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In Defence of Canadians Rights & Democracy

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Opening comments:  More at the end.

To the main Judicial Inquiry page - to the Hazel McCallion page.

includes brushing off a conflict-of-interest case," - a very timely book.  Problem is it will have to rewritten!!

Mississauga News - Apr 28, 2009 - By Joseph Chin,

Hazel’s power is popularity

Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Mayor Hazel McCallion is the subject of Tom Urbaniak’s new book,
Her Worship: Hazel McCallion and the Development of Mississauga. File photo

In the late 1930s, a young lady leaves her rural home on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula to make her way in the world.

Many have made such migrations, of course — and most go unnoticed — but Hazel Mary Muriel Journeaux would eventually end up in Mississauga and become a municipal icon.

That journey, still with a few miles to go, is deftly chronicled in Tom Urbaniak’s new book, Her Worship: Hazel McCallion and the Development of Mississauga, published by the University of Toronto Press.

The first full-length study of McCallion’s politics, Her Worship examines the mayor’s shrewd pragmatism and calculated populism.

Since McCallion’s political life closely parallels the history of the city she’s led (McCallion’s been mayor for 30 of its 35 years), it’s also a study of the evolution of Mississauga.

Urbaniak will be at the Central Library’s Noel Ryan Auditorium next Tuesday at 7 p.m. to launch Her Worship. Admission is free, with a book signing to follow.

Urbaniak, 32, is eminently suited to the task of tackling the political biography. An assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Cape Breton University, he’s also a life-long resident of Mississauga.  He has had, as he puts it, “some immersion in the policy process in Mississauga,” having served on various City and Region task forces and boards.  His first direct exposure, while still in high school, was as a member and later chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee.

Urbaniak, however, doesn’t allow familiarity to cloud his objectivity; in fact, he takes pains to be balanced and even-handed.  For instance, while he dutifully recounts McCallion’s stage-managed public persona — her trailblazing of women’s hockey, her leadership as a war-time company executive, her celebrated handling of the 1979 train derailment, her incredible energy — he also, for the record, does not shy away from exposing her foibles.

The latter includes brushing off a conflict-of-interest case, her “take-no-prisoners” governance style and her refusal, as some critics would contend, to tolerate open criticism of her leadership.

Urbaniak also asks hard questions. For example, would McCallion have lasted this long as mayor of Toronto, with its large council, socialist wing, intense media scrutiny, big unions?  Were there missed opportunities?  What can other growing communities learn from the Mississauga experience?

McCallion, the author posits, “had the good fortune of being the mayor who was in the right place at the right time,” though he’s quick to add that that is “certainly not to suggest that just anyone would have been electorally successful...”

In the end, what clearly comes through in Urbaniak’s book is his subject’s instinctive ability to connect with her constituents.  That she’s used it to consolidate her power for three decades — and counting — makes for fascinating reading.

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