No Bias. No Influence. Just the Facts. For Stories That Matter to Brampton.

Confronting crime before it ever happens

Confronting crime before it ever happens

A community safety plan to focus stakeholders on curbing youth violence in Peel as a new chief is set to arrive, is the key to addressing the rise in crime. A new regional plan mandated by the province is now taking shape, just as the incoming chief of police is set to take over the third largest municipal force in the country in October. He says crime has to be approached with an “upstream” strategy, tackling the root social and environmental factors that push young people in the wrong direction.



“Rewarding someone for a bad decision; I wouldn’t go that far,” Brown says about Peel Public Health funding increase

“Rewarding someone for a bad decision; I wouldn’t go that far,” Brown says about Peel Public Health funding increase

Health Minister Christine Elliott announced Monday that  all municipalities across Ontario will share costs of public health funding on a 70-30 ratio. For the Region of Peel, this was good news as it will lighten the cost of paying for public health. The region has previously covered 37 percent of the pricetag. But Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown warns that provincial cuts in other areas will pose a significant challenge for the city’s taxpayers.



Part 2: New champions needed to bolster the fight against human trafficking

Part 2: New champions needed to bolster the fight against human trafficking

It only takes one spark to light a local politician into action on behalf of a worthwhile cause. The rising rate of human trafficking in our cities should propel our local leaders to join advocacy efforts around the world.

The ongoing annual meeting of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario is the perfect place for the latest warrior in the fight against this modern form of slavery to emerge. All it takes is for the light to be switched on. 



Province expands GO service on Kitchener line, but all-day, two-way trains still a dream

Province expands GO service on Kitchener line, but all-day, two-way trains still a dream

A big step toward achieving GO train service that runs all day, both ways, through Brampton is coming in September. Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, along with Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster, announced the addition of scores of new trips on several lines, including 50 new trains per week on the Kitchener line.



Addressing the growing problem of human trafficking requires resources, and concern

Addressing the growing problem of human trafficking requires resources, and concern

A who’s who of municipal and provincial leaders are in Ottawa this week to schmooze, plan and discuss some of the most pressing concerns facing municipalities today.

In this first of a three part series, The Pointer looks at three reasons why the issue of human trafficking should be among them.



Brampton councillors ready for their 15 minutes of game at AMO gathering

Brampton councillors ready for their 15 minutes of game at AMO gathering

The game at the annual conference of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario is simple: give a provincial minister what amounts to an elevator pitch for priority projects that need the big bucks. Councillors get 15 minutes to present their wants — a new LRT, a new hospital — to each minister and see if they can make their priorities stick. Here’s what Brampton councillors will be pitching in Ottawa starting today.



Justin Trudeau is on the ropes; a new book offers a raw look at the man trying to hang onto his title

Justin Trudeau is on the ropes; a new book offers a raw look at the man trying to hang onto his title

Journalist John Ivison has penned a profile of Justin Trudeau, as Brampton voters and many other Canadians decide whether or not the son of a formidable former leader has what it takes to steer our country during these politically volatile times.



While India and Pakistan push closer to confrontation, two communities come together at city hall 

While India and Pakistan push closer to confrontation, two communities come together at city hall 

Ceremonies marking the independence of Pakistan and India on consecutive days this week brought together two Brampton communities. It was a refreshing opportunity to mingle, despite international tensions in the background over Kashmir. The two countries have a long history of animosity since they were carved from a singular entity; in one of the world’s most diverse cities, the communities strive to celebrate their shared Canadian values, while leaving behind the decades-old tensions that define bitter attitudes in the sub-continent.



Brampton and Mississauga’s rate of increase in violent crime tripling Canada’s over last five years

Brampton and Mississauga’s rate of increase in violent crime tripling Canada’s over last five years

Police and municipal leaders like to point to stats showing that Brampton has a lower rate of violent crime than many other cities.

And while that’s true — for now — just-released national crime statistics show that the violent crime severity rate is worsening three times faster here than the national average.



They stole, lied about it, and were caught, but plea deal for four Peel cops leaves unanswered questions

They stole, lied about it, and were caught, but plea deal for four Peel cops leaves unanswered questions

Four officers who resigned from the Peel police service last month accepted a one-year conditional sentence after admitting to obstructing justice following a bizarre theft of a Scarface movie character’s statue from an accused man’s storage unit.

