Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Mayor, same as the old Mayor

Two days ago, Toronto voted in a new Mayor, who is the same as the old Mayor.
Left-leaning David Miller easily won with twice the number of votes as his nearest rival, the pitiful, centre-not-leaning Jane Pitfield. Sounds impressive, but another way of looking at it is that he gained 57% of the votes in a sad turn-out of 41% of eligible voters. By my calculations that's all of 23%, which makes something of a mockery of his claim yesterday of "I have a mandate".
How did he get there? In a tedious election campaign, devoid of major issues, he basically got there through inertia. I sincerely hope he didn't get there through people believing his spiel about reclaiming for Toronto 1% of the 14% sales federal and provincial tax, and insisting that "we will not take no for an answer". Frankly the answer will be "no", and a resounding "no" at that, and he shouldn't kid himself or the electorate otherwise. It will become just another unrealized election promise, like Dalton McGuinty's "I will close all of Ontario's coal-fired power stations by 2007" or Stephen Harper's "we will not impose any new taxes on income trusts".
Don't get me wrong: I voted for the guy. But it was mainly as an alternative to the lame platform of Ms. Pitfield, a better-the-devil-you-know vote. At least his heart is in the right (left-of-centre) place, which is more than I would venture for "Calamity Jane".
In the last election, in 2003, Mr. Miller came out strongly to clean up the streets, clean up council corruption, re-develop the waterfront, stop the Island bridge. Well, the Island bridge was stopped, although Porter Airlines are still operating out of the Island, which was the main point of stopping the bridge. But there seems to have been very little action on most of the other isses, though.
Here's hoping that in his second term he can use his "mandate" to push through some more useful and effective policies, and not settle down to rest on his laurels.

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