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Husband of former Ontario health minister George Smitherman is missing

March 24, 2013 - TORONTO, ON: George Smitherman (left) and Christopher Peloso during Casey House's Snowball at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens.

Della Rollins/The Globe and Mail

The husband of former Ontario health minister George Smitherman is missing.

Christopher Peloso, 39, was last seen Monday afternoon at 4 p.m., according to police.

Mr. Smitherman released a statement through his website about his husband's disappearance.

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"I regret to confirm that Christopher Peloso has been missing from our home for almost 24 hours. Michael, Kayla and myself, with the support of family and friends, are hopeful that our husband and father will be home safely soon," he wrote.

Mr. Peloso's sister in Sudbury, Stephanie Peloso, also confirmed her brother was missing but offered no further comment.

He was last seen in the Davenport Road/Bathurst Street area. The couple recently moved from their condominium on Carlton Street to the Davenport area, according to Bruce Davis, Mr. Smitherman's former campaign manager.

Mr. Peloso may suffer from a medical condition that has police concerned for his safety.

Police say he is white with brown hair and brown eyes, 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark-blue hooded jacket, tan cargo shorts and blue flip flops.

Mr. Smitherman was Ontario's first openly gay cabinet minister. After serving on former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty's government as deputy premier, health minister and energy minister, Mr. Smitherman stepped down from provincial politics in 2010 to run in Toronto's mayoral election. He was defeated by Rob Ford.

Liz Pettigrew, who lives in Alberta, is a friend of Mr. Peloso from high school in Sudbury. She communicated with him last week. "He's just a fantastic human being and I hope somebody hasn't hurt him. Loves his children, and his family, his husband. He's a great friend, " she said.

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Mr. Peloso worked at Lindt Canada as the director of retail until "a few years ago" according to the company's human resources staff.

Mr. Smitherman and Mr. Peloso exchanged vows in 2007 at a wilderness retreat in the former mining community of Elliot Lake. Mr. Smitherman has told The Globe that he met Mr. Peloso, who grew up in northern Ontario, when he was "fresh off the bus from Sudbury" in 1994. They dated on and off, with long breaks in between.

"I was just slow to mature," Mr. Smitherman told The Globe in 2009. "That Christopher's love was so enduring really saves me from being one of those people that could have been embittered by the regret that I just didn't get my shit together in time."

The couple adopted Michael in 2010.

Mr. Peloso also has an older daughter, Morgan, who is 20. She posted a plea for information about her father's whereabouts on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon.

With files from Sahar Fatima

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