In the final story of this three-part series, The Pointer looks at the death of Caleb Harrison and how the ensuing homicide investigation shed new light on the deaths of his parents, forcing Peel Police officers to accept their own missteps. Bill and Bridget Harrison’s son might still be alive if trained investigators had done their job. The Pointer republishes the chilling stories by Joel Wittnebel, detailing the tragic mishandling of a homicide case by a police force that slipped up time after time.
There was ample evidence of wrongdoing in the systematic execution of three family members in four years inside their Mississauga house. In the first of a three-part series, signs of incompetence within Peel police are revealed, one of many underlying tragedies behind the Harrison family murders. The Pointer republishes the chilling stories by Joel Wittnebel, detailing the mishandling of a homicide case by a police force that slipped up time after time.
Three family members were killed inside their Mississauga home four years apart. Despite obvious signs of foul play, Peel Regional Police didn’t pursue a homicide investigation in the first two deaths. How was this allowed to happen?
In Part 2 of a three-part series, The Pointer looks at the death of Bridget Harrison and how egregious lapses in police judgement and poor management led to the entire Harrison case getting shelved, in the face of glaring clues. The Pointer republishes the chilling stories by Joel Wittnebel, detailing the mishandling of a homicide case by a police force that slipped up time after time.
To reach the City’s ambitious emission reduction targets by 2050, Mississauga’s MiWay operation has to be transitioned from its carbon-polluting buses to hybrid and/or electric vehicles already being used in municipalities around the world that are years ahead of Canada’s sixth largest city.
Mississauga’s Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze has found Ron Starr guilty of harassment, in violation of the City’s workplace policies, in the case brought forward by former councillor Karen Ras, who alleged Starr was behind the keying of her car multiple times in a City Hall parking lot. Swayze determined Starr keyed her car at least once and has recommended Council punish Starr by docking 60 days pay.
A judicial review to overturn the selection of Elaine Moore for the seat of former councillor Charmaine Williams will be heard Thursday, after Patrick Brown and his council allies have waged a recent attack on Moore, the former longtime council member with a record of fighting for accountability, shutting down all council meetings to prevent her appointment.
The Region of Peel is discussing waste diversion and management possibilities after the $124 million anaerobic digestion facility was cancelled. Staff are now trying to plan a new strategy as the current system reaches its capacity.
Mississauga staff provide an update on the fines paid to the City through the automated speed enforcement cameras and on the Applewood Creek restoration project.
This morning City of Mississauga officials and Councillor Ron Starr's lawyers met in front of Justice Michael G. Emery. The parties were supposed to set a date to hear Starr’s application to block the public release of an integrity commissioner’s report on allegations that Starr harassed former councillor Karen Ras, in breach of the City’s Code of Conduct. Andra Maxwell, the City’s solicitor, told The Pointer Wednesday the investigation report will now be released publicly on Thursday ahead of discussion during the July 6 Council meeting.
Jaime Santana, President-Elect of the Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis, responds to a recent article in The Pointer that raised concerns about the use of ABA (applied behavioural analysis) therapy in Ontario on some autistic individuals. While critics point out that ABA applies “normalizing” behaviour expectations on those who do not want such outcomes, Santana reminds readers that the therapy is crucial for many on the autism spectrum who benefit significantly from ABA.
On June 27 Councillor Ron Starr dropped off an application to run in the upcoming municipal election. A few weeks earlier he took legal action to block the public release of the Mississauga integrity commissioner’s investigation report into allegations Starr harassed former councillor Karen Ras. Voters might be asked to make a decision October 24, without knowing the findings of the probe.
Housing in Peel has become so unaffordable that even middle-income families, once comfortably able to cover prices, are now being squeezed out of the market. With tens of thousands of residents at the breaking point and without adequate funding from upper tier governments, the Region has turned to nonprofits for help, while the private sector remains largely disinterested in cutting into its bottom line.
Two high profile arrests in June highlight the work done by Peel Police’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit.
However, the growing complexity and workload for the unit places a constant pressure to do more with less at a time when online sexual exploitation of children, child pornography offences and luring continue to increase.
The coroner inquest report and 35 recommendations into the 2015 shooting death of Marc Ekamba by Peel Regional Police officers landed quietly online, without even an agenda item on the Peel Police Services Board addressing the recommendations put forward. The bungled police response, which led to a lawsuit against former chief Jennifer Evans for her alleged interference, was an embarrassment to the force.
