Video: ‘Do your homework’ must’ve rolled off Hazel McCallion’s tongue a million times


Published February 1, 2023 at 11:44 am


She wasn’t a schoolteacher, but throughout a career in politics spanning more than five decades she implored countless people from all walks of life to pay attention to detail and get their homework done.

“Do your homework!”

Three simple words, but what a punch they packed when delivered by Hazel McCallion, the longtime tough-as-nails Mississauga mayor who turned that phrase into her personal favourite.

Whether directed at City of Mississauga staff, her councillors, Region of Peel staffers (who seemed to be a preferred target of Mississauga’s pint-sized matriarch over the decades), citizens who appeared before council with a variety of complaints and requests, members of the media, politicians at all levels of government, or many others, the words and sentiment behind them landed with considerable force.

Rarely, if ever, were they delivered with a smile. Rather, it was a steely-eyed glare that accompanied the blunt phrase, warning of even harsher treatment should the “mistake” be repeated.

Her disgust at what she saw as an obvious lack of preparedness was clear. No matter how prepared one was, it was easy to second guess when blasted and barked at by “Hurricane Hazel” in such a manner.

And the words live on.

In remembering McCallion prior to the start of this morning’s (Feb. 1) City of Mississauga budget deliberations, several councillors made mention of her trademark phrase.

The City has also posted to social media a link to a video called, simply, Do Your Homework (see below).

A number of councillors and Mayor Bonnie Crombie also quoted another favourite saying of the former iconic mayor, who died this past Sunday after a month-long fight with pancreatic cancer.

“Think like a man, act like a lady and work like a dog,” McCallion would often say.

But it’s the biting demand to do one’s homework that will likely be remembered most.

McCallion, Mississauga’s fifth mayor, would have celebrated her 102nd birthday on Feb. 14.

She, along with what was the fast-growing city of Mississauga at the time, were thrust into the national and international spotlight during the train derailment of November 1979.

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