Patrick Brown announced he is running for mayor of Brampton again on Monday morning.
The city’s incumbent mayor announced the bid just weeks after he was kicked out of the federal Conservative Party leadership contest.
Brown is seeking his second term as mayor after he was elected first in 2018. His re-election bid comes at a time when Brampton city council is divided on his leadership.
“I just wanted to inform everyone that after talking to my family, we’ve decided to put my name in again for Mayor of Brampton,” Brown said at the news conference.
“It’s been the greatest privilege to serve the city over the last four years, and I’m looking forward to the next four years.”
‘I’m moving on,’ from Conservative leadership disqualification, Patrick Brown says:
He joins Jermaine Chambers, Vidya Sagar Gautam, and Cody Vatcher in the mayoral race.
Brown cited funding for a new hospital, medical school, a transit facility, and an electrified transit fleet among other economic development projects as goals achieved under his tenure.
Brown also froze property taxes for four consecutive years in Brampton, a move that was popular with many voters.
“We’ve done a lot of great work in city hall,” he said.
Brown disqualified from Conservative leadership race
On the social front, Brown noted his continued opposition to Quebec’s Bill 21, citing his support for religious freedoms.
Earlier this month, Brown was disqualified from the race to be leader of the federal Conservative party over allegations related to an apparent breach of the financing rules in the Canada Elections Act.
The Conservatives’ leadership election organizing committee has been tight-lipped about the nature of the allegations, though Brown and his campaign have denied any wrongdoing. They are currently appealing the decision. A woman identifying herself as the whistleblower in the campaign says she personally discussed with Brown an arrangement for her to be paid by a private company, and that he approved.
Brown again said “there was no wrongdoing” in his federal campaign, but said he’s focusing now on Brampton.
“I’m not going to be involved in the leadership campaign anymore, my focus is going to be creating a great team here in Brampton,” he said.
Responding to allegations that Brampton is his second choice, he said “I could’ve served Brampton at a national level” but said he’s still going to speak up for the rapidly-growing city.
“I will be loud and I will be heard to make sure residents in this city are never shortchanged,” he said.
On the Conservative leadership race, Brown urged voters to support candidates who share the same inclusive values as people in Brampton.
“I believe they were on the wrong side of history when it came to marriage equality, Islamophobia, and Bill 21,” he said about the federal conservative leadership.
“If we take an extreme approach, it won’t be in the best interest in Canada.”
Brown currently battling a group of 5 councillors
Shortly after he was disqualified from the CPC leadership race, a group of five Brampton councillors penned a statement saying “Democracy in Brampton is under siege because of Patrick Brown.”
In the letter, they cited financial and contract irregularities during his time as mayor. They also voted for an investigation into contracts relating to a full university for Brampton.
A report by the city’s interim chief administrative officer in May found that $629,000 went to four vendors involved with the project, but staff were unable to find the final product for five of the “deliverables” identified in the expenses.
Five councillors wrote most of the money went to one firm, which employed a close associate of Brown.
Brown responded that it’s an attempt of councillors to distract from their contrary motion to fill a seat vacancy. The group of five councillors voted to appoint Elaine Moore, a former city and regional councillor, in former councillor Charmaine Williams’ seat, after she was elected to Queen’s Park in the latest provincial election.
An Ontario judge quashed that appointment shortly after.
Brown, speaking with reporters after, welcomed the judge’s finding. He alleged Moore’s appointment was an attempt to “seize control” of city council and called it “egregious, wrong and illegal.”
But the councillors that supported Moore’s appointment hoped she would help “unearth” issues related to Brown at Brampton city hall as she’s been critical of his tenure as mayor.
Brown briefly mentioned the conflict with other councillors in his speech.
“Court ruled that no councillor is above the law and the councillors that objected to my time as mayor were held by the court to have broken the law,” he said.
“We can never have councillors who think they’re above the law.”
Brown, a former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party, has been mayor of Brampton since 2018. He resigned his PC leadership after allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to his time as a federal MP surfaced. Brown has denied any wrongdoing with respect to those allegations.