THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
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Opening comments: More at the end.
One of Hazel's techniques is to label those who disagree with her as involved in some kind of personal fight, feud or coup. This matter is no different. Any intelligent person who knows the facts know it is personal for the Mayor of Mississauga as she is hell bent (literally!), and determine to make Mississauga a separate City so she can claim she is first women to create a City in Canada, as she has. In reality a urban disaster that has earned Hazel McCallion the well deserved title of "Queen of Sprawl". Urban sprawl kills people, rips the lungs from children and inflicts life long health problems. To Hazel it doesn't matter how you win, so long as you win and her finger prints are not found on the bodies of those who got in the way. If you read this article carefully you can see the clear indication of back room deals that the Mayors of Brampton and Caledon were not invited to.
"Liberal insiders who support Brampton's position have told her she has to become "as much of a pain" as McCallion", this has always been Hazel's strong point. Never say die, never let the rules, morality or even the law get in the way. The end does justify the means.
To avoid the issues politicians will often attack the person or play the person. "her battle with McCallion has been portrayed at Queen's Park as a cat fight", is a good example of how those who disagree with Hazel are portrayed, other quotes like "get along" with Hazel support this. Mayor Susan Fennell should consider herself lucky as those who are not in her position to fight back fair far worse for disagreeing with Hazel.
"McCallion says "it's sad" that both Fennell and Caledon Mayor Marolyn Morrison have attacked her personally in the media over the issue.", I am sure they would not have if they were not sure that they had been attacked personally in private and in such a way that lead to ""surprise" provincial move" that not only gives Hazel McCallion the controlling votes on Peel Council but the chance to vote it right out of existence!
Toronto Star - Front page - May 14, 2005 - By LAURIE MONSEBRAATEN, FEATURE WRITER
[ There is a graphic feature - McCallion vs. Fennell (.pdf) - notes how the two compare on certain things, like age 84 to 51.]
Hazel vs. Susan: ‘Not a girly fight’
Two mayors love hockey and dogs
But they disagree on Peel's future
Mississauga's Hazel McCallion and Brampton's Susan Fennell are two of a kind.
They both hail from Quebec. They're national leaders in women's hockey. And they dote over their German shepherds.
But these feisty female mayors from powerhouse cities on Toronto's western border are at war over the future of their respective cities.
Last month, McCallion convinced Queen's Park to increase her city's clout on Peel Region council, which oversees services like police, garbage disposal and major road construction in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.
But Fennell refuses to declare defeat.
‘This is not some girly fight’: Fennell
"Someone has told (Premier) Dalton McGuinty to give Hazel what she wants and Fennell will get over it," the two-term Brampton mayor complains. "Well, I'm not going to get over it."
And she's particularly irked that the province seems to think the battle is personal. "This is not some girly fight. It's not a personal feud," Fennell says." This is based on principle."
McCallion has been campaigning for years to take her mature and largely built city of 680,000 people out of Peel Region and save local taxpayers some $32 million a year.
Fennell disagrees with McCallion's math on the tax savings and argues regional services would be more costly to provide at the city level. Moreover, she says dissolving Peel now, just as her city of 400,000 is becoming one of the fastest growing municipalities in the country, would unfairly deprive her taxpayers of needed cash.
"We have been paying for Mississauga's growth for 20 years. But now that it's our turn to grow, they want to take their ball and go home. It's just not fair and the premier should have said so," Fennell says bitterly.
To be fair, McGuinty didn't give in entirely to McCallion. He denied Mississauga's request to separate from Peel, a move that would have left Brampton and Caledon to fend for themselves.
But he did accept Mississauga's so-called "Plan B" to increase its seats on Peel council from 10 to 12, to reflect the city's larger population. Brampton will get one more seat for a total of seven, while Caledon's representation will remain unchanged at five.
Under the restructuring, Brampton and Caledon will no longer be able to vote together to defeat their bigger neighbour without the vote of the chair. And Fennell worries that if the chair sides with Mississauga to dissolve Peel Region, McCallion will have achieved her goal.
In her 6th floor city hall office in Brampton's historic downtown, surrounded by 17 years of political memorabilia, including sports jerseys and a Western riding saddle, Fennell painstakingly recounts the events that led up to last month's "surprise" provincial move.
On the orders of the previous provincial government, Brampton councillors completed a painful restructuring last term that saw them reduce the size of council from 17 to 11.
Believing the new Liberal government promise not to get involved in municipal restructuring, Fennell and her council focused on managing the city's burgeoning growth, improving roads and public transit and pushing the construction of a desperately needed new hospital. Every time Fennell checked the status of McCallion's well-publicized separation campaign, she says she was told it was a provincial "non-starter."
