The following speech was delivered at the Inaugural 2018-2022 Council meeting held at the Living Arts Centre.
“Bonsoir, Anhe Boozhoo, Salam a lakuum, sat sri kal, namaste, Wǎnshàng how, Konbanwa, chào buổi tối, dobry wieczór, Buonasera, boa noite, masa’ alkhayr, vanakkam, magandang gabi, dobroho vechora, dobra večer, shalom. Good evening!
Thank you for joining us.
Tonight is an exciting night – it is an opportunity to begin a new term of Council, full of possibility and promise.
While we will face challenges in the next four years, I know that working together, we will achieve great things.
Thank you Monsignor Keenan for the lovely blessings.
May we reflect every day on the privilege bestowed upon us and always use our offices as instruments of good.
I want to begin by congratulating my fellow members of Council.
To those who earned your re-election – welcome back!
I look forward to continuing to make progress on the great work we have begun.
To Councillors Dasko and Damerla, our new councillors from Wards 1 and 7, welcome to the team!
You join a committed group of professionals who always put the best interests of Mississauga and our residents first.
I know you will do the same and I look forward to working with you to move our City forward.
The people of Mississauga expect their government to deliver results.
In the coming term, you have my commitment that personal politics will not impede good public policy and our collective desire to move Mississauga forward.
That includes working with – not against – all levels of government, regardless of political stripe, to advance the interests of our City.
City above self.
I am proud to be standing here tonight to tell you that Mississauga is working.
We have a plan and we are seeing it through.
Mississauga is no longer a sleepy suburb or a bedroom community.
We are the third largest city in Ontario, the sixth in Canada and we are stepping out on the world stage.
We control our destiny.
Our residents are proud to call Mississauga home…and with good reason.
There is just something about our City…
It is a place where everyone sees themselves, where everyone belongs and where everyone can grow and thrive.
Whether you were born here, have been here for thirty years, or are a new immigrant, Mississauga is a place where everyone can achieve success.
Few other places in this world can match our vibrancy and diversity.
And as a result, few cities can match our potential.
We are a place where Fortune 500 companies want to invest, grow and create jobs because they see the value in our diverse, highly skilled and highly educated workforce…
Where people come to obtain post-secondary education, and where professional sports teams want to plant their roots.
Mississauga is a city in demand…
As we gather tonight, we have the opportunity to work together to shape the future of our City and do big things.
On my desk, I have a plaque that reads, “Work Hard, Dream Big.”
The only limits we face are those we place on ourselves.
We – all of us here tonight – have the opportunity to do great things for our city
Whether you are on this stage or working in the community…every person has the opportunity to make change
During the last term of Council, we made significant progress on a number of fronts.
Working together we have:
Expanded our transit map and secured billions of dollars in investment into our city
Held the line on taxes and developed a strategy to ensure Mississauga remains affordable and a place where people can live and work
Found $15 million dollars in savings, which is equivalent to roughly 1 percent on your tax bill every year.
Showed leadership by standing up for all residents in our City, no matter their faith, ethnicity, religion, culture or sexual orientation and showed the world that Mississauga is a welcoming place.
And, we have moved ahead with significant developments along the Hurontario and Lakeshore Corridors and the Ninth Line, in Malton, and in Meadowvale and many other neighbourhoods across our city
We have done so much, but we cannot rest on our success
As we embark on the next four years, we must work every day to protect the progress we have made, while continuing to work tirelessly to grow our city responsibly.
Over the next four years and well into the future, our job will be to manage our growth and further strengthen our position as a leader in the GTA and beyond…
This means making the tough decisions.
Doing what’s right is not always easy, but our Council always rises to the challenge and always does what’s right.
Our City is only 44 years old, but we have grown and changed dramatically in that time.
We are becoming an urban city, which means we are shifting our focus to building up, not out.
This presents us with new challenges, but also great opportunities.
Every year, we welcome thousands of new people to our City.
In just over twenty years, there will be nearly 900,000 people living in Mississauga
We will need to provide services to these people – roads, bridges, community centres, fire services, libraries, parks, trails, and so much more.
And of course, they will all need an affordable, safe place to live.
To accommodate the growth of tomorrow means planning today.
We will grow responsibly and where it makes sense
I understand that there is some anxiety about what intensification means for the identity of our City.
You have my word that as we grow, we will not change the things that make Mississauga great.
We will not lose our character.
