Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, was trotted out a week ago by the ruling PC party just as the legislature disbanded for the year. It could be the death knell for the Greenbelt in Ontario, or kick-up a furious reaction from both the public and municipalities in Southern Ontario that want no part of Doug Ford’s land gobbling plan.
MP and former Brampton MPP Tony Clement, who retains deep ties to the city, issued a letter to his Parry Sound constituents Thursday evening apologizing for “acts of infidelity” to his wife and admitting that he “crossed lines that should never have been crossed.”
The open letter comes less than 48 hours after the news of the sexting scandal exploded, triggering Clement’s ouster from the Conservative caucus and his departure from a prominent position on Canada’s National Security Committee.
Clement’s wife, Lynne Golding, a Brampton native and prominent lawyer and author, issued her own statement on Wednesday, saying Clement would be “taking the action he needs to get help.”
While momentum builds for changes at Queen's Park to address Brampton's sky-high auto insurance rates, many who have been dealing with the issue for decades say some elected officials in the city are misrepresenting the facts. Higher rates of costly accidents, possibly due to excessive speeds that are allowed on many of the city's streets, can lead to more expensive insurance fees.
Other reasons not related to postcode discrimination could also contribute to Brampton's exorbitant auto insurance prices, according to some in the industry.
In a city that cannot afford any more reputational damage over controversy involving senior staff and council members, Guy Giorno’s decision to step down as integrity commissioner because of his long-time ties to Mayor-elect Patrick Brown leaves a hole that newly elected officials will need to fill, despite the sometimes uneasy relationship with the person who holds them accountable.
After a series of scandals in a number of large cities, new provincial law makes having an integrity commissioner mandatory in every Ontario municipality.
Meanwhile, the position of lobbyist registrar, which Giorno also filled, is now open at a time when the city looks for ways to limit influence by corporate interests, especially developers, on important decisions, such as land use.
Long-lived regional councillors are due for hefty pensions after as much as 30 years in office, on top of the unusually large severance payments they voted for themselves while sitting on city council several years ago.
The mayor, after only four years in office, is entitled to a more modest pension. But altogether, departing council members could end up, in the long run, receiving more than $2 million.
The long-time Conservative politician is dealing with a professional and personal crisis after admitting he sent inappropriate images to a woman. Things are moving fast around the MP and married father of three, as his party leader, Andrew Scheer, asked him on Wednesday to resign from the federal Conservative caucus.
As the news spreads, in an era when political survival after similar scandals has become hard to predict, Clement has made claims of extortion as a motive behind the story, and is now asking for privacy.
Brampton City Council will have just 48 days after being sworn in to decide whether to opt out of allowing cannabis retail stores in the city, which would mean turning down potential revenues in favour of waiting to see what impact legalization will have on community health and safety.
The short timeline, which follows the Doug Ford government’s decision to move away from LCBO-like regulation to allowing private retail sales, will mean a council with five new members will need to grapple quickly with a host of issues — and some sharply differing opinions among its constituents.
More than 50 percent of Brampton’s residents were born outside Canada. With the federal government’s announcement that it plans to welcome 350,000 newcomers into the country annually as of 2021 — the highest level in the modern era — city officials wonder how Ottawa plans to help the municipality, where a disproportionate number of immigrants settle.
The city’s finances are already stretched, hospitals are beyond capacity, affordable housing is vastly underfunded, and other services aren’t keeping up. A local Liberal MP, Raj Grewal, says city council needs to do a better job of advocating for Brampton’s needs.
Within Brampton's diverse mix of faith groups, one of the city's smallest religious communities offers inspiration to all, even as many of its members fear a return to darker days.
The impact of events south of the border, as nationalism gets stoked by politicians and those using it as a way to deal with economic hardship, is being felt right here in Brampton.
Brampton City Council and Ryerson University representatives gathered Friday for a special meeting to consider next steps after the province pulled out of a $90-million commitment for a satellite campus in the city.
While optimism was expressed about the project going ahead on schedule, it remains unclear where the missing money will come from and if the location chosen by the previous provincial government will be changed.
Notably absent from the council meeting were Brampton’s two Progressive Conservative MPPs, who were invited after defending their government’s decision to cut the funding.
Brampton car owners pay an average of $2,268 annually for insurance, 70 percent more than the provincial average. Critics say many insurance providers discriminate against the city’s drivers and use postal code data to target areas where rates are hiked dramatically.
