A ‘daughter of Brampton’: Nikki Kaur wants you to join a movement to take her city back from Patrick Brown
Alexis Wright/The Pointer

A ‘daughter of Brampton’: Nikki Kaur wants you to join a movement to take her city back from Patrick Brown

In front of a crowd of more than 600 Brampton residents, Nikki Kaur asked those who came out for her campaign launch to join a movement to finally get their city on the right track.

Her campaign office was packed as media, current council members and former mayor Linda Jeffrey, who introduced Kaur, joined voters ahead of the October 24 municipal election. 

She touched on numerous top of mind issues, including crime and healthcare, but Kaur’s main message was clear: Brampton will be mired in more scandal, its ongoing healthcare crises and the worsening impacts of crime if Patrick Brown remains mayor.


“What we see is mismanagement, money being given to friends, contracts being single-sourced. There's no dedication, no work done, no background for the best value for the community. We demand them to pay taxes on time, our revenue is our taxes right now and we’re not getting anything back, we’re declining.”

- Nikki Kaur  


Kaur said he has no interest in Brampton and spent most of the term “auditioning” for a better job, while he ignored the city and used the mayor’s office to pursue his personal political ambition.

Describing herself as a “daughter of Brampton”, she asked others to help fight for their city.

Brampton has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for almost a decade. Under the leadership of former mayor Susan Fennell, developers were given the power to build out the city with little regard for urban planning. The resulting traffic and transportation problems, a lack of employment opportunities and vast expanses of sprawling subdivisions were the price to pay, as Fennell enjoyed the political and personal benefits of her cozy relationship with developers, who kept her in office for 14 years.

Fennell refused to work with the provincial Liberals, as healthcare funding failed to keep up with the rapid growth pushed by builders who cared about profits above all else, not community building.

Organized crime and gangs moved into areas that were largely neglected.

Investments in families and employment were few and far between. A shocking 2015 review of the City’s books by Ontario’s former auditor general found that under Fennell, 94 percent of increased revenue from all the growth had gone to City Hall’s bloated payroll costs as needed services and community features were neglected; and $766 million in approved capital projects that were supposed to be delivered to ensure areas like downtown and other parts of the city were well maintained, could not be properly accounted for (many of the projects, despite having been approved by council with money allotted to them in the City budget, were never even started).



As the population continued to explode, with subdivision developers enjoying an open-door policy inside City Hall and the mayor’s office, thanks to their generous contributions to Fennell’s lavish private events, which had almost no financial accountability despite the millions that were donated, Kaur watched what was happening to her city. 

She was raised in a middle class home of first generation Punjabi-Canadian immigrants with two siblings, part of the demographic shift that rapidly changed the ethno-cultural makeup of Brampton after the ‘70s. Her father ran an auto dealership, while her mother worked at a factory.

Like so many others in her city, she grew up straddling two cultures, not just navigating the often choppy waters, but learning how to thrive in the type of society being shaped all across the country.

She says the east and west in her enjoy a healthy, happy balance, the quintessential Canadian immigrant story where the best of both worlds shape the country’s unique set of core values.

Growing up in Brampton, Kaur had always wanted to be a lawyer. She recalls a class presentation from middle school. 

“I just remember watching this really tall woman. She came in, she was so happy and just the way she worked the room, every kid in the room was happy, I was engaged. I was engaged and I looked up to her for the whole hour.”

Her first job was at a Tim Hortons. Her second was at a Scotiabank, as she saved for her university education. After a decade working as a bank teller, then an investment advisor, she went to York University and graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science and Psychology, followed by a Bachelor of Honours in Law from City Law School at the University of London, before she returned to Canada to launch her career as a lawyer.

That eventually led to a job as a director inside Brampton City Hall.  

“I ended up going to law school, I ended up on Bay Street, I ended up at City Hall, and here we are.”

She worked at a law firm in Toronto for three years, before returning home to set up her own practice. 

“I learned quite a bit, and I learned real quick I wanted to come back home and do my own thing here. So I came back home, set up my own practice. I had two offices, but I shut one down because it was too busy.”

She received an offer to become director of corporate projects, police and government relations at City Hall, a job she accepted, having always been interested in government and politics.

The first sign of Kaur’s political aspiration was in 2019, when she ran unsuccessfully as the federal Conservative candidate in the riding of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek. 

