Police taking their notes electronically - second service in Canada to do it this way.

By Staff

August 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The HRPS is the first police agency in Ontario, and only the second in Canada, to transition their members from traditional paper-based notes to electronic notes.

The days of hand written notes for Halton Regional Police are coming to an end. And yes – we know the police officer is American – haven’t been able to find a local police officer we can connect with.

Note-taking in the policing sector has not evolved in over 100 years, and we are proud to be adopting technology that the newest generation of officers expect and want,” says Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie.  “This is just one of the latest ways the HRPS is striving to optimize effectiveness and efficiency by purposefully harnessing innovative technology.”

Approximately one-third of HRPS sworn members have already received extensive training and successfully transitioned to eNotes using the Smart Squad application by Faction Four Systems Inc on Service-issued cellphones. All sworn members will be fully trained by early 2022.

The HRPS eNotes application has been customized and optimized to contain features that the Service recognizes as key to policing operations. As a result, it provides unparalleled efficiencies to officers on patrol. Officers are now more mobile, no longer constrained by limitations of paper notes or tied to the computer in their cruisers. Officers can now access and add to police databases and record systems from anywhere. Further, eNotes equips officers with a secure means to obtain audio statements and take supplementary photos or recordings. All of these new functions are bolstered by heightened transparency and credibility to officer notes, with time-stamped entries and increased legibility.

It will be interesting to see how this works out when a police officer has to take the stand to testify – will his (or her)  enotes be shown on a large computer screen where anyone in the court room can read them.

 

Return to the Front page

City workers will be required to be vaccinated; access to city hall will have tighter COVID19 rules

By Staff

August 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is preparing a COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy applicable to all City staff, regardless of work location.

This policy will require all City staff to show proof of vaccination, and provide reasonable time for staff who are not yet fully vaccinated time to do so, with some exceptions for those who are legally entitled to accommodation.

Rapid Antigen Testing for those City staff not yet vaccinated prior to entry into the workplace will also be required.

An update on this new policy will be brought to the September 9 Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee meeting.

City requiring all staff to be vaccinated – even if they are not working at city hall

At that committee meeting, the City will also be looking into a potential vaccine policy for the public entering City facilities to help protect staff and the public.

The health and safety of staff and residents continues to be a top priority for the City.

The City, as an employer, has an obligation under Ontario law to take all necessary precautions to protect its workers. The City will be encouraging contractors and partners of the City to do the same in order to protect our staff, their employees and the public we serve.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward supports the policy and said: “While science continues to support the effectiveness of vaccinations in this pandemic, we can understand there is some apprehension about a required proof of vaccine. It’s important to note this is not a new concept in Canadian society. Proof of vaccination against at least 9 different illnesses such as polio and meningitis has been mandatory for Ontario children attending public elementary school for many years.

“We are already seeing healthcare settings, post-secondary schools, private sector businesses and other municipalities across the country implementing these policies to help protect our communities and our health care capacities. Where there are special circumstances, exemptions are provided.

“Though you can still contract and spread COVID-19 after being vaccinated, we’ve heard from our local medical and health staff the infectious period is shorter and it’s less likely you’ll need hospital care. Currently in Ontario, more than 90% of people in hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.

“The City of Burlington is committed to the health and safety of its staff and visitors from the public who may interact with staff. The City will also be looking at a public policy that will come to Committee and Council in September – I look forward to that discussion with my Council colleagues and hearing from the community.”

City manager, Tim Commisso

City manager, Tim Commisso has had staff develop a policy that will go to Council September 9th. “Our number one goal throughout this pandemic” said Commisso “has been and continues to be focused on keeping all Burlington staff and residents safe while working to stop the spread of COVID-19. Bringing in a vaccination policy for our staff is another step we have taken to meet that goal.

He added: “The City will comply with its human rights and privacy obligations and accommodate employees who are legally entitled to accommodation, while protecting staff. I want to thank our staff for continuing to provide the valued City services to our residents during these trying times.”

 

 

 

 

Return to the Front page

Casino Tournaments Online for Free and for Money

By Julie Saunders

August 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

You can have fun playing free slots in all online casinos. But if you want to win real money, you have to play for real money. And if you want to add a big prize on top of the money you can win from slots, you should join casino tournaments. These fun events allow you to compete against other players and try your luck for a big prize just by playing games. So, what exactly are casino tournaments, and what should you consider when choosing them? We answer these questions below.

