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In Defence of Canadians Rights & Democracy

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

* Public Question Period Index *
!! A Mississauga Democratic Tradition Lost !!

• Defense Fund for Donald Barber •

• Sound Clip Gallery • Video Clip Gallery •

• Byron Osmond Pleas for Mercy • Peel police Wrong Doings •

• Hazel McCallion - Mayor of Mississauga - her Misdeeds • The Culham Brief •

• Order of Canada & its Corruption •

• End of Suburbia & Continuous Communities as the Solution - JOBS FOR LIFE •

Other  Table  of  Contents;
• Events • Archive of Links •
• Media - News Articles & Letters to Media • Literature & News Letters •

• Elections Results in Mississauga • Political History of Mississauga • Political, Democratic & Legal Issues •

• Political Methods • The Meaning of Words & Phrases • Political Satire & Parody •
• City Mississauga Committees • City Mississauga By-Laws & Policies •
• Security Insanity • Police Issues, Complaints & News Articles •
• FOI - Freedom of Information Results & Issues •
• Legal Issues • Unions Issues •

• Political Players & Persons of Interest • Ratepayers Groups & their Issues in Mississauga •

Scanned & retyped copy of the BIA letter and newspaper articles, if there are errors, please e-mail me with corrections:

Opening comments:                                              First posted - Oct. 30, 2005.

    Well it has happened in Mississauga - a Business Improvement Association (BIA) now claims to speak for the "entire community" while threatening an artist who is exercising his right to freedom of expression, which last I heard was still protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights.  This is another example of a Mississauga news story that I have made public before the so-called local newspaper - the Mississauga (Missing) News has got around to (if ever), covering it.
A key issue in this matter is how art & artists are treated in Mississauga and by the Mayor.
A recent magazine article is both blunt and graphic in this regard.
Mr. Bryon Osmond is not the only person to say little meaningful support for the arts in Mississauga.

    The Port Credit BIA's lawyer has the gall to write to Mr. Bryon Osmond owner of  Byron's Photography - ( - Foto Galeries 4, in Port Credit, to tell him his portrait of Mayor Hazel McCallion "is offensive to the entire community."!!!   As a member of the Port Credit community for my whole life I take offense to the Port Credit BIA's efforts at being the local CENSORSHIP board.  And so should any Mississaugan with any pride in Mississauga and Canada.  What is even stranger in this matter, are the leaders of the local business community saying a picture of the Mayor of Mississauga is so "offensive" it should be removed in order that the public will not have to see her face?  A person could take the wording, the wrong way.

Picture of the store front.                                 Picture of the posted news release.

    With that in mind, this web-page is set up to allow taxpayers in a Democracy to vote on this issue and inform their elected officials how they feel.  After all the Port Credit BIA has sent a copy of its threatening letter to the Councillor  for Ward 1, at City hall, what are we to think this signifies?  But why have they not sent a copy of their letter to the Mayor?  Why leave Hazel McCallion out of the loop?

The picture is posted below so you can be the judge.

    This not the first time a BIA has become the centre of a political storm in Mississauga
When I talk to business owners in Mississauga, an opinion often heard is that BIA's are not working businesses but rather the interests of a small select group of persons with strong City hall ties.  If you have more stories along these lines or BIA horror stories, please let me know

Mr. Osmond is not the only one in a BIA, done in by other members of a BIA & Hazel in Mississauga's history

    It is hoped that more can be posted about Mr. Osmond's losing battle to keep his photography studio open.  In fact, posters in the area exclaim "Your Last Chance to be immortalized by Port Credits Best know Artist!".  Forced out of business?  It appears so.


The E-mail I sent to the Mayor and Ward 1 Councillor.  There has been no response yet.

The Port Credit
Business Improvement Association has sent me an E-mail, noting their version of what is going on.
Have sent them an E-mail asking they support their statements with some kind of proof - there has been no response yet.

