Trudeau avoids local issues, promises lower taxes and cellphone rates, but nothing to cope with healthcare challenges, region’s crime and influx of newcomers

Trudeau avoids local issues, promises lower taxes and cellphone rates, but nothing to cope with healthcare challenges, region’s crime and influx of newcomers

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was in Brampton to let everyone know that he would, if re-elected, work to lower Canada’s notoriously high cellphone rates and exempt Canadians from paying federal income tax on their first $15,000 earned. But he offered no commitment to ensuring that Brampton and Mississauga get their fair share of funding to cope with rising crime and the stress put on city infrastructure and services by an influx of newcomers.



Mississauga Matters election debate cancelled after federal candidates decline to take part

Mississauga Matters election debate cancelled after federal candidates decline to take part

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie had scheduled a debate tonight under the banner Mississauga Matters, with plans to quiz candidates across the city’s six ridings about how they would stand up for the funding needs of their home municipality. But the debate has been cancelled after the city couldn’t find enough candidates to take part. That raises questions about how committed federal hopefuls are to improving the city they hope will elect them in October.



The power of perception during a violent year in two cities – Part 1 – Winter 

The power of perception during a violent year in two cities – Part 1 – Winter 

In Mississauga and Brampton, 2018 was one of the most violent years in recent memory. Homicides, shootings, stabbings and many other types of violent crime all increased drastically. 

As the violence unfolded over the first half of the year, the public were paying attention, but the police seemed caught off guard and political response was absent. 

In Part 1 of this three-part series, The Pointer looks at the violent winter months and how they set the stage for one of the most troubling years on record. 



Lakeview residents meet to discuss density, height and an indigenous education centre as waterfront redevelopment moves closer

Lakeview residents meet to discuss density, height and an indigenous education centre as waterfront redevelopment moves closer

Residents of the Lakeview community in Mississauga met on Thursday evening to discuss the impending redevelopment of the waterfront. While developers want to add height to existing plans, locals want to keep their view of the lake, with more parkland and activity space along the waterfront. In some situations, big developers would ignore such demands and forge ahead, yet Lakeview has a secret weapon.



Peel becoming a national leader in dementia care with groundbreaking Butterfly Model

Peel becoming a national leader in dementia care with groundbreaking Butterfly Model

A program implemented in Peel Region has become a model of excellence for long-term care homes across Ontario for how to best treat and look after those suffering from dementia. Known as the Butterfly Model, it puts the patient first and focuses on forging real bonds between patient and caregiver.

The benefits have been nothing short of remarkable. 



Incumbents in Brampton and Mississauga silent on electoral reform since Liberal u-turn in 2017

Incumbents in Brampton and Mississauga silent on electoral reform since Liberal u-turn in 2017

Four years ago, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party was propelled to power on a series of promises, including a historic commitment to reform Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system. In Brampton and Mississauga, town halls and public meetings in 2016 heralded a nationwide consultation on the issue and asked Peel residents for their opinions. However, in 2017 the party abandoned its pledge and MPs have been silent on the issue ever since. 



Liberals will let cities ban handguns and pledge to ban ‘military-style assault rifles’ if elected

Liberals will let cities ban handguns and pledge to ban ‘military-style assault rifles’ if elected

Less than a week after nine people were shot in separate ambushes in Mississauga and Brampton, leaving two dead, including a 17-year-old boy, the Liberals are promising sweeping measures to clamp down on gun violence.

The party announced Friday that it would ban “all military-style assault rifles” if elected. And, as the NDP has also pledged, they would allow cities to enact their own handgun bans.



Hey candidates, if you expect to win in Mississauga, pony up $200 million for the downtown LRT loop

Hey candidates, if you expect to win in Mississauga, pony up $200 million for the downtown LRT loop

The new Mississauga Matters campaign is pushing bold requests from the next Parliament: Rapid east-west transit along the lakeshore; a new transit terminal; and federal funding to restore the downtown LRT loop are among the items Mayor Bonnie Crombie, a former Liberal MP and veteran horse-trader, wants Ottawa’s help with after the federal election. Those issues, along with affordable housing, are the goals the city is prodding candidates (and voters) to consider in its three-pronged Mississauga Matters advocacy campaign. The priorities: infrastructure, transit and housing.