But a move Thursday by Brampton NDP MPP Gurratan Singh inside Queen’s Park to end the practice was voted down by the ruling PC government, which favours a plan by one of its MPPs to reduce rates that could still be passed. Critics of that plan say it will not end postcode discrimination in Brampton.
An appointment to the position of Peel Region chair is still more than a month away, but speculation is swirling about the potential candidates. The decision of who will serve, which the new council will make on Dec. 6, could set the tone inside Peel Region chambers for the next four years.
Will Linda Jeffrey throw her hat into the ring? Will Mississauga, with its heavy vote count, insist on a Mississauga candidate? Will Brampton councillors who backed Patrick Brown get a boost?
Either way, with Brampton looking for more seats at the table—and more clout—and Mississauga’s mayor wanting to pull out of Peel altogether, the chosen chair could be in for a rocky ride.
Four retiring city councillors together stand to receive close to $730,000 from taxpayer-funded severance as they leave office this fall.
Gael Miles, Elaine Moore, John Sprovieri and Grant Gibson are entitled to one month’s salary for every year served at city council, up to 18 months — an extremely generous cap that the four voted for themselves back in 2013 under Susan Fennell’s leadership, despite a consultant’s report that showed the average severance paid by municipalities is 5.5 months.
According to the formula, each could receive nearly $127,000 from the city and a further $56,000 from Peel Region, which caps payouts at 12 months.
Despite this year’s high-profile municipal election, voter turnout was down in Brampton, to an embarrassing 34.5 percent. That should prompt new mayor Patrick Brown to look for ways to nurture the political engagement of Bramptonians when it comes to the day-to-day issues that matter most.
The Pointer takes a look at the ups and downs of political turnout in Peel Region and the GTA, and some suggested solutions to the widespread attitude of “I don’t know and I don’t care” when it comes to municipal politics.
A survey conducted by Toronto Region Board of Trade shows that a large majority of residents of the GTA-Hamilton-Waterloo region think a proposal for consolidating transit systems under a single entity — dubbed “Superlinx” — makes sense.
The board’s president says the current system, which sends municipalities begging to higher governments for transit money, hasn’t worked, so it makes sense to send decisions to a body “where growth revenues, planning authority, and financing capacity already exist.” Some 87 percent of the Peel Region residents who took part in the board’s online panel agreed that the idea has merit.
But what happens when Brampton’s needs are pitted against, say, Scarborough’s remains an open question.
The trial for a $28.5 million lawsuit still hanging over the city heard from three retiring Brampton councillors, who testified that a number of issues around a controversial $500 million downtown development deal raised red flags.
The $205 million price of the city hall expansion, costs that should have been paid by the builder for a 377-day delay and a building that is too close to the street were some of the issues they addressed during the trial that wrapped up last month.
After Premier Doug Ford's shocking decision last week, Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath’s move to put the money for Brampton’s Ryerson University campus and two others in the GTA back into the coming year’s provincial budget goes down to defeat in the legislature Monday.
Brampton’s two PC MPPs, Amarjot Sandhu (Brampton West) and Prabmeet Sarkaria (Brampton South), were notably absent from the vote, after leaving the chamber shortly before the decision.
The traditional turban, which Sikh motorcyclists want to wear instead of a helmet, has a long and noble history as a symbol of the faith. Many consider it an indispensable and defining part of their identity.
An Ontario private member’s bill introduced by a Brampton MPP may finally succeed in bringing the province in line with other jurisdictions that have exempted observant Sikhs from helmet laws.
Doug Ford’s short-sighted decision to cancel funding for Brampton’s first full university campus won’t stymie the energy and ideas of young students and entrepreneurs determined to become the best they can be, both academically and economically.
But with all that Brampton represents and contributes to the provincial and federal governments, instead of using it as the launch-pad for their political parties’ election campaigns, they need to make investments to move the community forward.
Brampton MPPs have been busy inside Queen's Park as a pair of bills hit the floor touching on issues very close to the city.
Motivated by lobbying from the Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario, Prabmeet Sarkaria (Brampton South) tabled a bill earlier this month—with club members present—that would exempt turban-wearing Sikh motorcyclists from the helmet requirement. That bill arrived on the floor for second reading earlier this week receiving discussion and support from both sides of the aisle.
At the same time MPP Gurratan Singh brought forward his own bill looking to tackle Brampton's sky-high auto insurance rates.