Balancing competing views, listening to readers, and exercising editorial judgement

By Staff

October 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How many perspectives should be included in a brief news piece? When are letters considered an appropriate remedy to showing another side of an issue? These are questions that reporters and editors face every day as they exercise their editorial judgment to determine the angle of the story, the people interviewed, and the evidence used to provide an accurate account of events for readers.

The National NewsMedia Council recently reviewed a reader’s concerns about accuracy and lack of opportunity to present another perspective in a story about local pesticide use.

Exchanging different points of view – respectfully.

The article, published in an Ontario-based community paper, reported on residents’ reactions to a recent application of fungicide, via helicopter, to a cornfield in the area. The article featured comments from local residents expressing concern with the noise disturbance and proximity of the helicopter to their houses.

An individual in the agricultural industry expressed concern with the lack of perspective from farmers and other members of the agricultural community. In particular, the individual argued that the article suggested that the fungicide was “sprayed liberally on the native ecosystem around the field boundaries,” rather than used correctly by trained professionals.

In reviewing the article, the NNC observed that the comments were clearly the perspective of some residents and were attributed accordingly. The NNC found no evidence to support the claim that the article implied that the product was used incorrectly or outside the intended area.

The brief article offered a summary of the concerns raised by residents about the application of the fungicide near their houses. All statements were attributed accordingly to the individuals quoted in the story.

That said, we understand that the individual’s primary concern in this case was not being able to provide a different perspective and relevant information in response to the concerns raised by residents quoted in the article.

A subsequent edition of the local newspaper dedicated a section of its pages to reader reactions to the brief article.

In one article, the publisher alerted readers to the different—and often strong—perspectives on the published piece and other issues at hand. The edition included a published response from the complainant as well as several letters to the editor and other comments in response to the story.

In this case, the NNC considered the news organization’s decision to publish responses to the article to be consistent with best practices in addressing reader concerns, and found the issue resolved. The significant attention devoted to reader responses provided opportunity to show a range of opinions in the community, from farmers and those outside the agricultural industry.

Letters to the editor offer opportunities to clarify or provide different perspectives on information and opinions presented in articles. In this way, they can often serve as a remedy to concerns raised by readers, and showcase the breadth of opinions held by members of a community.

The Gazette has taken a slightly different approach with its comments section.  On many stories there are close to a dozen comments – some very well informed, others not as well informed as they could be.

In the past six months we have found that some commenters ride an issue pressing their view again and again. We no longer approve those comments.

We are also finding that people are writing a comment without identifying themselves and using a phony email address.

Then there are others that are rude and uncivil.

We have in the past told commenters that they need a break and suspend the privilege they have for a period of time.  We have had to completely suspend one commenter.

Going forward we will stiffen the requirement for people to comment.

Behind all this is a belief that informed citizens can make informed decisions and that no matter what the leadership in Burlington do they must be both accountable and transparent.

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Thanksgiving - have you thought about how you want to share?

By Staff

October 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It just takes your breath away.

The colours of the leaves on the trees are changing.

The mornings are just a little on the crisp side.

The season is changing on us.

And now we head for Thanksgiving – a time when we will have to decide just how we are going to celebrate and with whom we will celebrate.

If you have a relative who has chosen not to vaccinate – what do you do? Let us know when you figure that one out.

For some a fulsome Thanksgiving celebration may not be in the cards – there is an opportunity to help out if you are so inclined.

St. Matthews Church on Plains Road has been collecting foods and school supplies for those whose budgets aren’t what they used to be.

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A day to pause and remember the teachers we had - they played a large part in making us who we are

By Staff

October 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What would we do without them?

Every adult can pause and think about a specific teacher they had and remember fondly the part they played in your growing up.

Introducing a child to books has to be one of the most gratifying things a teacher gets to do – they do it every day don’t they?

The Halton District School Board is proud to recognize World Teachers’ Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, as proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

World Teachers’ Day has been held on October 5 since 1994 to celebrate teachers around the world and commemorate the anniversary of signing the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which sets standards for the rights and responsibilities of teachers. Eighteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s theme is, “Teachers at the heart of education recovery”.

“The Halton District School Board values and recognizes the incredible work, dedication and commitment our teachers have made to their students, families and profession particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

The teacher that works with high school students taking them through the complex issues – you remember them for life.

“Our teaching staff have persevered and continue to demonstrate a desire and willingness to provide the best education to our students. Given the mental health strain the past few years has brought on many students, HDSB teachers have been sensitive and attentive to the needs of students who have been learning in-person or remotely. Educators have shown their resilience and determination to ensure every student is provided collaborative, safe and welcoming learning environments to learn from, grow with and inspire each other. We appreciate and thank crucial support teams that assist teachers in providing a respectful place of learning for all students, free from discrimination.”

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Why online casino revenue has increased in 2021

By John Seolink

October 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Online casino revenues have been growing over the last few years but they are seeing a big increase this year. This is obviously due in part to the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has kept many of us at home and limited our ability to do our usual activities – at some points in the past year, we haven’t even been able to travel outside of our communities. While it has been difficult, this time has encouraged us to find virtual substitutes or alternatives to our favorite activities, including gambling. But what other reasons can we attribute this growth to?

Variety

Everything is now on-line – which can be a plus.

In today’s world, we have access to a huge variety of entertainment options. With streaming services for films and television, e-readers and audiobooks for print media, and the endless possibilities of the internet, we have become very used to having a lot of choice. Traditional casinos, especially smaller venues, are not always able to fulfill our desire for options. Online casinos, however, are perfectly designed for our option-hungry society, offering us hundreds, if not thousands of casino games to play. To take one example, www.superseven.com gives users the choice of more than 1,000 slot machine games and dozens of live casino games. With so many options, it’s easy to see why more and more gamblers are turning to online instead of traditional casinos.

Rise in mobile gaming

The on-line gambling sites may not have the buzz of the live casino – but they are safe and you don’t have to leave the house.

