With the candidates for the Brampton municipal elections now finalized and the real campaigning getting underway for the October 22 vote, it is important to take a closer look at who is running to be mayor of Canada’s ninth largest city, considering that Bramptonians from all corners will have the opportunity to choose who leads the city for the next four years.
True, the mayor is technically only one vote on council, who needs to cajole and rally fellow councillors behind his or her agenda in order to enact the promises made during the campaign. Incumbent mayor Linda Jeffrey certainly demonstrated the challenges of doing that during her first term.
Jeffrey is facing former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown, Wards 9 & 10 Regional Councillor John Sprovieri, Brampton lawyer Wesley Jackson, Mansoor Ameersulthan, Vinod Kumar Mahesan, and former Conservative MP and cabinet minister Baljit Gosal for the mayor’s chair. Let’s take a closer look at what they are promising for Brampton.
Here’s who’s running for mayor of Brampton, in alphabetical order:
- Canadian financial stress levels more than double during pandemic
- Many entrepreneurs credit pandemic for pushing them to adopt new technology
- Many Canadians have no financial plan for when government assistance ends
Born on 1961 in India, Ameersulthan moved to Canada 15 years ago and settled in Brampton in 2007. A former fire and safety equipment installation technician from back in his native country, he is also a former united steel workers union representative who speaks Tamil, Hindi and Urdu.
Ammersulthan says he wants change in the city to promote more jobs and infrastructure in Brampton. He is also passionate about making youth involvement towards community activities and strongly believes that they can strive to be great leaders and bring change to Brampton.
He also indicated he has taken part in many events and social services, strongly believing that change is needed in Brampton and that he is ready to work at making Brampton a safer and more progressive environment for all families and children.
The former Ontario PC leader has certainly kept his name in the spotlight despite a dramatic fall from grace back in January when he resigned his party leadership over sexual misconduct allegations, as well as the dramatic last minute cancellation of the Peel Region chair’s race he was running for, causing Brown to jump into the mayor’s contest at the last minute.
Brown listed job creation, addressing gridlock and traffic congestion, holding the line on taxes, safer communities, advocating for more health care funding and improving affordable housing as his priorities as mayor on his website, although little specific details are given. But those themes sound very similar to issues he raised during his inbrampton.com exclusive interview when he was still running for Peel chair.
Baljit (Bal) Gosal
Photo courtesy of the CBC
The former federal sports minister served in the cabinet of former prime minister Stephen Harper from 2011 to 2015, Gosal served as the Conservative MP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton. In 2015, Gosal lost his re-election bid in the riding of Brampton Centre to Liberal Ramesh Sangha.
He has a background in insurance, currently serving as Executive Vice President of JSP Insurance and Financial Services. “As Minister of State (Sport), I am proud of what our Government has accomplished not only to support excellence in sport, but also to make sure that Canadians of all ages and backgrounds can harness the power of sport to lead healthier and more active lives.”
“As the single largest supporter of the Canadian sport system, we are proud to support sport participation and excellence from the playground to the podium,” Gosal says on his Linkedin profile. Inbrampton.com sent an email to Gosal asking him why he decided to re-enter politics by running for mayor and what his top priorities would be if elected, but he has not responded as of this writing.
Photo courtesy of Twitter / @mayorwes2018
This Brampton-based lawyer is a first time political candidate, but out of all the candidates running (other than Mayor Jeffrey) Jackson has been the most detailed in what he would do as mayor and using social media to communicate that message.
Although he supports downtown area infrastructure projects such as the Riverwalk in Brampton, Jackson emphasizes a theme of developing every corner of Brampton as a way of “unlocking” Brampton’s potential. “It’s time to unlock the potential of our transit system to drive employment, housing, and cultural growth” he tweeted.
Jackson’s platform lists various policies such as freezing mayor and council salaries for four years, reinforcing and properly equipping police while implementing alternative security infrastructure measures, addressing the social infrastructure gap, and pre-zone redevelopment and intensification in downtown Brampton to “break the deadlock between existing land values and small lot sizes on the one had, and the desire and need to trigger redevelopment on the other.”
“By bringing jobs to Brampton, or improving transit as a fast and reliable way to get to work, we can get cars off the road and people will be better off financially. By building complete streets, we can increase our quality of life and reduce our expenses. By building better transit and other social infrastructure, we can have safer more stable neighbourhoods. We can have a thriving arts and culture scene if our neighbourhoods are complete, people can get home from work at a decent hour, and all our talent isn’t draw immediately to larger cities because they can’t make a living at home,” Jackson said in an email to inbrampton.
“If we can adopt the “30 Minute City” model, where you have a realistic opportunity to reach all the amenities of life within 30 of your home, we can leverage all of our existing potential and create real opportunities for people, right here in Brampton.”
Linda Jeffrey (incumbent)
The former city councillor and Brampton-Springdale MPP was called into municipal politics back in 2014 by those looking for a credible challenger to then-mayor Susan Fennell, who was embroiled in city hall spending scandals and accusations of cronyism. Jeffrey handedly won that year with 50 per cent of the vote, besting then councillor John Sanderson and Fennell, who ended up in third place.
Since then, the record has been mixed. Although projects such as the university partnership with Ryerson was secured, other Jeffrey initiatives such as increasing transparency at city hall and extending the Hurontario LRT to downtown Brampton were met with resistance from certain councillors.
In our exclusive interview with the mayor, Jeffrey spoke of the need for more funding for Brampton’s two hospitals, noting that the city will hit 1 million people by 2040. She also spoke of transit and was still adamant in getting higher order transit in downtown Brampton, be it LRT, BRT or some other form, during the next term.
Jeffrey also spoke about affordable housing, and while temporary shelters may provide some relief the long term issue is to get more housing but that would require provincial intervention.
Vinod Kumar Mahesan
Mahesan provided no contact information when he registered with the city, so could not be reached for this article. We will update when information becomes available.
A 30-year veteran of Brampton city council, Sprovieri threw his hat into the ring after announcing months ago that he would not seek re-election as a regional councillor. He had scathing criticisms of Jeffrey, saying she was ‘the silent mayor’ who did nothing to address a number of important issues.
Sprovieri says he will fight to get proper funding from the province for education, healthcare, transit and transportation, a fair policy on insurance industry rates as well as increased provincial support to fight violent crime. Insurance is provincial responsibility, so as a municipal leader Sprovieri would have to convince the province to introduce legislation to lower rates, if that is possible.
Critics could say that as a long time ‘creature of council,’ the veteran councillor may not be the man modern day Brampton is looking for to lead it. But Sprovieri says he could bring unity and harmony to the fractious council Jeffrey presided over and get everyone back on track to working for Brampton’s future.
The full list of Brampton mayoral candidates, as well as those running for councillor and school trustee, can be found here.
One thing is certain, with seven mayoral candidates to choose from, Brampton is not lacking in choices in the upcoming municipal election on October 22.
The only issue now is will people pay attention and actually care about who runs their city? Municipal government is closest to the people, yet voter turnout in local politics is abysmally and embarrassingly low time and time again.
No matter who you decide to support, let’s hope things change this year for the better.