'Enough is enough:' Will Brampton's municipal election be a referendum on the dysfunction that has plagued city hall?
Todd Letts believes that Brampton is perhaps “Ontario’s best asset” for future job growth thanks to a large tract of developable industrial land unmatched in the GTA and a highly educated workforce.
That is why the CEO of the Brampton Board of Trade quickly grows frustrated when speaking about the “dysfunction” that has engulfed city hall in recent months, whether that is meetings being repeatedly cancelled due to a lack of quorum, allegations of corruption involving a top city staffer or the particularly public power struggle that took place following a decision by five members of council to pre-emptively and illegally fill a vacant seat.
“I hope that whoever is mayor after Oct. 24 that he or she is able to bring the council together and focus on job creation,” Letts told CP24.com this week when asked about a municipal election that is now precisely one month away. “The time is over for the corporation of the City of Brampton and its dysfunction to be a drag on prosperity.”
Brampton is the fastest growing city in Canada, with its population having risen by more than 10 per cent over the last five years alone.
But Letts said that the city isn’t living up to its potential largely due to the infighting at city hall.
That infighting has worsened since June when Patrick Brown was ousted from the federal Conservative leadership race and a rift emerged between his supporters on council and a group of four councillors critical of his leadership.
Those councillors ultimately issued a series of press releases with allegations of wrongdoing and at one point even asked the RCMP and the province to investigate Brown’s financial dealings inside city hall, alleging that he had attempted to “run out the clock on a series of investigations ordered by Brampton City Council.
Brown has maintained that he has done nothing wrong.
“The business community is quite disappointed in the dysfunction. It has consequences and the consequences are the delays in the approval of developments,” Letts told CP24.com. “Look, Brampton continues to be Ontario’s best asset for future jobs and future taxes. It is a valuable piece of the province but it is underperforming because of the dysfunction at city hall and the business community has said clearly ‘we are fed up’ and clearly ‘enough is enough.’”
Whistle-blower among six candidates for mayor
The race to become Brampton’s next mayor is shaping up to be one of the more contentious contests in the GTA, with a whistle-blower who has made allegations of mismanagement against senior staff expected to be one of Brown’s primary challengers for the job.
Nikki Kaur is a City of Brampton employee who was fired and then ultimately reinstated after making a series of allegations in an email to staff and media members in April 2021.
The City of Brampton hired Deloitte Canada to conduct an independent investigation into those allegations, however the firm ultimately determined that it could not substantiate them.
Kaur has also accused Brown of improperly directing her to help with Peter McKay’s failed federal Conservative leadership campaign in 2020.
She is billing herself as a candidate who can “clean up” city hall and bring an end to the infighting once and for all but hasn’t yet released a platform with her vision for the city – her campaign team says that is coming this weekend.
“I really thought that once my allegations were out that there would be something substantial that would change but nothing changed; in fact it got even worse,” Kaur told CP24.com this week as she discussed her decision to run. “The taxpayers work so hard and our community needs a leader that will stand up for them. Not a leader that will run away for a bigger and better job at the first opportunity he sees.”
Well-known Tory strategist involved with Kaur campaign
Kaur’s campaign has already garnered a significant amount of media attention.
Much of that has revolved around the presence of Conservative strategist Nick Kouvalis, who has worked on Mayor John Tory’s last three mayoral campaigns and has served as an advisor to Doug Ford and former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
Kouvalis has been particularly vocal on Twitter, recently calling Brampton city hall an “absolute disaster” and blaming Brown for much of the dysfunction.
He has also made several personal attacks against Brown’s character.
CP24.com did ask Kaur, who is a lawyer by trade, whether the tone of some of the criticism made her uncomfortable but she stood by the crux of it.
“I agree with it. The reason I agree with is I have seen it first hand,” she said.
For his part, Brown told CP24.com that council functioned well for “three-and-a-half years,” under his leadership only to be plunged into chaos more recently.
But he said that he is optimistic that the issues have been dealt with, noting that council has met regularly since the introduction of a motion allowing for the city to dock the pay of members who miss five or more meetings in a row.
