Her Worship

Her Worship: Hazel McCallion and the Development of Mississauga

TOM URBANIAK
Copyright Date: 2009
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442688223
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  • Book Info
    Her Worship
    Book Description:

    The first full-length study of McCallion's politics and the development of Mississauga,Her Worshipexamines the mayor's shrewd pragmatism and calculated populism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8822-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-11)

    ‘The pick-up truck is still in for repairs!’

    So exclaimed Hazel McCallion as the meeting of the Mississauga city council was called to order on 19 February 2003.¹ Four days earlier, the then eighty-two-year-old McCallion, mayor of the sprawling municipality that she has come to personify, had been knocked to the ground by a turning vehicle while crossing at an intersection in her home neighbourhood of Streetsville. But after only two days in hospital, surrounded by cards and flowers from adoring constituents, the bandaged leader was back to her full schedule. In returning to service, she had bested the errant...

  4. 1 The Road to 327 Queen
    (pp. 12-37)

    It would be impossible to find two places in Canada that stand in sharper contrast: upstart, teeming, young, fast-paced but aesthetically challenged Mississauga and the quiet, old, breathtakingly scenic, economically struggling hometown of Hazel McCallion. And yet theville natalegave her some initial and valuable training.

    On the south shore of the Gaspé Peninsula, on the Baie des Chaleurs, where the waters have already opened up to appear as a vast, endless ocean, sits the community of Port-Daniel – or rather the communities of Port-Daniel, for contiguous but distinctive settlements come into view here. There is Port-Daniel-Est, dominated by the...

  5. 2 ‘A Public - Not a Mass’
    (pp. 38-51)

    Hazel McCallion had learned some valuable lessons about Streetsville. She had learned not only that there was considerable disaffection with the local politicians but that the public expected them to be more than businesspeople. In the mid-1960s herBoostereditorials were still complaining about town council holding up development.¹ But in late 1969 when she ran to succeed the retiring Jack Graham as mayor, beating back a challenge from former mayor Bill Tolton, she was demanding less development. She called her platform ‘Planning for People.’ It was enough to earn her 120 more votes than Tolton. It was not an...

  6. 3 Growing Pains
    (pp. 52-69)

    All was not well on Hazel McCallion’s new political turf. The Town of Mississauga, formerly the Township of Toronto and soon to be the City of Mississauga, with the addition of little Streetsville and little Port Credit, had become polarized over the politics of growth. The suburban scuffling had started more than twenty years before the shotgun arrangement that turned the town into a city.

    It took but a few weeks in 1952 for the grumble to become a murmur, thence a tremor, and finally (or so it would have seemed to the trembling local notables) a deafening roar. The...

  7. 4 ‘Big City Politics’
    (pp. 70-91)

    At some point during the winter of 1972–3, an unusual visitor appeared before Hazel McCallion in the Streetsville town hall. He was a thirtyone- year-old fresh-faced family physician, and it was his first time in the building. The mayor of the little town may have recognized him as the county coroner, called in when his services were needed. But that happened only occasionally, and he usually was back at his private office attending to sentient patients. He had virtually no public profile.

    No stench of death hung over Martin Dobkin on this occasion. This brash, inexperienced youngster was proposing...

  8. 5 ‘My People ... Their Leader’
    (pp. 92-114)

    Everyone was anticipating a great skirmish. The 1978 race for mayor of Mississauga was to have been like its predecessor contests – marked by hot words and a sharp ideological clash between the front-running candidates. The incumbent, Ron Searle, believed the predictions and wasted no time mounting an offensive. He charged that his challenger, Councillor Hazel McCallion, thede factoleader of the opposition, had been the ‘power behind the throne’ in the ill-fated mayoralty of the upstart, neophyte, anti-developer mayor Martin Dobkin, whom the then-councillor Searle had soundly defeated after one term. She had supported Dobkin’s ‘witch hunt’ – the judicial...

