In a hastily called special council meeting in Brampton on Tuesday night (May 31), Councillor Charmaine Williams broke the Ontario Municipal Act by illegally passing a motion that pre-assigns her City Council seat to retired Regional Councillor Elaine Moore. Williams is running in the Brampton Centre riding for the Ontario PC party on Thursday (June 2). The move appears to presume that Williams will win her provincial seat that is currently held by NDP Deputy Leader Dr. Sara Singh.
The Block of 6 councillors that voted to pass the illegal motion are the same notorious group that took control of city council earlier this year, arguing that a blowtorch was being used on the rules that govern the city (Martin Medeiros, Jeff Bowman, Doug Whillans, Pat Fortini, Gurpreet Dhillon and Charmaine Williams). If a blowtorch was being used previously, then the equivalent now is a nuclear bomb.
The motion to assign a successor for Councillor Williams was highly unusual as the provincial election is scheduled for Thursday June 2nd. The Municipal Act, as advised by both the City Clerk and City Solicitor, clearly states that a successor can only be assigned once the councillor seat is declared vacant. The move to call a special meeting within the minimum required 24 hours notice period appears to be a blatant pre-emptive attempt to retain control of city council, which consists of 11 members.
If the Block waited until after the provincial election, they would no longer have a majority of votes and would likely not get their preferred candidate to fill the vacant seat. Why Councillor Williams would go along with the tactics considering she is days away from the provincial election remains unclear and leaves serious questions regarding her ability to uphold and make provincial laws as an MPP.
Councillor Williams, in her comments during the debate of the motion, made numerous convoluted arguments as to why a successor should be chosen at this time, ignoring the City Clerk’s notice that there is likely no precedent for such a motion. Williams ends her statement seemingly at a loss for the word “election”, referring to it as “what cha ma call it.”
The choice of successor proposed by the Block comes as no surprise, yet it was striking to witness it actually happen. Former Wards 1 & 5 Regional Councillor Elaine Moore is alleged to be the mastermind of the Block, co-ordinating their activities in an effort to discredit the Mayor and the 4 councillors (Michael Palleschi, Rowena Santos, Harkirat Singh and Paul Vicente) who have supported the Mayor’s agenda to freeze property taxes, advance post-secondary education options, support efforts to end Islamophobia, declare a healthcare crisis and a climate crisis. Moore formerly supported Mayor Brown’s election but quickly turned against him and collaborates with former journalist San Grewal to promote negative political stories on a local blog. The blog has been cited by Pierre Poilivere, Brown’s competitor in the Federal Conservative Leadership Race.
Elaine Moore retired in 2018 and has a history of control on council and within the ranks of city staff. In her final term of council, she testified against the City of Brampton and in support of a prominent local developer. Wards 7 & 8 Regional Councillor Pat Fortini proposed her name in the motion without any explanation why she was the best candidate. Fortini said it is unfair that he has to wake up at 5:30am and respond to up to 40 emails a day from residents, supporting his premise that a replacement to Williams needs to be done prior to Thursday’s provincial elections. Fortini made no mention of his additional duties he has taken on as Deputy Mayor for the east half of the city.
The Block claims to be upholding democracy in Brampton, yet consistently fails to notify residents of their actions. The Special Meeting was orchestrated by the Block, yet wasn’t shared on any of their social media or email. Their motion to appoint Elaine Moore has yet to be shared with residents. There was no opportunity during the special meeting for residents to provide input on the motion, or suggest alternatives for consideration should the seat be declared vacant. How council moves forward should Williams win the Brampton Centre seat on Thursday is unclear.