As mobile gaming has become more popular, it has influenced other industries as well. Since many online casino games are very similar to mobile games, it makes sense that this increase in popularity would extend to them. The monetization of mobile games, either through the freemium model, microtransactions or subscriptions has made users more comfortable with the concept of paying real money to play a virtual game. This has helped to make playing online casino games more widely accepted.

Safety

While most casinos have fantastic security inside, casinos and the gamblers leaving them are still targets for robberies. Large-scale heists – think Ocean’s Eleven style – are very rare but they do still occasionally happen, like the 2017 armed robbery at the Emerald Resort Casino in Vanderbijlpark. More common are attacks on individuals after they have left the casino – a frightening possibility. Online casinos remove this risk since you can remain safe at home while gambling, and instant payout casinos transfer winnings directly to your bank account or debit card so there’s no worry about carrying around large quantities of cash.

Convenience

There is an app for almost everything. You get to choose where you want to spend your time.

Especially during the pandemic, people have been trying to find ways to do what they enjoy without leaving the house. Concerts are being livestreamed, new movies are released on streaming services and video calls let us meet up with friends while staying home. The rising popularity of online casinos is part of this trend. Though for some people the bright flashing lights and noises of the casino are a big part of their appeal, being able to play your favorite gambling games from the comfort of home is a major draw. This convenience means more people play more often.

Live casino games

Up until recently, online casinos were mainly associated with slot machine games and similar games that were more like mobile games than actual casino games. For gamblers who enjoyed table games such as poker and blackjack, online casinos seemed like a poor substitute. Live casino games have changed that and therefore have attracted more users to online casinos. These games feature a real dealer and are streamed in real time. While regular online casino games are solitary, live casino games are more social – some even have chat functions to allow players to have conversations with the other people ‘at their table’, just like in a traditional casino.

By offering what is essentially a simulation of the table game experience, online casinos are able to increase their profits despite the added costs associated with these games. This is impressive, considering these costs include expenses like floor space for livestreaming the tables, dealer salaries and the cost of the technology that allows players to interact with the dealer and the cards on the table. Being able to carry these costs and still see an increase in revenue shows just how important table games are in attracting new users to online casinos.

Playing online casino games provides a great break from our daily lives. Their popularity is seen in their steadily increasing revenues. It will be interesting to see how online casinos develop in the coming years.

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Statutory meeting on a Kerns Road Retirement Home Development to take place Oct 5th - virtually

By Staff

October 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In language only a bureaucrat or a lawyer can write the plans for a four storey retirement home on Kerns Road are set out.

The development will replace a very small strip mall in a neighbourhood that is made up of windy, well-treed streets and large single family dwellings.

Architectural rendering of the proposed retirement home development

The proposal will be described and defended by Glen Wellings, (the planning consultant hired by the developer) at a Statutory meeting on October 5th at 1;00 PM. .

The Statutory meeting will be a virtual event which in the past has dampened public participation for many, but not all developments.

A virtual meeting is a different kind of public event – there is no sense of community, the speaker is in a virtual space where they can see the members of Council taking part and the Council members can see the person delegating.  There is no sense as to how many people are actually watching the web cast.

If the person delegating wants to use some visual material,  getting it to actually appear is not a certainty – there are still technical issues that have not been overcome.

Some municipal councils have moved to a model that runs both a virtual event alongside a live event. People can choose which route they want to take.

The Halton District School Board meets with half the trustees in the room and the other half taking part virtually.

Burlington City Council has a report on a possible return to meeting that will be live but with limited public participation and all staff participation being virtual.  The pandemic is still very much with us – and so is the phrase “with an abundance of caution” which is being overused to the advantage of people who are not strong believers in full public participation.

Bound by Kerns Road and Four Seasons Drive the property currently houses a small strip plaza.

What is Proposed?
A private land owner has made an application to change the Zoning By-law designation for the property located at 1600 Kerns Road. The location of the subject property is shown on the Location Sketch.

The application proposes the rezoning of the property to facilitate a retirement home having a height of four storeys with one level of underground parking and comprised of 123 units.

The proposed development also contemplates commercial uses at grade.

Four views of the proposed retirement home development.  The building will be terraced on the south side

The subject lands are currently designated ‘Neighbourhood Commercial’ in the City of Burlington Official Plan (1997), as amended and ‘Local Centres’ in the New Official Plan (2018).

The applicable zoning of the subject lands is ‘Neighbourhood Commercial (CN2)’ Zone. A site-specific exception (‘CN2-XXX) Zone’) has been proposed with amendments which include, but may not be limited to, matters related to permitted use(s), setbacks, height, parking and landscape buffers.

The portion of the lands associated with the Natural Heritage System are proposed to be rezoned to ‘Open Space (O2) Zone’ and dedicated to public ownership.

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How to Find a Cheaper Ink Cartridge

By George Williamson

October 2, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The original cartridges known as OEM products are outrageously pricey. You may find a printer for $100, but the replacement for the cartridge may cost just as much. Fortunately, there are different alternatives — find out in our guide.

In Canada, consumers may have their original cartridges refilled, but there is a safer and more convenient option. A replacement for printer ink Canada from stores like Smart Ink can allow you to save up to 25% or more, depending on the model.

Compatible cartridges offer great value for money, but it is important to make sure they come from a trusted brand.

Quality at a fair price from a trusted supplier.

So, why are the original products so outrageously overpriced? Big brands like HP have long been accused of capitalizing on the so-called “razor and blades” model. It involves selling cheap products, often below their break-even point, and recouping the investment through consumable supplies. This seems to be the case with printer ink, as an original cartridge may cost over $70.

Why Replace, Not Refill?
One of the ways to save on replacement is to take your old cartridge to a provider that will pour in new ink. The service includes emptying, cleaning and filling, while some suppliers will also fix minor cartridge defects for free. The quality depends on the ink and the employee, as they must inject the right volume and be extremely careful to keep the sensitive elements intact. Finally, the customer needs to visit the company and pick up their product.

