Meet the Brampton businessman who serves up tasty food while helping predict the next mayor

Meet the Brampton businessman who serves up tasty food while helping predict the next mayor

Jeff Chalmers thinks political engagement is the key to making positive decisions for the city's future. His unscientific polling method, to get people involved, has street cred. In fact, he has literally taken his form of surveying to the streets, in his mobile chrome eatery that serves up food-to-go while gauging the political pulse of the city.

Chalmers wants citizens to get interested in the decision-making process that impacts their daily lives. There's no better way to pull them in than food. With political polling being an inexact science that has, over the years, employed thousands of people and cost millions of dollars, The Pointer asked Chalmers, over a plate of one of his famous dishes, about the latest results from his recent poll, which asked patrons who they would pick in the race to be Brampton's mayor. You might be surprised by what he found.



Linda Jeffrey: Why I want to lead Brampton again

Linda Jeffrey: Why I want to lead Brampton again

An op-ed by incumbent mayor Linda Jeffrey on why she wants Brampton voters to re-elect her in the October 22 municipal election. She makes her case to The Pointer's readers.



It’s time for city leaders to take Brampton’s healthcare crisis seriously

It’s time for city leaders to take Brampton’s healthcare crisis seriously

Ontario’s healthcare dollars should be distributed according to numbers and need. So why has Brampton – one of the fastest growing cities in Canada – been shortchanged, again?

Why isn’t part of the $90 million being handed out by the Ford government at Queen’s Park to help eliminate ‘Hallway Healthcare’ going to the city where the phrase was popularized in the first place?



City’s Conservative MPPs silent on why their government’s plan to fix hallway healthcare ignores Brampton

City’s Conservative MPPs silent on why their government’s plan to fix hallway healthcare ignores Brampton

Bramptonians have been looking to the provincial government for help to solve bottlenecks in the healthcare system that have led to bed shortages and hallway medicine at the city’s only full-service hospital, but it was ignored in a new funding plan announced Wednesday. 

While the Ontario government’s growth targets for Peel Region continue to push Brampton’s population to a breaking point, Queen’s Park seems disconnected from the resulting problems, such as the city’s healthcare crisis.

With more than 4,300 Brampton Civic Hospital patients treated in hallways in 2016 The Pointer asked the two new Progressive Conservative MPPs, Prabmeet Sarkaria and Amarjot Sandhu, how they are representing Brampton’s interests inside their government as the healthcare crisis continues. They didn’t have much to say.



Premier Doug Ford’s healthcare announcement offers next to nothing for Brampton

Premier Doug Ford’s healthcare announcement offers next to nothing for Brampton

No part of Wednesday’s provincial government announcement of $90 million—$10 million less than the Liberal government under Kathleen Wynne offered at the start of the last flu season—will go toward relieving the crisis at overloaded, overcrowded Brampton Civic Hospital, whose rash of “hallway medicine” stories helped turn the problem into a provincial election issue last spring.

Nor is there any indication of how many of the promised extra long-term care beds will come to one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities, whose rapidly expanding healthcare needs and the urgency of fixing them already form a major issue in the upcoming municipal election.



Patrick Brown promises better GO Train service, transit funding to combat increasing traffic congestion

Patrick Brown promises better GO Train service, transit funding to combat increasing traffic congestion

If elected mayor, Patrick Brown pledged during a Thursday morning announcement to ease the city's crippling traffic. His plan touched on many issues Brampton residents have raised for decades, such as securing all-day, two-way GO Train service, but he offered few details about how he will actually achieve the ambitious set of promises he outlined. 

In a recent poll commissioned by The Pointer, reducing traffic congestion was the number one issue respondents chose, when asked what they want council to focus on during the upcoming term. 



