November 14, 2022

By Andrew DeGroot

This election saw two members of the Gang of Six not run for election, one member who left for provincial politics, and most importantly, another member not being re-elected. They tried to maintain their power and control on City Council. On a closer examination of the election, it was clear that this Gang of Six was supported by some familiar faces.

Two things the Gang of Six (in its various incarnations) has in common over the past three terms: they failed to provide any “big ideas” that would move the City of Brampton forward, and, former Councillor Elaine Moore was seemingly involved.

The Gang of Six’s modus operandi seemed to be focused entirely on stirring up controversy and stalling the mayor’s agenda. They did that to Mayor Susan Fennell, they did that to mayor Linda Jeffery and they did that to Mayor Patrick Brown in his first term. With only two members left of the gang this term, they’ll have much less power to do so, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try, and try again.

So who are the behind the scene members?

As reported last October by iPolitics, an online based political news blog, there were a number of political strategists and fundraisers behind the Nikki Kaur campaign. Most notably, iPolitics identified Harji Bajwa and Harby Bajwa as Kaur’s fundraising chairs.

An online search on this dynamic duo conducted by The Bramptonist revealed that the couple was charged by police services with fraud and bribery. According to the Globe and Mail and Inside Halton, “The fraud squad of Peel Regional Police has charged another half-dozen people — including two Oakville residents — in relation to the Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) grant scandal that has already netted a number of convictions. Harbhinder Bajwa and Harvinder Rakhra, both of Oakville, are charged with fraud and bribery.”

Harbhinder Bajwa and Harvinder Rakhra identified in the Globe and Mail are the same individuals referenced by iPolitics as Harby and Harji Bajwa. Harby and Harji Bajwa, according to Nick Kouvalis (pollster), raised over $362,000 for Nikki Kaur.

Harby Bajwa (with her husband Harji Bajwa behind her)

Captured in a photograph of the John Sanderson campaign, which was posted online, identifies many of the characters supporting both John Sanderson and Nikki Kaur behind the scenes. It was an attempt to bring back the Gang of Six to City Hall.

There was former Councillor Jeff Bowman and re-elected Councillor Pat Fortini.

Former Councillor Jeff Bowman and Re-elected Pat Fortini

Standing next to the Fortini, was Nikki Kaur and John Sanderson. Interestingly, immediately behind John Sanderson is Rick Drennan, a contributing writer to an online blog called The Pointer. The publication is another tool used by the Gang of Six to focus and attack specific Councillors at City Hall.

Nikki Kaur and John Sanderson (with Rick Srennan behind Sanderson)

Alt-Right political strategist Nick Kouvalis, who also worked on the Nikki Kaur campaign often re-tweets publications from The Pointer. Typically the theme of the articles is regurgitating unsubstantiated claims against targeted Councillors, the Mayor, and several administrators, in an attempt to influence public opinion.

This is the same Nick Kouvalis who claimed during the election “We are so close to defeating Patrick Brown” and then posted a poll that showed Kaur at 44% and Brown at 43% (with a margin of error of +/- 4%). He offered no explanation of his claims when Patrick Brown was re-elected with 60% of the vote, and, the percentage would have been higher if the election was not on the same day as the cultural celebrations of Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.

Nick Kouvalis

Then, of course, there is councillor Elaine Moore. Elaine is no stranger to controversy in Brampton politics – trying to stir up political smoke as often as she finds herself embroiled in it herself.

Dr. Goel and his spouse Dr. Banerjee are suing Elaine Moore and the other Wise Elephant Family Health Team (WEFHT) Board members for engaging “…in a campaign or conspiracy designed to harm or to ruin the plaintiffs’ economic relations and careers of the individual plaintiffs.”

This is not the first time Elaine Moore has challenged the professional reputation of an individual.

Moore made accusations against former Brampton City Manager Deborah Dubenofsky. When she was on Council, Elaine Moore alleged that the City Manager was closely aligned with the Mayor Fennel in the biased awarding of a multi-million city hall expansion project. However, in 2019, Superior Court Justice John Sproat debunked the allegations and ruled that Mayor Fennell and Dubenosky “did not attempt to influence” the awarding of the contract.

Moore was also on social media attacking former City Manager David Barrick. She made false allegations of improper hiring and purchasing practices. In a $500,000 forensic audit completed by the independent firm Deloitte, there was no evidence to support any of the allegations.

Many people have said Moore had influence over Sanderson and Kaur campaigns and was seen front row at Kaur’s campaign launch. To her right was former councillor Bowman. If there was any doubt of their continuing allegiance with the Gang of Six, Pat Fortini and Martin Medeiros were also at the Kaur campaign launch.

Former Councillor Jeff Bowman (Blue Jacket) with Former Councillor Elaine Moore (Orange jacket) front row at Nikki Kaur Campaign

Thankfully, the voters of Brampton saw through the curtain and elected a strong team to represent them at City Hall. The Gang of Six is now reduced to two (Pat Fortini and Martin Medeiros), who have lost their ability to waste taxpayers money on false allegations that ruined the careers of many several administrators. The two also lost their political strategy to stall the Mayor’s agenda in moving Brampton forward towards economic propserity.