“For three-and-a-half years it went quite well,” he said, rejecting suggestions that the dysfunction at Brampton City Hall would continue if he is given a second term. “We passed our budgets unanimously, we got our transit plan passed unanimously and in Brampton - a city that’s historically had divided councils - that was unheard of, all these unanimous votes.”
Polls point to big lead for Brown
Most polls that have been publicly released so far point to a sizeable advantage for Brown as he seeks re-election as Brampton’s mayor.
Speaking with CP24 about his decision to run again following his ouster from the Conservative leadership race in June, Brown said that there was “a lot of wins” from his first term that he is proud of, including a planned billion dollar expansion of Peel Memorial Hospital and confirmation that Toronto Metropolitan University would open up a new medical school in Brampton.
But more than anything else, he said that he takes pride in being an unrelenting advocate for the city of more than 600,000 and would like to continue doing that as mayor.
“I want to lead a Brampton that is strong, that is proud, that is resilient and a Brampton that sticks up for itself and that is what I tried to do,” he said. “When the GO Train service got cut I did a press conference on the GO Train and we got our service back. You know, we did things that were a little bit different, a little bit unique. During COVID-19 when we weren’t getting enough vaccines I stood up and fought for them until we got our vaccines. I highlighted to the country that we had a larger percentage of essential workers and of course we had a higher positivity rate because we were the ones keeping the supply chain together. I want to do another four years so I can continue to fight for the best interest of Brampton.”
The other candidates running for mayor in Brampton include Vidya Sagar Gautam, Prabh Kaur Mand, Tony Moracci and Bob Singh.
Three of the 10 municipal wards in the city do not have incumbents and will have new councillors after Oct. 24.
This is the first of a series of stories taking a closer look at the mayoral election campaigns across the GTHA. Next week CP24.com will have a story on the race in Toronto. Voters head to the polls on Oct. 24.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Protests against China's restrictive COVID-19 measures appeared to roil in a number of cities Saturday night, in displays of public defiance fanned by anger over a deadly fire in the western Xinjiang region.
In less than 24 hours, Canada returns to the men’s FIFA World Cup for its next group stage match against Croatia. CTVNews.ca takes a look at what you need to know ahead of the game on Sunday.
Alcohol and speed were factors in a tragic collision that killed three junior hockey players in B.C.'s Lower Mainland last year, according to a coroner's report.
Health officials across the country have stopped short of issuing mask mandates, despite rising cases of flu, RSV and COVID-19 in many regions. CTVNews.ca looks into how each province and territory is approaching whether to require masks in indoor public spaces.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country's ultimate goal is to possess the world's most powerful nuclear force, as he promoted dozens of military officers involved in the recent launch of North Korea's largest ballistic missile, state media reported on Sunday.
A man went missing from a Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. What happened next might well be a 'Thanksgiving miracle'
A passenger went missing from a Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. Quick thinking and a 'miracle' saved the man's life.
Canadian military would be 'challenged' to launch a large scale operation: chief of the defence staff
Canada’s military forces are 'ready' to meet their commitments should Russia's war in Ukraine spread to NATO countries, but it would be a 'challenge' to launch a larger scale operation in the long term, with ongoing personnel and equipment shortages, according to Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre.
With a seemingly endless list of choices, finding the right toy this holiday season may seem like a daunting task. Industry observers share the toys that caught their eyes this year.
A former student armed with a semi-automatic pistol and a revolver who killed four people and wounded 12 in two schools in Brazil had a swastika pinned to his vest and had been planning the attacks for two years, police said.
Revenu Quebec confirmed on Friday citizens will start receiving their $400 to $600 cheques to combat inflation in early December. At the same time, the agency is cautioning Quebecers to beware of fraud text messages and emails.
With the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) right around the corner, Montreal protestors are readying themselves for a busy December. On Saturday, a group of COP15 objectors gathered in the McGill University student union building for a seminar on protestor safety, police interactions and legal support.
Montreal-based Warner Bros. Entertainment release of Gotham Knights prompted calls for gaming companies to properly credit their workers. The issue is one that extends to many leading video game companies.