Brampton North Conservative candidate Arpan Khanna sticks with Tory talking points while touting working-class, immigrant credentials 

Brampton North Conservative candidate Arpan Khanna sticks with Tory talking points while touting working-class, immigrant credentials 

Arpan Khanna, vying to win the federal Brampton North riding, hopes to unseat Liberal incumbent Ruby Sahota, who holds a comfortable lead in current polls. In a conversation with The Pointer, the candidate, who has already had to apologize for posting a homophobic slur in a 2010 social media message, was less willing to get over Justin Trudeau’s history of blackface and brownface. On policy questions, he unabashedly toed the party line. 



NDP continues healthcare-based campaign in Brampton with dental care pledge

NDP continues healthcare-based campaign in Brampton with dental care pledge

The NDP continued its intense campaign to win in Brampton’s five federal ridings this week, as local candidates promoted a policy to give most Canadians free or subsidized dental coverage as part of national healthcare. The move is part of a broader campaign by the NDP rooted in healthcare issues, arguably to appeal to Brampton’s swing ridings, where hallway medicine has been a huge issue for several years.



In two of Canada’s most diverse cities, a bellwether for Liberal fortunes, residents indifferent about Trudeau’s brown/blackface use

In two of Canada’s most diverse cities, a bellwether for Liberal fortunes, residents indifferent about Trudeau’s brown/blackface use

Decades-old images of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in blackface and brownface have rocked his election campaign.

But in Mississauga and Brampton, cities where two-thirds of residents are visible-minorities, attitudes seem largely unconcerned. Predictably, candidate responses broke along party lines.



Climate change mixes with everyday concerns for Mississauga-Streetsville incumbent

Climate change mixes with everyday concerns for Mississauga-Streetsville incumbent

Help with everyday issues, like affordable medications, tax breaks for parents and transportation — as well as the broader issue of what Canada is doing about the climate crisis — are all important issues to folks on the street in Streetsville, according to Liberal candidate Gagan Sikand, who hopes to repeat his 2015 victory in the riding.



Liberal incumbents want your votes, again, so why won’t they answer questions about rising crime, housing and other pressing issues facing Brampton residents?

Liberal incumbents want your votes, again, so why won’t they answer questions about rising crime, housing and other pressing issues facing Brampton residents?

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, currently consumed by a blackface scandal, has been criticized in recent weeks for failing to make himself available to answer questions about key issues facing voters. 

It appears to be a tactic being used by many in the Liberal party, including Brampton’s four incumbents. They have either refused or ignored repeated requests to defend their local record over the past four years and highlight what they promise to do for Brampton if elected again.



Report on unregistered secondary suites shows Brampton making headway against illegal units

Report on unregistered secondary suites shows Brampton making headway against illegal units

A report submitted to council suggests the city is gaining ground against an epidemic of unregistered, and often substandard, secondary units in Brampton.

Fire and enforcement staff presented a swath of data on registrations, complaints, charges, fines and more — including a repellant slideshow of violations — to show that dealing with the plague of illegal units isn’t insurmountable.



Federal policies on student visas could affect Peel as international student population grows

Federal policies on student visas could affect Peel as international student population grows

Brampton and Mississauga, which host an increasing number of foreign students every year, are grappling with the effects of an aspect of immigration policy largely overlooked in federal election platforms: student visas.

One international student laid out his concerns to The Pointer.



Crombie pushes for 100 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Crombie pushes for 100 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Mississauga’s draft climate change action plan has a greenhouse gas reduction target of 80 percent by 2050. But that strikes Mayor Bonnie Crombie as not good enough.

She wants to reduce net emissions by 100 percent come 2050. Is this attainable? Or is it just city hall blowing hot air? 



Raj Grewal not seeking re-election in Brampton East

Raj Grewal not seeking re-election in Brampton East

Independent MP Raj Grewal, who officially resigned from the Liberal caucus this year among swirling controversy surrounding his gambling problems, has reportedly decided he will not be seeking re-election in October. 