For Trudeau, Brampton and all of Canada, free trade is good, especially when we open new doors

For Trudeau, Brampton and all of Canada, free trade is good, especially when we open new doors

The new-look North American free trade agreement fixes some, but not all of the inequities in the original NAFTA, and eases the tensions for the business community in Brampton. But at the macro level, Canada is trying to create a new-style business model that is impervious to American interests and Donald Trump’s bully-boy tactics. The new deal provides motivation for local and national companies to take stock of opportunities around the world, for them and our well-educated, dynamic workforce.



The dirty, sweaty, political life of a municipal councillor as the job description evolves

The dirty, sweaty, political life of a municipal councillor as the job description evolves

In recent weeks, the idea of effective representation has been thrust into the spotlight as Premier Doug Ford took a legislative axe to Toronto City Council. Can 25 people effectively represent almost three million constituents? Municipal councils across the GTA, whose members find their workload growing as the region booms, are struggling with the same question. Nowhere is this more clear than in Brampton, the second fastest growing city in Canada. What do we need here to feel effectively represented by our local elected officials?

Do we want them answering endless calls about snow on sidewalks and the annual pothole hysteria; or do we want them addressing complex urban planning issues and how to handle the challenges of modern policing? Or do we expect them to do it all? Speaking with councillors across the GTA, from Oshawa to Brampton, it’s apparent that people who hold the position often see the role differently.



Disqualified bid was $95M less than the $205M for city hall extension; building is short of promised space, trial hears

Disqualified bid was $95M less than the $205M for city hall extension; building is short of promised space, trial hears

Evidence presented recently at trial by a company that alleges it was unfairly disqualified from a $500-million downtown development deal shows Inzola Group’s bid to build the city hall extension was a little more than half the $205 million being paid by the City of Brampton for the building.  

Evidence also suggests the finished building does not provide the amount of required administrative space detailed in the bid contract for the deal.



Brampton auto workers breathe huge sigh of relief as tentative U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade deal reached

Brampton auto workers breathe huge sigh of relief as tentative U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade deal reached

Thousands of the city’s auto-sector workers were on pins and needles while U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly threatened tariffs as high as 25 percent on Canadian-made autos, which could have crippled the industry. A new deal officially announced Monday, clears the way for Ontario’s huge auto industry to keep expanding.

News wasn’t as rosy for the agricultural sector, particularly dairy producers, including companies in Brampton. The new deal could see more than $700 million of additional foreign dairy products enter Canada annually.

But the agreement might bring relief to Brampton’s large aluminum and steel sector, which was hit hard by recent U.S. tariffs.



Will Brampton opt into legal marijuana shops? Officials say lots of unanswered questions about legal cannabis

Will Brampton opt into legal marijuana shops? Officials say lots of unanswered questions about legal cannabis

While Ontario Premier Doug Ford doesn’t appear to know where exactly his government will allow legal marijuana to be used once new rules come into effect next month, Brampton officials, including incumbent mayor Linda Jeffrey, aren’t even sure if the city will opt into plans to allow retail outlets next year.

Brampton’s diverse community groups, another council member says, will likely introduce a range of cultural values into what’s sure to be a complex debate on legal marijuana, one the city has not yet even initiated. With other GTA cities vowing to prevent pot sales, will a new council be ready to tackle this major issue?



Raucous debate puts Jeffrey’s struggle on centre stage

Raucous debate puts Jeffrey’s struggle on centre stage

Linda Jeffrey’s hopes to ease into re-election on Oct. 22 were shattered by the late entry onto the ballot of Patrick Brown.   

Jeffrey’s performance during a debate Tuesday, which included pointed attacks on Brown and references to the scandals that got him turfed as Ontario PC leader, often failed to convey the sense of a mayor ready to unite a city desperate for leadership.



This is what downtown Brampton could get if city hall fixes the decades-old flood problem

This is what downtown Brampton could get if city hall fixes the decades-old flood problem

Mississauga’s massive $1.5 billion M City project is just one of many 905 developments that Brampton’s stagnating downtown is missing out on without a firm commitment by city leaders to finally resolve the decades-old downtown flood problem.

