Smitherman tries to get by with a little help from his friends

Smitherman tries to get by with a little help from his friends

75,000 Torontonians will receive this flyer this week. Lucky them

Over the past six months, we’ve catalogued a few examples of how Toronto has been ignored by the McGuinty government. The short list would include cuts to Transit City, funding for roads everywhere except Toronto, and a pretty poisonous fight over fare cards (of all things). Turns out there is one thing that really gets the attention of Ontario’s governing Liberals: the prospect of a Rob Ford victory over George Smitherman. And Smitherman, clearly not making headlines of his own, needs all the help he can get.

The Toronto Star had the story on Saturday morning, but it’s too good to let slip through the cracks:

Mindful that a municipal victory by Progressive Conservative Rob Ford would be a blow to the Grits in the city, pamphlets are being distributed to 75,000 identified Liberal voters by Smitherman’s campaign….

Hailing the fact he was “the Liberal MPP for Toronto Centre for 10 years,” the flyer also hypes his service as McGuinty’s deputy, minister of health, and minister of energy and infrastructure.

The touting of Smitherman’s partisan ties underscores a growing sense at Queen’s Park that the mayoral hopeful’s political fortunes are entwined with those of the governing party.

Funny thing, it turns out that neglecting the most vote-rich city in the province (the Liberals hold 19 of Toronto’s 23 ridings) might have an electoral downside for the provincial government. Given the poll that came out over the weekend showing a pile of bad news for the Liberals, Dalton McGuinty and his ilk must be desperate to hold on to safe seats wherever they can.

The real question is this: Eight years after Mike Harris left office, have the Liberals finally have worn out the credit that came from not being Mike Harris?

• Liberals scramble to help George Smitherman stop Rob Ford [Toronto Star]