John Rodriguez


John Rodriguez

Infobox_Politician


name = John Rodriguez
small| caption =
birth_date = February 12, 1937
birth_place = Georgetown, Guyana
residence =
office1 = President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association
term_start1 = 1968
term_end1 = 1969
predecessor1 = Ruth Willis
successor1 = John Kuchinak
office2 = Coniston Town Councillor
term_start2 = 1971
term_end2 = 1972
predecessor2 =
successor2 =
office3 = Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt
term_start3 = 1972
term_end3 = 1980
predecessor3 = Gaetan Serré
successor3 = Judy Erola
office4 = Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt
term_start4 = 1984
term_end4 = 1993
predecessor4 = Judy Erola
successor4 = Ray Bonin
office5 = Mayor of Greater Sudbury, Ontario
term_start5 = December 6, 2006
term_end5 =
predecessor5 = David Courtemanche
successor5 =
party = New Democratic Party
religion =
occupation = teacher

John R. Rodriguez (born February 12, 1937) is a Canadian politician, and the current mayor of Greater Sudbury, Ontario. He previously represented the riding of Nickel Belt in the Canadian House of Commons from 1972 to 1980, and again from 1984 to 1993, as a member of the New Democratic Party.

Early life and career

Rodriguez was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and moved to Canada in 1956. He attended Toronto Teacher's College, and began his teaching career in St. Catharines. He joined the New Democratic Party upon its formation in 1961. [Hugh Winsor, "NDP leadership contender has new approach to partisan politics", "Globe and Mail", 23 November 1989, A3.] Rodriguez moved to Coniston in 1962, and was appointed as Principal of St. Paul School. He also attended Laurentian University, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish Literature. [ [http://www.city.greatersudbury.on.ca/cms/index.cfm?app=div_mayor&lang=en&currID=5828&parID=0 "Mayor John Rodriguez: City of Greater Sudbury] ", Mayor's Biography, accessed 21 August 2008.]

Rodriguez became president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association in 1968. The following year, he led a protest outside Queen's Park to call on the provincial government to extend separate school funding to grades 11, 12 and 13. ["Catholic pickets to demand separate schools extension", "Toronto Star", 19 March 1969, 40.] He also served on the Board of Governors of the Ontario Teachers' Federation, and encouraged greater connections between teachers and organized labour. [Martin Dorrell, "Ontario teachers fear threat to status, reject alliance with labor", "Globe and Mail", 27 August 1971, C1.]

Rodriguez ran for mayor of Coniston during the 1960s, and lost to Michael Solski. [Rudy Platiel, "The Sandpipers and the Golden Egg", "Globe and Mail", 26 February 1972, A3.] He was elected to the Coniston town council in 1971. When Inco shut down its Coniston operations that year and appealed part of its municipal business tax, Rodriguez argued that the company had a moral responsibility to continue paying into a community that it helped to create. [Rudy Platiel, "The Sandpipers and the Golden Egg", "Globe and Mail", 26 February 1972, A3.]

Federal politics

First term: 1972 to 1980

Rodriguez chose not to seek re-election when Coniston was amalgamated into the new community of Nickel Centre. He instead moved to federal politics in the 1972 election, and defeated incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) Gaetan Serré of the Liberal Party in the riding of Nickel Belt.

The Liberals won a slim minority government in this election under Pierre Trudeau's leadership, and governed for the next two years with unofficial parliamentary support from the NDP. Rodriguez opposed this arrangement, and broke party ranks on two occasions to support non-confidence motions against the government. Identified with the left-wing of the NDP, he strongly supported his party's pledge to nationalize Inco, and also called for the nationalization of Bell Canada and Canadian Pacific. [Jeff Simpson, "A hard-liner from a hard land", "Globe and Mail", 5 June 1974, 8. Nationalizing Bell Canada was not official NDP policy.]