Peel community members are calling for the police board to follow the coroner’s 35 recommendations following Ekamba’s death.
When the Ministry of Education ordered Peel District School Board to complete 27 binding directives to finally end systemic discrimination, stakeholders knew it would be a challenge. An embedded culture, internal politics and certain trustees at the heart of the problem were always going to be barriers to change. Directive 19, to end the streaming of students in Grades 9 and 10, is being painstakingly implemented but an updated report shows longstanding racist practices within the PDSB still have plenty of support.
The City of Mississauga is taking a leadership role in climate action, spearheading green building standards and lowering its consumption of energy.
Mississauga has seen significant decreases in greenhouse gas emissions, showing how strategically allocated funding combined with smart local policies can play a significant role in creating a healthier planet.
In 2019, a groundbreaking assessment by Family Services of Peel indicated the Region needed to do much more to help survivors of human trafficking while preventing others from being victimized in an area of the country that has become a hotbed for traffickers.
After three years, a regional strategy has shown great success. Now, it’s up to Peel’s councillors to approve the required funding to make critical programming a permanent fixture.
The Brampton mayor and his allies refuse to show up for council meetings, leaving the BramptonU forensic audit and other investigations into allegations of wrongdoing stalled. Brown continues to campaign nationally for his federal Conservative leadership bid, raising questions about his motives for halting City business by preventing a replacement from filling the seat of Charmaine Williams who was elected to be an MPP.
Peel Police Services Board members will hear powerful delegations on police shootings. Two members of the community are bringing forward an inquest report on a young man who was shot and killed by Peel police in 2015. The report is not attached to the agenda. Leadership within Peel District School Board is displaying “resistance” against the implementation of structural changes ordered by the Province after decades of systemic discrimination within the board.
The Region of Peel has updated numbers on the housing subsidy waitlist and Caledon wants to “Caledonize not urbanize” the future of the Town. Brampton discusses Riverwalk, an expensive police station and leasing land to Indus Community Services — if the meeting ever happens.
For years Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) has been marketed as the best practice for families with an autistic child, described as something “essential” to parents.
Against the well-connected establishment is a community of autistic individuals pushing back on the practice which has been dubbed “autistic conversion therapy.”
The Region of Peel is used to fighting for its fair share of funding from higher levels of government.
When Peel was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional staff hoped Queen’s Park and Ottawa would cover the unprecedented costs to keep local residents safe. While the Province has covered most of the vaccine rollout (with more funding anticipated) staff are concerned the price of the public health emergency may leave the budget with a $46.5 million gap.
The City of Brampton has confirmed that Sameer Akhtar, who had been the head solicitor, is no longer with the municipality. He joins the growing list of senior staff brought in under the leadership of Mayor Patrick Brown who no longer work for the City.
Brown and his four allies on council were a no-show for the Wednesday, June 15 meeting, preventing the session from happening and postponing all municipal matters that were supposed to be dealt with to a later date. The official replacement for Wards 7 and 8, after Charmaine Williams won a provincial seat, was supposed to take place, but Brown and the four others who did not show up, previously voiced their opposition to the person selected as a replacement by the majority of councillors.
Charline Grant of Kedz Consulting knows people can’t unlearn system-wide racism overnight; it takes years to undo policies and procedures that for decades have benefited those in power while excluding others. Community advocate Idris Orughu and PDSB Trustee Kathy McDonald have fought for years to transform the school board’s ingrained culture of discrimination.
Now, the board says one of the foundational directives issued by the Education Ministry has been completed. Time will soon tell if this leads to actual change.
A number of reports will appear before Mississauga council this week with details on how to make getting around the city more environmentally friendly, including Peel’s strategy for zero emission vehicles, details on how to move forward with the Dundas Connects Master Plan and future charging options for MiWay’s electric fleet.
Brampton will be occupied with officially filling the vacancy left behind by newly elected MPP Charmaine Williams and a special meeting of council Friday to deal with the audit of the controversial spending on BramptonU.
Social services agencies and other advocates working to help residents struggling with addictions watched in despair as the number of opioid deaths continued to rise throughout the pandemic.
To combat the growing number of overdoses, the Region of Peel is moving forward on a multifaceted strategy to address society’s chilling opioid reality.
To keep City buildings in safe, working condition, Mississauga has to allocate funding to keep up with the to-do list of repairs required as infrastructure ages. This crucial list, in too many cases, is being ignored.
