Mississauga councillor’s absence leaves city one vote short at Peel council


Published May 18, 2022 at 2:42 pm


A Mississauga councillor’s leave of absence to run in the upcoming provincial election has left her Mississauga colleagues at an apparent disadvantage when dealing with their Brampton and Caledon counterparts at Region of Peel council.

Ward 7 Councillor Dipika Damerla informed the City of Mississauga on May 4 that she was taking an unpaid leave until June 3–the day following the election–as she attempts to reclaim the Mississauga East-Cooksville seat she previously held from 2011 to 2018.

However, Damerla failed to name someone to fill in for her at May Region of Peel council meetings.

Mississauga Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish said the apparent oversight hurts Mississauga when voting on key issues at the Region of Peel.

“We’re at a disadvantage at the Region (of Peel) right now because Councillor Damerla did not designate a proxy before she took her leave of absence,” Parrish said at today’s (May 18) Mississauga council meeting.

A longtime Mississauga councillor, Parrish is widely known for leading the Mississauga charge on numerous contentious issues over the years at the Region of Peel.


Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish says Mississauga is at a clear disadvantage at Region of Peel council while one of her Mississauga colleagues is away on leave.

She asked City legal staff today if Mississauga council could designate someone to take Damerla’s place for the rest of the provincial election campaign period “…because I don’t want us to be one short up there (at the Region of Peel). It’s not a good idea–ever.”

City solicitor Andra Maxwell said that under the Ontario Municipal Act, only Damerla can appoint a proxy.

“Council cannot do that for her,” Maxwell told councillors, “…because it is not a vote of Mississauga up at the Region; it is Councillor Damerla’s vote and she needs to be able to select who she trusts to have the proxy and she needs to be able to convey her wishes on any particular matter to the person who holds the proxy.”

Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she reached out to Damerla earlier this month suggesting she contact the Region of Peel and “appoint someone (as her proxy)…and I don’t know whether or not she has.”

Crombie said she did not receive a response from the absent councillor.

A displeased Parrish said it’s Damerla’s responsibility to name a proxy as soon as possible.

Should Damerla be successful in her provincial bid, thereby vacating her city council seat, councillors could then decide, under the Municipal Act, how to fill the vacancy.

One option would be simply to appoint a placeholder in the ward until this October’s municipal election, similar to what council decided when former Ward 2 Councillor Karen Ras left earlier this year.

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