Mayor David Millermayor_miller@toronto.ca
100 Queen Street West, 2nd floor
Votes against the community position: 1
VoteToronto strongly endorsed David Miller in the 2003 election, and in one of the most exciting city elections in decades, he came-from-behind to defeat his nearest rival by over 36,000 votes.
Miller is a lawyer by training. The new mayor is a left-of-centre politician with nine years experience on council. His NDP affiliations were no problem with the voters but in the future they may present difficulties with federal and provincial Liberals.
Miller’s greatest strength is his understanding of the complexities of running a city with the enormous diversity of Toronto but he also has a common touch and great energy. Those qualities help him reach out to a large number of people in the city.
Since becoming mayor David Miller has emerged as the foremost municipal leader advocating a new urban agenda for Canada. He has talked about a more positive relationship with both the federal and provincial levels of government and has complained that federal and provincial governments are taking 9 billion dollars more out of the city than is returned.
This approach is beginning to bear fruit. The Martin federal government has cancelled the payment of GST for all municipalities, a savings of millions of dollars, special funding has been received for the TTC, and promises have been made by both the Ontario and federal governments to return the gasoline tax to municipalities.
However, there are dangers and setbacks. The Martin promise of a New Urban Agenda has morphed into an Agenda for Communities. As Miller and other municipal leaders have pointed out the social and infrastructure problems facing cities is much more serious than for small Canadian centers.
In his inaugural address on December 2, 2003, Miller spoke about his vision for Toronto. This dream included strengthening neighbourhoods, cleaning up government by making decisions more transparent and creating a “clean, green” waterfront. By far the most controversial of these issues is the waterfront.
On December 3rd he led the new council to vote decisively against the bridge to the Island Airport. In his speech he made it clear that it would be impossible to achieve a rejuvenated waterfront if it had a major airport. Finally, with the pressures of the federal election, it appears that Paul Martin has listened to the public opposition to this project and has cancelled the federal participation in the bridge.
All the signs indicate that the Miller led council will decisively move to take back the city from the business interests that have dominated its political life for so long, but the problems remain formidable. By far the most difficult is the financial crisis. If Miller can gain more funding then he can begin to address the multitude of other problems that plague the city like the cost of public transit, homelessness, inadequate housing, child poverty and clogged traffic.
David Miller has taken up the challenge to solve the problems of our city. Over the coming months he will be setting the agenda for the City of Toronto and perhaps shaping the agenda for all municipalities across the country. He will be called on to defend the public interest and at the same time there will be demands that he find ways to include the private sector in the rejuvenation of the city. It will be a challenge that VoteToronto will follow with interest.2003 Election Results:
Toronto City Council
Follow the Money 2003
Ward By Ward