In recent years, producers of so-called compatible cartridges have been thriving. The demand is fuelled by dissatisfaction with overpriced OEM products, but this is not the only selling point. Aside from making substantial savings, you may get a product of the same quality with an extensive warranty, free shipping and other advantages.

What Are Compatible Cartridges?
Printer brands warn customers about the potential risks as they are generally adverse to any third-party replacements. Big companies have tried to outlaw compatible cartridges in the past, but they have lost those legal battles. While these products are perfectly compatible with the equipment, there are still important distinctions in design. This allows third-party manufacturers to operate within the law, without violating patent protection.

How to Choose
Avoid fly-by-night companies by choosing a store with a positive reputation. Pay attention to certifications: the cartridges must comply with international standards of quality, such as ISO. Products from top providers are sustainable and also come with:

● the latest version of the chip,
● XL volume,
● free shipping,
● 2-year warranty,
● ink level tracking (for some models).

Ink cartridges are expensive – the big name brands earn their money from the ink – cartridges are the profit centre

To Conclude
If you want a cheaper replacement for your ink cartridge, compatible products are your best bet. They are designed from scratch, so both the ink and the cartridge come from the same company. Choose products with the certified quality and warranty that covers any defects and transportation damage.

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Fiorito on the choice: economy or environment - have both is his view

By Vince Fiorito

October 2, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Regarding the “choice” between the environment versus the economy Vince Fiorito explains that this is a false dichotomy. We can also have both or neither.

Another way to describe the “environment” is the “global life support system”.

Would an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) be forced to choose between his job and the ISS’s life support system?

Would we even give an astronaut a task that would make the ISS uninhabitable?

If the life support system fails on the ISS, the repercussions would be immediate. Any task that would adversely affect the ISS’s life support system would not likely be attempted. That’s because humans react to immediate problems pretty well.

What we aren’t that good at, is reacting to and managing long term problems, like climate change, the biodiversity crisis, environmental toxification and potable water shortages. These human created problems impact the “global life support system” and must be solved immediately and simultaneously.

Unfortunately, most of the environmental protest industry has focused on climate change; neglecting, for the most part the others.
These groups have held protests during elections that interfere with political environmentalist efforts to identify and get out the environmental vote.

Effectively the environmental protest industry has increasingly become an obstacle to positive progressive political change. Since these groups must protest to recruit volunteers, fundraise and grow their movements, their relationship with status quo governments they help greenwash during elections and then protest afterwards, is mutually beneficial. Most environmental groups seem uninterested in helping to elect governments that solve environmental problems. Without status quo governments that increase our economic dependence on converting fossil carbon into GHG emissions, who would they protest? How would they grow their movements?

Many of them are dependent on the status quo governments for grants and other funding. Why would these organizations bite the hands that feed them?

Another part of the problem is that during an election, political opportunists will say anything to win the environmental vote including nonsense like “balancing the environment with the economy” as if improving the economy always comes at the expense of creating environmental problems… or solving environmental problems always comes with an economic cost. The truth is that solving environmental problems would create economic growth and new jobs.

The cost of solar has now dropped to the point where it is cheaper than all other energy sources. Monthly payments on a loan to install a solar power system to go off grid would be cheaper for most homes and businesses, than their current monthly electricity bill. After the upgrade is paid off, the cost of electricity would be near zero, whereas the monthly electricity bill would continue to increase.

This change to a distributed network of micro energy producers and consumers would create more jobs that pay better than those that would be lost due when the nuclear power plants and gas turbines become stranded assets.

I understand why people who have invested in the status quo would oppose this change, but why electrical unions and the construction industry haven’t embraced this change remains a mystery to me.

Probably the biggest opportunity to grow the economy and save the planet at the same time is through energy conservation. Most homes and businesses can be made more energy efficient, reducing costs. The monthly savings would pay off the upgrades in a relatively short time. Why the housing construction industry hasn’t embraced this change is also a mystery to me.

The energy industry is lying to us, for the same reasons why the tobacco industry lied in the past.

I believe we have been manipulated by wealthy people who profit from the status quo of laying waste to the earth’s biosphere for short term profits and union jobs. These people refuse to embrace change. The energy industry is lying to us, for the same reasons why the tobacco industry lied in the past.

I used to believe that people could be convinced to make better decisions if they were presented with good accurate information. I now realize that most people are overwhelmed by bad inaccurate manipulative misinformation.

Solutions exist to all our problems, but we won’t implement these solutions, not because it doesn’t make economic sense, but because the people who profit from the status quo are better at manipulating public opinion, than scientists and engineers.

Fiorito didn’t tell me if the hare got away.

For this reason, I’ve moved on to acceptance. Humanity isn’t going to make better choices to save ourselves and the earth’s biosphere. That’s why I am up north, trying to document what’s left, before its destroyed by logging companies intent on converting old growth forest into mostly toilet paper and consumer products that end up in landfills. While the rest of the species that share the Earth’s biosphere with us don’t deserve what’s coming, most of humanity does, including the environmentalists who are more interested in protesting the status quo, rather than meaningful action to change the status quo.

Watching –

Watching – ready to pounce.

Vince Fiorito now lives 300km north of Thunder Bay, near Wabakimi Park where he took the photographs.

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The Rising Gambling Scene in Ontario

By Hadie Newman

September 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While the digital revolution has put many industries to the test, others like public services have thrived, such as the police who can take notes electronically when on duty. The development of new and emerging technologies has seen the success of the gambling industry skyrocket in recent years. Today, it is thought that 76% of Canadians take part in some form of gambling activity, whether that be a national lottery, visiting a casino or playing online.

Toronto – capital of Ontario – the province with interesting and exciting sports gambling locations.

In many countries across the world, gambling has traditionally been a taboo subject that has been frowned upon. As a result, many places including Canada have had restrictive gambling laws that have prevented the industry from growing. Yet, as attitudes towards gambling have become more progressive and laws have been altered to reflect this, the gambling industry is once again beginning to thrive in Canada.

