Brampton South PC MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria said he still wants a university campus in Brampton despite his government’s decision last October to axe funding for a previously planned Ryerson University satellite campus.
The Brampton Ryerson campus, which also included a partnership with Sheridan College, was one of three planned campuses that saw funding pulled, along with a York University/Seneca College expansion in Markham and a Wilfrid Laurier University/Conestoga College expansion in Milton.
“I’m going to continue to fight for the (Brampton) university. Everyone wants to see the university. We just have to recognize that we’re in a $15-billion deficit per year, which we have now reduced, and the fiscal limitations on the province,” Sarkaria said at a recent event in Brampton, adding Ontario holds one of the highest subnational debts in the world.
The previous Liberal government under Kathleen Wynne approved $90 million in funding for the now-defunct downtown project in April 2018, roughly six weeks before the provincial election that saw the Liberals ousted by Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives.
Brampton appears to have moved on from immediate plans for a campus, choosing instead to focus money originally earmarked for that project to other parts of the partnership with Ryerson University, which is still ongoing.
The city committed $5 million to a cybersecurity catalyst initiative in conjunction with Ryerson and Sheridan in February. More recently, council approved a Centre for Innovation and will use the money originally committed to the campus for a planned “iconic gateway building” at 8 Nelson St.
“Staff are recommending that in the absence of provincial funding for a downtown university campus, staff be directed to proceed with the procurement of the design consultant to begin the detailed design of the CFI,” read a staff report to council in May.
Despite his party’s position and the university campus now being defunded by both the city and the provincial government, Sarkaria said he plans to keep advocating for it.
“We’re going to continue to advocate and fight for, as your Brampton MPP, for a university here,” he said, adding the province has no immediate plans to reopen the file.