Miller on his successes and hope for city’s future
An except from an exit interview with mayor
(Written Nov. 24 for Town Crier)
In November 2002, before he was elected as mayor, David Miller told me as a Town Crier reporter he’d know if he was successful as a leader if “everyone feels that city hall is honest, trustworthy and if in every neighbourhood people can point to positive change.”
Based on that, he said he’s succeeded.
“My first campaign was … about taking a city government that had unfortunately slid into being a government that if you knew where the backrooms were you could get your business done,” he said today in an interview. “It (city hall) wasn’t there for the people of Toronto.”
Miller was one of the few councillors who pushed for an inquiry into the MFP computer leasing scandal that included allegations of bribery against a former politician.
In her final report Justice Denise Bellamy recommended a series of accountability offices such as an integrity officer, lobbyist registry and city ombudsman that Miller later created.
He also argues that compared to the past his administration has been virtually scandal-free.
“The city government has come under some criticism for relatively minor things like a councillor renting a squirrel costume, which I suggest rather pales in comparison to the MFP scandal where hundreds of millions went out the back door (in contracts) because people were connected to people in power and paid them off,” said Miller
Despite the harsh criticism of his tenure during the recent election Miller said that a week the vote his approval rating was still 60 percent. He also rejects the idea that the city is in financial trouble.
“The biggest issue facing this city is not the books at city hall because they are in extraordinary shape,” Miller said. “The biggest issue facing this city is the risk we will no longer be a city that’s welcoming and one of social justice.
“If you want to be a successful city, in the Canadian model of exclusiveness than people in Rexdale have to believe and have to have the same chance that the people in Rosedale take for granted.”
And it’s as a progressive that he said he believes he’ll be remembered.
“(People) know who David Miller was (as mayor). He had a heart for people who needed a hand up. He supported the environment. He supported public transit and was ethical and lead a government of integrity,” he said.
“That’s the legacy I wanted to leave.”
* An except from the 30-minute interview Nov. 24 with more to come on Miller’s legacy.
On Nov. 24, I did an 30-minute exit interview with Mayor David Miller for the Town Crier. This week most media outlets did the same. Here is the first of three installments based on today’s interview. Two other articles will be featured online and in the newspaper’s Bloor West community edition and our new magazine Toronto Today. I will post those stories in weeks to come, so this is just a snapshot of today’s interview.
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