Mississauga’s waterfront could become the jewel of Lake Ontario, if people get access

Mississauga’s waterfront could become the jewel of Lake Ontario, if people get access

Between the beginning of May and the end of September, the City of Mississauga will introduce harsh fines for those caught parking illegally near the lakeshore. The move addresses concerns of Ward 1 and 2 residents, but raises broader issues around accessibility for those not fortunate enough to live beside the Great Lake.



Peel works just fine, and let’s keep it that way, regional chair says

Peel works just fine, and let’s keep it that way, regional chair says

Many assume that Nando Iannicca, the former longtime Mississauga councillor and now the head of Peel Region, will help his city get out of the two-tier system of municipal government. But after the provincial PCs announced a review of the regional government model, prompting speculation that Hazel McCallion and current Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie will get their wish, to pull their city out of Peel, Iannicca says, not so fast.

He tells The Pointer that regional government is working well and he wants to keep it that way.



New Peel police board chair signals force will look more like Brampton

New Peel police board chair signals force will look more like Brampton

“You’re going to have a fundamental disconnect when you don’t mimic the people that you serve,” says Nando Iannicca, who believes it’s time to take action to heal the rift between police and visible minority communities.

That will come as good news to community activists who have pointed to the lack of diversity on the force as a barrier to fighting crime. Meanwhile, concerns about racial profiling and discrimination continue even after new regulations put a curb on the oft-criticized practice of ‘carding.’



Brampton families out of luck after online immigration sponsorship shuts down in ten minutes

Brampton families out of luck after online immigration sponsorship shuts down in ten minutes

Much to the dismay of many Brampton residents hoping to sponsor their loved ones for immigration to Canada, an online form designed to expedite sponsorship applications hit its cap after being online for about ten minutes.

Families across the country are already expressing outrage. With routinely high numbers of people coming to Canada under the Liberal government’s quotas, one wonders why this was not foreseen and if the logjam is a result of a new immigration policy that favours economic immigration over family reunification.



Peel councillor questions if enough is being done to help the homeless

Peel councillor questions if enough is being done to help the homeless

Monday’s unrelenting weather added to the misery of the destitute in Peel’s municipalities. Not only are they toughing out a second cold snap in as many weeks, the blizzard will force many to dig in as a blanket of snow covers the region.

Peel’s elected officials have been mostly silent on the issue of homelessness. But Councillor George Carlson, who has housed the homeless himself, and Brampton’s Martin Medeiros say they are closely monitoring the desperate situation and will have fulsome policy requests to address the dire lack of support for the homeless during upcoming budget deliberations.



Raj Grewal returns to Parliament, not resigning after receiving “appropriate treatment”

Raj Grewal returns to Parliament, not resigning after receiving “appropriate treatment”

Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal returned to his job as an independent, representing his Brampton East riding, when Parliament resumed Monday. A gambling scandal revealed in November forced Grewal to step down from his position and he originally said he was resigning.

In a surprise move, after the Liberals removed him from caucus, Grewal decided he would seek help for his addiction before deciding on his future. On Monday he returned to his parliamentary seat.



Brampton trustee says removing classroom caps could be good, others remain concerned  

Brampton trustee says removing classroom caps could be good, others remain concerned  

A review of class sizes across Ontario is raising anxiety about whether classrooms will end up more crowded in Brampton schools that are often filled to the brim.

While City Councillor Harkirat Singh is among those expressing misgivings, at least one trustee says the government is right to take another look at inflexible caps that make it difficult for individual schools to respond to complicated fluctuations in student enrolment.



Cancelled 4:50 express GO train from Toronto to Brampton is coming back

Cancelled 4:50 express GO train from Toronto to Brampton is coming back

Following weeks of outrage expressed by Brampton rail commuters, Metrolinx announced Monday that the cancelled 4:50 express train from Union station will be back on the tracks in two weeks.

The regional transit agency apologized to riders, acknowledging that service changes to the Kitchener line, particularly the cancellation of the popular late-afternoon run, were not well thought out.



