Brampton Mayor Brown wants $20,000 fee for illegal motion challenge paid by councillors, not the city


Published July 20, 2022 at 12:12 pm

Brampton council

Some Brampton councillors could be on the hook for a combined $20,000 fine if and when council is able to hold a meeting after over a month of no-shows and boycotts.

“We were hoping to have a motion that the councillors pay the fine, not the city,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said on Wednesday (July 20) of $20,000 in legal fees which need to be paid to Coun. Harkirat Singh for a court challenge.

The fees come from a Ontario Superior Court decision which ruled a motion attempting to appoint an interim councillor before the seast was declared vacant was illegal under the Ontario Municipal Act.

Councillors Jeff Bowman, Pat Fortini, Martin Medeiros, Gurpreet Dhillon, Doug Whillans and former councillor Charmaine Williams supported the motion, while Brown along with councillors Singh, Michael Palleschi, Rowena Santos and Paul Vicente were opposed.

The court has ordered the city to reimburse Singh for the challenge, but Brown said on Wednesday there were plans for a motion asking councillors to pay the bill.

No motions could be tabled after Bowman, Fortini, Medeiros, Dhillon and Whillans were no-shows on Wednesday at a special meeting of Brampton council, marking the second day in a row those councillors were absent and the sixth meeting cancelled in just over a month due to not enough members in attendance.

Of the five councillors who did not attend council on Wednesday, City Clerk Peter Fay said four of the members were away “on stated vacation,” and one was away “on personal business.”

Another special meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, but it is unclear if that will go ahead as planned. Other meetings on the council callendar include July 25, Aug. 10 and Aug. 15.

Brampton Councillors Jeff Bowman (top left), Pat Fortini (top middle), Martin Medeiros (top right), former Councillor Charmaine Williams (bottom left), Gurpreet Dhillon (bottom middle) and Doug Whillans (bottom right) supported a motion which has been ruled illegal under the Ontario Municipal Act.

Before the City Clerk could wind down Wednesday’s meeting, Brown asked if the city would be required to pay the fine if the meeting could not go ahead.

Chief Administrative Officer Paul Morrison said the city would have to pay the fine and “recoup that cost” if the court’s time limit to pay the fine runs out before any motion on the $20,000 can be passed.

Council has been divided following the pre-emptive motion passed back in May, with both camps skipping meetings.

Brown and his supporters deliberately missed two special meetings and two regular meetings of council to stall the appointment while the court came to its ruling.

The councillors who supported the motion previously skipped meetings in February in protest of what they called the city’s “authoritarian dictatorship.”

Council business has been put on hold as a result of the challenges and the infighting, including a grant request from Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing units in Brampton, a report on a new tourism sign from the city, and a motion to ask the province to move the municipal election date as it falls on the religious festival of Diwali.

Two development applications could also be put on hold, as members of the Credit Valley Residents Association (CVRA) have challenged decisions on a proposed multi-use apartment complex and a townhouse development in Brampton due to “an improper composition of Council.”

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