Former PC leader Patrick Brown wants municipal position in Peel

July 13, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown is back on the campaign trail as he seeks to become the first elected chair of Peel Region.

After spending the bulk of his political career representing Barrie municipally, federally and, finally, provincially, Mr. Brown is treating this run as something of a homecoming, telling the Citizen he “couldn’t wait” to get back to doing what he loves most.

“I spent some time in the spring calculating, trying to deliberate what would be the best way for me to contribute. I sat down with many friends, colleagues and people I respect. Their encouragement made a big difference I deciding to run for this post,” Mr. Brown said.

It has been almost six months since Mr. Brown stepped down from his role as PC leader after he was accused of sexual misconduct by two women, dating back to his time as an MP in then prime minister Stephen Harper’s government. Mr. Brown has denied any wrongdoing in the two separate incidents and has launched a lawsuit against CTV News, who first broke the story. Now, he is simply looking to get his political career back on track.

He is excited to potentially do that here in Peel Region. Prior to being elected in the 2006 federal election, he followed in his father’s footsteps of practicing law in Brampton. Today, he and his fiancée, Genevieve Gualtieri, make their home in Mississauga, which, Mr. Brown says, gives him the perfect insight to take on what he described as a challenging position.

“I love living in Peel Region and I love working in Peel Region. I see this as an exciting opportunity to tackle some of the challenges we’re all facing as residents of this region,” Mr. Brown said. “I’d like to see how we can better deal with things like economic development, bringing well-paying jobs to the region, dealing with gridlock and congestion and ensuring our police force has the proper resources to effectively do their job.”

Mr. Brown would like to bring more industry to Peel Region in an attempt to encourage people to work closer to come.

“Far too many people from Peel have to go outside of our community to get a job. I don’t think the commuter lifestyle is appropriate. Everyone should have the opportunity to both live and work in this region,” Mr. Brown said. “I think the chair needs to be more aggressive when it comes to pitching business opportunities to potential investors. We need to show people why they should choose Peel Region, we need to find out what it would take to bring business here.”

He added, “I would be an aggressive chair searching for investment, jobs and opportunities to grow our economy locally.”

While the cities of Mississauga and Brampton are major players on the regional scene, Mr. Brown was keen to remind Caledon residents that their voice would be heard should he beat out the six other candidates running for regional chair.

“Caledon is a fantastic community. I’m good friends with many people in the area, like Jennifer Innis, like Johanna Downey, like Allan Thompson. Because Caledon is a smaller municipality in the region, sometimes their voice isn’t always heard, but I could never ignore the concerns of any resident,” Mr. Brown said.

Caledon’s growing infrastructure deficit was of particular concern to Mr. Brown, who noted after decades of building up Mississauga and Brampton it was perhaps time to address other, previously neglected areas. He sees overcrowding of hospitals and shortage of police resources as other issues that currently affect local residents.

Discussing his long-term vision with the Citizen, Mr. Brown said he’d love to follow in the footsteps of Emil Kolb, a 20-year veteran of the regional chair position.

“Emil is one of the people who really made this region work. Following his philosophy, his legacy is an important component to this job,” Mr. Brown said. “I think a region that works well is one where we watch every single taxpayer dollar and understand that we’re all in this together.”

He added, “At the end of the day, I love people. There’s nothing more rewarding than working towards the betterment of the community you live in. I’m really looking forward to being involved in municipal politics again, in a non-partisan role. It’s great to be back in this environment, where it is all about serving the people of your community.”

Brown will run alongside Mississauga Councillor Ron Starr, former Mississauga mayoral candidate Masood Khan, local real estate agent Amir Ali, medical technologist Ken Looy, manufacturing and operations manager Vidya Sagar Gautam and fire and security manager Marcin Huniewicz. The election will take place on October 22.

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