David Miller at 2010’s Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, outside City Hall. Photo by Lodoe-Laura Haines-Wangda/Torontoist.
On Tuesday, David Miller sat for an interview with the Globe‘s ex–City Hall reporter John Barber (he’s the guy who mouthed, on tape, that Rob Ford was a “fat fuck”), in the Toronto Reference Library’s Appel Salon, for a final airing of grievances before votes are cast on Monday. Barber’s first question was something along the lines of: “What are we going to do now?”
Miller’s answer: “Well, if it doesn’t go well, we’re all gonna move to Calgary.”
“You’ve endorsed a candidate who’s clearly not going to win,” said Barber, referring to Miller’s decision to stand behind mayoral candidate Joe Pantalone, who lags somewhere between fifteen and twenty percentage points behind front-runners George Smitherman and Rob Ford in every poll.
“I actually did think about it before doing it,” said Miller.
“Morally and ethically, I want to vote for a city I believe in.” He said he’d recorded radio ads for Pantalone, and that they’d be airing soon.
When prompted to speak about his accomplishments, Miller seized the opportunity to talk about his Streets to Homes program, his priority neighbourhoods program, and Transit City—at least the latter two of which are in danger of being cut or somehow modified by his successor.
Miller defended the Land Transfer Tax, also on the chopping block this election season. He criticized Smitherman for being “nowhere” while Transit City’s funding was being cut by the province, despite the fact that Smitherman was deputy premier at the time. (Miller chose never to refer to Smitherman by name, nor to Ford.)
Between Transit City tirades, Miller even found time to reaffirm his belief in extending the municipal vote to non-citizen permanent residents of Toronto. “I feel very strongly that in a municipal election landed immigrants should have the vote,” he said. This was one of many issues that never gained traction during the mayoral campaign.
An audience member submitted a written question, asking Miller why he didn’t support activists during the G20 summit.
“I think what happened on the Saturday was reprehensible,” said Miller. “It was the one time in my mayoralty when I was absolutely furious and livid.” He suggested that rather than being angry with police, who in his view were doing their jobs by reacting to violence, citizens should question whether the federal “breach of peace” law used to arrest demonstrators is just. He also suggested, but could not say with certainty, that the “kettling” incident at Queen Street and Spadina Avenue was the responsibility of provincial police, rather than Toronto police officers.
At one point, early in the conversation, Barber asked if there had been any point during the race when Miller had felt the urge to run, after all.
“I don’t want to run again,” he said. “I just want to yell a bit. And I guess I just did that.”
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