Below, we’ll take a look at the thriving gambling scene in Ontario and investigate some of the best land-based and online gambling places where people can go to enjoy their favourite casino games.

Gambling law ambiguity across Canada

There are many different gambling laws and regulations in Canada. Canada’s first forms of legal gambling appeared in 1969, in which a variety of landmark casinos were developed. These casinos brought tourism and a steady economy to cities across Canada after years of gambling being illegal.

For the citizens of Ontario, online gaming complements the already thriving gambling scene.

By the early 2000s, online gambling was growing rapidly as more and more households gained access to computers. However, the law states that any casino venue operating in Canada must be licensed by the regional authorities. Since many online gambling providers were operating from another country, this meant that they weren’t bound to the laws set by the Canadian authorities.

This loophole has meant that up until today, Canadian citizens can enjoy gambling at online venues, as long as the provider is offshore. This grey area in the law means that Canada is missing out on a significant economic opportunity as they do not benefit from online gaming taxes or fees from licenses at all. However, for the citizens of Ontario, online gaming complements the already thriving gambling scene.

The best casinos in Ontario

As the most populous province in Canada, Ontario has a thriving gambling scene with some of the nation’s best Casinos. The most popular casinos include:

Shorelines Casino – Thousand Islands

The Shorelines Casino chain has three casinos located in Ontario, however it is their Thousand Islands venue located on the outskirts of Gananoque that is one of the most popular. The venue is home to over 450 slot machines and various gaming tables for visitors to enjoy.

Shorelines casino are well-known for hosting various table games from blackjack, roulette to a variety of poker games including 3-card poker and ultimate Texas Hold’em. Those who want to get in some practice online before trying their luck at the casino can try real money poker at 888 Poker. Players will get a chance to hone in on their strategy and practice their poker face before going up against the big players at Shorelines.

Casino Rama Resort

Located near Orillia, Ontario, Casino Rama Resort is known as one of the region’s best casino resorts. Guests to the resort can benefit from a fully serviced hotel, a spa and health club, and a top-class casino with over 2,200 slot machines and 6 gaming tables.

Best of all, the casino resort is just a 90-minute drive from Toronto, making it an ideal weekend getaway from the city.

Elements Casino – Brantford

Elements casino offers a great variety of popular games, including over 500 slot machines and over 55 table games with Blackjack, Texas Hold’Em Poker and Roulette amongst the offerings.

Sports betting in Ontario

On the 27th of August, single event sports betting became legalized and was officially launched across Canada. Currently, there are 71 casinos in Ontario that now offer sports betting and in addition, Ontario has now made single-game sports betting available online through the Ontario lottery and the gaming Corporation’s PROLINE website.

The gambling scene in Ontario will now be able to thrive as the industry continues to grow

While this is a monumental moment for Ontario’s gambling scene, residents of Ontario are also able to take advantage of the many offshore online casinos available to them. The move to legalize sports betting in Ontario means that several sports betting vendors in the Northern US could now be looking to expand into Ontario, offering even more variety in the region.

The future of gambling in Ontario

The recent easing of restrictions for gambling across Canada means that the gambling scene in Ontario will now be able to thrive as the industry continues to grow. These changes demonstrate the appetite for gambling across the region, in which many northern American influences are moving into the Ontario region. From sports betting vendors to US casino chains, cities like Toronto are becoming even more of a hotspot for betting shops and casinos.

However, online gambling is more popular than ever, meaning that the footfall to physical gambling venues could decrease over time – as can be seen in countries like the UK. As technologies become more affordable, many people are opting for the convenience and freedom that online gambling brings.

Overall, over the past year, there have been many positive changes across Canada that support the growth of the gambling industry. As Canadians views of gambling become more progressive, it will be interesting to see how the market develops and whether physical casinos will stand the test of time.

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The city was listening. Ottawa was listening. Will they act?

By Ryan O’Dowd

October 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Hundreds attended an Every Child Matters Truth and Reconciliation Day ceremony yesterday afternoon in downtown Burlington.

People parading along the Beachway Trail towards Spencer Smith Park

The event, hosted at Spencer Smith Park, was by turns celebratory and somber. Music, dancing, education, and prayer made for a lively afternoon; the speakers reminded everyone why they had gathered.

Residential schools and other systemic injustices were at the forefront of the discussion.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns with an Indigenous dancer

The event was punctuated by a resounding plea that events like these aren’t enough, real action must follow. Some speakers issued pointed warnings to the politicians in attendance, recently re-elected Minister Karina Gould and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

Speaking to the Gazette event organizer, Amber Ruthart, reiterated the need for reconciliation to be a constant consideration and not a trend.

“Today has been a very beautiful outpouring of support from the City of Burlington, and the community. A lot of people are here and they’re asking the right questions. It’s unfortunate how mass graves had to be discovered for this to happen but in a way, it’s bringing our community together, awareness of it.

“I hope that education continues and is not just a trend. Also, we hope to be doing more indigenous awareness social events in the future here in Burlington,” said Ruthart.

Family members with Residential School survivor

In the afternoon’s most emotional moment, a speaker, White Eagle, brought her mother, a residential school survivor, to the stage. Overcome by the moment White Eagle paused a long while to collect herself before introducing her mother, fighting back tears.

The politicians in attendance were called out by some speakers, demanding they turn their words into actionable change. Minister Gould, who’s Liberal party has been the target of scorn for shortcomings on Indigenous matters, watched stoically.

Dancers preparing to perform at the foot of the Pier

“We all live together. This is what reconciliation is about and I challenge the government to honor her word with the Indigenous peoples in this land,” said a speaker.

MP Karina Gould talking with one of the hundreds of people who took part in the event.

Gould would not say if her presence at the event indicated she would be working in a hands-on capacity with Indigenous issues. Clarifying that Indigenous issues are considerations in every portfolio.

“Today was important and inspiring. It grounded people in why we’re here,” said Gould.

