Thursday 9 May 2019

Book ~ "Unconventional Candour" (2019) George Smitherman

From Goodreads ~ From modest beginnings, George Smitherman rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in Ontario and then plummeted, defeated by one of the most notorious: Rob Ford. This memoir takes readers on the roller-coaster ride of his career and his personal life as a gay man struggling with the constraints of society and family. 

Smitherman offers candid insights into the hardball politics of city hall and the provincial legislature, as well as the Liberal government under Dalton McGuinty, including accomplishments like prescription drug reforms and the green energy plan, and the so-called eHealth, Ornge, and gas plant scandals. He reveals how he lost the mayoral race but managed to rebound from that defeat, as well from the suicide of his husband.

George Smitherman is a Canadian politician from Toronto. He represented the provincial riding of Toronto Centre in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1999 to 2010.  He was the first openly gay Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) elected in Ontario and the province's first openly gay cabinet minister.  He resigned from provincial politics to enter the mayor's race for Toronto in the 2010 municipal election (Rob Ford won).  He was also a candidate in the 2018 municipal election, running for Toronto City Council in Ward 13 Toronto Centre (he lost to incumbent Kristyn Wong-Tam). He shifted his focus to the private sector and has participated in the start up and growth of several companies

I'm not political at all and don't remember Smitherman from provincial politics.  I think he came onto my radar when his husband, Christopher, who was suffering from depression, was found dead after going missing in 2013.

When I was reading this book, I didn't find provincial politics stories overly interesting.  I was more interested in his personal life ... growing up in Toronto, coming out as a gay man, marrying his husband and adopting two children with him, dealing with his husband's suicide and eventually finding love again.  It was also interesting reading about him having to deal with Rob and Doug Ford (and what he thinks of them) and what it was like running for mayor in 2010 and for council in 2018.

I liked the writing style.  He seemed honest in telling his stories.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

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