By Jasminee Sahoye
There have been calls from leaders within the community for more representation on the political scene and it appears a number of Brampton residents have listened and thrown their hats into the race in the fall municipal elections.
So far, The Camera is aware of eight Bramptonians of Caribbean heritage running for city council, Peel regional council and school board trustee. They have banded together to reach out to The Camera and other community media to let their constituents know why they are the ideal candidates for the wards they have set their eyes on.
Although South Asians are reportedly the largest ethnic population in Brampton followed by Black/Caribbean people, the candidates say their platforms focus on solutions to problems plaguing residents in the city and not on ethnicity. They all want to make a difference in the lives of youths, seniors and working people.
The candidates are considered rookies in politics as most are running for the first time but they are professionals in their respective disciplines.
Leading those candidates is Allison Brown, a registered nurse with 20 years experience who is running for councillor in Wards 9 and 10. She says “real care and concern that I’ve developed for patients and a passion for people has really been the driving force why I’m is running.”
She adds she wants to use her skills and experience on a “bigger scale” hence the decision to take on the challenge. She wants to see improved infrastructure, a comprehensive transportation plan and better recreational facilities for seniors.
She says there’s a lack of care and concern for the voting constituents of Brampton, referring to a recent audit into overspending by the mayor and city councillors.
Former city councillor and former 2010 Brampton mayoral candidate Garnett Manning decided against running for mayor, opting this time to run for regional councillor for Wards 3 and 4, which would allow him to use his expertise to serve the Region of Peel. He too is concerned about the spending abuse at City Hall.
If elected, he wants a limit of two to three terms for councillors and mayors and plans to move a motion on the first day of council. He hopes to get a feasibility study, engage the people and the provincial government.
Taking a run for regional councillor for Wards 9 and10 is Michelle Shaw, director of community programs at Brampton Safe City Association. She has worked towards making Brampton a safe community, a flourishing place for youth and a city of strong, vibrant neighbourhoods.
“I have a proven ability to be fiscally responsible and have created effective connections with the community which will serve me well on Brampton City Council where the divergent interests of citizens, government and private industry must come together to make Brampton an efficient, well-run city.”
When it comes to the health and well being of others, Karla Bailey, who wants to represent Wards 7 and 8 believes she is the right candidate. As an educator and owner/operator of Bailey’s Children Centre Inc., she says she has worked to ensure that families and community members are aware of available health resources and services.
“I believe the citizens of Brampton need an affordable and tangible solution to the congested highway and roads that serve as main traffic arteries into and out of Brampton.”
Candidate Andre Levy describes himself as having a heart for people and a passion to serve. Levy “believes that there must be a more diverse and true political representation of Brampton’s demographics at City Hall.”
Andre says he will find solutions to the diverse challenges in Wards 3 and 4 if elected as city councillor.
A candidate with the same name as a retired American basketball player – Steve Kerr – wants to represent Wards 1 and 5. His tagline is “your vote is your voice.” He is passionate about education and wants to see a state-of-the-art university campus in Brampton, the tenth-largest city in Canada. He believes this facility would help keep graduates in the city, which in turn will boost the local economy. This is his second attempt at elected office.
There are two Peel School Board trustee candidates The Camera is aware of and they are Albert Evans, a retired Peel District teacher, principal and vice-principal taking a shot at Wards 9 and10 and Kathy McDonald, a children’s storyteller running in Wards 3 and 4.