Critics say Brampton will struggle to keep up with surrounding cities that are quickly shedding their status as suburban bedroom communities.

While places like Mississauga continue to boom, with constantly rising skylines, Brampton’s downtown remains hampered by strict floodplain restrictions that make it difficult to create a dynamic city centre.



Jeffrey won’t support city consultant’s new LRT plan

Jeffrey won’t support city consultant’s new LRT plan

Incumbent mayor Linda Jeffrey made her stance on the city’s current LRT study quite clear during a boisterous debate at Brampton’s Rose Theatre Tuesday night, calling alternative routes “foolish” and decrying the layout put forward in the ambitious Brampton 2040 Vision plan. 

The debate also saw mud-slinging from all sides with Jeffrey’s main contender Patrick Brown taking the chance to criticize the lack of foresight in Jeffrey’s adamant support for the Main Street route, which council already turned down, while pushing his repeatedly used campaign slogan that Brampton is not getting its fair share. 

  



The ‘Trump Effect’ on the NAFTA negotiations has spilled into the Brampton business community

The ‘Trump Effect’ on the NAFTA negotiations has spilled into the Brampton business community

U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum are already hurting firms in Brampton, and with the possibility of more levies on products such as cars built by Fiat Chrysler here, Donald Trump's anti-NAFTA stance could undermine the future of almost 4,000 workers at the Williams Parkway plant, and others.

With a huge manufacturing base, tens of thousands of Brampton workers could be negatively impacted by a bad trade deal, as the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement remains uncertain. While negotiations continue on the international level, many in the city are keenly aware of how big the stakes are locally.



The heavy lifting on the city's light rail debate

The heavy lifting on the city's light rail debate

With a new council soon making decisions inside city hall, a new provincial government and a new visionary plan for Brampton's future, a proposed Light Rail Transit system is surrounded by uncertainty. After council turned down a provincially funded $1.6-billion route that would have seen an LRT roll right into Brampton’s ageing downtown core, the city must now find alternative ways to get people moving. It could mean big spending on behalf of taxpayers. The Pointer takes a step back and looks at how Brampton arrived at this juncture, and what the future could bring as the population booms and efficient transit becomes even more crucial.

One thing is clear, the city can't afford another four years of council gridlock, largely caused by the LRT debate that dominated the current term.



In Brampton’s mayoral race, the ‘unknowns’ are worth pondering

In Brampton’s mayoral race, the ‘unknowns’ are worth pondering

With alarmingly low voter turnout, municipal elections in Brampton tend to proceed along depressingly predictable lines. Front-runners for the mayor’s job are usually drawn from a list of familiar names at city hall or higher levels of government. But this year a lineup of lesser-known candidates, such as lawyer Wesley Jackson, provides voters with some refreshing insights into alternative viewpoints and passionately conceived ideas about how to make the city stronger, wiser and richer in the things that make for a good life.



The Pointer’s debate breakdown, how each mayoral candidate performed

The Pointer’s debate breakdown, how each mayoral candidate performed

On September 20, The Pointer hosted a mayoral debate for all candidates in partnership with Sheridan College. Incumbent Linda Jeffrey called in sick, opening the floor for the other six registered contestants in the race, ahead of the October 22 municipal election. With a panel of four Brampton citizens asking most of the questions, the lively debate, which ran for more than two hours, offered voters insights about who to pick on the ballot.

To help voters make the important decision, here is The Pointer’s breakdown of each candidate's performance during the recent debate.



Brown impresses after Jeffrey calls in sick for debate

Brown impresses after Jeffrey calls in sick for debate

Linda Jeffrey did not attend Thursday evening's debate for mayoral candidates. In her absence Patrick Brown impressed audience members who frequently applauded the policies and vision for the city he outlined during more than two hours of lively debate at Sheridan College. Five other candidates also took turns introducing themselves to voters, many of them often criticizing Jeffrey, describing her as a failed leader with little support on her own council. 

