Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Linda Jeffrey, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, takes questions during a media conference at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga on Jan. 17.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Municipal Affairs Minister Linda Jeffrey is set to quit provincial politics to run for Brampton mayor, leaving the Ontario Liberals without a popular incumbent in a crucial battleground ahead of a potential spring election.

Party insiders said Ms. Jeffrey will soon announce her departure from government, setting up a tough fight with scandal-plagued Mayor Susan Fennell for the booming Toronto suburb's top job.

Through her office, Ms. Jeffrey turned down an interview request Sunday.

Story continues below advertisement

A veteran politician known for her calm demeanour, Ms. Jeffrey is a key ally of Premier Kathleen Wynne. An MPP since 2003, she previously served on Brampton council and has long had her eye on the mayoralty, Liberal sources said. She has often been in the spotlight in recent months, leading the government's response to the drug and drink troubles of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Brampton, a suburban city of half a million northwest of Pearson Airport, is part of the so-called 905 belt around Toronto that typically decides provincial elections. Holding seats there, including Ms. Jeffrey's Brampton-Springdale, will be crucial for the Liberals.

Some insiders directly credit Ms. Jeffrey's popularity – and her deep roots in the riding – with keeping the seat out of the Progressive Conservatives' hands in 2011. Other Liberals played down her departure's effect on their electoral chances, saying the party's organization in the area will prevail over an expected tough challenge from the Tories.

Ms. Jeffrey's departure is part of a larger turnover within caucus. She will be the seventh Liberal MPP to leave since 2011. At least four more incumbents are not seeking re-election.

Ms. Wynne controls only a minority of seats in the legislature and must secure the support of at least one other party to pass a budget this spring. If she does not, the province will be plunged into a snap election.

In a preview of the scrappy tone the Brampton mayoral race will take, Ms. Fennell on Sunday blamed Ms. Jeffrey for not bringing all-day, two-way GO train service to the city. As a member of the Liberal government, Ms. Fennell said, Ms. Jeffrey also bears responsibility for the province's $12-billion budget deficit.

"She'll have to stand on her record and her participation in the financial mismanagement of the province," Ms. Fennell said in an interview. "My message to her is: you can't hide in Brampton."

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Fennell has been recently beset by accusations of lavish spending. In addition to having a taxpayer-funded car and driver, and a vehicle allowance, the Mayor and her staff have expensed hundreds of thousands of dollars in flight upgrades, language classes and other items.

The Mayor said the travel was necessary to court investment for the city and that the $45,000 spent on the car and driver is "good value for money," as it allows her to get work done while travelling between meetings and events.

Despite her troubles, Ms. Fennell is expected to mount a formidable campaign ahead of the October vote. Her re-election bid is being run by Nav Mangat, a seasoned Liberal operative and former provincial political staffer. Mr. Mangat has managed successful campaigns for former federal MP Navdeep Bains in 2004 and MPP Harinder Takhar in 2007; he was also a key player in Mr. Takhar's leadership bid last year.

Ms. Jeffrey will be the second serious challenger to take her on, after Councillor John Sanderson jumped into the race last month.

On top of spending and transparency matters, Brampton faces major development issues, including a push to densify its historic downtown to ease the breakneck growth of McMansion-filled subdivisions on its fringes. Transit is also top of mind, with plans for a light rail line to connect the city with next-door Mississauga.

The married mother of three grown children, Ms. Jeffrey has served in cabinet since 2010, holding the Natural Resources and Labour portfolios before taking over Municipal Affairs and Housing a little over a year ago.

Story continues below advertisement

On the Ford file, Ms. Jeffrey took a careful position: that the province would only intervene if Toronto city council asked it to. Her stance was calculated to strike a middle ground between those demanding Queen's Park step in to stop the madness at Toronto city hall and the desire of the provincial Liberals not to make Mr. Ford into a martyr by being seen to have meddled in city affairs.

Ms. Jeffrey also played an important role in the aftermath of the ice storm that struck Southern Ontario late last year, offering up to $190-million in provincial money to help municipalities repair storm damage.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies