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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With Brampton gripped by a recent crime wave, concerns mount that frequent misconduct in the force is putting public safety at risk.
Former city hall executives who sat in the same closed-door meetings for a $500M development deal tell court different versions of what happened.
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’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.
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.