Paul Wells will probably be happy to hear how I reacted when I heard (on the radio this morning) that David Miller is on the cover of the current Maclean's. Despite everything else that has happened, this was a bit of a "wow" moment, where I realized the national scale of what we did as the volunteers who helped elect Miller as our mayor. (And today was a fitting day for it, since tonight is the volunteers' party.)
Anyway, I went out and bought the magazine, even though I correctly guessed that most of what I was looking for is already available online. The cover story, of course, is not about David Miller, but rather "How to Make our Cities Work". In other words, it's about the New Deal for Cities that has been much talked about recently.
The Maclean's article didn't really have much new insight -- and most of the 7 city profiles had nothing to do with the issue -- but that's not the point. The point is that this concept is one that has grown from a new idea to something that is very mainstream.
Of course, the New Deal is hitting the headlines at the same time that the project is running into difficulties. In Winnipeg, Glen Murray has hit a roadblock. In Queen's Park, Dalton McGuinty is waffling about the gas tax. And, in Ottawa (as Maclean's tells us), Paul Martin is also feeling challenged.
Still, there are developments. The Toronto Board of Trade is upping the ante. They have gone from issuing statements, to actually running a campaign to put the pressure on. (You should go sign their letter.)
I remain hopeful. Some of the "right things to do" for the new deal have been obvious for years. Much more important is the growing public and political consensus that something needs to done. What can signify this more than having David Miller's mug on the cover of Maclean's?