“Let’s Talk” is not Doug Ford’s stance on sex education and young people in general

“Let’s Talk” is not Doug Ford’s stance on sex education and young people in general

The Ontario leader is a sad example of what this week’s growing movement is not about. Doug Ford’s authoritarian governance on something as important as the health and well-being of young people stands in direct contrast to the Let’s Talk initiative across Canada.



Peel Region chair wants economic prosperity — and a green future

Peel Region chair wants economic prosperity — and a green future

Mississauga councillor Nando Iannicca was looking forward to leaving politics until a new challenge beckoned: leading Peel Region.

His philosophy is simple but daunting: make sure you have both an economic plan and an environmental one.

The former chair of the Credit Valley Conservation Authority wants to see booming economic development balanced by a green perspective that understands much of the devastation causing climate change happens because of bad decisions at the local level. Iannicca wants to help usher in a culture of environmental stewardship, while growing the local economy.



Peel police budget is in a deficit, regional council hears

Peel police budget is in a deficit, regional council hears

While Peel Police approached regional council hat-in-hand on Thursday to ask for a $21.6 million increase to their budget, acting chief Chris McCord admitted the force is currently running a deficit.

High salaries and a desire to hire more officers to deal with a spike in violent crime are driving a request for a 5.6 percent increase to the police budget for 2019.

Meanwhile, provincial grants for some initiatives are expiring, leaving police wondering how to make up the loss.



Provincial review could increase class sizes in Brampton’s packed schools

Provincial review could increase class sizes in Brampton’s packed schools

Consultations announced by Education Minister Lisa Thompson this week are expected to look at, among other things, removing caps on class sizes in the early years.

That could have particular impact in Brampton, where schools are often more than full thanks to a population boom and children being raised in secondary suites that don’t get counted in school demand projections. Current caps limit the number of students inside the classroom, but those controls could be lifted.

Peel Regional Councillor Carolyn Parrish, a former teacher and trustee, is among those skeptical of the PC government’s motivations, saying the goal is to cut costs rather than improve education.



Ryerson University pulling out of downtown campus plan

Ryerson University pulling out of downtown campus plan

After much fanfare, there will be no Ryerson University satellite campus in downtown Brampton. Following the shocking announcement by the Doug Ford PC government in October, that it was pulling the province’s $90 million commitment for the campus, Ryerson has confirmed with The Pointer that it is walking away from the partnership. When asked about the news Wednesday, Mayor Patrick Brown, councillors and staff were caught off guard and later said that Ryerson will still have some type of presence in the city, a position shared by the university, which has just opened a small continuing education program here and might be involved with a planned innovation centre in the downtown core.  



Doug Ford backs off plan to allow developers to build in the Greenbelt

Doug Ford backs off plan to allow developers to build in the Greenbelt

Premier Doug Ford’s government has announced it will pull a controversial section of a proposed new bill that would have allowed municipalities to override existing laws that protect the province’s expansive Greenbelt in Southern Ontario. Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark tweeted out the reversal Wednesday.

The move marks the second time Ford has flip-flopped on his pledge to developers, after he told them during the spring election campaign that he would open up Greenbelt lands, then recanted ahead of the election, before introducing the legislation in December that would have allowed the move. Facing a huge backlash across the region, his government is now removing the provision from the proposed bill. 



Transport minister apologizes for dangerous congestion, delays Brampton GO train commuters have suffered

Transport minister apologizes for dangerous congestion, delays Brampton GO train commuters have suffered

Provincial Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek is criticising his government’s own regional transit agency, after ill-advised changes to GO train service in and out of Brampton left thousands of commuters in the city furious, as platforms and passenger cars became dangerously overcrowded.

He is pledging to address problems created by Metrolinx and his government after it scrapped the previous Liberal plan to bring all-day, two-way GO service to Brampton.



Extreme cold raises questions about Brampton’s dire lack of shelter space

Extreme cold raises questions about Brampton’s dire lack of shelter space

The rapidly growing homeless population in Brampton is in a life or death predicament, with an alarming lack of shelter space to provide emergency rooming in extreme weather events such as the one just experienced.

Homeless people bore the brunt of Southern Ontario’s recent cold snap, but compared to other cities, Brampton is dangerously ill-prepared for the kind of frigid temperatures that put the city’s vulnerable population in severe risk. With temperatures dropping as low as -30 C overnight, many sleeping on the streets probably wondered if they would see another sunrise. The region’s few shelters are full despite being hard to access. And not nearly enough is being done to create affordable housing.