The next two items by the Mississauga News are interesting and unusual as they cut deeper into the real issues in this matter, how the Port Credit BIA services local business.  A week after I made public this developing story, they cover it, on the front page no less and even start their own Internet poll that people can vote on (like I did).  Wish I was set up as they are to publish the results - well maybe with more funding.  Also missing from the Internet version is the full picture that appears on their newspaper front page - Internet version is just a cropped version of Hazel McCallion's painting.

NATIONAL POST -  Nov 3, 2005 - The Front page!  Mayor's Portrait 'offensive'.
The events in Port Credit - Mississauga have now reached the entire GTA, Ontario and beyond! 

The Toronto Star - Nov 4, 2005 - GTA section - `Offensive' mayor portrait pulled

The Mississauga News  - Nov 4, 2005 - Editorial -
PC BIA should back off.

The Mississauga News  - Nov 4, 2005 - Article -
Art ordered out of store

The Internet short version of the above - "Should a Port Credit shop owner be forced to remove this painting of Mayor Hazel McCallion from his store window?"

The results of the Mississauga News' Internet voting.

Understand that City 57 ran this story complete with shot of Hazel riding a bicycle or should we say a spin-cycle.
Also, heard that the damage control included a interview on CFRB, the Mayor's favorite media soap box.

The SAD STATE OF THE ARTS in Mississauga.

“Byron Osmond speaks out”
In his own words Byron Osmond tells the tale of how his business was ruined and almost (all of) his life.

Hazel McCallion's picture is offensive to the entire community, says Port Credit BIA solicitor

Marilyn L. Sparrow
Barrister & Solicitor

October 26, 2005


Mr. Bryon Osmond
Byron's Photography
Foto Galeries 4
106 Lakeshore Road East

Dear Mr. Osmond:

RE:    106 Lakeshore Road East, Mississauga

As you are aware, I am solicitor for the Port Credit BIA.

The current window display at 106 Lakeshore Road East, with references to the Port Credit BIA
and Mayor Hazel McCallion, who has served this city in her capacity as Mayor for over 27 years,
is offensive to the entire community.

This window display must be removed before 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2005.

Yours truly,

Marilyn L. Sparrow


cc:     Board of Management, Port Credit Business Association (via email)
cc:    Councillor Carmen Corbasson, Ward 1, City of Mississauga (via email)

!!!! VOTE !!!!
Do you think the above picture is "offensive to the entire community"
and if you agree that the Port Credit BIA speaks for you in matters of censorship???

Let the owner of Foto Galeries 4 & the Mayor of Mississauga - Hazel McCallion - know how you feel.

                   Mr. Bryon Osmond at
Mayor Hazel McCallion at
     Councillor Carmen Corbasson at

<>, <>, <>
If you don't VOTE you will be agreeing with censorship and those who get on their high horses to,
claim to speak for the community, when ever it serves their purposes.

The store front.
Store front 106 Lakeshore Rd. East

The posted news release.

The posted news release.

To:             <>, <>, <>
Subject:         Port Credit BIA & censorship.
It has come to my attention that the Port Credit Business Improvement Association (BIA), is now acting as the local censorship board and trying to claim they speak for "the entire community". 

That in itself is clearly wrong but as they have involved the Mayor, Hazel McCallion, while making their claims as to what should be considered "offensive to the entire community", it becomes incumbent upon the Mayor of Mississauga to go on the record in regards to the key issues in this matter.

1).     Does the Mayor think this painting (based on a photograph(s) she sat for), by a Mississauga artist, is an "offensive to the entire community" and if so, how?

2).     Does the Mayor think the Port Credit BIA is within its rights to act as the local censorship board?

3).     Does the Mayor think the Port Credit BIA is right to say it can speak for "the entire community" in this matter?

4).     Should not the local Councillor be involved in this matter?

Personally, the picture does not offend me and having met the Mayor many times, I would say it speaks of her character and emotional strength.  It should also be noted that even the Queen of England has recently changed the portrait of her used on our currency to more accurately reflect her many years as Queen.