In 1973, Rodriguez participated in a study group on Northern Ontario that described the region as a "social, economic and political ghetto" in relation to the rest of the province. [John King, "Northern Ontario described as alienated, ghetto-like area", "Globe and Mail", 19 June 1973.] In the same year, he led a campaign to allow Chilean refugees to resettle in Canada following the overthrow of Salvador Allende's democratically elected government. [Jeff Simpson, "A hard-liner from a hard land", "Globe and Mail", 5 June 1974, 8. Nationalizing Bell Canada was not official NDP policy. Rodriguez spoke the words, "Vive Allende, vive Chile" at the end of one parliamentary speech.]

Rodriguez was re-elected in the 1974 election, in which the Liberals won a majority government. The following year, he participated in efforts to prevent black activist Roosevelt Douglas from being deported from Canada. On one occasion, he recommended Liberal Solicitor-General Warren Allmand as a sympathetic contact in government. It was later revealed that a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) informer monitored conversations of both Allmand and Rodriguez regarding their views on Douglas. [Mary Trueman, "Rodriguez recalls possible bugging incident", "Globe and Mail", 23 February 1978, P8; "Allmand bugged by accident, Blais tells MPs", "Globe and Mail", 28 February 1978, P10. See also Robert Sheppard, "Hart: the unsecret secret agent", "Globe and Mail", 14 January 1980, P10; Christopher Waddell, "Ottawa pays $56,000 to deported informant who spied on two MPs", "Globe and Mail", 5 May 1987, A1.] Also in 1975, Rodriguez publicly criticized a sexist Canada Post advertisement which showed a man writing a postal code on the bottom of a thonged woman, next to the rhyme "We're not 'stringing' you along/Use postal codes—you'll 'thing our 'thong'/Don't be cheeky—you've all got 'em/Please include them on the bottom." Postmaster General Bryce Mackasey apologized for the ad. [cite news
title=MP cites 'sexist' ad, Mackasey apologizes
page=A10
publisher=The Globe and Mail
date=June 18, 1975
]

In 1976, Rodriguez was one of two MPs who called for the Atomic Energy Control Board to release all of its information about the health hazards posed by radiation in Elliot Lake. ["Force disclosure, two MPs ask", "Globe and Mail", 22 October 1976, 3.] The following year, he engaged in a filibuster against an income tax reform package that contained financial benefits for wealthy Canadians. Although filibusters are common practice in some parliamentary assemblies, and later become more common in Canada, this was the first such instance to occur in Canadian House of Commons in several years. ["Rodriguez begins rare Commons filibuster on tax changes", "Globe and Mail", 8 February 1977, 10.] Rodriguez spoke on the bill for six hours and ten minutes over a period of two days, setting a contemporary parliamentary record. ["Debate record set, but tax bill passed", "Globe and Mail", 15 February 1977, 8.]

In the late 1970s, Rodriguez called on the federal government to buy up Inco's excess nickel stock in order to prevent job losses until world prices increased. Prime Minister Trudeau rejected this proposal, arguing that it would depress the market even further. [ "Joint union-Government effort could avert Sudbury layoffs, Trudeau feels", "Globe and Mail", 14 December 1977, P9.] Rodriguez joined with other Sudbury-area NDP politicians to support a major strike by Inco workers in 1978, arguing that the workers would have faced massive layoffs had they not taken this action. ["Inco uses helicopters in Sudbury as battle over pickets continues", "Globe and Mail", 19 September 1978, P8. A press release issued by these politicians included veiled criticism of former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis, who had questioned the logistics of the strike at a time when Inco had large stockpiles in storage.]

Rodriguez broke party ranks again to oppose the suspension of Progressive Conservative MP Roch LaSalle from the House of Commons in 1978. LaSalle had referred to Finance Minister Jean Chrétien as a liar on three occasions, and refused to apologize. The rest of the NDP caucus supported his suspension. [Jeffrey Simpson, "Tory MP expelled from Commons for insisting that Chretien is a liar", "Globe and Mail", 17 May 1978, P1.]

