August 16, 2022

(Photo: Councillor Doug Whillans standing to vote in support with Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon)

The Bramptonist has prepared a 4-part series on The Dhillon Affair. Part 1 of the series focused on the audio recording of an incident in a Turkey hotel room, where the victim pleads to Brampton Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon to “stop” 13 times and says “no” 74 times.  Part 2 provided an overview of associated legal cases related to the affair. Part 3 below concentrates on Dhillon’s enabling allies on Council.

Former Brampton’s Integrity Commissioner Muneeza Sheikh received a sexual misconduct complaint from a Brampton business woman.  In her report, the Integrity Commissioner concluded that Councillor Dhillon sexually harassed the complainant.  In specific, the report stated that Councillor Dhillon engaged in unnecessary, unwelcome, and unwanted sexual touching of the complainant; pleaded with the complainant to have sex with him and even suggested that he would “put a timer on”; and demanded that the complainant ‘kiss him’.

Dhillon has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct against him. He has recently registered to run in the upcoming municipal election for Wards 9 & 10.

Upon receiving the IC report, all members of Council unanimously requested Dhillon to resign. He refused. Provincial legislation only permits a Council to suspend a Councillor’s pay for 90-days in the event an Integrity Commissioner confirms the Councillor violated the Code of Conduct.

Two years later, five of the Brampton Councillors formed a cabal with Dhillon to dictate a majority voting block on Council. There are eleven members of Council, and a vote of six represents a majority.

Councillor Dhillon’s enabling allies includes Councillors Pat Fortini, Martin Medeiros, Jeff Bowman, Doug Whillans, and former Councillor Charmaine Williams. When Councillors Fortini, Medeiros and Bowman held a media conference with Councillor Dhillon, they were asked about the Dhillon Affair. Medeiros responded that he and Dhillon are the victims of bullying, as captured in the following video:

It was the same Gang of Six Councillors that then fired the Integrity Commissioner who submitted the report on the Dhillon Affair. In response to her firing, the Integrity Commissioner has filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit against the six Councillors and the City of Brampton. These same Councillors used their majority vote to have taxpayers pay for their defence costs.

Last week, Mayor Brown introduced several motions to address issues identified in the associated lawsuits. One of the motions was to have Councillor Dhillon pay back the amount to settle the victim’s legal case against the City.  Another motion was to reveal the details of the city’s settlement with the victim.  And a third motion was tabled for Council to be informed and approve any future harassment cases.

For each motion, the vote ended in a 5-5 vote, resulting in all three motions failing. Councillor Dhillon voted against each motion, despite warnings from the Mayor that he may be in violation of law for pecuniary interest.  Councillor Dhillon was supported by Councillors Pat Fortini, Martin Medeiros, Jeff Bowman and Doug Whillans, by registering votes in the negative of the Mayor’s motions.

Provincial Legislation

There have been calls to the provincial government to change the law in order to remove Councillors from office who are found to have seriously breached the Code of Conduct. The Dhillon affair has often been cited as an example. In response, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark intitiated a consultation with municipalities last year. He stated, “We want to gather input to ensure there are adequate mechanisms in place to hold council members accountable for any unacceptable behaviour,” and, “It’s critical that everyone feels safe and respected in the workplace, and that they know there are accountability measures in place for members who violate codes of conduct.”

Former Brampton Councillor Charmaine Williams, who voted on block with Councillor Dhillon – which included a vote to fire the Intergity Commissioner – was elected as an MPP. She was then promoted to cabinet as the Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity.

Prior to the provincial election, Williams voted with Councillor Dhillon and the cabal on naming her replacement at City Council. They igored the advice of the city’s lawyer who stated that their actions were not in alignment with the law. In addition to ignoring this advice, Councillor Williams, Councillor Dhillon and their enabling allies fired the city lawyer. After the firing, Justice Doi of Ontario Superior Court called the actions to name William’s replacement as “illegal”.

The Bramptonist contacted Minister Clark’s office for comment on the status of the municipal consultations and comment on William’s actions as a Brampton Councillor. They referred us to the Minister’s Director of Issues Management. No response has been provided to date.