This painting was done by an artist and it speaks volumes about Mississauga when art is treated in this way.
Toronto has many art galleries, often lining certain streets, making Toronto one of Canada's culture centres.
Artists will be watching as to how Mr. Osmond is treated and how or if the City hall intervenes in the name of an artists right to freedom of expression, which last I heard was still protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights.
Or will City hall remain silent - proving to one and all that Mississauga is run by those who still use Victorian values.

The Port Credit BIA will be having a meeting in the near future and this matter will likely be discussed, however, Mr. Osmond is not welcome at Port Credit BIA meetings.  In the name of fairness, the City should use what ever power and influence it has to make sure Mr. Osmond is allowed to attend any Port Credit BIA meetings in which he (or issues that affect him), are the subject of discussion.

From:         "Port Credit" <>
Subject:     my vote
Date:         Wed, 2 Nov 2005

Dear Mr. Barber:  

I am the general manager of the Port Credit BIA and I feel that I should let you know that there is some serious confusion regarding the board's request that Byron Osmond not use the Mayor's photo on a poster slandering the BIA, the Mississauga Arts Council and me personally. [1] The board does not have an issue with the portrait, in fact it was only added to the window after Mr. Osmond received the letter from the lawyer (who was retained because Mr. Osmond was harassing the board and me in particular to a point that my personal safety appeared to be an issue). [2] The letter should have been more detailed so that there would be no misinterpretation.  It was the second request that Mr. O. remove slanderous material from his window.  The first was a big bum picture where he referred to the BIA as "BUMS in action." [3] Amusing perhaps but not nice.  

Actually, I think the portrait is very cool although I'm not sure he'll be able to find a buyer at the $80,000.00 price point -- but I don't claim to know art. [4]  

Anyway, I was once terribly stressed and fearful -- there's a heck of a history behind all this -- but now it seems to be turning into a hilarious fiasco [5] -- and good copy for your website.  E. 

Ellen Timms
General Manager
Port Credit Business Association
The Lighthouse
105 Lakeshore Road West
Mississauga, On, L5H 1E9


[1] - "serious confusion"?  The lawyers letter is very clear and so short that it is hard to misinterpret.  Have asked for some proof of this but have not received any response yet.

[2] - The wording appears very clear the BIA does have a problem with the painting of the Mayor, is the BIA blaming the lawyer for not writing an appropriately worded letter?  Read further and it appears so.

"personal safety" issues - I am sick of this Red Herring being used - personal safety or security being used when ever someone in government, public service, etc., does not want to deal with a person from the public who has a legitimate matter, they do not want to deal with.  Time and time again I see it being used to avoid issues they find could get them in trouble with their higher-ups, local politicians and generally not a good career move, for them.  It has become all to common method of avoiding providing service that taxpayers are entitled to.  This naturally upsets people and in turn is used as further reason to deny service.  To these people and others' whose job it is to deal with the public, if you can't take the heat then get out of the kitchen!  Do not ruin other peoples lives by labeling them in such a fashion just because it is easy for them to do, that they are in such a position of power that being held accountable is next to impossible by their victims (in Canada you have to buy justice). 

In a Democracy people must be able to fully participate the decision making process and ask for services they, as taxpayers, have paid for without fear of being maliciously labeled, in an effort to force them to go away and not to live in fear of legal action just because they dared to ask questions or make honest comments!

[3] - Now that you mention it - the word on the street is that the local BIA is not supporting local businesses as they should/could.  Something to look into, are the local businesses getting their moneys' worth from the local BIA?

[4] - Glad you agree.

[5] - Not many other people are laughing.

NATIONAL POST -  Nov 3, 2005 - Front page - By ARMANDO D'ANDREA

Mayor's Portrait 'offensive'

[ Large color picture of Hazel McCallion's painting ]
A Port Credit business group ordered the removal of a portrait of Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion saying it offended "the entire community."

