Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The Toronto Sun
Tue 26 Sep 2006 - Editorial/Opinion

We're shocked and appalled. How could Premier Dalton McGuinty possibly name Health Minister George Smitherman his new deputy premier?

Doesn't McGuinty remember that Smitherman admitted last spring to having had a five-year addiction to illegal "party drugs"?

So how could he decide to give Smitherman a promotion with the resumption of the Ontario Legislature yesterday? Didn't McGuinty and Co. make it abundantly clear in the recent Parkdale-High Park byelection that they believe a past admission of drug use should disqualify someone from public office? Except, apparently, for Liberal cabinet ministers.

During the byelection, the McGuinty Liberals hysterically warned, among other things, that NDP candidate Cheri DiNovo, a United Church minister, had previously admitted in her sermons (and on VISION TV) to being a troubled street kid, who had used drugs and smuggled some LSD from California.

McGuinty never disavowed such Liberal tactics prior to election night. Voters, however, shrugged and DiNovo, who took her seat in the Legislature yesterday, easily defeated the Grit candidate in a riding previously held by the Liberals.

McGuinty's elevation of Smitherman to deputy premier is especially hypocritical given that DiNovo's admissions of past drug use were much less serious than Smitherman's.

While both DiNovo and Smitherman stopped using drugs before they first ran for elected office, Smitherman's years of drug abuse occurred while he was an adult, not a street kid, as was the case with DiNovo. Further, DiNovo, never hid her past, while Smitherman hid his from McGuinty when the premier appointed him health minister in 2003.

Smitherman didn't come clean until last spring, when McGuinty praised him for publicly confessing his addiction, even though he hid it when McGuinty named him to cabinet.

Oddly, we keep hearing that the Liberals' strategy in next October's general election will be to run McGuinty as a "nice guy."

Uh, nice to whom? Cheri DeNovo? Parents with autistic children? The people of Caledonia? The residents of London and vicinity who are about to be stuck with taking Toronto's trash, aided and abetted by McGuinty's government? This is a "nice guy"? Gee, we'd hate to see him when he's angry.


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