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2003 Municipal Election: Royson James, John Sewell and Kyle Rae support David Miller




Police back Tory; you shouldn't

John Tory revealed a lot about himself in his reaction to his endorsement as the mayoralty candidate of choice by the Toronto Police Association last week. He said he was "thrilled."

Except he should have shunned this endorsement. By welcoming it so warmly, he signals he's willing to be part of the cronyism at City Hall which has been so rampant in recent years. We expected better. He's not the man to be mayor of Toronto.

Any good political process keeps the police service at a distance rather than asking for police intervention in the choosing of our leaders. Here in Ontario, that good thinking has been embodied in statute, and the Police Services Act and its regulations prohibit police from endorsing candidates or political parties. Yet that's exactly what the Police Association has done and John Tory, a lawyer, doesn't hesitate for a minute to notice that the law may pose a problem.

Cronyism is about twisting laws and rules for personal gain, which is what this seems to be. It's the same complaint people made about Barbara Hall embracing the "Friends of Barbara Hall" as a device to talk about the election in late 2002 when the law says campaigning couldn't begin until Jan. 1, 2003. Anyone who starts his political career in this way -- this is John Tory's first attempt to achieve public office -- can be expected to plunge more deeply into the maelstrom once in office.

There seems little doubt that Tory's proposal to hire 400 more police officers is one of the key reasons for the endorsement, although the prominence of a police photo on his website can't have hurt either. If elected, he'll be in the pocket of the police.

Worse, Tory's promise of hiring 400 new officers is nothing but pandering to a crude law-and-order agenda. The police service itself has outlined its current workload in its report, "2003 Environmental Scan," which sums up the 2002 data. That document says the number of calls per officer has declined by 10.6 per cent from 1998, and the number of crimes per officer has also decreased from 1998, by 5 per cent.

This must be the only municipal service that expands as its work load contracts. Crime, of course, is down, and the total number charged with Criminal Code offences in Toronto in 2002 was 47,383, a drop from previous years. This represents less than 10 crimes per police officer per year -- less than one a month.

In spite of this reduced workload, the service provided by police, as measured by the time it takes for police to respond to a call for service, is crummy. The report says only one-third of the responses to Priority 1 calls (they're the ones involving violence) occur within six minutes -- though the Service Standard says 85 per cent of the responses to such calls should occur within six minutes. Response time for non-emergency calls averages 27 minutes but only 76 per cent of non-emergency calls get a response within one hour.

In spite of all of these decreases in the amount of work and the number of calls per officer, the police service got bigger last year. Tory proposes an even larger increase next year. At the same time, he's said he'll cut the number of all other city staff by 10 per cent.

Can Police Association endorsement help a candidate? Most certainly. When I was running for re-election as Toronto mayor in 1980, the Police Association went after me. I had been an active mayor in policing matters. I had spoken out after police had killed Albert Johnston in September, 1979, the eighth person killed in a 13-month period, saying this was wrong, and while the Metro chairman Paul Godfrey and others criticized me strongly for speaking up, in fact not one person was killed by police for the next 16 months. I stood up for the gay community and demanded that police harassment end. I pushed hard (and successfully) for the establishment of an independent commission to review complaints against the police.

The Police Association publicly raised funds to have me defeated in favour of Art Eggleton. Signs were posted in many police stations reading "Flush Sewell down the drain." It was a big issue. On election night, my vote increased 25 per cent from 1978, but I lost to Eggleton by 2,000 votes -- one vote per poll. I suspect the actions of police association cost me at least 2,000 votes. The police celebrated my defeat two months later by staging a massive raid on gay clubs, arresting almost 400 people, although only a handful were ever convicted of anything.

This year, the election looks close. Many voters may feel they don't want to do something that would antagonize the police, and they may see the Police Association endorsement as a reason to vote for John Tory.

In all this, David Miller looks better and better. He has said -- both before the police association endorsement and after -- that the police endorsement is improper. He has said the police service should not be given more resources, but should manage its affairs better and find savings within its current large budget. It's a reasonable position.