Brown says responses from Brampton MPs and MPPs are endorsements to opt-in to legal cannabis shops in the city

Brown says responses from Brampton MPs and MPPs are endorsements to opt-in to legal cannabis shops in the city

Mayor Patrick Brown sent a frank letter to Brampton’s MPs Friday, asking for their position on whether or not to allow legal cannabis stores in the city, since it was their government’s decision to legalize marijuana across the country. Brown also invited them to attend Monday evening’s council vote and weigh in on the debate. Responses from two of them and the city’s five MPPs are endorsements to opt-in, Brown says.

Meanwhile, Councillor Rowena Santos took a stance against anti-cannabis councillor Charmaine Williams. Santos questioned the anti-cannabis lawn signs Williams has been handing out, and city staff said they are a violation of bylaws and are being removed.

All of it sets up what’s sure to be a lively debate ahead of Monday evening’s vote to either opt in or out of legal cannabis shops in Brampton, one day before the province’s deadline to decide on Tuesday.



Brampton City Council opts-in on cannabis retail stores

Brampton City Council opts-in on cannabis retail stores

Led by Mayor Patrick Brown, Brampton Council has voted to allow cannabis retail stores within its borders. The temporary council chambers were packed Monday night with media and members of the public who wanted to register their opinion on a contentious issue. Ultimately, the efforts of three councillors to convince their colleagues to opt-out went up in smoke in an 8-3 vote.



Charged political atmosphere in city halls around the country makes accountability difficult

Charged political atmosphere in city halls around the country makes accountability difficult

Calgary, Brampton and Niagara Region have all been in the news over the conduct of municipal staff. In Brampton, the recent Inzola lawsuit, which the city successfully defended, revealed troubling behaviour inside City Hall. In Niagara just over a year ago a reporter’s notes were confiscated by regional staff and last year employees with the City of Calgary viewed a leaked newspaper column, prior to its publication, that dealt with the sudden and mysterious departure of a senior staffer.

While layers of oversight exist at the federal and provincial levels, for Brampton taxpayers, and those homeowners across the country whose tax dollars pay to keep huge municipal bureaucracies running, the question of accountability is a growing concern.



Hazel McCallion and Doug Ford are a deadly duo for anyone who cares about the Greenbelt and Peel Region

Hazel McCallion and Doug Ford are a deadly duo for anyone who cares about the Greenbelt and Peel Region

Premier Doug Ford’s hiring of Hazel McCallion as a special advisor, a role she also performed for Kathleen Wynne, was no surprise. Neither are the plans they will set in motion to dismantle Peel Region and allow developers to build in the Greenbelt.



Bundling Brampton’s “ticking time bomb” might be the way to prevent future pain

Bundling Brampton’s “ticking time bomb” might be the way to prevent future pain

With the bones of the city in desperate need of repair, council is grappling with how to shrink a potential $743 million infrastructure deficit by seizing the attention of senior governments.

One idea: “bundle” the current deficit with future capital needs into one big package to present to the province and Ottawa for help.

Another idea: with the upcoming federal election, have some smaller projects, from a growing list of work that needs attention, shovel-ready the next time a funding opportunity arises.



Ford’s plan for another gift to developers could make Brampton residents pay 73 percent more for utilities

Ford’s plan for another gift to developers could make Brampton residents pay 73 percent more for utilities

Staring at a proposed 3.3 percent increase on the Region of Peel’s share of the property tax bill for 2019 and a proposed 6.5 percent increase on the utility rate is enough to make homeowners cry. But those stomach-churning numbers are nothing compared to this one: 73 percent.

That’s how much the utility rate hike for Brampton homeowners could soar if Premier Doug Ford gets his way.

At Regional Council on Thursday, elected officials were told that if Ford’s government gets what it wants — elimination of the region’s ability to levy development charges on builders — it will throw the regional budget into chaos.