Art ordered out of store window


    A Mississauga business group demanded a local storeowner remove his portrait of long-time Mayor Hazel McCallion from his storefront window, saying the artwork is "offensive."

    Byron Osmond, owner of Byron's Photography, removed the portrait of the Mayor - painted with purple hair on a red background and surrounded by footprints - on Tuesday night.

    He had received a letter on Oct. 26 from a lawyer for the Port Credit Business Improvement Area ordering him to remove the 100 x 100 cm portrait of Ms. McCallion and a poster making references to the Port Credit BIA because they were "offensive to the entire community."

    Marion Klinnert chairwoman of the Port Credit BIA, took issue with the portrait, along with a poster next to it that made "slanderous" allegations about the Port Credit BIA.

    "We have an older community," she said. "A lot of people like the Mayor and would find it offensive."

See PORTRAIT on Page A14 - [ page A14 ]


Continued from Page A1

    "He's getting notoriety because of it ... is he making any business?  If so, then good for him.  But if I want to be in business and make a good living, we don't put offensive things like that in our window."

    Mr. Osmond, who said he took down the entire display because the "innuendo has hurt my business," said he made claims in the poster accompanying the portrait that his business has not benefitted from the Port Credit BIA.

    Mr. Osmond titled his portrait of Ms. McCallion 1984, referencing the George Orwell novel that features an all-knowing, all-seeing character named Big Brother.

    He said his art was meant to portray Ms. McCallion, who has been Mayor since 1978, as wielding significant power but not doing enough to promote art.

    "I did it with all due respect," he said.  "It was not meant to be disrespectful."

    He said it took him only a couple of hours to put the portrait together, using an old photo he had of the Mayor that he enlarged and finished with chalk and water colours.

    Mr. Osmond said it had been up for about a week before he pulled it down.

    He said the hair was coloured purple to "represent that she is dated, especially when it comes to arts in Mississauga."

    The red in the background, he said, was meant to reinforce her image of strength.  There are also several footprints around her portrait, which Mr. Osmond said were those of his four-year-old  child, further meant to stress that "someone younger should be running the arts."

    He said he was unnerved by the suggestion that the display in his window was offensive.

    "I was, dumbfounded," he said.  "I don't need municipal censorship.  That's what really hurts."

    Ms. McCallion's office did not respond to interview requests.

National Post


    Once the National Post ran its article about this issue the rest of the media hurried to cover this and the Hazel McCallion damage control methods are in full spin-cycle, including falsehoods.  Click here.

  Toronto Star Nov. 4, 2005  - GTA section, second last page - By Mike Funston, Staff Reporter.

'Offensive' mayor portrait pulled
(cropped B&W picture of the painting in Newspaper article - not included in the Internet version of this article.)

Group threatened legal action
Artist believes he's getting bum's rush

A sinister-looking painting of Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion was removed from a photographer's shop window after the Port Credit Business Improvement Association threatened legal action.

The threat didn't originate with her, said McCallion, who had a laugh over the portrait.

"I don't know this gentleman at all, [6] but from what I've heard he's somewhat interesting," she said yesterday.

Lawyer Marilyn Sparrow wrote a letter to Byron Osmond at Foto Galleries 4 on Lakeshore Rd. E. ordering him to remove the painting from the window by Oct. 27. After ignoring the deadline Osmond moved the portrait, which he painted, on Tuesday rather than face a lawsuit, he said. It had been in the window for a week.

"The current window display, with references to the Port Credit BIA and Mayor Hazel McCallion who has served this city as mayor for over 27 years, is offensive to the entire community," Sparrow wrote.

Osmond, a BIA member, said he was trying to make the mayor look powerful, not sinister. "I didn't do it to offend the mayor. I didn't put in a lot of wrinkles."

Osmond and the group have had a long-running feud. He offers nude family photography for naturists, and he believes the association doesn't approve.

