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“Let’s work for a better Brampton, and make it a proud city,” says Mahendra Gupta. 

Did you know part-time City Councillors take more than $100,000 plus benefits from your Property taxes? Is this a TAX-LOOT?

Meet Mahendra Gupta, who is running to become your City Councillor from Ward 10 in Brampton. An engaged educator and long-time community advocate, Gupta sees a lot happening currently at City Hall that needs cleaning up. He also sees Brampton growing exponentially, with the current batch of city councillors unable to match this pace of growth with policies or innovative City-led programs that can position Bramptonians to benefit from this growth.

Gupta pledges to help create more higher education options for our youth, foster job creation, improve public transport infrastructure, address crime — and, above all, rein in runaway politicians’ salaries, while helping clean up the City’s budget wastage.

“Let’s work for a better Brampton, and make it a proud city,” says Mahendra Gupta.

Desi Express met Gupta for his views on how he can help make Brampton a better city for residents. Excerpts:

Can you give our readers a brief background about yourself?

I have been living with my family in Ward 10 of the City of Brampton for the last 20 years. I have seen the city growing from farms to urban sprawl.  I have been working in the fields of teaching and finance for the last 30 years.

After graduating from St Thomas University, I became a teacher in 1991, and have progressed since then. I finished the Principal’s course from University of Toronto, and have been a Certified Principal by the Ontario College of Teachers.

I have taught at both the University and school systems in Ontario. I have also graduated with an MBA from Boston, and have taught finance and accounting at the University of West Indies, Trinidad.

What qualifies you for the job?

Just like many new Canadians I too had my challenges in Toronto and Brampton. I have participated in and led several community organizations that have helped support new Canadians. I have trained several foreign-trained teachers in Ontario. I have also advised several people in their career, and have been a job developer for youth.

People have trusted me with their most precious asset, their children.  For my community services over the years, I have been awarded the 25-year Exceptional Volunteer Service Award by Canada. I will bring my experience and knowledge that is required to do the job. I undertake my political career as community service. I am decisive, bold, and connected when it is time to take decisions for the benefit of all.

What in your view are the main shortcomings of our current councillors?

In the present system many councillors have used their positions cynically, merely as stepping stones in the world of politics. Many of them are just part-timers, and not serving people as they should.

I believe that politics should be for serving people and communities rather than serving politicians themselves. In some cases they do not have the political will to make the right decision.

Many a time politicians lack knowledge of English language. Therefore they may not or imperfectly understand important documents that affect people’s lives.

Many councillors play the blame game on MPPs or MPs, and do not represent their constituents on different levels of government.

Politicians have been increasing their own salaries by increasing our property tax. This has become mere tax-loot. Politicians are often using the tax money that should be used for the benefit of people, merely to pad their own nest eggs. I find this pathetic, especially because there is no recall system whereby they could be held liable for their broken promises.

What are the top three upcoming challenges the City faces, and how would you fix them?

The way Brampton is being run by politicians, it is difficult to talk about only three challenges. Rather there are many that need to be addressed.

The City budget is poorly managed, with no or little financial accountability. Councillors keep on increasing property taxes to increase their own salaries. When I connected with people on the campaign trail, I realized that the majority of Bramptonians did  not know that city politicians had increased their salaries by 25% in 2014, and another 5% in 2018, bringing it to over $100,000, plus more benefits.

Even as the City population kept rising, our politicians did not budget for this increase because of their poor vision. The City poorly provided resources for education, nor did they foresee the rise in gun-violence. Parents have had to send their kids to make-shift schools, like portables. There is no university in the city. Hence parents have to pay more than $80,000 for each child living away from home when they go to universities.  Lack of education and jobs market is directly correlated with crime in the city. Many a time police is not provided appropriate resources to deal with crime.

We should provide land for university right away without further delay, and negotiate with provincial and federal politicians right away. Until then, large satellite campus from reputed university must be provided. It seems to me that politicians do not care about new Canadians, even though they are elected by and from the new Canadian population.

There are long line-ups in Emergency care at the hospital. It’s insane that in the third largest city in the Golden Horseshoe region, with a population of around 700 000, patients have to be rushed to Mississauga and Toronto for several issues. Basically the one and a quarter hospital cannot serve Bramptonians. Many a time, people prefer to visit Orangeville hospital in case of emergency, to avoid the long wait-times in Brampton.

As I have observed, over the last number of years Brampton has consistently been among the fastest growing cities in Canada. However our councillors refuse to see the traffic grid-lock clogging our roads, and snarling up our economic growth; or if they do, they still do very little about it.  Brampton urgently need LRT, subway, and improved public transport systems that will solve traffic issues.

Should you be elected, what are the top three challenges you would adopt as your own, to resolve over the coming four years?

In terms of politicians’ salary increase, I will not only put a moratorium, but also recommend to roll back the salaries to 2014 levels. There shall be no increase in property tax. Councillors must find means to manage services. I believe there is a lot of wastage in our City budget, and the city can be better managed otherwise. People, many of them on fixed incomes, are tired of paying high property taxes for next to no added services they receive in return.

During my campaign, people told me that streets are not safe because vehicles are speeding through residential areas causing accidents.  This will be addressed without delay to make Brampton street-safe for our kids and everyone.

People are very concerned about increasing crime in the city. Our Neighbourhood Watch programs have been dismantled without proper study. We should hold community consultations immediately, pin-point high risk areas and deal with them right away. In the long run, issues surrounding our higher education system and the paucity of good-paying jobs locally must be addressed. These measures will also help reduce crime.

Let’s work for a better Brampton, and make it a proud city.

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