By Jasminee Sahoye
“If everyone could see me now I am smiling from ear to ear, I am so humbled yet so excited about this new chapter in my life. I am celebrating today because of the kindness and generosity of so many people.”
These words were written by newly elected Peel District School Board Trustee Kathy McDonald on her Facebook page.
McDonald is among a number of candidates of Caribbean heritage who ran for office in the municipal election in Brampton and the only one to win her bid to serve residents of Wards 3 and 4.
She is known as Brampton’s Miss Lou as she started volunteering at the Caribbean pavilion in 1992 as a storyteller delivering the works of Louise Bennett-Coverly or Miss Lou, a Caribbean folklorist and writer.
The married mother of four, whose parents are from Jamaica, ran on the slogan “I am not an absentee trustee” emphasizing she will work to increase funding for Peel students, more sports, music and art programs / facilities and more teaching assistance support for special needs students.
Retired teacher and former principal Albert Evans, originally from St Kitts / Nevis took the second highest number of votes among the 10 candidates for trustee for Wards 9 and 10.
Former Brampton city councillor Garnett Manning, who ran for regional council for Ward 3 and 4, had the third highest number of votes among 15 candidates while Michelle Shaw in Ward 9 and 10 was number four in total votes among the seven who ran.
Allison Brown, a registered nurse with 20 years experience who ran for councillor in Ward 9 and 10, failed in her bid to beat two candidates of South Asian heritage, placing her number three of the four candidates.
Karla Bailey, an educator and owner of Bailey’s Children Centre Inc., campaigned to be Ward 7 and 8 councillor was among 13 candidates. She took the second highest number of votes.
Life coach specialist and former pro football player Steve Kerr, in his second bid for councillor, received the second largest number of votes from residents of Ward 1 and 5 among the 10 candidates.
Electro-mechanical engineer Andre Levy in Ward 3 and 4 placed number seven among the 12 candidates.
In Brampton with a large percentage of residents of Caribbean origin, Mayor Susan Fennell’s tenure ended after a spending scandal. She placed third of the 14 candidates. Long-time Brampton Councillor and former MPP Linda Jeffrey beat her by a margin of almost 37,000 votes.
Meanwhile, Mississauga has a new mayor. ‘Hurricane’ Hazel McCallion, who won 12 consecutive mayoral elections and served for 36 years, did not run, clearing the way for a win by Bonnie Crombie, a former Mississauga councillor. McCallion, threw her support behind Crombie.
Two candidates of Caribbean heritage didn’t make it to Mississauga city council but got support from a number of residents in their respective wards. Rose Streete, who ran for councillor in Ward 8, was eighth among the 11 candidates, while Winston Harding lost his bid in Ward 1, placing number five among the six candidates.