Not any more

Mississauga Article: Mayor says time for change

In Canada on September 8, 2010 at 19:19

Mayor says time for change

She’s back. Mayor Hazel McCallion announced today that she will officially seek re-election in the upcoming municipal election. Staff photo by Fred Loek

In announcing this afternoon that she’s officially seeking re-election, Mayor Hazel McCallion also urged Mississauga residents to change the face of City Council in order to make the next four years a success.
McCallion, 89, who earlier today registered for the mayoral race, encouraged residents to make the right choice on Oct. 25, election day.
“We’ve had a lot of negative publicity and a lot of trouble over the last few years, and that’s why this is a very important election,” she told a news conference at Kinsmen Hall in Streetsville attended by 100 or so people. “All that has to be eliminated this election.”
McCallion said the City of Mississauga can’t “move forward” with the current Council because there is “too much controversy and undermining.”
She referenced a comment made by Ward 6 Councillor Carolyn Parrish that the City “spends like drunken sailors” and other “inappropriate” comments by councillors in recent months.
“I am pleading with the people of Mississauga to get the vote out and choose wisely come election day,” said McCallion, who also declared today that, if elected, it will be her final term in office. “Ask your candidates outright if they will put Mississauga first…I really believe residents have to take this election seriously if they want the City to move forward.”
While McCallion fell short of telling residents who to vote for, saying that would be an “insult” to the public, she asked the community to “support candidates who will put Mississauga first, not their political ambitions.
“I don’t know how we can move forward with a dysfunctional council.”
There’s widespread belief that strong McCallion supporters with political influence are running in various wards to defeat the incumbents known as “the group of seven,” including Parrish and Ward 7 Councillor Nando Iannicca.
The City’s future plans, including the reconstruction of Civic Square, a five-star hotel and convention centre in the City Centre and possibly a 10,000-seat stadium on the waterfront, won’t come to fruition without the right people holding council seats, McCallion added.
Parrish told The News she believes residents are “way too sophisticated” to listen to the mayor’s suggestions for election day.
“I think the citizens will want a City Council who asks questions and understands what a democracy is and they won’t want a mayor who continues to run the City like it’s the 1970s,” she said. “Back then, nobody asked questions and City interests and private and business interests were all mixed in together because it was small-town. A lot has changed.”
Parrish added, “if the mayor wants a bunch of sheep elected who will do whatever she says and support her no matter what, I don’t think the residents will go for that.”
While many people inside Kinsmen Hall chanted “four more years” in support of the mayor, others chanted “no more years.”
Outside, a protester dressed like the mayor’s son, Peter McCallion, waved a sign that read: “Vote for my mom, we need the money.”
There are 12 candidates in the mayoral race, the most since Mississauga became a City in 1974.
McCallion said one reason she’s running again is because City Council has become a divided group and she hopes to put an end to that.
“This instability on Council the last little while has not helped the city,” said McCallion, who was first elected mayor in 1978.
The past four years have seen an unusual level of conflict for a McCallion-led Council. Some councillors, led by Parrish, have been much more critical of the mayor’s leadership compared to previous councils.
And McCallion has lost majority control of Council, as evidenced by the calling of the Mississauga judicial inquiry.
McCallion wouldn’t comment on the ongoing inquiry, which is looking into conflict of interest allegations against her and her behind-the-scenes involvement in a failed hotel deal brokered by her son’s company.
She said only that she’s “looking forward” to testifying later this month and to Commissioner Douglas Cunningham’s report.
lrosella@mississauga.net

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