David Miller talks Transit City (again); we listen longingly
The tale of David Miller’s life after Toronto politics remind us in a weird way of a relationship where someone breaks up with their partner only to become wistful when that partner goes on to date more beautiful people, get married, get tenure, whatever. Or something like that. After Rob Ford ran a campaign based essentially on painting Miller as a symbol of entitlement and reckless spending, the former mayor has returned to his old law firm and landed a gig at New York University. He also spends more time with his kids and walks his dog (on second thought, maybe Miller’s post-political life is more like this). But although he’s stayed fairly quiet on municipal politics since leaving office, Miller can’t seem to stay quiet on that one issue that got away: Transit City.
The Globe and Mail has the story:
“We are not reopening the debate,” says a spokeswoman for the Premier in an e-mail – a statement that appears to leave the matter in the hands of the city. After Mayor Ford’s election, the Premier was careful to steer clear of the divisions on council over transit planning, saying it was up to local government to decide what changes should be made. Reviving Transit City at this point would require the province to go against the wishes of the mayor, an unlikely scenario unless it had the support of council.
Mr. Miller doesn’t see it that way. Building a rapid transit system is one of the biggest issues facing Toronto, he argues, and Transit City a once-in-a-generation opportunity. He has begun to speak out publicly on the issue, saying it is too important for him – as a citizen who is well versed on the issue – to remain silent. That stance has been embraced by some opponents of the mayor, emboldened by the recent success in defeating the mayor and his brother’s bid to take control of planning for Toronto’s Port Lands.
If Transit City can be revived as easily as Miller says it can—and really, will anything take longer than the Sheppard subway?—we’d like to see it built. But we have to point out that while there’s evidence Transit City can be revived, there’s no evidence to suggest that it will be revived. Yes, Ford is looking weaker by the day, following defeats at the hands of the police and protectors of the waterfront. And yes, Transit City was killed by the mayor without so much as a discussion at council. And yes, local radio personality Councillor Josh Matlow holds out hope. Then there’s that petition. But we won’t be convinced until we see something a little more reliable.
Then again, just because they don’t have anything concrete to stand on doesn’t mean some lefty councillors aren’t launching a plan to resurrect the transit system. (Remember the behind-the-scenes waterfront dram?) For now, though, we’ll attempt to curb our enthusiasm.