What Next?

I met David Miller once. He’s a very large, imposing man. Nice looking too. And now he is quitting as mayor and Toronto has lost any real hope of getting better.

Toronto is an important city, as far as Canadian cities go. I know, the rest of the country hates us because the rest of the world doesn’t know where Regina is, and no one wants to go to Edmonton on vacation. But that’s their problem. It shouldn’t be ours. Toronto contributes heavily to the Canadian economy, and yet, it is seriously underfunded. So seriously that we can’t afford to fix our water mains before they explode, maintain a proper public transit system, or properly pave half of the roads in the city.

Toronto’s tax dollars support the rest of the province. People commute to work in Toronto, use out public services for the day, and then go back to the town to which they pay their property taxes.

Canada is too big. Canada has tons of land and too few people to really support all the towns in it properly. Federal dollars go to the 30,000 residents of the Yukon so that they may have fancy rec centres and beautifully paved roads, and to fund cross-Canada trips for students. Am I saying that the people of the Yukon don’t deserve these things? Maybe. I don’t mean to suggest that we should leave them to rot in a cesspool, but in a country this big, it is just not feasible to give small populations everything that they could possibly dream of, and let the home of 10% of the population fall to pieces.

Now David Miller isn’t perfect. The garbage strike went on too long, and he nearly blew the streetcar deal, but are those things really the end of the world?

Here are some good things David Miller did:

1) Constantly fought for Toronto. From the island airport (whether you agree with it or not) to the One Cent campaign, Miller wanted Toronto to be better. Yes, he made mistakes, and yes, people disagree with him, but he worked really hard.

2) Did the best he could with what he had. Miller raised property taxes, introduced a land transfer tax, and introduced a car tax. You’re right, guys on the right, he’s trying to rob your babies of food, not work with a non-existent budget.

3) He chaired the C40 – a group to fight climate change in Canada. He set high goals for diverting Toronto’s garbage (yes, with some miscalculated garbage bins) that encourage people to recycle and compost more by making them financially responsible for how much garbage they produce. (I’m pretty sure the people who hate this the most are the ones who can’t figure out how to put out less than a jumbo bin every 2 weeks).

Remember Mike Harris? Harris was voted in, just like Stephen Harper, as a knee-jerk response to some screw ups from the guy before. All politicians fuck up, some of them worse than others, and need to be replaced. Some of them fuck up and need another chance. What we don’t need is all these idiot voters who try to pick the exact opposite of the current guy as a response to those mistakes.

Joe Fiorito of the Toronto Star writes this column suggesting that the next mayor needs to be 9 parts Miller (and surprisingly one part Lastman). Have a read. He’s right. Because what voters need to do is honestly weigh out the pros and cons of a leader’s term. The next “guy” should be more like the pros, and not just the most opposite you can get.

So for the next guy, please feel free to fuck up on small things, as long as you constantly try to do better. Please, don’t listen to the guys who think every effort to make Toronto’s roads accessible for everyone (not just cars) is somehow a war being waged on society as we know it. Keep trying to make Toronto a cleaner place despite people’s complaints. Fight the bigger government guys harder and harder until the social service, infrastructure and transit costs that were downloaded on the city years ago get paid for by the appropriate levels of government. Make Toronto a city that people are jealous of – we like it that way


4 thoughts on “What Next?

  1. You are absolutely right, why do small communities get so much of our taxes when the big cities are the ones that need it more. There is so much work that needs to be done in Toronto but there just isn't enough money for it. And it's sad, Toronto has a huge potential but is lacking the money that is being poured into small towns so they can build their cute little parks and have brand new roads. It does seem unfair…


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