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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie will join the Peel police board in the new year. The most pressing issue facing the members that oversee the country's third largest municipal police force is the search for a new chief. Jennifer Evans will be stepping down in January and leaves a troubled force that under her leadership has been plagued by officer misconduct and a series of badly handled cases. With violent crime on the rise, many are calling for Peel police to reform itself as critics point to the growing list of problems.
The Pointer originally published this story in September and will feature part 2 of the series later this week.
Part museum, part gallery, part archive, and part community hub, the Peel Archives Museum and Art Gallery has grown and changed over its half-century of collecting, curating and exhibiting in the fast-growing, cosmopolitan community it serves.
More than just a reflection of the past, or an entertaining spot to view our contemporary social and cultural environment, PAMA hopes to be a place that hosts thoughtful discussion and exhibitions that continue to reflect our dynamic, rapidly evolving region.
Thanks to Habitat for Humanity, seven Brampton families each moved into their new home yesterday, Saturday, just in time for the new year.
Affordable housing is an issue that comes into sharper focus around the holiday season, when thousands of families across the city struggle during a time of giving. Around the world, income inequality is becoming a significant problem as more and more people need help from food banks and housing agencies.
Anti-Muslim agitator Ron Banerjee, pictured here, publicly apologized after making discriminatory remarks about a successful Peel-based restaurateur, who is Muslim. A settlement after a lawsuit was filed compelled Banerjee to say sorry.
But in Brampton’s rapidly growing South Asian community local politicians say more needs to be done to make sure old-world divisions don’t create religious and cultural tensions here.
Toronto opted to allow retail cannabis stores and Mississauga opted out, meanwhile Brampton remains in a holding pattern on the issue.
Peel Region, after a motion from a Mississauga councillor, could implement rules banning consumption of cannabis in public spaces when the issue comes back to regional council next month.
While Brampton does some soul-searching to determine the best course, it’s unclear if council will decide to follow Mississauga’s anti-cannabis stance or Toronto’s pro-cannabis position. Either way, what happens next door will have a direct impact here.
A motion going before Peel Region Council on Thursday could result in a ban on smoking pot in all public areas.
The City of Mississauga voted to opt out of allowing retail cannabis shops in the city on Wednesday.
All of this is putting pressure on Brampton councillors to figure out where they stand on the issue before they need to decide officially on allowing stores in Brampton in January.
The inaugural session of regional council might be the last in Peel if a group of political dissidents from the provincial and municipal world have their way. But will the possible dismantling of the region and council at the whim of Hazel McCallion, Bonnie Crombie and the Doug Ford government be good for Mississauga, bad for Brampton and Caledon, or will all three suffer? If Ford gets one mega-city, his PC party will feel the political fallout for years to come.
Recent statistics show that Brampton and Mississauga have a problem with increasing rates of youth crime. With money tight across the province, Peel police is looking to the federal government for funding help to curb youth violence.
Local MPs, The Pointer has learned, are now trying to help the force get the money it needs, while Peel police continues with other proactive initiatives to guide the region’s young people away from a life of crime.
Conservatives on the parliamentary ethics committee want to know when the prime minister’s office was informed about the ex-Liberal MP’s gambling problem and possible connections with an RCMP money-laundering investigation.
It’s not clear whether the Brampton East MP, who reneged on his pledge to resign last month, is being investigated in connection with a City of Brampton land deal that he’d received confidential information about, prior to a sale that cost the city an extra $1 million.
Grewal continues as an independent MP after being forced out of the Liberal caucus.
For the second time in as many municipal elections, a longtime Mississauga councillor has been chosen to lead Peel Region as chair of its council. Nando Iannicca won the job thanks in part to some Brampton regional councillors who broke ranks with their mayor.
Martin Medeiros, in a move against Mayor Patrick Brown’s choice, seconded Iannicca’s nomination, which was put forward by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who made her own split, away from the wishes of her one-time supporter, former mayor Hazel McCallion.
Brampton’s roster of regional councillors is now set and will play a key role in choosing the new chair of Peel Regional Council this week.
But even with a complete revamp of the mayor’s office and a new-look council taking up residence at city hall, the question remains: will Brampton finally get its just rewards as one of the fastest growing communities in Canada? That would mean more services, more representation, and more respect.
A lot is at stake for each of Peel’s three municipalities, as regional councillors politic for a chair to serve their interests.
MP Navdeep Bains was asked about a photo showing him with a director of a Brampton company that sold a 20-acre property to the city early this year for about $1 million more than the municipality was originally going to pay.