But by last summer, the provincial position began to change. Fennell says Liberal MPs pleaded with her to "get along" with her municipal neighbour, a suggestion she found insulting.
"Hazel and I get along just fine," she says.
McCallion, 84, has been in local politics for more than 30 years and is the undisputed dominant force in Peel. But Fennell, 51, began building a reputation as a new political force in the region when she unseated three-term incumbent mayor Peter Robertson in 2000. And she has been fighting ferociously for her city ever since.
"Susan says what she means and she means what she says," says Michael Chaddock, a retired Peel police officer who is executive director of the Brampton Downtown Business Association." She has lots of energy. People like her here. I'd like to think she's Hazel's heir apparent."
Fennell is flattered by the comparison, but credits McCallion for even making it possible.
"It's a phenomenon around the GTA that there are so many female mayors. That's not the case in the rest of Canada," she says. Fennell knows this from her work as a board member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and part of the group's big-city mayors' caucus, where she, McCallion and London Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco are the only women.
"She's punched through that glass ceiling. ... If Hazel McCallion had done an awful job, people like me would never have had a chance," Fennell says.
The two mayors talk often and when the topic isn't local politics, they are trading stories about their beloved German shepherds, she adds.
"I sometimes joke that Hazel is my little sister, because she is so small," Fennell says. "She gets a laugh out of that."
Fennell and McCallion also rub shoulders in another arena. McCallion, a professional hockey player in her youth, is a long-time member of the board of regents of the Ontario Women's Hockey Association.
Although Fennell has never been more than a hockey mom — her two boys Michael, 22 and Joey, 19 played when they were younger — she is former owner of the Brampton Thunder and has become a leading force in creating a professional women's hockey league in the country.
Although she gave up the team when she became mayor in 2000, Fennell has remained commissioner of the National Women's Hockey League and still oversees TV contracts for games and league sponsorships. She vows to take the amateur league professional by 2006.
Sound impossible? Fennell is used to being underestimated.
When she first decided to run for alderman in 1988, people told her she couldn't unseat an incumbent, especially since she was not involved in community groups. They were wrong.
She went on to run for regional councillor in 1991 and was re-elected for two more terms. "People know never to say `you can't do it' to me. That just means I have to prove them wrong," she laughs.
It was the same story in 2000 when she ran for mayor.
Her only political defeat was in 1993 when she ran as an MP for Kim Campbell's ill-fated Conservative government. She blames Brian Mulroney. "Nobody could have won in that election, voter opposition to Mulroney was so strong."
Fennell has fond memories of her foray into federal politics and vows to try again some day — perhaps even as leader of the Conservatives. And she thinks she'd be a pretty good package — a bilingual Tory from Quebec living in vote-rich Ontario with national connections through her work with the Canadian Federation of Municipalities and women's hockey — as well as all those electoral wins.
"I have not lost my interest in national issues," she says. But that interest will have to wait.
"I'm very passionate about the needs of Brampton at this particular time of growth. And I believe my presence here is making a difference," she says.
That's why she's angry her battle with McCallion has been portrayed at Queen's Park as a cat fight.
Last fall, after heated debate over four meetings chaired by a provincially appointed facilitator, the mayors agreed Caledon's seats on regional council would stay the same, Mississauga would get two seats to reflect its growth and Brampton would get five weighted seats to accommodate future growth.
Although Fennell says McCallion reluctantly agreed at the time, she suspects the tenacious mayor continued to press the province for more. The recent legislation is proof, she says.
McCallion denies it was her tenacity that carried the day. "We did our homework and the province has finally recognized that we are underrepresented and need two more councillors."
McCallion says "it's sad" that both Fennell and Caledon Mayor Marolyn Morrison have attacked her personally in the media over the issue.
But when asked about the personal similarities between herself and Fennell, McCallion refuses to speculate. "I don't wish to comment," she says.
For her part, Fennell refuses to accept that she was out-manoeuvred by McCallion.
"I haven't been out-manoeuvred, the premier has been out-manoeuvred," Fennell insists. She says Liberal insiders who support Brampton's position have told her she has to become "as much of a pain" as McCallion if she hopes to win the government's ear on the issue.
Fennell acknowledges the similarities between herself and McCallion, but leaves it up to others to draw conclusions.
"People say it's uncanny: `You are both big city mayors, you are both in the region of Peel, you were both born in Quebec, you are both heavily involved in women's hockey. You both have a German shepherd dog,'" Fennell shakes her head.
And as McGuinty may soon discover, they are both unforgiving when crossed by a provincial government.
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