Mississauga won’t be ‘baited’ into ‘spitting match’ with Brampton mayor over Peel split


Published June 9, 2023 at 2:38 pm

Flanked by her council, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie speaks about Mississauga's split from the Region of Peel at a May 18 news conference at City Hall.

Mississauga councillors vowed this week to not be “baited” into a “spitting match” with Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown when it comes to talking about the Region of Peel’s dissolution and its three member municipalities going their separate ways.

Brown and the City of Brampton insist that in any separation deal, Mississauga must pay significant compensation for what he claims has been Brampton’s efforts through the decades in helping to finance Mississauga’s growth.

The Brampton mayor has been especially vocal since Bill 112 (Hazel McCallion Act) calling for the splitting up of Peel was introduced on May 18 at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

The bill was fast-tracked through the Ontario Legislature and passed third reading on Tuesday of this week. It now must receive Royal Assent in order to make it law and once that happens, the ball will be rolling toward a Peel split as of Jan. 1, 2025.

Meanwhile, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, her council and senior City staff have repeatedly voiced their disagreement with Brampton’s position on the political split.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown says Mississauga should compensate Brampton in any Region of Peel dissolution agreement.

They claim Mississauga has paid its own way since the formation of the Region of Peel in 1974 and that it owes its neighbour to the north nothing.

At Wednesday’s (June 7) meeting of general committee, several Mississauga councillors weighed in on both Brown’s ongoing efforts to argue his case in the media and what Mississauga’s response or non-response should be.

Brampton hosted a tele-town hall meeting on Thursday night to provide residents there with information on the dissolution of Peel and what Brampton should be owed.

Ward 8 Councillor Matt Mahoney doesn’t want to be “baited” by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown. 

Mississauga Ward 8 Councillor Matt Mahoney told colleagues on council that his concern with defending Mississauga’s position in response to Brown’s campaign is that “when you’re defending, you’re losing.”

He said he’d prefer to keep things simple and just take the facts to Mississauga residents via the City’s own tele-town hall event or public meetings that would have “some teeth to it.”

“I kind of feel like Patrick Brown, and perhaps Brampton, is trying to bait us into a debate or into something that I don’t think we need to do,” said Mahoney. “I think we have reports…we have things that back (our case) up and I’d like to be prepared, get our homework done and go out in public meetings, town halls…with the proper information. I don’t want us to get baited into…Brampton’s rhetoric, and I think that’s really what they’re trying to do, to some degree, out of some desperation.”

Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish agreed, noting that to take the bait and publicly confront the Brampton mayor would be playing into his hands.

“I don’t want to see us getting into a spitting match with Patrick Brown…I think all we need to do is give (residents) the facts,” said Parrish. “Getting into (a public battle) feeds Patrick Brown’s style, absolutely, and he’s darn good at it…We just need to put out facts people can read, understand, not get inflamed (by) and not get into a spitting match with Mayor Brown.”

Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish says it would be a mistake to get into a “spitting match” with Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown.

The councillor added that members of a transition board to soon be appointed by the provincial government to oversee the Peel split “are the experts” in how the divorce should proceed.

City Manager Shari Lichterman told councillors that the City’s communications strategy to date has been to educate the public through a social media campaign and the City’s website.

She cautioned that to do much more would be wading into different territory.

“One thing that does occur to me is that (Brampton’s) narrative is very much coming from a political perspective, and so if we want to push back, that may be more of a political strategy than a corporate communications strategy, although I do notice that their City social media has now started to echo some of that same narrative,” said Lichterman, adding, as Parrish also noted, that “the real decision-makers in this process will be this transition board guided by the province.”

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