The leader of the Ontario NDP and official opposition, Andrea Horwath, was in Brampton Monday to announce her party would put forward a motion to restore Brampton’s University funding, along with the previously committed funding for universities in Milton and Markham.

Horwath tabled the motion to undo the cuts but it was unsuccessful. The NDP has been putting an increasing amount of pressure on the Ford government, not just on the university funding, but on its lack of support for a motion tabled to fund a new hospital in Brampton.

“The Ford Conservatives had an opportunity to undo the damage Mr. Ford caused by callously cancelling long-awaited funding to build university campuses in Brampton, Milton and Markham,” said Sara Singh, MPP in Brampton Centre and Deputy Leader of the NDP. “New Democrats called on all MPPs to come together, and vote together to restore the funding for these three universities.”

Just a week ago the Ford government sent shockwaves through Brampton when it announced funding would be pulled from the previously committed $90 million towards Brampton’s future Ryerson Campus. University funding was also pulled from Milton and Markham.

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PC MPPs representing the respective communities where the funding was pulled, including Prahmeet Sarkaria, Brampton South and Amarjot Sandhu, Brampton West, were either absent for the tabled motion or refused to vote.

Sarkaria and Sandhu said in a public statement that the university funding was “on pause” while the government takes stock of the current deficit and that they were “open to business cases” that would allow the campus in Brampton to proceed as planned in the absence of provincial funding.

Still, the NDP isn’t letting up on the issue. “Thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity were within reach for Brampton, Milton, and Markham,” said Kevin Yarde, MPP for Brampton South. “For Doug Ford to snatch that away not only hurts students — it rips up the blueprint these communities painstakingly put together for how they were going to create jobs closer to home, and ensure smart economic growth and development kept up with population growth in these areas.”

In the meantime, stakeholders continue to discuss the university and options to potentially fund the campus without the province–for now. At some point, the City of Brampton will need to petition the province for funding to cover operational costs.

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