When people ask me why I’m running again for Mayor I have a simple answer, there’s still more work to be done.
The choice in this election is clear; it is between proven, stable, responsible leadership and risky change.
Four years ago, I said I was prepared to have a candid and serious conversation with you about the state of our City – and that is what I’ve done over this past term.
I was given a strong mandate to restore public trust and confidence by changing how things are done at City Hall. Since taking office I have worked hard to restore accountability, openness and transparency at City Hall.
I arranged for former Ontario Auditor General, Jim McCarter, to come in and review Brampton’s financial situation. His report provided some very strong medicine, raising a lot of red flags on how previous administrations had been operating.
We listened to his advice and over the last three budget cycles, have implemented all of his recommendations. In fact, we were awarded one of the highest honours for budget
work of any city in Canada or the United States. Plus, our credit rating has improved since I took office resulting in lower borrowing costs that saves you money.
I continue to work hard to ensure that we don’t waste taxpayer money on expensive, standalone issues, like bailouts of golf courses and privately-owned sports teams. I want to ensure that we make decisions that are defensible and reasonable and help build a better Brampton.
Changing culture throughout the City of Brampton takes time – we have made great strides forward but without sustained pressure we will slide back and lose the progress we’ve achieved. I intend to implement more initiatives in the next term that will ensure increased accountability, transparency and openness in how we spend your taxes.
Bringing a university to our city was something you told me was a priority.
I listened and brought community leaders together to form a Blue-Ribbon Panel. We worked hard and ultimately brought together Ryerson University and Sheridan College in a joint bid to bring a campus to our City.
Ryerson plans on opening a Cyber Centre of Excellence that rivals any other facility in Canada and internationally. This new university will be an anchor for more jobs of the
future and provide families in Brampton the option of choosing post-secondary education in their own city.
As a City, we are at a turning point. We are on the cusp of becoming a leader in innovation and technology. We are being noticed by big business in tech, health and life sciences and academics as a good place to invest. This is the time for stability and strong leadership.
We cannot risk repeating the drama that paralyzed our city four years ago by electing a candidate that is at war with the media and the new provincial government.
You should be concerned when some of these candidates make promises they cannot keep, like freezing taxes unilaterally or promising new recreation facilities without telling us how they will pay for them.
I will continue to build good, healthy working relationships with other levels of government regardless of political affiliation and not pick unnecessary fights. I know from my experience that I get better results when I am respectful and bring evidence to the table. We are a city that needs strong, productive relationships with both the Provincial and Federal governments to help us build the big infrastructure projects we still need.
You have told me that transit and transportation are priority issues for you. I will continue to find solutions that will keep our city moving efficiently. At the same time, we need partners at the federal and provincial level to make the necessary investments that will reduce gridlock. I am the only candidate that can work with all levels of government.
As the ninth largest city in Canada and the second-fastest growing, we need funding to match our population growth, especially when it comes to health care. It is critical that we continue our advocacy in securing our fair share as a city otherwise we will fall further behind.
Our business community likes predictability because time is money. In order to build our existing small business sector and to attract new investors and businesses to Brampton we need a Council that is serious; that’s not afraid to work hard; and a council that thinks outside the box.
We’ve got some exciting new initiatives that are beginning to set our city apart from others – a new Economic Development Master Plan, a new Arts and Culture Master Plan, a new Parks and Recreation Master Plan, a new Downtown Reimagined plan, and of course the new university along with a new central library and Centre for Innovation.
As your Mayor, I am humbled by the trust you placed in me to guide our city – it’s a trust that I never took for granted. Strong leadership matters and I look forward to speaking with you over the coming weeks and months about what we can do because together we can do more.
Feature Image – Linda Jeffrey pictured with MP Bampton West, Kamal Khera