Au Revoir, Hazel, It’s Been A Blast

Ask me how long I plan to keep on keeping on and I’ll tell you, “I hope to do a Hazel.”

The legendary Mayor of Mississauga, who turns 94 in a few months, presided over her last council meeting today after 36 years.

What does it mean to “do a Hazel”?

It means being indefatigable, indestructible and in control.

It means not going gently into dotage but storming into old age and wrinkles be damned.

It means being in your 90s and still earning an annual salary of almost $200,000 for running Canada’s sixth largest city.

How could you not admire and respect this woman who’s had about as much use for a leisurely retirement as she’s had for a face full of Botox.

But there wasn’t always admiration and respect when it came to politics.

Her reign — it’s the only way to describe her time in office — was stained by accusations of conflict of interest.

Some people thought it was not only wrinkles be damned but ethics be damned, too.

McCallion was found guilty of a conflict of interest in 1982 on a planning decision. But she dodged that bullet and remained as mayor.

Five years ago, there was the controversy about her failure to disclose a conflict of interest concerning her son’s company. A judge decided she “acted in a ‘real and apparent conflict of interest’ while pushing hard for a real estate deal that could have put millions of dollars in her son’s pocket.”

In the end, she dodged that bullet, too.

And while her ethics may have been questionable, what doting mother didn’t at least understand where she was coming from and cut her some slack.

McCallion weathered these tempests but, at a press conference, today, warned her successors, “It was much easier back in 1968 when I first started in politics, but today everything is being questioned and challenged, et cetera.”

There’s a lot more that could be said about McCallion but let’s just say that before Hillary Clinton, there was Hazel McCallion.

We wish her many more productive years dodging the bullet of mortality.