My latest Globe and Mail column is out.
This week, the mayor of Canada's biggest city did something remarkable: He basically declared war on firearms. In response to several highly publicized shootings, David Miller announced that he wants Toronto's City Council to crack down on gun clubs, firing ranges and businesses that manufacture, assemble and distribute weapons.
“Do we as a society value safety, or do we value a hobby that creates danger?” he asked. “That hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city.”
Not surprisingly, Mr. Miller's bold move has generated a great deal of controversy. At the same time, it reflects a growing trend in the world's major cities.
Just as he is taking the lead in trying to control guns, figures such as Michael Bloomberg in New York City, Richard Daley in Chicago, Job Cohen in Amsterdam and Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, have explored new approaches to everything from education, crime and smoking bans to environment and climate change – even bringing modern management techniques to government. While there remains more work to do, their efforts and those of their peers have made their jurisdictions safer, smarter, greener, more aesthetic, more efficient, wealthier and more globally competitive.
Overall, these mayors, as well as premiers and governors, are proving themselves to be much more in tune with global trends than are heads of state and national leaders.