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Miller's Legacy

Was David Miller a good or bad mayor for Toronto?

  • Good

    Votes: 46 64.8%
  • Bad

    Votes: 15 21.1%
  • Average

    Votes: 10 14.1%

  • Total voters
I simply cannot agree with the notion that David Miller can take credit for the ascendancy of Toronto. It just so happens that his mayoralty has largely coincided with a bit of a golden age for Canada's stature in the world. It isn't surprising that Canada's most economically powerful city would benefit from this period. But let's be honest: this has been a gilded age for pretty much every urban centre in Canada over the past ten years, from coast-to-coast. And I'm sure all the respective mayors are all taking credit for it.

The truth is, a lot of Toronto's rampant building boom is the result of a long, drawn out over-correction for the disastrous rent control policies of the Bob Rae government in the early 1990s which brought new multi-family dwelling development to a standstill, coupled with a city council which was relatively anti-development.

The real end of this lull happened when rent control was ended, and the Ontario Municipal Board started ramming through development proposals against the will of Toronto City Hall.

Certainly, Miller has been a pro-development mayor and has largely helped kept the anti-development forces at bay within the city council. And this has been good for Toronto. Allowing Toronto to further urbanize and see the arrival of a true downtown culture again... and that's paying huge dividends as more and more people actually WANT to live in the city again. How much of that can be attributed to David Miller and how much of that can be attributed to external factors is certainly up for debate. But I'm inclined to believe he was in the right place at the right time.
Interesting point, brockm. Which is something I often discuss when people glamorize David Crombie's reign. Politically and economically, he could not have been mayor at a better time, especially before the massive 80s recession and outward retreat of business.
One way to assess Miller's legacy is to look back on the issues that were central in the 2003 election, and how few of them are still at the top of voters minds. From what I recall the four top issues were:

*Garbage - Green Lane landfill solved this for the near future
*Corruption - The MFC scandal made this a major issue, but Miller governed for seven years without a major scandal so this faded
*Waterfront - A lot still to be done, but progress is being made
*Homelessness - Situation has greatly improved, though problem still exists
Curious to see how how many of you guys that think Miller was a good mayor

Lived in Toronto 4 years prior to Miller

I woudl say at best, he was an average Mayor. His good deeds are quickly neutralized by this underlying handicap to capitulate to everything that is pro-union.
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I'd say he was a good mayor. He certainly wasn't perfect, but he had a real vision for the city.
I'm pretty sure there were strikes while he was mayor. If he capitulated to everything union then there wouldn't have been any strikes.
Shh ... they might figure out that avoiding strikes and making certain unions essential services drives up wage settlements.
I think the real question should be how has Toronto progressed in this time relative to other Canadian cities. That would truly reveal how Toronto is doing.
By that measure I think Toronto has had some success and failures. It has had a true rennaisance in the arts and culture with it's many new cultural events and infastructure such as AGO and ROM. Dundas Square is a stellar success and the Waterfront is finally beginning after years of debate and inertia.
On the other hand the city has become, in my opinion, dirtier and sloppy looking. The TTC has brought in some better service and Union is getting a massive upgrade but considering the city grew by 200,000 under his realm I think it has been a real disappointment. In 7 years all he has managed to do is get a whopping 8km {of which only only 5 is in Toronto} of subway construction and a much hated St.Clair ROW and Sheppard streetcar. He did manage to get funding for a new streetcar fleet which was much needed and no small task.
I think in general he will be known as a mayor who was at the whim of the powerful unions but a competent administrator and a good representative for the city as a whole on the national and international stage. I think one of his greatest achievements was Transit City. I know, I know a lot of you disagree and I have been a vocal critic of it and Metrolinx but it has had a good outcome. Yes, it was ill advised and much of it inappropriate. Yes, it had little public input in terms of technology, route, and even it's fundamental service level. Yes, it managed to divide the city on it's pros and cons which is a true reflection of how transit can be divisive as well as connecting communities and people BUT it did do one thing very finally got Toronto and Queen's Park talking about massive transit renewal. The squeaky wheel gets the most oil and TC certainly did that. It put transit back on the front burner of the citizens, City Hall and especially Queen's Park. It raised expectations of the transit system Toronto should have. Ford wouldn't be too concerned about subway expansion if it wasn't for the fact that he had to offer an alternative to TC. Without TC Toronto would just get another 8km subway expansion this decade but it forced all councillors and mayor wannabes to step up to the plate and not only tell the populace what they are going to get instead and how it will be paid for as opposed to a list of transit platitudes which result in endless "consultations" but no new improvements when it's all said and done.