What Is a Casino Tournament?

Casino tournaments are usually monthly events. Casino management selects a set of games, mostly from a particular supplier, and makes them part of the event. These games are almost always slot machines, and players who play them during the event period earn points for various achievements. These points determine your place on a scoreboard: the more points you earn, the higher your ranking.

The Games offered are really varied – all kinds of choices

When the tournament is over, the top 10 ranked players split the grand prize among themselves. Other players get consolation prizes such as free spins. But in this respect, the rules of each casino are different. Some casinos reward the first 50 players, others only the top 5. Therefore, it is very important to read the terms and conditions before participating in a tournament. In this way, you can understand what you need to do to win and learn where you need to be in the ranking to win prizes. Speaking of prizes, the amount is variable: most casino tournaments have a prize pool ranging from EUR 10,000 to EUR 100,000.

Types of Casino Tournaments

Casino tournaments are basically divided into two categories: free and buy-in. Free tournaments are the most common nowadays, and you only need to be a member of an online casino to participate. In other words, you do not need to pay any additional fees. If you are a member of the casino and play the games included in the tournament, you will automatically participate. Buy-in tournaments, on the other hand, are quite rare nowadays. You must purchase a separate ticket to attend these events. So, you pay an additional fee, and the tournament only covers ticket holders.

It is possible to divide casino tournaments into two categories according to the way of earning points too. In these events, you win points based on either the bet amount or the prize amount. The latter is more advantageous, and you should prefer it whenever possible. To briefly explain both:

  • Sometimes it is the name of the game that makes you feel lucky.

    Bet-based tournaments: In this type of event, points are earned according to the amount of the bets. For example, a player who deposits 100 EUR in a slot game included in the tournament gets 10 points. The player who deposits 10 EUR can only earn 1 point. In these tournaments, it doesn’t matter how much you win in games. The total money you spend matters, and even if you don’t win a single prize, you can still win the tournament if you’re the one who spends the most.

  • Prize-based tournaments: In this type of event, points are earned according to the amount of payouts. For example, a player who wins 100 EUR in a slot game included in the tournament gets 10 points. The player who wins 10 EUR will have to settle for 1 point. It doesn’t matter how much you bet. Those who win the most in the games get the highest points. Therefore, if you are lucky enough, you can participate with a budget of only 1 EUR and still win the grand tournament prize.

As mentioned above, prize-based tournaments are better because they are based on luck, not budget. That’s why it’s essential to read the Terms and Conditions. This is how you can find out if your tournament is bet-based or prize-based. In this regard, it is recommended not to expect much from bet-based tournaments if you are playing on a limited budget. You can still get a certain place in the ranking and win a consolation prize, but it will be impossible to get into the top 10 (unless you have enough budget).

If this is what you are and you are on a roll – have fun.

One of the best things about casino tournaments is that the prize is wager-free. So, if you win a prize, you don’t have to complete a wagering requirement to be able to withdraw it. Even if you don’t make it into the top 10, you can still win a prize. Moreover, all you have to do for this is to continue playing the games you are already playing. It is possible to participate in this event almost every month and try your luck again. For all these reasons, it is strongly recommended to participate in casino tournaments: you can have fun and make additional profit.

Return to the Front page

Waterfront hotel development: a stunning 30 and 35 storey complex that the developer calls 'sleek'

By Pepper Parr

August 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It will be as noisy as a virtual meeting can be.

The event takes place on September 8th, from  from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

It is billed as a virtual pre-application community meeting hosted by Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. for its proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel.

An architectural rendering of what the owners of the Waterfront Hotel want to build on the site once the existing building is demolished.

Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. (the “Owner”) is hosting a virtual pre-application community meeting to discuss a proposal to demolish the existing Waterfront Hotel Burlington building and replace it with a sleek and modern mixed-use development that will accommodate retail and service commercial uses at-grade that will frame the public realm, offices, a banquet facility and restaurants, hotel, and residential apartments.

In total, the proposed redevelopment will provide 557 apartments, a 130-room hotel, as well as commercial, office and other accessory uses all within two towers (35- and 30-storeys) inclusive of a 5-storey podium.