Rodriguez was re-elected again in the 1979 election, as the Progressive Conservatives won a minority government under the leadership of Joe Clark. He was appointed as his party's labour critic in the parliament that followed. [Mary Trueman, "MP hopes to encourage minorities to enter the mainstream of politics", "Globe and Mail", 26 September 1979, P9.]

In late 1979, Rodriguez emerged as the most prominent member of the NDP's "Left Caucus", a successor group of sorts to The Waffle. In a "Globe and Mail" interview, Rodriguez said that the new group differed from The Waffle in that its ultra-left elements were minor, and that it would abide by the results of NDP conventions even if it did not agree with them. The Left Caucus was nonetheless opposed by the party hierarchy, which argued that its activities would hurt the NDP's chances of election. [Kirk Makin, "Left Caucus fills Waffle shoes in battling NDP", "Globe and Mail", 24 November 1979, P5.] Rodriguez spearheaded the group's only successful motion at the NDP's 1979 convention, which protested a jail sentence handed out to Jean-Claude Parrot of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. [Jeffrey Simpson, "NDP convention finds radicals in left field", "Globe and Mail", 26 November 1979, P5.]

The Clark government lost a non-confidence motion in late 1979, and Canadians returned to the polls for another election in 1980. In this election, Rodriguez lost the Nickel Belt riding to Liberal candidate Judy Erola. Some local Progressive Conservatives later indicated that they ran a deliberately weak campaign, in order to consolidate the opposition vote around Erola. [In return, the Liberals were expected to field a weak campaign for the area in the 1981 provincial election. See Arthur Moses, "Sudbury profile", "Globe and Mail", 17 March 1981, 70.] Rodriguez, for his part, criticized the Liberal campaign for portraying him as a borderline Marxist. [Erola responded that she never called Rodriguez a Marxist, but drew attention in her campaign literature to what she described as similarities between his views and those of the Marxist-Leninist Party. See Mary Trueman, "Bad feeling lingers in defeated MP after Erola rides upset into Cabinet", "Globe and Mail", 5 March 1980, P9.] He was forced to supplement his small pension by working as a janitor for a month, before winning back his job as a high school principal. [Richard Cleroux, "Erola may be loser as Tories ride trend in Northern Ontario", "Globe and Mail", 25 August 1984, P1.]

econd term: 1984 to 1993

Rodriguez was returned to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1984 federal election, as Erola slipped to third place in a rematch from 1980. The Progressive Conservatives won a landslide majority government under Brian Mulroney, and Rodriguez was appointed as his party's critic on Unemployment Insurance (UI). [Charlotte Montgomery, "Planned UI rule changes create worry for workers retiring early", "Globe and Mail", 12 December 1984, P5. Late in 1984, he took part in a series of public forums organized by the NDP on the Mulroney government's job creation record. See Barbara Yaffe, "Tories not doing enough to find jobs, says NDP announcing national forums", "Globe and Mail", 20 December 1984, P4.]

Rodriguez served on the Commons Standing Committee on Labour, Employment and Immigration from 1984 to 1988. He was a vocal critic of the Forget Commission's 1986 report on unemployment insurance reform, arguing that its provisions would take Canada's social policy back to the nineteenth century. (One of Forget's recommendations was that persons unemployed for more than a year be forced to live on benefits as low as $40 per week.) [Joel Ruimy, "Weekly benefits of $40 urged for some jobless", "Toronto Star", 4 December 1986, A1.] Rodriguez later supported a committee report that rejected most of Forget's recommendations, and made a series of more generous counter-proposals.Richard Cleroux, "Bouchard refuses UI report commitment", "Globe and Mail", 20 March 1987, A5.] Employment and Immigration Minister Benoit Bouchard ultimately rejected both Forget's report and the committee's recommendations, and chose not to undertake significant UI reform during this parliament. [Richard Clereux, "Tory refusal to change UI called waste", "Globe and Mail", 16 May 1987, A1.] In November 1987, Rodriguez argued that newly-appointed committee chair Claude Lanthier was unfit for the position, after Lanthier supported the principle of work-for-welfare schemes. [Richard Clereux, "Work for welfare urged by chief of panel", "Globe and Mail", 12 November 1987, A4. See also Susan Delacourt, "House reform gets mixed reviews", "Globe and Mail", 30 December 1987, A5.]

