Aldershot resident is not looking forward to the incumbent Council member serving for four more years.

By Tom Muir

October 20th, 2022



It’s now days before the election and despite working for months on the conflict of interest issue, I am disheartened that it came to light so late – this information is not easy to get, and who will do anything about it? Whose job is it? l

I have experienced a loss of Ward 1 engagement and representation on important development matters, and particularly now, have to face conflicts of interest by Councillor Kelvin Galbraith.

Residents want to be part of the decisions made for their community

This experience goes back to the last election in 2018. The previous Councillor retired and left behind a quite elaborate structure of Ward 1 engagement with regularly scheduled meetings for South Aldershot, North Aldershot, Tyandaga, and a special group for the Eagle Heights development. Very often planning staff were present to provide information.

For the 2018 election there were 13 candidates, including Kelvin Galbraith. We learned that he was a business man, property owner, and developer with ties with EMSHIH, whose property surrounds his. His properties are located around Waterdown Road and Plains Road, in the Aldershot Main Street of Aldershot Corners in the evolving MTSA planning area.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

He won the election and became the first Councillor in memory in Ward 1, to own property in the Ward, which he intended to development, and was sworn to uphold the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

A group of residents in Ward 1 had 3 meetings with him in 2018 and were concerned about several issues including what engagement and representation he had in mind. We asked him to maintain the structure that his predecessor had long established and maintained. Unfortunately for engagement and representation with residents, he did not meet our request, and let this structure die.

Of serious concern, given his property ownership situation, were possible conflicts of interest and how he was going the manage them. At the meetings, this potential was raised extensively.

However, while he promised to seek advice internally, from the Integrity Commissioner, and inform us of what he found, he never did this then, and we heard nothing back. We took him at his word about it and it was only in the last week (Oct 17) that we learned that he waited more than 3 years to go to the Integrity Commissioner, and he was advised that he was in conflict within the MTSA.

Before Oct. 17, I wrote several messages describing my analysis of the situation of concern – Ownership of Property and Conflict of Interest – to the Councilor. I described what I perceived as his contravention of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by failing to declare a pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in several matters concerning his ownership of property in the Aldershot MTSA.

After my messages, I learned about the more than 3 years wait, till March 2022, to seek advice from the Integrity Commissioner. He didn’t tell anyone that I know of. It was only because I reached out to him that I found out, and even then I had to explicitly ask him to give me the report.

The Councilor denied in writing to me that he has a general conflict in the entire MTSA, but restricted his pecuniary interest to within 120 meters, contrary to the conclusion of the Integrity Commissioner report:

“Accordingly, we conclude that, now that the plans include reference to proposed designations affecting your properties, you are required to recuse yourself from the discussion and voting on consideration of the Aldershot GO MTSA.

The map the Integrity Commission used in their letter to Councillor Galbraith

My own analysis in response to the Councillor argued that this general conflict was the case, and agreed with the Integrity Commissioner report. I also stated that as a businessman, investor and property owner, with a letter of intent with EMSHIH Developments, he would know that this is true. In his statement published in the Gazette recently he continues to deny he has a general conflict of interest in the MTSA.

So the facts of what has happened in my community indicate that Ward 1 lost the long-time informative public engagement plan already in place and let die, and has a Councillor that is in denial that he is in a conflict of interest due to pecuniary interest according to the conclusion and directive of the Integrity Commissioner.

This is not the kind of representation, engagement, and judgment on his conflict situation that I expect, and that I think is the duty of a Councillor sworn by his oath of office to maintain.

We don’t need 4 more years of this.

Tom Muir is an Aldershot resident who has played an active roll in requiring the Councillor for the ward to be accountable and transparent.

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7 comments to Aldershot resident is not looking forward to the incumbent Council member serving for four more years.

  • Alfred

    You remind me of those old time wrestlers that always lost their matches. Yet they were the ones that talked the most. Are you not embarrased at all the OMB and OLT decisions that the City has lost on your and people like you’s behalf.
    Tom. We had a fair election and the Conservatives won (That one still stings for you.) That same Conservative Government will within the next few days bring in legislation, that will show you in a crystal clear way. Who wields the power hammer in housing matters. Time and money wasting Nimby’s and incompetent planners and your Mayor will soon be relegated to minor speed bumps in matters involving good planning. The Provincial Government that delegated power to the City now wants it back. It will be returned to it’s rightful owners. Clearly the City of Burlington did a shameful job following Provincial guidelines, instead listening to no nothings. Oh. By the way all the other Provincial Parties housing plans are similar to that of the PC’s. No relief in sight.

    By antagonizing the Provincial Government the Mayor will have taken herself and the Nimby’s out of the equation. Where they at least had a voice. Poor governance at best.

    With coaches such as yourself, she never stood a chance.

  • Daintry Klein

    Jim Thomson, we haven’t noticed you at Council meetings, Region meetings or OLT hearings to date. Looking forward to getting a better understanding of your interests and experience. Tom Muir has been very present. We appreciate his stellar career and experience!

    • Jim Thomson

      I guess you had no interest in the Trumpeter Swans and the 4 million spent on the LaSalle Park Marina.
      With all his experience how come he didn’t file a complaint himself?

      • Daintry Klein

        Jim, Thank you for your reply. While I am interested in everything Burlington, you are correct, I was not involved in those two issues. It is interesting that you are critical of Tom for not filing a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner however as an active member in your community, and in light of the response, it begs the question why you didn’t file a complaint. We are all in this great City together.

  • Tom Muir

    I said I didn’t know about the conflict until I learned of it during the election, and you have to know enough about a conflict to say there is one in a complaint, and you cannot file a complaint during an election.

    Also as I said, the Councilor did not tell anybody public that he had the Integrity Commissioner report or what it said, except for his misrepresentation of what it said about his conflicts. He lied from what the Integrity Report concluded and told him. You see the words.
    The first day you can file a complaint is the day after election day

    There are other rules.

    If anything smells it’s your comment.

    Do some homework before you insult out of ignorance.

    • Jim Thomson

      It was common knowledge that he owned the properties.
      You raised the issue with the councillor back in 2018.
      Why didn’t you raise the issue with the Integrity Commissioner?
      Why wait till now? You have had 4 year to file a complaint.

      I read the words and it says that going forward he needs to recuse himself.
      That report was in March. Has he failed to recuse himself since the report?

      I actually liked the response from his opponent, ie he has been given good advice by the integrity commissioner. Has he failed to follow that advice?
      Unlike his opponent I believe you have failed to hold him to account. You have had 4 year to file a complaint.

      I have had differences with Galbraith, but I don’t think he has violated the Code of Good Governance as you are insinuating.

  • Jim Thomson

    If Tom Muir had concerns he should have filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner. Why would he leave it to a candidate who he thought was in a conflict position?
    This doesn’t pass the smell test.