He said he was left out of the Mississauga Arts Guide by the association and it has cost him an estimated $80,000 in business. So he painted the McCallion portrait dubbed "1984" and put a price tag of $80,000 on it.

Osmond believes the association is run by a clique and doesn't do enough to attract shoppers to Port Credit.

He also ran a Best Bum contest, inviting residents to have their bottoms photographed.

Osmond said he's moving his business out of Port Credit.

The association did not respond to an interview request yesterday.

The Mississauga News  - Nov 4, 2005 - Front page - By Craig MacBride and Declan Finucane, staff.

 Mississauga News Front page Nov 4-04

Making a statement - Byron Osmond sits in front of his infamous painting of Hazel McCallion that the Port Credit Business Improvement Association pressured him to remove from his gallery window.      Staff photo by Fred Loek.

Portrait of McCallion causes controversy

Art ordered out of store

    A controversial painting of Mayor Hazel McCallion deemed offensive by some people in the city is eliciting a tamer response from none other than the subject herself.

    "He's free to paint whatever picture he wants...I'm surprised the press is making so much fuss about it," a somewhat amused McCallion told The News last night.  "I believe it's a big joke...I consider it (to be comparable to) a cartoon."

    The eye-catching portrait, displayed by Port Credit store owner Byron Osmond in his shop's window, depicts McCallion as a purple-haired, hunched and angry-looking mayor.  Titled "1984," the piece references George Orwell's famed book about Big Brother, an omnipotent ruler and controller.  His ideas are outlined in a poster accompanying the portrait.

    Osmond, the owner of Byron's Photography, said he placed the painting and poster in his window to point out how the municipality has abandoned the Port Credit small business community.

    Such a notion is no laughing matter, said McCallion, noting she has not met Osmond [6] nor is she familiar with his business concerns. BIA, she is willing to listen.

    "I meet with everybody.  My door is always open," said McCallion, adding she and the City of Mississauga support local business associations.

    "I think he's got a beef with the Port Credit BIA (Business Improvement Area), but I don't know what it's all about."

    The Port Credit Business Improvement Area (BIA) says it's the poster, and not the painting, with which it has a problem.

    That's the word from Marion Klinnert, chair of the BIA and owner of Private Moments Lingerie.

    "He's basically slandering the BIA, saying they made him lose money," she said.  "Some people love the picture of the mayor, some people hate it.  I'm not an art critic, I sell underwear for a living."

    Osmond was upset about what he felt was unjust censorship after the BIA forced him to take down the portrait of the mayor because they deemed it to be "offensive."

    Osmond received a letter from the BIA's lawyer on Oct. 26 demanding he take the painting out of his storefront window.

    Osmond said he hoped his painting would draw attention to a hurting Port Credit small business community that he claims has been neglected by both the City and the BIA.

    The letter from the BIA's lawyer, Marilyn Sparrow, charges the window display "is offensive to the entire community."

    According to some people, that's not the case.

    Andrej Petricko, a Port Credit resident, didn't particularly like the painting, but it doesn't offend him.

    "When I saw it in the newspaper, I came by to see, what was all the fuss," he said. "Before I dedicated five seconds to the painting, now I dedicate 30 minutes."

    After reading Osmond's statement in the window, he added: "I hope he's not leaving.  He's got great stuff."

    After a decade in his shop and

    See Artist page 5 - [ page 5 ]            Owner says he's done      Continued from page 1

studio, where Osmond sells frames and shoots portraits, the photographer has decided to give up doing business in Mississauga.

    "I'm done," he said.  "They've made it very clear, don't stick around where you're not wanted."

    Osmond said he's not making any money and he blames the BIA and the City for a lack of promotion and support.

    The City has allowed small business-killing big box stores to move in, he said, and now the only people who shop in Port Credit are "the ice cream lickers and coffee drinkers."

    McCallion, while sympathetic, said "...we're in a competitive world.  We can't control everything."

    The painting itself sends a very definite message, said the artist.  The purple hair depicts McCallion as dated, but the red in the background emphasizes her strength.


