June 16, 2022

(Photo: Former Councillor Elaine Moore and current Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon)

In the lead up to the next municipal election, a “Gang of Six” Councillors (Gurpreet Dhillon, Pat Fortini, Martin Medeiros, Jeff Bowman, Doug Whillans and Charmaine Williams) formed to change the rules at City Hall. In their thirst for power, the Gang of Six leaders even enlisted disgraced Gurpreet Dhillon into their group.

If you recall, Brampton’s former Integrity Commissioner concluded that Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon engaged in “inappropriate sexual misconduct” with a Brampton business woman while traveling on city business.  The Integrity Commissioner further reported that if she had the authority, she would have recommended that Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon be “dismissed” as a Councillor. In response, Council unaminously asked Dhillon to resign and implemented the maximum punishment allowed by current provincial laws. Charmaine Williams herself symbolically asked Dhillon to resign 74 times, which equated to the number of times the victim said “no” to Dhillon’s sexual advances.

Rather than resign, Dhillon challenged Council’s decision. A 3-judge panel judge dismissed Dhillon’s legal challenge and upheld Council’s actions.

Now, the Gang of Six are turning a blind eye to Dhillon’s misconduct and are embracing him in order to implement their power cabal.

With their newly formed power, the Gang of Six also changed the rules by self-appointing themselves into the role of Deputy Mayor. Earlier this year, Fortini and Mediros divided the City into two in order to wield power as unelected Deputy Mayors.

Pat Fortini and Martin Medeiros

The Gang of Six then went on a firing spree. They terminated the Integrity Commissioner, the Chief Administrative Officer, the City’s top lawyer, and a significant number of other senior Commissioners and Directors.

With Charmaine Williams becoming an MPP in the provincial election, the Gang of Six lost their power cabal. To ensure they kept their voting block, the Gang of Six passed a motion to pre-appoint former Councillor Elaine Moore to fill the pre-determined vacant Council seat. The problem is, as identified by the City’s lawyer Sameer Akhtar, their actions were not aligned with the Municipal Act. City Clerk Peter Fay agreed with the city lawyer’s opinion.

The City’s lawyer wrote to Council in the morning and advised, “In short, a failure to observe the procedural formalities prescribed in the applicable legislation (i.e. Municipal Act) would invalidate a bylaw passed under such circumstances. The municipality is a creature of provincial statute and, while it may otherwise have a great deal of liberty in setting its own procedures, it doesn’t have authority to not comply with procedures prescribed by the statute.”

Hours later, city lawyer Sameer Akhtar was fired.

With the lawyer dismissed, they were ready to appoint Elaine Moore, who would assure they maintained their controlling power vote. The Gang of Six completely ignored another potential candidate for appointment, former Councillor Gael Miles. Given the past political battles between Fortini and Miles, the appointment of Miles would not allow the Gang of Six to retain controlling power.

However things did not go to plan for the Gang of Six. In an effort to protect democracy and the rule of law, Mayor Patrick Brown and four other Councillors (Harkirat Singh, Rowena Santos, Michael Palleschi, and Paul Vicente) abstained from Council to declare the seat vacant. They reported the possible illegal actions of the Gang of Six to the Minister of Municipal Affairs in an effort to receive an interpretation of the provincial law as advised by their former city lawyer.

The Gang of Six cried foul. They issued a media release stating, “Their tactic robs Brampton taxpayers of representation, shuts down city business and prevents a sixth member from being at the table with our group to move votes…”. True, by appointing Elaine Moore, the new Gang of Six could continue their control over City Hall. However, they neglected to mention in their media release that they temselves have boycotted Council meetings earlier in the year.

In 7 days, on June 24th, the next municipal election will be 90 days away. Given the proximity of the election, during this timeframe, Council is not required to fill a vacant Council seat. Without Elaine Moore, the Gang of Six will not be able to control their re-election plans.