MISSISSAUGA — There was never a doubt in Mississauga mayoral candidate Steve Mahoney’s mind that the Ontario Liberals would win a majority government in the 41st provincial general election.
“Never in the least — I even predicted 59 seats,” he said of the June 12 results.
With the Progressive Conservatives at 27 seats and the NDP with 21 seats, Mahoney is satisfied that Premier-elect Kathleen Wynne will do as said in her victory speech and put through Mississauga South MPP Charles Sousa’s budget within the next 20 days.
Sousa, who won his third term last night, isn’t the only Liberal to be smiling in Mississauga and Brampton.
MPPs Bob Delaney (Mississauga Streetsville), Dipika Damerla (Mississauga East- Cooksville), Amrit Mangat (Mississauga-Brampton South), Harinder Takhar (Mississauga Erindale) and Vic Dhillon (Brampton West) all cleaned up for the Liberals.
In fact, the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh of Bramalea-Gore-Malton was the only candidate standing between the Liberals and a sweep of the two cities.
Given Wynne’s majority government, coupled with the overwhelming support in Mississauga, Mahoney said it should serve as an advantage to residents over the next four years.
“The fact that we have representatives from Mississauga inside the caucus, inside the cabinet, gives us a real strong possibility for having a great voice and Mississauga, I feel, will be listened to,” said Mahoney, who proudly wore red as an MP and MPP during his 35-year career of public service.
“I’m very optimistic going forward,” he said.
Noting that a number of voters were scared off by Tory Leader Tim Hudak’s proposed 100,000 cuts to the public sector, an endorsement from Mayor Hazel McCallion didn’t hurt Wynne’s cause either, he added.
Mississauga Mayoral candidate Bonnie Crombie issued a statement congratulating Wynne on forming a government and asked for the province to invest in the city’s infrastructure and transit.
“I urge the government of Ontario to make all-day, two-way frequent GO Train service a reality on the Milton line as soon as possible, as well as assist us in funding the Hurontario LRT, a project endorsed unanimously by City Council,” she wrote.
Given that revenue from developers is drying up, the city only generates money through property taxes and users fees, explained Mahoney. So, with user fees covering the costs to run various facilities, he said property tax is the only real revenue stream a city has to play with.
Aside from exploring private sector opportunities, cities are left to partner with the province to fund projects like new transit lines.
“We’ve got strong fiscal challenges in the city and we need a strong partner in Queen’s Park,” he said.
“I ask the Premier to maintain her commitment to investing in municipal infrastructure,” wrote Crombie, whose statement went on to ask the province to continue to offset the cost of social services and to address the social services funding gap that “puts Peel Region and Mississauga at a $365 million disadvantage each year in comparison to other municipalities.”
With voter turnout for this election inching up to 52 per cent across Ontario — as opposed to 49 per cent in 2011 — the spike hopefully serves as a bright spot for the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 27.
“I’m hoping that a better sign is that the first time in 36 years we actually have a race for mayor,” he said. “That might make a difference to the voter turnout.”