Premier Doug Ford might scrap the separation of Peel; Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon

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Published December 5, 2023 at 6:14 pm

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Reports indicate Premier Doug Ford may be set to reverse the costly, long-in-the-works divorce of Peel Region.

Media reports broke the story shortly after 5 p.m. on Dec. 5 just hours after former Mississauga Mayor-turned Ontario Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown got into a verbal spar over the future of the split.

Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga were united into Peel Region back in 1974. However, the cities have long chafed under the Regional system and have tried to strike out on their own several times over the years, spearheaded by late, longtime Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Mississauga and Brampton are respectively Ontario’s third and fourth most populous cities. Canada-wide they rank seventh and ninth. Both have considerably larger populations than single-tier cities like Hamilton, London and Windsor.

However, the long-saught divorce remains acrimonious as Brampton claims it helped to build Mississauga and is owed for the assistance. Crombie fired back saying Mississauga had likewise helped Brampton and built itself up through its own development fees.

She continued that Brampton can “stand on its own two feet” following Brown’s tax freezes. “I’m very confident this process should go forward and will go forward because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

Since the split’s announcement in the summer both cities have said the divorce needs to be done as quickly as possible, leaving some concerned about service gaps. This has prompted both cities and the Region to assure residents, “There will be no disruption in service.”

Last week Brown claimed the split would lead to a one-time tax increase of 38 per cent and cost over $1 billion. Today, he cautioned of a mass exodus of paramedics from Brampton.”It would lead to the largest tax increase in taxes in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon history. It would seriously compromise public health, paramedic services, long-term care and policing in Peel.” Brown said, “It could put lives at risk.”

His concerns have been echoed by Caledon Mayor Annette Groves who said it would “be encouraging if the province rethought the dissolution of Peel Region.” She continued, “There are too many unknown costs to fully understand the true impact to taxpayers if Peel dissolves. It is also uncertain how dissolution will negatively impact the Town’s ability to reach its housing pledge and the provincial goal to build 1.5 million new homes.”

Just hours after this latest public negotiation, journalist Robert Benzie broke the story that Premier Doug Ford plans to backtrack on his government’s Hazel McCallion Act which guarantees the split finish by Jan. 1, 2025. Citing anonymous sources, Benzie wrote Ford was concerned by Brown’s earlier announcement about the tax hike.

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