Howard Moscoe

Howard Moscoe

Howard Moscoe (born circa 1940) is a city councillor in Toronto, Canada, representing Ward 15 in the western part of Eglinton-Lawrence. Among the most prominent and longest-serving councillors in the city, he is also known for an outspokenness which has landed him in controversy at times. He currently chairs Toronto's licensing and standards committee, and is also a member of Mayor David Miller's executive committee. Moscoe is a member of the New Democratic Party.

Early life and career

Moscoe's father, Alexander, was born to a Jewish family in Łódź, Poland, moved to Canada as a child before the First World War. His uncle, Joe Moscoe, was the first licensed taxi driver in Toronto (cab license #1). ["A. Moscoe, 84 boxer founded sign business Doctors told him he'd die at 24 of lead poisoning councillor says", "Toronto Star", 26 April 1997, A20.]

Moscoe was a high school art teacher with the North York Board of Education before entering political life, and was president of the North York Elementary Teachers' Federation and a governor of the Ontario Teachers' Federation. ["Campaign '77", "Toronto Star", 6 June 1977, A7.] He campaigned for a seat on the North York Hydro Commission in 1974, and ran for the Ontario legislature in 1975 and 1977 as the Ontario New Democratic Party candidate in Wilson Heights. [Moscoe ran an "Toronto Star" advertisement in 1974 which read as follows: "“What did … THE NORTH YORK HYDRO COMMISSION do last year? If you don't know, then you need to elect a COMMISSIONER who will provide information and encourage public input!” "Toronto Star", 30 November 1974, A16.] Moscoe initially supported extension of the Spadina Expressway to reduce traffic in his riding, but opposed further extension once the freeway was partially completed and renamed as Allen Road. ["Reform Metro's line on candidate depends on his line", "Globe and Mail", 19 May 1978, P3.]

Moscoe is also a successful businessman as a designer and producer of election signs. In the late 1980s, he personally designed a brand of plastic sleeves to prevent rainwater damage during campaigns. He claimed 78 candidates as customers in the 1988 municipal election, and a further eighteen in the 1988 federal election. ["Of musicians and socialist salesmen...", "Globe and Mail", 28 October 1988, A16.] Moscoe later said that he supplied every sign used by the New Democrats in the 1999 provincial election. [John Barber, "Cagey councillor read the signs", "Globe and Mail", 8 June 2000, A16. It is not clear if he meant every sign in the City of Toronto, or every sign in the province.] He is an active member of the Canadian Jewish Congress, and has served on its community relations committee. [Kim Honey, "Oversight means Beaches park may be named after former Nazi", "Globe and Mail", 25 July 1998, A8.] His daughter Cheryl Moscoe was a school trustee in North York from 1988 to 1991.

North York Councillor

Ward Councillor

Moscoe was first elected to the North York city council in 1978, defeating incumbent councillor Murray Markin in the city's fourth ward. He soon emerged as a prominent voice on the council's left, and became a frequent critic of Mayor Mel Lastman. Moscoe criticized Lastman's ties to regional developers, arguing that the mayor often used reformist rhetoric to hide a pro-establishment bias. [Geoffrey York, "Lastman image as feisty fighter immune to time", "Globe and Mail", 28 January 1985, P15.] Moscoe once described his rivalry with Lastman by saying, "It's a fundamental difference of opinion. He's the wheeler-dealer, free-enterpriser, step-up-and-see-the-dancing-girls type of politician, while I'm a strong social democrat." [David Todd, "The duelling egos of Mel Lastman and Howard Moscoe are North York's best show", "Globe and Mail", 29 July 1988, P38.] This comment notwithstanding, Moscoe quickly developed his own reputation for political theatrics against Lastman. [John Barber, "Hail to the stunt king of cycling and politics", "Globe and Mail", 31 May 1994, A9.] He once purchased one of Lastman's toupees at a charity auction, and used it to dust his chair and desk at the start of council meetings. [Michael Valpy, "Howard Moscoe: Unguided missile", ""Globe and Mail", 13 April 1999, A15.]

Moscoe asked the Law Society of Upper Canada to intervene in his 1982 re-election campaign, alleging that rival candidate Sydney Moscoe was running with the deliberate intent of confusing voters. He informed the media that the ten nominees who signed Sydney Moscoe's papers also signed those of Eleanor Rosen, a more serious challenger associated with the Progressive Conservatives. ["Alderman cries foul", "Globe and Mail", 20 October 1982, P5.] A Supreme Court of Ontario judge ruled that both Moscoes were legitimate candidates. Moscoe was re-elected, although by a reduced margin.

In 1984, Moscoe was a leading supporter of reform legislation to limit campaign contributions to $500 per year and require candidates to declare expenses, contributions and contributors within ninety days of an election. [John Sewell, "Progressive North York?", "Globe and Mail", 16 April 1984, M1.] Largely through his efforts, North York became the first municipality in the Toronto area to pass such legislation. ["Campaign backers must be identified, North York orders", "Globe and Mail", 10 July 1984, M3.] Moscoe later supported tax credits for municipal political donations, similar to those used at the provincial and federal levels. [Dyanne Rivers, "Alderman backs tax credit scheme for civic elections", 26 July 1984, M2.] Also in 1984, he spoke out against the strict enforcement of an anti-scalping by-law outside Exhibition Stadium during home games by the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. He argued that some constituents who were not scalpers were given fines for selling extra tickets outside the stadium at face value. ["Scalper bylaw unfair, alderman charges", "Globe and Mail", 23 April 1984, M1.] To protest the law, he painted a yellow line on the pavement 400 metres from the stadium and declared the area past the line a "free trade zone" for fans to exchange tickets. [Alden Baker and Gary Cohen, "Police plan to intercept stadium liquor", "Globe and Mail", 5 June 1984, M1. Moscoe later acknowledged that he helped pay his way through university by scalping tickets. Paul Moloney, "Bylaw will skin city's scalpers", "Toronto Star", 25 September 2003, B01.]

Moscoe campaigned for the Ontario legislature a third time in 1985, and finished third against Liberal Monte Kwinter in a provincial swing to the Liberal Party. He was subsequently elected to a seat on the North York Board of Control in the municipal election later in the year, focusing his campaign on issues such as housing and affordable day care. [Dyanne Rivers, "Traffic an issue in controllers' race 13 seek seats on North York board", "Globe and Mail", 6 November 1985, A16.]

City Controller

Moscoe was the only left-leaning member on the Board of Control between 1985 and 1988, and was frequently at odds with its other members. [Dyanne Rivers, "Scrappy newcomer right at home on North York's Board of Control", "Globe and Mail", 11 February 1986, A14.] He nonetheless rose to a position of administrative leadership, overseeing finances, policy initiatives and a variety of technical matters. [John Sewell, "Politically perfect in North York", "Globe and Mail", 21 May 1986, A8.] On policy, Moscoe promoted the creation of a municipal housing corporation in North York to promote rent-geared-to-income housing. He argued that the city's housing situation was in crisis, and that government inaction would result in a rise in homelessness in later years. [Lynne Ainsworth, "Soaring rental costs force families to endure hand-to-mouth existence", "Toronto Star", 11 February 1986, N6; "Alderman urged to quit task force", "Globe and Mail", 7 November 1986, A15. The latter article title refers to Moscoe's request that Mario Sergio resign from the North York housing task force.] He also promoted employment equity, ["Senior staff are all men, Moscoe says", "Globe and Mail", 23 January 1986, E15; Dyanne Rivers, "Report on minorities stirs North York row", "Globe and Mail", 26 June 1986, A20; Dyanne Rivers, "Group considering equal opportunity", "Globe and Mail", 23 September 1986, A18; "Equal opportunity plan endorsed in North York", "Globe and Mail", 24 March 1987, A16.] and supported the extension of anti-smoking regulations in the workplace. ["Smoking talks extinguished in North York", "Toronto Star", 4 February 1988, A6; Michael Best, "North York delays restaurant no-smoking bylaw", "Toronto Star", 8 April 1986, D22.] Moscoe was fighting a personal battle to quit smoking at the time.

