Patrick Brown has been re-elected mayor of Brampton after a contentious campaign and a somewhat chaotic first term in office fraught with council division.
CP24 declared Brown the winner shortly after the polls closed Monday night. He secured just over 61 per cent of the votes, according to Brampton’s unofficial results.
This will be his second term in office.
The 44-year old-was largely considered as the frontrunner for mayor, despite months of infighting with councillors and multiple allegations of wrongdoing by his opponents.
Speaking to supporters Monday night, Brown said the results are a “win against the politics of negativity (and) mudslinging.”
“We are going to keep on fighting for Brampton. We’re gonna keep on sticking up for this city.”
Brown first ventured into public service in 2000 as a councillor in Barrie, Ont., serving two terms before jumping into federal politics. He served as leader of the Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party between 2015 and 2018 before putting his hat in the ring for mayor of Brampton.
During the last municipal elections, Brown beat out incumbent Linda Jeffrey by just under four percentage points.
At the time, Brown pledged to focus on building a safer community and to establish infrastructure that would allow residents to both work and live in the City of Brampton.
“What I’ve heard across the city is that Brampton wants to welcome investment, Brampton wants to be open for business and Brampton wants to see jobs. I want to make sure young people who grow up in Brampton can have a job,” he said in 2018.
“The days of sky-rocketing taxes and red tape are gone in Brampton.”
In March, Brown entered the Conservative Party leadership race but was disqualified after an allegation surfaced that his campaign used at least one volunteer who was apparently paid by another company to work for him.
Brown has repeatedly denied the allegations.
His main opponent throughout the campaign has been Nikki Kaur, a city employee who was fired and then reinstated after making a series of allegations of financial mismanagement.
Deloitte Canada conducted an independent investigation and could not substantiate the claims.
Throughout the month-long municipal campaign, Kaur has continued to release statements alleging incompetence and dysfunction in city hall.
On Monday night she snagged about 25 per cent of the votes while all the other mayoral candidates trailed far behind.
NEW FACES AT CITY HALL
Infighting at Brampton City Hall has gotten worse in the last few months, with a clear divide between those who support Brown and those who do not.
Throughout the summer, a group of councillors have called for the RCMP to investigate the fiscal impact of some of Brown’s decisions as mayor, alleging he attempted to “run out the clock” on a series of investigations ordered by Brampton City Council.
Those same councilors were found to have violated the Municipal Act by pre-emptively appointing a replacement for fellow councillor Charmaine Williams, who was elected MPP for Brampton Centre in June.
Brown called the court decision a vindication and said his opponents on council were trying to seize control of Brampton while he was campaigning in the Conservative leadership race.
Many of the councilors who voted against Brown will not be returning to city hall after Monday’s election. There will be at least three new faces, while the four councilors who often aligned themselves with the mayor were re-elected for another four years.
“Now we have a clear majority around the council table. We aren’t going to have that type of dysfunction,” Brown told reporters Monday. “I don’t regret some of the decisions that I took.”
“I took on an old guard that had controlled Brampton for a very long time, brought in an anti-nepotism policy that was very controversial … I insisted that every contract had to be tender, because competition is the best thing for taxpayers. So I know when you bring change to a city it can ruffle feathers, but that’s the type of transparency and accountability that I expect.”
One example of the council divide was Brampton’s attempt at getting a university built in the city, something Brown said six councilors were “Adamantly against.”
“There’s no reason Brampton can’t have both a college and a university,” he said.
The proposal, which began with an exploratory White Paper in 2019, was fraught with controversy. In August of this year, a partial forensic audit found Brampton had given an “unfair advantage” to a bidder for what they were calling “BramptonU” and that potential conflicts of interest existed throughout the process.
The city spent more than half a million dollars on the proposal before it was halted, according to documents obtained by CTV News Toronto.
The audit, however, was cancelled prior to its completion by a split city council vote on Aug. 26, with five of nine councilors voting in favour. Council also voted not to release the all of the documents publicly.