Speaker Profiles

George Smitherman

George Smitherman

Candidate for Mayor

City of Toronto

George Smitherman has the experience, energy, ideas and values that are needed to get Toronto working again. A lifelong resident, George has been a forceful and passionate advocate for our city and has succeeded in making Toronto a better place for all of its residents.

Long before ever thinking about running for elected office, George was gaining a reputation as a community leader who always backed his words of support for a cause with action. Whether playing a leadership role in the campaign to save the Wellesley Hospital or by adding his voice, and even challenging his party, on the recognition of the basic human rights protections long denied but now enjoyed by all, George's tireless work ethic and personal connection to his community has always earned him the respect of all, even those on the opposite side of the issue.

As a Member of Provincial Parliament, George represented the riding of Toronto Centre for over ten years. During that time he spearheaded a number of local initiatives including the establishment of a new community skating and reading program, enhanced services for Toronto's newest citizens and immigrants at Sherborne Health Centre. George takes great pride from helping to lead the successful redevelopment of Regent Park and the early rise of Pathways to Education – a now national program that started in Regent Park, which lead to a huge reduction in dropout rate. George's tireless work for his constituents lead to him being the first Liberal in the history of Now Magazine to be voted by its readers as Toronto's "Best MPP".

As Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, George restored the independent status of Women's College Hospital, delivered community health centre's for all Priority neighborhoods, helped provide over half a million Ontarians with access to a family doctor and improved wait times for key services while at the same time undertaking a massive capital expansion of Toronto's hospitals. During this time over 6,000 units of housing were created to help keep people with severe mental illness out of the criminal justice and correctional services systems.

As Deputy Premier George Smitherman was a strong voice for the City of Toronto at the Cabinet table helping Toronto secure a share of the province's gasoline tax for transit, greater flexibility and independence in managing its affairs through changes to the City of Toronto Act, an historic investment in new buses, streetcars and subway cars for the City of Toronto as well as billions in funding for public transit expansion including the subway line to York University and beyond to York Region.

As Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, George received the World Wind Energy Award for championing green energy. George was responsible for the passage of Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy Act, which will clean our air, reduce our carbon footprint and create opportunity for more than 50,000 new green energy jobs. George is proud of the role he played in making Ontario the recognized North American leader in renewable energy policy, which has already resulted in billions in new investment.

George also knows how to get things done at City Hall having served as the chief of staff to former Toronto mayor, Barbara Hall. During his time in this role, George represented the Mayor in Economic Development, City Budget and the re-zoning for the Air Canada Centre and the adjacent Railway Lands, pioneering KINGS initiative that lead to the revitalization of King Parliament and King Spadina.

Born and raised in Etobicoke, George has made downtown Toronto his home for more than twenty years. Prior to holding elected office George owned and operated his own retail business in the City of Toronto for a decade. He is married to Christopher Peloso. The two recently welcomed Michael, a young toddler, into their family and are in the final stages of adoption.

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