THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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The CANCER on Democracy Developing in City halls - BANNING those who are
The Mississauga News, Jul 16, 2006 - By Joseph Chin
If you can't beat'em...
Mayor's critic will make a play for the job
Already facing a court date with Mayor Hazel McCallion, political activist Donald Barber is taking on the mayor on another front: the hustings.
Out on bail after being charged with assaulting a City Hall security guard following his removal from a City Council meeting June 7, Barber has registered to run against McCallion in the Nov. 13 municipal election.
Barber said the arrest was "the tipping point" in jumping into the race at this time.
"I was thinking seriously of running but I wasn't going to decide until later," said the 49-year-old resident of Exbury Cres.
As a condition of bail, Barber is banned from going within 200 metres of City Hall and the courthouse at 950 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W., where the councillors are temporarily housed while renovations are made to their offices and the chambers at City Hall.
But the long-time critic of McCallion doesn't think the restriction will hamper his campaigning.
"If (the mayor) is honourable, she could give permission for me to be in same room with her for debates," said Barber.
That may be a moot point because McCallion, seeking her 11th term at the helm, no longer finds it necessary to campaign. Yet, in the 2003 election, she captured more than 91 per cent of the votes cast.
Barber, who's making his fourth try at Mississauga's top job, says he plans to make extensive use of literature, flyers, DVDs, posters, and the internet in his campaign.
He's running, he says, because he wants to see City Hall become more accessible and accountable. He would like Mississauga to appoint an ombudsman to safeguard the rights of citizens when they have problems with City Hall.
"I'm not motivated by selfish reasons. This is about small, poor people who are trying to stand up to local government," said Barber.
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