Last week Kaneff Group of Companies proudly announced former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion had joined the company’s board of advisors. There is nothing to prevent a former mayor of Mississauga from joining any company be it a multi-million dollar corporation who has and continues to invest millions in the city or an NGO working with street kids in Sao Paolo, Brazil. It’s all in the optics.
No councillor or anyone important has weighed in on this issue or denounced the move made by Hazel McCallion, but some naturally wonder why the Kaneff Group picked Ms McCallion to advice them. Don’t they have a bevy of lawyers and a team of professionals to guide them through the process?
Others wonder if they expect to benefit from Ms McCallion’s inside information that would make it easier for them to spot loopholes in the system.
Back in 2013, a City of Mississauga judicial inquiry by Justice Douglas Cunningham ruled that McCallion was inappropriately involved in a failed $14.4 million land deal between the city and World Class Development, partly owned by her son, Peter McCallion.
This time there is nothing unethical in McCallion joining Kaneff Group as a paid advisor. In a report, McCallion who is an old friend of company founder Ignat Kaneff declined to say if this could lead to any conflict of interest.
While rules do not allow federal and provincial politicians from becoming lobbyists not long after leaving public life, no such rules exist for municipal councillors. Perhaps it is time municipal councillors and mayors are subjected to the same laws that govern integrity, ethics and conflicts of interest. No one group of career politicians should be allowed to be above or outside of the law.