The criminal defence lawyer who brought the theft — and their lies about it — to light thinks neither the police service nor the court went far enough in making an example of them.



Update: Health Ministry invests in local mental health care, but wheels grind slowly on Brampton hospital expansion 

Update: Health Ministry invests in local mental health care, but wheels grind slowly on Brampton hospital expansion 

The provincial government’s list of contributions to Brampton healthcare this year includes more than $2.5 million for mental health and addictions services. But it says it’s still waiting for capital planning submissions for the single infrastructure project that’s already on the books: phase two of Peel Memorial Centre, a preventative wellness facility that offers traditional and alternative health care. 



City moving ahead with Institute for Sustainable Brampton

City moving ahead with Institute for Sustainable Brampton

Brampton has committed to working seriously on developing a new environmental institute that will coordinate green activities and advise council on a broad range of decisions that affect sustainability.

The city has hired a consultant to work on refining the concept. But David Laing, who leads a group developing and championing the idea, has concerns about what direction the municipality wants to take the project — and how citizen advocates will or won’t be involved in shaping it.



Incoming chief talks priorities and vision for Peel police

Incoming chief talks priorities and vision for Peel police

Nish Duraiappah will be the first Ontario police chief of South Asian heritage when he takes over the Peel Police Service in October. But in a wide-ranging interview with The Pointer, the Twitter-savvy father of three waves off that historic point to reflect on the changing community role of policing, how to build a progressive, diverse and forward-thinking police force in Peel, and ways to curb violent crime before it happens.

In a police service described as “change-averse,” the widely praised Halton Region deputy chief has a steep challenge ahead.

 



Brampton healthcare gets a pittance while other cities move forward on hospital projects

Brampton healthcare gets a pittance while other cities move forward on hospital projects

Money to add 168 new long-term care beds is good news for Brampton, but that’s a drop in the bucket in this fast-growing city. Here’s a look at how Vaughan and other cities around Ontario are benefiting from millions in provincial healthcare dollars, while Brampton continues to cope with a single full-service hospital too small for its burgeoning population. 



Search for new CAO finally underway, nine months after Harry Schlange firing

Search for new CAO finally underway, nine months after Harry Schlange firing

Council voted last week to establish a committee to find a replacement CAO, but it’s not clear why it took so long.

The city’s top job has been occupied temporarily by Joseph Pittari, who is rotating back to his old position as commissioner of corporate services. Al Meneses will serve as acting CAO in the interim, just another round of the musical chairs game afflicting senior management.



Will Grewal run again? Brampton East MP still hiding from the question

Will Grewal run again? Brampton East MP still hiding from the question

Raj Grewal, the controversial Brampton East MP, has largely stayed mum and dodged media attention since remaining in Parliament as an independent, after being kicked out of the Liberal caucus last November amid a gambling scandal. But with the federal election around the corner, his silence about whether he plans to run again has added tension rather than dispersing it.



Brampton election slate filling up as fall election nears

Brampton election slate filling up as fall election nears

While a few party nominations remain unannounced, your choices on the Oct. 21 ballot are becoming clearer.

A look at the contenders for Brampton’s five federal seats, currently held by four Liberals and an Independent.



GO Transit users need not fear privacy breach, expert says

GO Transit users need not fear privacy breach, expert says

Ontario’s former privacy commissioner says she’s satisfied Metrolinx’s plans to share “aggregated” data on transit riders with companies will not violate the privacy of individuals.

But Metrolinx’s rollout of its plan to seek corporate investment through naming rights and data-sharing wasn’t handled with proper transparency, critics say. And Brampton MPP Sara Singh isn’t convinced that riders whose movements are tracked on their Presto cards won’t see negative effects.



What is 5G, and why is Brampton interested in it?

What is 5G, and why is Brampton interested in it?

The city has initiated a study of 5G wireless technology, which if implemented has the potential to put Brampton at the forefront of a sweeping transformation of business and daily life.

But super-fast wireless internet speeds could also open the door to breaches of privacy on a grand scale.



It’s a deal: council agrees to $7.3M contribution to expand Algoma campus

It’s a deal: council agrees to $7.3M contribution to expand Algoma campus

The Sault Ste. Marie-based university’s increasing presence in downtown Brampton will boost the student body to 1,000 with a mix of high-demand programs designed to attract local high school grads.