Rodriguez criticized aspects of the Mulroney government's lobbyist registry in 1988, arguing that it would not adequately cover the heads of industry associations. [Shannon Day, "Andre threatens to shelve bill to register lobbyists", "Globe and Mail", 27 April 1998, N8; "Lobbyists to register under new federal law", "Toronto Star", 26 July 1988, A8.] He nevertheless acknowledged, two years later, that the registry had changed the culture of lobbying in Ottawa for the better. [Larry Welsh, "Lobbyists give up institute plan", "Kitchener-Waterloo Record", 6 July 1991, B5.] He was skeptical about the FedNor initiative launched in 1988, noting that the northern Ontario agency would have only limited advisory powers. [Margo Kelly, "Ottawa sets policy for aid to North", "Toronto Star", 10 May 1988, B8. Rodriguez also supported the group "Rural Dignity", which sought to protect rural post office services, and criticized the Mulroney government for not reforming bank fee legislation in a way that would benefit consumers. See Olivia Ward, "Privatization changing face of post offices", "Toronto Star", 19 June 1988, A1; Christopher Waddell, "Government backs off from limiting bank fees", "Globe and Mail", 25 June 1988, A1.]

Rodriguez was re-elected in the 1988 federal election, as the Mulroney government was returned with a reduced majority status. He was appointed as his party's consumer and corporate affairs critic, and became a prominent spokesperson in opposing the Mulroney government's Goods And Services Tax. He took part in a committee filibuster with fellow MP Dave Barrett, and at one stage sought to have public hearings on the tax across Canada. [Alan Freeman, "Blenkarn is labelled GST 'dictator' by NDP", "Globe and Mail", 16 February 1990, A12; Linda Diebel, "Filibuster against tax strains MPs' tempers", "Toronto Star", 21 March 1990, A1.] Rodriguez was also strongly critical of the severe anti-inflationary policies pursued by Bank of Canada governor John Crow, and argued that the recession of the early 1990s was exacerbated by high interest rates that undermined consumer confidence. [Andrea Gordon, "National tax carries risk, Crow says", "Globe and Mail", 25 April 1989, B1; Alan Freeman, "Bank wages goad Wilson Minister vows to apply federal restraint guidelines", "Globe and Mail", 20 March 1991, B5; Janet McFarland, "Credit card interest slows recovery: CCA", "Financial Post", 8 September 1992, 3.] He called on the federal government to set credit card interest rates, following dramatic increases at several major banks. [Larry Welsh, "Credit card rates spark renewed fury", "Toronto Star", 10 May 1989, F1. Progressive Conservative MP Garth Turner supported Rodriguez in this endeavour.]

Rodriguez criticized the Mulroney government's reforms to unemployment insurance during its second term in office, arguing that the greatest burden would fall on those who could least afford it. [Susan Delacourt, "Proposed UI reforms assailed as federal hearings commence", "Globe and Mail", 6 September 1989, A12.] He opposed the 1991 Bank Act, Trust and Loan Act, on the grounds that it would allow major banks to take over smaller competition. [Shawn McCarthy, "House passes sweeping financial reform", "Toronto Star", 10 December 1991, D2.] Along with other MPs, he criticized the government's $4.4 billion bailout of Central Guaranty Trust. ["MPs to question why trust's rescue cost $4.4 billion", "Toronto Star", 21 October 1992, F1.]

Notwithstanding his frequent criticism of major banks, Rodriguez spent a week observing the inner workings of the Bank of Nova Scotia in the summer of 1991, as part of an immersion course program arranged for MPs through the Parliament, Business and Labour Trust. Scotiabank senior vice-president Geoff Bellew said that most bank leaders were impressed with Rodriguez, who in turn said that the experience expanded his knowledge base. He rejected claims that the program made him less critical of the banks, quipping that it allowed him to "concentrate his fire". [Drew Fagan, "Getting to know you", "Globe and Mail", 14 January 1992, B1.]

