Patrick Brown Is Back In The Ring – In Peel!

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Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown File pic: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Strong Support Expected For Former PC Leader Who Promises To ‘Make A Fair Deal For Peel’

By Bala Menon

Its official! Former Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown is back in the political arena – this time to fight a municipal battle and become the first elected and powerful Chair of Peel Region, polls for which will be held on October 22.

Brown confirmed to the Weekly Voice on Monday that encouragement from friends and a broad spectrum of people had made his decision to run ‘something of a homecoming’ and getting back on track in politics. There had been speculation about his moves last month and Brown had been quoted as saying the decision was under consideration.

The 40-year-old leader, who got engaged to Genevieve Gualtieri some months ago, now promises to Make a Fair Deal For Peel.

Patrick Brown with his fiancee Genevieve Gualtieri (on right) at the Peel Regional Council Chambers, receiving his Candidate Information Package.

He lives in the Lorne Park neighbourhood of Mississauga and so has an insight into the region’s problems and potential. Genevieve was born and raised in Mississauga, works for the SickKids Foundation and shares Patrick’s love for community service.

Brown was tripped and fell early this year from his political ladder while he was on the final rungs in the race to topple the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne and become Premier of Ontario.

He was pushed aside by party insiders who targeted him because of his moderate views and perhaps envy about his success in building up the party since he took charge in 2015, according to analysts. The ‘Now’ magazine had an article on Brown in March aptly headlined: “The Political Assassination of Patrick Brown.”

Two puzzling allegations of sexual misconduct against Brown was publicized widely despite him terming the charges as ’absolute lies’ and he was forced to step down. He was expelled from the party caucus in February, but  stayed on as an independent MPP for Simcoe North.

In April, Brown filed a defamation suit in Superior Court against CTV and several of its staff, seeking $8 million in damages.

The suit states: “The widespread and sensationalized broadcast and publication of the defamatory words delivered an almost immediate death blow to Mr. Brown’s reputation and political career.” The statement of claim reads: “Within hours, Mr. Brown was forced to resign as Leader of the ON PC Party, his rising political aspirations shattered.”

In May, Brown wrote in an Opinion piece in the Toronto Star: “[In the two years he was leader from 2016 to 2018] We witnessed record membership growth. When I announced my intention to run for the Ontario PC leadership on the fall of 2014, we had 12,000 party members, the smallest of all Ontario political parties. We were disproportionately white, rural and old.

“By the time I left as leader, we had a membership, which was either 136,000 according to Vic Fedeli or over 200,000 according to Thomas De Groot of the PC Party Party Executive and IT Chair. Either way it was the largest in the party’s history and the largest of any party in Ontario. Even more remarkable, we had become diverse, multicultural, urban, young and finally reflective of the beautiful mosaic that is Ontario.”

Patrick Brown addresses supporters and the media in Toronto on Sunday, February 18, 2018. -File pic: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The PCs, under Brown had also launched the acclaimed People’s Guarantee party policy platform, with funding commitments that have been incorporated into the platforms of the two other major parties as well.

His agenda for Peel:

1) More Jobs: “I will cold call successful businesses in Canada and across the world and persuade them to come and invest in Peel. I was very impressed with this strategy adopted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat.  Through his Vibrant Gujarat program, he transformed the state into a powerhouse.

“We have to build on the strength of the many diasporas in the region and make a bridge to bring in solid investment.”

2) Less Gridlock and Traffic Congestion:  Our lives shouldn’t be spent crawling on the highways and wasting several hours a day commuting. We must get well-paying jobs to the region, so that gridlock on our roads will end and our three wonderful cities will stop being the ‘bedroom communities’ that some derisively call us.”

3) Hold the Line on Taxes: “No more runaway increases in property taxes for residents. We have to respect the tax dollars and spend wisely and efficiently.”

4) More Peel Healthcare Funding: “I will advocate intensely for more health facilities because we are the one of the fastest growing regions of Canada.”

5) Safer Communities: “The drug menace is what scares residents of Peel, along with a surge in youth crime. I have been talking to citizens and understand that providing more sports and recreational facilities will be the ideal way to combat this problem  Also, the police force needs to be strengthened. Statistics show the our police is able to attend only 50% of all calls today and have to prioritize their responses. This needs to be rectified.”

Patrick Brown was called to the bar in 2005 after graduating from the University of Windsor Law School in 2004. He has practiced real estate, family, criminal, immigration and employment law. He began his law career in Brampton, before becoming an elected Member of Parliament. He also worked in the legal department of Magna International in Aurora. His father, Edmond, has been practicing law in Brampton since before the Bill Davis Court House was even built.

 Brown  has a broad background in government and a highly regarded reputation for getting the job done. He served two terms municipally as a City Councillor in Barrie, three terms in the Federal parliament and most recently as the Provincial leader of the opposition at Queen’s Park.

He has served on the Federal Justice Committee and Health Committee and Chair of the Government GTA Caucus from 2011 to 2015. He is a former Chair of the Canada India Parliamentary Association, a former Vice Chair of the Canada Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Association, an honorary citizen of Gujarat and was awarded the Canadian Human Rights Voice National Award for his role in exposing the Tamil genocide. Patrick is an honorary firefighter and takes pride in working closely with our first responders.

Brown’s philosophy on politics is that, “There is no monopoly on a good idea and we all need to work together to better serve our community”.   He  loves spending spare time with his family. He is an avid hockey and tennis player and has run in more than a dozen full-marathons and over 50 half-marathons; including Mississauga’s very own half-marathon.

He is active in the social and cultural life of the Peel Region – recently attending the Filipino Seniors’ Gala, the Mississauga Arts Awards, the Khalsa Parade in Malton, an Islamic Forum dinner, Brampton’s Rotary Rib ‘N’ Roll, the Pride parades, and a meeting with Senator Victor Oh who has deep roots in the Chinese community. The Indo-Canadian community, which supported him strongly as PC leader, is expected to stay loyal to him.

On Sunday, he was at Carabram and posted on his Facebook page: “I had a blast this weekend attending Carabram in Brampton. Carabram is Brampton’s long standing multicultural festival and it is a celebration of Peel’s cultural diversity. I had the pleasure to visit the Portuguese, Eelam, Filipino, Chinese and Caribbean pavilions. Any guesses who had the best food?”

Other candidates in the running for regional chair are reported to be Mississauga Councillor Ron Starr, a former Mississauga mayoral candidate Masood Khan, real estate agent Amir Ali, medical technologist Ken Looy, company manager and executive Vidya Sagar Gautam and fire and security specialist  Marcin Huniewicz.

The Peel Regional Council, which has a budget of over $3 billion, has a big say in the future development plans of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. The elected Regional Chair can  also wield some powers over the decisions of the three Mayors. Ontario passed  legislation in November 2016 mandating that the chairs of Peel, York and Niagara be elected by the voters, similar to Regional chairs of Halton, Durham and Waterloo.