Election night on Monday marked a political comeback for former Ontario PC Party Leader Patrick Brown.
His supporters flocked to the Chandna Convention Centre in Brampton to watch the results roll in. Brown emerged the victor in what was an extraordinarily tight mayoral race.
He walked away with 44.4 per cent of the ballots cast. Linda Jeffrey captured 40.7 per cent by comparison.
Jeffrey had been looking to secure a second term as mayor of the Toronto suburb.
“I guess I’m surprised,” Jeffrey told reporters shortly after conceding defeat. “I thought that somebody coming into this city who hadn’t lived here, who had a checkered past, would be somebody my community would not embrace.”
Brown, who recently established himself in Brampton with his new wife, spoke one-on-one with Global News the day after his big win.
“I’ve had a crazy year. Going through false allegations, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” he said.
“The people out there have just been so generous, so decent wherever I went, telling me, ‘Stick with it. Fight for yourself,’ and that’s what I want to do right now. I want to fight for the people of Brampton.”
Brown ran briefly for chair of Peel Region, but any hopes of winning were quickly swept aside when Doug Ford’s government cancelled making the position an elected one.
He was asked if he would be prepared to work with Ford.
“I’m willing to work with anyone who will be a positive partner, be that Doug Ford or Justin Trudeau,” Brown said.
Brown said he has already spoken with the police chief about public safety. His other major focus will be job creation and encouraging investment in Brampton.
While he vowed to work tirelessly for Brampton residents, Ryerson University Professor Neil Thomlinson said he believes Brown achieving his goals may prove challenging if that process involves Ford.
“This is a man that is quite capable of using the considerable power of the premier’s office to exert his will on the recalcitrant municipalities,” he said.
“The mayor can do a lot of screaming and yelling, but really at the end of the day if you’re trying to get provincial money to do projects, which is the fate of most municipalities, this eventually comes down to somebody in the province liking your proposal and liking you and giving it the green light.”
Brown begins his term of office at the beginning of December.
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