Published on September 29th, 2014 | by Julian Pecchia
Mayoral Races to Watch: Peel Region
Here at CAA, we believe that community matters.
As a voter, you have the opportunity to be part of the changes you want to see in your community. The people elected to your community’s municipal office will directly affect your everyday life and the quality of your neighbourhood by deciding how and where to spend your tax dollars; approve or deny development in your area; improve public spaces such as parks and walking paths; build better public transit; and even fixing your roads. Almost as important as getting out to vote, is making an informed vote – who do you believe will make your community better?
Much like the provincial election, the conversation on transit and transportation improvement has taken centre stage. We decided to survey what our Members thought were the most important aspects of these critical issues. While municipal elections across Ontario are important, two races in Peel Region (Brampton and Mississauga) are shaping up to be the most watched races of the region. Here’s what CAA Members in Peel Region told us about their concerns:
- Almost 83% said that congestion relief is important to them
- 70% are in favour of transit improvements
- 66% of voters would be most influenced by taxes when choosing a candidate to support
- 61% indicated that road improvements are the #1 investment that will makes their communities better
Our Members’ concerns were then discussed with all the candidates in those two municipalities. Candidates were questioned on transit, congestion relief, financing of new projects, and the proposed Mississauga-Brampton Light Rail Transit.
The answers may surprise you.
Mississauga is a municipality of over 700,000 residents situated just west of Toronto. The current mayor, Hazel McCallion, will not be seeking re-election after leading the city for 38 years. Mayor McCallion leaves behind a prosperous city and the expectation of good and effective governance on the fundamental issues of transit and transportation. An example of some of the challenges facing the in-coming mayor: the municipality has just completed the necessary paper work and provincial approvals for the proposed light rail transit (LRT) along Hurontario Street. However, the proposed route includes a final stop in Brampton’s heritage downtown, something Brampton city council has reconsidered. According to Brampton mayoral candidate and former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Linda Jeffrey, city council “said yes, then they said no, and then they said maybe”. To get to the heart of the matter, we asked candidates from both cities about their position on the LRT and their strategy to promote transit and active transportation.
In Brampton there is an equally compelling story. The last four years have been tumultuous at city hall, with accusations of wrongdoing that have led to police investigations and constant negative media attention. The City of Brampton has been under the stewardship of Mayor Susan Fennell for four consecutive terms of office but Ms. Fennell is now facing two experienced candidates. The city is in the midst of urban growth with the result being congestion from multiple construction projects. We asked the candidates what they planned to do to reduce gridlock.
Both Mississauga and Brampton have candidates with extensive political experience in each municipality:
- Linda Jeffrey, a former MPP for the riding of Brampton-Springdale and was the Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing prior to leaving provincial politics to run for mayor
- John Sanderson is a longtime city coucillor who was born and raised in Brampton
Ms. Jeffrey and Mr. Sanderson have different ideas on how to tackle the issues facing Brampton.
CAA invited Mayor Susan Fennell to participate in our sessions, however she did not respond to CAA’s requests.
- Bonnie Crombie is a former Member of Parliament who represented Mississauga-Streetsville and has been a city councillor since 2011.
- Steve Mahoney served as an MP and MPP for nearly 15 years
Each is vying to take Mississauga into the future and each have different visions for the city.
No two candidates are the same, and all of them sincerely believe that their community matters. It is more important than ever to make an informed choice this October.
Looking for more info on 2014’s elections? Click here to see our full coverage.
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