Brampton city council meeting cancelled after half of members don’t show up

A city council meeting in Brampton, Ont. was abruptly cancelled after about half of its members didn’t show up.

The agenda for the meeting, which was scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, is nearly 900 pages in length.

Brampton city council has been plagued with divisive politics for months, with one group of councillors pitting themselves against the others.

The five missing councillors were all found to be associated with a motion to pre-emptively fill a seat left vacant after the provincial election—a motion that was deemed to be illegal by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last week.

In a statement, the remaining five councillors—Harkirat Singh, Michael Palleschi, Rowena Santos and Paul Vicente, as well as Mayor Patrick Brown—accuse those councillors of “taking vacations and refusing to attend council meetings.”

“Now, in the absence of any reasons that are valid, those same councillors are refusing to attend to city business by skipping critical council meetings. Ultimately, these tactics will hurt the taxpayer where delays and inaction could put the City of Brampton at significant risk and cost us millions of dollars,” the group of councillors wrote.

Without quorum, the meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday. It is not clear if the missing councillors will show up.

Council hasn’t had quorum to meet during the last few sessions, as those who opposed the pre-emptive appointment of a city councillor refused to meet until the courts made their decision. Brown said last week that council was warned any law or bill passed while the appointed councillor was present could be legally challenged.

The five councillors who approved of the pre-emptive appointment—Jeff Bowman, Gurpreet Dhillon, Pat Fortini, Martin Medeiros and Doug Whillans—have previously called on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate Brown’s financial dealings inside city hall. They allege that at least one person in Brown’s inner circle who worked on his federal campaign also worked for a firm that received more than $500,000 from city hall, and that the mayor attempted to “run out the clock” on a series of investigations ordered by Brampton City Council.

Brown announced Tuesday that he would be seeking another term as mayor of Brampton.