Smitherman picks up trash in Toronto; denies interfering in strike

“We’re taking one side and one side only — the side of clean streets in our city.”

 

Ontario’s deputy premier says he’s just showing pride in his city by leading a group of about 30 residents in picking up trash during Toronto’s city workers’ strike.

 

George Smitherman says this morning’s cleanup job in his riding of Toronto Centre isn’t meant as an intervention in the strike.

 

The strike, now more than three weeks old, has seen debris pile up on the streets.

 

Smitherman says the cleanup — carried out in connection with a residents’ group called OneToronto — is a way of expressing pride in the city.

He says he’s not trying to get in the middle of talks to end the strike between the city and two locals of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

He says he knows “the stakes are high” during negotiations and he’s not taking sides.

“We’re taking one side and one side only — the side of clean streets in our city,” Smitherman said.

Smitherman says he’s trying to encourage more citizens’ groups to make a big push to clean up the city this Saturday.