It’s a modest but hopeful step toward achieving the city’s longtime dream of a university-level post-secondary campus downtown.



Brown’s ultimatum to province ahead of AMO conference: give us what we want or lose Brampton 

Brown’s ultimatum to province ahead of AMO conference: give us what we want or lose Brampton 

It’s just over a week before the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference, a sort of speed-advocacy forum where cities make their case to the province for a range of funding needs. Mayor Patrick Brown says that if the Ford government doesn’t deliver on some key issues, the ruling Conservatives will end up going the way of their predecessors and lose their seats in Brampton.  



Update: City to advocate at AMO for keeping Peel Region as-is

Update: City to advocate at AMO for keeping Peel Region as-is

Councillors plan to approach Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark on Aug. 18 with a plea not to break up — or amalgamate — Peel Region after the province’s current review of regional government.

The annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference offers a rare opportunity for city leaders to buttonhole provincial ministers, if only for 15 minutes on a Sunday evening.



Algoma University seeks $7.3M from city toward ambitious $34.4M Brampton campus expansion

Algoma University seeks $7.3M from city toward ambitious $34.4M Brampton campus expansion

Less than a year ago, Brampton’s hopes for a thriving university campus downtown were dashed by a $90-million snub by the Doug Ford government. Councillors meeting today will ponder a proposal that could renew those hopes. Algoma, a tiny Northern Ontario university, hopes to grow its Brampton campus by introducing “high demand” programs in fields such as computer science, psychology and community economics for at least 1,000 students. 



Liberals nominate unknown Maninder Sidhu to challenge Raj Grewal

Liberals nominate unknown Maninder Sidhu to challenge Raj Grewal

Sidhu, the only applicant, has been acclaimed as the Liberal nominee for Brampton East, which means he will run against ex-Liberal Raj Grewal.

For voters, he’s a mystery man; he has said little about himself publicly, and there appears to be no information about his candidacy online. But much of this is more common than you’d think.



Yes, ban plastics, but give us alternatives, Bramptonians tell Ottawa

Yes, ban plastics, but give us alternatives, Bramptonians tell Ottawa

If the federal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau goes ahead with a ban on single-use plastics, it will have plenty of local support, judging from The Pointer’s informal survey of residents. Climate change and the health of our oceans are big concerns for lots of people. But most say they want to make sure good options are available when the ban goes into effect starting in 2021. 



In Brampton, and across Canada, youth anxiety is becoming an epidemic

In Brampton, and across Canada, youth anxiety is becoming an epidemic

Recent research raises concern about the state of our youth, particularly girls and young women. Increasing rates of anxiety and self-harm are being reported across the country. But researchers are unsure of the cause.

Increased time on screens and the expectations created by many social media platforms, or other unknowns that lurk in the dark corners of the cyberworld, could be part of the problem. But no one seems to know exactly why rates of anxiety among youth are increasing so dramatically. 



A new police chief will have to prove himself, but two mayors deserve credit for their bold step

A new police chief will have to prove himself, but two mayors deserve credit for their bold step

He’s the best person for the job. That’s the message about incoming Peel police chief Nishan Duraiappah, who takes over at the start of October. He has a rocky hill to climb, with a force plagued by recent controversies.

A status quo approach to stick with an internal hire was the politically safe move for Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton’s Patrick Brown. But they chose instead to do the right thing. Public safety and building trust with the community drove the two leaders to find their man, despite all the pressure they faced.



The joy of cricket played with pace in the perfect city to grow the game

The joy of cricket played with pace in the perfect city to grow the game

Brampton’s international Global Twenty20 cricket tournament being played over two weeks at the CAA Centre, attracting some of the best bowlers and batsmen around the globe, highlights the game’s promise in a country that has long had a fringe interest in the sport.

Speeding it up for 21st century tastes might just be the key to growing a wildly popular pastime that enjoys a cult following in many other parts of the world.



Part 2: Where does Brampton’s LRT project go from here?

Part 2: Where does Brampton’s LRT project go from here?

It has been four years since an infamous vote in 2015 effectively killed the Main Street LRT. It has since been revived, but the debate has changed: will it run on the surface or in a tunnel? A whole host of issues will need to be pored over before any shovels go in the ground to build the better transit Brampton needs.