Brown looks to MPs for thoughts ahead of cannabis retail store vote

Brown looks to MPs for thoughts ahead of cannabis retail store vote

Brampton’s mayor has sent a letter to the federal politicians who helped legalize recreational pot, asking them to weigh in on whether the city should opt-in to the provincial plan and allow stores within its borders.

City council has been gathering information from the public ahead of a Jan. 21 vote.

If the city wants to opt-out, it has to register that choice with the province by Jan. 22, but most local politicians have yet to publicly declare their position on the highly contentious issue.



Council moves to get more staff, be more like other big cities

Council moves to get more staff, be more like other big cities

Getting away from retail politics, the time-consuming daily demands from constituents who need help with issues like snow clearing and fixing pot-holes, is something many Brampton councillors say they need to do.

On Wednesday, following the lead of Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon, they took the first step to move away from an administrative service role, by tentatively approving a new staffing model that will allow for extra hires to help them with big-city issues facing Brampton, like crime, transit, a new university and funding for proper healthcare.



The Grewal scandal revisited: Brampton East MP remains silent on his political future

The Grewal scandal revisited: Brampton East MP remains silent on his political future

Long after a hastily announced resignation on Facebook, Raj Grewal has yet to make it official.

Constituents don’t know if Grewal, who was kicked out of the Liberal caucus in a scandal involving gambling and huge debts, will continue to represent them in Ottawa.

Grewal had promised to make a final decision in the new year, but the next session of Parliament is fast approaching without a word on his political future.



University, infrastructure and increased staffing for council members to dominate Wednesday’s agenda

University, infrastructure and increased staffing for council members to dominate Wednesday’s agenda

The Pointer takes a look at the business left over from 2018 that will preoccupy council at today’s key committee meeting.

Issues that will dominate council debate include what happens to a campus planned for downtown, the state of city infrastructure, and a controversial move by some on council that could see members vote to boost their own staffing level to meet growing demands. If passed, the decision would fly in the face of Mayor Patrick Brown’s call for fiscal belt-tightening across the rest of city hall.



Let the games begin

Let the games begin

The possible dismantling or restructuring of Peel Region has been in the air for years and on Tuesday the Doug Ford government announced a review of regional governments across the province.

The move is hardly surprising — Ford, Hazel McCallion and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie have been signalling that change is needed. For Brampton taxpayers hoping the Ontario leader has the city’s best interests at heart, don’t kid yourself. Giving Mississauga what it has wanted for a long time could deeply hurt its neighbour to the north, not that those currently holding all the power care.



Brampton resident wins cannabis retail lottery, putting more pressure on council decision

Brampton resident wins cannabis retail lottery, putting more pressure on council decision

Friday’s Ontario-wide lottery to select 25 licence holders who will be allowed to open a legal retail cannabis outlet in the province drew almost 17,000 applicants. One of the winners is Brampton resident Clint Seukeran, who can now pick from the municipalities that allow cannabis sales to decide where he will open his store.

That puts even more pressure on Brampton council’s decision at a special meeting Jan. 21, one day ahead of the deadline for cities to either opt in or out of legal cannabis shops.



Community safety will be a top concern for three Peel Region councillors chosen to fight the root causes of violence

Community safety will be a top concern for three Peel Region councillors chosen to fight the root causes of violence

Michael Palleschi will represent Brampton as Peel Region forms an overall safety and well-being plan, mandated by the previous provincial government. The aim is to get local leaders more involved with problems at their doorstep.

Palleschi will be part of a panel that also includes councillors from Mississauga and Caledon, experts and residents, all focused on building a safer, healthier community. Over the next two years, they will be tasked with bringing together ideas and solutions to coordinate a new regional effort to prevent the root causes of crime and social decay.



Judge apologizes to Peel rapper ‘Avalanche The Architect’ for describing lyrics with “black macho flavour”

Judge apologizes to Peel rapper ‘Avalanche The Architect’ for describing lyrics with “black macho flavour”

Justice Michael Quigley admits to insensitive language in his ruling against Darren John’s application for legal assistance, but says he “did not intend to make any comment that could be perceived as racist.”

That’s according to a letter from the Canadian Judicial Council after John filed a complaint about the words Quigley used in turning down his request for monetary help in appealing a conviction of uttering threats. The chief justice, the letter says, “is satisfied that Justice Quigley does regret the unintended interpretation of his words.”