[6] - These comments appear to be from Hazel McCallion "I don't know this gentleman at all," & "noting she has not met Osmond", a person would think the Mayor of Mississauga has been in the same room as Mr. Osmond.  However, there is a very nice portrait of her, that he shot of her, in his studio, on display in his shop - how did that happen?  It would appear that either our dear old Mayor does not remember having her portrait being taken or just saying what a politician would to avoid an issue, even if it is false.

The Mississauga News Internet version, Nov 4, 2005;

"Should a Port Credit shop owner be forced to remove this painting of Mayor Hazel McCallion from his store window?"

A Port Credit business owner is crying censorship after the local Business Improvement Area forced him to take down what they deemed "offensive" portrait of Mayor Hazel McCallion.  Byron Osmond, owner of Byron's Photography, received a letter from the BIA's lawyer on Oct. 26 demanding he take the painting out of his storefront window.  The portrait depicts McCallion as a purple-haired, hunched and angry-looking mayor.  Titled "1984," the title references George Orwell's famed book about Big Brother, an omnipotent ruler and controller.  Osmond told The National Post the painting was meant to draw attention to McCallion's neglect of the art community in Mississauga.

(This all the Mississauga News put on the Internet, then asked people to vote.)

The results of the Mississauga News' Internet voting - Last results I got from the Mississauga News web-site were;

No                 184          80.7%
Undecided        8            3.5%
Yes                 36           15.8%

Total number of votes: 228

Mississauga News reporter - John Stewart - makes his opinions know on his Mississauga News controled BLOG.

The Mississauga News  - Nov 4, 2005 - By unknown.

Editorial - (it is posted on the Internet first in part & then complete, after ****)

PC BIA should back off

The Port Credit BIA has overstepped its bounds and, in doing so, relegated itself as a petty little group that believes it can foist its own narrow perspective on local businesses.

Generally not known as a small-minded organization, the BIA resorted to censorship and bully tactics when it insisted a photographer remove a painting from his shop window.

The painting, which depicts an artistic likeness of Mayor Hazel McCallion, is likely to be offensive to many members of the community, claims BIA chair Marion Klinnert, owner of a lingerie store.

Byron Osmond, owner of Byron's Photography, reluctantly withdrew the painting from his store window after a BIA lawyer served him with a letter demanding its removal.

The painting, a stylized head-and-shoulders image of the mayor, is not particularly flattering, but it's certainly not offensive.

BIA members have clearly overstepped their mandate, which is, "to improve, beautify and maintain public lands and buildings within the BIA, beyond that which is provided by the municipality at large, and to promote the area as a business and shopping area."


The BIA has absolutely no right -- legal, ethical or moral -- to enforce either its narrow perspective of art or its obsequious reverence for the mayor on anyone.

Censorship, certainly at this level, should not be tolerated or allowed.

An other web-page to testify as to the sad state of the Art in Mississauga.

Sculpture Court at Mississauga City hall - eliminated!

Make way for the new priority for City politicians - over Arts & Culture in Mississauga - Skateboarding!

Mississauga Quarterly - Fall 2005 - Below is as printed, on page 53 & 54, but as scanned copy could be errors.

Verbatim ~ reprinted with permission of the author               [ a Mississauga Quarterly statement  ]

Mayor McCallion appointed a Blue Ribbon Panel to review the future sustainability of arts organizations and activities in Mississauga.  Members of the citizen panel, include 13 leaders from the corporate, education, arts and volunteer sectors.  Interested parties were invited to present their thoughts, ideas and expectations to the Panel.  This is one presentation, by Amy Doolittle, one of Mississauga's most qualified and active arts managers, artists and administrators.

The members of the Task Force for the Arts. {picture not enclosed}
From left to right: John Alexander, Luz Del Rosario (in front), Harry Dhaliwal, Bob Gillespie, Bonnie Crombie, John Needham (in back), Bob Richards. Absent from the picture are: Mick Dhillon, Bill Star and David Waye


Culture is a service of the community and serves as a humanizing factor. Yes, a city requires strategic plans, a stable tax base, and fiscal responsibility but is also, needs balance as a community with soul and its own identity.  It also needs a positive attitude and atmosphere to thrive.

