Toronto Mayor John Tory is expected to advocate tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway Thursday afternoon. But before he was supportive of tolls, he was against them, as evidenced in his 2003 mayoral campaign and in comments made as recently as last year.
During the 2003 mayoral race, when Tory unsuccessfully ran against David Miller, he criticized Miller’s support of tolls and created the now defunct website millerhighwayrobbery.ca.
The website implored voters not to “get taken for a ride on the Miller Highway.”
“The lawless spirit of the Old West is alive and well in Toronto,” read a welcome message on the website, which is archived online.
“NDP councillor David Miller wants to pull his own stagecoach heist by charging daily users of the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway tolls amounting to $1,200 annually.”
Miller at the time called the website campaign “shameful.”
“I’m shocked John Tory would stoop to doing such low tactics,” Miller said.
Meanwhile, while speaking with reporters in 2003, Tory said “people have paid for these roads.”
“I don’t really think I would really treat that as anything that I’d want to be doing if I was mayor in any period of time in my first term,” Tory said.
“If we want more money for transit, it should come from the taxes people are paying today, not new taxes.”
And in 2015, the year after John Tory won the mayor’s chair, he used similar language to comments made in 2003.
“I have always that I think it is not necessarily the fairest approach to ask for people to pay tolls for roads they’ve already paid for,” Tory told reporters in September of that year.
Tory is expected to speak with reporters after his speech at the Toronto Board of Trade.
Backlash from fellow councillor
A month after giving the middle finger in response to a plan to impose a “roof tax” on homeowners, outspoken Toronto city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti has launched a “grassroots” campaign to oppose Mayor John Tory‘s endorsement of tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway.
“These new taxes and the underhanded way in which they are being implemented is totally unconscionable,” Mammoliti said in a statement released to the media on Thursday.
“Many of these new taxes punish people who work, own homes or drive cars. While residents don’t mind paying their fair share to fund core city services, they are fed up with having to pay for the never ending spending agenda that Mayor Tory has bought into.”
Mammoliti said he is launching an online petition, as well as handing out posters, bumper stickers and fridge magnets, to encourage residents to speak out against the possible taxation measures.