This week Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey went to Queen’s Park in downtown Toronto to have a meeting with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. A press conference was held after their meeting to outline what was discussed.
As Canada’s ninth largest city, Wynne acknowledged that Brampton is unique because it is a high growth community andhighlighted the initiatives that were crucial for Brampton’s ability to access the resources needed for said growth, including:
The new university in Brampton, which the province is focusing on the so-called “S.T.E.A.M.” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) sector.
The widening of Highway 401 from 6 to 12 lanes to accommodate growing commuter traffic, an investment of about $150 million.
The recent announcement regarding hospital funding, particularly the $451 million in funding for the Peel Memorial Centre.
A repeating of the province’s uploading of municipal services from the municipalities to the province, which comes to some $4 billion for this year.
The doubling of the provincial gas tax for cities like Brampton, which Mayor Jeffrey said transit ridership is growing faster in Brampton than any other municipality.
The newly announced pharmacare program announced in the recent budget.
Mayor Jeffrey reiterated that she has met with the premier, as the mayor, at least two or three times since taking office and how, as one of the youngest cities in at least Ontario, the announcements made by the province would provide a positive impact on the City of Brampton.
In terms of the political optics behind this meeting, both Wynne and Jeffrey clearly see the benefits of being able to work together. What is different about the mayor’s relationship with the premier, in comparison to other municipal leaders, is that she has worked under Wynne before when she was a provincial cabinet minister. So yes, being both Liberal leaning politicians perhaps helps in building a more congenial relationship, unlike Wynne’s recent conflicts with Toronto Mayor John Tory. Toronto’s Mayor Tory has raised a bit of a fuss recently about the provincial budget not providing his city with enough money to fix affordable housing.
With regard to the quid pro quo mentioned earlier, Wynne clearly sees some collaboration with municipal leaders as a key strategy to her re-election efforts next year, along with the balanced budget unveiled last week. She mentioned in her press conference of meetings with various municipal leaders regarding relief for the recent flooding and how she was planning to meet with other mayors and municipal heads all over the place….you know, in order to show the public she’s doing something, taking action, and “having conversations” (which is one of Wynne’s trademark lines).
One area that wasn’t discussed was the Hurontario LRT apparently. Neither Wynne nor Jeffrey raised the matter during the press conference, and nobody from the press in the assembled room cared to ask a question about it. I think it would have been beneficial for the people of Brampton to hear if they ever discussed reviving the extension of the Hurontario LRT into downtown Brampton, whether you’re a supporter of that idea or not.
It doesn’t seem in this commentator’s opinion that Jeffrey needs much help from Wynne to be reelected, but for Wynne keeping seats in Brampton is crucial. Does this kind of a meeting help the Premier with voters in Brampton?
Hardly; people rarely take into consideration how their local politicians work with the provincial level when it comes time to vote. But hey, at least Wynne is trying anything that will stick to the walls.
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