Joining CUI host Mary W. Rowe for our continuing one-on-one conversation series is Patrick Brown, Mayor of the City of Brampton, ON.
Live City Check-In—One-on-One with Mayor Patrick Brown, Brampton, ON
A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation
1. Transparency is critical during COVID-19
According to Mayor Brown, “the best tool you can give the public is transparency during a pandemic. Don’t try to tell [the public] stories, be as transparent as possible.” The Mayor discussed the use of heat maps produced by Public Health to show where people were impacted across the city as well as weekly town halls to provide Brampton residents with ongoing COVID-19 updates.
2. Commitment to Transit
“If you build a good transport system, people will use it,” stated Mayor Brown with regard to plans for the City of Brampton’s transit system. He discussed gradual improvements to Brampton’s transit system including an electric bus pilot project in which the busses are recharged while picking up passengers. Mayor Brown also discussed an initiative aimed to enhance active transportation within Brampton. He said, “you build a city for people, not for cars. And so, we passed a motion that for every new road built in Brampton, they have to justify it if they can’t put active transportation as a part of it.”
3. Reopening should have a health timetable, not a political one
Mayor Brown discussed the importance of prioritizing a safe reopening for the City of Brampton. “I think if you look at the lessons from the US, a rushed reopening could cause more chaos and relapse.” He also discussed the political pressures associated with reopening, highlighting that “one of our worries was that there’ll be a reopening in the province that will be dictated by a political timetable, not by a health timetable.”
4. The Next 100 Days
Mayor Brown highlighted his top three priorities for the City of Brampton in the next 100 days: ensuring the public continues to adhere to the public health measures, reopening of businesses in a safe manner, and ensuring there are adequate funds for continuing to provide essential services to the public. He highlighted that municipalities fund a multitude of essential services including public health and said, “the notion that any of those services would have to curtail in a pandemic is preposterous. But we could be in that position if we don’t get some financial assistance.”
5. Race and Policing in Brampton
In response to racism, policing and community safety, Mayor Brown remarked “this is a unique moment in history where I think there’s a real momentum and willingness to confront systemic racism.” He also discussed the breaking down of barriers and highlighted that the new Chief of Police, Nishan Duraiappah, is the first big city chief of police of South Asian descent. He said, “one of the reasons that we selected him was I thought he would do policing differently.”
COVID-19: Municipalities seek emergency funding (Federation of Canadian Municipalities)