The Pointer reported last week that former mayor Linda Jeffrey’s chief of staff gave confidential details of the city’s deal with the province to buy the land to Bains and MP Raj Grewal. The deal fell through and the land was sold to a company that flipped it back to the city at a large profit.
In question period Monday, Bains denied any connection to the company. The company released a statement saying it did not receive any confidential information about the deal.
The company that bought a parcel of land from the province then sold it to the City of Brampton for the Goreway Bridge project has released a statement aggressively denying it used any information from politicians or political parties to help it acquire and sell the property.
The statement comes days after Brampton East MP Raj Grewal and Mississauga MP Navdeep Bains, who received confidential information about the city’s negotiation with the province from Linda Jeffrey’s chief of staff, denied sharing the information with anyone.
Brampton East MP Raj Grewal released a video to The Globe and Mail published late Friday, in which he details his gambling debts and declares he will quit the Liberal caucus, but leaves open the possibility of holding onto his riding seat.
Grewal also says he did not disclose confidential details about a proposed Brampton land transaction that he received, unsolicited, from Linda Jeffrey’s chief of staff.
The MP says he gambled recreationally since university, but the habit developed into a mental health issue when he started to play high stakes blackjack at an Ottawa-area casino next to the hotel he stayed at as a parliamentarian.
He apologized for his behaviour, to his family, constituents, colleagues and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The results of a City of Brampton investigation into a real estate transaction that cost taxpayers $1 million extra has been sent to the RCMP, after councillors learned Brampton East MP Raj Grewal and Mississauga MP Navdeep Bains were given confidential details about the pending deal—including the agreed price—by Linda Jeffrey’s chief of staff, Hasneet Singh Punia.
The provincially owned property, needed to fix a traffic bottleneck at a railway crossing on Goreway Drive, was instead sold to private investors, who flipped it back to the city months later well above the price the city and province had agreed to.
The federal government’s ethics commissioner was investigating Grewal over the appearance of favours given to a construction company from which he also received income, according to public disclosures.
Now, a Brampton law firm that was paying Grewal is not speaking publicly about its relationship with the former MP or what work he did for the firm while serving as an elected official.
The ethics watchdog responsible for complaints against MPs says the probe into former Brampton East MP Raj Grewal over his relationship with a local builder invited on a trip to India in January will continue, despite his recent resignation due to gambling problems.
Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail has reported details of an RCMP investigation into Grewal’s gambling and some of his recent spending that led to significant debt, including millions spent at an Ottawa-area casino.
Peel police wants to increase its budget next year by almost three times the current rate of inflation in Ontario.
Citing her concerns over increased violent crime, the lame-duck head of the force, departing Chief Jennifer Evans, has presented the police board with a proposed $423-million budget for 2019.
That represents a 5.4 percent increase over last year, money that will help in hiring 55 additional officers to deal with rising crime and the fallout from pot legalization.
But there are questions: With an expensive new contract kicking in next year, putting every single first-class constable on the Sunshine List, will Peel Region buy it? And will the Doug Ford government cheapskate Brampton again, by withholding its policing grant?
Departing Brampton mayor Linda Jeffrey still hasn’t thrown her hat in the ring but acknowledges that she’s been “approached” about her interest in a job that, while out of the public spotlight, demands the sort of deep knowledge and experience a former mayor possesses.
Picking a new chair will be one of the first orders of business on Dec. 6, when a reconstituted Peel Region Council gathers for the first time since the municipal election.
Also waiting in the wings are several former Brampton and Mississauga councillors, and former Liberal MPPs who lost their seats in last June’s provincial election.
On Friday, a diversity and equity audit examining hiring, promotions and other practices inside Peel’s police force was expected to be revealed publicly at the last board meeting of the current term. It wasn’t.
A private firm handed it to the board in the spring, but it continues to play games with the community it’s supposed to serve.
Compliant, inexperienced police board members in the past, including a car salesman and a real estate agent close to Hazel McCallion, seemed more interested in approving tens of thousands of dollars to buy tickets for swanky private galas than in holding the force accountable.
Rookie Brampton backbencher Raj Grewal quit unexpectedly, amid a probe into an official trip to India he took with a Canadian businessman whose company had Grewal on its payroll, at the time.
The PMO now says that a serious gambling addiction was the reason for the resignation. Grewal leaves his vacated Brampton East MP seat open until next fall’s federal election. In the meantime, constituents will probably have to look to neighbouring MPs for any help with official matters.
