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Bonnie Crombie becomes Mississauga’s first new mayor since 1978 while Fennell loses badly in Brampton

October 30, 2014


For 36 years, the people of Mississauga re-elected Hazel McCallion. They elected her despite Ms. McCallion’s staunch refusal to campaign, they elected her as the population tripled and they even elected her despite recent conflict of interest allegations. And they did not just elect her, they adored her: In 2011, as Montreal and Toronto began to turn dramatically against their own chief executives, a poll found Hazel McCallion to be the most popular mayor in Canada.

And now, with Mayor McCallion finally retired at the age of 93, the people of Mississauga have elected her chosen successor.

Bonnie Crombie was 18 when her predecessor was elected mayor of the 260,000 people in the rural suburb of Mississauga.

Now, the former Liberal MP and Mississauga city councilor is taking control of a budding metropolis of nearly 800,000.

Originally, Ms. Crombie had spent the election trailing behind Steve Mahoney, another former Liberal MP. That all changed Thanksgiving weekend, when Ms. McCallion used the holiday to carefully review the platforms of both her would-be replacements.

“Look at the programs of both candidates that are running, and I have every confidence that when you review it, that you will vote for Bonnie Crombie,” Ms. McCallion told a crowd at the city’s Emerald Chinese Restaurant. Within hours, Ms. Crombie had surged to a 20-point lead over Mr. Mahoney.

J.P. Moczulski for National Post

When Brampton last went to the polls in 2010, Mayor Susan Fennell was defending herself against accusations that her eponymous Mayor Susan Fennell Community Fund was operating without registering as a charity or disclosing its financial statements. In comments to the National Post, she called the accusations “distracting” and a pre-election “smear.” The electorate appeared to agree: Ms. Fennell won more than 50% of the vote, more than three times ahead of the splinter of the vote shared by her closest opponent.

My name is now cleared once and for all

This time around, far worse allegations surrounded the veteran mayor, who was first elected in 2000. In August, an audit found that Ms. Fennell had overseen $172,000 in unauthorized overspending for items such as “high-cost airfare, premium hotel rooms and personal expenses.” Mayor Fennell staunchly denied any wrongdoing, launched lawsuits against the Toronto Star for reporting on the audit, and—with only hours to go before Election Day—she held up an 11th hour city-commissioned arbitrator’s report as proof that she had only personally overspent $3,022.97 in city money.

“My name is now cleared once and for all,” she said.

On Monday night, former Brampton MPP Linda Jeffrey easily took over the mayor’s job on a platform of city accountability—and a promise to take a $50,000 pay cut.

Ms. Fennell ended the night in third place.

As it surges with new development, Vaughan saw fit to stay the course by re-electing Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua. The planned Vaughan Metropolitan Centre will connect to the Toronto subway and eventually host 25,000 residents and 11,000 jobs. Metrolinx is lining Vaughan with a series of dedicated “rapidways” to speed up public transit in the region and Vaughan Mills—already one of the largest shopping malls in Canada—announced plans last year for an $87 million redevelopment and expansion project. Mr. Bevilacqua first took the office in 2010 by easily toppling incumbent Linda Jackson, who was dogged by a series of election spending controversies. Since filing papers for the 2014 mayoral race, his re-election was never really in doubt.

Markham may not have liked the idea of building an NHL-sized hockey arena with city money, but they have held onto the mayor who helped to suggest as much: On Monday night, Mayor Frank Scarpitti easily clinched his third term with as much as 80% of the vote.

After first joining Markham city council in 1985, Mr. Scarpitti has seen Markham’s population more than triple during his time in city politics, and in 2006 easily became the successor to long-term mayor Don Cousens.

The total tax increase for the past six years is the lowest among 25 GTA municipalities

Outside Markham, Mr. Scarpitti is best known for overseeing a plan to build a $325 million arena that—despite having no tenant or private sector funding—was billed as a surefire way attract an NHL franchise to the city. Although Mayor Scarpitti supported the plan to the end, city councillors voted to shelve the arena last December after hundreds of residents clogged a marathon meeting to voice their displeasure for the project.

But Mr. Scarpitti does keep taxes down. As per his own campaign literature, “the total tax increase for the past six years is the lowest among 25 GTA municipalities.”

Richmond Hill
This election, Richmond Hill briefly joined its GTA neighbours in hosting an unusually contentious race, although incumbent Dave Barrow ended election night with easy victory.

First elected in 2006, Mayor Barrow was recently subjected to accusations from rival Sridhar Methuku that he had violated city regulations by failing to declare a conflict-of-interest over a council resolution to have him personally repay a $10,000 over-expenditure of a city account.

The Ontario Superior Court soon vindicated the mayor, and Mr. Methuku quickly abandoned his run at the mayor’s job.

Monday night, Mr. Barrow won the vote by about 65%, with Councillor Carmine Perrelli coming in second. He has said his focus is on Richmond Hill traffic, and plans to get a subway to the city by 2018.

Article source: http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/10/27/bonnie-crombie-becomes-mississaugas-first-new-mayor-since-1978-as-susan-fennell-loses-badly-in-brampton/

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