Legal cannabis: the great unknown

Legal cannabis: the great unknown

A special cannabis forum was held at the City Hall Conservatory Thursday night, and a crowd of 150 showed up, with another 200 watching online. Emotions ran high, and the question of whether recreational cannabis use is good, or very bad, was articulated in emotional outbursts. The town hall gathering sets up a dramatic January 21st council vote about the sale of a legal intoxicant in the city, but unanswered questions about cannabis use, and how it impacts society, are being argued right across North America. 



Arts crusader wants Brampton to embrace sweeping change to create more culture – and jobs – in the city

Arts crusader wants Brampton to embrace sweeping change to create more culture – and jobs – in the city

Longtime Brampton-based filmmaker Chuck Scott has for years championed the city as a future arts-hub.

Now, despite recent moves that have hurt the cultural scene in the city, he says it’s time to change the conversation. The arts, which create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenues, could be just the economic driver Brampton is looking for.



As rail-commuter fury mounts in the city about overcrowding, schedule changes, Ford government announces extra capacity on packed GO line

As rail-commuter fury mounts in the city about overcrowding, schedule changes, Ford government announces extra capacity on packed GO line

A firestorm has spread across Brampton as new changes to GO train service have made an already overcrowded system even worse for thousands of commuters. The changes to routes servicing the city have created onboarding problems and lengthy delays, while cars and platforms have been dangerously overcrowded, according to many riders.

Thursday morning Mayor Patrick Brown went to see how bad things were and he also penned a terse letter to the provincial government. By the afternoon a band-aid solution of two extra passenger cars was announced by the PC government.



Deep divisions over cannabis stores in Brampton highlight difficult decision for council

Deep divisions over cannabis stores in Brampton highlight difficult decision for council

Thursday’s town hall meeting drew both passionate support and opposition to retail cannabis stores in the city.

Among the issues: Will legal marijuana reduce or boost crime? Will it keep cannabis out of the hands of kids or make it easier to get? And will having stores in the city (or not) actually make any difference?

Councillors were present to take it all in as they prepare to vote on the issue Jan. 21.



UPDATED: Ruling favours City of Brampton in $28.5M Inzola lawsuit over City Hall expansion

UPDATED: Ruling favours City of Brampton in $28.5M Inzola lawsuit over City Hall expansion

The decision by Justice John Sproat comes as a relief for the City of Brampton as it faces financial struggles that have stalled major projects.

Sproat’s ruling, the conclusion of a legal battle that began almost eight years ago, dismissed allegations that former senior staff were biased against builder John Cutruzzola and unfairly disqualified his company, Inzola, from bidding on a lucrative redevelopment deal.

It’s not clear who will pay the city’s legal costs in fighting the lawsuit.



Brampton MPP fighting to end postal code discrimination pans Conservative government’s auto insurance consultation as “bogus”

Brampton MPP fighting to end postal code discrimination pans Conservative government’s auto insurance consultation as “bogus”

A provincial online survey to collect ideas for making insurance more affordable is just wasting time, says MPP Gurratan Singh, who has pledged to change rules that he says allow insurance companies to discriminate against Brampton drivers based on their postal code.

The Brampton East MPP says the government should be putting up a bill now to give real relief to Ontario motorists — particularly those in the city, who can pay as much as $1000 more than drivers in Toronto with similar driving records.



Trudeau government denies cannabis shortage, lays blame on Ford as Brampton scrambles for answers

Trudeau government denies cannabis shortage, lays blame on Ford as Brampton scrambles for answers

Shortage? what shortage? says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, refuting widespread reports of a cannabis supply boondoggle, while blaming Ontario’s ‘rocky rollout’ of legalized pot on the Doug Ford government’s obsession with undoing the Liberal plan for cannabis under Kathleen Wynne.

Border Security Minister Bill Blair's spokesperson says that, contrary to Ontario’s “excuses,” there is plenty of product available, with 140 licensed producers and a large stockpile.

The province’s insistence that a shortage led to reducing retail licences to just 25 is complicating the issue for Brampton, which must make a decision on opting in or out of retail sales by Jan. 22.