In 1986, Moscoe took part in a demonstration organized by members of Toronto's Jewish community against the South African government's policy of apartheid. He was quoted as saying, "The world stood by while Hitler brought in his Nuremberg korrekt laws. It's important we not make the same mistake again." He also described the South African government as "fascist, no matter how you slice it." ["Metro Jews demonstrate against policy of apartheid", "Toronto Star", 10 February 1986, C20.]

Some members of the North York council, including Mel Lastman, attempted to remove Moscoe from the city's planning advisory committee in 1986. Moscoe described the effort as "a thinly veiled direct personal attack on myself", while another councillor later acknowledged that it was intended as punishment for Moscoe's outspokenness against Lastman. He survived the motion by eleven votes to six. ["Moscoe survives ouster bid in North York", "Globe and Mail", 25 February 1986, A16.]

Despite his rivalry with Lastman, Moscoe was the prime mover in a motion dedicating North York's 1.8-hectare Mel Lastman Square in 1986. Shortly before the dedication, he said that Lastman was "responsible for the development of the downtown and the centrepiece of the downtown is the civic square". Some speculated that Moscoe, who had his own ambitions to serve as Mayor of North York, was attempting to hasten Lastman's retirement. ["Square dedicated to Lastman", "Globe and Mail", 23 April 1986, A13; Mike Foster, "Lastman finds niche in history thanks to enemy", "Toronto Star", 20 May 1986, N4.]

Moscoe was the only North York councillor to oppose a ban on "Now Magazine" from parts of city hall in 1988. He awarded the magazine with a prize for journalistic excellence in March 1988, while serving a week-long term as acting mayor in Lastman's absence. [Alexander Bruce, "Controller praises banned tabloid", "Globe and Mail", 15 March 1988, A16.]

Metro Councillor


Moscoe's election to the North York Board of Control in 1985 gave him an automatic seat on the Metropolitan Toronto council, which was then a part-time body made up of representatives from six municipal councils. He supported several reforms to the council's operations, including direct election and increased powers of governance. [Royson James, "Aldermen storm out in debate on direct vote", "Toronto Star", 3 March 1987, A7.] Particularly notable was his call for the Metro Police Commission and Toronto Transit Commission to be governed entirely by elected officials, rather than by mixed bodies of elected officials and appointees. [Howard Moscoe, "Politicians should run Metro police and the TTC", "Toronto Star", 5 February 1987, A21.]

Moscoe rose to greater prominence in 1988 as a leading critic of proposed Sunday shopping reforms introduced by the provincial government of David Peterson. Moscoe argued that the Peterson government was abdicating its responsibility by permitting municipalities to legislate change on the issue, and described efforts to expand Sunday shopping as "an attack on labor unions, small business and the family". [Michael Best, "Sunday shopping vote beaten in North York", "Toronto Star", 9 February 1988, A1; Royson James, "Lastman seeks test of Sunday shopping", "Toronto Star", 21 January 1988, A1; "'Local option' for Sundays rejected by municipalities", "Globe and Mail", 30 January 1988, A13.] He served as chairman of a task force on Sunday shopping, and oversaw a series of public meetings on the issue in 1990. [Royson James, "Task force to create plan for shopping on Sundays", "Toronto Star", 19 January 1990, A6; "Supporters of Sunday shopping want task-force chairman to quit", "Globe and Mail", 20 February 1990, C6.]


First term

Metro Toronto introduced the direct election of councillors in 1988. Moscoe chose to run for a seat on the new council, and was declared elected when his only opponent withdrew one day after nominations closed. He described his acclamation as bittersweet, in that he had already ordered 25,000 campaign pamphlets. [Bruce DeMara, "Moscoe in election scrap despite acclamation", "Toronto Star", 26 October 1988, A9.] After the election, he supported Dennis Flynn's unsuccessful bid to be re-elected as Metro chairman. Flynn lost to Alan Tonks, whom Moscoe later criticized as "Mr. Indecision" and "Mr. Subcommittee". [Jim Byers, "Metro's captain off to a slow start", "Toronto Star", A27.]

Moscoe's efforts to reform the Toronto Transit Commission came to fruition in late 1988, when council voted to replace all of the TTC's citizen members with elected officials. [Sean Fine, "Metro makes transit body all political", "Globe and Mail", 16 December 1988, A1.] Moscoe argued that the change was necessary in light of the Metro councillors's increased responsibilities, adding that the "citizen members" were in fact high-level patronage appointees. [David Lewis Stein, "The better way by far: Get rid of the TTC", "Toronto Star", 21 December 1988. A report in late 2006 suggested removing elected officials from the TTC. Moscoe criticized this suggestion, and repeated that the citizen members were patronage appointees. See Jeff Gray, "Traffic crisis looms, report warns", "Globe and Mail", 17 November 2006, A19.] One of Moscoe's leading allies in achieving this reform was Chris Stockwell, later a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister in Ontario. [Michael Smith, "TTC head 2 others get axe at Metro", "Toronto Star", 16 December 1988, A6.]

He criticized Mel Lastman's plans to provide public funding for the North York Performing Arts Centre in 1991, arguing that it was an unnecessary expense and that private entrepreneur Garth Drabinsky would be the primary beneficiary. [Howard Moscoe, "$29 million for Arts Centre could cut taxes 36%", "Toronto Star", 20 June 1991, N4.] (Drabinsky was later charged with accounting fraud after Livent went bankrupt.) Moscoe also criticized the municipal election reforms passed by David Peterson's government in the same period, arguing that large land developers would be able to avoid donation limits without difficulty. [Howard Moscoe, "Election reform left huge holes", "Toronto Star", 26 July 1989, A25.]

econd and third terms

Moscoe was re-elected in the 1991 municipal election, defeating two minor challengers. A "Toronto Star" survey from the election lists him as the hardest-working member of council, but adds "his effectiveness has been hurt by his penchant for mischief-making, which often casts him in the role of the buffoon". ["How the members of Metro Council stack up", "Toronto Star", 9 November 1991, SA2.] He was appointed to the Toronto Transit Commission after the election. ["No changes on police board", "Toronto Star", 6 December 1991, A6.]

Moscoe became involved with municipal gaming issues in the mid-1990s, and supported the provincial government of Bob Rae in its plans for casino expansion. He served on Toronto's casino committee for the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), and favoured the introduction of horse race betting in 1994. Moscoe later called for a permanent casino to be established on Exhibition grounds. [Bob Brent, "CNE in the running for off-track betting", "Toronto Star", 3 May 1994, A8; Kathleen Goldhar, "CNE wants its casino to get full-time status", "Toronto Star", 20 August 1996, A2.]

