09 November 2007

The Name of the Rose

On Wednesday, Mississauga city council declared the Hazel McCallion rose - "a pink mini-floribunda with shades of soft white on the petals and a mild fragrance" - the official flower of Canada's sixth-largest city, a bastion of North American suburban culture.

On the same day, Mississauga city council also passed - after an hour of debate and by a vote of 9-2 - a five percent property tax surcharge, on top of a four percent property tax increase.

This in a country where raising taxes is supposed to be political suicide, where Canada's largest city - Toronto - can't lift a finger to increase revenue without it being bitten off.

Hazel McCallion, the Mayor of Mississauga, is 86 years old. She hasn't been pilloried for claiming to need the money - if anything, her fellow suburban mayors are protesting that McCallion's new "Cities NOW" campaign to pry infrastructure money out of the federal government is weakened by McCallion's move to try to Mississauga's budget issues on its own. In other words, they seem to be advocating McCallion deliberately expose the city to financial crisis - which was what everyone was criticizing Toronto Mayor David Miller for doing three months ago.

Hazel McCallion, to paraphrase a quote about Napoleon, is the only politician in Canada - apart from Stephen Harper, and possibly Danny Williams - who wills and acts. If only a few other people in positions of political authority had balls like hers.

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