Tory has said there's no difference between the endorsement of the police and that of city unions (Miller has the endorsement of the firefighters and the Canadian Union of Public Employees locals at City Hall.) But the law states police officers may not endorse candidates -- no such law constrains other city staff or their representatives -- and, unlike Tory's promises to police, Miller has made no promises to the firefighters or CUPE to increase the city hall work force or give city workers a special deal.

David Miller is the best choice as the next mayor of Toronto. He offers a serious, uncompromised chance to end cronyism and corruption at City Hall. He offers hope that this city can be repaired and restored, and hope's a precious commodity we shouldn't squander. Miller's the guy on Nov. 10.

John Sewell is a former mayor of Toronto.



Re: Royson James and John Sewell support David Miller

Ummm... Wow...

Royson James promoting Miller. Wow. Who'd a thunk it? Seems like a major departure from his pervious articles. Make me wonder if anyone at the Star's editorial board had a little 'chat' with him. :poke:

Canuck 36

Re: Royson James and John Sewell support David Miller

I hear he was offered $100,000 from the Miller campaign to support him.

Of course that number subsequently dropped when the campaign team admitted that as NDPers, they don't have that kind of money. I think the final settlement involved a free copy of Jack Layton's book, an Olivia Chow calendar, and a few coupons for the Hemp store.


Re: Royson James and John Sewell support David Miller

Nov. 6, 2003. 07:03 AM

Miller is best able to lead city's revival


David Miller, the city councillor who parlayed concerns about city hall corruption into a mayoral campaign slogan, has captured the people's imagination. And mine.

There's a good reason he leads the polls in the race to become the next mayor of Toronto, days before Monday's vote. Long ago, he twigged to the idea that Toronto is yearning for change, citizens are tired of budget austerity measures, and voters are put off by the influence of lobbyists and corporate bigwigs at city hall.

That ability to connect with voters, to capture the sense of hope and to embody the promise of a revitalized city is what sets him apart from the others who would be mayor.

For this, Miller has my vote.

A vote for Miller is not a repudiation of the other candidates — an impressive and capable lot that reflects well on the city. Toronto is fortunate to have the choice of more than one candidate who could improve the city's fortunes, represent it well, advocate on its behalf with vigour and credibility, and look after the city's interests.

Election campaigns do matter. That's the lesson from this most stirring, gruelling contest for mayor of Toronto, spread over 11 months and as many as 60 public debates. This one's taught us that:

John Nunziata hasn't been able to suppress his rabble-rousing, finger-in-the-eye personality long enough to convince Toronto to trust him with the mayor's office.

Tom Jakobek, despite his integrity issues, stood in there, took the heat, and has emerged as a figure that might be remediated, if not cleansed. Toronto just might forgive this capable politician — but not in this election.

Barbara Hall is the saddest case of all, a former beloved figure who's failed miserably to recapture past promise, sinking painfully into obsolescence with each new poll.

John Tory, nipping at Miller's heel, is a terrific candidate and would make a very good mayor. One also sees him as budget chief/deputy mayor/CAO to Mayor Miller. Tory has a good understanding of the city's finances — more so than Miller, who has been a city councillor for nine years but never one interested in the city's finances.

Toronto faces a perennial budget crisis and Miller's solutions can be dismissed as hocus-pocus.

He will not get the type of financial bailout he expects from the province. So, to vote for Miller is to put one's hand on one's wallet and hope a fiscally conservative city council will dampen his penchant for spending.

It's a chance I'm willing to take because Miller's upside is so great.

A vote for Miller sends the message that Toronto is ready to soar again, to fulfil its vision, to assume greatness, to be greater than it has been these last six years of turmoil and decline.

Toronto thirsts for change. A month ago, voters here swept out the provincial Tories, following eight dark years of suffering under the yoke of the Mike Harris/Ernie Eves regime — a period marked by downloading of costs, denigration of municipal services and swift erosion of the social safety net erected over decades of careful consideration.

There is not a single Progressive Conservative representative, federal or provincial, from the Humber to the Rouge and beyond. And with just cause.

The federal Liberals, who, under Jean Chrétien, abandoned the city and failed to guard against its decline through investments, are now turning back toward Toronto; Paul Martin will soon be the new prime minister, and there is hope.