Rodriguez opposed the 1990 Gulf War, and called for Canada to play a peacekeeping role overseas. [Rosemary Spiers, "MPs stunned as they hear of U.S. attack", "Toronto Star", 17 January 1991, A1.]

Rodriguez was known as a colourful and outspoken MP during his time in parliament, and often provided the media with clever and amusing quips. On one occasion, he described the president of a crown corporation as having the consultative skills of an oyster. [David Stewart-Patterson, "Politicians still running post office", "Globe and Mail", 22 May 1986, A1.] On another, he referred Brian Mulroney as a "narrow political partisan" before adding "he's just the same as I am". [Alan Freeman, "Laughren budget makes fine target", "Globe and Mail", 30 May 1991, A6.]

;Party affairs, 1989-1993

The NDP's failure to move beyond third-party status in the 1988 election was regarded as a disappointing result for the party and, in January 1989, Rodriguez became the party's first MP to publicly suggest that party leader Ed Broadbent should considering resigning. ["First NDP MP calls for Broadbent to resign", "Toronto Star", 13 January 1989, A4. The NDP won 43 seats in this election. Although this was a record result for the party, it was far short of some insiders' expectations.] Although he later backed away from this statement, Broadbent actually did announce his resignation in early March. [Susan Delacourt, "Broadbent to reveal intentions in March", "Globe and Mail", 16 January 1989, A4.] There were rumours that Rodriguez would be a candidate in the leadership contest that followed, but he instead chose to support Dave Barrett. [Stevie Cameron, "Race for the NDP leader's job is wide open", "Globe and Mail", 23 March 1989, A5; Tim Harper, "14 MPs back Barrett for NDP", "Toronto Star", 28 September 1989, A15.] Barrett was defeated by Audrey McLaughlin at the final ballot of the party's 1989 convention. Rodriguez subsequently ran for party whip, but lost to Iain Angus. [Tim Harper, "New Democrats eye gains as Liberals race for leadership", "Toronto Star", 22 January 1990, A9.]

Divisions within the NDP rose to the surface in 1993, when MP Steven Langdon was removed as financial critic after criticizing the economic policies of Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae. Rodriguez said that he admired Langdon's stand, and added that he did not support the Rae government's decision to cut jobs and make spending cuts to target the provincial deficit. He also accused Rae of alienating the party's labour allies, and was particularly critical of Rae's proposed social contract legislation (which was enacted later in the year). [Jonathan Ferguson, "NDP split wide open as Langdon fired", "Toronto Star", 30 April 1993, A1.] Unlike Langdon, Rodriguez was not sanctioned for his comments. ["Labor hails Langdon for criticism of Rae", "Winnipeg Free Press", 5 May 1993.]

Out of parliament

Rodriguez was defeated for a second time in the 1993 election by Liberal candidate Raymond Bonin. All NDP candidates in Ontario were hurt by the unpopularity of the Rae government in this election, and Rodriguez chose to focus on his personal record while de-emphasizing the national campaign. [Thomas Walkom, "Watching a good MP fight his own party", "Toronto Star", 4 October 1993, A21.] Although he polled better than any NDP candidate in the province apart from Langdon, he still lost by a significant margin.

In 1994, Rodriguez argued that provincial cabinet minister Shelley Martel should resign for violating the privacy rights of an Ottawa consultant. [William Walker, "Mines Minister Shelley Martel should accept responsibility and ...", "Toronto Star", 25 August 1994, A2. It was later suggested that Shelley's father Elie Martel ran for the federal party's nomination in Nickel Belt in 1997, in part to prevent Rodriguez from seeking the nomination and returning to parliament for a third time. See Thomas Walkom, "Wake-up call: NDP's high-profile recruits running hard in Ontario to syphon off Liberal strength", "Toronto Star", 17 May 1997, D4.] He endorsed Svend Robinson's bid for the federal NDP leadership the following year, after Audrey McLaughlin's resignation. [Rodriguez's endorsement is mentioned in Svend Robinson, "Mr. Robinson replies" [letter] , "Globe and Mail", 16 September 1995, D7.] Robinson led on the first ballot of the party's leadership convention, but gave his support to rival candidate Alexa McDonough when he realized he did not have sufficient support to win.

