Patrick Brown’s campaign flyer shouldn’t have our logos, universities say

A campaign pamphlet by Patrick Brown touting his efforts for a Brampton university used the names and logos of several post-secondary schools without their permission, the Star has learned.

At least two institutions, stressing that they must remain neutral in the election, have complained to Mayor Brown’s re-election campaign about the unauthorized use of widely distributed flyers, which contain a QR code and a link to his political website.

Toronto Metropolitan University and the University of Guelph-Humber have both confirmed that they have contacted Brown and the two councilors whose images appear in the flyer – which is believed to have been delivered to at least two neighborhoods – to discuss the question.

Universities are not registered as third-party advertisers, and the inclusion of their images appears to violate election laws, as universities and corporations cannot make political donations of any kind.

“We are reaching out to campaigns to remind them of our impartiality and to let them know that the University of Guelph-Humber logo should not be used to claim or imply endorsement,” said Andrew Leopold, Director of Marketing and of Humber College Communications, adding that the school was unaware that its image had been used and had nothing to do with the flyer.

Michael Forbes, executive director of communications at Metropolitan University of Toronto, told the Star that the school “was not aware that our logo was being used in campaign materials in Brampton. We have an exceptional relationship with the City of Brampton and are always happy to work with the Mayor, Councilors and City staff. We will contact the respective offices to discuss the appropriate use of our logo. »

Brown’s campaign did not respond directly to questions about the use of school names. “I’m sure you understand that we don’t discuss strategy or implementation during a campaign,” campaign manager John Mykytyshyn said.

The news comes as Brown, who is seeking re-election mayor of the province’s fourth-largest city, remains mired in first-term controversies, including the cancellation of a spending audit of the failed bid for a stand-alone university in Brampton, discord on the board, and a plea by its critics for the province to intervene.

The news also comes as the University of Guelph and Humber College recently sent a letter to the city saying they were “retreating from discussions with the city to explore the University of Guelph-Humber’s move to the center of ‘planned Brampton innovation’, where the university was expected to be the anchor tenant.

“It became apparent that space constraints were a significant concern,” the letter reads. “Over the past several months, attempts to find additional space to provide the high quality student experience of a comprehensive university that meets the standards of Guelph-Humber and its parent institutions have been unsuccessful. In addition, the schedule for the construction of the planned (center) has not yet been confirmed.

Gary Collins, Brown’s director of communications, said city council decided to halt the University of Brampton project in March, but his efforts led to Metropolitan University of Toronto planning the siting of the University of Brampton. a medical school in the city.

“We were close to moving from Guelph-Humber to downtown Brampton,” Collins said. “We respect Guelph-Humber’s need to respond quickly to its space shortages. I know the province wants there to be alignment with existing post-secondary institutions before approving any expansion.

Following a Star story examining the controversies under Brown’s leadership over the past four years, his main challenger, Nikki Kaur, was at Queen’s Park on Thursday to appeal to Prime Minister Doug Ford and the Business Secretary City Hall Steve Clark to investigate the operation of Brampton City Hall.

“There was an article in the Star which deals with the audits which have been stopped by Mr Brown where he and his friends are asked about sole source contracts, in particular our university project in Brampton, which costs the city over $600,000, but we have very little to show for it. This has to stop,” Kaur told reporters.

“We are here to implore Minister Clark and the Premier’s Office to step in and help the City of Brampton,” she said.

“How can a person stop an audit? If there is nothing wrong, why aren’t the checks done? This is a second investigation that has been shut down and more is coming out daily – we need help.

Former Brampton councilor Elaine Moore, a Kaur supporter who backed Brown in the 2018 election, claimed that “Taxpayers in the City of Brampton were misled” about the local college push.

“Instead, about 15 days ago there was an election campaign post in which Patrick Brown and two of the regional councilors were really saying that all the money spent on their advocacy has been delivered,” Moore said. .

“In fact, it did not serve the city. There has been a lot of money wasted on this file.

Clark and Ford’s aides did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Brown appeared on Newstalk 1010 Thursday morning, where host Jerry Agar asked him about Star’s history and his political life.

He said there was no wrongdoing in the University of Brampton push, despite an audit which found two companies – one with ties to Brown and one with ties to another adviser – have received an “unfair advantage” in winning the contracts and then failed to deliver all of this was expected.

Brown and some city councilors ended the audit before he could release his final report.

He also noted that other reports and audits, as well as the Integrity Commissioner, found no wrongdoing.

Advocacy, he added, means Brampton “is getting a (medical) school for the first time in 100 years in the GTA, with a fantastic partnership with the provincial government. So I know we’re entering a silly season during the election, but you know… just give me a break.

Noor Javed is a Toronto Star reporter who covers city news and covers municipal 905 politics. Follow her on Twitter: @njaved
Robert Benzie is the bureau chief at Star’s Queen’s Park and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie


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