Mayor Bonnie Crombie renews call for Mississauga to separate from Peel Region

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is renewing her call for the city’s separation from Peel Region, saying “it’s about time” as she campaigns for re-election.

Crombie, who is seeking a third term as mayor, said over the weekend that Mississauga has outgrown regional government. She said the city covers 60% of the costs, but only has 50% of the vote in the area it shares with Brampton and Caledon.

The idea of ​​Mississauga going its own way isn’t new, but Crombie has given it a new name: “Certainly, this is Mexit.”

She said she is determined to finish the job she inherited from her predecessor, Hazel McCallion, to make Mississauga a free and independent city. She said it’s a matter of value and fairness, but it would take political will on the part of the Ontario government to change the city’s status.

“We could control our own destiny at a table,” Crombie told CBC Toronto.

“It’s about maximizing taxpayer dollars, spending taxpayer dollars right here in Mississauga and not sending it to other municipalities. It’s about our priorities and not having to get our priorities approved at another board table. It makes a lot of sense. It’s time.

Crombie faces seven challengers in the mayoral chair race. It is said that political independence could harm the city. Two support the idea of ​​a separation from Peel, but a fourth remains skeptical.

A political scientist, meanwhile, thinks the pitch is “a real long shot,” but a smart political strategy, because it sends the message that Crombie is standing up for Mississauga.

If re-elected, Crombie said she would continue to press the Ontario government to allow Mississauga to leave.

“It’s the right thing to do for many reasons: fairness, fairness, good value for taxpayers’ money, eliminating and reducing bureaucracy, speeding up the development process and building more housing,” she said.

Crombie said Mississauga deserves to be a single-tier city, the third-largest in Ontario. Other single-tier cities in Ontario include Ottawa and Windsor. According to the Ontario government, Mississauga is referred to as a “lower tier” municipality in a two-tier structure.

A view of Mississauga City Hall, the Clock Tower in Celebration Square, Square One, Absolute Condos, known as the “Marilyn Monroe Buildings”, and surrounding residential neighborhoods. According to the Ontario government, Mississauga is a “lower tier” municipality in a two-tier structure. (John Badcock/CBC)

Crombie said it’s also unclear how new legislation creating a strong mayor system would work in Mississauga, if powers were granted to the city and given that the city is still part of a larger region. .

Additionally, she said Mississauga has suffered many closures due to COVID-19, even though its case count is lower than Brampton’s, but she would have more control over public health measures if it does. was its own city with its own public health unit, she said.

Political independence would give her autonomy and control over her affairs, she added.

Other candidates have mixed opinions on the idea

Candidate George Tavares, a longtime Mississauga resident and electronics engineering technologist, noted in an email that Peel provides and cost-shares services such as garbage collection, police, paramedic services, regional roads , sewers, water services and regional planning, in addition to public health.

If Mississauga were to split, the city could suffer in many areas, including higher taxes and delays in policing, paramedics and public health, he said.

“If there is any chance that these areas will be disrupted, then my position is a ‘Hard Pass’ for separation,” Tavares said in the email.

“There is no opportunity to part ways with Peel that will not harm the city of Mississauga. If there had been, it would have been done four years ago when it was introduced.”

Candidates Derek Ramkissoon, a businessman, and David Shaw, a recently retired fire protection and life safety expert, said they supported the idea.

A view of Mississauga City Hall. Mayoral candidates in the 2022 municipal election are split over the idea of ​​the city splitting from Peel Region. (John Lesavage/CBC)

Ramkissoon said in an email: ‘I think the separation should be gradual so that other cities can also adapt to the change in its economy.

Shaw said in an email that he would consider the idea if elected, but supported it for different reasons than Crombie. He said Mississauga needs to manage itself without other levels of government asking it to act or imposing financial penalties. The move could save taxpayers money, he added.

“Less government is better for Mississauga,” he said;

Candidate Bobie Taffe, a businesswoman who runs several businesses, said she was not yet convinced the separation was a good idea and that further study was needed into its impact.

“I see some merit in it, but at the same time I struggle to really identify the pros and cons,” she said.

Regional governance not ‘a ‘hot topic’, says Brown

Myer Siemiatycki, professor emeritus of politics at Metropolitan University of Toronto, said Ontario Premier Doug Ford is unlikely to let Mississauga leave Peel Region, even though the city is the seventh-largest municipality. in Canada and the only one that does not have full control over its municipality. responsibilities.

“I don’t think Premier Ford sees any benefit in risking a current status quo where he has very strong support in Peel Region,” he said.

But Siemiatycki said launching the idea at this stage of the campaign is a smart political strategy.

“Mayor Crombie is playing a tried-and-true electoral card: ‘Elect Me. I am the person who defends us. “”

In 2019, a motion endorsed by Crombie to leave Peel Region passed Mississauga City Council. McCallion began pushing Mississauga to secede decades ago.

Ontario Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark did not respond to a request for comment.

Mayor Patrick Brown holds a press conference on the steps of Brampton City Hall announcing his intention to run again on July 1. Brown says he supports the changes in Peel Region because there is duplication of services, but says it’s not a “hot topic” on the campaign trail. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said he supports the changes in Peel Region because there is a duplication of services. But he noted that it’s not a “hot topic” he hears from voters.

“I haven’t heard anyone bring up the topic of regional governance yet,” he said.

Overall, however, Brown said pooling resources saves money.

“If it saves money for taxpayers, then that’s what’s important,” he said.

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