Despite hints that a long-awaited equity and diversity audit report would be released during the Peel Police Services Board’s final meeting of the year, there was no mention of the audit on Friday’s agenda.
The Peel Coalition Against Racialized Discrimination says the report was actually completed in April but hasn’t been made public because it contains embarrassing details on how the force has failed to reflect the diverse community it serves.
Chief Jennifer Evans, who plans to retire in a few weeks, provided no information on where the report is or when it will be released.
A new Peel Police Board with the new mayor of Brampton and a new regional chair will have to find a new chief to replace Jennifer Evans, the controversial head of a force plagued by officer misconduct and allegations of systemic discrimination.
As violent crime spirals out of control, Brampton and Mississauga need a chief with fresh ideas who can bring a new, modern style of policing to one of the fastest growing, most diverse and complex regions in the country.
Justice is not being served in Brampton, a judge has written in a scathing indictment against the provincial government for failing to properly fund the city’s main courthouse.
Cases are being delayed, there are not enough courtrooms and some people involved in matters before the court are being denied basic rights to access justice, wrote senior regional judge Peter Daley, who called out the provincial government Monday in a sharply worded report over its continued failure to take responsibility of the justice system in Peel.
The increasingly desperate situation at the Brampton courthouse on Hurontario Street is another issue on a growing list of poorly funded provincial services, including healthcare, public safety, regional transit and education, that are not keeping up with the city’s rapid growth, which is mandated by the province.
Rapper Darren John says he can’t afford a lawyer to fight his conviction on uttering threats against his former promoter.
But a judge who was to determine whether he gets help to pay for one brought quite a few observations into the mix beyond evidence given in court of his financial need.
The first question Peel politicians will need to deal with in this new council term is the future of policing in Brampton and Mississauga, where much will depend on the choice of the next police chief — and how willing the provincial government will be to pony up for more cops and resources to tackle rising crime.
Mayor-elect Patrick Brown has vowed to push for more resources in the community and on the police force. But will he go for new blood or push to hire within?
That’s just one of many questions faced by the Peel Police Services Board while awaiting the results of a police diversity audit, due out this week.
Brampton Mayor-elect Patrick Brown’s new memoir breaks the mould of stodgy, predictable political biographies that employ pedestrian language to bore readers into submission. Unlike other books beside it on store shelves, it’s not likely in this coming holiday season that copies of Takedown will be moved to the remainder bin.
It currently sits atop Amazon Canada’s bestseller list for political biographies where it stands out from other books in the staid genre.
It’s a tell-all thriller and political takedown of Ontario Progressive Conservative Party bosses that paves the way for someone, perhaps Brown himself, to begin a new Conservative movement in Ontario.
In Chapter 5 of his memoir, Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown, titled “Night of Knives,” Patrick Brown describes what happened during the frantic hours after he learned of the allegations against him: the betrayal of trusted members of his team, the chaotic midnight conference call that sealed his fate, and his desperate attempt to persuade his party to let him tell his side of the story before killing his career in provincial politics.
Read the entire chapter in this exclusive excerpt on The Pointer.
(The language includes profanity and may be offensive to some readers)
Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown was released at a Brampton launch party on Friday, already a top seller for its publisher.
The coming-out party at Carl’s Catering The Glen drew media, residents and the city elite, eager to hear how Brown expects to handle the fallout of his bridge-burning book about his meteoric rise and fall as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party.
Brown shrugged off concerns, saying he hadn’t made any new enemies with the book.
The newly elected mayor of Brampton reflects on his spectacular rise, fall and resurrection from the political ashes of last January’s sexual-misconduct allegations in a wide-ranging interview with The Pointer.
He talks about his support of the #MeToo movement despite being caught in the “eye of the storm”, the “catharsis” of writing a book, why he doesn’t care that it will burn a lot of bridges and what he hopes to do for the city as he returns to municipal politics.
Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown, has raised a ruckus even before its bookstore launch this Friday, with its pull-no-punches invective against Tory caucus members who ousted him from the party leadership last January.
The anger on both sides is palpable but should come as no surprise to observers of the fraught party politics that surrounded Brown’s ascendancy to the Progressive Conservative leadership and his tumultuous fall from grace within hours of a CTV story that made allegations of sexual misconduct — allegations he continues to vigorously deny.
The Hurontario LRT is critical for bringing higher-order transit into the city of Brampton. Now it looks like the project may be on the chopping block.
