Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion says this is how she won elections


Published October 4, 2022 at 3:57 pm

Hazel McCallion knows a thing or two about municipal election campaigns.

More to the point, the former longtime and iconic Mississauga mayor, who left office eight years ago, knows a great deal about winning municipal elections.

Key to her success in getting returned by voters to the mayor’s seat each and every October she ran from the late 1970s through the 2010 race was her belief that you don’t win elections–for mayor or any other position–by paying attention only during election year.

“You win the next campaign starting the day after the last one,” McCallion, 101, told during a phone interview today (Oct. 4) from her home in the Streetsville area of Mississauga.

“Anyone who tries to get elected by starting six weeks before or six months before (the election)…that’s not going to get it done. You have to get involved in the community, get yourself known and show the citizens that you want to work for them. That’s the key.

“Every day, you have to work at it and enjoy what you’re doing. And prove to the citizens that you’re interested. It’s simple. It’s common sense.”

McCallion’s advice comes just three weeks before the Oct. 24 municipal election.

Mississauga City council, which has for decades featured mostly the same or similar faces, will take on a different look come later this fall.

Two longtime councillors, Ward 9’s Pat Saito and Ward 11’s George Carlson, are retiring, making way for new representation.

McCallion suggested City council will be especially hard hit by Saito’s departure.

“Pat Saito will be a big loss to City council. She’s a very hard worker, and served her people well. She served all citizens of Mississauga well,” said McCallion. “There are big shoes to fill in Ward 9.”

McCallion, who remains an active member of several private sector boards in addition to the board of directors of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), is no stranger to hard work. 

What made that much easier through her 36 years in the mayor’s office, she told, was that she enjoyed every minute of it.

“Every day I was involved in politics, I loved it. If you don’t enjoy it, you should get out of it,” McCallion said. “And that goes for more than just politics. It goes for whatever you do.”

Though she’s been out of the political arena for nearly a decade, McCallion has definitely not been entirely out of the spotlight.

In addition to her work on the community boards, McCallion can also be seen consistently at many events across the city, and beyond.

And she continues to make the news on the local front, nationally and internationally.

Earlier this year, she was profiled in the New York Times and then a month later featured in two stories in the UK.

Both The Guardian and Independent daily online newspapers in England ran pieces on McCallion in the wake of her earlier reappointment to the GTAA board, which runs Pearson Airport in Mississauga.

McCallion was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2005 and awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto in 2010.

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