Here's What is Happening with the Peel Regional Chair


In a previous piece, we looked into possible candidates that could be appointed the next Peel Regional Chair position, now that Doug Ford cancelled the election for that role.

Since that time, at least two candidates can be considered out of the running. There is no indication that current chair Frank Dale will seek another term, and Mississauga Ward 6 councillor Ron Starr was recently re-elected by only 347 votes.

While Starr could seek the regional chair position, which was originally what he was doing before deciding to run for reelection, it would be an extremely cynical maneuver having just been re-elected as councillor, and ironically would be exactly what Dale did four years ago.

But now some new developments have emerged that require a review of who can seek the Peel regional chair spot come December, when members of the new regional council meet to make that decision.

So here's a brief rundown of some of the people who are or rumoured to be seeking the chair of the Region of Peel.

Elaine Moore and Gael MilesBoth outgoing veteran regional councillors confirmed in separate emails to that they were both seeking the Peel regional chair's role. Miles (right) had been on Brampton city council since 1988 and Moore (left) had been a longtime councillor and trustee, having first been elected to regional council in 2003.

The Region has yet to see a female chair take the reins before, and although both councillors have in-depth knowledge about the workings of the municipality, some may see that support between them may split the Brampton contingent, allowing a candidate from Mississauga to sneak up the middle, such as…

Nando Iannicca

Outgoing Mississauga councillor Nando Iannicca (second from right)

The 30 year veteran of Mississauga city council announced he was retiring at the beginning of this year, and former MPP Dipika Damerla was elected to replace him in Ward 7.

However, back when the position of regional chair was up for election, Iannicca did put his name forward as a candidate, oddly enough putting him in contention with his fellow council colleague Starr at the time.

Now that the role is back to being an appointed one, Iannicca can boast that he has the credentials as well as the fact that his appointment would not trigger an unnecessary by-election to replace him. But Miles and Moore also have the same advantage in that regard.

There might still be a strong candidate outside of regional government to put their name forward, which brings up another name quite familiar locally in Mississauga...

Charles Sousa

The former Ontario finance minister may have lost his seat in the June provincial election, but he has still been actively seen in the southern end of Mississauga, most recently endorsing the candidacy of Natalie Hart for Ward 1 councillor.

So strong was a potential Sousa candidacy for regional chair that rumours emerged that Doug Ford was allegedly trying to convince Sousa through back channels to run for the job against Patrick Brown. When Sousa ultimately declined, Ford allegedly had that election cancelled to thwart Brown. Brown ended up getting elected as Brampton mayor.

But rumours from local political grapevines suggest that Sousa turned down the regional chair position because some have speculated that the Ford government may be getting ready to undertake a massive reform of regional government in Ontario, opening the possibility that Peel Region as presently configured may not exist down the road.

Still, there is one more name that has emerged in light of the recent election results…

Linda Jeffrey

Jeffrey's name wasn't even in consideration…until her stunning upset loss to Brown during the municipal election by a few thousand votes. The outgoing mayor herself sounded as surprised as many people when the results rolled in.

Now that Patrick Brown is getting ready to take over as Brampton's next mayor, some have speculated that Jeffrey is making phone calls and asking for advice as to whether she should seek the regional chair's job, along with her fellow outgoing council members Gael Miles and Elaine Moore.

That would offer three solid choices to choose from if the council decides to go for a Brampton candidate. But with three solid choices they could end up splitting support, allowing a Mississauga candidate like Iannicca to sneak up the middle.

But the disadvantage working against Jeffrey is that this could be seen by some as a cynical political ploy or her looking to get a 'consolidation prize' after losing out on the job she wanted in the first place. The other caveat is that, when she was first elected mayor in 2014, she spoke out against the appointment process for the regional chair, saying it should be a democratically elected role.

By seeking the appointment anyway, Jeffrey basically will flip flop from one of her prior political positions. But when has that ever stopped anyone in politics before?

We will see who puts their names forward when Peel Regional council reconvenes on December 6.

Do you think there are other names besides those mentioned that could be the next Peel Regional chair?

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