The latest in Mississauga leaving Peel Region

By Declan Finucane

Published March 8, 2023 at 10:35 am

Always optimistic that Mississauga will finally achieve political independence from the Peel region, Mayor Bonnie Crombie said this week that “divorce proceedings” were underway.

But that doesn’t mean the dissolution of the peel region is imminent or will happen at all.

That decision rests with the provincial government, and it has in no way tipped its hand.

For historical context, the city of Mississauga’s fight for its right to leave Peel stretched back decades to the early tenure of former Mayor Hazel McCallion, and no provincial government of the day sided with Mississauga on the issue.

Nevertheless, in an Instagram interview with Editor Khaled Iwamura this week, Crombie expressed optimism that political split could finally happen.

She and her council have pushed for independence even more aggressively over the past year or so, most recently at a February 15 council meeting.

The mayor told it that Mississauga is waiting for liaisons to be appointed by the provincial government to speak with city officials about assets, liabilities, revenue and other matters that need to be addressed should there be political changes in Peel.

“They’re going to analyze who owns what and how that’s going to be separated and how they could create … utilities and things like water, sewage …,” Crombie said in the Instagram interview.

If there is a split, matters such as the Peel Region headquarters in Brampton, which houses council chambers and various regional offices, and what to do with them, would also need to be discussed, the mayor continued.

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“It’s in Brampton, but everyone owns it. (It’s an) asset that would be sold and the funding redistributed,” said Crombie, who then concluded, “Let’s call it divorce proceedings; who owns what and who gets a fair share of the proceeds.”

A viewer who commented online on the Instagram interview said Crombie made a complicated situation sound too simple.

“Residents have a right to know how this is affecting their cost of living in the city and the services we already pay for,” the commenter noted. “More information and clarifications are needed and local residents should be invited for their input once they have the full picture before moving forward with this agenda.”

Crombie and Mississauga city councils remain adamant that Canada’s seventh-largest city must split from Peel and pursue an independent political path to move forward.

Such a move would save Mississauga $1 billion, Crombie suggested.

What Mississauga and its nearly 830,000 residents don’t need, Crombie stressed at a city council meeting last month, should be combined with current Peel partners Brampton and Caledon into one new megacity.

That idea, which the Mississauga mayor and councilors claim would severely disadvantage their citizens, was brought up again in February when Ontario Premier Doug Ford addressed the matter at a news conference in Brampton.

Ford and his government are looking at ways to reduce or eliminate municipal duplication in Peel and several other municipalities in the province. Forming a Peel megacity is one option that’s been discussed, but Ford recently said it supports a move in the other direction — making Mississauga and Brampton cities in their own right.

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Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown also supports such a move.

Ford said his government will eventually sit down with Peel mayors to discuss the issue.

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