What Happened At Brampton City Hall This Week?


Municipal government is the closest to the people and yet the least understood level of government in Canada. That is not to say that interesting things don't happen on occasion.

Here's a quick recap of what happened at Brampton City Hall this week. Some of the developments came about during the January 16 council meeting, which can be viewed here in its entirety.

Brampton Councillor tries channeling a bit of Trump to keep out cannabis storesWards 7 and 8 city councillor Charmaine Williams certainly got tongues wagging this week with her call to 'build a political wall' around the GTA to keep out retail cannabis stores, citing the lack of information and the imposition of guidelines by the province as reasons why municipalities should take a pause and opt out until more information is available on how the new regime is supposed to work.

Naturally, the call to 'build a wall' got Williams the obvious comparisons to US President Donald Trump, one of which came from her colleague, Wards 1 & 5 councillor Rowena Santos. As for various other residents and readers who commented on inbrampton.com, mostly it was widespread condemnation, saying the focus should be on more important issues rather than trying to stop the distribution of a now legal product.

And while there are those who believe Williams is adhering to backward thinking, there are a few people that are siding with her on the issue:

"Good for her. Legal marijuana use is a plague that the government is accepting in order to turn a profit. They want to become the drug dealers… shame on them all," one inbrampton reader commented.

However, when you take a look at the complete list of municipalities that have opted in or out, it does look like, metaphorically speaking, there is a phalanx of resistance to the cannabis regime, as shown in this coloured map of the GTA (red = opt out, green = opt in, yellow = voting as of Monday January 21)

Councillor votes along 'party lines' to keep Williams off city committee

Perhaps as a result of Williams' Trumpian like maneuvers this week, council turned down her request to serve on Brampton's Citizen Appointments Committee. From the way the vote broke down, it was quite obvious along the lines of the so-called 'progressive bloc' verses everyone else.

Voting to put Williams on the committee were Mayor Patrick Brown and Councillors Doug Whillans, Michael Palleschi, Jeff Bowman and Williams herself. Voting not to do so were Councillors Santos, Paul Vicente, Harkirat Singh, Pat Fortini, Martin Medeiros and Gurpreet Dhillon.

However, Williams did make it on the Citizen Awards committee by another vote of 6-5, with Paul Vicente breaking with the bloc to vote alongside Williams, Brown, Palleschi, Bowman and Whillans.

Councillors vote to give themselves additional staff

The idea was for Brampton to align with other municipalities in providing support staff to their elected officials, specifically one Executive Assistant and one Administrative Assistant.

City clerk Peter Fay noted that currently only eight of the ten councillors have offices that could accommodate a second staffer, which would mean two councillors would have to have their offices renovated to allow a second staffer.

Medeiros noted that he and the other councillors were elected politicians, not employees of the city technically. Hence they would need an additional person to help them go through information given by staff in order to stay better informed when talking with their constituents.

There was a brief exchange between Coun. Fortini and Palleschi because Fortini kept on the point about concern over costs, and then Palleschi reiterated twice that it seemed Fortini was okay with the additional staff for himself but was less enthused if it was extended to other members of council.

The motion to have additional staff passed in a vote of 9-2, with Coun. Bowman and Whillans against it.

Council asking federal and provincial cousins for views on cannabis

While Brampton councillors have been embroiled in the cannabis debate, as they should since they need to make a decision by this Monday, they noticed very little response coming from their federal and provincial counterparts.

Therefore, council passed a motion requesting that Brampton's MPs and MPPs do the following, which was accompanied by a letter Brown sent out:It looks like people will have to tune in or attend the council meeting on Monday, January 21 to find out if Brampton does get in or out of cannabis stores.

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