Mayor Crombie Meets with Premier to Discuss Mississauga Priorities

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie had a meeting with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne this week at Queen’s Park to discuss various issues surrounding Mississauga regarding transit, infrastructure, and housing. This was similar to a meeting Wynne held with Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey last month. The full press conference can be seen below:

In her official statement, the Mayor highlighted her office’s ‘strong working relationship’ with the provincial government through a number of recent examples, such as the $1.4 billion of provincial funding for the Hurontario LRT, the doubling of gas tax money to $32 million by 2022, and $81 billion for infrastructure spending. The Mayor also highlighted initiatives the City of Mississauga is taking to address affordable housing, as well as discussing the announcement last week by Mississauga MPP and Finance Minister Charles Sousa of the sale of 177 acres of waterfront on Mississauga’s Lakeview neighbourhood, where 67 acres was allocated to Mississauga as part of plans for a new, mixed-use waterfront community.

The questions from various media outlets were more about province-wide issues, such as contract negotiations with OPSEU, the premier’s upcoming visit to Dallas to discuss cross border trade, and the continuing controversy over the sale of Hydro One. Wynne basically said the media should ask the people who framed the sale as a problem why it’s a problem, saying the sale has helped the government make important infrastructure investments.

Premier Wynne also repeated that there is not going to be a snap (early) provincial election in response to what sounded like a biased question from one reporter, referencing an Ontario PC fundraising letter that recently went out saying that there was going to be an election earlier than June 2018. But you never know when a political leader changes her mind; Steve Paikin of TVO fame seems to think there is a strong possibility of an early trip to the polls.

Mayor Crombie’s office informed Insauga through an email that she already met with PC Leader Patrick Brown and NDP leader Andrew Horwath prior to seeing Wynne for this meeting. Unfortunately for you Green Party members out there, the email from the Mayor’s office did not confirm a meeting with Green Party leader Mike Schreiner. The political calculus behind that is quite simple: only the Liberals, Tories or the NDP could conceivably form the next provincial government after the election, while the Greens have yet to win a seat in the Ontario Legislature. The old adage of sticking to dealing with those you know, rather than the unknown, seems to apply here.

Overall, Wynne’s meetings with mayors in Mississauga, Brampton and other cities and municipalities serve as a political strategy for the Premier designed to showcase a steady hand with experience on the job. No matter how his partisan supporters like to spin it, Patrick Brown does not possess extensive experience in running a government, so I’m expecting Liberals to drag out the old adage of “he’s just not up to the job.”

Which is ironic, because almost 20 years ago the Mike Harris provincial Conservatives said the same thing about the then Liberal leader, Dalton McGuinty, in the 1999 and 2003 provincial elections. McGuinty fell victim to the first time the attack was used in 1999, but overcame it subsequently in 2003 to win a majority government. Things seem to be coming in full circle as the roles are now reversed.

But to offer a bit of advice for Tories, if your guy ‘isn’t up to the job’ perhaps you should ask voters that after 15 years, can Ontario really risk another four years of Kathleen Wynne’s “experience”, what with the cancelled gas plants, mismanagement of finances, soaring Hydro rates, and higher costs of necessities? That would be an effective way to reframe the ballot question.

Photo is from Mayor Crombie’s web site in press release of meeting with Premier.

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