Buildings like fire stations, community centres and City Hall itself, are getting pushed to the side with the backlog of repairs growing, as critical work is sacrificed for other needs.
There’s clearly demand for cricket infrastructure in the city but competing interests and, once again, changing claims by Mayor Patrick Brown, are clouding the future of the sport in Brampton.
A group of private investors has stepped in, but even their proposal raises more questions about the way the sport’s growth in the city is being planned.
Mississauga Council has directed Andra Maxwell, the City’s lawyer, to challenge Councillor Ron Starr’s injunction request, which if approved would block the integrity commissioner report into allegations of harassment against him from being released to the public.
On May 31, Council received a letter from Starr’s lawyers explaining why he is now taking legal action to prevent the report’s release. Former councillor Karen Ras alleges Starr was behind the repeated keying of her vehicle in a City Hall parking lot.
Delegations at the Region of Peel this week will focus on high water bills, shelter funding, how to keep COVID-19 out of communities and the growing deficit. Mississauga has an important in-camera discussion after Councillor Ron Starr sought an injunction against an integrity commissioner report which was slated to be released. Brampton is set to hear from a group of private developers on how they can build the cricket stadium Patrick Brown promised would be finished by now.
Peel District School Board has taken small steps to address its systemic discrimination problem.
Charmaine Williams has traded her city council seat for one inside Queen’s Park, where she will represent Brampton Centre as an MPP on the Progressive Conservative side of the aisle.
Former Ward 1 and 5 councillor Elaine Moore will be filling in until new council members are sworn in after the October 24 municipal election.
After allegations hung around him for months, Mississauga Councillor Ron Starr has released a statement to the media denying them. Former councillor Karen Ras alleges Starr keyed her Kia Sportage numerous times in a City Hall parking lot during the council term, prior to her decision in January to step down from her elected role.
Last week Starr filed a court request for an injunction to prevent an integrity commissioner’s investigation report from coming forward to council.
The small rural Town of Erin sits just north of Peel Region, in essence they are neighbours. But the township is not being very neighbourly; it is constructing a wastewater treatment facility that will dump effluent into Peel’s watershed which empties into Lake Ontario. It’s another huge developer-backed project to make way for sprawl that will impact the Credit River ecosystem and take another chunk out of Ontario’s so-called ‘untouchable’ Greenbelt.
On Wednesday, Mississauga council members were told colleague Ron Starr filed an injunction against the City of Mississauga and integrity commissioner Robert Swayze. If approved it would prevent Swayze from delivering the report.
He has been investigating whether Starr was in breach of the City’s Code of Conduct following allegations by former councillor Karen Ras that Starr keyed her vehicle repeatedly in the City Hall parking lot.
Highway 413 has lost all opposition in Queen’s Park from Brampton as the Progressive Conservatives sweep the entire region with only about a third of local voters casting a ballot.
Without pressure from the official opposition in Brampton, the city’s ongoing hallway healthcare crisis needs a new advocate.
Mississauga will remain blue provincially for another four years after voters returned all six local PC incumbents to Queen’s Park for another term.
The reelected MPPs have championed Mississauga priorities in the past, but have been reluctant to push the PC party to prioritize their city. Its reelected officials will need to step up and speak out for their constituents on a number of complex topics including police reform, jobs for new Canadians, mental health and addictions, housing affordability and funding for public transit in booming areas of the city.
After it was revealed that Councillor Rowena Santos and Mayor Patrick Brown were linked to the two firms at the heart of a forensic audit into the mishandling of the failed BramptonU project which cost the city $629,000, they tried their best to stop members of council determined to move the investigation forward.
A group of six councillors used the authority of their majority this week to ensure a forensic firm will be able to do its work free from interference by Santos, Brown or their council allies.
Brampton West is a swing riding, held strong by the Liberals in 2014, before the Progressive Conservatives narrowly beat the NDP in 2018.
In 2022, the election will show whether residents reject the man who refused to support their healthcare needs for the last four years; or if the PC highway mandate trumps the well being of voters.
Mississauga Centre is the city’s smallest riding and the one experiencing more vertical growth than any other. Advocates want the next government to bring back the Hurontario light rail transit downtown loop cancelled by the Doug Ford PCs.
A massive new hospital being built right next to the riding is welcome news but lingering questions around long-term care and how the area was treated during the pandemic are still a concern for residents.
As a first-time MPP for Mississauga Centre, Natalia Kusendova didn’t act like a rookie.
