One On OneWith Patrick Brown!

Brampton City Mayor Patrick Brown has
held that office since 2018. In the process
he has established a reputation for himself
as an outstanding supporter for cricket
both within his own City and further has afield as
well. Brown’s demonstrated support for the City’s
governing Brampton & Etobicoke District League
boasts a list of approved projects, especially in
the area of provided playing facilities that is as
impressively long as a proverbial country mile.
Somewhat regrettably for the League, its member
clubs and active players Browne recently officially
announced that he had joined the race to lead
the federal Conservatives, with a promise to heal
the fractures that have erupted in the party over
recent years. Brown, 43, launched his campaign
in Brampton, before a packed room of campaign

While he was still officially in office as Brampton
City’s Mayor, Brown kindly consented to be
interviewed by Wickets Publisher Tony McWatt.
The following is a transcript of their discussions:

MCWATT: Mayor Brown can you tell us about
the evolution of your involvement with cricket,
especially here in the City of Brampton? How did
it all start?
PATRICK BROWN: I grew up playing hockey,
baseball and tennis but I quickly realized that the
fastest-growing sport in Brampton was actually
cricket and as such that the recreational amenities
of the City needed to be changed. I felt that the
City’s Recreational Department was very much
stuck in the 1960s in terms of its mentality
towards the sports that were being played in the
city. You’d go to a baseball match and see it being
played under a well-lighted facility but at the same
time you’d see cricket fields without any lights at
all. What really hit home to me though is that I
saw a sign posted outside of a tennis facility that
read “no cricket allowed!”

The City had put up such signs before I was
elected, and as a means of preventing cricketers
from using those facilities. The reason why residents were wanting to
play cricket at that tennis facility though was, of
course, simply because it was well lighted. While
running for Mayor, I held a Press Conference in
front of that facility during which I said publicly
“tear down these signs! We are going to build
cricket in the City. I don’t want cricket to be
considered to be a second-class sport! I don’t
want those who love cricket to have inadequate

That was one of my commitments as Mayor and
as soon as I got elected I worked very closely
with the local cricket associations, the giants of
the sport’s community such as Praim Persaud
who has now just recently been inducted into
our Sports Hall of Fame.

My reasons for doing so are that I have always
been a firm believer in and advocate for
healthy lifestyles. And the best way to achieve
healthy lifestyles is to keep people active. The
recreational facility provisions of governments
, therefore, need to be properly aligned with the
interests of the community.

I noticed that the nature of our Brampton
resident community has changed. If you
look at immigration to Brampton it has been
characterized by the growth of large Caribbean,
Indian and Pakistani communities, even Guyanese
for that matter, for which the number one
favorite sport of such communities is cricket.

In terms of the City’s provisions, however, the
longest waitlist for increased facilities by much
more than a country mile was for cricket. I
announced in 2018 that we were going to change
that and that my personal goal was to be as
dogged, determined and driven as necessary
to ensure that the recreational needs of all the
City’s residents were going to be met and that
Brampton would as a result be considered to be
the cricket capital of North America.
That’s the project that I have taken on over the
last four years.

McWATT: What would be your evaluation of
the progress that has been made in terms of that
PATRICK BROWN: I think we have made significant
progress in a variety of areas across a relatively
wide range. We went and got the GT20 to come
here when it had been slated for elsewhere. Those
are signature events that get a lot of attention but
where I think we have made the most progress
is in the quiet steps forward. When I got elected
I was advised that the grass on the City’s cricket
fields wasn’t being cut at the correct levels. In fact,
the wrong equipment was being used. So we went
out and purchased all the required equipment that
was necessary to ensure that the grass was being
cut at the right levels.

I heard about the fact that cricket couldn’t be
played at night within the City because none
of the existing facilities had lights. So I passed a
motion and we provided funding to ensure that
there would be lighted facilities. We have actually
passed a further motion for lights to be added to
every cricket facility where it would be feasible to
do so.

“There’s no reason why soccer and baseball can
have lights but cricket can’t!”

What we have also been doing is engaging in
property acquisitions to build more fields.
I think we are the only city in the entire country
that is actively purchasing property to expand
cricket! We have a major project underway at
Gore Meadows to expand its cricket capacity. My
goal is to get to a point where there is no waitlist
in cricket.

I think it’s fair to say that we are making tremendous
progress. The challenge we face is that the more
we add capacity the more interest increases as well. It’s
like a moving target. My goal is to have enough
facilities capacity to meet the needs of everyone
within the City of Brampton’s cricket community,
except that its size keeps growing!

McWATT: You had also recently launched an
initiative to establish a stadium headquarters for
Canadian cricket within the City of Brampton.
What has now become of that initiative?

