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Miller, a ghost from the past
to haunt Toronto

TORONTO – David Miller, former Toronto mayor until he was “shunned” out town before the public got the chance to “throw him out”, reappeared to sully the waters of Toronto once again.

He’s been out of the picture since he bungled negotiations with sanitation workers and pit the city into a deplorable strike that saw the accumulation of heaps garbage in parks, parking lots and virtually anywhere the citizenry could rid itself of refuse. The rat population exploded. Other vermin did as well.

Miller, famously described by his predecessor mayor the late Mel Lastman as “too stupid to be mayor”, in these days, he decided to prove everyone right once again.

Yesterday, upon uncovering the presence of a “suspicious package”, authorities shut down Billy Bishop Airport for the security of life and property until the “crisis” would pass.

Miller, who manages a research organization on climate change and the economy, called for tearing down of the airport and replacing it with parkland. One radio personality called him a “jerk” another as the author of the most stupid idea imaginable. Both went on to assail the former mayor for poorly thought out “policy”. Both are/were associated with political adversaries on the City Council he led.

As a former Minister responsible for Toronto at the time, I found his vision for the city to be restrictive when it came to the issue of utilizing federal lands on Toronto’s waterfront. We clashed often. The airport was central to those differences. The federal government invested heavily in the revitalization of the airport and the Port, despite his objections.

A Toronto Ports Report, February 20, 2015, described Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport as a significant economic engine, generating more than $2 billion in total annual economic output and providing more than 6,500 total jobs, including 1,960 jobs directly associated with the airport. Probably more today.

The federal government invested heavily in connecting the Downtown with Pearson and beyond. Miller led the crew that resisted any collaborative effort with the federal authority on behalf of the city. Had it not been for the relatively amicable relations with our provincial counterparts, there would not be a Soccer stadium, nor indeed the TFC and the U-20 FIFA tournament is hosted in 2011, nor a subway extension into Vaughan, the list can go on, from housing to tourism development and more.

Such was the obstreperous small mindedness of the former mayor. I was not unhappy to see him depart. This latest public explosion of his thoughts reminded me that I don’t know whether to agree with the opinions of the late Mel Lastman or with the radio commentators of Radio 680.

In the pics above: D. Miller (photo from https://yfile.news.yorku.ca); a view of the islands and, circled in red, the Billy Bishop with the city in the background: the skyscrapers today all over the north side of the lakefront (from www.thecanadianencyclo.ca)

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