Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said he and Premier Doug Ford have yet to meet since Brown took office in Canada’s ninth-largest city more than a year ago.
While admitting in an interview on Dec. 18 that he and Ford are often at odds with each other, Brown said he still has strong working relationships with several former party colleagues, including senior ministers such as Steve Clark and Caroline Mulroney.
“I have not sat down with (Premier Ford),” said Brown. “We attended an event together for Amarjot Sandhu, an MPP, but that was very informal.”
“Myself and Doug Ford obviously have differences of opinion on a number of issues that I think are well-known in the media, but I would say that hasn’t prevented us from having a proper working relationship with the province,” added the mayor.
For comparison, neighbouring Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s office said she’s been granted several meetings in person and over the phone with Ford over the past year.
“Every time Mayor Crombie has requested a meeting with the premier, he has accepted and has been receptive to our key priorities and issues. The mayor has had two one-on-one meetings with Premier Ford since the beginning of this council term on a range of issues,” read a statement from Crombie’s office.
“The mayor’s chief of staff also enjoys a productive working relationship with the Premier’s Office, having met with senior staff and leadership on a range of issues four times in person since the beginning of the this Council term,” it added.
Ford took over as Ontario Progressive Party leader after Brown stepped down only months before Ontarians took to the polls in June 2018 provincial election that saw Ford elected premier. Brown then went on to run in, and win, the Brampton mayoral election in October 2018.
On Oct. 23 — one day after Brown’s victory — the province pulled funding for a previously approved Ryerson University campus in Brampton, prompting further rumours of a rift between the city’s new mayor and the premier.
Less than a month later, in November, Brown drew the premier’s ire after announcing the release of a tell-all memoir about his time with and departure from the PC Party, titled “Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown.”
In the book, Brown revealed alleged insider information about former colleagues and accused former political enemies within the PC Party of co-ordinating his removal as leader.
“I wouldn’t have put a book out like that,” Ford told reporters after hearing of the book’s release.
“He really, really went after people. It’s disappointing, I have to question his leadership.”
“He definitely did a disservice to the people of Brampton,” added Ford at the time.
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In a September email, the premier’s office denied the frosty relationship between Ford and Brown has affected the provincial government’s working relationship with Brampton.
“Several of our ministers, including Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark and Health Minister Christine Elliott, sat down with Mayor Patrick Brown and representatives from the city of Brampton at AMO to discuss shared priorities, including the need for more affordable housing and investments in health care,” said Ford’s press secretary, Ivana Yelich.