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George Smitherman

George Smitherman was first elected to serve the diverse communities of downtown Toronto in 1999, but his interest in politics was sown over 20 years earlier. Inspired by the life and politics of Pierre Trudeau, he gained experience at all three levels of government, working in support of several senior political leaders.From his home base in Toronto's gay community, where he owned and operated a small business for nearly a decade, Smitherman launched his campaign for public office. He is Ontario's first openly gay MPP and cabinet minister. He married his partner, Christopher, in the summer of 2007 north of Elliot Lake, Ontario. They live in Cabbagetown.In the community, Smitherman is well known for his advocacy in areas such as housing, heritage preservation, community economic development, protection of pension rights, efforts to combat guns and drugs, and human rights issues.Smitherman was appointed Minister of Energy and Infrastructure in June 2008. He previously served as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care since 2003. Smitherman has also announced his intention to run for the 2010 Toronto Mayoralty, and will be the first openly gay candidate for this position in the city's history.