They’ve travelled from across the country to see their sons, brothers, and alma mater compete for the Vanier Cup
Thousands of Londoners lined Gainsborough road Saturday morning to see the man in red
This weekend local army reservists are taking part in training exercises across the province as the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have had to respond to more natural disasters in recent years.
‘Worked so hard to get to today’: Trustee speaks out after Cambridge confirms WCDSB election results
More than a month after Ontario’s municipal elections, the City of Cambridge clerk certified the results for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) trustee election.
A pedestrian has been seriously injured following a collision at a busy Kitchener roundabout.
Commercial flights in and out of Region of Waterloo International Airport were cancelled Friday after a Flair Airlines plane carrying 140 people overran the runway during landing.
Throughout the afternoon Saturday, the Sudbury Five basketball team held an open tryouts at Notre Dame College on Lévis Street. Around a dozen people from across Ontario made their way to the city in hopes of making the team.
A Goulais, Ont. based tour agency was among eight award winners at the annual Northern Ontario Tourism Awards Summit this week.
The 3rd annual Let's Remember Adam Fill the Bus Toy and Food Drive took place in Mattawa Saturday.
Ontario Provincial Police say officers are at the scene of a blaze in Portland, Ont. where a vehicle fire has spread to a home.
The city councillor who represents the Mooney’s Bay area is speaking out after city staff decided to install fencing this winter to prevent people from sledding at Mooney’s Bay Park.
The Brockville community is showing their support this weekend for a teenager battling a deadly disease.
'I was at the right place at the right time,' Windsor Goodfellows volunteer goes viral after showing act of kindness
A volunteer with Windsor’s Goodfellows is overwhelmed with the response he’s received since a video of him offering to make a donation on someone’s behalf has amassed more than 27 million views on TikTok
An emergency town hall meeting is giving people the opportunity to weigh in on how the community should respond to an incident which saw a Windsor teacher reportedly use a racist slur twice in front of students.
An iconic stopover for students at the University of Windsor is closing its doors after more than three decades in business.
A Barrie couple who found love in the military is celebrating a significant wedding milestone.
A Bracebridge resort has been convicted of violating Ontario's Public Lands Act, receiving upwards of $180,000 in fines.
The Anne Street bridge project in Barrie is experiencing delays, with the Ministry of Transportation saying it likely won't be finished until sometime next year.
Friends of a man who died waiting for care inside the Moncton Hospital’s ER waiting room this past week held a demonstration Saturday outside the building, demanding answers and action.
A Moncton family is breathing a sigh of relief after police misidentified a body found, but questions remain about how law enforcement made the serious mix-up.
A new proposal from Nova Scotia Power would see electricity rates rise nearly 14 per cent by 2024, despite efforts to limit increases by the province.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is eyeing emergency provisions to deal with a surge of patients inside the Alberta Children's Hospital.
Calgarians gathered Saturday to commemorate the 89th anniversary of the Holodomor, known as the terror-famine in the Soviet Union that killed millions of Ukrainians from 1932 to 1933.
Twelve new Calgary Transit and community peace officers are ready to hit the streets.
Manitoba RCMP are on the hunt for a Winnipeg man after a woman and her daughter were briefly kidnapped near Portage la Prairie Friday afternoon.
The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) is giving kids the chance to help pets in need this holiday season.
Winnipeg police are looking for suspects in the city's 47th homicide of the year.
Canada's supply of children's cold and flu medication increased by more than 2 million units this week, but it's not known when supplies will arrive in B.C., or how many are on the way to the province.
Temperatures are expected to dip below zero this weekend, a forecast that can be frighteningly cold for those who call the streets their home.
Two B.C. nurses were disciplined by their professional college this week for diverting narcotics from their workplaces.
Edmonton transit drivers are sharing images of what they are seeing on buses and the LRT on a sometimes daily basis in the hopes it will push the city to hire more transit peace officers.
An Edmonton woman appeared on an episode of Jeopardy Friday night, completing a lifelong dream and getting the chance to compete against a 14-day champion.
While many people have their minds on getting the best Black Friday deal, local businesses are asking shoppers to consider them, as some owners feel the pandemic push of supporting local fade away.