BY ALEX GREGORY
The needs of the many or the needs of the few? A recent motion introduced at the Region of Peel to rebalance the representation of its three municipalities may shape local decisions for many years to come.
Brampton councillors introduced a walk-on motion at last week’s regular regional meeting to increase their representation by two seats – while removing two seats from Caledon, reducing their seats to three in major decisions versus 12 regional spots for Mississauga and nine for Brampton, via an amendment same amount ‐ at a Nov. 26 meeting was “blindsiding”. Photo made by Mississauga of communication with the councillor Carolyn Parrish. Region’s policy committee, The move caught Caledon councillors off-guard, which she serves on. with several vowing not to support a motion until additional public consultation was given regarding population of approxi- “That’s not happening, and it’s disappointing,” she told other councillors.
Caledon currently has a the issue of representation by population.
“An item as important as representation by population deserves to be a full public process,” said Caledon Wards 3 & 4 regional councillor Jennifer Innis on Nov. 26 during the meeting. Innis indicated that she wasn’t satisfied with the way the motion was presented and the lack mately 66,000, versus just over 600,000 in Brampton and 828,000 in Mississauga.
At Regional Council, Caledon represents 15,660 residents for each regional seat, compared to 65,742 residents per regional seat in Mississauga, and 97,371 residents per regional seat in Brampton.
“We knew this was coming,” said Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, who noted that the rumblings of discussion over representation had been happening for several years beforehand.
“There’s a disproportionate representation in Caledon, and it shows an appreciation for the historic position that Caledon is in,”
said Brown, who moved Parrish’s amendment to add two Brampton seats while removing two Caledon seats.
“We don’t want Caledon to go down to one seat.
That would be unfair, but based on representation by population, that’s what it would be.”
If the motion is passed, the revised regional council structure would be enacted in Oct. 2022, in time for the next municipal election.
“It’s blindsiding and it’s disappointing,” said Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson in an interview with Peel Weekly News earlier this week.
“It was backroom politicking at its worst… in my 17 years of serving as an elected official, I have never seen anything like it.”
Thompson indicated that there was no advance conversation of a motion beforehand, nor any engagement or consolation with other staff or committee members.
What’s worse, says Thompson, is that a motion about governance was being pushed during a major pandemic.
“What is really troubling is that they chose the time when our residents are battling through the second wave of a global pandemic…. to force a public meeting about governance at this time shows a blatant disrespect for everything we’ve been through this year.”
At a special meeting Monday, Caledon councillors and local residents debated the surprise motion, noting that it never should have come on the agenda.
“I need our Council down at Region saying, ‘This should not be happening,'” said Caledon resident Sherry Brioschi, who indicated that the Town needs to take a stand to protect its current number of regional seats, specifically in terms of provincial projections that would see the area double in size over the next two decades. “With the growth that’s coming, it’s going to be
“Mississauga and Brampton have never had any regard for Caledon, and I don’t expect them to have any,” said fellow Ward 4 resident Angela Panacci, who said she was “concerned, upset, flabbergasted and downright angry” at the nature of the motion.
A public consultation process is planned for the motion. Look for additional coverage of this story in upcoming issues .