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In Defence of Canadians Rights & Democracy

* Hazel McCallion - Mayor of Mississauga *
- 2009 -
* Conflict of Interest & Judicial Inquiry *

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Opening comments:  More at the end.

This the longer & more detailed story, along with a picture of Hazel and the titled "In search of skeletons", published on Halloween - who says the media can't poke fun at the dear old Mayor of Mississauga.

Pictures - of the Oct. 28, 2009, Council Meeting dealing with the Judicial Inquiry.

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

National Post - Oct. 29, 2009 - By Megan O’Toole,

Mississauga residents defend Mayor over inquiry

Decried As 'Witch Hunt'; Council votes to look into deal
involving McCallion's son


Despite an overwhelming show of protest from residents, Mississauga city councillors yesterday voted 7-4 to move ahead with a judicial inquiry that will examine, among other things, Mayor Hazel McCallion's involvement in a land deal arranged by her son.

It was standing room only in a packed council chamber as one after another, residents stood up to speak out against the inquiry, forecast to cost taxpayers upwards of $2-million.  Some cried, some shouted and others read calmly from prepared letters, but the message remained the same: Mississauga citizens want their much-loved mayor spared from a lengthy and emotionally draining inquiry process.

Earning a standing ovation from the crowd, resident Betty Merkley called the inquiry saga a "low point in our city's history ...a politically motivated, so-called search for the truth."

Several residents, in thinly veiled references to Councillor Carolyn Parrish, who has helped lead the charge for the inquiry, suggested it was little more than a "witch hunt" designed to unseat one of the country's longest-serving mayors and make room for a new contender.  Many in the crowd spoke of Ms. McCallion's dedication to the city and her tireless efforts to raise Mississauga's global profile.

Others pleaded with the city not to raise taxes to pay for an inquiry when councillors already sought, and received, a legal opinion on the matter, which largely absolved Ms. McCallion of any deliberate wrongdoing.

Resident Boyd Upper said he was "stunned" to learn councillors were considering spending millions on a judicial inquiry that would cover the same ground.

"Withdraw the motion and don't waste our taxes," he demanded.

Still, seven of 11 councillors say the process is a necessary means by which to examine what Ms. Parrish described as the "murky" ways in which the city has conducted business in the past.  A land deal involving the mayor's son, Peter McCallion, and his company, World Class Developments, remains at the heart of the inquiry.  The deal, which ultimately fell through, concerned a parcel of land that World Class was planning to purchase from pension giant OMERS to build a hotel.  The city has since bought the same land -- but only after World Class obtained an undisclosed settlement from OMERS.

Ms. Parrish wants the details of that settlement unravelled, and she wants to know why Ms. McCallion attended several private meetings concerning her son's deal while the matter was before council.  She also wants to dig deeper into why minutes of the council meeting in which Ms. McCallion failed to declare a conflict-of-interest were changed to indicate the mayor had, in fact, made such a declaration.  City staff have been unable to explain the discrepancy.

Beyond that, Ms. Parrish says, the inquiry will be tasked with examining the past and present relationships between all three entities involved -- the city, OMERS and World Class.

Ms. Parrish denied her support of the inquiry is linked to her own mayoral ambitions, saying the city has a responsibility to "get at the truth."

"I want [Ms. McCallion] to run again," she said, to laughter and heckles from the mostly unsupportive crowd.

In a debate that lasted several hours, four councillors who defended the mayor butted heads with the majority who voted to press forward with the inquiry.  Councillor Nando Iannicca, who voted for the probe, said it was easy to make from an ethical perspective, but "heart-wrenching" for its potential impact on the mayor.

Councillor Maja Prentice called the process "absolutely unconscionable," while Councillor Katie Mahoney warned the costs of the inquiry could balloon into the tens of millions of dollars -- a suggestion the city solicitor later denied.

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