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National Post - Oct. 2, 2009, 7:05 pm - By Megan O'Toole, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carolyn Parrish's dangerous gamble
Carolyn Parrish appears to be making a dangerous gamble. The outspoken Mississauga councilor, touted by some as the first viable challenger to Hazel McCallion in decades, has riled the iconic mayor’s staunchest supporters in her quest to get to the bottom of a troubling allegation.
The majority of council voted with Ms. Parrish this week to launch a judicial inquiry into whether the mayor broke conflict-of-interest rules in relation to a land deal that involved her son’s company. But others, such as Councilor Maja Prentice, say Ms. Parrish is simply attempting to “drive the mayor out of office.”
The city of Mississauga, which has grown under Ms. McCallion’s tenure into one of Canada’s most populous municipalities, worships its mayor, who has ruled unflinchingly for 31 years.
The political fallout of challenging the legendary mayor could be extreme, but Ms. Parrish says it was her “reluctant duty” to push for the inquiry after discovering discrepancies in the official record of a council meeting in which Ms. McCallion’s son’s land deal was discussed. Minutes of that meeting showed Ms. McCallion had declared a conflict of interest in the matter, but further analysis of videotaped evidence indicated otherwise.
The city clerk’s office is probing the apparent error, while officials work on composing terms of reference for the pending judicial inquiry, which will examine whether Ms. McCallion broke conflict-of-interest rules, as lawyers hired by the city suggest she did.
Meanwhile, Ms. Parrish — who this week lashed out at the “blind loyalty” of Ms. McCallion’s council supporters — refuses to link the process to any mayoral ambitions of her own.
“The mayor is going through a pretty hard time,” she said yesterday via e-mail. “Discussing me or my political style is not relevant to the issues we’re concerned with right now. ... We’re involved in a very serious pursuit which should not be clouded by ‘politics.’ ”
Instead, Ms. Parrish said she had the “greatest respect” for Ms. McCallion, a woman who she has often referred to in the past as unbeatable. Depending on the outcome of the pending inquiry, however, Ms. McCallion could ultimately be forced out of office, opening the door to a new slate of contenders.
Although such an outcome is highly unlikely, Ms. McCallion’s council supporters believe that’s what Ms. Parrish is hoping for.
“Carolyn is a bright woman and works hard,” Ms. Prentice said. “[But] she wants control of issues and is preparing her run for mayor. She has no respect for Mayor McCallion, nor does she respect the position of mayor. ... When she gets an idea [or] opinion in her head, it is difficult to change.”
Ms. Prentice acknowledged Ms. Parrish has rallied a number of council members behind her, but said she is ultimately putting “personal goals” ahead of the city’s best interests.
Councilor Pat Saito said Ms. Parrish “seems to enjoy digging up issues and making them appear greater than they actually are,” citing the pending inquiry as well as her action on the Enersource file. Two years ago, Ms. Parrish successfully rallied councilors to overrule a previous deal made by Ms. McCallion that gave the investment arm of OMERS a 10% stake in Enersource, the city-owned utility.
Ms. Parrish is no stranger to controversy. A former Liberal MP, she repeatedly made headlines for her strongly worded criticisms of the U.S. administration and the war in Iraq. In 2004, she referred to the American missile defence initiative as a “coalition of the idiots,” and symbolized her opposition to the Bush administration by publicly stomping on a George W. Bush doll for the CBC’s Rick Mercer.
She was ultimately ejected from the Liberal caucus, and made the switch to municipal politics, something Ms. McCallion yesterday suggested was not easy for the political firebrand.
“I think she’s had some difficulty in switching, which is only natural,” Ms. McCallion said. “In federal and provincial politics you’re forever criticizing the other party, and you’re looking at ways and means to outdo them or outsmart them or whatever. That’s the nature. ... We don’t operate that way at the local level.”
Still, Ms. McCallion called Ms. Parrish a “great asset” to council and a “very active” member of the team.
As for herself: Ms. McCallion still plans to run for re-election in 2010, health permitting, she says.
Myer Siemiatycki, a political expert at Ryerson University, said the paramount issue for the time being is getting to the bottom of the conflict-of-interest allegations. The fractiousness among council, he said, only serves to “muddy the waters.”
Ms. Parrish has developed a record as a politician who attracts public attention, Mr. Siemiatycki said, not unlike a certain other
“There’s a precedent in Mississauga for a strong female mayor with a strong persona,” he said, “and Carolyn Parrish would bring that.”
Comments by others, 8, to this web-page;
Time has not been kind to Ms. Parrish
This is not an issue that has been 'dug up'. It's a clear cut example of the kind of municipal corruption that plagues this country. As for the mysterious changing of the minutes, at best it's a misguided employee trying to protect the mayor. At worst it's a betrayal of the people.
Hazel has been caught at this before. Perhaps Ms. Parrish would like to be mayor - good luck to her. She might do better - Hazel has pretty well presided over the rampant development of Mississauga.
I agree , Robin... time has taken its toll on Parrish but that the price when you are always attacking others,, but at least she uses her blackberry ( one of two paid for by taxpayers ) to email her mate Geoge Carlson constantly during all city meetings. keeping in touch with your stragetist is most important. i can't wait until someone starts digging around the councillors expenses and especially the election costs / etc.. i hope this enquiry is not just about Hazel. Time to investigate all of them ; just like as in Vaughan
I am sure McCallion is a fine person and even a capable politician, but 31 years is far too long.
Mississauga is charmed by location: a city that grew up around the country's busiest airport, next to the country's biggest city, serviced by 3 of the busiest highways in the country - how could Mississauga have been otherwise?
Time for McCallion to move on.
To quote the article:
“Carolyn is a bright woman and works hard,” Ms. Prentice said. “[But] she wants control of issues and is preparing her run for mayor. She has no respect for Mayor McCallion, nor does she respect the position of mayor"...Ms. Prentice acknowledged Ms. Parrish has rallied a number of council members behind her, but said she is ultimately putting “personal goals” ahead of the city’s best interests."
I find the above somewhat hypocritical of Maja Prentice, as she has political ambitions of her own. Ms. Prentice has made it clear for years that she wants to be Mayor of Mississauga after Queen Hazel's reign is over.
Therefore, to criticize Carolyn Parrish in this way is nothing more than a means for ol' Maja to position herself as a contender when the time comes.
Perhaps it would be wise for Ms. Prentice to let the investigation against Queen Hazel proceed without the political rhetoric and grandstanding that ol' Maja is famous for...
by Larry Perlman Oct 03 2009 10:09 AM
It has been clear since Day 1 that Carolyn Parrish has been backstabbing everybody in her way as she grabs for whatever personal positions she can. Just remember what happened with her in the Liberal party federally. (Believe me I am no Liberal supporter but I believe that the Liberals had no alternative but to dump her since she made it clear that she thought the party was called the Parrish Party.) As soon as she got onto Mississauga Council it was clear to everyone here in Mississauga that she had one goal - get rid of Hazel and take over her position no matter what the cost to the city or to anybody else. There is a remarkable parallel to the story of another power hungry feminist socialist backstabber in the U.S. - Hilary Clinton. Carolyn Parrish is the worst possible thing that could ever happen to Mississauga should she become mayor. Can you just imagine her trying to persuade American businesses to set up locations in Mississauaga?
Parrish's ascendancy to the Mayoralty would be a confirmation of the old adage that the political system resembles a sewage farm in which the truly big lumps float to the top.
there is an old truism that when one draws a sword in the presence of the King [or 'Queen' in this case], one must use it---and one must kill the King---if one fails, then one's head gets cut off.
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