All three provincial party leaders made campaigning in Brampton their number one priority.
And all of them are going out of their way to promise everything short of the moon to Bramptonites who should consider themselves the luckiest region in the province. NDP’s Andrea Horwath has promised to build a third hospital in the city, something that many residents would love given that Brampton also happens to have the dubious distinction of having one of the highest number of diabetes patients in the country. It is also one of the fastest growing regions and clearly hospitals are a priority given the widely reported stories about patients waiting overnight in the hallways of hospitals because of bed shortages.
The Liberals have pledged $90mn to bring joint Ryerson-Sheridan campus to Brampton.
A day before, the Ontario Liberals made their first campaign stop in the city, choosing Powerade Centre for their stop. And earlier this month, Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford held a rally there too.
Until recently, the city of just over 590,000 was divided into three ridings, one shared with Mississauga. This year, it has five.
In the last election, the Liberals won the support of two of the three ridings and the NDP took the other. The Conservatives were a distant third in all three. His comments on immigration may not endear him to the burgeoning immigrant population that may not share his sentiment regarding ‘taking care of our own first.’
So, Brampton seats could well be a battle between the NDP and Liberals. However, the vote may end up split between the two that might give the Conservatives an edge.
With over 260,000 of its residents of South Asian origin, Brampton has one of the highest concentrations of South Asian people in the Greater Toronto Area, something reflected politically too.
And adding to the mix, the brother of Jagmeet Singh, Gurratan, is battling for a seat once held by the now federal NDP leader. To what extent that name recognition will factor into the voting decisions of a heavily South Asian area is yet to be seen.
Political leaders have broadly agreed to deal with the issues that give Brampton residents grief like high insurance rates, inadequate transit, more amenities, better hospitals. Come to think of it, every community across the province have similar concerns.
But what happens in Brampton and to Brampton could well be a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the province. -CINEWS