The Mayoral campaign in Brampton became an open arena for allegations after Patrick Brown, ousted leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, decided to run against incumbent Linda Jeffery just 10 months after being forced to resign. Ms. Jeffrey had called Mr. Brown a “political opportunist” during the campaign and had asked him to look for a job in his area.
But the public sentiment was strongly in favor of Brown. He promised to focus on Brampton’s economy if elected Mayor, and the people of Brampton took his word for it. Brown swept incumbent Linda Jeffrey out of office and prevailed over members of his former party who were trying to prevent him from getting elected again.
In Brown’s own words to a cheering crowd upon his win as the new Mayor of Brampton: “I’ve got so much hope in my heart for what’s ahead for Brampton. You know why? I know we can turn this around, I know Brampton is going to be back, Brampton is going to become an economic engine.”
Victory speech aside, just one day after Brampton elected Patrick Brown as mayor and four new councillors, the Doug Ford PC government pulled funding for the recently announced Brampton downtown Ryerson University campus. According to the news release issued by Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities on Tuesday, October 23: “Our government committed to restore accountability and trust in Ontario’s finances. This includes making difficult decisions about projects across the province. Through our government’s independent commission of inquiry, we now know that Ontario faces a $15 billion deficit, about two and half times the estimate provided by the previous administration. As a result, the Ministry is no longer in the position to fund the following projects given the province’s new fiscal restraints.”
And yet, the previous Ontario Liberal government under Kathleen Wynne had approved and announced funding for the project on April 19 at an event in Brampton. The campus had been a great achievement for departing mayor Linda Jeffrey and a political win she bragged about heavily on the recent campaign trail. In her own words, “I’m here to achieve results. That’s what my residents sent me here to do. Not just to keep the seat warm, but to push the envelope to help our city be successful, to bring more jobs here, to bring a university — that’s one of my proudest achievements.”
But of course, these promises are now history. The fact is that Brampton does not have a university till date, even though the population of this booming city is almost 600,000, of which more than half are immigrants. So, the question that begs our attention is this: What happens to all these people who were promised a university, who desperately need one, but have been brazenly denied it on grounds of fiscal deficit?