Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion endorses Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals
Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion gave Kathleen Wynne a pat on the back on Wednesday.
The legendary chief magistrate, who is not running in the fall municipal election, endorsed the Liberal leader for premier but pushed for extra taxation powers like those granted Toronto by Queen’s Park.
“They have to give us the authority to raise other taxes,” McCallion urged, standing beside Wynne in a carefully staged appearance in the June 12 provincial campaign.
Property taxes are not enough to keep up with transit and other infrastructure needs because municipalities do far more than “fill potholes . . . and cut grass,” McCallion said at the Living Arts Centre.
Wynne didn’t offer any new taxing powers to match those in the City of Toronto Act when Dalton McGuinty was majority premier, before his Liberals were reduced to a minority in 2011.
Wading deeper into the current campaign, McCallion said minority governments leave municipalities “hanging” and urged voters to elect a majority this time, calling the $1.1-billion scandal over cancelled power plants “water under the bridge.”
More people are concerned about jobs, McCallion added after a meeting with Wynne, who touted her recent budget’s focus on helping improve transit and infrastructure with a $29 billion fund and a promise to cover all municipal court and welfare costs by 2018.
Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli (North Bay) said that budget is too expensive and risks a credit downgrade for the province, noting Moody’s bond-rating agency sees it as a “credit negative.”
“Given the new, larger deficit targets, the path back to balanced budgets presents more risk than previously assessed,” Moody’s wrote May 2.
The Conservatives would cut spending and fire 100,000 public-sector workers to balance the budget by the spring of 2017, a year earlier than Wynne has promised.
“The only way to protect the core services that Ontario needs, deserves and loves is to make sure that we balance the budget,” Fedeli said.
Wynne said there is a bigger risk from Tim Hudak’s Conservative plan to hold back on crucial infrastructure investments and axe the public-sector jobs, which could tip the province back into recession.
“What we will not do is forego the investments that are needed now,” she told reporters.
On the public service job cuts that would reach down to municipalities, McCallion was wary.
“All governments can become more efficient but you have to do your homework. Just to say 100,000 jobs with no backup material . . . you’d better look at the services as well.”
Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion endorses Kathleen Wynneâ€™s Liberals | Toronto Star
McCallion endorses Wynne, calls gas plant scandal ‘water under the bridge’
Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion wants Ontarians to forget about the billion-dollar cancelled gas plant scandal and vote Liberal in the June 12 provincial election.
McCallion officially threw her support behind Kathleen Wynne on Wednesday, saying it’s time for Ontarians to put the cancelled gas plant scandal to bed. The two cancelled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga cost taxpayers $1.1 billion.
McCallion thinks voters have to wipe the slate clean and “look at the issues” affecting Ontarians.
“This gas plant has taken over far too much,” she said. “Terrible mistake, water under the bridge. Let’s get on with putting the province of Ontario back on track.”
Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has accused Wynne of being behind a plan to wipe computer hard drives in the premier’s office to hide documents related to the gas plant cancellations.
Wynne in turn filed a libel notice against Hudak, calling the allegations “false and defamatory.”
McCallion also said she’s pleased with the way Wynne’s Liberal government deals with municipalities, while being fearful of Hudak’s vow to cut 100,000 public servant jobs.
“I supported her as leader of the Liberal party and I still support her as leader of the province,” McCallion said from Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre. “We have had a good relationship with this government.”
“I’m concerned about (Hudak’s) announcement of 100,000 civil servants being eliminated,” she added, saying all Ontarians would face a diminished quality of life under such cuts.
McCallion called transit and infrastructure funding the biggest issues facing Mississauga, and she urged the federal government to provide more money.
“The federal government has not treated Ontario fairly,” she said.
McCallion also said municipalities are hurt by a minority government.
“The last thing the province needs is a minority government. A minority government leaves us as municipalities hanging out there not knowing what legislation can get through the house and what can’t.”