Early on she stood up inside the legislature speaking both official languages and bringing up her riding regularly. Healthcare, mental health and addictions and seniors' issues featured prominently in many of her speeches. She was also a passionate advocate for the province’s francophone population. She did not stand up for those residents and businesses who want the downtown LRT loop added back into the project, after her PC government removed it.
The deeply disturbing behaviour of the provincial government over the last four years swept across Ontario’s electorate with blinding speed. In four years Doug Ford and his PC colleagues managed to undo longstanding environmental protections that once made Ontario a beacon for other governments racing to save their most valued natural spaces.
June 2 is the last chance to stop incendiary actions pushing the province to the edge of environmental ruin.
Caledon advocate and former federal candidate for the Green Party Jenni Le Forestier has doggedly held her local elected officials accountable for the damaging decisions some have made while doing the bidding of powerful developers who dictate so much of the local planning across the 905. She believes taxpayers need to be given far more information about the powerful industry lobby group that dictates more and more of the decision making around how their communities are being shaped.
The MPP for Mississauga—Erin Mills had a quiet four-year term, seldomly standing to speak in Queen’s Park. When he did, his riding was rarely mentioned and he almost never spoke about the most pressing issue in the area— affordable housing.
He instead focused on the need to recognize more international credentials and degrees to help open the post-pandemic economy by taking advantage of skilled immigrants.
Brampton West’s Amarjot Sandhu was nothing short of a disgrace in the eyes of many constituents: charged and convicted for operating illegal basement apartments; failing to show up for an official Remembrance Day ceremony and taking votes that hurt residents in his riding who expressed shock at the treatment by their elected representative. Sandhu had a record of inaction on a wide range of Brampton’s central issues including healthcare, police carding and auto-insurance discrimination.
For Brampton South residents there is a drastic divide between their priorities and the recent representation inside Queen’s Park.
As soon as he won their support in 2018 Prabmeet Sarkaria made it clear, he was not loyal to the constituents who put him in office, he would instead follow whatever Doug Ford and the PC Party told him to do. He refused to support desperately needed healthcare expansion in his own city, he pushed Highway 413, and ignored postal code discrimination in the auto-insurance sector.
Elected in 2018 to represent Brampton South for the Progressive Conservatives, Prabmeet Sarkaria was a firm ally of Doug Ford, toeing the party line.
He refused to support desperately needed healthcare expansion in his own city, he pushed Highway 413, did little to advocate for more local resources during the pandemic and would not support 10 paid sick days for the essential workers in his own riding.
The area located in the northwest part of the city has long been a big draw for new Canadians, offering a tight-knit community feel, expansive parks and trails.
But as the abundant housing supply that kept coming online reached a point of saturation demand drove up prices and the rental market outpaced supply. Housing affordability in the area is a big issue ahead of Thursday’s election.
The city’s ongoing healthcare crisis has been well documented. For four years the Ford government, including its two Brampton PC MPPs, Prabmeet Sarkaria and Amarjot Sandhu, failed to respond to the medical needs of the city’s 700,000 residents. Brampton suffered some of the worst infection rates in the country through the first three waves of the pandemic, while per capita resources for testing were among the lowest in Ontario. Meanwhile, demands to build a second full-service hospital with at least 850 acute-care beds were ignored, as Ford instead funded a massive new hospital in Mississauga. The former head of critical care at Brampton Civic Hospital says the city's voters should reject the Ford PCs on Thursday.
The incumbent regularly spoke up at Queen’s Park on community issues in Malton.
While Anand often claimed to advocate for his constituents he generally voted along PC lines even for legislation that impacted the riding negatively, and, beyond empty words, he seldom took the lead on many of the most pressing issues facing constituents in Peel.
With the promise, or threat of Highway 413 on the horizon, Brampton East residents will get to choose between candidates who want to see the sprawling 400-series corridor built just above their community and those committed to stopping the project before it starts.
During Gurratan Singh’s term as Brampton East MPP he was one of Ontario’s most outspoken legislators, regularly fighting for measures to end postal code discrimination within the auto insurance sector, advocating for better healthcare funding in his city along with a host of other priorities he brought to the forefront.
As the most diverse area of Mississauga, the complex dynamics of policing a multicultural community unfold every day. On June 2, voters will be looking to put their X beside a candidate who understands how Queen’s Park can work to heal the trust that has been broken between Malton and Peel Regional Police.