He was a leading opponent of the federal government's decision to sell the Toronto Pearson International Airport in 1993, arguing that the airport should be owned by Toronto-area taxpayers. He described the sale as a "sell-out" orchestrated by members of the governing Progressive Conservative Party, and argued that the deal would be remembered as "the greatest orgy of patronage ever in this country." [Bruce Campion-Smith, "Former Mulroney aide linked to Pearson deal", "Toronto Star", 2 October 1993, A1; Bruce Campion-Smith and Bob Brent, "Tory, critic clash over Pearson deal", "Toronto Star", 7 October 1993, A6.] After the Liberal Party of Canada won the 1993 federal election, Moscoe encouraged new Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to cancel the deal and turn the airport over to a non-profit local authority. [David Lewis Stein, Bruce Campion-Smith and Bob Brent, "Chretien zeroes in on Metro", "Toronto Star", 28 October 1993, A6.] Chrétien subsequently cancelled the deal.

Moscoe has long been a supporter of gay and lesbian issues. He was one of three TTC members to support the group "Toronto Area Gays and Lesbians" (TAGL) in a 1993 controversy over TTC advertising: TAGL had purchased advertising space, only to have their contract revoked when other commission members complained that the content was too controversial. [Royson James, "TTC rejects transfer ads for gay, lesbian services", "Toronto Star", 9 June 1993, A8.] Moscoe also spoke out against Metro's decision to reject funding for two gay and lesbian cultural groups in the same year, urging councillors "not to succumb to a radical, right-wing fringe" in withholding revenue. [Royson James, "Cultural cash cut for gay groups", "Toronto Star", 30 June 1993, A6.]

In December 1995, Moscoe co-sponsored a successful motion calling for Metro Toronto to block a contract with Shell Canada, on the grounds that its parent company was complicit with human rights violations in Nigeria. [Antonie Halff, "Toronto Metro Council To Reconsider Shell Boycott", "Dow Jones International News", 12 January 1996, 15:24 report.] In 1996, he opposed a plan to fingerprint welfare recipients. [Peter Small, "Finger ID passes vote hurdle", "Toronto Star", 15 May 1996, A6.]

Toronto councillor


The provincial government of Mike Harris eliminated the Metropolitan Toronto council in 1997, and amalgamated its six former municipalities to create the new City of Toronto. Moscoe supported amalgamation in principle, but was skeptical about the future of social service and education funding under the Harris government's plan. [Harold Levy, "Protest turnout hurt by weather", "Toronto Star", 29 January 1997, A13.] He was elected to the new city council in the 1997 election, while his old nemesis Mel Lastman was elected as the first mayor of the new city. Moscoe soon resumed his role as Lastman's chief critic, but nevertheless won Lastman's support to become chair of the Toronto Transit Commission in January 1998. [Royson James, "Mel scores coup on council jobs", "Toronto Star", 14 January 1998, A15.] His term lasted until the 2000 municipal election.

Moscoe was re-elected in 2000 over Tony Rizzo, a former NDP Member of Provincial Parliament who had later crossed over to the Liberal Party. He was reappointed as a TTC commissioner, but relinquished the chairmanship to Brian Ashton. [Mark Gollom, "City council finally cuts the bickering and attaches names to committee posts", "National Post", 8 December 2000.] He was subsequently reappointed to a second term as TTC chair in March 2003 after Betty Disero's resignation, and was reconfirmed in the position after the 2003 election.

Moscoe broke with other left-leaning councillors to vote in favour of a proposed Toronto Island Airport Bridge in 2002, even though he actually opposed the bridge in principle. [James Rusk, "Councillor vexes Lastman", "Globe and Mail", 29 November 2002, A26.] He later explained that his vote was part of a compromise arrangement with Bombardier and developer Robert Deluce to have a large piece of land surrounding the Downsview subway stop set aside for residential development. The city later reached a separate deal with Bombardier, and Moscoe voted against the bridge when the issue was reconsidered in late 2003. [Linda Diebel and Vanessa Lu, "Bombardier settles $75M housing deal", "Toronto Star", 4 December 2003, A01.]

Moscoe is a prominent ally of David Miller, who was elected as Lastman's successor in the 2003 municipal election. Moscoe's own campaign for re-election in 2003 was complicated by a heart virus, which resulted in a rare condition known constrictive pericarditis. He organized most of his re-election campaign from a hospital bed, and did not publicize his illness until later in the year. [Jack Lakey, "Winning the race flat on his back", "Toronto Star", 1 January 2004, B05.]


Moscoe was strongly critical of a 2004 decision by the provincial government of Dalton McGuinty to negotiate future infrastructural arrangements with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario rather than with individual communities. He argued that the plan was detrimental to Toronto's interests, and suggested that the city might consider leaving the AMO in protest. He was quoted as saying, "We are not going to let the village of East Garafraxa determine how public transit funding is distributed in Toronto". [James Cowan, "Toronto may quit municipalities group", "National Post", 16 September 2004, A5. John Gerretsen, McGuinty's Municipal Affairs Minister, argued that the AMO deal would still allow the province to negotiate with Toronto to specific issues. See Robert Benzie, Kerry Gillespie and Caroline Mallan, "Province chides mayor", "Toronto Star", 26 August 2004, A14.] This dispute notwithstanding, Moscoe supported of the provincial government's plans to grant increased governmental powers to Toronto. [Royson James, "First step on T.O.'s road to adulthood", "Toronto Star", 25 September 2004, A01.] Also in 2004, Moscoe brought forward a successful motion to rename a street in his ward as "Tommy Douglas Gardens". [Katherine Harding, "Street to be named after Callwood", "Globe and Mail", 24 July 2004, A8.]

In late 2005, Moscoe amended a municipal motion to include Toronto councillors and the mayor under the terms of a planned 12.25% salary increase for the city's unionized employees. Some members of council later said that they did not notice the change, and were unaware that they were voting themselves a pay increase when they approved the bill. Moscoe denied that any trickery was involved, and suggested that certain councillors were disingenuously trying to appear disinterested in their salaries. He added, "I think we deserve the same raises everybody else got - modest though they may be. I'm not in the slightest bit embarrassed." [Vanessa Lu, "Councillors boost own salaries", "Toronto Star", 10 November 2005, B01.] He withdrew the motion when council reconsidered its raise increase in January 2006, saying that the matter had been "blown all out of proportion" by the media. [James Cowan, "Councillors nix their own 12.25% raise", "National Post", 1 February 2006, A10.]

Council controversies

Moscoe was criticized for yelling an obscenity at Rob Ford in a 2004 meeting, for which he later apologized. [Bruce DeMara, "Council's in a tizzy over the F-word", "Toronto Star", 22 July 2004, B02; Jeff Gray, "'Sexist' slammed", "Globe and Mail", 31 March 2006, A13.] He initially joked that he had told Ford to "flock off, as the birds do".

Moscoe distributed a prankish memo to other councillors in late 2005, entitled "How far will Lady Jane go?", drawing a connection between Jane Pitfield's planned challenge against David Miller in 2006 and Lady Jane Grey's nine-day reign as Queen regnant of England in 1553. He withdrew the memo after complaints, and wrote an apology to Pitfield for any offence given. Rival councillors Karen Stintz and Frances Nunziata argued that the contest was demeaning to women, and Stintz suggested that Moscoe had "a history of making disparaging comments to women". Stintz and David Soknacki signed an affidavit requesting that Moscoe be investigated by the integrity commissioner for the comments. [ [ Sandie Benitah, "Investigation of Moscoe sought by fellow councillor", "Town Crier", 16 January 2006.] ] Moscoe argued that the contest was not sexist, acknowledging that it was directed against Pitfield but denying that he was targeting her gender. One Toronto columnist suggested that the memo criticisms were politically motivated in order to aid Pitfield's potential candidacy. Pitfield did not consider the memo offensive, and initially joked that she was planning to enter the contest. [James Cowan, "'Lady Jane' attracts punters", "National Post", 12 December 2005, A12. See James Cowan, "Moscoe forced to apologize for office pool on mayoral race", "National Post", 13 December 2005, A16 and James Cowan, "Pay raise up in the air as year ends", "National Post", 17 December 2005, A17; ]

Moscoe was later criticized for allegedly sexist comments made in an exchange with Frances Nunziata in 2006. Nunziata had complained that bus service in her ward was substandard, and asked Moscoe to walk the area's streets for a first-hand view. Moscoe responded by saying, "Councillor, I leave walking the streets to you", which was a play on words referring to "street-walker", a euphemism for "prostitute". He subsequently apologized, adding "on occasion my mouth gets ahead of my brain". Nunziata wrote an open letter to the city's integrity commissioner, asking that Moscoe be censured for his comments. [Jeff Gray, "'Sexist' slammed", "Globe and Mail", 31 March 2006, A13. See "It's Miller's time in pages of Vanity Fair", "Globe and Mail", 8 April 2006, A12.]

