Super-Grit ‘Furious George’ Smitherman backs Olivia

George Smitherman —

Rob Ford cannot be taken lightly.  No one knows that better than me. Lots of us were surprised by his 2010 victory.  He fights hard. He fights dirty. And he fights with a well-financed campaign.

I believe in this year’s mayoral race there’s only one candidate who can beat Rob Ford…

Olivia Chow.

You shouldn’t just vote for Olivia. You should give to her campaign. Click here to make a gift of $50 (just $12.50 after a rebate from the city) or $100 (only $25 after rebate).

I’ve known Olivia for about 25 years. While we’ve been on different sides of the fence on some issues, this much I can say about her:

She’s one of the hardest working people I know. She’s tenacious. She’s principled. She’s authentic.

And she’s progressive. The only progressive candidate of note in this race. But Olivia’s pragmatic too. She understands the role business must play in our city – that’s why she says small business taxes must be cut if Toronto is to reduce its shameful unemployment rate.

Rob Ford just too big a threat to our city and can’t be ignored

It’s this kind of mayor that’s really shaped our city. We also need a mayor who will take strong positions (including some I may have not agreed with in the past).

Olivia has been clear that she does not support the billion dollar Scarborough subway; instead she wants to build four more stops, four years earlier to serve more people and get them moving sooner. Olivia has been clear that she does not want an island airport expansion that will result in filling in more of the harbour and Lake Ontario.

Compare those positions to her competitors. John Tory doesn’t want to take a position on anything.  Except changing his mind on the Scarborough subway because he won’t stand up to Rob Ford. And then there’s Rob Ford – well, never mind.

This election is even more important than the one in 2010 because we all know the risk. I mean that. I don’t want my city known around the world for all the wrong reasons. And I really don’t want my kids growing up in a city where I wouldn’t let the mayor babysit them!

We can’t have another four years of Rob Ford. And there’s only one person who can stop him.

But he’s not going to go away without a fight. He’ll try to outspend everyone, even if that means ‘stretching’ the rules like last time.

George Smitherman was Deputy Premier in the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty