Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains of 2007––the people, places, and things that we’ve either fallen head over heels in love with or developed uncontrollable rage towards over the past twelve months. Get your dose, starting Boxing Day and running into the new year, three times a day––sunrise, noon, and sunset.
When Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion decided to sound off about the federal government’s lack of funding for municipalities this year, she was startlingly more effective than an entire year’s worth of David Miller’s entirely justified but incredibly annoying bitching. There was no mention of a One Cent Now campaign (which doesn’t sound so much like a request for one cent’s worth of the GST devoted to municipalities as it does the Mayor of Toronto asking for an actual penny), no histrionics, no drama. There was just a feisty old lady saying the brutally obvious: municipalities generate the vast majority of this country’s income, and the federal government has been crystal clear that it doesn’t care if it kills the golden goose. Prompted by the federal government “forgetting” to provide promised funds to Mississauga for rapid transit, McCallion’s open letter and subsequent remarks (most of which were wonderfully impolitic) worked wonders and actually got her the money she needed.
That didn’t stop her, though, as she subsequently challenged Jim Flaherty to a debate over municipal transit funding after the Ontario throne speech promised to find additional funds for transit. That these comments came from the most fiscally conservative mayor in Canada, and the one who’s been the most fiscally conservative mayor in Canada for nearly thirty years, only made them all the more stinging. “Hurricane Hazel” also managed to do what David Miller couldn’t by passing a no-exceptions five percent surcharge on property taxes in Mississauga, providing future funding for her city. Torontoist would say “not bad for an old lady,” but our grandmothers were all tough badasses. Just like Hazel McCallion.
Photo by Marc Lostracco.