To fully capitalize on this seminal moment, to tap into the sense of optimism and to fuel Toronto's rebirth, we need a new regime at city hall — one free of the cronyism that breeds cynicism, one devoid of the negative perceptions and ties to the old boys' network that have soiled the city's good name and compromised too many senior bureaucrats.

Miller has carefully nurtured the idea that he is the one to lead that rehabilitation. Backed by the chattering class, his campaign has elegantly captured the city's mood with the slogan, "For a clean city." The broom icon on his campaign literature says it all.

Some have latched on to his opposition to the island airport bridge, and his potentially divisive and costly promise to stop it. Some see him as the antidote to backroom deals at city hall. Others like his presence, his personality, his mayor-like strut. I like what he represents, the symbolism of a Miller victory.

In essence, a large number of Toronto residents are planting their hopes and dreams in Miller's hands. They want to believe again. They want to re-engage in local democracy. Demoralized with the forced amalgamation of Toronto, the reduction of the size of city council, the takeover of city schools by a provincial supervisor and the hobbling of the city by the downloading of massive costs, they ache for relief.

More than that, they want someone to tell them the city can be great again, that the mayor is ready and able to lead the renaissance, as Miller said in Tuesday's Toronto Star/Toronto 1 televised debate, "neighbourhood by neighbourhood, community by community."

Tory's candidacy has been sullied by the charge of bribery brought by Nunziata, charges thrown out by the York Region police. And many voters are tripped up by his affiliation with the Progressive Conservatives, a party hated in these parts for imposing the likes of Mike Harris, Ernie Eves and Brian Mulroney on the populace.

But he himself is solid, substantial and capable of running this city. Tory says the right things about the social divide in Toronto and his desire to fix what's wrong in Toronto's 10 poorest neighbourhoods. And I believe he would. The problem is, most people don't. He's keeps company with the Tories, and you know the saying, "Show me your company ..."

Bottom line is, if Tory is elected mayor, a sizeable portion of the city will still be clothed in cynicism. The promise of a city that re-engages its citizens will not be fully realized. A residue of resentment will prevail. Toronto won't take full advantage of this unique period of change.

All of this could be dashed, of course, if Miller the campaigner, if Miller the talker, proves to be much better on the campaign trail than he is as occupant of the mayor's chair.

Can he lead? We don't know for sure. Is he one of those people who work better in opposition than he does when in charge of the government? It's an open question. Does he have the patience, the ability to compromise, the skill sets needed to run the city, especially a council that is decidedly to the right of his political comfort zone?

I'm willing to take the chance.

That, of course, is because I'm willing to pay 5 per cent more in property taxes. I'm not opposed to road tolls, if the money is earmarked for transit or to pay for the demolition of the Gardiner Expressway. I want our streets cleaned, our parks tidy, our public spaces sparkling, our city shimmering and shining from Scarborough to Etobicoke.

I want schools and recreational facilities open to kids. I want more community centres and social and recreational programs in Jane-Finch, Rexdale, Thorncliffe Park.

Tory also promises to provide the care for those neighbourhoods. But his promises of social reform take a back seat to the ones of fiscal rigour. His priority is to fix the budget. That is important, especially with a budget shortfall of more than $300 million.

But it is time to dream again, to build again, to restore broken playgrounds and shattered dreams. It's time for the city to rekindle the can-do spirit so evident before the awful 1990s.

Miller may indeed fail. But if he isn't given the chance, we will forever rue that we didn't risk the chance of a stunning revival.

That's what drives my vote. Something else might drive yours.

Miller or Tory could deliver an administration worthy of Toronto. Miller, I think, unleashes a greater torrent of energy, goodwill and pent-up desire to make Toronto great for all citizens.

Royson James usually appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Email:

Additional articles by Royson James


Re: Royson James and John Sewell support David Miller

Wow. I just saw the Star's and James' endorsements. It looked like both were going to back John Tory, with the strongly worded editorial for the island airport, and James falling over himself with praise for Tory's financial paln and his public service.

John Sewell has contributed to Miller's campaign. He's really putting his money where his mouth is.

Great news.


