At best Mayor's response was insolent - no longer fit for office ? Treating her colleagues so shabbily

By Pepper Parr

March 27th, 2024



A colleague wrote recently that Mayor Meed Ward now faces a majority of council that, having put its concerns out in the open will not likely go back behind the veneer of collegiality that has been the hallmark of this council.

The responsibility for that collegiality rests with every member of this Council – they have known for some time just what they have as a Mayor. But they chose to blink and to look the other way while trying to convince themselves that this was a group of happy campers.

Asking the Mayor to relinquish the Strong Mayor powers she has it like spitting into the wind.

The four are going to have to innovative and strong at the same time – they should be mad, angry and prepared to do what needs to be done to change the vibe.

If these four do not succeed in bringing the Mayor to heal their lives for the next two years each day in Council will be a daily hell – and their chances of being re-elected limited at best.

There are not enough in the way of lifeboats on the Good Ship Burlington – they will all go down with the ship.

When the Mayor did what she did on Tuesday (we have reprinted just what took place below) you had to know she was buying time – at your expense.

Councillor Shawna Stolte

Councillor Stolte

Councillor Stolte: then said: “I had wanted to wait until after your comments to be able to ask a question that I will ask  – you indicated during your comments that you will give strong consideration to the request that is before you today and I would like to assume that you have taken the opportunity over the last 10 days to give serious consideration to this request.

So my question to you is will you,  based on majority of Council and multiple delegates, be willing to give a clear response and answer today.

Mayor Meed Ward. My answer is that I do welcome council  to make requests of me and I will give it the thoughtful consideration that it deserves.

Stolte: Sorry for clarity, so not a response today though?

Mayor Meed Ward

Mayor Meed Ward stuck to her story: will give it the thoughtful consideration that it deserves. It requires additional thought.

Mayor Meed Ward: “ That is my response today and I will give it more thought and more to come.

Stolte: Sorry, I guess I’m not being clear a response to the request to delegate. Your answer is what I’m asking for.

Stolte: Sorry, I guess I’m not being clear a response to the request to delegate. Your answer is what I’m asking for.

Mayor Meed Ward: “ I welcome council  to make any requests that they wish to make of me and I will give it the thoughtful consideration that it deserves. It requires additional thought.

And there you have it.  The Mayor has already had 10 days – from her perspective it is vital that she keep kicking this to some future date.

A group has created a petition.  A link to that petition is HERE. If they can get 1000 plus signatures – the Mayor will begin to pay attention.  If the number is less than 5o0 she will know she has won.

We will report on that petition each day.

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6 comments to At best Mayor’s response was insolent – no longer fit for office ? Treating her colleagues so shabbily

  • Gary Scobie

    Let’s look at what we know and what we can only speculate at this point. We know that at the March 19th Council meeting, the Motion by the three Councilors was scheduled for one of the last items on the agenda and that the Mayor tried and failed early in the meeting to have it removed on procedural grounds. We know that there were four Councilors ready to vote for the Motion, so it would pass with a majority vote if voted on that day.

    We know that Councilor Bentavegna brought a motion instead to wait a week and have a Special Council meeting on March 26th to deal with the Motion. So the Motion was not voted on on March 19th. Everyone had a week to think about the issues, the Motion and how they would vote.

    Fast forward to March 26th. Everyone in Council knew the Motion would pass, so each should have been well-versed and well-prepared to debate and vote. The four Councilors quickly made clear they were going to vote for the Motion. Even though Councilor Sharman said he was against Strong Mayor Powers he also said he did not fear them under our Mayor’s control. Councilor Bentivegna wanted to change the Motion wording from “request the Mayor to delegate to Council the powers…’ to “the Mayor consider a request to delegate to Council the powers…’. This would have been quite a weakening of the request from “please do so” to ‘please consider doing so’. That amendment got no seconder, but indicated that his vote was not obvious yet.

    That opened the way for the Mayor to say that she would give the Motion her “consideration”, but not that day. So the Council amended the Motion to give another three weeks of time till the April 16th Council Meeting for her answer. The Motion was then passed unanimously by all seven members, including the Mayor and the meeting was adjourned. The Mayor had voted “yes” to her being asked by Council to relinquish certain Powers in the Motion. Not to consider relinquishing them, but to relinquish them. A “yes” or “no” answer.