Vic Fedeli moves to sue Mayor Patrick Brown over claims made in Take Down memoir

Vic Fedeli moves to sue Mayor Patrick Brown over claims made in Take Down memoir

A letter of intent claims the Ontario finance minister was libelled in an anecdote in Brown’s book about a former staff member’s misconduct complaint against Fedeli.

The incident was known to PC leadership before publication of the book, according to Premier Doug Ford, who said in the Legislature that it had already been investigated without a “shred of evidence” being found.

The matter has never been tested in court.



Peel Police close out a violent year, but are statistical jumps as troublesome as they appear?

Peel Police close out a violent year, but are statistical jumps as troublesome as they appear?

Community concern over a wave of violent crime spread across Brampton in 2018, as the issue remains the number one problem for the city’s residents. While crime needs to be confronted head on by Peel police, local leaders, other levels of government and the public, a look at the statistics over a longer period suggests 2018 might have been an anomaly, not part of a pattern of rising violent crime.

Population growth and other more random factors can sometimes explain increases in crime year over year. Overall, when looking at national and provincial crime statistics and numbers in Peel over the years to understand crime in Brampton and Mississauga, last year has to be compared with broader data.



Region to cancel downtown infrastructure work despite decade-old warning

Region to cancel downtown infrastructure work despite decade-old warning

The decision not to award a contract for replacement of aging water and sewer pipes follows Brampton’s decision to pump the brakes on its revamped streetscape plans.

Waiting will give the city a chance to deal with unknown costs and changes to the transit plan, but it could put downtown in additional peril because of aging infrastructure.

Consultants warned a decade ago that the utilities would be at a breaking point by 2019.  



Eight-year legal saga to end soon with decision in $28.5M lawsuit against the City expected in coming weeks

Eight-year legal saga to end soon with decision in $28.5M lawsuit against the City expected in coming weeks

Allegations of misconduct against former senior staff with the City of Brampton and former mayor Susan Fennell have hung like a dark cloud for almost eight years since a $28.5 million lawsuit was filed in 2011.

The city has been admonished for dragging the lawsuit out, forcing motions to be filed so the plaintiff could get documents to help its case and cancelling its own attempt to end the suit before a trial when it withdrew its own motion for a summary judgment. Now, finally, after the nine-week trial wrapped up in September, a decision by the judge is expected soon.

The Pointer provides an account of the key points in the case and the main evidence presented at trial.



Is the new council truly diverse?

Is the new council truly diverse?

Brampton’s new council has been lauded by many as more representative of its people. But is it really? Does the new crew at city hall match up with the city’s demographics? And how does it compare to surrounding municipalities?



Watershed for downtown retailers desperate for plan to remake the city-centre

Watershed for downtown retailers desperate for plan to remake the city-centre

With the Downtown Reimagined plan now shelved because of unknown costs and unknown problems beneath the surface of the city-centre, retailers are anxious as the area continues to show its age.

They say two decades of neglect have done damage to business. But now, with a new council and a new, dynamic plan for the city’s future it's time to begin the transformation right in the heart of Brampton.



Mayor wants zero percent tax increase in 2019, staff has proposed 5.4 percent; something has to give

Mayor wants zero percent tax increase in 2019, staff has proposed 5.4 percent; something has to give

With budget season coming over the horizon, it’s time for council members to shake off the holidays and focus on getting the city’s finances in order.

City hall staff has provided the public with a timeline of when to expect what in the budgeting process.

One big-ticket item to be accounted for is the soon-to-arrive Ryerson University satellite campus and downtown innovation centre. Council will have to figure out how to raise the $150 million already pledged for that project — and where the money for many other needed projects will come from.



Councillor Williams set to champion carding ban, police reform recommendations in Brampton

Councillor Williams set to champion carding ban, police reform recommendations in Brampton

New councillor Charmaine Williams is ready to pick up the torch to ensure the committee she chairs will take Justice Michael Tulloch’s report on carding seriously and follow through on its sweeping recommendations for policing reforms, welcomed by critics of Peel’s force.

Tulloch’s review of carding across the province, released Dec. 31, concluded that random carding is ineffective, offers low-quality data, and is often practised discriminately — contradicting departing Chief Jennifer Evans’ claim that it’s an invaluable police tool.