Re: Royson James and John Sewell support David Miller

Now Magazine also officially endorses Miller:



When mayoral candidate david Miller left a 90-minute meeting with NOW's editorial board, one of our more cynical staffers was heard to mutter, "I can't believe I just spent over an hour in a room with a politician and it doesn't stink of bullshit." David Miller is a different kind of pol, and that's one of the many reasons we are enthusiastically supporting him for mayor of Toronto. For nine years we've watched him in municipal government, tempering the proceedings with his particular blend of wit, reason and integrity. He is, after all, the only leading candidate to have had major experience in the workings of the megacity council. Consequently, he knew early in the game how bad the computer leasing deal stank and was able to lead the charge for a full public inquiry. That scandal, by the way, featured one-time mayor Barbara Hall's budget chief, Tom Jakobek, and developed on the watch of John Tory when he served as one of Mel Lastman's closest advisers.

Miller realizes that citizens crave a well-serviced, functioning city brimming with arts, ideas and ecological health – and that these elements in turn draw business and tourism. He knows as well that dozens of planes spewing air and noise pollution daily over the waterfront aren't part of this vision.

Even conservative politicians know it's time to turn the waterfront into a jewel for the city. Fixed links to the island not only endanger the waterway but turn the islands into an extension of the mainland, irresistable to developers. Only Miller is clear-headed enough to ensure we get a people's waterfront.

The articulate Harvard-educated lawyer doesn't favour crazy budget slashing, just intelligent, careful spending and gentle, reasonable tax increases. And he's a consensus builder who wants to collaborate with city workers instead of needlessly battling them. He won't stoop to pitting one sector of the city against another, generating fruitless strikes and animosities. A smart, charismatic and passionate city lover, Miller's got the stuff for deft negotiations with the province over budget shortfalls and for galvanizing mayors across the country to pressure the feds for more cash.

For too long this city has been run by a corrupt cabal of cronies led by Paul Godfrey, Lastman and John Tory. Their rule has featured backroom deals that spawned disasters like MFP, the absurd Olympic bid and the corrupt Union Station contract.

It's surreal to watch long-time Conservative conniver Tory claiming to be the candidate for change. He comes directly from the same destructive political pool that produced the insane "no tax increase, no services" approach that's been ruining the city. Tory accuses Miller of being irresponsible, yet Tory's the one who wants to put 400 more police on the streets even though crime is dropping. And it's Tory who favoured the contracting-out of services like snow removal, which now costs Toronto three times more than other cities. Contracting out does not always save money, it often costs more. And if you think the quality of services stay the same, just ask the people of Walkerton or the customers who bought tainted Aylmer meat. Both of these scandals happened when services once performed by government employees were contracted to the private sector. No thanks, John.

Tory has had his chance over the last six years, when Mel's crew held their weekly meetings in the Rogers Communications boardroom. It's time he took responsibility for this mess and fessed up that he's dragging around a pack of IOUs to Conservative politicians and big-business buddies.

Tory accuses Miller of being beholden to city workers just because they endorse him – and he can talk with them. But Tory is already pandering to the cops, who backed him and are licking their chops at the prospect of reporting to such a compliant police-first mayor, the kind who imagines crime waves that aren't in order to scare voters to his side.

We don't want the team that pushed mega-projects so they could build them and turn over a quick buck, the same people who tried to give us a waterfront full of empty stadiums and parking lots, the Olympic fiasco, a larger Island Airport and garbage-burner incinerators (which we know won't be going up in Rosedale).

We call on supporters of Barbara Hall to desert the faded contender and mark a ballot for Miller so as not to boost Tory's fortunes. We're opposed to Hall not because of how she speaks but because of what she says, when she says anything at all. Hall has quite simply sold out her progressive constituency to kiss conservative ass and boost the fortunes of a nutty Island Airport expansion.

This is Miller time. Vote for him for mayor and watch a beautiful new city unfold. A humane, ecological, bustling place we can be proud to call home, one that will draw business without plastic moose or mega-project gimmicks. We have a chance to rescue Toronto. Let us do it together. Vote David Miller.

