Miller smiles at his family at his press conference today. Photo by David Topping/Torontoist.
It was, and it wasn’t, a surprise.
David Miller announced this morning that he will not be seeking a third term in office.
“While it’s been a difficult decision I feel secure in my priorities, proud of my record, and confident in my vision for the city I love,” said Miller, before explaining that he felt that all of his major policy goals had been successfully implemented or were well on the way there, and that running for a third term would therefore be more about him than his issues.
Citing a desire to be more available for his children and engaged with his family, and with his voice breaking at times, Miller went on to reaffirm his commitment to the values which have shaped his time in office—transit expansion, environmental initiatives, and crime reduction foremost among them.
The mayor has been much beleaguered the past few months: an unpopular city workers’ strike this summer, increasingly aggressive attacks from right-wing opponents, and a recently released poll showing a significant drop in his approval ratings have combined to make what was once predicted to be an easy reelection bid seem increasingly challenging.
It is far too soon to assess the mayor’s tenure and summarize his legacy: he instituted major shifts in Toronto’s political discourse the effects and longevity of which are not yet clear. What is certain is that a great many of the things that we now talk about as commonplace—renewing the suburbs, densification, a multi-modal approach to transportation, trash diversion, environmentally geared infrastructure redevelopment—were the merest blips on our collective horizon when he first came to office. Miller deserves a tremendous amount of credit for installing these progressive issues into the heart of our civic discourse and at the forefront of our consciousness, and if those issues lose their spot at the centre of our attention it will be to our great detriment.