political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Hurricane Hazel: And I Don't Mean the Chipmunk!
When I started watching this video I thought it was a spoof. It's not. It's from the Canadian Rick Mercer Report and profiles the mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion. She's been mayor for 31 years, is 88 years old and at the last election got 91% of the vote. Watch it to the end!
What an inspiration. This video should be compulsory viewing for all our politicians.
I have been the glorious leader of Tameside for 29 years now and I ain't gonna stop either.
See an interview of me here.
Iain, I got confused there. Her name's Hazel, not Heather (how do you make a smiley face on this damn thing...?)
An absolutely humungous Bravo!
She is great - but I think two terms is enough for any mayor.
Iain, how bad was Eric Pickles on Question Time this week?! very bad...
Well that just proves the time is right for a Thatcher revival...
Get it right Iain! It's Hazel McCallion, not McAllion.
Well the old ones are the best.
and tameside has borrowings of £189m; definitely not as good as Hazel
I love Canada and everyone in it.
Outstanding. Having visited the city many times I can say that it has always been a pleasure.
@Canvas: Totally agree about Pickles!
It's a "debt-free" "city" (not really a City by UK standards, more analagous to a London Borough) because it happens to be the district of Toronto (Canada's main economic centre) where all the business headquarters are located, thereby generating very large amounts of local tax and because of the unusual system in Canada where local authorities typically retain a higher percentage of tax take than in most other developed countries.
So, no, it's not an inspiration. It's "we don't want to pay taxes" spin.
And I wonder why all business locate there. Low taxes, perhaps? Just a thought.
Have you ever been to Toronto Iain?
Actually, they are typical conservative politicians in Miss. Get other people's taxes to install the infrastructure we use and keep our taxes for ourselves. See for example the comments in Wikipedia from the Mayor of neighbouring Brampton about Miss. polocoes, after the Lady Mayor suggested they should stop paying taxes to the Regional Municipality:
"Opponents of Mississauga's position, including Brampton mayor Susan Fennell, have argued that from the 1970s through the 1990s, Mississauga was the chief beneficiary of Peel's infrastructure construction projects — funded by taxpayers in all three municipalities — and it is now Brampton's turn to benefit, as it is growing faster than Mississauga, which is mostly built-out. As well, they have argued that common infrastructure, such as waste and water services, would be more efficiently managed at a regional level."
Well then surely you know that the main airport for Toronto is located in that district? Your position is like arguing that businesses aggregate around Heathrow because of the wise and benevolent policies of the London Borough of Hillingdon.
To take it a step further, since you side with the Mayor over there in Toronto, surely you should be arguing that Hillingdon should retain all revenues from Heathrow's commercial activities and also close the M4, since the taxpayers around Heathrow do not wish to contribute further to this annoying taxpayer-funded project.
Once you start to dig into Reaganite/Thatcherite nonsense, it just baffles how people can believe in it for more than a nanosecond.
And for the really bad news, this is how long Gordon wants to go on for....
Speaking as someone with ties to the area, Mississauga has taken advantage of the high tax policies of Toronto to drive its development.
A few quick facts, the city's border is 12 miles from Toronto's central business district, it covers 111 square miles, it has the 6th largest population in the country, the 4th largest on the Great Lakes (larger than Milwaukee and Cleveland), and the city's population has grown from 374k in 86 to more than 700k today.
What has made the city has been its focus on low business taxes to avoid being solely a bedroom community. Residential taxes have been dramatically higher than in the center city (which soaked commercial ratepayers) and development charges for converting greenfields to houses have been high. The city was previously agricultural so offered plenty of land at low prices despite taxes, so that families could get a nice large house for dramatically less money than in Toronto despite the much higher taxes.
Mississauga has attracted businesses to a number of different areas, not solely to the area adjoining the airport, and has a mix of high technology, pharmaceutical, financial, industrial and other firms. A major focus has been the shift of back office staff from center city locations to the suburbs - major banks have their executives, traders, and financiers in the CBD while middle management is centered in suburban complexes.
The claim that development is solely due to the proximity of the airport is belied by the pattern of development in Toronto & area. All of the suburbs that were formerly agricultural followed Mississauga's path and have developed substantial commercial and industrial areas while the bordering areas of Toronto have been residential and have not seen the same development despite sharing similar geographic attributes (proximity of the airport, major highway interchanges). This success has been driven by low commercial taxes, cheap housing nearby (and thus short commutes), low crime, and a family environment (i.e. the normal suburban attractions, but with employment next door instead of a long distance away).
Mississauga has represented just under 2/3rds of Peel Region's population since 1986, so it is hard for Brampton or Caledon to claim that they funded Mississauga's development. That claim is simply sour grapes from a neighbouring politician.
Hazel has managed the city well, keeping spending in line unlike in other municipalities and managing a massive growth in population over the past 30 years. Her record of success can be contrasted with the dramatic failure of Toronto's politicians, which have seen a stagnant population (growth of only 14% since 86), destruction of jobs (a loss of more than 20k from 200 to 2007), and the spread of disorder and poverty.
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