Six things we learned from David Miller’s mass of exit interviews

Six things we learned from David Miller’s mass of exit interviews

Water off a lame duck's back: David Miller responds to criticism (Image: Mauricio Marcri) 

Outgoing mayor David Miller seems to have been a busy bee yesterday, as all four of Toronto’s major dailies have exit interviews with him in their pages today. The man we still get to call His Worship until next week dished on transit, relations with Queen’s Park and, yes, gravy. Here, the six things that we took away from the lame duck mayor’s chat with the Post, Globe, Star and Sun.

1. Transit City’s (maybe) back, baby!
In his interview with the Globe and Mail, Miller dropped this bombshell: “Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne told him privately [that the Province] hopes to replace the $4-billion in funding pushed back in the 2010 budget.” We’re not sure that blabbing about this to the Globe is the best strategy, but what else is a lame duck to do?

2. Actually, Miller’s lunches were gravy-free
Free lunches were just one of the many things that Rob Ford ran against during the election. The National Post asked Miller why the “gravy train” mantra was aimed at Miller personally, and Miller responded, “I bring my own lunch. And there’s no gravy in it because I have to lose weight. There’s often things like puréed squash.” Subject-verb agreement, however, appears to be too fattening.

3. The garbage strike wasn’t all bad
In talking to the Toronto Sun, Miller wanted to emphasize that the garbage strike was a win for the city by ending the sick-day bank for new hires. “You cannot have a detailed knowledge of labour relations and not see the strike as a victory for the city,” says Miller. In a related video, he also says holding the top job at the city was a privilege, even when he was dealing with two-faced councillors. Seriously, that’s what he said.

4. He really wants to be remembered as the Transit Mayor
Miller is seriously lamenting the presumed-to-be-endangered status of Transit City under Rob Ford to the Toronto Star, even while he tells the Globe that the province is crazy for it. “Every time we get close to building the public transit we need, people change their minds. I hope that’s not the case this time.”

5. MFP-era lobbyists are happy to see him go
Aside from rumour-mongering about the fate of Transit City, Miller also passed on to the Star that he’s heard some of the lobbyists of the Mel Lastman period—the time of the MFP Financial Services scandal—are planning to return to city hall now that Miller’s leaving. “Anecdotally, I’ve heard that some of the people involved in MFP were at victory parties for various councillors,” he told the daily. How long till we see signs like this along the Gardiner, but for Miller?

6. Seven years later, he still hates the Island Airport
We really thought the market had voted on this one, but Miller is still insisting that Porter Air is “not an economically viable proposition.” With such a skilled thumb on the pulse of the electorate, not to mention that kind of business sense, it’s a wonder that his arch-nemesis on council is going to be the next mayor. Or maybe not.

• Miller’s exit strategy: a long nap, then the World Bank [Toronto Star]
• No gravy in Miller’s (packed) lunch [National Post]
• The smell of victory [Toronto Sun]
• Bowing out as Toronto’s mayor, David Miller stands tall [Globe and Mail]