Does Toronto even care that Smitherman is a new dad? Should it?

Does Toronto even care that Smitherman is a new dad? Should it?

George Smitherman, baby daddy (Image: Shaun Merritt) 

One interesting note from last night’s debate is that George Smitherman almost didn’t make it, thanks to the demands of 21st-century fatherhood. The Globe and Mail reports:

“I’m doing daddy duty next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” [Smitherman] said last week. “My spouse has work obligations that will take him out of the province. I had to let CP24 know that I’m obligated to go up to Grey County and help my mother settle in for the summer with my baby.”

As it turned out, Smitherman’s husband was able to stay in town, so we were treated to Furious George routing Joe Pantalone over last year’s garbage strike. But the real story here isn’t that Daddy turned up—it’s that this is the first we’ve heard about the kid in a long, long time. Smitherman and his husband announced they were adopting a young boy last February, and since then the press have largely respected their privacy. In fact, this is the first time that the adoption has come up at all since the announcement.

It’s certainly not unheard of for politicians to be starting or growing their families as they run for office: the new British PM’s wife, Sarah Samantha Cameron, is preggers, and Sarah Palin (in)famously had a child five months before the 2008 presidential election. Both of these kids got wide media play, which makes us wonder if coverage of Smitherman’s young family would have been so quiet if he’d been a woman or straight. No one is questioning his parenting skills the way Palin’s abilities were questioned (over and over again)—and David Cameron‘s weren’t.

Perhaps Canadians just don’t care. After some research, we couldn’t find a clear example of a Canadian woman running for office while pregnant or immediately after giving birth. MPP Laurel Broten ran for re-election in 2007 two years after having twin boys, but that’s the closest a quick Googling could find.

And yes, we know that “a quick Googling” sounds like the first step in where babies come from.

• Smitherman joins Tuesday’s TV debate [Globe and Mail]
Smitherman’s adoption bid given initial approval [CBC]

Updated: May 19, 4:55 p.m.