In Mississauga, just to the west of Toronto, the phenomenal Hazel McCallion, at 82 years of age, did not trouble herself (or anyone else) to campaign , and won, by a vote of over 90 per cent, a tenth term as mayor. She cites team work as the secret of her political longevity.

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This is an archived article published in November 2003
82-year old mayor wins 10th term but
most of Ontario ignores local elections

By Nick Swift

The drama of some of the events and issues in the Toronto mayoral race was counterpointed throughout much of the rest of the province by elections in which evidence of excitement was hard to come by, which may have had something to do with the extremely low level of participation. In Ottawa, the country’s capital, the 30 per cent turnout was lower than it had been since the 1960s. Bob Chiarelli was returned for a third term after a campaign widely regarded as reflecting, whether intentionally or not, an atmosphere that could be interpreted as either apathetic or laissez faire or, perhaps, both.

November 2006 update: Both Hazel McCallion and David Miller were re-elected.

On the other hand, John Tory’s respectable second place showing in Toronto was paralleled in Ottawa by (Mr.) Terry Kilrea, whose efforts at stirring things up at one point included besmirching Mr. Chiarelli’s personal courage. Kilrea’s performance, as a candidate with no significant political experience or money, may thus be said to prognosticate potential future excitements on the basis of finding a solution to the city’s budget problems (a $120 million deficit), another issue duplicated in many other Ontario towns. In re-electing Chiarelli, however, Ottawans voted for business as usual for the time being.

In Mississauga, just to the west of Toronto, the phenomenal Hazel McCallion, at 82 years of age, did not trouble herself (or anyone else) to campaign , and won, by a vote of over 90 per cent, a tenth term as mayor. She cites team work as the secret of her political longevity. Mississauga is Canada's sixth-largest city and placed third in Ontario.

The big issue in Hamilton, south west of Toronto (progressing downward through the ‘Golden Horseshoe’ around the western end of Lake Ontario) was whether or not to go ahead with a new expressway. The environmentalists lost when Hamiltonians elected Larry Di Ianni, who made clear that it would be one of his priorities.

Anne Marie DiCicco attained to a second term in London, Ontario, and in that case the relationship between the actual winner and the single significant political other (Tom Gosnell) has the extra dimension of the latter being himself a former mayor, and now deputy mayor and financial boss. Foci of tension between the two have included the board of control and the size of the city council: DiCicco would eliminate the first and reduce the second. Voters showed they agreed with her, but the low turnout means that the will of the people in this instance does not have to be implemented by that same council.

In Windsor, across the river from Detroit, Michigan, a 29-year-old, Eddie Francis, is now mayor. A full blooded First Nations mayor, Lawrence Martin, a Cree, was elected in the town of Cochrane. To the surprise of many, Wayne Thomson, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario for 17 nonconsecutive years, was replaced by Ted Salci, former President of the Chamber of Commerce.

List of mayors of principal Ontario cities
after the 10 November 2003 local elections:

Aurora: Tim Jones, re-elected
Cambridge: Doug Craig, re-elected
Brampton: Susan Fennell, re-elected
Brockville: Ben Tekamp, re-elected
Burlington: Rob MacIsaac, re-elected
Cornwall: Phil Poirier, newly elected
Guelph: Kate Quarrie, newly elected
Hamilton: Larry Di Ianni, newly elected
Kingston: Harvey Rosen, newly elected
Kitchener: Carl Zehr, re-elected
London: Anne Marie DeCicco, re-elected
Markham: Don Cousens, newly elected
Mississauga: Hazel McCallion, re-elected
Niagara Falls: Ted Salci, newly elected
North Bay: Vic Fedeli, newly elected
Oakville: Ann Mulvale, re-elected
Orillia: Ron Stevens, re-elected
Oshawa: John Gray, newly elected
Ottawa: Bob Chiarelli, re-elected
Pickering: Dave Ryan, newly elected
Sault Ste. Marie: John Rowswell, re-elected
St. Catharines: Tim Rigby, re-elected
Sarnia: Mike Bradley, re-elected
Toronto: David Miller, newly elected
Thunder Bay: Lynn Peterson, newly elected
Waterloo: Herb Epp, newly elected
Woodstock: Michael Harding, newly elected
Windsor: Eddie Francis, newly elected

Toronto’s new Mayor David Miller
promises end of influence peddling
On 10 November 2003 Toronto elected David Miller as its new mayor. Mr Miller, a city councillor since 1994, will only be the second mayor of Toronto since the amalgamation of the city with Scarborough, East York, York and Etobicoke in 1997. He will succeed Mel Lastman who did not seek re-election after two terms as mayor of Greater Toronto.

Early provisional results from 1,883 of 1,926 polling stations gave David Miller almost 44 per cent of votes casted. John Tory was second with 38 per cent of the popular vote. The biggest surprise of the Toronto election was the poor showing of Barbara Hall, who was front runner early in the campaign. She came third with the support of less than ten per cent of voters. John Nunziata, a former member of parliament, was placed fourth with five per cent of votes cast.

Barbara Hall’s run for Mayor was marred by charges of illegal campaign fund raising. Even though the charges against Ms Hall were overturned by a judge and a police investigation was dropped, she never regained the electoral initiative.

In his acceptance speech, Mayor-elect David Miller promised to throw open the front door to Toronto City Hall and ‘padlock the backdoors to deal-makers and influence peddlers’.

During the campaign, David Miller was the only principal candidate to oppose the expansion of the Toronto Island airport and the construction of a bridge to the island. He said that if elected he would stop the expansion of the airport and any increase of commercial flights over downtown Toronto.

With an annual budget of Can$6.5 billion, the city of Toronto is larger than most Canadian provinces. But in recent years the city has suffered from underfunding in public services and infrastructure, resulting, for example, in an unreliable public transport system.

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