PATRICK BROWN: I have always believed in the
benefits of hosting major signature events,
whether it be the Commonwealth Games or
international cricket matches for which, of course, you need to have the proper stadium
facilities. I also believe that such a stadium would be
well used, not just for iconic events but others that
would be on a much smaller scale. I think we could
easily have it busy all of the time.
So I proposed to Council that we should have a
cricket stadium. We had a vigorous discussion
on it and where Council landed is that it will be a
multi-purpose stadium. The primary purpose will
be cricket but we will also try to maximize the
usage and times by making it available to other
compatible sports for their international and
national tournaments.
McWATT: What’s the established timeline for
completion of the stadium’s construction?

PATRICK BROWN: The next step is that we are going
out with requests for proposals. It’s going to be
a joint private, public sector partnership funded
project similar to what was done for the soccer
at the BMO field in Toronto. We are at the point
now where we will be taking submissions for such
partnerships so that we can determine which of
those would be in its best interests for the City of
Brampton to pursue.

McWATT: Any specific target dates for completion?

PATRICK BROWN: If it were up to me entirely, that
would be yesterday. Given that there will be private
sector involvement though, that agenda and timeline
will likely be driven by them. The interesting thing
about the private sector involvement though is that
the City will own the land on a long term lease,
again similar to the BMO model. When there’s
private sector involvement, however, things can go
a lot quicker than if it was entirely up to any of the
various levels of government.
My experience has been that the private sector
timelines are often twice as fast as those of the
McWATT: What would you say has been the most
enjoyable aspect of your involvement with Canadian
cricket overall and especially here in the City for you

PATRICK BROWN: I’ve loved learning about the sport.
I was in Vancouver recently and while I was there
it was great to have that City’s residents saying to
me personally “you have really done great things for
I was at a restaurant in Ottawa and the waiter who
was from New Zealand informed me that quite a
few people had told him that Brampton is the center
for Canadian cricket!
Comments like that have provided me with the
recognition that we have been making progress. The
members of the cricket community love their sport
and their home countries and are very passionate
about both. At the same time though they are also
very appreciative of all that we have done for the
sport. It’s a wonderful community to work with. I
go to many of the banquets during the year. I have
gotten to know the teams and it has been a privilege
for me to work with the community leaders who are
involved with the sport.

McWATT: As you embark on your journey towards
the bigger prize of the leadership of the Federal
Progressive Conservatives Party, what are your
thoughts on cricket from a National perspective?

PATRICK BROWN: From a National perspective
cricket doesn’t get the attention it deserves! We
have sports that get a ton of support from the
Government of Canada but cricket is not even
on the radar. Just as how I shifted the mentality in
Brampton my goal is to shift the mentality in Canada
for us to have a government that gets behind cricket,
which has a long proud history in Canada. Frankly, I
believe it’s the fastest growing sport in the country.

McWATT: Sports Canada, as the National body
responsible for funding Canadian sports has always
had its hands tied by the necessity of directing the
greater majority of its support towards Olympic
sports to which cricket does not as yet belong. How
would you handle this issue?

PATRICK BROWN: I don’t believe in red
tape barriers. I believe that where there’s a
will there’s a way and that the government
should recognize that I a sport like cricket is
growing dramatically they should invest in
it. Whether it’s an Olympic sport or not I
would invest in cricket. I believe that there
is no other sport within the country that has
the same extraordinarily long wait lines that
exist for cricket.
I am going to suggest that in the years
ahead Canadian cricket teams will be
very competitive internationally. Other
international cricket countries such as
England, New Zealand and Australia should
be watching out for Canada given that we
have a lot of individuals from Commonwealth
countries choosing to make here their home.
We have a new generation of kids born in
Canada that are playing the sport. Just as
Canada has been surprising a few folks at the
soccer World Cup qualifications I predict that
in cricket we will become just as competitive
internationally in the years ahead.

McWATT: Along the immigration line
countries like Afghanistan have had their
cricket development benefit from their
proximity to more established cricketing
nations such as Pakistan and as a result of
the establishment of favourable policies for
immigration from such countries. What are
your thoughts on allowing greater numbers
of immigrants from cricket playing countries
to enter Canada?

PATRICK BROWN: I am a big believer in
immigration. I believe that part of Canada’s
success story as a country has been largely
due to our rich history of immigration.

McWATT: Is there anything specific you’d like
to say to our readers and members of the
Canadian cricket community?

PATRICK BROWN: Anyone who is interested in
supporting my campaign on a national level
the will have a candidate who is fully willing
to provide this country’s cricket with all the
support it needs. Those wishing to do so
should visit my website.

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