Photography Paul Alexander

The conflict of interest complaint against long-serving Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, 92, has been dismissed. The decision by Ontario Superior Court Justice John Sproat means McCallion not will not be forced to step down from a position she has held for 35 years.

Friday’s ruling followed a hearing into allegations that McCallion breached the Municipal Conflict Interest act back in 2007 when she voted on a bylaw amendment that would have saved her son’s development company – World Class Developments -- $11 million in development charges.

McCallion has been voted into office 10 times as mayor of Mississauga since 1978, and is the longest serving elected official in Canada.  She has said that, regardless of today’s decision, this would be her final term as mayor.

Read our feature from Zoomer magazine (October 2010) on Mayor Hazel McCallion below.


Hazel McCallion: Mississauga’s Long-Serving Mayor Is Still in the Game

By John Lorinc

Outside of the U.S. Senate, there are very few democratic examples of political longevity quite like Hazel McCallion, who first took office as mayor of Mississauga, Ont., in 1978, at a time when Jimmy Carter still called the shots in the Oval Office and a charismatic Polish bishop named Karol Józef Wojtyła had just become Pope John Paul II in Rome.

McCallion, the 89-year-old powerhouse, has presided over the evolution of a collection of villages on Toronto’s pastoral periphery into a mature edge city with a humming economy, plenty of cultural diversity and a bona fide growth management problem.

Born in Quebec in 1921, McCallion had a successful business career — she published a local newspaper — before entering municipal politics in the former town of Streetsville, a hamlet in the west end of what is now Mississauga. The Ontario government amalgamated all those smaller municipalities in 1973, and McCallion — then in her early 50s and the mother of three — emerged as a reform-minded politician who reflected the views of Mississauga residents suspicious of excessive development.

After she became mayor, notes her biographer Tom Urbaniak, a political scientist at Cape Breton University, McCallion came to realize that Mississauga’s growth was inevitable. Under her leadership, council imposed heavy development charges on builders, allowing the city to finance new municipal infrastructure without taking on any debt. McCallion spent three decades touting that particular model of business-minded municipal administration, which has translated into relatively low taxes and efficient services. As Urbaniak points out, McCallion often says in speeches that she spends taxpayers’ money the way she spends her own.

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