Brampton Prepared to Battle Mississauga at Queen’s Park

 

Recently, we learned that Mississauga is not on board with giving Brampton more seats on Peel Regional Council.

It now appears that Brampton is appealing to Queen's Park to help it achieve the representation it believes will be more appropriate and fair for a city of its size.

Recently, a delegation representing Brampton and its 600,000 residents made the case at Queen's Park that the city needs to have a "stronger voice" on Peel council.

Regional Councillor Gael Miles presented the argument to Ontario's Standing Committee on Social Policy, emphasizing the city's desire for "full and fair representation at council in time for the 2018 municipal election."

Brampton is correct that there are some discrepancies in terms of numbers.

As of now, seven of Brampton's 11 city council members sit on regional council, whereas all of Mississauga's council members are represented at the region. Currently, each Brampton councillor represents 87,815 residents, compared to Mississauga councillors who represent 63,583 residents.

The city argues that if all 10 councillors were at the region, they would represent 60,000 residents each—putting it on more equal footing with Mississauga.

While Mississauga is still larger than Brampton—and no doubt Peel's powerhouse city—it has not grown quite as much in recent years. According to the 2016 census, Brampton is the second-fastest growing community of Canada’s largest 25 cities, with a net increase of almost 70,000 people. The city actually grew 13.3 per cent between 2011 and 2016. Citing increased population growth, Brampton representatives urged the provincial government to allow all city councillors to serve at the regional council.

But while Mississauga recently moved to vote against a public meeting on reconfiguring Peel council, it's important to note that it's on board with giving Brampton more representation, just not quite in the way some Brampton councillors might be envisioning.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has supported a model whereby seats are reallocated, giving Brampton two additional seats by taking them from Caledon. Crombie said this better reflected the principle of representation by population, but obviously Caledon has an issue with that.

While Brampton has sought help from Queen's Park, Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish initially pushed for a solution reached at the local level; saying that Queen's Park is unlikely to come up with a solution that anyone will like. 

Since a local solution has been hard to reach, it appears Brampton has gone to the province.

Its delegation was formed as part of the city's response to Bill 68—Modernizing Ontario's Municipal Act. While the city says it supports the general recommendations in the bill, it's concerned that it does not go far enough to address the "current imbalance of representation at the Region of Peel."

Arguments aside, it does appear that discussions at the local level have resulted in little progress.

"Recent attempts at facilitation at the Region of Peel with regards to equal and fair representation have ended in failure. As the leader of Canada's second fastest growing city, Brampton has contributed to the growth and development of the regional economy for decades and it is long overdue that Brampton finally have an equal say in the services we fund," said Mayor Linda Jeffrey in a statement. "Brampton is calling the province to amend the Region of Peel Act and Municipal Act to increase the city's representation to reflect our population. Full and fair representation is a top priority for city council and the right thing to do.

It'll be interesting to see what happens.

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