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My anecdotal evidence suggests to me that civic engagement in Mississauga is qualitatively different from civic engagement in Toronto.

At the risk of generalizing (by which I mean there may be exceptions), civic engagement in Mississauga is characterized by a close match between the associated rhetoric and reality. What civic leaders say about civic engagement in Mississauga tends to match the reality.

In Toronto, the rhetoric is very fine, whereas the reality is abysmal. The reality is that in Toronto, as evidenced by the acute state of malfunction characterized by the ongoing work of the Committees of Adjustment and OMB, civic engagement is a misnomer. In reality, it does not exist. Instead, residents serve as witnesses to the debasement and distortion of language, in the service of interests other than the interests of the residents.

This is a key thing that I have learned, as a resident of Long Branch (Toronto) for the past twenty years. My particular area of interest is local history, which I have been studying closely for the past seven years, as it relates to South Etobicoke and South Mississauga. My study has involved attendance at a large number of events including a wide range of meetings concerned with citizen input related to urban planning issues. My study has also involved a large number of one-to-one interviews. As a writer, I have over forty years of experience by way of writing reports based upon interviews and public meetings.

My sense is that the social, political, and cultural history of South Etobicoke and South Mississauga has developed along sharply divergent paths. I am delighted that, as a result of the fact that I live close to the Mississauga border, I have had the opportunity, for the past seven years, to observe “how things get done” in Port Credit and Lakeview, and to contrast and compare what I see, with reference to “how things get done” in Long Branch, New Toronto, and Mimico.

If my point of reference, at an anecdotal, personal, first-hand level, had been solely with reference to Toronto, I would at this point have arrived at an acute sense of cynicism, about “how things get done” in Ontario. Fortunately, I have had the experience of observing “how things get done” in Mississauga.

Mississauga is not perfect; no municipality is. But it is light years ahead of where Toronto is, and where it appears to be going.

That is my commentary, for whatever value it may have.


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