I first met Hazel McCallion many, many moons ago. She was the mayor of the Village of Streetsville, and I, a cub reporter for a small radio station in Oakville.
I liked her from the get go. She was feisty, funny and media friendly. She knew her stuff and took guff from no-one.
When the City of Mississauga was formed in 1974 it included Streetsville… and along with the Village came “Hurricane” Hazel. A short four years later she was the city’s Mayor… and has been ever since!
She’s achieved legendary status in the field of politics winning 12 consecutive terms, one of the longest serving elected leaders in history… anywhere!
But now, at the age of 90, in her final term (?) she’s suffered a scar in her Teflon reputation.
After almost two years, at a cost of $7-million, a Mississauga judicial inquiry has found, that the Mayor acted in a “real and apparent conflict of interest”, when she got behind a convention centre/hotel development (since failed) that would have made millions for her son, Peter.
While Hazel did declare a conflict of interest in the matter, and never voted on the deal in council, she was busy behind the scenes using the clout of her office to try and make it happen.
In his report on the inquiry’s findings, Justice Douglas Cunningham said, that while the Mayor didn’t violate the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, she “knew her son Peter McCallion stood to gain financially if the deal succeeded. For this reason, the exercise of influence put her in a position of conflict, both real and apparent.”
Most would agree.
Hazel has said she won’t step down, she’s done nothing illegal. True. But doing the “legal” thing… ain’t always the right thing.
The Hurricane watch continues.
Listen to The Motts (Paul and Carol) weekdays… 11 til noon at…http://www.themotts.ca