One year after former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown became Brampton’s mayor, he has yet to sit down and discuss serious business with his replacement, the current Ontario Premier, Doug Ford. Ford has apparently met mayors of sluggishly growing cities but is yet to meet the mayor of the second fastest growing city in Canada.
Premier Ford made an informal joint appearance alongside Brampton West MPP Amarjot Sandhu at his constituency office for a community BBQ but hasn’t had an actual in-person meeting with Mayor Brown since October 2018.
In what was an apparent message, just a day after Brown won, the Ford government announced that Brampton’s Ryerson university funding was being cancelled.
Other measures such as causing a mess on the Kitchener GO line frustrated Brampton commuters, diddy dallying with a regional governance review that could have negatively affected the city and the persistent matter of hallway healthcare have given the indication, to some, that Brampton is just not on Queen’s Park’s radar.
However the premier’s office disagrees with the notion that nothing has been done for Brampton, saying the province “continues to have a positive working relationship with the city,” despite admitting Ford has not met with Brown either.
“To date, our government has made significant capital investments in the City of Brampton and will continue working in partnership with our municipalities to provide the support they need to better serve their communities,” said Ford spokesperson Ivana Yelich, referring to the ‘strong advocacy’ from Sandhu and the other Brampton Tory MPP, Associate Small Business Minister Prabmeet Sakaria.
The provincial government is keen on dispelling any notion that immigrant and vote-rich Brampton is paying the price for politics and bad blood between the two leaders. In fact, they’ve pointed out to the number of capital investment projects that affect Brampton, such as:
• A new morning rush hour train on the Kitchener GO line
• $116.9-million on construction projects for two rail tunnel underpasses at the 401 & 409 to deliver on two-way, all-day service on the Kitchener GO line, scheduled for completion by 2021
• $525,000 to William Osler Health System for Youth Residential Treatment and Withdrawal Management
• $350,000 to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Peel Dufferin for Opioids Addictions Treatment and Services
Meanwhile $90 million is being invested in grants for student needs in the Peel public and Catholic school boards.
Brown has met with other ministers in the government, but at the end of the day, sitting down with the head of that government who greenlights all the decisions really matters.
Another consideration is the long term political calculus involved.
Brampton currently has five provincial seats up for grabs in the 2022 election. Ford’s Tories managed to sweep to power despite only winning two of Brampton’s ridings; the rest went to the NDP.
While politics may play out behind the scenes, business continues as usual, so Brampton residents have nothing really to worry about just yet. -CINEWS