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Canada Hazel McCallion turns down appointment as special adviser to Doug Ford

Premier Doug Ford seen here being congratulated by former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion after winning a majority government in the Ontario Provincial election in Toronto, on June 7, 2018.

Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press

Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion has officially turned down her appointment as Premier Doug Ford’s special adviser, a position that would have paid as much as $150,000 a year.

Ms. McCallion, who turns 98 next month, said Wednesday that her “extensive commitments” prevent her from accepting the job as special adviser to Mr. Ford and Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark, an appointment announced by the Ontario government less than two weeks ago.

Ms. McCallion was to be paid a standard rate of up to $1,000 in per diems, to a maximum of $150,000 annually.

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“Unfortunately, due to my extensive commitments, I am unable to accommodate the extensive time required for such an appointment at this point in time,” Ms. McCallion said in a statement. “As a result, I will not be accepting the formal appointment and the per diem that goes along with it.”

Ms. McCallion said she remains committed to contributing “as available," and Mr. Ford and Mr. Clark "know that I am phone call away should they ever require any advice or counsel.”

Her comments came hours after Mr. Ford told reporters in Toronto that he met with Ms. McCallion over the weekend and she had offered to help in any way she could, but would not be accepting a salary. In a statement released later on Wednesday, Mr. Ford lauded the former longtime mayor, who has 44 years of experience in municipal politics.

“It is a sign of her true character that she didn’t feel comfortable accepting this appointment given the time and energy it would have required,” Mr. Ford said in the statement.

“I am truly grateful for her friendship and guidance, and I am happy to know that she will always be a phone call away and available to provide informal advice should our government ever require her guidance and assistance.”

Last week, Ms. McCallion told The Globe and Mail she was unaware that the position on offer would be announced by the government in a news release and was awaiting further details before she decides whether to accept.

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