“Unfortunately the party lost quite a bit. It was a really good experience, I learned a lot.”

Her fiscal values, she says, align more closely with Conservatives and she believes responsible governments are, first and foremost, fiscally prudent. Good decisions for the public stem from that approach, she says.

Kaur believes Brampton’s problems can be traced back to the poor financial management of the city. “When all the money is going to the wrong priorities, you end up with areas that invite crime due to neglect by leaders, a lack of programs to engage youth, with a lack of local investment in healthcare, and none of the jobs and infrastructure to attract jobs that we see in other cities.”

One of Kaur’s main focuses as a mayoral candidate is addressing the mismanagement of finances at City Hall. She has seen the problems firsthand, she says.

In April 2021, two-and-a-half years after she was hired by the City, Kaur was fired from her position hours after she accused Patrick Brown of using City resources, including staff who don’t even work in his office, to campaign for former federal Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay.

“I couldn’t go to sleep at night. I don’t want to live with the regret that I wronged 700,000 to 900,000 people while I knew the truth so I took the bold step, I spoke truth to power and against the wrongs,” Kaur says.

She became a whistleblower and provided key evidence. 

“Within hours I was fired by the previous leadership, David Barrick (the former CAO hired under Brown) and others. It shows you how weak they really were as leaders, that they couldn’t support a whistleblower. They had to punish a whistleblower, because all the things I said were accurate and true.”

During her time as a whistleblower, she shared text messages with The Pointer showing Brown directed City Staff, including Kaur, to work on MacKay’s campaign, selling memberships during City Hall work hours on and immediately around May 11, 2020.


Text messages from Patrick Brown to Nikki Kaur.


Kaur’s termination letter, signed by Barrick (who was fired early this year after a majority of councillors grew increasingly frustrated with Brown’s leadership) stated that her time with the City ended “as a result of your failure to accept the transfer to the position of Strategic Leader, Planning, Building & Economic Development Projects.”

Kaur said it was a fabricated reason and that she was let go as reprisal for coming forward as a whistleblower.

Within weeks she was offered a director-level job in Planning, Building and Design, after council ordered staff to rehire her.

“It had a huge impact on my career because I would be kicked out of meetings, my technology wouldn’t work–it was just walking on eggshells, but I stuck to it because I had to. The reality is a lot of stuff goes on inside, if I chose to be a whistleblower I had to handle the consequences and had to stand by the people.”

She would later come forward publicly about disturbing conduct around City contracts handed to friends of Brown and councillor Rowena Santos. 

She says it was an eye-opener to see how Brown, with the help of four councillors (Santos, Paul Vicente, Michael Palleschi and Harkirat Singh) was able to undermine or cancel a series of investigations ordered after she came forward with her evidence.

His conduct convinced her to run against Brown, who in August terminated six ongoing forensic investigations into his own involvement around hirings and the handing out of lucrative City contracts to his friends and associates.   

Currently, Kaur is on an unpaid leave of absence from her role at the City while she campaigns. 

When asked what her relationship with Brown has been like, Kaur laughs. Her campaign manager, sitting close by, joins in the chuckling.

Kaur said that legal counsel advised her to sue the City for wrongful dismissal, but she argued the burden shouldn’t be on the taxpayer.

This wouldn’t be the only time she spoke out publicly around inside dealings, speaking in May to council on the failed BramptonU project, which involved the firms of friends of Brown and Santos receiving contracts that totaled $629,000, with much of the work never completed. Kaur, the former “point person” on the file, alleged that Santos pressured her while working behind the scenes to approve payments despite work that could not be tracked down.

The third-party investigator hired to probe the contracts found procurement procedures were violated, Santos interfered behind the scenes to improve her friend’s chances of winning the bid for the contract work and that Brown’s friend, Rob Godfrey, invoiced the City before he had even done the work, a glaring red flag. But the investigations were cancelled by Brown before the findings could be formally brought forward to council and the public. 


“It’s a do or die situation for us”


“Two months ago it looked like nobody was going to stand up to Patrick Brown and his friends, and that just didn’t sit well with me and many other people I know,” Kaur told The Pointer ahead of her campaign launch. “This is for every Bramptonian out there that needs accountability, transparency.”

Kaur called City Hall under Brown’s leadership “an embarrassment.” 

