There was a short item in the Toronto Star yesterday about my old friend Hazel McCallion. I have known Hazel for more than 50 years and I think she just made her first serious political mistake.
Hazel is going to be 102-years old next month but that is no excuse for writing that premier Doug Ford has done something that is “Brave, important, responsible and necessary’ in regards to Ontario’s Greenbelt
When I first met Hazel, she was mayor of Streetsville and she was on a mission then. The province was pushing her Streetsville into this new city of Mississauga and she had no choice but to go along. She always told people that she had no need to campaign for political jobs. The reality was that she never stopped campaigning. And I was always glad to lend a hand.
I always thought of Hazel as the best real estate sales person in Mississauga. I think she built that city of single-family dwellings by herself. I was there at the time of the Canadian Pacific train wreck that involved evacuating 200,000 people from their homes. My company had to shut down its plant and then make sure that every employee and their dependants that lived in Mississauga had a place to stay.
If I had a chance to advise Hazel before she had to get involved with premier Doug Ford, I could have warned her. Ford is trouble.
She was still the first person to turn down an offer to sit on some advisory panel for him. Her problem was that she did not turn down the offer when Ford offered her the chair of the Greenbelt. That was obviously a new experience for Hazel. She must have jumped at it. What she knows about the needs of a greenbelt might be limited. The only thing she obviously knows to do with a vacant piece of land is to build on it.
But what I do know about Hazel is that she dances with the boy who brought her. If Ford demanded she pay the price for her appointment, she might not have realized that he was getting more than a pound of flesh.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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