THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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The Globe and Mail - Jul. 23 1982 - By Zuhair Kashmeri
Mayor of Mississauga
Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion was carried away by an excusable flight of euphoria when she breached the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, a County Court judge has ruled in refusing to declare vacant.
Judge Ernest West said the 63-year old mayor had committed a "bona fide error of judgement" by taking part in a council discussion to release almost 3,800 acres of land for development, including five acres of her own
He refused the application by John Graham, a ratepayer and a lawyer, to declare her seat vacant, but found that she had a financial interest in the resolution and her violation of the act was so broad that she is liable to the court costs incurred by the applicant.
The mayor was to tears after the decision and predicted in an interview that she would win her fourth term as mayor in the November municipal elections. Mr. Graham, a former councillor in Streetsville where Mrs. McCallion was mayor, said meanwhile that he was considering an appeal. Streetsville was a village, now incorporated into Mississauga.
Mr. Graham said the punishment of costs alone does not fit the broad violations found by the judge.
His lawyer, John Laskin, filed the application last December after council turned down a recommendation from the city planning department that only 3,100 acres of land be released for planning not including an area in Streetsville where Mrs. McCallion's five acres are located.
Evidence showed that seven of the 10 council members, not including the mayor, met in secret several times and hammered out a resolution rejecting the staff recommendation. They included areas the city planners had rejected.
The mayor was present at a final meeting held the day before a special council meeting passed the resolution. At that council meeting, the city solicitor and two councillors objected to the resolution.
Judge West found that Mrs. McCallion had breached all the elements of a section of the act.
* That she had declared a conflict of interest only after the resolution had been moved seconded and debated, when the act forces;
* That she did not refrain from “taking any part in the consideration or discussion of the matter.”
* That she did not refrain from voting on any question relating to the issue, refraining from only that portion of the resolution involving
* That she attempted to influence one of the two dissident councillors, Larry Taylor, when he backed top city and in fact challenged
In excusing bar conduct, Judge West said: “ ... the decision taken produced no immediate financial benefit to the respondent, It was apparent to all present that the outcome of the vote was a forgone conclusion. She had previously recognized her conflict of interest . ...
“Given these circumstances, I accept the position taken by her counsel that in the euphoria of the adoption of a resolution ... the mayor departed from her previous cautious approach to the issue."
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