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Remarks By Dalton McGuinty, Premier Of Ontario In Tribute To Hazel McCallion

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Remarks By Dalton McGuinty, Premier Of Ontario In Tribute To Hazel McCallion

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Office of the Premier

I want to thank the Mississauga Board of Trade for arranging this wonderful

Not all of us in politics can count on the kind of longevity that our guest of honour -- Mayor for Life McCallion -- has achieved.

It's hard to believe that her first campaign for mayor was in 1978.

Hazel was acclaimed or re-elected in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2003.

But it's far more than Madame Mayor's longevity that we celebrate this evening.

It's her productivity that's most impressive.

It's all that she has accomplished for, and with, the people of Mississauga.

Back in '78, there were 280,000 people here. The population has more than doubled.

They used to call this a bedroom community.

Now it's the fourth-largest head office centre in the country, home to 52 of the companies in the U.S. Fortune 500, and 42 of Canada's top 500 corporations.

Many of you here tonight represent companies that made the decision to do business here.

As Premier, I want to thank you for choosing Ontario.

And, as Premier, I want to thank Hazel McCallion for doing so much to make your choice an easy one.

The mayor has made this a great place to do business.

She has also made this a great place to live.

Her commitment to sport, to culture and the arts, to keeping this city clean, has provided Mississauga with a tremendous quality of life.

Just take a look at what you have accomplished with your waterfront.

And when Hazel works with Council to ensure the city lives within its means, she's making sure the community builds its future on a solid foundation.

She was one of the first mayors of a major city to be openly committed to paying-as-you-go, and living within your means.

It's a tremendous record of success.

Tonight, I hope we can get Mayor McCallion to take a little credit -- because normally she gives it all to you: the hard-working residents of Mississauga.

Her contributions to our province go far beyond what she's done in this community.

She's a strong promoter of greater cooperation in the GTA.

In this way, she's helping build a higher quality of life for people throughout the region.

Her command of issues and strength of conviction make her an effective advocate for municipal issues.

I want you to know that we share the mayor's commitment to strengthening our province by strengthening our cities and towns.

We are working with our municipal partners to build strong communities.

I say "partners" very deliberately.

We can't micromanage from Queen's Park, or dictate from Queen's Park.

We can only deliver the services, and provide the infrastructure, that Ontarians depend on, if we work together.

We are committed to giving municipalities the tools and autonomy they need to succeed.

Madame Mayor, I know today you have very strong views on how governments are structured, and that you have a keen interest in the issue of secession from the Region of Peel.

My government is willing to work with you and other leaders in Peel to find a solution.

I want you to know that my door is always open to you, and I'm always willing to discuss any issue with you.

There's just one exception: Please...never come to me to say you are seceding from public life.

We would understand if you wanted a break, but your city needs you, your province needs you, and our democracy needs you.

We need your candour, your vigour, your vitality.

We need your drive and determination.

We need your leadership.

I know, from time to time, the media has nicknamed you Hurricane Hazel.

But I've never believed that name quite suited you.

Hurricanes knock things down.

You build things up.

Madame Mayor:

You've built a stronger community.

You've built a better province.

You've built a tremendous record of public service.

For all you've built, for all you've done, and for all you are...

On behalf of all Ontarians,

I say, thank you.

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