The city has not received an application and no decision has been made by the City.

This eight storey structure will be demolished if the developer can get his proposal for two buildings: a 30 and a 35 story structure can get past the Planning department and the Ontario Land Tribunal.

What the public will see is what the owners of the property would like to build on the land.

Public comments may be directed to the applicant on September 8th,

Once a complete application has been submitted the public will be notified, and comments will be received by city staff. This Consultation meeting is the first step in a comprehensive review of the draft proposal. The purpose of the consultation meeting is for the Owner to address key questions and obtain community feedback prior to the submission of any development applications.

During the meeting, the Owner will provide an overview of the proposal and City Staff will provide an overview of the development application review process and how the public can be involved.

There will also be a question and answer component about the various aspects of the proposal and the planning process. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns will be in attendance to listen to the discussion.

Meeting Agenda:
Introductory comments by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns;
City Planning Staff Presentation on the Planning Process.
Review of Waterfront Hotel Study;
Owner Presentation on the Development Proposal
Comments and Questions & Answers with the public.

After the event, additional comments, questions, and feedback for the Owner can be directed to the planning consultant, Bousfields Inc., at esugden@bousfields.ca or 905-549-3005, ext. 259.

This development pre-application is separate from and not related to the City’s Waterfront Hotel Study which has established key policy directions for development on this site and is planned to continue later this year.

How to Join the Meeting

Participate On-Line via Zoom:

www.burlington.ca/2020lakeshore OR https://zoom.us/j/93677332408

Webinar ID: 936 7733 2408

Participate by Telephone:

1-647-374-4685 (audio only)

The Gazette will publish background material and just how things got to where they are today.

Return to the Front page

NDP candidate uses Green Party data to advocate for Ranked ballots - Huh?

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

My interview with Nick Page was lengthy and I was not able to convince my editor to run all of it in one story.

Page discussed the importance of expanding our healthcare system to cover such areas as dental, optometric, and pharmaceutical. Tying benefits to employment in the current system “screws” the lower class, said Page.

“Right now you can go to the dentist if you have a good job but if you don’t have a good job you neither have dental coverage or the money to pay the dentist, so you’re screwed. If you don’t have a good job, you don’t have optometry coverage in Ontario. And so by decoupling those from jobs, from having a good job, you help everyone out.

“You also help the businesses not have to pay for insurance employees like that, which is a big expense for some companies like smaller companies who still need to pay benefits to their employees. That’s a cost they don’t need to have, they only really have it because the government doesn’t come through. And it’s interesting because that came about from wage tax in the US back in World War Two. It was a way to get around wage taxes by giving people more benefits, and then it just kind of became how we do things,” said Page.

One of Justin Trudeau’s most often maligned broken election promises was his vow that the 2015 election would be the last under the first past the post system.”

Nick Page- Burlington NDP candidate

Page puts forward a case for a proportional representation using Green Party data – which he claims would lead to federal representation that would more accurately reflect the popular vote. Page also alludes to the use of ranked ballots which would theoretically diminish so-called “strategic voting,” particularly in conjunction with proportional representation. You would rank the candidates in order of preference so you don’t need to be dictated by who can win, and your vote would be more meaningfully represented in government.

“You have some of the people who are elected to government assigned to specific districts, and some of the people elected to government are assigned from a party list. And you do the normal voting in a district, probably with ranked voting to figure out who represents that district. And then you use the country-wide proportional ballots.

“So if, for example, the Green Party gets 8% across the country, it doesn’t all have to be focused on their one riding in Vancouver, or Victoria river is exactly to get a seat, they could have 8% votes across the country, and they’d get 8% of the seats, we would bump them up off their party list, and that way that 8% of people in our country would actually be listened to, they have a voice in government, as opposed to right now, where if after the 2015 election Trudeau only had, votes from like 38% of people, but he got to make all of the decisions because of how first past the post, but he should have had to work with people to make decisions after 2015,” said Page.

Page noted proportional representation may be the best opportunity to implement a government to deal with climate change.

“I don’t think any party with a majority would do what needs to be done to deal with climate change so I think proportional representation or some sort of voting change is what it’s going to take to get the environment under control,” said Page.

