Sarah Thomson bows out of mayoral race, backs George Smitherman
Tim Fraser for National Post
Sarah Thomson, right, is seen here with mayoral candidate George Smitherman after she announced that she was bowing out of the mayoral race and throwing her support behind Smitherman.
Mary Vallis September 28, 2010 – 10:02 am
Sarah Thomson has dropped out Toronto’s mayoral race and is throwing her support behind George Smitherman.
In a live, televised news conference this morning, Ms. Thomson said she is inspired by Mr. Smitherman’s ideas and passion for change.
“George is someone who will lead our city with open doors, not closed minds,” Ms. Thomson said, adding they have common hopes and goals for Toronto.
Ms. Thomson did not explicitly name mayoral frontrunner Rob Ford, but said the city risks “handing over the office of greatest local influence on the basis of anger and reaction, not that of responsible, thoughtful and mature policy.”
Ms. Thomson is the publisher of Women’s Post magazine, and was the lone female voice on the slate of top five mayoral contenders. She gained prominence early in the campaign with a controversial plan to impose rush hour road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway in order to help build subway lines.
The latest poll put her tied with Rocco Rossi, with 7% support. Rob Ford had 28% support, while George Smitherman had 23%. The margin of error in the survey of 400 people was plus or minus 4.9%, 19 times out of 20.
She said Mr. Smitherman offers a credible alternative to the “message of anger” trying to lead City Hall.
“And by the way, I’ve got extra bookmarks if anybody wants them,” Ms. Thomson concluded, prompting chuckles.
Ms. Thomson did not take questions. She was surrounded by her campaign team and family at the brief event. “Toronto, I want to say, our best is yet to come,” said Ms. Thomson.
The full text of Thomson’s speech is below:
Good Morning, thank you for coming on such short notice.
I am confident my statement today will have a significant bearing on the balance of this campaign, and will also have a positive impact on Toronto’s future leadership.
I began my mayoral campaign with a strong desire, to share with the citizens of Toronto, my vision of transformation and change for our great city.
As I have travelled across Toronto and met countless people, I have had the great privilege of hearing their stories and of being a part of their lives. Their stories and hopes helped shape my vision and policies in so many wonderful ways. Thank you Toronto for letting me be your voice.
This campaign is my first experience in major civic politics, and I am proud of what I and my team have achieved.
I am glad that my subway expansion policy has put our citizen’s desire for a more comprehensive transit system into the spotlight, and that transit growth has become one of, if not the most, leading issues of this election.
I am encouraged that many of the social challenges that face our most vulnerable citizens are being discussed, and that groups who don’t usually have a voice are now being heard through my initiatives on housing, priority neighbourhoods, back to work programs and new private-public partnership services.
Over the past 24 years, I have achieved success in my business career by recognizing opportunity, challenging the status quo and maximizing value in everything that I do.
I have been committed to the improvement of our city, the betterment of our lives, the growth of our economy and infrastructure, and the beautification of our city and environment.
While acknowledging this great opportunity for change and growth, I also realize that our city faces a great peril.
We risk handing over the office of greatest local influence on the basis of anger and reaction – not that of responsible, thought and mature policy.
Today, I am beginning a new opportunity for the city, by ending my campaign for mayor of Toronto.
I remain resolute and determined to continue to deliver positive change to the people of Toronto – and so I ask you to join me today in supporting George Smitherman to be Toronto’s next mayor.
I have debated with and against five other candidates for the chance to serve Toronto as your mayor. I have had considerable time to evaluate all of the candidates.
I have watched George Smitherman in action, listened to his experience, and I am inspired by his ideas and his passion for change.
George is a deeply experienced administrator and a consummate Toronto-booster who is committed to getting Toronto moving again, and to embracing diversity and collaboration at City Hall. George will be a mayor who builds on our strengths, and not one who leverages our differences.
I am confident that George’s Budget Blueprint will give Torontonians the government they deserve. George is someone who will lead our city with open doors, not closed minds. George understands the big picture for Toronto – and he has the best plans and policy to deliver our best opportunities.
As is very important to me and has been a belief of mine since the inception of my campaign, George has promised to meet his goals without selling Toronto Hydro.
Throughout the campaign, George Smitherman and I have come to share many common hopes and goals for Toronto – and this election is very much about the Toronto – where we all want to live, work, and play – that we will now forge together.
George Smitherman offers the voters a viable and responsible alternative to the message of anger trying to make its way to city hall.
Thank you to all of my supporters, my contributors, my volunteers and entire team. George Tory, John Tory, Kinga Surma, Robert Perry, Stew Berry and Ted Heighington – your advice, support and loyalty means so very much to me, and is a gift and blessing that I will never forget.
To my loving and patient family, thank you for going through this with me. Greg, Noah, and Taylor, I love you very much and could not have done this without you.
Toronto, our best is yet to come! And I hope today’s decision get us all one step closer to that reality.
On October 25th, I ask you to join me in voting for George Smitherman to be Toronto’s next mayor.
More from Mary Vallis
Sarah Thomson bows out of mayoral race, backs George SmithermanIn Canada on September 28, 2010 at 20:38