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The city of Mississauga will seek permission from the province to break away from the region of Peel before the 2006 municipal election.

Mississauga, a long-time foe of regional government, stepped up its campaign after a council-established citizen's task force issued a report earlier this month that called on the province to disband Peel region.

Yesterday, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion said her council will now prepare a formal resolution for consideration by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

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A spokesman for Municipal Affairs Minister Chris Hodgson said he could not comment on the request until he has seen the formal resolution.

The spokesman said that Mayor McCallion's long-time opposition to regional government is well-known.

Instead of being part of a regional government, Mississauga wants a co-ordinating body for the entire Toronto region.

"We are recommending co-ordination between the municipalities in the GTA . . . to make sure that there is consistency and we are working together," Ms. McCallion said.

The citizen task force, reflecting a view long-held by the mayor, recommended a Toronto-region body to address waste management and transportation issues that cross municipal boundaries.

"The problem now is that regional government operates within a vacuum -- Durham worries about Durham and Peel worries about Peel," said Brad Butt, co-chairman of the citizens task force.

"There is not necessarily any co-ordination between those regional municipalities for the greater good of the GTA."

Mississauga, with a population of 625,000, is the sixth-largest city in Canada and the only one of its size in Ontario still part of a regional government.

Of the three municipalities in Peel, Mississauga represents 63 per cent of the population but has less than 50 per cent of the regional vote.

Brampton and Caledon, with about 30 per cent of the population, have 51 per cent of the vote at Peel region.

"That's not true representation by population," Mr. Butt said. "We feel that a single Mississauga, as a single-tier municipality, will be truly accountable and truly democratic."

Brampton city councillor Bill Cowie, chairman of his council's governance restructuring committee, said his community would want to stand on its own as a city government if the region disappeared.

One provincial supporter of Ms. McCallion's campaign is Mississauga South MPP Margaret Marland, who said the inequity of the regional voting process has been a sore point since 1985.

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The former Mississauga councillor said she applauds Mayor McCallion's initiative, saying it will save the city's taxpayers from subsidizing Caledon's and Brampton's costs.

"We've certainly carried Caledon, for years Caledon has benefited from the regional system," Ms. Marland said. "The genesis of this change is coming from the very people who have to work and pay for it. We [Mississauga]never needed another tier of government on top of us."

However, Caledon Mayor Carol Seglins is on record as a supporter of regional government.

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