His recommendations for a more diverse police force and a deep culture shift could set the tone for dealing with the number one concern of Brampton citizens: crime.



Regardless of council decision, Brampton to see few, if any, cannabis stores in 2019

Regardless of council decision, Brampton to see few, if any, cannabis stores in 2019

For residents worried about pot shops springing up all across the city, it might not matter if council opts in or out of allowing legal cannabis stores in Brampton. The province has released details of a lottery to decide where the only 25 retail cannabis licences to be issued this year in Ontario will go.

The entire GTA outside of Toronto is slated for just six stores, meaning that even if Brampton City Council decides at its Jan. 21 meeting to allow the stores within city limits, there won’t be a pot shop on every corner — or maybe any corner — in the city for the foreseeable future.

Despite the fanfare associated with pot legalization, a shortage of product means a much slower rollout than expected in cities that opt in across Ontario.



Brown and Crombie welcome groundbreaking report that slams police carding as ineffective and harmful

Brown and Crombie welcome groundbreaking report that slams police carding as ineffective and harmful

Justice Michael Tulloch’s sweeping review of what happened after “carding” was restricted in Ontario includes a call to ban random stops for gathering intelligence data, better public and police education on the limits of street checks, more diversity in forces that, like Peel’s, don’t reflect the community and a revolution in police culture. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Mississauga's Bonnie Crombie say the new report lays out the way policing should be approached in the two cities.

The judge’s report refutes claims by outgoing Peel Police Chief Jennifer Evans that curtailing carding is connected to an increase in crime.

 



In or out? Brampton council urges residents to share thoughts on retail cannabis stores

In or out? Brampton council urges residents to share thoughts on retail cannabis stores

Residents can choose from several locations and dates to register their opinions with city staff on the issue of pot shops within city limits.

In addition, a town-hall gathering on Jan. 10 at city hall will include a presentation and a panel discussion; if you can’t attend, you can join the live-stream on the city’s Facebook event page.

The information gathered will help council make a decision on whether to allow the stores in the city or not, one day ahead of the Jan. 22 deadline.



Citizen-activist pushing Brampton council to look deeper into issues such as housing and education

Citizen-activist pushing Brampton council to look deeper into issues such as housing and education

Second-year Sheridan College computer science student Sylvia Roberts wants to fire up Brampton residents, to get them more involved in their city. She has been live-tweeting council meetings for a year, and says unaddressed housing issues are only going to worsen with a new university campus in the city. She also wants council to address the plight of seniors in a city with few housing options for them.

She’s raising the alarm through @BramRecorder, hoping to get council moving towards fixing these problems and many others hiding in plain view before the city's residents.



Brampton was front and centre in 2018

Brampton was front and centre in 2018

On the last day of the year, here's The Pointer's wrap on 2018. It was a rollicking year that set the tone in a city with huge potential, as residents now look to leaders who emerged over the past 12 months, hoping they will propel Brampton into a promising future. Linda Jeffrey is out as mayor and Patrick Brown is in. Raj Grewal is on the ropes and Doug Ford is looking for a fight. 

The issues and people that made headlines throughout a wild 2018 in Brampton serve as reminders of things to come.   



Brampton taxpayers need relief, but not at the expense of the city's future

Brampton taxpayers need relief, but not at the expense of the city's future

Mayor Patrick Brown wants a tax freeze for 2019, but history shows that while wildly popular, such a move can be devastating in the long run. An external audit of City Hall has been ordered and international firm KPMG will report its findings in the new year. Why not wait for a clear picture before setting the city on a course sure to be popular, and possibly fatal?



Part 2: Is anyone policing Peel police?

Part 2: Is anyone policing Peel police?

The Harrison family case, involving the deaths of three Mississauga residents, is one of many that have raised questions about Peel police's investigative practices and the competency of the force.

A newly constituted police board led by Mayor Patrick Brown and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie will oversee a police department racked with problems over its practices and its poor relationship with visible minority communities, which make up two thirds of the population in the two cities the force patrols. 

This is the second and final part of a series that was originally published by The Pointer in September.