While I am not surprised by Brampton City Council’s October 27, 2015 decision to vote down the downtown alignment of the Hurontario-Main LRT last night, I am still sad and disappointed. Much work went into educating Council and the public. Also, huge swaths of Brampton wanted light rail transit to Brampton GO, and Council knew that. Elaine Moore, Grant Gibson, Doug Whillans, Michael Palleschi, Jeff Bowman, and John Sprovieri voted against it anyway.
Let this be a reminder to young people to vote. When you don’t vote, when you don’t contribute to the process, your voice will never truly be heard. If these old money-connected people had any concern for you—any fear of you—they would have been more likely to have listened.
Much of Brampton as a community has galvanized as I’ve never seen before. As one delegate Martin Singh–NDP candidate in the federal election and delegate pointed out last night, rarely do such disparate groups as youth, unions, older people, younger people, and multiple ethnic groups team up so strongly for a single cause. We should work to retain our community bonds and always work together to keep taking Brampton into the future. A future this current council so desperately wants to delay.
Unfortunately the money angle can not be ignored. No matter how many youth vote, no matter how strong our community is, I speculate whether the “no” councillors believed (consciously or subconsciously) that the HMLRT supporters were unable to provide them any “meaningful” financial contributions, and therefore deemed their opinions irrelevant. It is clear that despite overwhelming numbers of citizens in favour, that it had no impact. Indeed, it’s so strange that it lends itself to speculation.
Today life goes on much as it did yesterday. We still have increased GO train service. Brampton is still the butt of GTA jokes. The power and money in Brampton remains generally heritage-focused (read: backward-focused) instead of legacy-focused (read: forward-focused).
One final takeaway, perhaps, is that while many feel that the promised increased transparency of Council never came to fruition, in a sense it did. It seems that the “no” Councillors’ motives are, in fact, entirely transparent to those watching closely.