Patrick Brown was officially sworn in as Mayor of Brampton this past weekend and took his oath Monday in front of an enthusiastic crowd at a packed Rose Theatre.
In his inaugural speech, Brown outlined some of his plans as he takes over the mayor’s seat. These include economic development, job creation, tackling crime and building on Brampton’s rapidly growing transit system.
But one question that’s long existed is whether Brown can bring in the necessary funding from the provincial and federal governments to achieve all of his goals.
Former Mayor Linda Jeffrey had strong relationships with the Trudeau government, and even Premier Doug Ford, despite having been former Liberal Cabinet Minister.
Brown, on the other hand, has made no secret of the fact that he and Ontario’s current Premier don’t get along. “I’m not known as one of Doug Ford’s best friends,” he said “but I am willing to work with anyone who is willing to deliver funding for the city of Brampton. I don’t care if it is Justin Trudeau or Doug Ford, this is about the city of Brampton and it is their self-interest.”
Brown has already had what he says are encouraging conversations with Justin Trudeau. The two spoke in a phone call in November. As for Ford, they haven’t spoken yet, but Brown says he’s been in touch with members of the caucus.
Throughout the campaign leading up to October 22 there were questions levelled against Brown about his ability to collaborate with other levels of government, more specifically, with Ford and a caucus of MPPs from which he had been removed.
Brown has always said he has a strategy, and part of it lies in using Brampton’s status as a place where political leaders often come to win much-needed votes.
“If you want to be Premier or Prime Minister, everyone talks about that critical 905. Brampton gets more visits than any other city when it comes to leader visits during an election period and the reason they visit so often is because it is a swing area,” he says.
With a federal election coming up in 2019 there may be some opportunities Brampton can tap into.
“I had a good conversation with the prime minister about making sure our projects get funded. I know it is simply talk at this point but I sense there was a real openness to working together,” he noted.
Many of Brown’s projects he outlined during the campaign will require funding from other levels of government, and in just two days at the table, Brampton’s newly minted city council has already outlined potential priorities for funding, including the Main Street light rail project.
Council voted unanimously to bring the Main Street light rail route back on the table, after the last council voted to stop the LRT at Steeles Avenue, losing about $400 million in funding from the province.
In his inauguration speech, Brown outlined transit, healthcare, and the university as three potential areas for funding, and said he would go out and fight for Brampton’s fair share.
“I respect the fact that there is only one taxpayer and that you can’t simply point fingers at different levels of government. We all have to work together and find a solution and I think I’ve got an understanding of where each level of government can contribute to best serve the city of Brampton.”