2006 election

In July 2006, a local taxpayer group called the Coalition for Municipal Change announced that it would try to find a challenger for Moscoe in the 2006 municipal election. Moscoe described the Coalition as a "Tory front group who are basically trying to destroy the balance of council", and later said "I always face two or three or four opponents during an election [...] Bring them on." [Donovan Vincent, "Group targets Moscoe, Rae", "Toronto Star", 19 July 2006, B04; James Cowan, "Community group works to unseat councillors", "National Post", 19 July 2006, A10.] No candidate came forward, and the coalition did not endorse any of Moscoe's opponents. [Jim Byers and Vanessa Lu, "Sewell shares the wealth", "Toronto Star", 5 October 2006, R6.] Moscoe defeated Ron Singer, his closest challenger, by about a two-to-one margin.


Moscoe stood down as TTC chair following the 2006 election, and was selected as chair of Toronto's licensing and standards committee. He is also a member of David Miller's executive committee . Soon after the swearing-in ceremony in December 2006, Moscoe distributed a list of his priorities to journalists, which was highlighted by a plan to license Toronto's landlords. [Jeff Gray, "Moscoe to chair licensing committee", "Globe and Mail", 6 December 2006, A24.] The plan calls for landlords to pay a high per-unit fee if their properties are run down, and a low fee if the buildings are in good shape. [Paul Moloney, "Moscoe touts licence fee for landlords", "Toronto Star", 7 December 2006, A18.] "Good landlords have nothing to fear from the licensing scheme because the amounts they are going to pay will be marginal," he has said. "The emphasis in whatever scheme we establish must be making the bad landlords pay". [James Cowan, "City considers ranking system for apartments", "National Post", 20 January 2007, A16.] He conducted a media tour of the worst-kept buildings in Toronto in early 2007. [Donovan Vincent, "Moscoe calls for tour of squalor", "Toronto Star", 22 January 2007, E4.]

Moscoe has called for Ontario's disabled parking system to be overhauled, arguing that the current system is both outdated and rampant with abuse. He says that many non-disabled Ontarians are currently using disabled parking permits for convenience purposes. [Jim Byers, "Scrap disabled parking system: Moscoe", "Toronto Star", 13 February 2007, E1.] In a letter published in the "Toronto Star" in February 2007, Moscoe argues that subsidies should be provided to the disabled poor, rather than to those who can afford their own and drive a car. [Howard Moscoe, "Subsidize the disabled poor, not those with cars" [letter] , "Toronto Star", 15 February 2007, A23.]

In late March 2007, Moscoe led the licensing and standards committee in supporting a ban on airport limosines picking up fares in Toronto (a practice sometimes called "scooping"). [Jennifer Lewington, "Limits on airport limos endorsed", "Globe and Mail", A6.] Council approved the motion the following month, but imposed a one-month delay on its enforcement to allow further negotiations with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority and the City of Mississauga. Several airport drivers protested the new law at city council. [Paul Moloney and John Spears, "Temporary truce in airport cab wars", "Toronto Star", 25 April 2007, B1.]

In an unrelated matter, Moscoe attempted to have Toronto's numbered electoral wards given new names in early 2007. The motion was defeated by council. [Kelly Patrick, "Moscoe loses quest to have wards named rather than merely numbered", "National Post", 24 April 2007, A9.]



Moscoe has long been a prominent advocate for public transit in Toronto. As early as 1979, he brought forward a motion to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities calling for senior levels of government to provide operating and capital costs for public transit in cities. [Marina Strauss, "Mississauga will not enter federal group, mayor says", "Globe and Mail", 7 June 1979, P3.] He recommended that Toronto take steps to improve its transit network in 1989, following the release of a report indicating that rush-hour traffic would double between 1981 and 2001. He was quoted as saying, "We can no longer afford the absolute luxury of people travelling alone and taking up valuable space on the road. The only solution is to improve public transit and increase disincentives to travel downtown by car." [Margaret Polanyi, "Rush-hour traffic will double in Metro by 2011, report says", "Globe and Mail", 8 September 1989, A13.] In 1991, he argued that Metro should charge developers for transit projects. [Jim Byers, "Make developers pay for transit, panel says", "Toronto Star", 6 March 1991, A6.]

Moscoe recommended several reforms to transit policy following his appointment to the TTC in 1991. He supported lower rates for Toronto's poorer residents, arguing that transit passes could be mailed out with welfare cheques. This idea was opposed by then-TTC chair Mike Colle. ["TTC chief opposes lower fares for poor", "Globe and Mail", 10 January 1992, A8.] Moscoe also advocated lower advertising rates for small businesses, noting that a national recession was resulting in many spaces being left unused. [Robert MacLeod, "Councillor seeks policy change to encourage small advertisers", "Globe and Mail", 11 January 1992, A9.] He opposed the TTC's elimination of environmentally-friendly trolley services in January 1992, and led a successful initiative for their restoration later in the same year. ["Trolleys come to end of line", "Globe and Mail", 29 January 1992, A10; "Trolleys live again", "Globe and Mail", 3 June 1992, A1.] Moscoe also opposed a 16% fare increase in 1992, arguing that the TTC could cut expenses through administration instead. [Royson James, "Bitter TTC battle ends with riders out of pocket", "Toronto Star", 1 March 1992, B4.]

He criticized the service cutbacks introduced by the provincial government of Mike Harris in the mid-1990s, and spoke against a 43% fare increase for students and seniors in 1996. [Bruce Campion-Smith, "TTC riders now facing longer wait", "Toronto Star", 18 February 1996, A3; Bruce Campion-Smith, "TTC hike hits seniors, students", "Toronto Star", 1 May 1996, A6; Gay Abbate, "$31-million annual budget cut will wreck system, TTC says", "Globe and Mail", 9 September 1997, A5.] Moscoe later argued that the Harris government's funding cuts were the start of a long period of decline for the TTC, from which it had not entirely recovered by the mid-2000s. [Jack Lakey, "Turned from a prince to a pauper; Tory win in 1995 seen as crucial point for TTC money woes", "Toronto Star", 29 March 2004, B01.]

Moscoe joined with other NDP councillors to support increased funding for WheelTrans, a transportation service for Toronto's disabled persons, 1995. [Jane Armstrong, "Transit for disabled needs boost Metro told", "Toronto Star", 5 April 1995, A6.] After the Harris government introduced its funding cuts, however, he reluctantly brought forward a motion to scale back WheelTrans services. He described the motion as "the most difficult decision I've had to make", but argued it was necessary to prevent a total collapse in the city's transit system. [Kris Rushowy, "TTC votes to cut its service for disabled", "Toronto Star", 15 August 1995, A3.] He recommended that WheelTrans users voluntarily limit their non-essential use of the service, so as to ensure that it remained accessible for work and school transportation. [Kris Rushowy, "TTC asks disabled to curb use of transit", "Toronto Star", 27 September 1995, A6.] He opposed further cuts in 1996, and subsequently supported initiatives to make regular buses wheelchair-friendly. [Peter Small, "Wheel-Trans cuts postponed", "Toronto Star", 24 January 1996, A6; Bruce Campion-Smith, "New TTC buses give disabled riders a lift", "Toronto Star", 30 July 1996, A3.]