Anaerobic digestion facility set to revolutionize what happens to your green bin

Anaerobic digestion facility set to revolutionize what happens to your green bin

A $108-million processor to be built on Orenda Road in Brampton will change the way composting is done in Peel Region, producing not only agricultural fertilizer but a non-fossil form of natural gas — and in a way that eliminates the “stinky air” issue.

It’s all part of Peel’s ambitious plan to divert 75 percent of curbside waste collection from landfills.



The new face of policing in Peel: Nishan Duraiappah named chief

The new face of policing in Peel: Nishan Duraiappah named chief

A Sri Lankan-born officer with a sterling reputation as a deputy chief in neighbouring Halton Region will take over the helm of the Peel Regional Police Service in October.

Duraiappah is being hailed as “an inspirational and aspirational leader” and the “next generation of leadership,” who will bring fresh perspectives and innovation to policing in Peel. His hiring offers a chance for a police service living under a cloud of systemic discrimination, inside and outside, to open a new chapter.



Brampton’s Bill Davis turns 90

Brampton’s Bill Davis turns 90

Today’s political scene is riddled with nasty and brutish attack ads and the polarization of positions, which makes many long for a quieter and gentler time when talk was civil and voters churned out leaders like Brampton’s Bill Davis, the old lion of provincial politics who celebrated a major milestone this week.



Learning in a new land leaves international students vulnerable

Learning in a new land leaves international students vulnerable

An ongoing study finds financial instability may be one reason for a seemingly high incidence of sex-for-money trades by international students studying at Sheridan College and elsewhere in Peel Region.

That raises concern about the vulnerability of students to becoming victims of sex trafficking in a region with a human trafficking rate double the national average.



Provincial backtracking on controversial changes to autism program leaves many families waiting months longer

Provincial backtracking on controversial changes to autism program leaves many families waiting months longer

Monday’s announcement that the province would work on developing a “needs-based” support program in consultation with parents and experts came as welcome news to families with autistic children who have protested sweeping changes to autism support. Minister Todd Smith apologized for the anxiety a misbegotten plan had caused. But the changes won’t come until next spring, leaving many families in Brampton and across the province in limbo.



It’s deja vu as Ottawa gives Brampton Transit $11 million toward electric buses

It’s deja vu as Ottawa gives Brampton Transit $11 million toward electric buses

Brampton will be getting eight electric buses as part of a trial for new “plug-and-play” recharging equipment that may make it possible to keep them on the road nearly non-stop.

But Monday’s federal announcement by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna echoes a very similar one from the province a year earlier, when the Kathleen Wynne government promised $13 million towards the same thing.



Bramptonians gather to protest province’s cuts to legal aid

Bramptonians gather to protest province’s cuts to legal aid

A Gage Park protest against the Doug Ford government’s deep cuts to Legal Aid Ontario drew, among others, Catherine Fenech and Annie Zhang, two people injured on the job and grateful for the help of legal aid.

They talked to The Pointer about what motivated them to turn up and speak out.



Housing development roaring along in Brampton, Bill 108 notwithstanding

Housing development roaring along in Brampton, Bill 108 notwithstanding

Uncertainty over regulations following the controversial changes brought in by the More Homes, More Choice Act is said to be stalling building applications in Toronto.

But Brampton, with its ample supply of land for building, is bucking that trend. Will it be a wash, or will the legislation disparaged as nothing more than a gift to developers actually increase the supply of affordable housing?



Brampton’s health system by the numbers

Brampton’s health system by the numbers

Bramptonians often cite the same dismal statistics when talking about hallway medicine and demanding improvements to the state of healthcare in the city. The Pointer has gathered some more numbers the public should be aware of — including some surprising positives.



The GTA mayor leading the charge against Ford’s developer friendly system

The GTA mayor leading the charge against Ford’s developer friendly system

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward wants the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal abolished. She’s encouraging other mayors to join her in the fight against an “anti-democratic” institution the Doug Ford government just strengthened.

For Brampton, a city trying to shift away from developer-controlled planning, the future of the LPAT will have sweeping implications.



Mad Max, the political sequel, features a controversial protagonist; Liberals should be worried  

Mad Max, the political sequel, features a controversial protagonist; Liberals should be worried  

Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, jumped into the crucible of multiculturalism Wednesday and emerged unscathed from a rally at a hall in Malton. He brought a clear message to voters that reducing immigration to this country is a priority. He laid out the economic and societal reasons why and that struck a chord with his roomful of supporters. Those who fear that Bernier might steal some Conservative votes could be miscalculating the real threat, to Liberals. Ours is a country, like much of the western world, now confused about immigration and national identity.



