Long-time city leader Grant Gibson is retiring after 8 terms in office and is not seeking re-election in the City’s municipal election taking place later this year. Mr. Gibson is currently serving as Regional Councillor in Ward 1 and 5 and was first elected as an Alderman for Ward 5 back in 1991.
In a statement released this week, the Councillor said:
“Over the years, the job of Councillor has changed. We have seen Brampton grow from a small town in the GTA to one of the largest, and most vibrant cities in Ontario. We have faced a lot of challenges and had a lot of successes. But this job is about the people we represent and I have found my greatest enjoyment when I am working with my constituents to find solutions to their problems. That’s why I ran for office in the first place; to help my neighbours.”
Councillor Gibson’s decision to retire opens up what could be a significant shake-up at city hall this year and change the dynamics of local politics for years to come. Over the past term of this council, decisions for the city have often been drawn by two competing voting blocs. Mayor Jeffrey and Councillors Medeiros, Dhillon, Fortini and Miles have often sided against Councillors Gibson, Moore, Bowman, Palleschi, Sprovieri and Whillans.
Gibson’s elected replacement after this Fall’s elections could switch the balance of power to the Mayor’s side. The result could be a sweeping reversal of council’s direction, including the decision to abruptly end the Hurontario LRT line at the Gateway Terminal on Steeles Ave.
However, there are many council seats in contention and a provincial election to get through this summer. It is highly anticipated that one or more sitting provincial MPPs may run municipally if residents in Brampton vote them out of their provincial seats. There are also a number of past politicians, including former Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell, Regional Councillor John Sanderson and City Councillor Vicky Dhillon that may re-emerge. Fennell is thought to be considering a run for the Peel Region Chair as changes since the last election now allow residents to vote for a candidate for this position.
Councillor Gibson’s decision to retire wasn’t unexpected and residents in Wards 1 and 5 can expect a lengthy list of candidates to choose from now that the decision is public. Municipal and School Trustee candidates this election season are not allowed to officially enter the nomination process until May 1st. The early leading contender to replace Gibson is local resident and business person Paul Vicente. Mr. Vicente collected 36.9% of the votes in his first attempt last election against Ward 1 and 5 Regional Councillor Elaine Moore who received 52.1% of the votes.
(Note: Ward 1 and 5 currently has two Regional Councillors, Grant Gibson and Elaine Moore. Councillor Gibson was elected as a City Councillor and voted in by his council peers to fill an open seat at Peel Regional Council. This quirky division of duties between city councillors and regional councillors is a result of a mismatch in the number of seats allocated to Brampton on Peel Region Council.)
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