I know that we can embrace the new without losing the old
Our growth will mean making important investments in areas like transit
Gridlock and congestion are costing us time and money
You need to get where you’re going quickly and affordably.
We have a transit plan that has been developed through consultation, based on sound evidence, and supported by businesses and residents
From the Hurontario LRT that will form the north-south spine of a regionally-integrated transit system, to the 5 east-west routes including the Mississauga Transit Way, Milton GO Line, the Dundas and Lakeshore Road Corridors, and the Lakeshore Line…
We are committed to building transit and getting people moving across our City and beyond.
As we move forward, we will continue to have open and honest conversations with all levels of government about how we best get people moving north to south, east to west and how they can help support our top priorities.
Building transit is good for the economy.
It’s how we keep Mississauga and Ontario open for business.
People choose to live in Mississauga because we offer our residents a quality of life that is second to none.
While our economy continues to surge, not everyone is feeling it.
It is getting more expensive to live, precarious employment is on the rise, and wages aren’t keeping pace with the cost of living.
Our Council has made it a top priority to address affordability in our City.
We will continue to ensure that your hard-earned tax dollars stay in your pocket by keeping taxes as low as possible – below the GTA average.
We will continue to find savings and stretch every dollar as far as we can.
And you have my word that before any decisions are made, we will have a good look at the books first…
We will do our homework.
As housing prices continue to rise, we will continue to make it a priority to increase the supply of affordable housing for the middle-class so that everyone who wants to live in our city, can afford to do so.
When one person is left behind, none of us can truly move forward.
Mississauga must be a place where our kids and grandkids will be able to…
…and will want to…
live, work and raise a family for generations to come.
Mississauga will continue to be a place that everyone can call home.
Affordability is key to attracting new business and building healthy, prosperous cities.
Since becoming Mayor, I have made creating jobs and attracting new business, my business.
Working with staff over the last four years, we have attracted or helped expand over 430 companies, creating tens of thousands of jobs and millions in new annual revenue for the city – money that is used for services and infrastructure to make life better for you.
For instance, just last year we recruited Cognizant to Mississauga, a prominent global IT company, who will create 600 good jobs in our City.
CBS Film and Television Studios will be opening 6 soundstages in Mississauga early next year, which will bring highly-skilled jobs to our City and make us an international destination for film and television.
Our economic development strategy is working.
I hear it from envious mayors across the country and when I travel abroad.
In Mississauga, we are doing it right!
Mississauga is open for business…
Mississauga is working.
To maintain our high quality of life, people need to feel safe in their community.
While our City remains one of the safest in Canada, a growing number of people in our City are voicing their concerns about crime and safety in our community.
There are no easy solutions to fight crime; it requires the community, the police, and all three levels of government working together.
It requires making investments that help stop gun and gang violence before it starts, stop handguns from illegally crossing our borders, and investing in our police, the brave women and men who work day in and day out to keep our city safe.
As part of our efforts to curb violence in our community, I will be creating a Mayor’s Roundtable on Community Safety, rejoining the Peel Police Services Board, and calling for more investments from all levels of government for at-risk youth.
Everyone deserves to feel safe in Mississauga, and everyone deserves an equal opportunity to succeed.
Friends, Mississauga is on the right track, but there is still so much more to be done.
As Mayor, with Council and staff we will ensure Mississauga remains a leader…
…a smart city that embraces new technology, fosters innovation, and is ready for the economies of the future
…a city that grows and develops sustainably, with an emphasis on reducing our environmental and carbon footprint to make our local and global community healthier…
…a place where the car is not the only form of transportation, but part of a healthy mix that includes seamless local and rapid transit, along with bike paths and trails…
…a family-friendly community full of parks, community centres, libraries, sports fields and arenas, and a host of other amenities…
…a city that not only embraces the arts, but invests in them, putting our city on the national and international map as a cultural hub and a destination while boosting our economy…
…and, a place where we help our neighbours and ensure nobody is left behind.
Mississauga is a city that shapes the future and a place where people choose to be.
Our future is as bright as it is limitless and I feel more confident than ever that we can take Mississauga to new heights.
All of us on this stage tonight, and the dedicated team of staff that support us are all working to make Mississauga a better place for everyone.
In Mississauga, we have a vision and a plan that is working.
We will continue to make progress on the work we have started into this next term and beyond.
We are all working for you.
I hope you will join us as we embark on writing the next chapter in the incredible story of Mississauga.