Social distancing and politely listening on a wonderful autumn afternoon

Audio was played of Orange Shirt Day (the basis for Truth and Reconciliation Day) founder, Phyllis Webstad, sharing her story.

The day takes place in September because that is the month during which Indigenous children were taken to residential schools.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward spoke during the day.

Mayor Meed Ward delivered a speech, and land acknowledgment, discussing residential schools, systemic injustices, and praising the courage of the Indigenous women who organized the event.

“Today is meant to be about listening and learning and working towards healing, to understand what happens in our country, the truth of what really happened. There are issues that still face indigenous people, coast to coast, and right here in the city of Burlington, the discoveries of the mass and unmarked graves at residential school sites, shocked many Canadians and for many, It was the first time that they have learned this evil history,” said Meed Ward.

Drummers with an attentive audience

Education of Canadians on the truth of Indigenous relations was a recurring topic. This came a day after the province announced Indigenous curriculum will be expanded to cover grades one through three.

The ceremony began in song and ended in traditional dance. A song was proceeded with a call and response exercise where the performer taught the audience how to say “I love you” in several native tongues.

Before the ceremony, a memorial walk took place along the promenade. Young people led the way carrying signs reading “every child matters.” They smiled and celebrated along the way, sun danced through foliage and warmed the crisp autumn afternoon. It was a hopeful image on a day about hope. The orange-clad parade passed a surprised wedding party in Spencer Smith Park and shouted well wishes to them. They walked past Joseph Brant Hospital, a hospital with an Indigenous namesake serving the community as the backdrop to Indigenous peoples feeling undeserved by the community.

Several speakers called the ceremony the first Indigenous event in Burlington.

Pop-up storefronts sold “Every Child Matters” T-shirts worn by almost everyone at the event. Orange shirts could be spotted all around the downtown core.

Event organizer, Ruthart, said her native name translates into “loud voice,” her message was loud and clear today. The city was listening. Ottawa was listening. Will they act?

 

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Scobie on the betrayal

By Gary Scobie

October 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The comments section of the Gazette is heavily used.  At times there is a lot of tooing and froing – so much so that one wonders just what the writer is trying to say.

However, on occasion a writer responds with statements that are painfully true.

Gary Scobie, an intelligent, retired Burlington resident who has delegated frequently before Council, responds to David Barker who asked:  Are you are really saying the Mayor and our councilors pretended to work on stopping the over-development of the downtown? Because that’s what you wrote. You used the word “pretend”. If you are really saying that, your credibility is shot.

The Scobie response is too pungent, too painfully true to be left as just a comment to a reader.

David, here is the inaction that they created. They were well and often advised during 2018 that the only way to stop excessive numbers and heights of high rises in downtown Burlington was to

1) Remove the Downtown Mobility Hub that was a farce and

2) remove the Urban Growth Centre from the downtown.

It was named as a Mobility hub which was enough for some smart lawyers to argue that it served a mobility purpose equal to that of Pearson Airport.

The Mobility Hub was the easier one and Jane McKenna helped in showing how it could be done in the Official Plan. The Urban Growth Centre was going to be the harder one. Therefore it needed to be tackled as soon as the new Council convened in January 2019.

Gary Scobie in the middle of a delegation to city council.

The new Council decided to do one thing instead that would not help – bring in the Interim Control Bylaw (ICB) for one year that would delay processing applications but not stop their time-stamping. They decided to do a second thing that would just make it look like they cared about stopping excessive high rises – start out on an updated OP that reduced somewhat the zoning but still allowed a concrete jungle in the downtown that few citizens in the work groups supported.

This OP took months and months to update, months and months to sit on the Regional Council agenda before being rejected for a few issues. Even when it was given support, it took months again to get provisionally passed.

In the meantime, applications piled up and appeals were initiated at the “new” OLT (just an OMB remake). Time marched on and Council waited two years until 2021 to actually begin asking the Province to move the UGC to the Burlington GO Station.

Two years of wasted time on the most important task in saving the downtown that could have been started in early 2019. Even today it is still not in force until the province passes the legislation, if they actually do.

Scobie maintains this Council has betrayed its citizens

As I said earlier this year, it’s too late baby. The chance has been missed. You can’t go back in time and negate all of the high rise applications filed in good faith under the old OP and the UGC in the downtown. It bothers me and my like-minded friends so much. Council failed its supporters and pretended to work on it instead. We were betrayed.

Scobie was seldom impressed with the responses he got from members of Council.

There’s your timeline. Oh and by the way, the Interim Control Bylaw – it’s still huffing and puffing along after two and a half years of applications piling up for downtown high rises. It won’t go away until every appeal is dealt with at the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).

Some legacy.

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Did we see a lot of Truth yesterday?

By Pepper Parr

October 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With the first Truth and Reconciliation Day celebrated I find myself asking – just how much truth do I have today that I didn’t have yesterday?

Dancing that reflect centuries of a culture we are now learning much more about.

As I listened to people who know far more about this than I do I heard one woman say: Truth and Reconciliation – yes. But let us make sure, she said, that Truth comes before Reconciliation because without Truth there can be no Reconciliation.

I didn’t hear yesterday anything I didn’t already know.

We know information exists that will shed much light on what really happened, and we know there are people who hold that information very close to their chests for to let it out into the public domain will severely damage their interests.

The churches, the Catholic churches for the most part, have the names and numbers but they aren’t releasing that information.

They should be able to tell us how many cemeteries there were, where they are precisely, and the names of the children they laid to rest.

Why we are making the various tribal bands spend thousands of dollars with specialized radar scanning equipment that can see below the surface is beyond me.

I did hear some statements made by students at schools that were impressive and inspiring. One school wrote a Call to Action asking the province to make the day a paid holiday for every Aboriginal person who is a teacher whose parents were sent to Residential schools.

Another young man wrote a poem that took the breath away from the broadcaster who was doing the interview.

