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Mayors' Remarks May Pay Dividends

During the election campaign, when Harper was surging towards a majority and the mayors of Canada's cities were fretting, the Meatriarchy wrote:

Mayor David Miller would have been wise to keep his mouth shut over his party preferences. Does he think things will be better for Toronto if he has already aggravated the man who is looking like the next Prime Minister.

Way to have your finger on the pulse Mr. Mayor.

I don't repeat this here to point out once again that David Miller has been underestimated. Rather, to argue that it was appropriate for him to speak out for the City's interest. After all, two parties were offering to hand some of the cash that Toronto taxpayers give to Ottawa back to the municipal government (where it is more needed), and one party was not. In any case, for cities, and for David Miller, Monday's result seems like the best possible outcome.

In the Toronto Star, Royson James writes today: "Paul Martin and the Liberals owe Toronto. There is a debt to pay -- and soon."

By most measures, Greater Toronto -- from Clarington to Burlington -- should have turned its back on the governing party that has repaid Toronto voter loyalty with nothing but the back of the hand for more than a decade.

Every riding here voted Liberal in 2000 and in 1993. One Conservative and one independent slipped under the radar in 1997. And for that, Toronto was handed arrogance, neglect and deadbeat governance.

Still, faced with the prospect of electing a party that refuses to even acknowledge city grievances (Stephen Harper's Conservatives) or one that promised to stop ignoring them, Toronto agonized and then decided to give the Liberals one more chance. Forty-five GTA seats: all but five, Liberal.

James then goes on to itemize the promises Paul Martin has made on the urban agenda, and suggests that Jack Layton's presence in a minority government should hasten some of these along.

And as Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone says:

The guillotine that didn't fall on June 28, 2004 will fall on a lot of them, or most of them, at the next election. So that's a great incentive ... for them to pay attention to the needs of the GTA.

My conclusion? Rather than sitting on their hands, it has helped the mayors to speak up, and hopefully will encourage our local MPs to finally start listening to their local constituents.



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