strictly left or right. I am what I am, an independent person," he added.
"I spent many years working in (an environment) where they set the desks up two sword-lengths apart, where it says opposition on your business card. You know what your job is. City hall has different potential."