Megan O’Toole, Tom Urbaniak, MYTHissauga Inc, Ward 5 By-election, Freedom of Information, Life, the Universe –Everything.
August 4th, 2011
The last two weeks have been a blur.
A National Post article by Megan O’Toole hit me especially hard. She’d approached me about doing an article on Council watchers and asked if I were interested. I agreed and O’Toole sent me a list of questions. At no time did she say that she’d invited three political scientists to offer comment. And comment they did.
Since then I’ve been trying to get a rebuttal published at the National Post with zero luck —although I did get decent video of both attempts.
The real killer was what Tom Urbaniak served up about me.
“Some of their messages are valid and might resonate with a larger public — the need for transparency, too much bureaucratic self-justification, the dearth of tough questions … but they start to lose people when they argue or imply that Mississauga is almost a surreal Orwellian state, utterly dominated by sinister myths,” Mr. Urbaniak says.
This from the guy who wrote, “Her Worship: Hazel McCallion and the Development of Mississauga” (all 255 pages plus index etc etc) without filing a single Freedom of Information request!
How, I ask. How?
Have to laugh at how Urbaniak ends his book in his Acknowledgements section:
“Any errors and all deficiencies should in no way reflect on those who so kindly provided assistance or guidance, but rather on my own shortcomings.”
The major “shortcoming” was depending on Peel archives, interviews, Staff at the City of Mississauga clerks office/minutes of meetings (a true joke), more archives, newspaper articles, the kitchen sink —but not filing Freedom of Information!
Then came news of the passing of such a generous and brilliant spirit… Tomorrow is the funeral mass.
But today the Mississauga News announced that Bonnie Crombie had just entered the Ward 5 by-election race. Between Jake Dheer and now Bonnie Crombie, I have to get back at it. Research. Documenting. Reporting.
To be clear, there’s now more than enough evidence that what I do, write, and say makes no difference. A quote I’d stumbled upon when I first began researching the City of Mississauga and the Roots of Youth Violence:
“The truth is that we, as a society – all of us – simply don’t consider children very important. We talk a good game but we don’t think kids are as important as other things, like fixing the roads.” – Jim Paul Nevins (Ontario Court Judge October 4, 2001 report)
and the email I received from a perceptive youth.
…the system is CORRUPT and this is why there is youth violence this is why there are guns on the street and drugs in the hands of children the youth are fighting with the system because it is CORRUPT there is no way to fix it because the people higher up are sitting nice in their big leather chairs, driving their nice cars, living their perfect life when some people in this world have to work hard to get by and even by doing so they get nothing, and after they realize how hard they have to work to get by they break down and no longer want to live life being part of the system because they realize that living life by the rules of the system gets you no where because it is CORRUPT!
I continue this MISSISSAUGAWATCH blog knowing that what I do, write, and say will make no difference. I continue only because I know that the likes of Hazel McCallion, Jake Dheer, Bonnie Crombie and the rest of MYTHissauga Inc would just love it if I stopped.
And so, I suspect, would Tom Urbaniak.
On Controlling the Message, from Tom Urbaniak’s book,“Her Worship: Hazel McCallion and the Development of Mississauga”.
Hazel McCallion emerged from that 1982 election with an extremely strong hand. The old establishment had opposed her. Her old enemies had resurfaced to oppose her. One candidate for the Ward 2 council seat expressed alarm at the “Drapeau-like council,” a reference to the domineering Montreal mayor, but that candidate’s vote had been marginal. The only regularly publishing local newspaper had opposed her. A judge had admonished her. And still she cruised to victory. If everyone were against her, it was, to paraphrase John Diefenbaker, everyone except the people.
On city council there was now but one problem child: Larry Taylor. While the conflict-of-interest proceedings had been going on, he had been allowed to snipe from the sidelines. He had even been calling up citizens in all parts of the city to try to set up a Mississauga-wide federation of ratepayers’ organizations. Now, with McCallion presuming herself to be vindicated, he could be taught a lesson. Returning in February 1983 from a stint out of the country, he headed for what he thought would be a regular city council meeting. To his astonishment, the mayor and the other councillors had prepared a most unexpected greeting.
Taylor had helped to start a non-profit newspaper in his ward, a laudable objective in a media-barren environment. He and the volunteers arranged to print it on a city press in exchange for free advertising for the municipality.
This now was portrayed as a major scandal. It was ‘theft’ of city resources. Other groups wanting city support had to apply to council for funding. Senior city staff did not use the word ‘theft,’ but they gravely confirmed that Taylor had been following a rather irregular procedure. The newspaper stopped printing. The city-wide ratepayers’ association concept was also fatally attacked. By trying to set one up, Taylor had supposedly been interfering inappropriately in the business of other wards. The embattled councillor would henceforth be contained.
The Mississauga News for its part was not much of a threat to the mayor now. If sometimes it would report some controversial comments, these were always offset by the numerous feel-good photographs of the mayor at one function or another. When McCallion released only a partial list of her campaign donors from the 1982 campaign despite promising full disclosure, it merited only a blip. When an inquest into a fatal fire revealed the city to be short of bylaw staff none of the discussion redounded onto the mayor’s penny-pinching. When social service agencies complained that not enough was being done to build healthy and cohesive neighbourhoods, they were but voices in the wilderness.
A Voice in the Wilderness
And so I introduce today’s second entry, “Jake Dheer: Ward 5 By-election MYTHissauga candidate (What the Mississauga News and especially ROGERS Cable 10 TV won’t tell you)”