Mississauga and Brampton mayors make faces as they battle over separation
Published May 18, 2023 at 3:01 pm
It’s official — Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon will separate from the Region of Peel but a battle appears to be brewing between the mayors.
Today (May 18), the Ontario government introduced the Hazel McCallion Act, which would, if passed, begin the process to dissolve the Regional Municipality of Peel and make the municipalities of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon independent.
The proposed legislation honours the legacy of Peel Region’s longest-serving mayor, the late Hazel McCallion, who was central to the region’s remarkable growth during her 36 years as Mayor of Mississauga and a long-time advocate for greater autonomy for her city.
During the announcement, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said McCallion was “a pivotal figure in the growth of Peel Region (who) long believed that Mississauga was capable of standing on its own two feet.”
But during the announcement today a feud between Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown seemed to play out with each accused of “making faces” while the other was speaking.
Brown expressed his concerns that Brampton will be left without the necessary infrastructure to support development. While Crombie insisted Mississauga has paid more than its fair share in the last 40 or more years.
“Let me be very clear, Brampton would never accept our residents being taken advantage of,” Brown said.
While Crombie shot back saying the numbers will show how much Mississauga has contributed.
“I look forward to opening our books so everyone can see for themselves, the status of our finances and our reserves and what exactly Mississauga paid for the past 50 years towards the growth and the development of not only Mississauga, but Brampton and Caledon,” she said.
When asked if they can work together over the next 19 months, Crombie said yes.
“We will be able to work this out amicably,” she said.
“I would just say, we’re gonna be watching this process very closely,” Brown said.
Meanwhile, Caledon Mayor Annette Groves liken her municipality to a child in a divorce.
“I know we are the child in this marriage,” Groves said. “But children get to speak in a divorce because, at the end of the day, the children are affected.”
All joking aside, Groves said that while Caledon was happy with the status quo, they are confident that they will be “taken care of throughout this process.”
She did express concerns about the employees working for the Region of Peel who are residents.
“We have 7,000 employees that work at the Region of Peel and they have served all of us well, and they’ve served our residents really well over the last 50 years,” she said.
It’s not clear what will happen to those employees. That will be decided in the coming months after a transition board is established to oversee the break-up.
Clark said the province’s plan would help ensure the continuation of services for taxpayers while improving the efficiency of local governments.
The transition board will include up to five people to facilitate the change and oversee the financial affairs of Peel and its lower-tier municipalities to help ensure prudent financial stewardship until dissolution.
The board would help “ensure a fair outcome for the three municipalities that prioritizes the preservation of frontline services and workers, respect for taxpayers and government efficiency.”
It’s also expected that the board will help the “municipalities work together fairly and in a spirit of partnership in order to ensure value for money and efficient, high-quality services for taxpayers.”
Where there are shared assets and services, the dissolution process would help ensure an equitable outcome for all residents that preserves their access to municipal services regardless of location, Clark said.
The removal of The Region of Peel will help cut “red tape” and improve efficiency so the region can achieve its housing goals, Clark added.
If all goes as planned, Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon will become single-tier municipalities on Jan. 1, 2025.
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