Health Minister George Smitherman is the first to admit he’s a hothead.
Now, all of North American knows the hard-working Toronto Centre-Rosedale MPP has a short fuse.
Smitherman was featured the other night on The Comedy Network’s popular new Colbert Report, a Daily Show with Jon Stewart spin-off, for his warnings about the dangers of … optometrists.
Host Stephen Colbert featured Canadian optometrists on his "Threat Down" of menaces in the post-9/11 world.
"Ontario’s health minister called the Ontario Association of Optometrists ‘a bunch of terrorists and I don’t negotiate with terrorists,’" Colbert intoned in his trademark Giant of Journalism-ese.
"Bravo, sir. Optometrists are a menace. You have to be careful with a group that gets their kicks blowing air into our eyeballs."
Smitherman, of course, was forced to apologize a few weeks back for his intemperate slight against the optometry community.
That didn’t stop NDP MPP Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre) from asking Premier Dalton McGuinty if he would force the minister into "anger management classes."
"I know the minister of health considers himself a media star, but surely, this is the kind of media exposure that Ontario and Ontario optometrists can do without," said Kormos.
Fighting back laughter, McGuinty replied: "There is no doubt about it: There is no shortage of enthusiasm that Minister Smitherman brings to his work, but I can tell you it all is informed by a spirit and a sentiment of commitment to improving the quality of health care for all Ontarians."