TTC Chair, 1998-2000

Moscoe was appointed as TTC chair in January 1998, and soon emerged as a prominent rival to David Gunn, the TTC's chief general manager. The two disagreed over policy issues, including the proposed purchase of low-floor buses to benefit elderly and disabled passengers: Moscoe supported the purchase, while Gunn argued that it was beyond the TTC's budget. Gunn also accused Moscoe of interfering in TTC management issues, particularly after Moscoe renegotiated a contract for condominium development at the TTC's Bayview station. Gunn threatened to resign in mid-1998 if Moscoe was not removed, but retracted this threat when the TTC reaffirmed its confidence in Moscoe's leadership. [Paul Moloney, "TTC showdown for Moscoe Chair", "Toronto Star", 11 June 1998, B1; Gay Abbate, "TTC honchos kiss and make up", "Globe and Mail", 12 June 1998, A10; Paul Moloney, "Time out in TTC battle", "Toronto Star", 15 June 1998, B3.] Gunn eventually stepped down in April 1999, saying that Moscoe was "ruining his reputation". [Joseph Hall, "Departing transit boss blames Moscoe", "Toronto Star", 30 April 1999, p. 1.] His replacement, Rick Ducharme, was openly critical of his predecessor's management style and initially had a more cooperative relationship with Moscoe and other elected officials. [Joseph Hall, "GO chief transfers to TTC", "Toronto Star", 21 July 1999, p. 1.]

There were several attempts to remove Moscoe as TTC chair in 1999, following a threatened strike by TTC workers. During the negotiations, Moscoe had suggested that council should reach a settlement with the workers and then consider a property tax increase to find the necessary revenues. Mel Lastman opposed this proposal, and is widely believed to have coordinated the subsequent efforts to remove Moscoe from office.

Four commissioners on the seven-member TTC board issued a statement in April 1999, indicating that they were prepared to "reconsider the position of chair". [Gay Abbate, "Politicians quarrelling as transit strike looms", "Globe and Mail", 8 April 1999, A7.] Moscoe was able to retain his position at a subsequent TTC meeting with a deft procedural move that divided the opposition, and later described the attempt to dismiss him as a "kindergarten coup". [Joseph Hall and Jack Lakey, "Moscoe keeps job with deft manoeuvre", "Toronto Star", 9 April 1999, p. 1.] His opponents attempted to remove him again in May 1999, when TTC commissioners Chris Korwin-Kuczynski and Brian Ashton brought forward a motion before city council to replace the entire TTC board. Ashton acknowledged that the move was intended to replace Moscoe, whom he described as "very incompetent". [Rebecca Braig, "Moscoe foes launch new bid to oust him", "Toronto Star", 12 May 1999, p. 1.] Moscoe again retained his position when council rejected the motion, and instead agreed to a compromise plan which saw two new members added to the board. [James Rusk, "Council adds two positions to troubled transit board", "Globe and Mail", 10 June 1999, A9.]

The new appointments did not solve Moscoe's difficulties: both new members were opposed to his leadership, and their appointments led to a renewed effort to remove him as chair. Moscoe responded to the threat by introducing a legal challenge against the manner of the new members' selection: both were chosen by a simple majority of council, and Moscoe argued that a two-thirds majority was required. [Gay Abbate, "Moscoe will go to court to fend off latest coup", "Globe and Mail", 12 June 1999, A15.] A court ruling in late June 1999 upheld Moscoe's position and invalidated the appointments. After the ruling, Mel Lastman signalled that he was again willing to accept Moscoe as chair. [James Rusk, "Victorious Moscoe gains meeting with the mayor", "Globe and Mail", 30 June 1999, A6; James Rusk, "Council reverses approval for police helicopter", "Globe and Mail", 8 July 1999, A9.] The controversy ended for a time.

There was another effort to remove Moscoe as chair late in 1999, when it was revealed that an employee in his office had faxed confidential documents to a company suing the TTC. Moscoe indicated that he had no awareness of the fax, but submitted a resignation notice to take formal responsibility. [Joseph Hall, "Moscoe offers to quit TTC job over leak", "Toronto Star", 9 December 1999, p. 1.] The other commissioners planned to reject his resignation after a single day's debate, but commissioner Rob Davis unexpectedly suspended the proceedings and suggested that a broader inquiry be launched. Moscoe then withdrew his resignation, saying that the matter should have been resolved quickly to permit the TTC to return to its regular business. [James Rusk, "Davis wants formal probe of TTC information leak", "Globe and Mail", 10 December 1999, A10] There was a further attempt to dismiss Moscoe in January 2000, but this came to nothing. [James Rusk, "Moscoe remains at TTC, Kinahan quits in protest", "Globe and Mail", 13 January 2000, A21. Blake Kinahan resigned his position on the TTC after the January 2000 effort.]

Despite these controversies, Moscoe's first tenure as TTC chair was marked by several notable accomplishments. The city purchased hundreds of new subway cars, rebuilt several buses and streetcars and maintained its "state of good repair" schedule despite provincial cutbacks. ["Transit commission did job despite the childish antics", "Toronto Star", 16 October 2000, p. 1.]

TTC Chair, 2003-2006

After his reappointment in 2003, Moscoe expressed concern that the provincial government of Ernie Eves was abandoning Toronto transit services in favour of projects in the surrounding municipalities. [Jennifer Lewington, "New authority to oversee Golden Horseshoe service", "Globe and Mail", 28 March 2003, A15.] He proposed a referendum for a 1% property tax hike later in the same year, with the revenues to be targeted toward public transit improvements. [Royson James, "Once again, we ask: Who's driving this bus?", "Toronto Star", 14 May 2003, B03.] The city turned down the proposal.

In 1999, Moscoe began a lobbying effort to have a percentage of provincial revenues directed toward the TTC. He achieved success in 2004, when Premier Dalton McGuinty declared his support for the plan. [Jennifer Lewington, "TC gas tax finding favour, poll says", "Globe and Mail", 3 November 1999, A3; Caroline Mallan, "1 cent a litre to be announced Tuesday", "Toronto Star", 15 May 2004, A01.] In the same period, the federal government of Paul Martin announced that it would contribute a portion of its fuel tax revenues to municipal transit, including the TTC. Moscoe welcomed a $1 billion investment over five years from the federal and provincial governments in 2004, and received a separate $90 million infusion from the provincial Liberal government in the same year to stave off a 25-cent fare increase. [Jennifer Lewington, "TTC hoopla hides a lack of hard cash", "Globe and Mail", 31 March 2004, A12; Keith Leslie, "Ont. gives TTC another $90 million to stave off proposed 25-cent fare hike", "Canadian Press", 31 March 2004, 12:34 report.] Moscoe endorsed the Martin government's 2005 budget, which implemented the federal gas-tax plan. [Keith Leslie, "Tories putting cities at risk: PM", "Vancouver Sun", 18 June 2005, A5.]