AS writer Robert Thompson points out, "Artists must be outrageous.  Society depends upon it.
Writers, painters, and innovative thinkers have been banned, banished, tortured and executed because of their outrageous ideas.   "State Sanctioned" art has been turned into an opiate for the masses.  When it is chosen by a few elite or manipulated to contain soothing and calming messages, emotions can be controlled and divergent thinking kept to a minimum.  Artists remind us that there are other views to the world".

I say Artists are not economic machines maximizing income, in fact, the arts as a business is one of the hardest to achieve success.  Arts and Heritage are taken for granted by many, or worse, are considered a waste of taxpayer's money, however, our collective disposable income dollars  dedicated to them fall into these areas a significant amount of the time.  Exhaustive research supports more dynamic and vital communities exist when arts are present.

What artists are and their role in Mississauga seems to be at logger heads with what local government perceives it to be.  The fractured and bitterly political atmosphere has sabotaged years of grass roots arts development, sowed deep mistrust, and usurps energy better spent on producing good art.  As Roger Ebert, film critic says, "Objectivity is impossible in the arts."  In this parochial city, if one doesn't understand it, one opposes it.  If it isn't good for the bottom line, then it isn't good.  Period.

Mayor McCallion
has proudly stated that
she runs Mississauga's
finances like her own 
I say she is a wealthy and miserly matriarch.

Mayor McCallion has proudly stated that she runs Mississauga's finances like her own household.  I say she is a wealthy and miserly matriarch.  The city's cultural development has been paralyzed by her limited cultural vision and she governs by fear, intimidation and threat.

The arts receive lip service and we are told over an over again that the city cares but without tangible opportunities, venues and financial support, arts, and heritage growth under a cultural banner will not be achieved.  The amount of true funding for the arts in a city the size of Mississauga is an embarrassment.  The arts facilities available to the citizens of the city are inadequate or too expensive to accommodate the groups that continue to operate despite the obstacles put in their path.  Arts groups are constantly forced to fight uphill battles and justify their existence.

This city needs long-term cultural vision.  If culture is perceived as important from the top down, then policies such as percent for art can be embraced and enforced.  The city needs cultural grants for individuals as a tangible way of supporting local people with real jobs and  opportunities.  The city needs artist in residency programs, artist symposiums and public art.   Who is nurturing the arts in youth?  Where are the arts education programs?  Who are the audiences of the future?

A city is more than just cement and shopping malls.  It needs pedestrian friendly, public squares and commercial streets.  Tourism is fueled by events and attractions.  Identity is made by celebrating what a place has to offer to the outside world.  Mississauga is 30 years old and did not have a tourism initiative until 4 years ago, too little too late.

It seems that achievements out-side the city do not register and make an impact.  The local media is Mississauga-centric and tends not to publish artistic achievements attained outside its borders.  Artists can and should be treasured and promoted as ambassadors abroad.  Instead, artists seek work elsewhere as opportunities to earn a living here are extremely limited.  They often do not tell international audiences that they are from Mississauga as it is too embarrassing.

The corporate members of the city, of course, are vital in building cultural relationships.  City Hall strong arms businesses into shouldering many initiatives that should be supported  by city dollars.  Corporate donor fatigue for dollars, time, board members and materials is rampant here leaving community groups even further alienated.  Artist donor fatigue is also rampant and, frankly, insulting.  Artists are forever being asked to donate for "exposure".   Artists die from  "exposure".  You can't pay your bills with "exposure".

If the insidious negative cultural climate here doesn't change, we risk the ultimate question; who cares?  Mississauga's legacy will be the best suburbia in the history of this country and many artists' favorite part of it will be the westbound ramp to the 401.

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