He opposes

• Expanding the Island Airport

• Incineration

He favours

• Reasonable tax increases to pay for services

• Stronger civilian monitoring on the police services board

• Safe injection sites

• Increasing funding of the arts by 25 per cent

• Creation of 1,000 units of affordable and 1,000 of supportive housing a year

He intends to

• Work with a strong coalition of mayors to pressure the province and feds for more urban funding

• Have a collaborative, not toxic, relationship with city workers

He favours

• Expanding the Island Airport

• Incineration

• Contracting out

• 400 more police officers

• Fixating on law and order when crime is actually down

• A law banning panhandling in the downtown core

He is

• Part of the crew of Tory cronies who directed Mel through disasters like the Olympic bid, Union Station and Island Airport expansion

She favours

• A fixed link to the Island and disguises the fact that she actually supports an enhanced Island Airport

Her tendency

• Once sensitive to the issues of the left, Hall now leans toward incorporating the scary right, as evinced by her disastrous appointment of Tom Jakobek as budget chief in the old city and her catering to development interests over the fixed link.

• This candidate, who thought she could slip into power by avoiding articulating a strong vision, can no longer be trusted with the tough, creative decisions that have to be made.

The upshot

• A vote for Hall is a vote for Tory, because she can't win. Supporting her splits the progressive vote pointlessly.

NOW | NOV 6 - 12, 2003 | VOL. 23 NO. 10


Re: Royson James and John Sewell support David Miller

Nov. 9, 2003. 08:11 AM

Hall ally gets in Miller's corner
Support given to rival with chance
Race with Tory too close to split votes


In a heart-wrenching decision, Councillor Kyle Rae, a long-time friend and political ally of Barbara Hall, said with the mayor's race too close to call, Hall supporters should vote for David Miller tomorrow.

The move came after a Saturday Star poll showed Hall's support has fallen to 11 per cent, lagging far behind Miller at 44 per cent and John Tory at 37 per cent. The margin of error is 4 percentage points, making the race incredibly tight.

"I love Barbara. I've worked with her for years. I've been disappointed in how the race has gone. But Toronto comes first," Rae said yesterday. "It's tearing my heart out, but I'm confident with David. It's not like I'm making a deal with the devil."

The two frontrunners, Miller, 44, and Tory, 49, vowed to campaign all weekend and ensure their supporters will be at the polls tomorrow.

"I'm encouraged. It matches the momentum I've been feeling on the street," Miller said. "People have been terrific. On Friday, it took me half an hour to walk down Bay St. between Queen and Front because so many people wanted to shake my hand."

Tory said he is delighted it's a horse race and support is rising.

Rae, one of only four city councillors to back Hall, was a gay community activist for years before entering politics in 1991. Hall is incredibly popular in the gay community partly because she was one of a number of lawyers who helped to defend clients arrested in the infamous 1981 bathhouse raids.

Hall and Rae have worked closely together on the former Toronto city council and have a warm personal relationship. Rae has already cast his ballot for Hall in the advance polls.

Rae's sudden decision — coming from his fears that Tory could win tomorrow — could sway key votes in a community that is politically astute and active. All the candidates have made stops to the Church St. strip, and Miller popped in to a few bars with Rae last night.

Hall, 57, who was campaigning in Chinatown East yesterday morning, insisted it's still a three-way race and that she had no plans to drop out.

"I'm out there working hard until the end," she said. "I've had no conversations nor have I authorized any conversations with the Miller camp."

Campaigners for Hall have argued that much of her support in the city's ethnic communities is not reflected in polls.

Ryerson University politics professor Myer Siemiatycki believes tomorrow's vote comes down to a choice between Miller, who has emphasized change at city hall and a view that government can be an instrument for civic betterment, and Tory, who has a strong track record from the private sector and has promised to run the city more like a business.

"The results on election night will tell us as much about 2.5 million Torontonians and what they value as it tells us about the candidates who offered themselves for mayor," Siemiatycki said.

"Without question this promises to be the most exciting and the most important election Toronto has had in 30 years," he said. "I think you would have to go back to the 1972 election that elected David Crombie to find anything that matches it in significance."

Siemiatycki believes it's a critical time because of changes at Queen's Park with the Liberals and impending change in Ottawa with Paul Martin signals more urban-friendly governments are coming.

"We're at a moment when an effective mayor can partner with senior levels of government to really make things happen for Toronto, rather to and against Toronto, for the first time in a long time."

With files from Paul Moloney and Jack Lakey