Earlier today, The Ontario Superior Court of Justice found the motion six Councillors pre-emptively passed to appoint Elaine Moore for the vacancy created by Charmaine Williams winning in the provincial election illegal. The six Councillors responsible for being in contravention of the Municipal Act were Gurpreet Dhillon, Charmaine Williams, Martin Medeiros, Pat Fortini, Doug Whillans and Jeff Bowman. Justice Doi states in their decision that the court is “satisfied that the Resolution and By-law were passed without lawful jurisdiction and should be quashed in their entirety for illegality.”
From day one, six Councillors behind closed doors to maintain a disruptive stranglehold on Council, at the expense of residents, orchestrated this illegal motion. These Councillors made backroom deals and chose Elaine Moore, who had zero connections towards 7 & 8 and is best known for her opposition to the LRT as a past councillor and supporting a religious discriminatory policy as a former school trustee, to replace Charmaine Williams.
Members of the public were also denied an opportunity to apply for the vacant position or to provide input on the selection process contrary to the democratic precedent followed by every other municipality, including most recently seen in Toronto for the new vacant Ward 1 formerly held by Michael Ford.
During the Special Council meeting on May 31, Councillor Harkirat Singh tried to put motions forward to seek legal advice in a closed session and get a third-party legal opinion on the legality of the motion. Each time the same six Councillors denied him. He had repeatedly warned his colleagues that the motion to appoint was contrary to the Municipal Act during the meeting, which the City Clerk and City Solicitor also confirmed. The same six Councillors promptly fired the City Solicitor thereafter in a baffling and disturbing move.
Fearing repercussions of the illegal motion on future decisions of Council and believing it was his responsibility as a Councillor to protect the City and taxpayers, Councillor Singh took it upon himself to initiate legal proceedings to stop the appointment so the City could be protected from future legal challenges, potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
We hope this has taught a valuable lesson to the six Councillors that thought they were above the Municipal Act and could ignore it contrary to ample warnings and expert advice. We remain shocked that six Councillors, five of whom are serving in their second term and one who has served only one term and is now an MPP responsible for provincial legislation, had such a poor understanding of the Municipal Act and their own fiduciary responsibility to the city of Brampton and its residents. We are also disturbed by the manner in which these Councillors took to the media in order to embarrass the city and Council with what we now know was an illegal position, Justice Doi said.
As a result, Councillors Palleschi and Santos will be moving a motion to have Councillors, this term and future terms, attend mandatory training on the Municipal Act and their fiduciary responsibilities to protect taxpayers. Additionally, we hope that as this term of Council ends in the next few months, Councillors will prioritize protecting the taxpayer rather than focusing on petty personal vendettas.