Rodriguez subsequently returned to the teaching profession as principal of St. David Catholic School in the Sudbury area. He was strongly critical of his forced retirement in 2005, saying "I'm not ready to retire, and I do resent being discriminated against because of my age". [Rob O'Flanagan, "Don't make me retire, principal pleads: Former MP John Rodriguez says he has lots to offer", "Sudbury Star", 23 June 2005, A1. See also "End forced retirement" [editorial] , "Sudbury Star", 27 June 2005, A10.] He also volunteered for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, ["Heart attack survival rate low", "Sudbury Star", 10 February 2000, A3.] and in 2003 received a commemorative medal for the Queen's jubilee. [Rob O'Flanagan, "Local politicians awarded medals", "Sudbury Star", 10 April 2003, B9.] In 2005, he praised former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien for his role supporting Canada in the 1995 Quebec referendum. [Laura Stradiotto, "Inquiry shouldn't taint his legacy", "Sudbury Star", 9 February 2005, A1. The article title refers to Chrétien.]

Municipal politics

In July 2006, Rodriguez announced his candidacy for mayor of Greater Sudbury in the 2006 municipal election. He received endorsements from several prominent local figures, including former mayor Jim Gordon, businessman and unsuccessful 2003 mayoral candidate Paul Marleau, and former city councillor Gerry McIntaggart. [ [http://www.northernlife.ca/election/electionNews/09-29-06-Rodriguez_support.asp?NLStory=09-29-06-Rodriguez_support "Rodriguez receives high-profile endorsements", "Northern Life", September 27, 2006.] One of his campaign planks was to lobby for the city to receive a share of the corporate taxes paid by the mining companies to the federal and provincial governments; the inability to directly tax two of the city's largest employers has been cited in the past as a barrier to the city's economic and social development. His critics accused him of making unrealistic commitments. His pledge to eliminate homelessness was for instance criticized by councillor Janet Gasparini, who applauded the goal but expressed doubts that this "growing national crisis" could be resolved in the short term at the local level. [ [http://www.northernlife.ca/News/LocalNews/2006/11-08-06-nomore_homeless.asp?NLStory=11-08-06-nomore_homeless "Gasparini questions Rodriguez's stance on homelessness"] , "Northern Life", November 8, 2006. Gasparini argued that Rodriguez's plan largely consisted of asking the provincial government to funding, which it had refused to provide in the past.]

On November 13, Rodriguez unseated incumbent David Courtemanche with 51.9% of the vote. He officially took office on December 6. When he was sworn in, he announced an ambitious "first 100 days" agenda, which was highlighted by a reiteration of his pledge to seek a portion of existing taxes on mining companies. The agenda included the creation of citizen committees to oversee a number of projects, including implementation of Floyd Laughren's report on service improvements in the amalgamated city, reviewing the city's recreational facilities and pursuing the creation of an arts centre, pursuing economic growth opportunities in the health care sector, and devolving some legislative authority to the existing local Community Action Networks. Rodriguez promised the elimination of fees on the city's TransCab service which offers taxi service to residents of remote areas of the city not served by Greater Sudbury Transit; this fee was eliminated in the 2007 municipal budget. [ [http://www.city.greatersudbury.on.ca/pubapps/newsreleases/index.cfm?Release_id=1792&lang=en City of Greater Sudbury press release] , March 16, 2007] [Jason Thompson, "Mayor drives home agenda for next 100 days", "Northern Life", 7 December 2006, accessed 27 August 2008.]

