Why David Miller is Quite Possibly the Worst Toronto Mayor Ever

Toronto misses out on stimulus money. - Toronto Star, July 27, 2009

I used to wonder where Toronto got such a reputation as an egotistic city. The center of the known universe and all that. I mean, I know a lot of people from Toronto, and they aren't that bad! Most of them are just like everyone else, trying to get by and make life a little better for the next generation.

Then I read this article in today's Star. Seems Toronto won't be getting any federal stimulus money because David Miller decided not to play by the rules that every other city and municipality in Canada had to abide by.

Thanks to David Miller's bravado, John Baird's combativeness and the obduracy of CUPE Local 79, Toronto has scarcely received a dribble of national infrastructure money.

The city was eligible for approximately $300 million of the economic stimulus in January's federal budget. All it had to do was submit a list of "shovel-ready" projects that weren't already slated for construction, created local jobs and could be completed by 2011. The deadline was May 1.

But the mayor chose to ignore the rules. Gambling he could get a special deal, Miller submitted just one proposal: that Toronto's entire allotment be dedicated to the purchase of a fleet of state-of-the-art streetcars, built in Thunder Bay and scheduled for delivery between 2011 and 2018.

The federal infrastructure minister responded with a two-word obscenity. Fuming that Toronto was the only city that flouted Ottawa's guidelines, Baird rejected its application.

When will Miller get it? Toronto doesn't always deserve a 'special deal' just because of its sheer size. Why should it? Especially in this case where the stimulus money would come from all Canadians and not just Torontonians. His 'proposal' wasn't even close to being within the guidelines of a 'shovel-ready' project. It didn't even involve a shovel for crying out loud! No infrastructure improvement, no new employment, nothing within the guidelines at all.
In late June, Toronto filed a second infrastructure application, consisting of a long list of small projects – close to 500 – that meet Ottawa's criteria. "We haven't heard back," said Stuart Green, the mayor's spokesman. "It's still under review."
Yeah. Good luck with that.


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