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The McCallion Letters

Mississauga Civic Centre Christmas Eve 2007, “Celebration Square” Christmas Day 2011 and Nando Iannicca’s Lessons of a Beer Fridge

December 26th, 2011  

Today, a bit of history of the Mississauga Civic Centre —including insight (sadly) into the Human Condition.

This YouTube video is a compilation of three separate video clips:

  1. Footage from the Mississauga Civic Centre WebCam showing what the old Mississauga Civic Centre looked on Christmas Eve 2007.
  2. April 29, 2009 video of Councillor Nando Iannicca urging support for the renovation of the DownTown Square and
  3. Footage from the Mississauga Civic Centre WebCam showing yesterday’s Christmas Day 2011 activities at the newly-renovated Mississauga Celebration Square.

Mississauga WebCam: Old Civic Centre Christmas Eve 2007 and “Celebration Square” Christmas Day 2011 (7:28 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)


Councillor Nanda Iannicca, Mississauga Special Council meeting, April 29, 2009

—because, Madam Mayor, you’ve spoken to it in very stark, correct political terms. And I think you’ve outlined it beautifully.

And I’m going to take a different tack. I’m going to be very abstract with my councillor-colleagues right now. So please indulge me. Because I want to talk about a beer fridge.

Cuz I hope this brings the point across that I want to bring in.

And the beer fridge I’m talking about was the concept that won a professor a Nobel Prize. And you may know the movie that speaks to it. It was “A Beautiful Mind”.

And the professor from the United States, who won an award for Economics from Nobel because he explained the theory of Enlightened Self Interest. We all have Self Interest. But the smart ones in the crowd know what Enlightened Self Interest is.

The analogy he used, and I won’t here today, related to the uh, favours of a lovely woman. We won’t talk about that. We’re going to talk about a different example that social scientists have used. And it was a beer fridge. True story.

What they did was they took a beer fridge and they put it on the dormitory of a university campus. And they took a bunch of folks just like us. Said, you all sleep on this floor. At the end of the hall, here’s a brand new beer fridge. And we, Molson’s, Labatts —pick one, are going to stock it with beer. Every. Day.

And we’ve done a count. We’ve got more beer in there than twelve people could possibly drink in a week!

But we’re going to stock it with that much and there’s only one condition. True story by the way. That at the end of the night when we come to restock the fridge, so long as one bottle is left, we’ll fill it to capacity. You get another thousand bottles.

So if you only drank two hundred, we put two hundred back in. You drank nine hundred, we put the other nine hundred back in. If you drink nine hundred and ninety-nine and there’s one, we’ll put nine ninety-nine in.

But of course if there’s none, the game is over.

Lasted one night.

The fridge was empty at the end of the night.

Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga Special Council meeting, April 29, 2009


Councillor Nanda Iannicca, Mississauga Special Council meeting, April 29, 2009

True story.

Because what people pursued was Self Interest, not Enlightened Self [Interest].

They say, Hell, it’s here now. I’m going to throw it under my bed now. At least I end up with a hundred beers. At the end of the day, nobody got any more beer.

That, dare I say, is exactly what is happening here. For the reason the Mayor touched upon. This is the program we’ve been given. These are the rules of the game. I didn’t say it at Council but I will say it now. Because there’s a fallacy of understanding here.

I don’t want to pick on the noise walls but I will use that as an example. “My residents don’t want the Downtown Square. They prefer noise walls.” Fact of the matter is they don’t. It’s an unassailable fact —if, Councillor Prentice, with the greatest of respect, I were to come in your community and talk to your people who benefit from the noise wall, of course, they’d rather see a noise wall instead of anything in the Downtown Square. Just like they’d rather see a library over there.

My residents don’t want me to support a Downtown Square if it otherwise leads to the improvement of the parkette next door to their home.

But if you walk in and say, “Hold on, hold on. Not everybody’s getting everything. You may not get the parkette next door to you —that person over there might instead get a sound wall.” What are they going to say?

Well, the rest of the city is going to say, to hell with that, build the Downtown Square. At least I benefit from that!

Dare I say in your own wards, if you were putting in sound walls or a parkette, the residents that immediately benefit, will say it’s a great idea. But take me into your wards. Take me in any ward and have me talk to the community that lives furthest away from your sound wall. Say, “Hi, you get a sound wall down there. And those people, “What do I get?” Well you get the privilege of paying for it. “Well do I get my parkette?” Nooo.

Well, what’s Plan B? Well we can do the Town Square for everybody.

Well do the Town Square, what am I, stupid? Do you not all see that? It’s self-evident.

The more fundamental point is the Mayor’s: These are the rules of the game. They’re going to pick a project that ma— And Councillor Prentice —Councillor Saito has just said, “They don’t think that way”. That’s the point —they don’t think that way. They’re thinking in terms of their Self Interest, not Enlightened Self Interest.

If we’re thinking along the line —well, Councillor Saito, I think they hold us to a higher standard. If what we are practising is Enlightened Self Interest in getting some of this pool of funds, what the Mayor has said is absolutely true, I think without question.

Here is your list. What’s the one big sexy one. What’s the one that makes the most sense to us? Because God forbid, I don’t think they’re just thinking of Mississauga. I think they’re thinking of a whole country. And a little bit of pathway lighting, I don’t think it turns their crank. I don’t think they’re terribly excited about something like that.

So at the end of the day, unless you think we’re all going to end up with some “beer”, we’re going to end up with none of it. And at the end of the day the decision will be what will give us more bang for the buck that we think we’ve shared the wealth with an entire community.

It is a project like a town civic square that might do it, or a waterfront project —that makes sense. Or the Chappell property —it’s kind of our High Park.

But if you start divying up into little pieces, and say give us all a six-pack, nobody gets any “beer”. I don’t know how much more self-evident I can make it than that. The Mayor said it better than me.

At the end of the day, Madam Mayor, I don’t know what Plan B is —I think it’s yours. Put them all on the list. Let’s see what shakes down. I don’t want to argue against sound walls. I think Councillor Prentice has said it all along. Sure I’m willing to give them a try.

But at the end of the day you’ve got to look at it from the eyes of the Federal Government. Like it or not, these are their rules. Let’s do something that’s going to meet with success because the last piece of the puzzle is this: under Enlightened Self Interest, if we get the funding for the Town Square —civic rehabilitation and all the other things that relates to it, that are greatly understood I might add, by definition, the life of our 10-year capital budget, it opens up funds for other things.

It’s taken —my example, why would I take my kids to Disneyland next year if my grandparents or their grandparents are going to take them on their own time? I’ll save that money and do something else with it. That’s what will percolate down. Otherwise no one gets any “beer” it seems to me.

So Madam Mayor, it is what it is. It’s going to be a decision out of our hands. Let’s hope we get our fair share. But I think to put something simple, clean and neat before the Federal Government is our greatest chance of doing. This parochialism will kill it for all of us in my opinion.

Thank you, Madam Mayor.

Music: Blue Danube as Civic Centre WebCam feed shows Christmas Day 2011 activity at the newly-renovated “Celebration Square”.


Mississauga city hall  civic centre hockey
Playing hockey after the official tree lighting ceremony at Mississauga Civic Centre on November 24, 2006


Mississauga Web Cam – Live!


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