In April 2005, Moscoe led the TTC in last-minute negotiations with the city's transit union to prevent a city-wide strike. Published reports indicate that a shouting match between Moscoe and union president Bob Kinnear sparked the final successful negotiations. When the union accepted a tentative deal, Moscoe remarked, "I feel like a member of the bomb squad who was faced with a green wire and red one and thank God we cut the red wire". [Noah Love, "Toronto commuter strike averted", "Canadian Press", 10 April 2005, 22:03 report; James Cowan, "Shouting match broke impasse in TTC talks", "National Post", 11 April 2005, A10.]

Moscoe oversaw TTC fare increases in both 2005 and 2006. The 2005 increase saw adult fares rise by 25 cents and the price of tickets and tokens rise by ten cents; the TTC attempted to mitigate the inconvenience by simultaneously introducing a $30 weekly transferable pass that could be shared among friends, family and co-workers. Moscoe was quoted as saying, "I don't like having to raise fares. We haven't had a fare hike in two years and it barely covers inflation. We've tried to make it as painless as possible." Critics nevertheless argued that the hike would hurt the city's working poor. [Kevin McGran, "TTC passengers face fare increase", "Toronto Star", 10 February 2005, A01.] A separate ten-cent fare increase in 2006 was justified as a necessary consequence of soaring gas prices in North America. Moscoe argued that the alternative of cutting back services was not a viable option. [Jeff Gray, "Fares to rise a dime or two a ride, TTC warns", "Globe and Mail", 7 February 2006, A11; Royson James, "10 cents", "Toronto Star", 9 February 2006, B01.]

Moscoe is a prominent supporter of a streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair Street. [Katherine Harding, "Battle lanes drawn over St. Clair streetcar", "Globe and Mail", 12 April 2004, A7.] He has argued that cancelling the project, as some Toronto politicians have suggested, would be costly and would worsen gridlock in the city. [Donovan Vincent, "Contender targets St. Clair project", "Toronto Star", 11 October 2006, C7.] He has also called for the province to re-assume responsibility for the western section of the Gardiner Expressway, which was formerly part of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) until it was downloaded to the city in 1998. He suggested that it be renamed the "Dalton McGuinty Expressway" if the province refused. [ [ "Gardiner in desperate need of repair: engineer", Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 10 April 2006, 10:10 report.] ]

In March 2006, Moscoe announced that he would support provincial funding for a united transit system covering the Greater Toronto Area from Burlington to Oshawa. [Pierre Lachaine, "TTC chairman in favour of united Toronto-area transit system", "National Post", 23 March 2006, A12.] He later criticized federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's plans for a transit tax credit, arguing that it would be difficult to administer and would only benefit the most affluent transit users. [Kevin McGran, "Tax break for commuters", "Toronto Star", 2 May 2006, A07.] Moscoe has also criticized the provincial government's plan to introduce "smart card" transit passes for the Greater Toronto Area, arguing that the city could buy 400 buses with the money being spent on the program. [Peter Kuitenbrouwer, "City Hall unhappy with region's transit plans", "National Post", 13 October 2006, A12.]

ummer 2006

In May 2006, the Amalgamated Transit Union placed ads in local newspapers suggesting that the TTC was callously denying benefit coverage to injured transit operator Bobby Lowe. Moscoe called the union's allegations false, noting that a different agency was responsible for the payment of employee benefits. Moscoe also said that TTC workers were treated consistently with other injured workers in the province, and noted that injury pay issue was not mentioned during the last bargaining session on April 2005. ATU President Bob Kinnear responded saying that Moscoe was attacking Lowe's honesty. Moscoe apologized to Lowe during a meeting at City Hall, and promised to "sort out our procedures" to ensure that coverage would not be delayed to injured workers in the future. [ [ CTV Toronto - Transit union ads inaccurate, says TTC chair - CTV News, Shows and Sports - Canadian Television ] ] [ [ Kevin McGran, "Moscoe apologizes to TTC driver"] , "Toronto Star", 2 June 2006.]

TTC General Manager Rick Ducharme announced his resignation on June 7, 2006, following a one-day wildcat strike by transit workers. He blamed political interference for his decision, saying that Moscoe had conducted direct negotiations with the union without consulting him. The "Toronto Star" speculated that the illegal strike might have resulted from Moscoe's negotiations, while David Shiner and other councilors said that Moscoe had a history of interfering in management affairs. [Royson James, "Why does everyone leave except politicians?", "Toronto Star", 7 June 2006, B05.] John Barber, a columnist for the rival "Globe and Mail", argued that Ducharme's resignation was not a reasonable response to Moscoe's alleged interference. [John Barber, "Manager ends great career with juvenile temper tantrum", "Globe and Mail", 7 June 2006, A13; Susan Ruttan, "New transportation boss keen to take transit down 'right road'", "Edmonton Journal", 31 October 2006, B2.] Moscoe defended his actions, arguing that he had an obligation to take part in the discussions and was attempting to ensure that a second strike did not take place. ["Will Mayor rise to the challenge?", "Toronto Star", 30 May 2006, A07; Jeff Gray and Jennifer Lewington, "TTC head quits, cites political meddling", "Globe and Mail", 7 June 2006, A13; Paul Moloney, "Moscoe refutes meddler claims", "Toronto Star", 15 June 2006, R11.] He later said that management was to blame for the wildcat strike, and that he intervened in an attempt to stop it. [David Bruser, "'He was always in opposition' A high-profile appointment effectively disengages this irascible meddler from the TTC", "Toronto Star", 7 December 2006, R4.]

Ducharme also criticized Moscoe for granting a non-bid contract to Bombardier for the purchase of new subway cars, citing an estimate from rival company Siemens suggesting that it would cost Toronto as much as $100 million. Ducharme and several councillors had advocated making the process open to competition, arguing that this would result in the best deal for the city. Moscoe defended his decision by noting that Bombardier plans to construct the cars in Thunder Bay, Ontario with parts-supply work in Toronto, while Siemens would have exported construction to the China. He also cited a Bombardier-initiated study asserting that the contract will generate $142 million in provincial and federal tax revenues. [ [ Hélène V. Gagnon, "The Bombardier deal"] , "Globe and Mail", 23 June 2006, online edition; Jeff Gray, "Bombardier blasts key competitor's ‘wild claims'", "Globe and Mail", 23 June 2006, A14. Siemens has acknowledged that it reached its figure without having access to the TTC's specifications.] Moscoe has also defended the contracting process, arguing that non-competitive contracts are standard practice for such purchases in other jurisdictions. He later added that he initially considered an open-bid contract, but reconsidered after discovering that Siemens constructs its cars in China. [John Spears, "TTC cars for subway get the nod", "Toronto Star", 26 September 2006, B1.]

Some councillors accused Moscoe of having an improper relationship with Bombardier, which had donated to Moscoe's campaign and sent out invitations to a political fundraiser for TTC Vice-Chair Adam Giambrone, an ally of Moscoe, although he turned down the assistance. Moscoe had also taken part in a Bombardier-organized trip to Tel Aviv in 1998, to promote subway construction in Israel. Moscoe responded to the accusation by saying that he was the target of a smear campaign, noting that there had been "nothing secret" about his 1998 trip, which was funded by the Israeli government. He added that he had also received campaign contributions from Siemens. Moscoe said that his opponents were "trying to get to the mayor" by attacking him, and argued that the controversy was being fomented by Siemens and its lobbyists, who were in contact with a number of councillors critical of the non-bid contract. [ [ Hélène V. Gagnon, "The Bombardier deal"] , "Globe and Mail", 23 June 2006, online edition; Jeff Gray, "Bombardier blasts key competitor's ‘wild claims'", "Globe and Mail", 23 June 2006, A14 ; Kelly Louiseize, "Trainmaker in intense talks with TTC", "Northern Ontario Business", 1 May 2006, p. 31; Jeff Gray, "Subway-car deal a ‘fiasco,' Ducharme says", "Globe and Mail", 8 June 2006, A14; Jeff Gray, "Is this an offer TTC can't refuse?", "Globe and Mail", 16 June 2006, A17; Jeff Gray, "Fundraiser invite spurs storm over subway deal", "Globe and Mail", 16 June 2006, A1; Jeff Gray, "Moscoe says he is victim of smear campaign", "Globe and Mail", 21 June 2006, A13; Jeff Gray, "Bombardier blasts key competitor's ‘wild claims'; Siemens defends assertion that it could build 234 new subway cars at lower cost", "Globe and Mail", 23 June 2006, A14; Sean Silcoff, "Bombardier to face Alstom court challenge", "National Post", 29 June 2006. Four of six right-leaning councillors who held a press conference to criticize the Bombardier deal later acknowledged meeting with Siemens or its lobbyists.]

In the aftermath of Ducharme's resignation, the "Toronto Star" newspaper and some city councillors called for Moscoe to stand down as TTC chair. He initially dismissed these calls as politically motivated, but later said that he was thinking about resigning after the 2006 municipal election. [ [ "TTC in turmoil, Moscoe must go" (editorial)] , "Toronto Star", 8 June 2006, 7:17 report;] [ [ "TTC tells Ducharme to leave his job on Thursday"] , CTV News, 7 June 2006, 8:58 report;] [ [ "Moscoe thinking about quitting as TTC chair] , CTV News, 8 June 2006, 13:53 report;] Jeff Gray, "Under fire, Moscoe looks at resigning as TTC chair", "Globe and Mail", 9 June 2006, A18. (Indicates age 66 at that point)] There was another attempt to remove Moscoe as TTC chair in July 2006, but he defeated the challenge by a vote of 5 to 3. [James Cowan, "TTC keeps Moscoe, Grimes resigns", "National Post", 20 July 2006, A15.]

In late August 2006, an outside panel of experts judged that Bombardier's offer was a good deal for city, with one consultant saying that the proposed bid "is below most of the recent comparable North American procurements." In the aftermath of the report, councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker was quoted as saying, "if what you have told me [about the price] is true, somebody owes Howard Moscoe an apology". The TTC staff have also recommended finalizing a deal with Bombardier. Some councillors, such as Karen Stintz, have continued to oppose the contract on procedural grounds. Stintz has said, "it's not about Bombardier. It's about a process we didn't follow", noting that other city departments require competitive bids on contracts of this size. [ [ Jennifer Lewington, "Experts give thumbs up to TTC's Bombardier deal"] , "Globe and Mail" (Breaking News), 24 August 2006; Kevin McGran, "TTC backs $710 million subway deal", "Toronto Star", 24 August 2006, A12.]

The TTC unanimously endorsed purchase of the subway cars on August 30, 2006. After the vote, Moscoe told reporters, "We got a fair deal. We got a good deal. And we've got a first-class set of subway cars. [...] I have no apologies to make". [Jeff Gray, "Bombardier subway deal clears hurdle", "Globe and Mail", 31 August 2006, A1.] The purchase was subsequently approved by council in late September 2006, by a vote of 25 to 18.

Late 2006

Moscoe announced in late October 2006 that the TTC was considering the installment of electronic signs, to show bus and streetcar riders how long they would have to wait for the next vehicle. [David Bruser, "TTC seeking way to ease riders' wait", "Toronto Star", 26 October 2003, A19.] The following month, he announced that the TTC would introduce new tokens to combat counterfeiting. [Glynnis Mapp, "New TTC tokens are designed to fight fraud", "National Post", 17 November 2006, A13; Hayley Mick, "TTC hopes new token will thwart fraudsters", "Globe and Mail", 21 November 2006, A2.] He has also proposed shifting Toronto to an automatic train system to increase service capacity, and introducing a station master at each stop to handle upgrades and customer complaints. [David Bruser, "Cost may stall automated train plan", "Toronto Star", 18 November 2006, A25; David Bruser, "Station master, at your service", "Toronto Star", 20 November 2006, B2.]

One day after the 2006 municipal election, the federal government of Stephen Harper announced that it would provide the TTC with $1.4 million for anti-terrorism measures. Moscoe described the announcement as a "slap in the face", far below the $35 million the TTC had requested for security upgrades. He declined to participate in a photo opportunity with federal officials, and asked the Harper government to reconsider its proposal. [David Bruser, "Federal transit security funds 'slap in the face'", "Toronto Star", 15 November 2006, V1.] Moscoe has also rejected the Conservative government's suggestion that Toronto consider public-private partnerships for transit services, saying "In transit we call them public-pirate partnerships. All the experience has been bad." [Jacqueline Thorpe, "TTC should look to private partners, Flaherty suggests", "National Post", 25 November 2006, A19.]

In a surprise move, Moscoe declined to seek renomination as TTC chair after the 2006 election. [ [ "Building TTC team 'a whole new ball game': Moscoe", "Toronto Star", 2 December 2006] .] He is currently seeking appointment to the Greater Toronto Transit Authority, a new regional body. [James Cowan, "Miller appoints committee heads", "National Post", 6 December 2006, A10.] ["A bumpy ride", "Toronto Star", 7 December 2006, R4.]


Moscoe has long promoted safety concerns in the taxi industry, and has often championed the interests of taxi drivers against perceived exploitation from owners. [Paul Moloney, "Licence battle stalls new cabbies", "Toronto Star", 18 December 2001, B03; Paul Moloney, "Fares rising, more taxis coming", "Toronto Star", 16 April 2003, B02.] He himself trained as a cab driver in 1990, in an effort to learn more about the industry. [Royson James, "'Bandit cabbies' common, rivals say", "Toronto Star", 26 July 1990, A6.] He once described taxi drivers as "the most vulnerable people in town" due to threats from belligerent passengers, [Jack Lakey, "Cabbies may seek $10 deposit", "Toronto Star", 13 February 1998.] and called for a Metro taskforce on driver safety after attending the funeral service of a cab driver killed by a customer in 1998. [Lynn Ainsworth, "Crowd overflows funeral home as hundreds of drivers turn out", "Toronto Star", 11 October 1998, A1.] He later encouraged the installment of cameras in taxi cabs. The council adopted his suggestion and mandated security cameras in taxi cabs. As a result, the crime rate against cab drivers dropped by 70%.

Moscoe supported a pioneering unionization effort for Toronto cab drivers in 1993. He later spoke out against abuses in Toronto's taxi licencing system, drawing attention to cases in which wealthy owners purchased plates that were rented to drivers at exorbitant rates. In 1998, he collaborated with Denzil Minnan-Wong to pass reform legislation granting "Ambassador" plates for licence holders who drive their own cars. [Peter Cheney, "Taxicab licences flagged for change", "Toronto Star", 17 March 1998, F1; Bruce DeMara, "Changes closer for Toronto taxis", "Toronto Star", 28 October 1998, B3; Andrew Duffy, "Cabbies' union bid 'in home stretch'", "Toronto Star", 2 March 1993, A7; Bob Brent, "Cabbies at 3 big firms opt for union", "Toronto Star", 14 May 1993, A6; James Rusk, "Council approves overhaul of city's taxi industry", "Globe and Mail", 27 November 1998, A13.]