Following discussions with ministry reps, the Ontario NDP transit critic says the government under Premier Doug Ford is refusing to deny rumours that the Hurontario LRT project is set to be cancelled.
While the Conservatives claim they have yet to make any decisions surrounding the future of the project, the uncertainty itself is not a good thing for Brampton.
Brampton’s mayor-elect has penned a remarkably revealing political exposé detailing the spellbinding circumstances that led to his public dismemberment following allegations of sexual misconduct.
He has vigorously denied the claims, and now details his version of the events that stripped him of the chance to be Ontario's next premier.
The Pointer will feature an exclusive interview Thursday with Brown, a day before the official launch, and an excerpt from the book, the complete chapter titled Night of Knives, this Saturday.
Three high-profile resignations by Conservative politicians and a staffer over allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour in recent weeks, including MP Tony Clement’s admission of ‘sexting’ women, have Brampton MPP Sara Singh and others concerned about the conduct of men in the corridors of political power.
Singh lashed out at Premier Doug Ford inside Queen’s Park Monday, accusing him of trying to cover up the allegation against former PC MPP Jim Wilson, who resigned from cabinet and the party caucus two weeks ago, when officials claimed it was over “addiction issues”.
Wait times to file family court documents in Brampton’s Superior Court of Justice reached nearly five times the ministry standard earlier this year and remain among the longest in the GTA.
While a stiff increase in the number of people going to court without lawyers — and often struggling to figure out court bureaucracy — is a problem across the province, Brampton’s courthouse is particularly hard hit, frustrating court staff and ordinary litigants alike.
With no plans to increase staff or counters at the Hurontario Street court, it’s not clear when Bramptonians will see relief.
MP and former Brampton MPP Tony Clement, who retains deep ties to the city, issued a letter to his Parry Sound constituents Thursday evening apologizing for “acts of infidelity” to his wife and admitting that he “crossed lines that should never have been crossed.”
The open letter comes less than 48 hours after the news of the sexting scandal exploded, triggering Clement’s ouster from the Conservative caucus and his departure from a prominent position on Canada’s National Security Committee.
Clement’s wife, Lynne Golding, a Brampton native and prominent lawyer and author, issued her own statement on Wednesday, saying Clement would be “taking the action he needs to get help.”
The long-time Conservative politician is dealing with a professional and personal crisis after admitting he sent inappropriate images to a woman. Things are moving fast around the MP and married father of three, as his party leader, Andrew Scheer, asked him on Wednesday to resign from the federal Conservative caucus.
As the news spreads, in an era when political survival after similar scandals has become hard to predict, Clement has made claims of extortion as a motive behind the story, and is now asking for privacy.
Within Brampton's diverse mix of faith groups, one of the city's smallest religious communities offers inspiration to all, even as many of its members fear a return to darker days.
The impact of events south of the border, as nationalism gets stoked by politicians and those using it as a way to deal with economic hardship, is being felt right here in Brampton.
An appointment to the position of Peel Region chair is still more than a month away, but speculation is swirling about the potential candidates. The decision of who will serve, which the new council will make on Dec. 6, could set the tone inside Peel Region chambers for the next four years.
Will Linda Jeffrey throw her hat into the ring? Will Mississauga, with its heavy vote count, insist on a Mississauga candidate? Will Brampton councillors who backed Patrick Brown get a boost?
Either way, with Brampton looking for more seats at the table—and more clout—and Mississauga’s mayor wanting to pull out of Peel altogether, the chosen chair could be in for a rocky ride.
Despite this year’s high-profile municipal election, voter turnout was down in Brampton, to an embarrassing 34.5 percent. That should prompt new mayor Patrick Brown to look for ways to nurture the political engagement of Bramptonians when it comes to the day-to-day issues that matter most.
The Pointer takes a look at the ups and downs of political turnout in Peel Region and the GTA, and some suggested solutions to the widespread attitude of “I don’t know and I don’t care” when it comes to municipal politics.
A survey conducted by Toronto Region Board of Trade shows that a large majority of residents of the GTA-Hamilton-Waterloo region think a proposal for consolidating transit systems under a single entity — dubbed “Superlinx” — makes sense.
The board’s president says the current system, which sends municipalities begging to higher governments for transit money, hasn’t worked, so it makes sense to send decisions to a body “where growth revenues, planning authority, and financing capacity already exist.” Some 87 percent of the Peel Region residents who took part in the board’s online panel agreed that the idea has merit.
But what happens when Brampton’s needs are pitted against, say, Scarborough’s remains an open question.