The decision, coming less than two weeks before the official registration deadline, is not a surprise to many in his Brampton East riding, who watched scandal after scandal unfold around their elected representative over the course of 2018.



Brampton might join class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers accused of putting millions at risk

Brampton might join class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers accused of putting millions at risk

A recent settlement in Oklahoma awarded the state $572 million in damages against Johnson & Johnson, in response to misleading marketing of highly addictive and often fatal opioids. The award marks one of the largest successes in the fight by governments to hold opioid makers accountable for their role in the addiction crisis. 

Now, the City of Brampton is looking to join the fight.



As blood spills on the streets politicians and the public grow frustrated in their search for answers

As blood spills on the streets politicians and the public grow frustrated in their search for answers

Neighbourhoods in Mississauga and Brampton are in crisis. A mass shooting in Malton Saturday was followed by two more gangland-style ambushes, one in north Brampton Monday and one in central Mississauga Tuesday. In total, two people were murdered and seven others were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds.

While the bloody attacks and their alarming details are consumed as attention-grabbing headlines by millions across the GTA and, increasingly, around the country, for frustrated local politicians and trembling residents caught in the criminal web, the situation has reached a tipping point.



Over a hundred sections of road in need of ‘traffic calming’ in Brampton

Over a hundred sections of road in need of ‘traffic calming’ in Brampton

With typical speeds often reaching dangerous levels, the city is looking into implementing further traffic calming measures to put a leash on Brampton’s speed demons. The move could help bring down the city's sky-high auto insurance rates, which are partly due to the large number of accidents here involving high speeds.

A report will go to council on Wednesday detailing what those projects will entail.



Number of secondary suites in Mississauga could be as high as 30,000, councillor says

Number of secondary suites in Mississauga could be as high as 30,000, councillor says

Complaints about unregistered basement apartments and the like are down in Mississauga this year. And while that sounds like good news, Ward 6 Councillor Ron Starr says data from the city’s planning department suggests there may be 20,000 to 30,000 secondary units throughout the city.

The number actually legally registered currently stands at 847.



As federal party leaders weigh in on chaotic Malton shooting spree, local councillor says area’s crime has long been ignored

As federal party leaders weigh in on chaotic Malton shooting spree, local councillor says area’s crime has long been ignored

Gunfire erupted outside a busy Mississauga apartment building on Saturday leaving one 17-year-old bystander dead and several others with gunshot wounds. 

The fatal act of violence has shaken the city and drawn the attention of federal politicians early in the election campaign, with mixed messages from the party leaders about how to address violent crime, which has spiked dramatically across two of the country's largest cities over the last five years. Local Councillor Carolyn Parrish has for years demanded more resources for policing in her ward.



Food security, homelessness, environment among top local priorities for Mississauga–Lakeshore incumbent

Food security, homelessness, environment among top local priorities for Mississauga–Lakeshore incumbent

Sven Spengemann says his concerns stem from the belief that communities are judged by how they treat the most vulnerable, and the fact his riding has its share of poverty.

The Liberal says representing a lakeside riding also makes being a champion for the environment especially important. He would, among other things, restore funding for the original plan for Mississauga’s LRT.



Federal candidates snub invitation to public safety townhall after Malton mass shooting

Federal candidates snub invitation to public safety townhall after Malton mass shooting

Two major shooting incidents in as many days, both of which left victims dead and wounded, have rocked residents of Mississauga and Brampton.

Concerned Residents of Brampton hosted a Sunday townhall on the topics of public safety and housing. All five federal incumbents were invited but disappointed organizers with their failure to attend. This despite the fact that national leaders have been commenting on the tragedy.



“The province” is “putting council in a very difficult position,” says senior Peel Region financial planner 

“The province” is “putting council in a very difficult position,” says senior Peel Region financial planner 

Provincial backpedalling will spare the Region of Peel some pain, but funding will still shrink by $39 million over three years. The chaos at Queen’s Park, with stark cuts being ordered without much detail and then mitigated or delayed in response to public outcry, is creating no end of headaches for the region’s financial staff and planners. Not to mention councillors forced to decide whether to reduce services residents have come to count on or hike their property taxes — just to keep things as they are.



