Not any more

Pantalone shocked by Mihevc’s ‘incomprehensible’ decision to support Smitherman | Posted Toronto | National Post

In Canada on October 6, 2010 at 09:12

Joe Pantalone talks to the National Post Editorial Board, Monday, September 27, 2010

Brett Gundlock/National Post

In Joe Pantalone’s ongoing effort to woo support from his political peers, this must be considered a bittersweet day for the mayoral candidate.

On the one hand, Mayor David Miller is expected to endorse his deputy on Wednesday. On the other hand, there is influential Councillor Joe Mihevc’s call for his long-time colleague to abandon the race and support George Smitherman.

Mr. Miller’s rumoured endorsement would not come as a surprise: Mr. Pantalone is the only candidate not attacking the Miller legacy.

But Mr. Mihevc’s announcement is altogether different. The left-leaning councillor sent a widely distributed email on Tuesday in which he warns of the dangers of a Rob Ford victory.

“From my point of view, it is absolutely imperative that I/we do everything possible to stop Rob Ford from becoming mayor,” Mr. Mihevc wrote. “This is a powerful driver for me. Rob Ford and his associates would destroy so much that we value about our city — its diversity, animated neighbourhoods, care for the newcomers and the poor, our quality of life.

“Very simply, and without getting too personal, I have watched him for the last 10 years as a colleague on council, and Rob does not have the skill set required to lead a complex City Hall and its agencies. Simple one-liners, an angry persona, a divisive disposition is not leadership and will only hurt Toronto.”

Mr. Pantalone, he said, would “make a fine mayor,” but is too far behind to be a threat.

“I believe that this is a time for Torontonians to rally around a single candidate who has the best chance of defeating Ford. Joe Pantalone’s standing in the polls requires us to look elsewhere. To say this frankly is very difficult for me as I have known and worked with Joe for 20 years and can affirm that he is a person of integrity.”

Mr. Smitherman “is in the best position to win.”

Mr. Pantalone was completely shocked by Mr. Mihevc’s “incomprehensible” decision to support his opponent, which he clearly took personally. “I don’t know how Joe Mihevc can explain his position to his progressive base. He should be ashamed of himself,” Mr. Pantalone said last night, after a debate. “He didn’t even give me the decency of a phone call, after all the years we’ve known each other. I thought we were friends.”

Mr. Pantalone refused to believe the move would be a blow to his campaign. He said he could neither confirm nor deny the rumours of Mr. Miller’s incoming endorsement, but promised it will be “game changer because it will clearly define who the progressive city-building candidate is for mayor, which is me.”

Mr. Smitherman also had a pair of endorsements on Tuesday from Sarah Thomson’s former campaign team: John Tory Jr. and George Tory, sons of former Progressive Conservative leader John Tory. Smitherman spokesman Erika Mozes said there has been no talk of their father, now hosting a popular drive-home radio show, following suit.

National Post


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