    In my humble opinion, I will speculate that the Mayor may already know what her answer will be but chose not to give it that day and instead delay it. For what purpose I don’t know, but it seems somewhat odd that the Mayor voted clearly to accept the forthcoming question but then make Council wait three weeks for a one word answer. I’ll let readers speculate on their own what that answer may be, but I feel the Mayor has painted herself into a corner and that her only answer can be “yes”.

  • Lynn Crosby


I agree with the Editor that if the petition cannot generate at least 1000 signatures, then the citizens of Burlington (and Ontario) care not enough about our fundamental freedoms and the principle of majority rule.

    Our Mayor, in my view and that of many, is now the poster child of what is wrong with the Strong Mayor Powers.  In my delegation yesterday, Councillor Bentivegna asked me if I had expressed my concerns on the strong mayor powers legislation to Doug Ford or my MPP.  My answer was yes, and that as per usual, I was ignored. Indeed, if Natalie Pierre ever went so far as to contact me directly and offer something other than party platform spin, I might believe in the force of the Divine Will.
    This IS a much bigger issue than only Burlington’s.  However, our mayor, unlike at least ten others in other municipalities, is so far refusing to relinquish her special powers. She’s literally proving further what is wrong with this odious, inherently undemocratic piece of legislation.  The more she fiddles and deflects, the more she proves that the Motion is needed and that the legislation never should have seen the light of day.
    We should hold up Burlington as the example of why the legislation needs to be repealed.  As I quoted in my delegation from a published letter by former long-term Ajax mayor Steve Parish – “And what about that minor detail called democracy?  Local government has always been where government is close and subject to popular will.  Not anymore, when one third of council can call the shots.  And what if you have an autocratic or incompetent mayor?  No check on that risk.  Mayors are truly strong because they have good judgment, leadership skills and the ability to build and keep consensus and unity on council.  This gets results on all fronts.  And sadly, it cannot be created by legislation.  It requires what all democratic institutions need – an engaged and informed electorate.”

    Please sign the petition and pass it on widely and tell your neighbours. People can’t sign it if they don’t know about it.

  • Jim Barnett

    We live in a democracy. The mayor already has additional power since she controls the order of the meeting and for the most part has the gavel. She also breaks the ties if the councilors are three against three.. I am very much against additional supper mayor power beyond what she currently has.. On the other hand I watched the presentation by the developer for the new intensification on Lakeshore road and wondered why the mayor and council does not have the power to develop our city the way the people who currently live here want it to move forward.

  • Penny

    Two things took place in the council chamber yesterday.

    One was when the Mayor obviously upset with Councillor Stolte asking questions addressed her not as Councillor Stolte but as Shawna. Don’t think the Mayor would have accepted any councillor calling her Marianne instead of “her worship” under similar circumstances. This to me showed a sign of disrespect to the councillor.

    The second was prior to the vote on Councillor’s Stolte’s amendment to the motion asking that the Mayor come back to council on or before April 16th with an answer to the question of whether the Mayor would delegate some of her strong mayor mandate back to the council.

    Prior to the vote the Mayor looked directly at Councillor Sharman who nodded in her direction and at that point the vote was taken and it passed unanimously. When this happened the person sitting beside me was as surprised to see this as I was.

    There is a definite advantage to be in chambers when council is meeting. Body language says it all. Consider going in person to council on April 16th.

    • Anne and Dave Marsden

      Agree Penny about being in Chambers and body language. The recording is helpful BUT the Mayor is very skilled at knowing when not to ask a question on the record.. She and the past Clerk communicated regarding whether she was being accurately called out of order at the beginning of one of our delegations, that is complaint material The Mayor turning her head to look at the Clerk and receiving a nod of the head by the Clerk,. We would not have seen it on zoom. Noticed there are a large number of “consultative breaks” or huddles as she calls them since we got a new Clerk. You also can’t see members of the public shaking their heads in disbelief that may well turn into a Procedural Bylaw issue, one day. We believe we lost our evening council meetings for this very reason.

    • Lynn

      That Sharman and the Mayor had this all planned out was obvious but they don’t even try to hide it. I take it as a total lack of respect for their fellow councillors and all of us residents and all staff. Good leaders would never act like this. What a legacy she’ll leave!

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