Published Jan. 29, 2023 9:00 a.m. ET
Updated Jan. 29, 2023 1:43 p.m. ET
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Premier Doug Ford sat with his dear friend and mentor Hazel McCallion on Saturday, rubbing her hand and helping her family ensure she was as comfortable as possible in her final moments.
“I kissed her and told her I love her,” Ford told CP24 on Sunday afternoon. McCallion died at around 6:30 a.m. She was 101.
At the request of McCallion’s family, the premier announced her peaceful passing on Sunday morning.
Ford said he offered her family a state funeral and is in the midst of consultations with Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie to finalize next steps. “It’s going to be an incredible celebration,” Ford said.
In tribute to McCallion, he recounted the values that characterized her 36 years as mayor of Mississauga, marking her as the longest serving mayor in the city’s history.
“There’s no politician in the country that really understood the grassroots of the people more than Hazel did,” Ford said.
“It was all about the people and listening to the people,” Ford said, calling her commitment to her community “second to none.”
He said McCallion was the same behind the scenes as she was in front of a camera or audience.
“Everyone knew she was a force to be reckoned with,” Ford said. “She would just say what’s on her mind and 99 per cent of the time and she was right, not even, say, 100 per cent of the time she was right.”
“There isn’t a single person who met Hazel who didn’t leave in awe of her force of personality. I count myself incredibly lucky to have called Hazel my friend over these past many years.”
Premier Doug Ford is seen in this photo with Hazel McCallion. (The Canadian Press)