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With shake-up complete in Brampton, stage is set for dramatic vote at Peel Region council

With shake-up complete in Brampton, stage is set for dramatic vote at Peel Region council

Brampton’s roster of regional councillors is now set and will play a key role in choosing the new chair of Peel Regional Council this week.

But even with a complete revamp of the mayor’s office and a new-look council taking up residence at city hall, the question remains: will Brampton finally get its just rewards as one of the fastest growing communities in Canada? That would mean more services, more representation, and more respect.

A lot is at stake for each of Peel’s three municipalities, as regional councillors politic for a chair to serve their interests.



New Mayor Patrick Brown’s inaugural address laser-focused on boosting Brampton’s economy

New Mayor Patrick Brown’s inaugural address laser-focused on boosting Brampton’s economy

Staying true to his election campaign’s main pledge, Mayor Patrick Brown left a packed house at the Rose Theatre Monday night giddy with hope, as the hyper-energetic leader vowed to bring economic development and jobs to the city.

Brown laid out an ambitious agenda for the next four years to lift Brampton out of a decade-long rut. His fellow colleagues on the new council pledged to work as a team to help the mayor fulfill his lofty goals.



Committees dealing with crime, transit and diversity saved from the chopping block

Committees dealing with crime, transit and diversity saved from the chopping block

Meeting for the first time on Tuesday, Brampton councillors unanimously rejected the city clerk’s recommendation to disband committees focused on transportation options, community safety, and diversity and equity issues.

The move signals a desire by the new council to give special attention to concerns that were top of mind for citizens at the doorstep during the fall election campaign—and to avoid embarrassing missteps in a city that is more diverse than ever.



Raj Grewal and Tony Clement have fallen, but Amarjot Sandhu is a worse kind of disgrace

Raj Grewal and Tony Clement have fallen, but Amarjot Sandhu is a worse kind of disgrace

The actions of Brampton MP Raj Grewal and MP Tony Clement, a former MPP for the city, are jarring.

But the inaction of rookie Brampton PC MPP Amarjot Sandhu is even more troubling in a city whose voters are alarmed by the harm an elected official is doing to the place where they live.



New mayor and councillors have many complex issues to solve

New mayor and councillors have many complex issues to solve

Of 11 members, the mayor and four councillors are new, creating a more diverse governing body and possibly a new dynamic on a council that had been widely considered dysfunctional.

The last government left several major issues unfinished and the incoming members will have to pick up where they left off. Some hot topics: opting-out of cannabis stores in the city, funding the Ryerson University campus and restarting the sputtering LRT debate.

Social services issues at the region and for Mayor Patrick Brown, who will sit on the police board, mounting public safety concerns will all be part of a busy agenda for the city's leaders. 



Bains grilled in House of Commons over photo with director of company that sold land to Brampton

Bains grilled in House of Commons over photo with director of company that sold land to Brampton

MP Navdeep Bains was asked about a photo showing him with a director of a Brampton company that sold a 20-acre property to the city early this year for about $1 million more than the municipality was originally going to pay.

The Pointer reported last week that former mayor Linda Jeffrey’s chief of staff gave confidential details of the city’s deal with the province to buy the land to Bains and MP Raj Grewal. The deal fell through and the land was sold to a company that flipped it back to the city at a large profit.

In question period Monday, Bains denied any connection to the company. The company released a statement saying it did not receive any confidential information about the deal.

 



Company that sold land to the city for Goreway Bridge project says no confidential information was received from politicians

Company that sold land to the city for Goreway Bridge project says no confidential information was received from politicians

The company that bought a parcel of land from the province then sold it to the City of Brampton for the Goreway Bridge project has released a statement aggressively denying it used any information from politicians or political parties to help it acquire and sell the property.

The statement comes days after Brampton East MP Raj Grewal and Mississauga MP Navdeep Bains, who received confidential information about the city’s negotiation with the province from Linda Jeffrey’s chief of staff, denied sharing the information with anyone.  



Raj Grewal says he might not resign; defends role in Goreway Bridge project

Raj Grewal says he might not resign; defends role in Goreway Bridge project

Brampton East MP Raj Grewal released a video to The Globe and Mail published late Friday, in which he details his gambling debts and declares he will quit the Liberal caucus, but leaves open the possibility of holding onto his riding seat.

Grewal also says he did not disclose confidential details about a proposed Brampton land transaction that he received, unsolicited, from Linda Jeffrey’s chief of staff.

The MP says he gambled recreationally since university, but the habit developed into a mental health issue when he started to play high stakes blackjack at an Ottawa-area casino next to the hotel he stayed at as a parliamentarian.

He apologized for his behaviour, to his family, constituents, colleagues and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.



Maple Leaf poultry plant in Brampton to close

Maple Leaf poultry plant in Brampton to close

Maple Leaf Foods is moving to consolidate operations in a new state-of-the-art plant to be built in London, Ont., by 2022.

Brampton’s aging facility, which employs 324 unionized workers, will close in the process, along with two others in Toronto and Perth South.

The move means more jobs in London, but the loss of a mainstay of the local economy marks yet another blow to Brampton’s dwindling blue-collar employment base.



Raj Grewal given confidential details by mayor’s aide on Brampton land deal that cost city $1M extra; investigation sent to RCMP

Raj Grewal given confidential details by mayor’s aide on Brampton land deal that cost city $1M extra; investigation sent to RCMP

The results of a City of Brampton investigation into a real estate transaction that cost taxpayers $1 million extra has been sent to the RCMP, after councillors learned Brampton East MP Raj Grewal and Mississauga MP Navdeep Bains were given confidential details about the pending deal—including the agreed price—by Linda Jeffrey’s chief of staff, Hasneet Singh Punia.