Tiny homes and other creative solutions needed to solve Peel’s affordable housing crisis

Tiny homes and other creative solutions needed to solve Peel’s affordable housing crisis

An innovative idea for a tiny-house village from SHIP, one of Peel Region’s providers of housing for people in precarious living conditions, is one example of the imaginative thinking that could help solve a problem facing thousands of lower-income households.

But Peel’s ambitious goal of seeing 75,000 new affordable housing units built over the next 10 years won’t be achieved without support from upper governments and cooperation from the private sector.



Brampton to get 168 new long-term care beds, alongside upgrades at two facilities

Brampton to get 168 new long-term care beds, alongside upgrades at two facilities

Faith Manor is one of the recipients of new beds in a current redevelopment project.

Its director looks forward to a revamped space under new design criteria, which he says might even help reduce violence among residents.



Students plant trees in one of Brampton’s most sensitive ecosystems

Students plant trees in one of Brampton’s most sensitive ecosystems

A group of teens showed up at Norton Place Park on Wednesday, but not to just hang out.

They were there to plant trees in this well-travelled piece of green space, and to learn more about the full story of what’s going on underneath their feet.



Three down, two to go: NDP finally announces federal candidates in Brampton

Three down, two to go: NDP finally announces federal candidates in Brampton

A slow nomination process may not be as much of a drag on the party’s chances this fall as some suggest. But there’s no doubt the three hopefuls announced at an NDP nomination rally on Sunday have their work cut out for them in challenging the Liberal incumbents and Conservative candidates chosen months ago.

The party itself appears to be struggling to get its act together as the October election looms.



Province opens up federal transit funding to Brampton and 10 other municipalities

Province opens up federal transit funding to Brampton and 10 other municipalities

After months of complaints by the city and the federal government that the province was withholding vital infrastructure dollars from municipalities, the government of Doug Ford has finally opened up applications for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. 

The city had hoped to get $47 million from the federal fund’s Public Transit Stream to replace aging buses and expanding the Brampton Transit fleet. But staff were forced to ask for interim funds from city taxpayers in place of the federal dollars. 



The PGA, the Punjabi Golfers Association, could help save the game

The PGA, the Punjabi Golfers Association, could help save the game

Golf is slowly pulling itself free from its exclusive and restrictive past and attracting a new wave of diverse players. The straight shooters on the executive of the Punjabi Golfers Association, yes, the PGA, are playing their part in growing the sport at a time when it needs help.



Province releases nearly $2 billion to build and renovate schools — but will there be enough for Peel?

Province releases nearly $2 billion to build and renovate schools — but will there be enough for Peel?

With many Brampton schools bursting at the seams, Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s announcement of funding for school construction and renewal comes as a relief to Peel school boards.

But it’s unclear how much of that money will come to the region, with four much-needed new school projects already in the queue for provincial support.



“I want to go after you for doing this to me”: defence lawyer who exposed police misconduct, suing Peel force, Crowns for targeting her with criminal charges 

“I want to go after you for doing this to me”: defence lawyer who exposed police misconduct, suing Peel force, Crowns for targeting her with criminal charges 

Charges of perjury and obstruction of justice against Leora Shemesh were dismissed last year, but the criminal defence lawyer isn’t prepared to let what she regards as a blatant attack on her integrity and reputation go that easily.

She’s suing Peel police and Crown attorneys who laid the charges, claiming they colluded against her in retaliation for her efforts to expose police wrongdoing.



Part 1: Can Kitchener-Waterloo’s LRT serve as a template for Brampton?

Part 1: Can Kitchener-Waterloo’s LRT serve as a template for Brampton?

The 17-year journey to complete an LRT in Kitchener-Waterloo was realized on June 21, when the ION light rail officially opened to the public. To get to this point, the region endured long construction periods, unexpected archeological discoveries and attempts to torpedo the project by a disgruntled business community. The benefits, including $3.2B worth of development, are already evident.



Axing of addictions program comes when Peel may need it most

Axing of addictions program comes when Peel may need it most

The provincial government says it’s chopping a program to help people with combined mental health and addiction issues find jobs because it’s not working.

But some municipalities that have formally assessed the Addiction Services Initiative’s success in getting people off social assistance beg to differ.