“There is serious cause for concern inside City Hall, especially with budgets and where things are happening, and the funds we’re not receiving. He (Brown) got rid of the capital budget plan, so we’re not receiving any federal funding, we’re not putting any proposals together so they can actually send us money.” 

She referred to Brown’s refusal to include a ten-year capital plan in the budget, a crucial feature for any municipality trying to plan its future spending while attracting investments.

Instead, Brown has stripped hundreds of millions from the capital budget, while taking money arbitrarily from reserve accounts whenever he has needed to appease groups demanding taxpayer dollars be spent to improve the city.

It led the Board of Trade to make a damning presentation during budget season last year, telling Brown the business community had lost trust in him and his reckless way of budgeting which offers very little stability without a capital plan.

Kaur says she has been inundated with messages from Brampton residents shocked at the lack of investments in basic operations such as snow removal and grass cutting, while crime under Brown has skyrocketed.

“What I noticed in the past three years, now we’re in the fourth, is that we have terrible leadership. It’s just so weak, so scandalous, everything is a scandal, everything is a coverup, and it’s all about ‘How can I benefit and how can my friends benefit and how can I bring more Barrie, Scarborough and Niagara Falls to the City of Brampton’– not Brampton.”

Once elected, Kaur intends to conduct a comprehensive financial audit, including all the contracts handed out under Brown and Barrick.

She said the contents of the audits are “going to be tough at first” but she believes the public needs to know the reality.

“The public and the voters need to know City Hall is repairable, it’s fixable, and it is possible for us to have a very functional City, just like all the other cities, but you need to make the change, you need to vote us in.”

Despite the BramptonU scandal, Kaur said she supports the concept of a Brampton University with the process followed the right way and with the province’s blessing. She points to the recent decision by the University of Guelph-Humber to pull out of a 5,200-student downtown campus in Brampton as the latest example of Brown’s failed leadership.

“How do you think Guelph-Humber felt about the scandal involving Brampton University, contracts going to friends of Brown and Santos, backroom deals, no plan to align with existing post-secondary partners? I’ll tell you, they wanted no part of him or his disastrous leadership. They don’t want to touch him with a ten-foot pole, and, once again, Brampton suffers because of Patrick Brown, a man who has been auditioning for another job altogether.”

Kaur knows postsecondary education is key in Canada’s ninth largest city, the only one without a standalone university campus.

“Both of my degrees are outside of Brampton, it’s very expensive. Today, education has changed so much, there are no borders, there’s no need to be in a classroom, there’s online learning. There’s a really different way of learning and we should be encouraging more of that so we can save the taxpayers money but at the same time have a corporation, have a university here–something we can be proud of.”  

Her campaign’s other main focus is tackling crime. With a pro-police platform, she plans to address local crime through the budgeting process at the Peel Police Board and requesting an increase to the number of Peel Police officers employed to get “as many officers out there” as possible.

She also wants more strategic investments in policing to address rising organized crime and gang activity in Brampton, telling The Pointer issues such as drug trafficking and vehicle thefts are directly related to crime syndicates currently operating freely in the city, according to Kaur’s police contacts. 

In addition, she vows to create a neighbourhood watch program, where councillors meet with Peel Police and Ward representatives to communicate concerns and discuss strategies.

“In meetings, door knocking, the number one message is the city no longer feels safe. It’s not safe to walk around any more,” Kaur says.

Violent gun crime is going up daily. You hear people are being shot at in the daytime, five shootings, two shootings–everywhere you go.”

Kaur said she will meet with provincial counterparts, unlike Brown who she says has no relationship with the provincial PC government, and press the need for immediate action.

“As proof he doesn’t care about Brampton and was already planning his exit, Patrick Brown wrote a book trying to tear down the PC following his disgraceful fall from the Party in 2018. He didn’t think undermining Doug Ford, Christine Elliott and people like Vic Fedeli, who successfully sued [Brown], was going to hurt Brampton? Of course not, he only thinks about himself.”

“We are going to win back Brampton, residents just like me who have lived here almost all our lives are starting a movement to bring our city together, get rid of outsiders like Patrick Brown and put this great community on the map for all the right reasons.”

Her campaign strategist, Nick Kouvalis, has taken to social media, charging Brown with dividing Brampton’s diverse communities just to pander for votes.


Critics in various communities have stated publicly that Brown has dangerously used ethnic and religious politics to win support, regardless of the irreparable divisions he stokes in the process. The linked article includes passages right from Brown’s own book that reveal how he manipulated ethno-religious communities for votes.

