Bonnie slap Brown we owe you nothing upon departure
By: Surjit Singh Flora
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown doesn’t think his neighboring counterpart city of Mississauga will find it that easy to separate from the Region of Peel. A 45-year partnership with Brampton and Caledon will make a split very difficult. But the City of Mississauga Council has advocated separation by passing Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s motion resolution on Wednesday, March 20.
According to the Region of Peel Deloitte report, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said Mississauga would owe Brampton hundreds of millions of dollars from infrastructure that it subsidized in Mississauga. “I’m not sure Mississauga could afford it at this point,” he said.
On March 25th Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie replied to that by saying, “he is conveying is factually incorrect, “by slapping Brown back and said, “The notion that there should be some sort of payout is fundamentally false.”
Brown, who sees value for all three municipalities continuing to share some resources, including water supply, maintenance of wastewater (treatment and drainage), roads, garbage collection services etc. Mississauga and Brampton’s police force are also shared. Brampton subsidized and would expect reimbursement for should the region dissolve.
Also, Mayor Brown points out that Mississauga is only looking at its contribution this year, not looking at the totality. For years, when Mississauga was growing its arms and legs for the city, they need regional roads built, infrastructure built — and Brampton taxpayers subsidized it.
Crombie argues otherwise. She tweeted on Wednesday, “Analysis shows we spent $85M on the growth of other cities,” which she called unfair to her residents and businesses. She added Mississauga chips in approximately 60 percent of all funds to the regional pool.
With nearly 800,000 residents, Mississauga provides 59 percent of the funds used to grow other cities in Peel Region, such as Brampton and Caledon, her motion noted.
Crombie argues that money should be used to fund its own ever-growing population.
“Our money should go towards our city of Mississauga needs. We must be able to govern our affairs and set our vision without interference.”
Crombie said now is the time for the move because of the provincial government’s undertaking of a review of regional governance across Ontario. The governance model of Peel Region is “broken” and it is not fair that Mississauga residents are subsidizing the other two cities in the region – Brampton, and Caledon, she added.
Also, Mississauga’s council understands that the city has its own ‘distinct identity’, which should be accepted as a separate city. Mississauga is proud that Pearson International Airport, Canada’s largest airport, is in the city that knows the whole world.
The demand for separation of Mississauga is not new. In 2000, Mississauga’s Mayor Hazel McCallion had also raised this demand and it was turned down.
The government of Doug Ford has started reviewing eight provincial governments in January 2019, including Peel Region, Halton, Durham, and York. The outcome of this review has not been revealed yet and it is not known what the Ford Government is doing for that purpose. The Ford Government has often been talking about bringing efficiency in government services and reducing costs.
Civic governments are formed in the state under the Ontario Municipal Act. In 1998, the state government had formed a Metro City Civil government with the addition of Metro’s 6 Civic Governments (seventh Metro Political Government). The new amendment bill was passed in 1997. Today there is a Toronto Mayor and a City Council. The Doug Ford Government reduced the number of councilors of the Mega-City from 43 to 25 in 2018, to make the arrangements easier and more efficient.
For the Region of Peel, the ‘Mega City’ option exemplified by Toronto would be better. Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon’s separate City Councils and Regional Councils should be abolished. A council of the entire Peel Region and a single Mayoralty would be the right choice. The integration of the entire region will lead to administrative efficiency, and taxes will be controlled.