Veteran Councillor John Sprovieri has been feeling the heat. He came under fire this past summer for making controversial remarks to a Brampton resident about white people’s status in Canada.
The online and media firestorm descended quickly.
Now the veteran public servant has decided to step down from his post at regional councillor and may opt instead to run for city councillor.
As a refresher: at this time Brampton has 5 councillors that represent us (and the city) at the Region of Peel, and 5 that represent us at the city level. Brampton has been asking for all of its councillors to have representation at the regional level for years, but with Mississauga holding the majority share of regional seats, it isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. But that’s an issue for another day.
As a 29-year veteran councillor, Sprovieri’s decision to step down from his regional seat is an interesting one. For one, his city counterpart in wards 9 and 10, Gurpreet Dhillon, just announced Sunday he intends to run for regional council, putting the two in direct contention. Dhillon, a novice councillor, has garnered lots of attention in his first term for being outspoken at the council table and for regularly engaging with residents to hear their issues.
No doubt, Sprovieri, who has sat on council since 1989, would have his work cut out for him this time around. During the 2015 election, he barely scraped by, winning by just a couple hundred votes against Gurratan Singh, the brother of the new federal NDP leader (and former MPP of Bramalea-Malton-Gore,) Jagmeet Singh.
It could be the media attention that’s shaken Sprovieri. Some of Brampton’s sitting councillors have received a lot of media attention recently, and not just media in Brampton, we’re talking CBC, CityTV Huffington Post and more. Sprovieri’s gotten this attention for his controversial remarks, and Gael Miles for her left field motion to try and control media interaction with city hall staff and council.
Brampton’s councllors aren’t often used to the type of media attention these two issues garnered. For a long time Brampton only had one media outlet covering city hall. Now the city not only has more media outlets, but residents than ever are engaged on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, discussing local issues daily.
2018 is just a few weeks away, and the retirement of a 29-year veteran councillor may not be the last shakeup we see.