Rodriguez announced at the beginning of his term that stores in the city would not be permitted to open on Boxing Day, and also authorized the Franco-Ontarian flag to be flown at Tom Davies Square. [ [http://www.northernlife.ca/News/LocalNews/2006/12-07-06-inaugurationTOP.asp?NLStory=12-07-06-inaugurationTOP "Mayor drives home agenda for next 100 days] , "Northern Life", December 7, 2006.] The latter decision invoked polarized opinion, with some praising the mayor for taking authoritative action and others accusing him of isolating other cultural groups in the community. Rodriguez also introduced a "311" telephone service to Greater Sudbury in early 2007, making it easier for residents to get information from city hall. ["Sudbury becomes first northern Ont. community to adopt 311 service", "Canadian Press", 13 February 2007, 06:53.]

In the buildup to the 2007 provincial election, Rodriguez joined with four other Northern Ontario mayors to prepare a pre-election position paper that addressed issues of importance to the region, such as infrastructure renewal and water safety. He argued that he and his colleagues would have more influence by working in a collaborative manner. [The other mayors were from Timmins, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. See "Northern Ontario mayors to join forces to bring concerns into provincial spotlight", "Canadian Press", 9 February 2007, 09:54.] During the election campaign itself, Rodriguez attracted controversy by attending the opening of Liberal candidate Ron Dupuis' campaign office. Dupuis was the deputy mayor of the city, and Rodriguez's attendance led to conflicting claims about whether he had formally endorsed Dupuis. Rodriguez later clarified that he was not endorsing any candidate. [ [http://ontariondp.com/reality-check-mcguinty-invents-northern-ontario "McGuinty Invents in Northern Ontario"] Ontario New Democratic Party press release, 12 September 2007, accessed 27 August 2008.]

In February 2008, Greater Sudbury City Council faced controversy when it was revealed that city councillors were permitted to purchase over 100 tickets to an Elton John concert at the Sudbury Arena before ticket sales were opened to the general public. Rodriguez himself purchased 10 tickets. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/02/18/ont-eltonjohn.html?ref=rss "Ticket Gate hits Sudbury over Elton John concert"] , cbc.ca, February 18, 2008.] Council later returned 71 of the tickets. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/arts/music/story/2008/02/27/sudbury-tickets.html "Councillors who jumped queue return some Elton John tickets"] , cbc.ca, February 27, 2008.] Rodriguez said that he followed an established city practice in making the tickets available to councillors, though he acknowledged that his decision to offer so many tickets was "rushed and not given sufficient consideration". [Melissa Leong, "Councillors' ticket perks enrage public", "National Post", 21 February 2008, A8; Unnati Gandhi, "Public irate as councillors hop queue for Elton John", "Globe and Mail", 1 March 2008, A8.] The city council in Kitchener, Elton John's only other concert date in Canada during this tour, faced a similar controversy. After a public backlash, council decided to give up its preferential access to Sudbury Arena events. Rodriguez cast the deciding vote to eliminate the practice. ["Sudbury, Ont., council votes to end ticket perk after Elton John fiasco", "Canadian Press - Broadcast Wire", 10 April 2008, 05:21.]

As Mayor of Greater Sudbury, Rodriguez has presided over a period of economic growth for the city, and has lobbied for more of the city's new-found wealth to be put toward new sectors such as research in mining and environmental sciences. He has said, "We have to seize the moment. We don't ever want to go back and be beholden to the big mining companies again." [Tony Van Alphen, "Sudbury goes boom, Windsor goes bust", "Toronto Star", 17 May 2008, A1.]

Electoral record

Rodriguez challenged Mike Solski for mayor of Coniston at one point in the 1960s, and was defeated. He served on the Coniston town council from 1971 to 1972.

References

External links

*
* [http://www.city.greatersudbury.on.ca/cms/index.cfm?app=div_mayor&lang=en&currID=5320&parID=0 Text of Rodriguez's inaugural address as mayor, from the City of Greater Sudbury official website]


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