Health Minister and Deputy Premier George Smitherman thought he was being clever Wednesday when he issued the following press release around 1 p.m.:
Smitherman challenges Tory to stand up and be counted on Clean Water Act
TORONTO, Oct. 18 / Today at 2 pm Ontarians will witness the final vote on the Clean Water Act. But they won't be able to see where John Tory stands on clean water. He has chosen to hide in his office.
While Tory's public itinerary shows him in Toronto all day, he has been pulled from Question Period in order to avoid voting on the Clean Water Act.
"I challenge John Tory to come out from under his desk and tell Ontarians where he stands: is he in favour of protecting our drinking water or not," said Liberal MPP George Smitherman.
The Clean Water Act was a major recommendation of the Walkerton Inquiry and a measure that Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller says will protect drinking water without question. The Sierra Legal Defense Fund recently said that Ontario is leading the country on drinking water protection.
"Real leadership means standing up to be counted. Will John Tory stand with Ontarians in favour of clean water, or turn his back just like the Conservatives have done before?" said Smitherman.
Smitherman also noted the irony of Tory's disappearing act on Chicken Day at the Ontario Legislature.
To provide an answer to the Progressive Conservative Leader's whereabouts (and underscore that we have more than 11 long months until the Oct. 4, 2007 election and that Smitherman may not be as politically savvy as he obviously believes), the Tories released the following two hours later:
MCGUINTY LIBERALS WILL SAY ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED
Just like Parkdale-High Park by-election, McGuinty Liberals continue personal attacks
(Queen’s Park) – Health Minister George Smitherman today proved once again Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals will say anything to get elected but are accomplishing very little.
While George Smitherman sits in his Queen’s Park office today sending out press releases attacking John Tory, the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party is doing what the Health Minister should be doing. Tory is spending time with front line doctors and nurses at the Peel Memorial Hospital talking about the doctor shortage, rising wait lists in the Brampton Region and inadequate hospital funding.
You would think from all the time George Smitherman spends attacking John Tory he has the doctor shortage solved, the emergency room crisis fixed and every other challenge in the health care system sorted out.