Brampton continues to be the only big city in Canada without its own comprehensive university. We are the fastest growing city in Canada with one of the youngest demographics, yet we continue to force our students to leave the city for higher education, research opportunities and career advancement. Despite attempts by some councillors to disparage the work of city staff and the progress made over the past 4 years, residents can be proud that this work has resulted in plans for a Medical School, campus expansions, and negotiations to help revitalize our downtown with the potential relocation of the University of Guelph-Humber.
Our residents deserve as many post-secondary education and training options that we can bring to Brampton. In the prior term of council, over $700,000 was spent on advocacy by a blue-ribbon panel created to advocate for residents. This term, $600,000 was spent on advocacy that continued during the pandemic and lockdowns. These investments on advocacy are necessary to secure millions of provincial and federal dollars that have been sorely lacking in our city, and that will benefit all of our residents for generations.
Unfortunately, this effort is now being attacked for political gain with yet more unsubstantiated allegations of corruption and bullying. These allegations are being made by council colleagues that have approved millions for projects that have significantly less economic potential, including forcing through $1,000,000 to reconstruct a barn, and who are fixated on spending tax dollars on investigations for their political games. The previous investigation by Deloitte Canada cost over $500,000 and found that allegations were also unsubstantiated.
Just as disgusting and hypocritical, a sitting Brampton Regional Councillor who was found by the city’s Integrity Commissioner to have sexually harassed a woman in 2019 had the gall to comment on a female city staffer’s body language as he supported a motion for further investigation. While this is all embarrassing for Brampton, Councillor Santos and Councillor Vicente continue to passionately advocate in full transparency for the best interests of residents.
Statement by Councillor Santos:
“I am an educated woman in a leadership position. I earn my place at the table and I bear the scrutiny that comes with visibility. Throughout my career, I have maintained integrity and have no issue standing up for myself and the residents I represent. For the sake of all women in leadership who are targeted for their ambition and big ideas, I am compelled to call out what can only be described as a witch-hunt. Despite attempts to impugn my reputation, I remain focused in serving residents and working towards a brighter future for Brampton. I will not be silenced.”
Statement by Councillor Vicente:
“I am extremely proud to work closely with Councillor Rowena Santos on building a brighter future for Brampton in Wards 1 and 5. I frequently witness the inequality that Councillor Santos has to bear and I am a fierce defender of her sincerity and motivations to advocate for our residents and city. Let there be no confusion that my colleague Rowena Santos is the hardest working, most intelligent, and biggest champion of Brampton on city council. She represents the best of what Brampton can be and I look forward to working with her on even bigger ideas for the city.”