Patrick Brown is seeking a second term as mayor of Brampton, but may face a challenge from a Liberal MP considering a bid for the job.
Mr. Brown, who has been disqualified from the federal Conservative Party leadership race over improper campaign financing concerns, announced on Monday that he is turning his full political focus to holding the mayoralty in the Toronto-area municipality of about 660,000.
But Ruby Sahota, the Liberal MP for Brampton North since 2015, says she may seek to transition from federal to municipal politics.
“Following overwhelming support and encouragement from her Brampton North constituents and community advocates, MP Sahota is giving thought to a potential mayoral bid – no decision has been made yet,” said a statement from Ms. Sahota’s office.
Ms. Sahota is a lawyer raised in Brampton and currently deputy government whip, a position involved in ensuring party discipline among members of a caucus. She won her riding in the 2021 election with 54 per cent of the vote, while the Conservative candidate received 31 per cent.
“MP Sahota loves her job as the federal representative for Brampton North and is proud of her strong advocacy for Brampton over the last six years and looks forward to continuing to work hard for what’s best for Brampton,” said the statement.
Mr. Brown, in an interview on Monday, shrugged off the prospect of a challenge from Mr. Sahota – or other contenders.
“You’re going to have a bunch of people come out of the woodwork. That’s always the case in an election in Brampton, but I am really focused, right now, on continuing the work we’re doing in Brampton,” he said.
Melanie Wise, a spokesperson for the House of Commons, said in a statement that there is no federal legislation prohibiting or disqualifying an MP from being a candidate in a municipal election, but that resources provided by the House cannot be used for the municipal election.
Mr. Brown won the mayoralty in Brampton with 44 per cent of the vote in 2018 compared to 40 per cent for his nearest rival, former Liberal mayor Linda Jeffrey.
He said he is confident about rallying a team of supporters to help with the work to win another term in the Oct. 24 election with a larger mandate.
Mr. Brown, whose run in politics has included stints as a Conservative MP and leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, also says he wants to clear his name given his disqualification as a Conservative leadership candidate over campaign financial irregularities.
Lawyer Marie Henein, who has represented such high-profile clients as former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, is on his case.
“There was certainly no wrongdoing, and I want that to be made very clear, and certainly I would like to see an acknowledgement from the Conservative Party that they handled this very poorly,” said Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brown declined to provide specific figures, but said his campaign is ending in a reasonable financial situation with some funds owed from the party, and some “limited debt” that he said was not significant. “We’re certainly not in the situation we’ve seen in previous leadership campaigns.”
His campaign has said it signed up about 150,000 Conservative supporters for the leadership race. Mr. Brown had previously endorsed Jean Charest as leader, but said earlier Monday that his supporters could consider another candidate who shares Mr. Brown’s “inclusive values,” namely Ontario MP Scott Aitchison.
He said he was skeptical about Pierre Poilievre pivoting to the political centre to win support. “I believe he is a true believer in the messages that he peddles,” he said. “I don’t think he has any interest in the centre.”
Elsewhere, a Liberal MP entered a mayoralty race in British Columbia.
Sukh Dhaliwal is seeking to become the mayor of Surrey, the second most populous city in the province. He is leading a slate of candidates for council under the new United Surrey banner.
Mr. Dhaliwal, the MP for Newton-North Delta from 2006 to 2011 and then MP for Surrey-Newton since 2015, is entering a crowded field.
Current Mayor Doug McCallum is seeking his fifth term as mayor. Also former NDP MP Jinny Sims, who beat Mr. Dhaliwal for his seat in 2011, and was defeated by Mr. Dhaliwal in 2015, is also seeking the mayor’s office. Current city councilor Brenda Locke is also running for the job.
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