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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Haze of Hazel

Angelo will not be voting for Hazel McCallion:

Mississauga is a city without an identity. It’s known in Canada mainly because it has the nation’s longest-serving and oldest mayor. Over the last 30 years, McCallion has built her own legacy, but not the legacy of Mississauga.

The latest events reveal that her once undisputed leadership now is openly challenged and she does not have the authority to put things back together. Nonetheless, she will win the next election because, sadly for most voters, the debate over integrity is not a priority as long as people see clean streets, buses running on time and low taxes.

So voters only really care about government officials, you know, doing their job? Shocking stuff. The integrity issue referred to is a real estate scandal - it's Mississauga after all - in which the Mayor's son had a stake in a large condo development, one which his mother helped push for approval. This is an obvious conflict of interest, though not quite as nefarious as implied by the mayor's critics. 

Central Mississauga, if we may use that term for Toronto's soulless suburb, has seen a mushroom like outbreak of mega condos over the last few years. There has been little suggestion, thus far, that this particular project would not have been approved, had the younger McCallion not been involved. In other words, all we know is that it looks bad, not that Hazel abused her power. Mississauga is about as developer friendly a place as can be imagined in Canada. If it's big and shiny, it'll probably be going up. No reason to suspect this particular project wouldn't have gotten the green light, if someone else was taking a cut instead of junior.

It is certainly true that Mississauga has no identity. Neither does my car or washer /dryer. They are machines. The suburbs are machines for living, to borrow from Le Corbusier's harsh phrase about individual buildings. Mississauga has no soul? Neither do almost all suburbs. They are for people who want backyards and don't too much mind the commute. It's what they're for. Blaming Hazel for giving people what they want, and giving it better than her less stamina blessed municipal counterparts, is rather an odd position for the Red Star to take, a paper which always talks a good game about democracy.

What truly irks many about Hazel is not what she has done, but who this soon to be nonagenarian isn't. Most glaringly she is not David Miller, or any other of the fashionable Leftists who dominate municipal politics across Canada. For over thirty years Mrs McCallion has tried to run the City of Mississauga like a business. Whether you think it is wise for governments to be run in this way, or not, it has clearly been rather successful for Mississauga.

The voters like the approach, as do the literally hundreds of thousands of Torontonians who have moved there in the decades since. One of the problems with brave social experimenters like David Miller, and others beloved of urban theorists, is that for all their talk of building livable communities, fewer and fewer people want to live in them. 

The regional commuter service - the GO system - has extended its bus lines to south of Hamilton. That's about three hours to downtown Toronto at rush hour. Backyards are part of the reason, but so are high taxes, a war on motorists and bloated municipal government, pushed into the red by militant unions. The brave new urban world offered by the hipsters at the Star is compelling, in the rarified airs of seminars and workshops. Most people just want clean and well maintained streets. This used to be pretty obvious stuff, once upon a time. Probably back when Hazel was a little girl. 

Posted by Richard Anderson on September 15, 2010 | Permalink


Hazel McCallion to me is a solid strong and apt business women who made that city the success it is today. Caroline Parrish and her like can critisize all they want but who will really liston to their claptrap.
Sure Hazel may have made a questionable judgment call by getting involved with her son's dealings.She is allowed the odd mistake, but would you want a Caroline Parrish running Mississauga. I don't think so with her track record. regards WAH

Posted by: BILL HACKNEY | 2010-09-15 1:32:29 PM

"Mississauga is a city without an identity. It’s known in Canada mainly because it has the nation’s longest-serving and oldest mayor"
It is also known for having Canada's largest airport

Posted by: Yes I can | 2010-09-16 11:39:03 AM

Common sense. You have way too much common sense! Please, don't come to the USA and ruin our bullet-train ride into liberalism, phenomenal mismanagement and corruption.

Posted by: Doug Holdridge | 2010-10-02 7:37:16 AM

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