Youthful team backs NDP candidate Saranjit Singh in Brampton East

Youthful team backs NDP candidate Saranjit Singh in Brampton East

Saranjit Singh launched his campaign Sunday to win the riding of Brampton East from independent incumbent Raj Grewal. At an event seemingly powered by young people, Singh promised to “fight” for would-be constituents in his longtime hometown.

Speaking to The Pointer after the event had finished, he pointed to ways federal attention to the riding could make life better there — including funding a new community centre to supplement the single one Brampton East’s 120,000-plus residents share.



Brampton, Mississauga voters appear unaffected by controversy surrounding local candidates

Brampton, Mississauga voters appear unaffected by controversy surrounding local candidates

The reasons aren’t entirely clear: Are voters unaware? Don’t care? Or just focused on the national race, with little regard for the local candidate? Whatever the reasons, scandals over offensive social media posts and the like have done little to budge the needle on polls as the federal election campaign wears on.

Brampton North candidate Arpan Khanna and Streetsville candidate Ghada Melek, both Conservatives, are among those who seem to be weathering the storm after controversy.



Malton councillor laments loss of community police station in her ward after devastating shooting

Malton councillor laments loss of community police station in her ward after devastating shooting

In the wake of a mass shooting in Malton that killed a 17-year-old, Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish wishes the community police station at Westwood Square Mall was still open.

So do some local residents who feel unsafe and dispute the impression that crime in the area had decreased enough to warrant shutting it down. It was closed to cut costs in February 2018, despite Parrish’s battle to keep it open.



Motivated Green candidates spread the word on climate action; but can they be convincing?

Motivated Green candidates spread the word on climate action; but can they be convincing?

International recognition of a climate emergency has offered the Greens a boost for the upcoming federal election. However, while the party seems to be on the upswing across Canada, the message continues to struggle in Brampton and Mississauga, where the car reigns.

With just over a month to go, local candidates of varying professionalism are working to open the eyes of the electorate to an issue they have been campaigning on for years. 



Ryerson study shows only 28 percent of Canadians trust social media in an age when fake news can swing an election   

Ryerson study shows only 28 percent of Canadians trust social media in an age when fake news can swing an election   

British technology expert Sam Jeffers told a Brampton audience this week that our upcoming federal election might be riddled with security worries, as waves of disinformation from unchecked social media sites spit out cyber advertising and fake news that have plagued campaigns around the world, and could rear their ugly head here. Over the next few weeks in our hyperactive news environment that will fill the cybersphere ahead of October 21, “Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour” will again become a sign of our times.



Scheer, Khanna avoid controversy in Brampton North, offer no specifics on local issues

Scheer, Khanna avoid controversy in Brampton North, offer no specifics on local issues

News swirled Friday of Conservative candidate Arpan Khanna’s homophobic social media post almost a decade ago. But there was no mention of that at a campaign rally in the Brampton North riding featuring party leader Andrew Scheer, despite mounting calls for Khanna to step out of the race.

Nor did Scheer or Khanna talk about any of the local challenges facing voters, such as a crisis in healthcare — in contrast to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s pledge a day earlier to fund a new hospital in Brampton.



Temporary relief for Peel as paramedic funding is unfrozen and offered a small 2020 boost

Temporary relief for Peel as paramedic funding is unfrozen and offered a small 2020 boost

The province has reversed course on a controversial decision in May to freeze funding for paramedic services and will now provide a small boost into next year.

The flip-flop epitomizes the confusion experienced by municipalities across Ontario as the Doug Ford PCs continue to make cuts, only to reverse them in response to public outcry. One regional councillor tells The Pointer that Peel is in a “holding pattern,” waiting for a semblance of certainty.



Death threats made Parliament no easy job for Iqra Khalid, but she’s ready for more

Death threats made Parliament no easy job for Iqra Khalid, but she’s ready for more

Though the incumbent for Mississauga–Erin Mills has made a mark in Parliament in the area of human rights — drawing malicious backlash at times — she’s counting on her focus on seniors and other local concerns to persuade voters to keep her in Ottawa.

She sat down with The Pointer to talk about the issues that most concern residents of her riding.



