Peel’s dissolution must go ahead
BONNIE CROMBIE CONTRIBUTOR BONNIE CROMBIE IS THE MAYOR OF MISSISSAUGA AND THE NEW LEADER OF THE ONTARIO LIBERAL PARTY.
It’s no secret that Ontario’s premier and I don’t always see eye to eye, but if there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that local government needs to be efficient and effective. We need to weed out waste, duplication and red tape at every opportunity.
That’s why I’ve long advocated for an independent Mississauga, picking up the torch from the late Hazel McCallion. Earlier this year, the province agreed that as some of Ontario’s largest and fastest-growing cities, Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon were capable of joining the 170 single-tier or independent cities and towns in Ontario and standing on their own two feet.
As we know, Hazel always did her homework and she had the premier’s ear, even in her final days. Doug Ford promised her he’d get it done, and he did, passing the Hazel McCallion Act in her honour earlier this year.
Dissolving Peel Region and eliminating an additional layer of government will allow Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon to become more efficient, streamline the delivery of services, and ultimately save residents and businesses time and money. The province has inappropriately meddled in municipal affairs in the past, but this isn’t one of those occasions.
Since the legislation passed six months ago, all three cities have rolled up their sleeves. They’ve met with Peel Region and the provincially appointed Transition Board twice a week to prepare for dissolution in 2025 and negotiate a fair deal for all our taxpayers. A deal that ensures service continuity and sets up all three cities for success to deliver on the province’s key priorities, in particular, housing.
Progress is being made and we are on the right track, nearing some big announcements on what our futures will look like as independent cities.
Let’s not get distracted by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown’s desperate political attempts to derail a process that is already well underway — and working. In The Globe and Mail last week, he spuriously claimed that dissolution could cost taxpayers an extra $1.3 billion over 10 years. Yet nobody — media, governments or the public — has seen and independently reviewed this updated “report,” with the original having been widely discredited and dismissed by Peel council. Mayor Brown must release this “report” immediately so people can scrutinize his claims directly.
As a municipal leader, I have worked for nearly a decade to drive efficiency, reduce waste, deliver faster results, and build more homes and infrastructure. To do this, I rely on independent processes and experts who can advise me.
Instead of looking to the experts, Brown is trying to play politics at the provincial level. He revels in maintaining the status quo, having regional growth funded off the back of Mississauga taxpayers, because he lacks vision for an independent Brampton.
I have a vision for Mississauga and cities across this great province and it starts with each municipality having control over their own destinies and being treated fairly and with respect.
Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon are all unique and should have municipal leaders who own all decisions about their municipalities. Municipal leaders know their residents best and should make decisions about their taxes, roads, garbage pickup, and access to all city services. Why? Because then we can hold our municipal politicians to account every four years at the polls.
It’s time to move on from this stunt.
Independence for Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon ensures taxpayers are treated fairly and that their hard-earned dollars support local projects and services they directly benefit from. It’s time to focus on the task at hand and deliver the best deal for everyone.
So my message to Municipal Affairs Minister Paul Calandra and the premier is simple: Let’s not get distracted. Let’s put the politics aside, listen to the advice of the Transition Board and put taxpayers first by continuing the great work we’ve started in Peel Region to create efficiencies, deliver for our residents and get more housing built.
Let’s honour Hazel’s legacy and finish what we’ve set out to do. Let’s keep the dissolution of Peel Region going.
Toronto Star Newspapers Limited