Smitherman helping Liberals – Is this good news or bad news for the Liberal Party?

With the by-election for Toronto-Danforth having been called for March 19 (not March 12, as the Prime Minister’s office originally reported) the last party to name its nominee is the only one likely to seriously contest the NDP’s hold on Jack Layton’s old riding: the Liberals. According to the National Post, a familiar face is shepherding the Liberal nomination process for tomorrow night: George Smitherman, the man who lost the 2010 Mayoral election to Rob Ford.

Mr. Smitherman, who has been helping the Liberals organize their ground campaign, still believes his party has the edge in Toronto-Danforth, the former riding of late NDP leader Jack Layton.

“I think that these candidates are strongly rooted local candidates who have demonstrated a great deal of energy in their effort to sign up members. They represent new activism and that’s a sign of renewal,” Mr. Smitherman said in an interview Tuesday, noting the “compressed timetable” of the byelection made it more challenging for some prospective candidates, himself included, to stage a run.

The last time we heard from George Smitherman, he was saying that he lost the mayoral election in part because of some homophobic ads that appeared in the final days of the campaign. Since the election, his other main activity has been lobbying for a ferrochrome smelter in Ontario’s north but it was clear that his 2010 defeat wouldn’t keep him out of politics forever.


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