Brampton North Conservative candidate latest to be tainted by unearthed cyber-skeletons, as news focuses on personality not policy 

Brampton North Conservative candidate latest to be tainted by unearthed cyber-skeletons as news focuses on personality, not policy 

Arpan Khanna, who secured his candidacy a year ago, is the latest parliamentary hopeful to be dogged by his past comments posted on social media, as the theme has dominated the federal election campaign over the first few days ahead of the October 21 vote. He used homophobic language years ago and is now facing mounting pressure to step down.

A number of controversial remarks captured in the cryptic space of the internet have forced party leaders to stumble off their policy platforms, while having to address a growing list of questionable past remarks made by candidates. 



Surge in fentanyl-related deaths in Peel adds urgency to calls for public health funding

Surge in fentanyl-related deaths in Peel adds urgency to calls for public health funding

Ten years. That’s all it took for fentanyl to go from a potent painkiller used to manage only the most serious post-surgery pain to one of the most deadly street drugs in the country. 

In Peel, opioid-related deaths involving fentanyl have skyrocketed, leaving the Region of Peel and community organizations struggling to tamp down the problem —  a task made even more difficult by the region’s underfunded public health budget.



‘We won’t forget Brampton’ — NDP candidates pledge not to leave home concerns behind if voters propel them to Ottawa

‘We won’t forget Brampton’ — NDP candidates pledge not to leave home concerns behind if voters propel them to Ottawa

Brampton is home to a pool of floating voters ahead of every election. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his Brampton candidates have laid out priorities in healthcare and affordable housing, while drawing attention to unfulfilled Liberal promises.

Given that the city is chronically forgotten after elections end, The Pointer asked what guarantees they would make to Brampton if elected.



New national strategy will guide fight against human trafficking across Canada

New national strategy will guide fight against human trafficking across Canada

In 2016, the federal government’s national action plan to combat human trafficking expired. For three years, service providers and community organizations have been pushing for Ottawa to step up and once again make human trafficking a priority. 

Days before Parliament was officially dissolved, signalling the start of the federal election campaign, the Liberal government finally took that step.



Show us the money; Trudeau Liberals ignore Peel’s growing infrastructure gap, with Mississauga and Brampton receiving $150M while Edmonton gets $1.9B

Show us the money; Trudeau Liberals ignore Peel’s growing infrastructure gap, with Mississauga and Brampton receiving $150M while Edmonton gets $1.9B

With the 905 set to be a key battleground this federal election, major party leaders should pay attention to Peel’s rapidly growing infrastructure needs.

With 12 seats up for grabs, two fewer than each of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the booming region becomes a hotbed of election activity every four years, but the question is, what are party leaders and elected MPs doing for residents in between?



Residents face off over density worries in one of Brampton’s oldest neighbourhoods

Residents face off over density worries in one of Brampton’s oldest neighbourhoods

In Marysfield, a neighbourhood founded in the 1950s as one of Canada’s first housing co-ops, tensions are rising. Some residents hope to split their property, often as much as two acres, into smaller lots to allow redevelopment, while others favour preserving the historic character of the area.

The broader issues are familiar to citizens across Brampton as the city grapples with sometimes conflicting desires for affordable housing and heritage preservation.



Deer’s death prompts 760-name petition demanding enforcement of leash rules at Rattray Marsh

Deer’s death prompts 760-name petition demanding enforcement of leash rules at Rattray Marsh

The killing of a fawn, allegedly by a dog, raises concerns that too many people are ignoring the signs reminding pet owners to leash their dogs — and cyclists to get off their bikes on the conservation area’s trails and boardwalks.

The petition signers want more prominent signage and stronger enforcement against practices dangerous to wildlife.



NDP commit to funding a new hospital in Brampton, alongside pharmacare for all Canadians

NDP commit to funding a new hospital in Brampton, alongside pharmacare for all Canadians

Chronic underfunding of Brampton’s infrastructure has put the city at the heart of Canada’s hallway healthcare crisis. Population growth led to record wait times in June of 21 hours for emergency room beds, well above the Ontario average. 

On the second day of the official campaign, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh was in Brampton to pledge funds to build a new hospital in the city, as well as a promise to roll out free pharmacare to all Canadians by 2020.



