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Since September 26, I have been a volunteer with the Miller for Mayor campaign. Articles before that date represent my decision-making process and all articles on this site represent my views only. Join the campaign; we need your help.
Miller Clarifies Position on Tolls; Tory Tries to Cloud the Issue
17/10/2003

Earlier this afternoon, David Miller's team issued a press release to clarify his stance on Toronto highway tolls. He wanted to make it clear that his election platform does not include tolls at all. However, his position is that tolls are one option to be considered if the City doesn't get support for transit from the provincial or federal governments. In other words, nothing at all has changed for David Miller on this issue since his statements in February.

Tory's team, however, were quick to jump in with a new press release that attempts to confuse the issue in many ways. The release was posted on Warren Kinsella's blog, but since he doesn't have permalinks, I'll also refer to here, on The Armchair Garbageman's site.

The first distortion was in asserting that David was blaming the media. Tory quotes Miller as:

"[The media] have stated that I support tolls. That is false."

Note the square brackets. That's where Warren Kinsella and his team have changed both the words and the meaning of what was said. What David actually said was "A number of media stories have mischaracterized my position on toll roads." There is actually quite a big difference between pointing out that some reports have been inaccurate and a strategy of "blame the media", as Tory cries.

The second distortion is the Tory team's attempt to paint David Miller as a "tax-and-spend" politician whose "loose" ways are part of the reason that Toronto is in a fiscal hole.

The truth is quite the opposite. There are two major reasons that Toronto is in bad financial shape. The first is that the Harris-Eves Tories declared war on this city in the late nineties, forcing a ill-considered and costly amalgamation on us, and downloading hundreds of millions of dollars of new costs. The second is that Mayor Mel Lastman and his 'kitchen cabinet' cronies have allowed the city to get taken in backroom deal after backroom deal. We have John Tory to blame for both of these. He was such a hard-core loyal supporter of the Common Sense Revolution gang that he even voted for them this year. He was also a chair of the campaign to elect Mel Lastman in 1997 and 2000, and was one of the connected backroom boys.

The third distortion in Tory's press release is to imply that it is true that David Miller "supports" tolls.

Here's what he actually said:

What I said and what I believe is simple. We will not solve the transit challenges facing this city without the active partnership - and financial involvement - of Ottawa and Queen's Park. They have a responsibility, and they must be held to it. Rebuilding public transit has been my priority all along, and my track record on this is clear.

I've made it a point to talk straight and be open with Torontonians in this campaign. And I'm not about to stop now. I did so yesterday in response to a question about tolls. The fact is that if the other levels of government, for whatever reason, fail to make their proper contribution, Toronto would be forced to look at a range of other alternatives. That's not a platform position. It's not an opinion. It's a fact.

After years of sweeping problems under the rug, Torontonians deserve the truth. My commitment to them is to fight and work hard to make sure that Toronto's public transit is well-funded, and that we don't have to turn to toll roads. And to keep on speaking the truth, because that's what leadership, real leadership, is all about.

Perhaps part of the reason that David Miller has to clarify inaccuracies is that John Tory is working so hard to spread them.

DISCLOSURE: After a serious decision-making process, I joined the Miller-for-mayor campaign a couple weeks ago. However, all comments on this website are my own, and do not necessarily represent the views of David Miller or his campaign. My role in the campaign is grunt-level and I haven't even met the strategists.


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