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Region will grind to a halt: Mayor
April 1st, 2005 - Brampton Guardian

Brampton will grind regional business to a stop by boycotting meetings if Mississauga is given control of Peel Region, says Mayor Susan Fennell,

The threat followed Wednesday's city council meeting where Brampton publicly demanded Premier Dalton McGuinty adopt a provincial facilitator's report that will restructure Peel council.

However, rumours are circulating from the Liberal caucus saying the Premier might "cherry pick" through the report's recommendations, said Fennell, which could give Mississauga more voting power over Brampton and Caledon.

If that's the case, Brampton will fire back.

"We will not go back to the region. We will not attend, the region will start to break down, and we will start to take legal steps to be a stand alone city and the region is over because we have to get on with the business of serving our citizens," she said.

"How is that good for anybody? And do we want to be doing that? No. But apparently bad behaviour gets good results."

Brampton wants to be neutral and let the parties battle it out, continued the mayor, but frustration levels are at an all-time high.

"We are trying to figure out how to get through to the Premier," said Fennell, angry the province has left Peel Region swimming in rumours for months.

Former Premier Bill Davis established regional government 32 years ago with the foundation that no municipality has a dominating voting power.

In January 2004, Mississauga's Mayor Hazel McCallion began campaigning Ontario to secede from Peel without consulting its partner municipalities, said Fennell, claiming ultimately it would be a savings to its city's taxpayers, who subsidize about 66 per cent of Peel's operations costs.

Still, since the region was formed in 1974, Brampton residents have been contributing to Mississauga infrastructure. Now that it's our turn to reap the benefits of regional dollars, said Fennell, Mississauga wants out.

When the Liberals made it clear they would not be dealing with Peel's governance, McCallion shifted to "Plan B" which focused on getting a majority vote at regional council.

Despite Ontario's claim it was not getting involved, facilitator George Adams was appointed by Municipal Affairs Minister John Gerretsen to help the municipalities come to an agreement on Peel's structure.

Meetings and timelines were established, city reports were submitted and, in the end, Adams recommended regional representation should be: Mississauga 12 seats plus the mayor; Brampton 10 seats plus the mayor; Caledon four seats plus the mayor.

Peel's three mayors are meeting with Gerretsen next week to discuss the issue. After that, hopes are the provincial government will make some sort of final decision.

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