Happy Birthday Hurricane Hazel
February 14, 2013 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Hazel McCallion, one of history's longest serving elected leaders, turns 92 years old today. McCallion is current mayor of Missisauga, Canada's 6th largest city, where she has served for 34 years, winning 12 consecutive elections. Her political clout and public persona show no sign of slowing.
posted by 256 (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hurricane Hazel!
posted by captaincrouton at 6:24 AM on February 14, 2013


That first link is the most amazing thing I've seen today.

"How long ago [did you get hit by the truck]?"
"Year or two ago"
"And you were OK?"
"Yep that's right"
"What happened to the truck?"
"It had to go in for repair."
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 6:25 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hazel doesn't even bother campaigning anymore.

I wish we could clone her so we could have one of her to govern Toronto instead of the ass clown we have.
posted by orange swan at 6:28 AM on February 14, 2013


Said the five year old Niece Renault after meeting Hazel, "She's reeeeeeally old."

Yes. Yes, she is.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:32 AM on February 14, 2013


We may have an assclown for a mayor, orange swan, but with vicious sprawl problems, effectively no transit (srsly, try getting from any A to B in Mrs Auga out of rush hour without a car; you can't), potholes the size of small towns, and a mayor with some 'splainin to do, The Big Smog ain't all that.
posted by scruss at 6:34 AM on February 14, 2013


Even if her politics don't do it for me, there is no doubt the dame has moxy. At 92, she still drives herself to all of her engagements and so far as I can tell, the only perk of office she demands is that when she goes to an event that the organizers save her a parking spot near the door.

As orange swan mentions, she no longer even has to campaign. The 2010 municipal elections across Ontario saw many incumbents turfed out on a wave of dissatisfaction (Toronto's incumbent was not running for re-election, but mayors in Hamilton, Ottawa, London, and Burlington were shown the door). This protest in Mississauga expressed itself by McCallion getting only 76% of the vote.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:51 AM on February 14, 2013


I anticipate the eventual election of her pantsuit or a broom with her picture on it.
posted by chococat at 7:10 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mississauga is a giant parking lot where every space comes with a house. It is a great example of a suburban wasteland. I know because I grew up there. Three quarters of a million people and the only notable features are shopping malls. It's debt free because it is essentially a free rider on Toronto. It's walkability score ignores the fact that you can't actually walk to anything. You can walk on the sidewalks but you have to walk for miles to get to anything.

Hazel is a smart political player, a fiesty lady and has made some very savvy choices but she has presided over a city completely lacking in community.
posted by srboisvert at 7:12 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


The 2010 municipal elections across Ontario saw many incumbents turfed out on a wave of dissatisfaction [...] but mayors in Hamilton, Ottawa, London, and Burlington were shown the door...

Not to derail, but in the case of Hamilton, yes and no. Yes, the old mayor was turfed out, but in favour of a councillor who'd been at City Hall forever, on more of a name than any actual platform. Every single councillor was returned, except for one new one, who filled the vacancy created by Bratina being promoted to mayor. On election night, Mayor Bratina gave a rambling speech about how Hamilton's city council was being swept by a 'wave of change', and that there were now 'mavericks' who symbolized the need for change that the people had clearly asked for, etc. It was a huge WTF moment -- everyone is back, what are you talking about?!?

Since then, he's given us plenty of WTF moments, notably with his bizarre reactions to the Peggygate scandal, but luckily for Hamilton, the neverending gong show of Rob Ford down the road has proved a handy distraction.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:43 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion began playing hockey in the late 1920s in Port Daniel on the Gaspe coast of Quebec. With her two older sisters playing defense, Hazel took her spot as a lightning quick centre on a team in a ladies' league. After moving to Montreal, McCallion turned 'professional', earning $5 a game to play for Kik Cola, one of three teams in a ladies' league there. Since first being elected as mayor of Mississauga, Ontario in 1978, Hazel McCallion has been able to spread her influence into other hockey-related areas, including sitting on the board of the Ontario Women's Hockey League, obtaining ice time for girls' hockey and helping Mississauga build the Hershey Centre. In 1998, Hazel McCallion assisted a group headed by hockey personality Don Cherry in securing a franchise for the Mississauga IceDogs in the Ontario Hockey League.
posted by Kabanos at 7:50 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


> This protest in Mississauga expressed itself by McCallion getting only 76% of the vote

... of all the 34% who could be arsed to vote in Mississauga. There must have been a serious wave of discontent, as this was the first year turnout cracked 30% for a long time.
posted by scruss at 7:51 AM on February 14, 2013


"How about that Hurricane Hazel who I found out was in Costa Rica Friday and actually caught a fish that weighed more than she does."
posted by Kabanos at 7:53 AM on February 14, 2013


Hazel doesn't even bother campaigning anymore.

You say that like it's a good thing.
posted by asnider at 10:10 AM on February 14, 2013


Huh...she may be one of the oldest elected leaders in history, but she's not the longest-serving by a long shot. My state senator, Fred A. Risser, has been representing my district since eight years before I was born (and I'm 42). You could argue he's an elected lawmaker, not an elected leader, but he has served as President of the Wisconsin State Senate several times, as well as Minority Leader. And he was one of the 14 Democratic state senators who fled the state in protest when Governor Scott Walker proposed a controversial anti-union bill in 2011, something that makes me particularly proud of him. Being away from home unexpectedly for a month had to be tough for an 84-year-old man!
posted by gillyflower at 10:24 AM on February 14, 2013


For those of you from outside the Greater Toronto Area, the nickname comes from probably the most famous weather event in the area's history, when Hurricane Hazel passed through in 1955 (we don't get full-fledged hurricanes in these parts very often).

A friend is the manager of cycling projects at the City of Mississauga. There's an annual event called Bike to Work Day every spring. Last year (or maybe the year before), she was informed that Mayor Hazel wanted to participate in the event by biking to work. Obviously there was going to be press watching. It became my friend's job to ensure that the ride went off well. She was terrified of Hazel falling, but it all went off fine. She's a force of nature (as the name suggests).

Also a huge political force. She was courted by the contenders in the recently concluded race to become Ontario Liberal Party leader (and Premier of the province). Provincial politicians don't want to be on her bad side.

She has had her share of funny dealings, including an odd real estate deal involving her son that caused her similar problems to those that almost cost Toronto Mayor Rob Ford his job recently.
posted by dry white toast at 10:28 AM on February 14, 2013


In 1998, Hazel McCallion assisted a group headed by hockey personality Don Cherry in securing a franchise for the Mississauga IceDogs in the Ontario Hockey League.

Don't mention this as an accolade until you review the performance of the Ice Dogs under Cherry's openly racist guidance. No foreign players and 4 solid last place finishes.
posted by srboisvert at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2013


I wish we could clone her so we could have one of her to govern Toronto instead of the ass clown we have.

I'm no Ford-fan, but McCallion has presided for decades over one of the ugliest, worst planned cities I have ever seen - and I've been to Vaughan. Mississauga is a hole, and McCallion firmly in the pockets of the developers that just want to dig it deeper.

I want David Miller back.
posted by jb at 9:14 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Missisauga, Canada's 6th largest city

This is where I realized I really am alarmingly ignorant about Canada in general.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:44 AM on February 17, 2013


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