There were a lot of tribal dances, colourful headgear and much singing and drumming which are nice to see and hear. But surely there is more to Truth and Reconciliation than this?

It was a start – we owe those people much more than we are ever going to be able to give them. What we can give them, something we can individually demand, is that it be given and that it is the cold hard truth.

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The gavel is passed at Community Development Halton

By Staff

September 30th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Another virtual Annual General Meeting.

The type of thing you attend because you have to – the Community Development Halton AGM was a little more relevant because it brought to a close the term of office for President and Chair Jan Mowbray who served for more than ten years starting out as Secretary and serving as President for the past four years.

It was a bumpy ride that included the retirement of an Executive Director after more than 20 years of service; dealing with a couple of rogue board members who didn’t understand what it was to be a Director of a not for profit organization.

And like everyone else – adapting to Covid19 and the restrictions it brought to everyone.

Community Development Halton President presiding over her last meeting as Chair – working from her kitchen counter – just like everyone else weathering our way through the pandemic.  It was one of the few occasions when the pearls came out of the jewelry box.

Community Development Halton (CDH) has served the community for a long time.  It was an incubator for agencies that now provide needed service to the Region.

The three pillars of CDH are:

  • Volunteerism – a hub for those wanting volunteer opportunities or needing volunteers.
  • Age-Friendly initiatives that encourage and promote active aging by optimizing opportunities for health, participation, and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.
  • Social Planning – data driven using many different resources to focus on economic and social conditions that influence individual and group differences in health status.

CDH is a source of useful data on changes that are taking place in how the wider community works.  They publish Dispatches on a regular basis as well as Community Lens, a publication that digs down deep and takes a tighter look at what the data tells us.

In her last set of comments to her Board, President Mowbray said that ” If you can’t let go of certain particulars, you can’t divine larger patterns.  If you can’t shake off the pains of yesterday, you can’t be open to the possible joys of tomorrow.”

Adding that “This has been a tumultuous year – actually, it’s been a difficult three years with the pandemic taking its toll through the last 18 months. However, my comments today reflect on the past year not the least of which is the pandemic effect.

” That physical hug, the act of holding someone as hard as you can and being held onto in return is the physical reminder that we are together in whatever life threw at us.’

” ‘But it’s not just for the hard times. Most days, it’s a simple, physical reminder that we’ve still got each other, and we’re grateful.’

“I’m not saying staff and board members should all break into hugs – although I would willingly give everyone a hug if I could.

“As a society, we must find some way to safely return to physical, face-to-face meetings. Board and staff need it, we all need it.

“Interaction and discussion is far better, more meaningful, in person than on Zoom. Being in person provides a more supportive, more instinctive, more spontaneous interaction. It energizes and refreshes each of us – we play off each other in a way that doesn’t work on Zoom.

“Zoom is a stop gap meeting space at best –those radio lags really don’t contribute to good discourse.

“American Sign Language is dependent on facial expressions, so you can imagine the deaf community is impacted by the wearing of masks. However, let’s go farther – body language also speaks volumes – and you don’t get that on Zoom. (That we can’t see below the shoulders may well be a good thing from what I’ve heard about the way some people have been dressing at home during this pandemic.)

“Bottom line is we need to find a way to meet in person. Safely. Emotionally, mentally, and intellectually – we all need it.  My one vote of thanks for zoom is that every meeting eliminated a two-hour drive.

“About the CDH board?  I am proud to say that CDH has the best board ever. It has grown, matured and diversified.

Consultations with the overall community told us the changes the wanted to see at CDH, for example –

  • That the board have representation in all four municipalities. Check.
  • That we increase board membership – Check – we have a full complement of 12
  • That we increase diversity on the board – check! But diversity wasn’t the focus during recruitment, it came about as a result of good qualified people applying for board membership. It bears mentioning that diversity isn’t always visible. But this board is diverse in its talent, professions, backgrounds, and interests.
  • That we rotate meetings throughout Halton. Sort of Check We started that process with a meeting in Milton, but the pandemic brought that to a halt.

As Chair Mowbray challenged her colleagues to ask: : Where are we? Where is CDH really?

The Pandemic forced the cancellation of workshops and fee-for-service projects.  Sustainability for CDH is through those avenues and staff is working hard to regain lost ground but the threat of burnout is ever-present.  More financial resources are needed.  She urged the Board to take ownership of this task, a task mandated for all NFP boards – to support the work of the organization.

“To substantially increase our output – workshops, fees-for-service events, we need more staff, to get more staff we need more money.

“What I am saying is that it’s a matter of outreach. We each need to utilize our contacts, reach out, make sure they understand exactly what it is that CDH does; create opportunities for engagement, opportunities where our Executive Director might be of help, perhaps to close a deal.

“To that end, the single biggest issue is trying to explain what CDH is, what it does, what we do.

The volunteer side of things is easier – though I wouldn’t want Heather Thompson or Heather Johnson to think that I think their jobs are easy – far from it.

We need new ideas for increasing our resources. We don’t have the sob story that pulls at the heart strings and makes people empty their wallets. CDH is unique. Can we turn that uniqueness into an asset?

On that note, if you haven’t already, I would remind everyone, to be sure to pay your 2021/2022 membership fees before the end of December.  (CDH Board members are expected to join the organization and pay a membership fee)

They are financially supported by the Hamilton-Halton United Way  and the Region of Halton.

And with that Jan Mowbray said thank you and then almost burst into tears.

The 2021-2022 Board consists of:

Ann Lawlor, president
Joanne McKiernan, Vice President
Ancilla Ho-Young, Secretary
Juan Barangote, Treasurer
Andrew Falls, Nominations & Governance
Nilo Yousof
Fawzia Patel
Steph Nguyen
Gay Loveland
Marg Connor
Bolu Babatope
Jan Mowbray, past president

 

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Burlington Bulls took it all at the Back to School Blast in Kitchener

By Staff

September 30th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This past weekend, the 2011 AAA Burlington Bulls won the 10U/11U Back to School Blast in Kitchener.