The Sinhalese community has raised such concerns over Brown’s support for Tamil causes in Sri Lanka, while Tamils have started to ask what Brown has actually accomplished for them in exchange for their votes and campaign contributions.



Brown was in hot water in the summer when he made comments to an Arabic-language publication that were in opposition to claims he had made in support of Jewish Canadians regarding the ongoing disagreements over territory and diplomatic presence in Israel and Palestine.

Sikhs and Muslims in Brampton have questioned Brown’s devotion to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who Brown calls his brother and political inspiration, despite Modi’s alarming treatment of religious minority groups in India.

At the same time, Hindu organizations in Canada have raised concerns over Brown’s continued politicization of religiously sensitive issues in India while trying to pander for votes.

Meanwhile, Sikhs in Brampton who support an independent state have questioned why Brown has advocated aggressively for the exact same cause many Tamils want in Sri Lanka, while he is silent on the question of a possible Sikh state carved out of India, something his good friend Modi is vehemently opposed to. 


Patrick Brown shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.



Kaur says many of these issues are incredibly complex and sensitive, with centuries of history behind them.

“Using the emotions and deeply felt historical attachments to these complicated issues just for political gain, is dangerous. It is not what we want our leaders in Canada doing. Patrick Brown has no idea how much damage he’s caused, just to get a vote. He doesn’t even care about what he’s done to many of our fellow Canadians, the harm he has caused and the divisions he’s made worse. I will do everything I can to ease these divides and bring Bramptonians closer together.”

She says the message of division under Brown is one she hears everyday.

“I grew up in Brampton alongside friends and neighbours from every part of the world, from every faith and from every background. That is how I will lead one of the most diverse cities in the world. From the amazing Bramptonians whose families built this city, to all those who have chosen to make a home here since, I want to bring everyone together, for the good of all of us, and to create opportunities for every family. 

These are just more examples of Patrick Brown doing anything to get a vote. He does not care about the damage he causes, the groups he divides, the historic controversies he inflames. I want to put an end to all of that.  We have to take back Brampton from a Donald Trump-style divider like Patrick Brown.”


Patrick Brown’s game of thrones―exploit immigrant communities & divide religious minorities

Patrick Brown has been accused of pandering to different religious minority groups for political gain.



Another top priority, Kaur says, is housing and proper accommodation for international students.

“We don’t want an underground housing market. Let’s get the bylaw department properly funded, which I will do after getting rid of all of Patrick Brown’s waste inside City Hall; he cuts spending that would benefit residents but lines his own pockets and the accounts of his friends. That’s not how a true Conservative behaves. We need investments in housing and to get all secondary suites legally registered. This will also take care of the ongoing problem with on-street parking. We can get this done. Brampton just needs a leader who will actually work for you.”

She says partnerships with Ottawa and Queen’s Park will be a priority.

“It’s about educating your community as well as working with the province to advocate for what people need.” 

The city’s youth will be another focus.

“When I was younger I used to do a program, it’s called ‘Dollars with Sense.’ What that does, is you go into schools, Grade 7, Grade 6, Grade 8, and you teach them about money. When I was in Grade 7 I saw one of those and it really stuck with me. You need to generate your own income, you should be independent, provide for your own self. All these things are really important, they’re foundation years for young adults and we as a community need to come together and provide these services.”

One of the city’s most contentious issues is the Highway 413 project, the PC government’s plan to build a 400-series highway along the Greenbelt.

Kaur said she intends to work together with provincial counterparts to get it integrated into the existing public transit network. She also suggested it could be a potential corridor for a third hospital in Brampton, an initiative she supports to help tackle Brampton’s hallway healthcare crisis

“It’s a provincial decision and the reality is if we’re going to end up getting it, our things are zoning policies and maximizing the potential benefits to Brampton through an employment lens as well, and it would be a great corridor to plan for our third hospital.” 

Kaur wants residents to focus on the need “for change…it’s time that we bring accountability, transparency and order in the mayor's office.”

“It starts with strong leadership and it starts with you giving us a chance and so we can actually show you what we want to do. We’ve had enough of four years with nothingness, we’ve had quite a ride on the news for all the wrong reasons, and we need to be on the news for the right reasons.”


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @JessicaRDurling

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