A little more detail on the Mayor's Speaker Series; first one to take place on the 27th

By Staff

May 1st, 2024



In a tweet the Mayor sent out we learn the following:

My new Mayor’s Speaker Series ‘Innovation to Action’ officially launches on May 27 as I and Councillor Kelvin Galbraith co-present the inaugural event featuring renowned urban planner Jennifer Keesmaat and a discussion on housing, community development and growth. The free event includes a trade show at 6 p.m., followed by the keynote speaker at 7 p.m.

Registration at BPAC is required. Learn more & register at: https://mariannemeedward.ca/inaugural-mayors-speakers-series-innovation-to-action-event-featuring-keynote-speaker-jennifer-keesmaat/

Deputy Mayor Shawna Stolte was originally scheduled to be the co-presenter but she announced that:

Ward 4 Councillor and Deputy Mayor Shawna Stolte.

“After deep consideration, I have concluded that Mayor Meed Ward and I have fundamental differences in how we choose to communicate critical information with the public and I have decided to resign my participation in the Mayor’s Speakers Series and resume my focus, time and efforts on planning for these smaller, interactive “ward by ward” resident meetings across the City.

That Trade Show.  The understanding the Gazette has is that the table space is being rented.

Who is doing the selling.  Staff?  Which staff?

Any word on the price per table?

One Gazette reader thought the speaker fee for Keesmaat would be in the range of $10,000 to $20,000 – that struck us as a little steep ut he was right.  The Mayor may have bitten off more than she can chew on this one.

This event has the look of a train wreck in the making.

The Mayor had to scramble to get City council to endorse the event.

Related news:

Stolte pulls out of the first Mayor’s Speakers Series. 

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5 comments to A little more detail on the Mayor’s Speaker Series; first one to take place on the 27th

  • Joe Gaetan

    We now know and believe that it will cost between $10,000 and $20,000 for Jennifer Keesmaat to speak at the inaugural mayor speaker series. We also know and believe that it will cost more than that and that there will be other costs involved in running a major event such as this.
    Here is what we don’t know. We don’t know how many segments the mayor is planning to subsidise nor how many segments there will be in the series? Although we are to understand the Mayor is paying for this unbudgeted event through her budget, we have no idea how big that budget is? While Ms. Keesmaat is a very accomplished and knowledgeable individual in the planning realm, it is hard to grasp how her attendance is going to help build homes faster in Burlington.
    If you are curious and/or interested in what Ms. Keesmaat might have to say but can’t attend the “no apparent cost to you” event, you may visit the following link.

    • Gary Scobie

      Thanks Joe for your comments and the link to the 2023 Robertson Lecture that Ms. Keesmaat presented in Saskatchewan last fall. I found the one and a half hour presentation and Q&A very helpful and informative of her vision for cities of the future (and adjustments needed to cities of today) to support liveable communities for people. I don’t feel I have to attend the Mayor’s version now that I have seen this.

      The major issue that wasn’t dealt with in the video in my opinion was exactly what jobs would be contained in these communities so that members would be able to live, work and play with all the amenities required to live full lives without cars as the major way of moving around. Instead walking, cycling, public transit, mobility scooters and wheelchairs would mainly substitute for cars, in all types of Canadian weather.

      Would the jobs needed for income be essentially work at home or somehow attracted to the communities so that employees could easily get to jobs without resorting to cars? This was not mentioned at all, but is a critical component for the vision to work for employed people.

      I would recommend readers consider putting in the time to view the video instead of going to the live presentation for likely a very similar evening of the same length, without the political posturing that will likely entail.

      Editor’s Note: The video Scobie speaks of can be heard here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2gZzGKLjgg.
      Interesting to note that a one time election campaign worker for Meed Ward suggests people can take a pass on her Speaker event May 27th.

  • Keesmaat’s speaker fees are shown on this website as $10,000 to $20,000 per live event.


    The fee to be paid to Keesmaat was recently discussed at a council meeting, if I remember correctly, it was the mayor who stated the fee was “confidential information”.

  • Penny

    I find it somewhat astonishing that Councillor Galbraith is co-hosting this series.

    What happened to his impassioned speech at the April 16th Council meeting about democracy? Of course he then threw Councillors Kearns, Nisan and Stolte under the bus when he did not support the motions they put forward.

    As they say “politics makes strange bedfellows”.

  • Anne and Dave Marsden

    “as I and Councillor Kelvin Galbraith co-present the inaugural event featuring renowned urban planner Jennifer Keesmaat and a discussion on housing, community development and growth.” Why would a councillor take over the position of another Councillor who stepped down on principles that Galbraith, we believed,supported when he remains concerned that “the new CAO is not facing a democratically elected council with regards to all city busines moving forward and this still remains a concern for me.”