But Brown was the star of the night, evidenced by the vocal support expressed by many of the approximately 150 people in attendance.



In a watershed election The Pointer’s debate is for the voters of Brampton

In a watershed election The Pointer’s debate is for the voters of Brampton

This evening The Pointer will host a mayoral debate in partnership with Sheridan College, featuring all seven candidates registered for the October 22 municipal election. The Pointer believes it’s a critical time for the city as it faces a number of challenges and opportunities that will define the future of Brampton.

Political debates are a critical part of our democracy. They provide voters the opportunity to see the candidates in action, to get a real sense of how they handle pressure and relate to the citizens they hope to serve. The Pointer welcomes Brampton voters to come and attend this important event.

In this article we are publishing two key questions the election front-runners will be asked during the debate, as well as the criteria The Pointer will use to break down the performance of each candidate afterward.



Brampton council puts city business on hold to campaign for re-election

Brampton council puts city business on hold to campaign for re-election

After city council meetings were cleared off for most of the summer, with Brampton facing an onslaught of serious issues, all meetings have been cancelled from mid-September on to let councillors wrap up their term at city hall and campaign for re-election in the Oct. 22 municipal vote. Meanwhile, pressing issues such as increasing violent crime, choosing a route for an LRT system, funding for desperately needed hospital expansion and a long-term strategy for a new university campus are on the growing list of items awaiting serious council debate and decisions.



PM’s visit offers little on funding to cope with hyper-growth

PM’s visit offers little on funding to cope with hyper-growth

Amid plans to boost federal immigration targets, Brampton faces a newcomer-based population explosion without adequate funding for hospitals, affordable housing, transit and expanded policing. The annual Liberal barbecue attended Saturday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Brampton’s five Liberal MPs drew politicians, but no promises that help is on the way to fund services related to the city’s growth.



Brampton residents demand public-police partnership to quell rising gun violence 

Brampton residents demand public-police partnership to quell rising gun violence 

Progressive, community-based policing, modern technology, sophisticated intelligence gathering, the cooperation of citizens and a force that reflects the community it serves, are features experts outline to help curb violent crime. 



Chief Evans a no-show as Peel Region ponders rising panic over violent crime

Chief Evans a no-show as Peel Region ponders rising panic over violent crime

With increasing violent crime, public frustration and slow responses from officials, Regional council considers what’s being done as Brampton residents question who’s keeping them safe. 

Peel Police chief Jennifer Evans was not at Thursday’s meeting to answer questions, including those raised by incumbent mayor Linda Jeffrey, who is now fighting her chief rival in the election, Patrick Brown, over who will best deal with crime in the city. 

Some are wondering if their promises are too little, and too late.



City denies bias in development deal that led to $28.5-million lawsuit

City denies bias in development deal that led to $28.5-million lawsuit

In the final day of closing arguments in Inzola Group’s lawsuit against the City of Brampton,  lawyers for the City defended its assertion that the company was rightfully disqualified from bidding on the deal. They attempted to poke holes in the case presented by Inzola’s lawyers and discredited a key witness, in an effort to dispel the cloud surrounding the decision-making process for what was to have been a $500-million downtown redevelopment.



Company disqualified from multimillion-dollar development deal sums up claims of bias in $28.5M lawsuit

Company disqualified from multimillion-dollar development deal sums up claims of bias in $28.5M lawsuit

In the first of two days of final arguments in the case of Inzola Group versus the City of Brampton, lawyers for Inzola delivered their final jabs against the city, summing up evidence of bias and lack of good faith presented throughout this summer’s lengthy trial. The Pointer breaks down Inzola’s final argument, ahead of the city’s final submissions to be delivered Thursday.



He's fought developers and mayors, now he says he's ready to lead his city

He's fought developers and mayors, now he says he's ready to lead his city

John Sprovieri feels politics is best done by those with experience. He’s not even close to the winter of his life, according to him, and says the mayor’s job would be a perfect way to cap thirty years of service to his city.

