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Hazel McCallion turns down Ford's offer to consult for government

Last Updated Jan 30, 2019 at 5:03 pm EDT

Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford is congratulated by former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion after winning a majority government in the Ontario provincial election in Toronto on June 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Hazel McCallion has said thanks, but no thanks when it comes to Doug Ford’s offer to be a special adviser to the government.

Earlier this month, Ford said the former Mississauga mayor would advise Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark on a range of municipal issues.

The announcement came just days after the province said it was reviewing 82 municipalities, raising the possibility of amalgamations.

The appointment also raised eyebrows due to the $150,000 stipend that came with the appointment.

On Wednesday, Ford told a gathering of reporters that McCallion would accept the consulting role but would forgo the salary.

“She said,’Doug I sit on eight boards. I will help you any way I can but I’m not taking a salary,'” said Ford during a news conference to announce the construction of two new facilities at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

“There’s no one that understands municipal issues in the region than Hazel McCallion. She’s going to be a great asset at no cost.”

In a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, McCallion said she would be unable to accept the formal appointment due to her extensive commitments and the time required for such an appointment. However, the soon to be 98 year old said she would maintain an open dialogue with the government on housing-related issues.

“I remain very committed to contributing, as available, to Ontario’s future – especially as it pertains to my areas of expertise on the housing and municipal affairs files,” said McCallion. “I am phone call away should they ever require any advice or counsel.”