The Burlington Bulls 2011 AAA is made up of kids from Burlington born in 2011 or after. The team plays in the COBA loop (Central Ontario Baseball Association). The loop contains Rep teams throughout Central Ontario.

The tournament last weekend (Sept 24-26) was The Back to School Blast hosted by Kitchener Panthers. The Bulls went undefeated over two days besting 10U/11U teams from Kitchener, Guelph and Waterloo. They faced Waterloo in the Championship game, winning a tightly contested affair 2-1.

  • Boys played lights out on both sides of the ball. They outscored their opponents 36-5 in round robin play, securing a birth in the championship.
  • Team combined for 58 hits and 15 stolen bases over 4 games.
  • Owen Simpson belted a Home Run securing our place in the championship.
  • Christian Moscato pitched lights out in the championship game going five innings allowing 1 hit, 1 earned run and striking out 14 on zero walks.
  • Nate Ogiltree came in as relief in the championship game going two innings allowing 2 hits , no runs and striking out 3.

From Left to Right:: Back row: Bronson Kung, Coltin Hamor, Brayden McPetrie, Christian Moscato, Owen Simpson. Front row: Henry Hooper, Colton McEntee, Nate Ogiltree, Ryan Wallace, Tripp Mihalik. Missing: Carter Boyko, Jordan Colameco, Owen Petrie Coaches: Bob Hooper, John Ogiltree, Kyle Mihalik. Coaches: Bob Hooper, John Ogiltree, Kyle Mihalik

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Burlington Group Creates a Help Centre for expected immigrants from Afghanistan

By Staff

September 30th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sarah Wahidi is part of a group that has created a Help Centre for recently landed refugees. The aim is to help those who have recently entered Canada, including those who have arrived from Afghanistan.  Their intention is to provide food, clothing and referral/support services to those in need.

They have a location in Burlington at 895 Brant street, on the corner of Fairview and Brant. They will be holding an Opening Celebration on Saturday, October 2nd.

They are accepting donations and will begin a donation pick up schedule for those who may not be able to bring anything to the centre. “The community has given us tremendous support so far with almost 20 bags of donations. It’s really fulfilling to see how many people really care about making change and welcoming these individuals and families escaping their country”, said Wahidi.

Their Facebook page will be launched next week.  They can be contacted at their email account:  HaltonRefugeeHelpCentre@gmail.com

 

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Could a land swap save the city and keep the waterfront in the hands of the public?

By Pepper Parr

September 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was during a meeting on that wonderful deck that runs along the north side of Lakeshore Road – across the street from Spencer Smith Park where one can see the ships heading to, or leaving, Hamilton harbour and where, what a long departed friend said, one can enjoy an Adult Libation.

One of the prime places to just enjoy the city is on the north side of Lakeshore looking out over the lake. Great ideas bubble to the surface while enjoying an Adult Beverage,

I was meeting with a couple of friends and talking through possible options and new ideas to keep the Waterfront Hotel site in public hands rather than have a large tower go up.

At the time no one knew that the developer’s plan was for two 30 story plus towers on the site.

Many see the land south of Lakeshore Road as a “public” part of the public realm.  Much of it is land that was recovered and made usable with landfill.

The owners of the hotel do have title to some of the land but surely not all the land right up to the edge of the lake.

My friends, who don’t want their names trotted out at this point – at an appropriate time they will be more public.  These are men who comment intelligently on public matters.

They wondered aloud if there was not some kind of land swap that could be done.

And that was when a light bulb lit up.

It doesn’t function all that well as a place to work and the city is going to need a lot more space.

City hall as a building is not that functional.  It is past its best-before date but, because it is what we have, money is going to be spent on making the best of a bad situation.

It is an awkward building – there was no real design – additions kept being added. The entrance was once on the west side.

The Art Gallery has never been a truly functional building.  It is a collection of additions to a structure that were added on when there was a donor.

So – here is a swap that could be done:

The owner wants to build and has some impressive designs – that will, if ever built, change the heart and soul of the city. There is a chance to give the developer what they want and to save what is left of Burlington.

Exchange the Waterfront Hotel site for the city hall site and the Art Gallery site.

Then design a purpose built building that would house City Hall and the Art Gallery on the Waterfront Hotel site.

Include a band shell and ensure the roof of the structure is environmentally friendly.  And ensure that the building is not more than four storeys.

Two for the Art Gallery and two floors for the city.

Hold a charette and commission some design ideas from architects from around the world.

Imagine for a moment: City Hall and the Art Gallery nestled at the base of the slope of the land immediately south of Lakeshore Road leaving a clear view of the Lake.  Try the idea on for size the next time you are walking along the promenade and talk it up with your friends.

Parking – that is something that would have to be figured out.  The Lotus Street Parking lot is used by city hall staff now – that could continue and there could be some parking beneath the four storey building.

Can’t be done you say?  With the right leadership – it certainly can be done.

Rob MacIsaac, a former Burlington Mayor, took bold steps and changed the city in a way that no one has since his time.

Rob MacIsaac, a former Burlington Mayor, did it when he turned the former police station on Locust into the Performing Arts Centre, then had the building that houses a restaurant along with the tourist office on the ground floor and office for the Chamber of Commerce, the BDBA and the Economic Development Corporation on the second floor with five levels of parking above it all.

Then he got really ambitious and got a pier built as well.

So – never say it can’t be done – think about how it can be done and where the leadership is going to come from.

More on this going forward.

 

 

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One Burlington celebrates the faith and culture of our Indigenous peoples.

By Staff

September 26th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One Burlington celebrates the diversity of faith and cultural groups in Burlington, Halton and area by hosting engaging multifaith, multicultural events.

In honour of Canada’s first National Truth and Reconciliation Day: September. 30th,  you are invited to an online Zoom event highlighting the faith and culture of our Indigenous peoples.

This is a free event funded in part by the City of Burlington and the Government of Canada.