A chatty, one-on-one interview on a sunny summer morning in August with him ends with a jarring reminder of how vexing life in Brampton circa 2018 can be.



City Hall altered internal documents provided for trial, according to evidence in case for $28M lawsuit

City Hall altered internal documents provided for trial, according to evidence in case for $28M lawsuit

Evidence presented at trial by a company that alleges it was unfairly disqualified from a $500-million downtown development deal indicates some internal documents were altered before and after the company filed suit against the City of Brampton.



Is anyone policing Peel police? Part 2

Is anyone policing Peel police? Part 2

Peel’s police force has been racked with bungled investigations, officer misconduct, including serious charges against some members and problems with racialized communities in the diverse cities it serves. Critics say the force has no interest in being held accountable, and acts as if it’s above the law.



Linda Jeffrey on the seven deadly words in politics

Linda Jeffrey on the seven deadly words in politics

The woman who wants to be mayor again, opens up about her personal triumphs and struggles over three decades in politics, and the challenges of leading a complex city with a bitterly divided council. 

She talks with The Pointer about the disease she battles. And issues such as hyper-growth in the city, crime and her failed LRT plan that have stretched the incumbent mayor for four years. 

Now, as the municipal election looms, she wants voters to let her finish what she’s tried to start.



Don't call it democracy if people won't vote. Brampton needs to decide on its future

It's hard to call it democracy when the vast majority don't care

Those are the numbers that represent the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in each of Brampton’s last three municipal elections held in 2014, 2010 and 2006. So, one third of the city’s residents are deciding how the other two thirds will be governed.



Poll shows public safety is a top issue for Brampton voters. Jeffrey and Brown fighting over who’s toughest on crime

Poll shows it's the concern at the top of mind for Brampton voters. And the two mayoral race frontrunners know it

An exclusive poll commissioned by The Pointer shows that almost a quarter of eligible voters have this one issue at the top of their list of worries heading into the October municipal election.

On Friday, Linda Jeffrey and Patrick Brown, the two leading candidates in the race to be mayor, traded blows over who will best handle the alarming issue.



Is anyone policing Peel police? Concerns mount about officer misconduct

Is anyone policing Peel police? Concerns mount about officer misconduct

With Brampton gripped by a recent crime wave, concerns mount that frequent misconduct in the force is putting public safety at risk.



Who’s telling the truth in a $28M lawsuit hanging over Brampton?

Who’s telling the truth in a $28M lawsuit hanging over Brampton?

Former city hall executives who sat in the same closed-door meetings for a $500M development deal tell court different versions of what happened.



How many people should be allowed to live in one house?

How many people should be allowed to live in one house?

A look at one of the most divisive issues in Brampton. It centres on a sometimes reviled yet arguably necessary form of affordable housing: secondary suites, a.k.a. basement apartments, nanny suites, or additional units. 

With population growth nearly 10 times the national average these suites may be a necessary evil in Brampton. 



Patrick Brown wants redemption, and needs Brampton to deliver it

Patrick Brown wants redemption, and needs Brampton to deliver it

Patrick Brown’s year began with a ten-point lead in the race to become premier. Allegations of sexual misconduct soon followed, and moments later the forced departure from the PC leadership. With his battle for the soul of the conservative movement in Ontario lost, Brown now hopes to cue his political comeback by winning the race for mayor of Brampton.



Linda Jeffrey has single-digit lead over Patrick Brown in race for Brampton mayor’s job

Poll commissioned by The Pointer shows two-person race for Brampton mayor

 

Brampton's is one of the hottest municipal races in the country. A Forum Research poll commissioned by The Pointer reveals the preferences of the city's voters on a host of key issues as mayoral candidates ramp up their campaigns ahead of the Oct. 22 election.  

For the seven week sprint find out how things are shaping up, as residents decide who will steer the country's ninth largest city into the future.