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Mississauga report on Hazel McCallion's conduct could mean big changes

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

The reputation of Canada's longest-serving big city mayor is on the line as Mississauga prepares to receive a report Monday that could recommend sweeping changes to ethics guidelines governing municipal politicians.

Nearly two years ago, Mississauga city council ordered a judicial inquiry into Mayor Hazel McCallion's role in a deal to build a hotel and convention centre near city hall. Ms. McCallion's son, Peter McCallion, was behind the project and stood to make millions off it. Ms. McCallion helped promote the deal, hosting meetings of her son's business partners at her house and hectoring the owners of the land at its centre to sell to her son's company.

It also explored the suburban municipality's powerful development industry and its relationship to city hall.

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Commissioner Douglas Cunningham, who led the inquiry, will discuss Ms. McCallion's actions in the report and can recommend changes to conflict of interest rules and other guidelines on the boundaries between public office and private business.

The import of the inquiry is similar to the probe that examined the computer leasing scandal at Toronto city hall and caused overhauls to rules surrounding lobbyists.

Mississauga's inquiry – which is set to cost taxpayers about $7-million – has also caused deep rifts in the city's political class.

Ms. McCallion has frequently slammed the inquiry as a waste of money and maintains that she promoted the land deal solely because it was a good project for the city and not because of her son's involvement.

In a municipal election held in the midst of the inquiry's hearings last year, Ms. McCallion campaigned to have the councillors who supported the probe voted out. She succeeded in part, with her most vociferous opponent, Carolyn Parrish, defeated.

In a by-election for a vacant council seat last month, winning candidate Bonnie Crombie campaigned in part on her closeness to the mayor and opposition to the inquiry.

Ms. McCallion, 90, has been mayor of Mississauga since 1978.

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The report will be presented in the council chamber at Mississauga city hall at 10 a.m.

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About the Author
Washington correspondent

Adrian Morrow covers U.S. politics from Washington, D.C. Previously he was The Globe's Ontario politics reporter. He's covered news, crime and sports for The Globe since 2010. He won the National Newspaper Award for politics reporting in 2016. More

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