THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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Mississauga Business Times - Sep 21, 2006
McCallion takes another jab at region
The ancient Greeks had a unique talent for temple building, playwriting, epic storytelling, and a whole bunch of other things.
However, they could never get the unity thing just right.
The polis or city-states failed to form a cohesive, pan-Greece movement (except when invaded by foreigners), and this, perhaps most of all, finally sealed their fate.
In Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, he duly recorded the ongoing battle between Sparta and Athens. They were forever at each other's throats.
Fast forward to the Region of Peel, circa. 2006.
Mississauga Mayor might look back fondly on the Hellenistic age because citizens of the polis never had to worry about three, four, or even five levels of government. There was just one, and all citizens were key components of it.
In her annual 'state of the union' address last month to the Mississauga Board of Trade luncheon at the Mississauga Grand Banquet & Convention Centre, Mayor Hazel continued to berate regional government, and Mississauga's continuing role in it.
She said her citizens are demanding value for their tax dollar, and by lobbing $21 million per year (her figure) into subsidizing services for neighbouring Brampton and Caledon (plus more funds allotted to the City of Toronto), it just isn't fair, or smart.
McCallion wants Mississauga to go freelance, and join cities like Barrie, Windsor, Guelph, or London, which are not affiliated with any regional council.
She believes Mississauga has earned the right to pay its own way - without subsidizing the "rich gentleman farmers of Caledon."
"There's no incentive for cities that run efficiently," she said, noting that Mississauga has had to bail out big neighbour Toronto because of their budgetary overruns.
This money continues to be swiped from the pockets of Mississauga taxpayers.
McCallion versus the Region has been an ongoing fistfight since she first entered municipal government as the Mayor of Streetsville back in the late 1960s and early 70s.
Her opponent then was Conservative Premier Bill Davis, the father of regional government.
Brampton Billy, who was burned in effigy in downtown Streetsville for his revolutionary plan, jokes today that without regional government McCallion would have remained a big voice in the tiny hamlet of Streetsville - hardly the world famous major of Canada's sixth largest city.
The irony is: regional government created the icon now known simply as Hazel.
McCallion sternly believes four levels of government in Canada (more if you add conservation authorities, etc.) is at least one too much.
"Why do we continue to waste money on the duplication of services, she asked at the MBOT confab.
The ageless McCallion is seeking another term in the upcoming municipal vote in November, and if she wins (is there any doubt?) she will be the mayor for another four years - if her health holds up.
With a new four-year mandate, will she continue to bait Queen's Park about pulling Mississauga out of the region?
"Sure, it'll continue. We can win this battle," she said, in a sit down interview after her speech.
If McCallion is stymied by the polemics at Queen's Park, she's also stirred up by the alarming disregard at the upper levels of government which, she says, should be helping solve the looming infrastructure crisis crippling our cities.
"These problems - roads, water, waste management, the hard and soft services - will costs billions," she says.
So far, the response from upper levels of government has been muted, at best, she says.
McCallion also looked to the Board of Trade to lead the battle in trying to make inroads into more government funding for infrastructure.
George Kairys, chair of the MBOT, said his group would continue to work as an advocate for these changes, and look to assist businesses in Mississauga reach their full potential.
MBOT has a number of committees made up of members who develop, implement and address issues of concern for Mississauga's business community. as well as identify events and projects that would enhance business.
Visit the MBOT website at www.mbot.com for find out more details about their advocacy work.
Taxpayers won't stand for duplication of services, she tells big business crowd.
PHOTO; 2 - One of Mayor Hazel McCallion joins Sam Stratigeas, (from left) Nick Zarafonitis, and John Lianos, owners of the Mississauga Grand Banquet & Convention Centre. The Centre hosted the Mayor's annual MBOT talk. It was also named one of the Top Performers in our annual pool of readers and the other of her at the podium.
CAPTION; "Mayor McCallion addressing the business crowd last month."
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