  9. 6 The Mayor-Builder
    (pp. 115-139)

    Hazel McCallion emerged from that 1982 election with an extremely strong hand. The old establishment had opposed her. Her old enemies had resurfaced to oppose her. One candidate for the Ward 2 council seat expressed alarm at the ‘Drapeau-like council,’¹ a reference to the domineering Montreal mayor, but that candidate’s vote had been marginal. The only regularly publishing local newspaper had opposed her. A judge had admonished her. And still she cruised to victory. If everyone were against her, it was, to paraphrase John Diefenbaker, everyone except the people.

    On city council there was now but one problem child: Larry...

  10. 7 The Mayor-Taxfighter
    (pp. 140-172)

    In politics, there are few iron laws. Hazel McCallion had nevertheless happened upon a formula for relatively easy governance and relatively easy popularity in a suburban context: be flamboyant and decisive, build new things, charge developers admission fees, and keep out of people’s backyards.

    Any formula, however, does not – cannot – include complacency. By 1990 another sort of political restlessness was in the air. It was a general frustration with politicians. The federal Progressive Conservative government was reeling from record low polling numbers. Later that year, Ontario’s David Peterson Liberals, popular for most of their mandate, suffered a stunning defeat, losing...

  11. 8 The Mayor—Legacy-Maker
    (pp. 173-196)

    She lost Sam in 1997. The ‘Husband of the Mayor’ – as he had come often to call himself, almost like an official title – had been a calm and stable presence. He had long been active in the community himself. From 1974 until 1982, he was president of the Streetsville Founders’ Bread and Honey Festival, a role he clearly enjoyed. He was a lay reader at Trinity Anglican Church. He was not a shy man; he enjoyed publicity. But it often appeared otherwise. He was always careful not to appear to be overshadowing his famous spouse.

    The deterioration of his health...

  12. 9 Missed Opportunities
    (pp. 197-217)

    For years, Roy Willis was seen as an annoying gadfly. A perennial losing candidate for the Ward 5 council seat, he showed up frequently at council meetings criticizing the politicians for one thing or another. The mayor would spar with him, but after he left the microphone his input was largely ignored.

    Longtime Ward 5 councillor Frank McKechnie died in 1997 and was succeeded by former Peel Board of Education trustee Cliff Gyles, who caused little disturbance on council and was re-elected handily in 2000. Willis would often strongly imply that Gyles was corrupt. This too was summarily dismissed by...

  13. 10 New Potholes and More Perilous Politics
    (pp. 218-229)

    McCallion’s partial success on the Region of Peel file, and in particular the expanded regional representation for the city, ensured that Mississauga would have at least two new faces on council as of December 2006. One of these newcomers would owe nothing to the mayor.

    In recent years, Carolyn Parrish has come to rival Hazel McCallion for the unofficial title of best-known Mississauga politician. Now, it must be said that Parrish has never enjoyed the public adulation that has been accorded to McCallion, but she has always had a penchant for getting attention.

    Born in 1946, and a high-school teacher...

  14. 11 Leadership Lessons
    (pp. 230-249)

    Like so many provincial cabinet ministers before and since, Gilles Pouliot thought he knew Hazel McCallion. She was the mayor who always seemed to be calling, demanding, and lecturing. If he had sometimes to hold the telephone receiver away from his ear, then he would not have been the first. Back in opposition after 1995, the New Democrat tried to sum up this municipal leader. The description: ‘honestly dishonest.’¹

    This is harsh. Had it been applied to another honourable member in the legislature, it might have been ruled unparliamentary. It is also an ambiguous expression. How can one be honest...

  15. Postscript: Writing Local Political History
    (pp. 250-256)

    If you have been to Mississauga, or even passed through it, then you probably have caught a glimpse of this property. On the north side of Highway 401, just west of the Hurontario Street interchange, you will have seen something that has almost disappeared from this suburban landscape. It’s a farm. The large white barn, which in June 2008 burned to the ground in a suspicious fire, displayed prominently the name of the family Madill.

    Almost hidden behind the mature trees, Ben and Marjory Madill hold forth, and hold out, in their fifty-year-old red-bricked farmhouse, built after fire destroyed the...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 257-302)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 303-316)
  18. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 317-318)
  19. Index
    (pp. 319-336)