Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
David Miller (born December 26, 1958, in England) is a Canadian politician. He is the 70th mayor of the City of Toronto, Ontario, and second of the merged megacity. He replaced former North York and Toronto mayor Mel Lastman.
Born in the United Kingdom, Miller moved with his mother to Canada when he was eight. A lawyer by profession, he is a graduate of the University of Toronto Law School and Harvard University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in Economics.
Before running for public office, he was a partner at the prominent Toronto law firm Aird & Berlis, where he specialized in employment and immigration law and shareholder rights.
Miller is well known as a social activist and for being on the left-wing of the political spectrum. He supports the New Democratic Party, and has a picture of Tommy Douglas upon the wall of his office. As a federal NDP candidate, he lost a parliamentary election in Parkdale—High Park in 1993, and as an Ontario NDP candidate, he narrowly lost a provincial by-election in York South—Weston in 1996 to Liberal Gerard Kennedy.
In the November 2000 issue of Toronto Life magazine, he was given an A+ in a list of Toronto city councillors, described as "the best of the bunch, hands down." Although a relative unknown in Toronto until his candidacy for mayor, Miller led the push to expose Toronto's MFP computer leasing scandal.
In the 2003 mayoral election, Miller's primary distinguishing campaign promise was to block a proposal to build a bridge to the Toronto City Centre Airport. He felt that the bridge was just one symptom of a political culture at City Hall which put the interests of developers ahead of the public interest, and many observers feel that it was this theme which gave his campaign the boost he needed to win.
As a councillor
Miller was first elected to the then Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto council in 1994. One of his defeated opponents was future Ontario cabinet minister Tony Clement. In 1997, he was elected to the new City of Toronto council. In 2000, he was re-elected, representing Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park.
Major city committees and agencies he served on include the Administration Committee, the Humber York Community Council, the Ethics Steering Committee, the Immigration and Refugee Issues Working Group, Labour Relations Advisory Panel, the Oak Ridges Moraine Steering Committee, and the Toronto Transit Commission.
As a mayor
Miller won the 2003 Toronto election, and successfully led council to reverse its prior decision to endorse the Toronto City Centre Airport bridge. The vote, held on November 11, 2003, was 28-12 in favour of withdrawing Council's support for the bridge. The decision is supported by the Canadian federal government, but industry and the Toronto Port Authority are considering lawsuits against the city.
Mayor Miller portrays himself as a social activist willing to stand up to developers.
Within months of assuming office, David Miller became heavily involved in the polarized issue of Toronto's police budget. With tight city budgets, a steadily decreasing overall crime rate (though a recent spike in homicides), and a more left leaning city council wanting money diverted to crime prevention, Miller and a sizable portion of other councillers wanted the police budget curtailed. Heated arguments over differences in opinions formed between left and right wing councillers and between Miller and police chief Julian Fantino.
The police department was eventually given a budget increase, though much smaller that originally requested. The relationship between Miller and Fantino remained cool at best, especially after a comment by Miller to the visiting Lord Mayor of London amidst a serious police corruption scandal, in which 14 officers were charged. "Is your police force in jail?" asked Miller. "Mine is."
Miller explained later that the comment was made out of embarrassment of the Toronto city media, questioning him on the police's charges at a press conference about the guest visit. "It was an embarrassing moment and you are in the middle of a press conference about good news and it gets diverted to the matter about the police."
Appearing that night on his CP24 cable news program The Chief, Fantino commented "I feel like someone has driven a stake through my heart."
On the morning of Friday, April 30, Miller apologised to Fantino.
Despite extensive discussion in media outlets such as the Toronto Sun and CFRB radio the controversy around it has not seemed to significantly hurt Miller. A public opinion poll taken shortly after the comment showning the mayor's approval rating at over 80%.
Miller's early popular support and poll numbers remained very high, as he maintained a reputation as a politician who kept his promises.
Miller helped push for the approval of a plan for a streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair Ave.
|List of Toronto Mayors||
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