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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
National Post Gets Weak on Miller
23/02/2004

The National Post today has an editorial calling for the City to "get tough on crime". (Link to expire quickly.) While they make a few good points about crime in general, they generally miss the mark as they look for excuses to attack Mayor David Miller.

Readers of this blog know that I'm a fan of The Mayor's. I worked as a volunteer to help get him elected, and I've been pretty satisfied with his performance so far. I try to keep an open mind about Miller as I write things for this blog, but I happen to agree with an awful lot of his thinking, and with how he goes about doing what he does. The National Post is just as clear with its biases; typically their references to Mayor Miller are prefaced with the adjective "leftist" or "socialist".

The argument of their editorial is that Miller is moving on the wrong path when he seeks to address the root causes of gang-related crime in this city. Even though Miller's approach matched the consensus I saw across the political spectrum at last week's town hall meeting, the Post claims that he is setting up "inner city neighbourhoods [to] go the way of the hollowed-out, decaying shells of the U.S. cities that trod this road before him".

Here's a quote:

Instead of giving Toronto police the go-ahead to round up known criminals, drug peddlers and gunrunners, Mr. Miller wants more recreational programs in high-crime neighbourhoods, make-work projects for troubled youth, community counsellors, skills training and public service campaigns to discourage gang membership and gun use.

Yes, that's right. Toronto police are sitting back, waiting for "go-ahead" to start rounding up criminals, but that "socalist" Miller refuses to grant them permission. Damn him!

The Post tries hard, but they strike out. They claim that "Miller must be about the last big-city mayor in North America who still buys into this group-hug approach to crime reduction", but they don't mention that "Toronto's no-nonsense police chief" Julian Fantino supports the plan enthusiastically.

Meanwhile, all the concrete complaints that the Post makes are related to other levels of government. The porous legal system where "sentences are short and parole conditions lenient", is not part of our municipal government. Nor is Mayor Miller responsible for the many guns that "have been snuck over the border from the United States".

As I wrote above, the argument of the editorial was that Miller is on the wrong path with his plan for addressing crime, however the point of the editorial is simply to find an excuse to slam the Mayor. I say they failed entirely.

POSTSCRIPT: See also National Post Gets Weak on Statistics, Too and Fact Checking the Post: Uh, That Would Be Last, Not Second


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