Brampton mayor pushing united front on tunnelled LRT

Brampton mayor pushing united front on tunnelled LRT

With council clearly divided on the biggest transit issue facing the city, a remnant of the heated debate that derailed the previous group of local leaders under former mayor Linda Jeffrey, Patrick Brown wants his colleagues to come together in support of an underground option for the Main Street LRT. But with some members on council aligned closely with Jeffrey and her vision, to build a surface LRT through the entire length of the Main Street route, it remains unclear if the mayor can avoid a repeat of the 2015 battle that created a deep schism in the previous council. 



In Mississauga and Brampton and across Ontario, Doug Ford is the biggest threat to smart, green growth

In Mississauga and Brampton and across Ontario, Doug Ford is the biggest threat to smart, green growth

The Ford government’s pointed attack on our conservation authorities is short-sighted and will result in this province paying a heavy ecological price over the next few years. The green movement can work in concert with the business community, and the best example is an ongoing reclamation project on the old Ontario Power Generation lands in the southeastern section of Mississauga. This Lakeview miracle could remake the city. But any possible divinity, in Mississauga and Brampton and beyond, lies in the hands of citizens, including those in the seats of power, who can stare down the premier. 



Owner of secondary suite shows laundry list of city demands ordered on his property

Owner of secondary suite shows laundry list of city demands ordered on his property

Khalid Nazim owns a second house as an investment property. He hopes to rent out a secondary suite in the house, but registering it means expensive renovation work to satisfy inspectors.

Disputing that it’s all really necessary, he went to City Council asking for relief.



Crombie, Brown join other big-city mayors demanding Ottawa get its act together on transit funding

Crombie, Brown join other big-city mayors demanding Ottawa get its act together on transit funding

Sometimes it’s not the wheels on the bus but the endless quest for transit cash that keeps going round and round. The country’s sixth and ninth largest cities are at a watershed: get the funding to get residents out of their cars and into public transit, or continue the suburban trends of the past few decades. 

Representatives of 22 of Canada’s biggest cities, including Mississauga and Brampton, want to end the cycle of transit funding dependency on the federal government that Ottawa ignores. They have a plan to make sure good transit keeps being built in places large and small until at least 2038 — if the feds will only sign on.



After years of writing master plans, a pivotal climate change decision faces Mississauga this fall

After years of writing master plans, a pivotal climate change decision faces Mississauga this fall

Mississauga is swimming in policy reports about environmental issues, cycling and transit. But a recently commissioned study now on the desks of city planners offers a revolutionary approach that could greatly reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, in keeping with the climate “crisis” city council declared in June.

Adopting it would mark a huge step, one that some wonder if Mississauga is capable of making.



Brampton making the right noises on climate change, but big-impact projects remain a dream

Brampton making the right noises on climate change, but big-impact projects remain a dream

Ambitious internal planning at City Hall dating back to 2012 has provided Brampton with a strong environmental plan — on paper.

However, stalling on major infrastructure projects in favour of small energy-saving tweaks has left the city behind, treating climate change as just another policy area — not the emergency it declared in June.



Limiting media access at campaign events begs the question: Are candidates avoiding scrutiny?

Limiting media access at campaign events begs the question: Are candidates avoiding scrutiny?

Campaign kickoffs, speech-making and canvassing are going on all over Peel Region as the federal election season goes into high gear.

But why are local candidates, often little known to their prospective constituents, being shielded from media questions?



Update: It’s week 2 of school for thousands of Peel students, with no teacher contracts in sight

Update: It’s week 2 of school for thousands of Peel students, with no teacher contracts in sight

Whispers of strikes and job action abound among educators. So far, the teachers’ unions have been opaque about how negotiations with the province are going.

In Peel schools, much depends on how those higher-level talks proceed.



Study of immigration in Ontario suggests it’s time to spread the love around

Study of immigration in Ontario suggests it’s time to spread the love around

The GTA, including Peel Region, welcomes nearly eight of every 10 immigrants arriving in the province, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada. That means other centres, despite efforts to attract newcomers, are missing out on the economic benefits immigration brings to an aging population. There may be strategies to change that.