Actually, we do like him when he’s angry: Furious George shows up for mayoral debate

Actually, we do like him when he’s angry: Furious George shows up for mayoral debate

Furious George Smitherman (Image: Shaun Merritt)

Months into the snooze-inducing mayoral campaigning, we’re thrilled to announce that the candidates’ gloves finally came off last night at the Real Estate Board debate. All of Smitherman’s campaign manager’s talk of “unleashing George” seems to be having an effect, as the front-runner called out Rob Ford over the latter’s comments about AIDS prevention. To wit (and remember, these remarks were made in 2006, not 1986):

Rob Ford spoke out against the city spending $1.5 million to help prevent the disease. “It is very preventable,” he said at the time. “If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably. That’s bottom line.”

Smitherman was unimpressed then, and he’s unimpressed now.

“I’d like you to explain to people how your character, and especially these comments, is justifiable now that you present yourself as someone who wants to be mayor of Toronto, one of the most diverse places to be found anywhere in the world,” Mr. Smitherman said in front of a crowd of hundreds.

Smitherman conceded in a scrum after the debate that while his attacks on Ford were motivated by principle, it’s a little bit personal, too. Ford, for his part, didn’t help matters by re-tweeting supporters who say he was just “telling truth about AIDS” [sic].

Ford supporters are probably not unaware that their candidate has an indelicate way with words, so this is probably not the death blow to his ambitions. But the prayers of at least one newspaper have been answered, as well as the prayers of headline writers everywhere: who doesn’t love another chance to use the words “Furious George”?

Smitherman attacks Ford on gay comments [National Post]
Ford rips Smitherman’s ‘unseemly’ attack [Toronto Sun]
• Smitherman attacks Ford over opposition to AIDS funding [Globe and Mail]