The provincially owned property, needed to fix a traffic bottleneck at a railway crossing on Goreway Drive, was instead sold to private investors, who flipped it back to the city months later well above the price the city and province had agreed to.



Oshawa’s worst nightmare is a wake-up call for Brampton

Oshawa’s worst nightmare is a wake-up call for Brampton

If GM can suddenly call a halt to production in “Canada’s Automotive Capital” on the grounds that few are buying sedans anymore, can auto workers at Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton plant feel safe?

Like Oshawa, they’re building gas-guzzling sedans, a category quickly losing market share to SUVs and crossover vehicles. Meanwhile, the industry is moving toward the cars of the future: green and autonomous vehicles.

For municipal leaders, including new mayor Patrick Brown, Oshawa’s woe is a warning to make diversifying the city’s economic base a top concern.



Ford’s latest fix to ‘end hallway healthcare’ again ignores Brampton

Ford’s latest fix to ‘end hallway healthcare’ again ignores Brampton

An infusion of cash announced Wednesday will help a small Niagara hospital upgrade its aging facilities, a move trumpeted by Premier Doug Ford as part of “our plan to end hallway healthcare.”

The promised $8.5 million will go toward new infrastructure for the hospital.

Meanwhile, fast-growing Brampton’s desperately overcrowded hospital is seeing no signals of help from the province.



Brampton law firm silent on its employment of former MP Raj Grewal, who resigned due to a gambling problem

Brampton law firm silent on its employment of former MP Raj Grewal, who resigned due to a gambling problem

The federal government’s ethics commissioner was investigating Grewal over the appearance of favours given to a construction company from which he also received income, according to public disclosures.

Now, a Brampton law firm that was paying Grewal is not speaking publicly about its relationship with the former MP or what work he did for the firm while serving as an elected official.



UPDATE: Probe into allegations of conflict of interest against Raj Grewal continues despite resignation over gambling problems

UPDATE: Probe into allegations of conflict of interest against Raj Grewal continues despite resignation over gambling problems

The ethics watchdog responsible for complaints against MPs says the probe into former Brampton East MP Raj Grewal over his relationship with a local builder invited on a trip to India in January will continue, despite his recent resignation due to gambling problems.

Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail has reported details of an RCMP investigation into Grewal’s gambling and some of his recent spending that led to significant debt, including millions spent at an Ottawa-area casino.



Brampton taxpayers will have to pay dearly to help keep city streets safe; police want $21.5M more to fight crime

Brampton taxpayers will have to pay dearly to help keep city streets safe; police want $21.5M more to fight crime

Peel police wants to increase its budget next year by almost three times the current rate of inflation in Ontario.

Citing her concerns over increased violent crime, the lame-duck head of the force, departing Chief Jennifer Evans, has presented the police board with a proposed $423-million budget for 2019.

That represents a 5.4 percent increase over last year, money that will help in hiring 55 additional officers to deal with rising crime and the fallout from pot legalization.

But there are questions: With an expensive new contract kicking in next year, putting every single first-class constable on the Sunshine List, will Peel Region buy it? And will the Doug Ford government cheapskate Brampton again, by withholding its policing grant?



Residents urging Jeffrey to stand for regional chair

Residents urging Jeffrey to stand for regional chair

Departing Brampton mayor Linda Jeffrey still hasn’t thrown her hat in the ring but acknowledges that she’s been “approached” about her interest in a job that, while out of the public spotlight, demands the sort of deep knowledge and experience a former mayor possesses.

Picking a new chair will be one of the first orders of business on Dec. 6, when a reconstituted Peel Region Council gathers for the first time since the municipal election.

Also waiting in the wings are several former Brampton and Mississauga councillors, and former Liberal MPPs who lost their seats in last June’s provincial election.



Bobble-heads on Peel’s police board won’t do, as residents demand protection from rising crime

Bobble-heads on Peel’s police board won’t do, as residents demand protection from rising crime

On Friday, a diversity and equity audit examining hiring, promotions and other practices inside Peel’s police force was expected to be revealed publicly at the last board meeting of the current term. It wasn’t.

A private firm handed it to the board in the spring, but it continues to play games with the community it’s supposed to serve.

Compliant, inexperienced police board members in the past, including a car salesman and a real estate agent close to Hazel McCallion, seemed more interested in approving tens of thousands of dollars to buy tickets for swanky private galas than in holding the force accountable.



Update: Brampton MP Raj Grewal resigned over gambling problem

Update: Brampton MP Raj Grewal resigned over gambling problem

Rookie Brampton backbencher Raj Grewal quit unexpectedly, amid a probe into an official trip to India he took with a Canadian businessman whose company had Grewal on its payroll, at the time.

The PMO now says that a serious gambling addiction was the reason for the resignation. Grewal leaves his vacated Brampton East MP seat open until next fall’s federal election. In the meantime, constituents will probably have to look to neighbouring MPs for any help with official matters.



Changes to Ontario’s social safety net will affect vulnerable Bramptonians

Changes to Ontario’s social safety net will affect vulnerable Bramptonians

Brampton’s unemployment rate is 46 percent higher than Ontario’s, and city residents who depend on social assistance while trying to re-enter the workforce will fall further behind under the PC government’s plan, announced Thursday.

A 1.5 percent overall increase in payments won’t even keep up with inflation.

But the government is promising a more coordinated approach to helping people find work and leave the system permanently.


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