Please register by Sept. 29th at:      https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAocOuoqDstHtXHKzbnDDtbdcuuoLt68CQb

Celebrating an Indigenous Harvest on 30th September starting at 7:30 pm with
– Indigenous Elder of the Mississaugas of the Credit, Carolyn King CM.

– Semiah Smith will performing singing and dancing of the Mohawk Nation at Crawford Lake
– Sherry Saevil of “Grandmothers’ Voice” of the Haudenosaunee at an Indigenous Healing Garden

To attend, please register by 29 September at:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAocOuoqDstHtXHKzbnDDtbdcuuoLt68CQb

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Public School Classrooms will be Focusing on the Meaning of the Truth and Reconciliation reports

By Staff

September 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30, the Halton District School Board and individual schools will be honouring this important day with a number of acknowledgments and learning opportunities, in addition to lowering the Canadian flag at all schools and Board offices.

Traditionally, this day has been commemorated as Orange Shirt Day. Inspired by the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, Orange Shirt Day is held annually on Sept. 30. Phyllis was a student at St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C. Orange Shirt Day is inspired by her experience on her first day at a residential school.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation seeks to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis residential school survivors, their families and communities, and to ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Stuffed animals were placed in front of the former Kamloops Residential School Monday in a community vigil that encouraged attendees to wear orange, a Canadian tradition that aims to raise awareness for the atrocities of residential schools.

“As we recognize this day, we must ensure that we go beyond wearing orange shirts,” says Rob Eatough, Superintendent of Education. “Creating meaningful learning opportunities that centre Indignenous voices, focus on Indigenous rights, contributions, histories, truths and contemporary realities that are rooted in colonization helps create a more complete picture of the historical truths and realities of First Nations, Métis and Inuit. We all play a part in upholding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.”

“In upholding our responsibility to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action #62 and #63, resources have been shared with staff leading up to Sept. 30 and will be a part of ongoing learning throughout the school year.”

In many classrooms, a week of learning is planned for students and staff, which has included resources from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. As the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has stated, education holds the key to making things better.

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board, has shared a video message for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

 

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Memorial Walk Will Take Place on Thursday Starting at the Western End of Spencer Smith Park

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this Thursday with a memorial walk at Spencer Smith Park.

The event begins at noon and runs until 6 p.m. on September 30th.

The memorial walk from Beachway Park to the gazebo begins at 3:30 pm and will be followed by a ceremony at 4:30 pm. Attendees are encouraged to wear orange.  Beachway Park is an extension of Spencer Smith Park – they come together at about where the Brant Museum is located.

City employees will observe the holiday from Sept. 27th through Sept. 30th by focusing on educational events and opportunities reflecting Canada’s commitment to understand the truth about Indigenous relations and advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Unidentified graves at a Residential school IN Western Canada

In June 2021 the federal government passed legislation to proclaim September 30th a public holiday. The holiday was created to honor Indian Residential School survivors and to remember the lives lost there. The implementation of the holiday was one of 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation originated with “Orange Shirt Day ” in 2013, where Canadians would wear orange shirts to signal their support for Indigenous communities, this year is the first time the day will be observed as a holiday.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action urged all levels of government-federal, provincial, territorial, and aboriginal-to work together to change policies and programs to address the harm done by residential schools and move toward reconciliation.

The calls to action are divided into two parts: legacy and reconciliation. The legacy calls to action are those seeking to address ongoing structural inequalities marginalizing Indigenous people, intentionally or not. Reconciliation calls to action are meant to advance the inclusion of Indigenous peoples in various sectors of society, educate Canadians about the truth of Indigenous relations, and affirm Indigenous rights.

The 94 calls to action were released in 2015, as of the Yellowhead Institute’s (a First Nations-led research center based in Ryerson University) 2020 report – only 8 had been followed through on to date

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Public School Board wants feedback on the Long Term Accommodation Plan

By Staff

September 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Parents/guardians, staff members, students and the broader community are invited to review and provide feedback on the Halton District School Board’s 2020-2021 Long Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP).

This plan addresses the existing and projected accommodation needs of students in elementary and secondary schools and identifies new capital project initiatives such as the need for new schools.

Before the LTAP is approved by the Board, feedback on the document is welcomed until Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021.

It’s a 300 plus page report. Not for the faint of heart.

The LTAP, along with documents and resources outlining key points for Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville are available on the Long Term Accommodation Plan webpage on the Halton District School Board website (www.hdsb.ca).

The public is asked to provide feedback by Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 at 4 p.m. using:
● The online feedback form, or
● Email: plan@hdsb.ca

Once feedback has been collected, staff will provide a report for Trustees at the Oct. 20, 2021 Board meeting.

The LTAP is not a short document – it is data laden and not exactly bedtime reading.  The Gazette will review the documents and do our best to provide some clarification.

Some background information on just what the LTAP is and why it is in place can be found HERE

The full report is more than 300 pages long – it is not for the faint of heart.  It is broken out by municipality.

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Our Last Comment on the Federal Election in Burlington

By Pepper Parr

September 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is time to bring to an end the machinations of the recent federal election.

In the ten years the Gazette has been publishing we have never seen the bitter, angry misinformed comment from some of our readers.

One in particular, who chose to comment in the name she used most of the time and then on other occasions used her maiden name.

She made the claim – that a Conservative running for office would never take part in a one on one interview with the Gazette.

Clip from an interview with Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace advertisement in the Gazette – he ran several different ads.

We have to correct her. In 2015 Mike Wallace did an interview with us; he also advertised in the Gazette.

We were never able to convince Emily Brown to sit down for an interview.  This was a decision she made not have made on her own.  Except for a Conservative candidate in Milton, the Gazette was not able to do interviews with Conservative candidates.

Not healthy from a public engagement perspective.  And just plain bad politics.

We gave some thought to setting up a small card table right outside the Conservative campaign offices and waiting for Ms Brown – but thought the better of it – she is a gun toting lady and we are told a good shot as well.

 

 

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