Toronto mayor suggests Greens best bet for cities

Toronto Mayor David Miller has waded into the federal election campaign. Although he says he won't support any specific party, he hinted strongly that right now the Green party is the best choice for urban voters.

Toronto Mayor David Miller waded into the federal election campaign on Tuesday.

He spoke about the need for a ban on handguns on a day that saw three homicides in the GTA, as well as the shooting of a 16-year-old in a city high school.

But Miller also pointed out that so far, only the Green party has directly addressed the growing needs of Canadian cities.

Its platform has a national transit strategy and plans to give cities a permanent revenue source to help fix a growing infrastructure backlog.

At a meeting with reporters Miller wore a campaign button prominently declaring his political preference — "Vote Toronto."

Miller said he won't endorse any specific party, but he is urging Torontonians on Oct. 14 to choose the party that will help the city thrive in the next century.

"Well, so far the Green party has addressed city issues and I say, 'Good for them.'  I would hope the Liberals and the NDP would do the same thing," said Miller.

The mayor said Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's opinion of cities is well-known.

"The prime minister always says cities are not of national importance," said Miller. "They are. And all of the parties should be speaking to that." 

The majority of Canadians, eight out of 10, live in cities and towns. Yet Brock Carlton of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities says most political parties have ignored city issues such as proper funding, infrastructure renewal and public transit.  

"The services cities provide are the services closest to Canadians that affect their quality of life directly," he said.

While Carlton says cities have found it difficult to get the spotlight on their issues so far, that is likely to change when the FCM releases its Election 2008 Platform on Thursday, outlining what Canadian municipalities say they need to survive the coming challenges.