Moscoe defended a taxi fare increase in 2003, arguing that it was first such increase in seven years and was necessary to cover rising insurance and gas prices. [Philip Mascoll, "Keep an eye on that cab meter", "Toronto Star", 2 September 2003, B03.] In 2005, he argued that drivers deserved a further fifty-cent increase per ride to cope with soaring fuel costs. [Kevin McGran, "Surcharge for cab fuel on the way", "Toronto Star", 13 September 2005, B07.] He has supported a motion to have all Toronto cabs painted the same colour, arguing that this measure will help crack down on illegal drivers. [Kerry Gillespie, "Drive on for one-colour cabs", "Toronto Star", 30 April 2002, B03.]

Following the murder of a taxi driver by a passenger, Moscoe commented that drivers "live a very dangerous existence", adding "I would venture to say their job is more dangerous than a police officer". [Tracy Huffman, Betsy Powell and Leslie Feren, "Slain cabbie wanted to quit", "Toronto Star", 3 May 2006, B01.] According to a "Toronto Star" report, some members of the police force found this comment offensive. ["Moscoe's Mouth", "Toronto Star", 1 April 2006, A15.]

His 2006 appointment as chair of the Licensing and Standards Committee gives Moscoe direct authority over the city's taxi industry. He has acknowledged that owners and brokers disapprove of some of his ideas, but says that most drivers support him. ["Del Grande ducks out", "Toronto Star", 7 December 2006, R3.]


Moscoe has often called for reforms in the Toronto Police Department, particularly as regards the force's relations with racial minority groups. Following the 1990 shooting of a black teenager by Toronto police, he introduced a motion at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities calling for police officers to be trained with "the information they need to deal sensitively with racial and ethnic minorities". ["Police-minority relations programs urged", "Globe and Mail", 6 June 1990, A9.] He was a founding member of Metro Toronto's Council Action Committee to Combat Racism but resigned in January 1991, saying that it had rendered itself ineffectual by declining to make police issues a priority. Metro Chairman Alan Tonks, who established the committee, argued that an emphasis on police issues would duplicate the work of the Metro Police Commission and reduce police morale. [Jim Byers, "2 councillors quit Metro committee on racism", "Toronto Star", 8 November 1990, A6; Susan James, "Three resign from racism committee on first day", "Toronto Star", 8 January 1991, A6.] Moscoe sought an appointment to the Police Commission in late 1990, but withdrew his name after failing to win Tonks's support. [David Lewis Stein, "Maybe it's time to send in John Sewell", "Toronto Star", 14 December 1990, A29.]

Moscoe criticized the tactics of the Toronto Police Association during Craig Bromell's tenure as union leader. In 1999, he argued that TTC advertisements by the union portrayed Hispanics as criminals. Bromell said that the ads were not meant to be offensive. [Peter Small, "Police stand firm on poster --- No apology for depiction of Hispanics", "Toronto Star", 31 May 1999, p. 1.] The next year, Moscoe accused Bromell of having "crossed the line" by hiring private investigators to probe city councillors critical of the police force. ["Analysis: Controversial fund-raising campaign by Canada's largest police force seen as offensive by Toronto city officials", "Morning Edition", 2 February 2000.] Moscoe had his own office swept for bugs as a precautionary measure. Some councillors, including Tom Jakobek, derided this as a publicity stunt. [Paul Moloney, "Moscoe swatted for bug sweep", "Toronto Star", 12 February 2000, p. 1.]

Moscoe described a 2004 proposal for police helicopters as "pure testosterone", and sarcastically suggested that the helicopters should be equipped with Sidewinder missiles to ensure maximum effectiveness. He said during a council debate, "Do we need a helicopter to track down drug dealers in Parkdale? It's tough to land a helicopter on a doughnut shop." Rival councillor Rob Ford said that Moscoe's comments were insulting to the police force. [Peter Kuitenbrouwer, "Council takes a copter ride to Disneyland", "National Post", 21 April 2004, A16.] Some current and former members of the Toronto police, including Julian Fantino, have criticized Moscoe's approach to police affairs. [Jeff Gray, "Regrets? Not even a few", "Globe and Mail", 26 February 2005, M1.]


Moscoe played a significant role in Metro Council's deliberations over market value tax reform in late 1992, working with three Progressive Conservative councillors to broker a last-minute compromise on the issue. Under the proposed plan, businesses and factories that paid rates below the market level would have had their rate increases capped at 25% over three years, while tenants and homeowners would have had increases capped at 10% over three years. Those paying more than the market rate would also have had their reductions capped. The compromise won the support of council, despite opposition from councillors representing wards in downtown Toronto. ["Property tax reform", "Toronto Star", 31 October 1992, D2.] The provincial government later rejected the proposal. Moscoe supported a similar five year phase-in plan in 1998, which was accepted. [Sara Jean Green, "Ratepayers to get city help fighting new assessments", "Globe and Mail", 25 July 1998, A10.]


* Moscoe has dabbled in the visual arts. His sculpted wooden birds were featured at the 1990 Cabby Art Festival in Toronto. [Rosemary Sexton, "Cabbies take the stage for Harbourfront show", "Globe and Mail", 13 January 1990, A13.] He later created a "pop art haven" of tacky orange furniture in his council office, to the chagrin of other councillors. [Andrew Duffy, "Moscoe's 'tacky' orange furniture ordered out", "Toronto Star", 17 February 1993, A7.]
* Moscoe has weighed in excess of 300 pounds at different times in his career, and was nicknamed "Hungry Howard" by the Toronto media in the 1990s. He took steps to control his weight in 1991 after being told that he had diabetes. By June 1992, he had dropped to 285 pounds. [Marlene Habib, "Diabetes scare forced politician to drop 55 pounds", "Kitchener-Waterloo Record", 8 June 1992, D1.] As of late 2005, he weighed 275 pounds. [Jill Mahoney, "Canada's added girth a growing concern", "Globe and Mail", 10 December 2005.]
* When the restoration of capital punishment was discussed at a 1979 meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Moscoe introduced a facetious motion calling for the restoration of torture. He later clarified to reporters that he intended his proposal as a parody of the original motion, and said that he opposed both torture and the death penalty as irrational acts. He expressed concern that some constituents took his motion seriously, and approved of it. [Marina Strauss, "Alderman suggests torture of criminals", "Globe and Mail", 5 June 1979, P10; "Alderman is disturbed by calls backing lashing", 7 June 1979, P3.]
* He organized a sarcastic "Howard Moscoe Re-Election Money Grub Banquet" to raise funds for his re-election bid in 2000. ["Money-grubber Moscoe roots for funders", "Toronto Star", 13 May 2000, p. 1.]

Table of offices held

External links

* [ Howard Moscoe profile on City of Toronto website]

Electoral record

Municipal politics

Electors could vote for two candidates.
The percentages are determined in relation to the total number of votes.

Results taken from the "Toronto Star", 13 November 1991.
The final official results were not significantly different.

Results taken from the "Globe and Mail", 14 November 1985.
Electors could vote for four candidates.
The percentages are determined in relation to the total number of votes.
The final official results were not significantly different.

Results taken from the "Globe and Mail", 9 November 1982.
The final results confirmed Moscoe's victory.

Results taken from the "Toronto Star", 11 November 1980.
The final results were not significantly different.

Results taken from the "Toronto Star", 14 November 1978.
The final results confirmed Moscoe's victory.

Results taken from the "Toronto Star", 3 December 1974.
Electors could vote for two candidates.
The percentages are determined in relation to the total number of votes.
There may be a transcription error in the result for Carl Anderson (the last two numbers were partly obscured).
The final official results were not significantly different.

All municipal election information is from the City of Toronto, unless otherwise noted.

Provincial politics

All provincial election information is from Elections Ontario.


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