‘We will be formidable’: Mississauga has a new mayor, now the city is seeking a new deal

The Absolute Towers, a residential condominium twin tower skyscraper complex in Mississauga, Ontario, is shown on Saturday, Sept.15, 2012. The 50 and 56-storey towers, nicknamed the Marilyn Monroe towers because of their curves, are located on Absolute Ave. and Hurontario Street in the heart of Mississauga. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Richard Buchan

Just days after electing a new mayor, Ontario’s third-largest city is setting its sights on changing the way the provincial government works with cities and getting in line for a new deal from Queen’s Park.

On Monday, voters in Mississauga elected former MP and councillor Carolyn Parrish to be the city’s new mayor.

In her victory speech, Parrish promised she would demand better funding for her city from both the federal and provincial governments.

“The region is going to be stronger now because you’re going to have three mayors that get along,” Parrish told her supporters. “And we will be formidable when we go to Queen’s Park or to Ottawa to tell them we need our fair share of funding… We’re going to mix charm and force and we’re going to take over the world.”

At a Wednesday meeting, city councillors fired the starting gun in that race, passing a motion demanding more funding for social services in Mississauga and across the Region of Peel.

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The motion called on Ontario premier, Doug Ford, “to make an immediate commitment to providing a fair, new deal for Mississauga to ensure that municipal and social services in Mississauga receive an equitable share of provincial investment.”

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A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance — which led negotiations on new deals for both the City of Toronto and Ottawa — is pointing to existing investments in Mississauga.

“Our government continues to stand in strong partnership with Mississauga,” the spokesperson said. “Maintaining a close relationship with our local partners remains critical as we continue to build Ontario.”

A new deal between the City of Toronto and the Ford government, announced at the end of 2023, included the province taking control over the cost and maintenance of the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway, along with paying the costs of operating the Eglinton Crosstown LRT when it launches.

In Ottawa, the province is working to take over Ottawa Road 174 and has offered aid to stimulate the city’s struggling downtown.

The details of Mississauga’s ideas for a new deal centre on funding for social services in the Region of Peel, which a local non-profit estimates is the worst funded in the province.

A report by the Metamorphosis Network and Blueprint ADE found that residents in the Region of Peel get an average of $578 less per person for services like housing, childcare and seniors’ care compared to other Ontario communities.

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Mississauga Coun. Brad Butt — who moved the motion Wednesday calling for immediate support from Queen’s Park — told Global News it isn’t only his city that needs to reset its relationship with the Ford government.

“I really would hope the provincial government wouldn’t just pick one off municipalities,” he said. “Let’s treat all municipalities as adults in the room and make sure that we can deliver the services that we need to deliver for our residents… I certainly wouldn’t be someone that would say to our new mayor, ‘Go to the minister of municipal affairs and housing and say cut a special deal for Mississauga.'”

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