He swept into the mayor’s office in 2003, brandishing a broom during his first-term victory speech. Now, Mayor David Miller’s time is almost up. Here’s a look back at the highs and lows during the first four years of Miller Time.
Miller comes from behind to defeat political heavyweights Barbara Hall and John Tory. His main campaign platform is based on banning the island airport bridge and shutting down service there. This promise would come to haunt him during his two terms as mayor, but Miller ended up winning the ’03 election with just over 43 per cent of the vote.
Miller leads city council to reverse its support for the Toronto City Centre Airport Bridge, with a 32-12 vote on December 3. The federal government also announced it was pulling its support of the project. This didn’t stop the airport from growing when in 2006 the newly created Porter Airlines began flying from the airport and continually expanding.
Passing his first budget as mayor, Miller contends with what will become one of the biggest issues of his administration: taxes. Residents see a 3 per cent property tax hike, which becomes around the annual norm during Miller’s run. Other controversial tax hikes later include a $60 vehicle registration tax and a 1.5 per cent land transfer tax.
The mayor announces $70 million in new funding for waterfront investments over the next five years. This money will go towards new boardwalks and updated public places, including HtO beach, the city’s first urban beach.
Vanity Fair magazine profiles Miller in its annual “green” issue as one of several mayors making an effort to focus on the environment.
Foreshadowing events to come, the TTC is crippled by a one-day wildcat strike by union employees. Miller lashes out, saying “”It’s just not acceptable and union leadership should not be encouraging their members to engage in unlawful activities. It undermines everything that the collective agreement stands for and all the protections.”