Is Brampton Being Snubbed by Doug Ford?
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown had admitted that Ontario Premier Doug Ford is not 'exactly his best friend,' and that might be the understatement of the year.
The mayor's critics warned during the municipal election that electing Brown would prove to be problematic for the city, based on the poor relationship, that Brampton might not get the attention it sorely needs on various issues.
You can't begin to address an alternative funding source for a new university, or how you're going to get transit built or lobby for a new hospital if you can't even get a meeting with the man holding the purse strings.Recent trends have indicated a concerning trend that the Ford government may be leaving this city out in the proverbial cold. This week, Premier Ford hosted a number of mayors at Queen's Park for separate meetings, and the only GTA mayor he met with was Mississauga's Bonnie Crombie.
Over the course of the day, Ford also met with Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie, Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham, London Mayor Ed Holder, Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.
Noticeably missing on that list is, of course, the head of Ontario's fourth largest city (not to mention one of the fastest growing), Patrick Brown. When inbrampton asked the mayor if there are plans to meet with Premier Ford sometime down the road, Brown's office replied "I hope so."
A subsequent email to the Premier's office asking if Ford plans to meet with Brown has not been answered as of this writing.
Ironically, the Brampton mayor was more optimistic when his recent book came out that put all this so called 'dirty laundry' out. One commentator surmised that it would make it harder for Ford to ignore Brampton's needs without looking vindictive.
However, the current Ford approach comes off more as just ignoring Brampton rather than overtly "attacking" the city as it were. For a sitting premier to invite one of the largest cities in the GTA while ignoring the other city right next door is damning political optics.
In another priority area, health care, the Ford government made recently announcements about expanded funding in Niagara Region and highlighting some $65 million for the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital in Burlington. Meanwhile, when it came time to at least make some symbolic gesture to support Brampton's health care needs, the Ford government recently voted down a motion to construct a new hospital in Brampton.
Brampton's two government MPPs, Prabmeet Sakaria and Amarjot Sandhu, were not present for that particular vote. Sakaria serves as a Parliamentary Secretary to a cabinet minister and Sandhu has been criticized for being invisible in the community.
A lack of strong local voices within Ford's caucus for the city can also factor into Brampton's seeming inability to get face time with the province on crucial issues. The city's three NDP MPPs have been more vocal and active on pushing Brampton's issues than the PC members.
Let's see in the new year if things have cooled down and whether the mayor and premier can put the past behind them and get on with addressing funding shortfalls for Brampton.
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