Councillors spar over alleged closed session breach in Brampton Council chambers

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Published November 29, 2023 at 1:10 pm

Brampton City Hall

Brampton City Councillors were shut out of a closed-door meeting this week following a last-minute decision to block members from attending virtually and allegations of a breach of confidential information.

The sparring match came on Wednesday as a committee of Brampton City Council was set to head into closed session – a private sitting of councillors to tackle sensitive city business and requests under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Coun. Navjit Kaur Brar was chair of the meeting when Coun. Michael Palleschi called for banning members not present in council chambers on the day from attending the private session – a move that required the waiving of council procedure.

Palleschi made the request after alleging a breach of in-camera information following last week’s regular city council meeting, but stopped short of pointing fingers or going into detail about the supposed leak.

Coun. Martin Mederios, who was not present at Wednesday’s meeting but attended online, pushed back against doing away with rules which allow for members of council to attend both open and closed sessions virtually as well as in-person.

The vote to block councillors from attending virtually passed with only Mederios casting a ‘no’ ballot, while Councillors Pat Fortini and Dennis Keenan were counted absent as they were not present in-person or online for the meeting.

Councillors also passed a vote to add an additional discussion item to the closed meeting.

The last term of council were no strangers to in-fighting as the spat isn’t the first between Mederios and Palleschi, who were on opposite sides of a boycott of council meetings and an illegal motion passed to replace a Brampton City Councillor last year.

Mayor Patrick Brown was hopeful that the schism on council would fade following the municipal election last year after opponents like former Coun. Jeff Bowman decided not to run, and the election of several first-time councillors.

Council is required to report back in public session on whether decisions, directions or motions result from an in-camera session.

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