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National Post - June 30, 2010 - By Megan O'Toole -

Funding for Mississauga inquiry
doubles to $5-million

Mississauga council has authorized a doubling of funding for the judicial inquiry into allegedly suspect city business dealings.

Members of council voted today to allow costs of the inquiry to rise to $5-million, twice the initial estimate.  To date, with the inquiry only about a quarter of the way through — the process is expected to run into late August — costs have already exceeded $2.3-million.

“These are not the kinds of monies anybody wants to spend,” Councillor George Carlson said, but he noted the inquiry’s outcome will be “invaluable to the future of the city.”

The inquiry has been a divisive topic for Mississauga councillors, particularly as it has been painted as an attack on the city’s long-serving Mayor, who was involved in both questionable business deals.

But today, none of Mayor Hazel McCallion’s allies spoke out against the rising cost, and the report sailed through in minutes.

Councillor Carolyn Parrish said she had expected costs would rise from the initial $2.5-million estimate, citing the complexities of an electronic courtroom and funding requests from various parties. In addition, time has been spent dealing with unforeseen challenges brought by citizen reporters and a local newspaper.

“The agenda’s out of our control,” Ms. Parrish said.

City solicitor Mary Ellen Bench said she expects the $5-million figure is much more in line with what the ultimate cost will be. The investigative portion and document production has concluded for both phases of the inquiry; all that remains are the public hearings for phase two.

The first phase of the inquiry examined the city’s decade-old Enersource agreement, while the next phase, beginning Monday, will look at a controversial land deal involving Ms. McCallion’s son.

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