2019 federal election results

“In the 2019 federal election, the Green Party received 6.6% of the popular vote and scored 3 seats out of 337, based on the methodology outlined in the 2016 report of the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform under a proportional representation system the Green Party would have scored 22 seats from the same percentage of the popular vote. If we accept more Green Party seats at the table correlates to more climate change action then Page’s correlation between electoral reform and environmental action may have merit.”

In federal elections there are usually all candidate debates – that is not likely to happen this time around – the logistics of a virtual debate are very awkward.

Page did a podcast in which is sets out where he stands – worth a listen if you want to dive into what the New Democrats hope to achieve. Link here for what he has to say – runs just over five minutes.

The New Democrats have a very stringent set of rules in place when candidates come into contact with voters – don’t expect to see them at your front door all that often..

 

Return to the Front page

NDP candidate has election signs vandalized - in Oakville no less

By Staff

August 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It happens every election.

Someone with more time on their hands than brains takes their uninformed opinion and decides to vandalize an election sign.
The candidate cries foul and those running against the candidate who took the hit resolve to run a clean campaign.

Two campaign signs – located on private property vandalized.

Two large Lenaee Dupuis election campaign signs were vandalized with the words “NO COMMIES” written in green spray paint across the Candidates name. The signs were located in Oakville on a Supporter’s residential property.

Lenaee Dupuis, the NDP Candidate for her home Riding of Oakville North-Burlington, posted a tweet on her Twitter account @lenaeeD following the news of the vandalism to her sign:

Lenaee Dupuis, the NDP Candidate for her home Riding of Oakville North-Burlington,

“I was so disappointed to see this uncalled for vandalism. I will fight fair and for good, and never would I expect this sort of behaviour from my supporters in the #oakvillenorthburlington riding.”

In her multiple tweets, Dupuis makes a pledge to the people of Oakville North-Burlington and is committed to having a positive election campaign. She asks the same of her Candidates, Liberal Pam Damoff, PPC Gilbert Jubinville and Conservative Hanan Rizkalla in her tweet. At time of posting, both Damoff and Rizkalla pledged the same.

Return to the Front page

A little nudge to get people out and about and into the retail where they can spend

By Pepper Parr

August 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It’s a bit of an iffy situation for the merchants that give the downtown core that special feeling people want to keep and support.

The merchants need the business but not everyone has cash to spare. The Food Bank is still feeding families where the breadwinner has not been able to get back to work.

Not everyone is certain that getting out and shopping is that smart a thing to do.

Commerce has to continue – and the merchants are going to give you a very warm welcome.

 

Return to the Front page

An application was received by the city for a Christmas market that would be set up on the Elgin promenade - no word on who made the application

By Pepper Parr

August 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An event application has been received by the city for a Christmas market that will make use of the Elgin Promenade from December 9th to 12th.

The White areas designate space that the applicants want to use for an annual Christmas Market. There would be live music on some of the evenings.

No one seems to know who submitted the application – the Gazette was told that it was not the BDBA Burlington Downtown Business association. The membership there must be just short of livid.

After a very tough year and a half a glimpse of hope and someone wants to set up shop and take business away from the downtown merchants?

Brian Dean – Executive Director Burlington Downtown Business Association working the phone.

Really nice idea – just not this year.

The merchants on Brant and John Street and other locations in the downtown core are just beginning to recover from the terrible winter, spring and early summer – this is not the time to kick these people in the shins and allow someone who doesn’t have any skin in the game come along and scoop the business.

Brian Dean, Chief guru of the Burlington Downtown Business Association must be howling.

No name that we can see on the document that were sent to people living in the immediate area identifying just who is behind the idea.

And not a peep so far from the Ward Councillor or the Mayor?

The Elgin Promenade is at the top right – the Elizabeth Street Parking lot stretched out behind.

Return to the Front page

Residential housing prices remain steady - year over year increase was a whopping 21.7%

By Staff

August 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The country struggles with how to deal with a fourth wave of Covid19 infections.

The country gets plunged into a federal election.

And the world watches as thousands of people in Afghanistan fee for their lives terrified that the Taliban will change the country.

In Burlington people are still buying and selling homes in uncertain economic times.

The Rocca Sisters, a real estate agency, advise that:

While prices remained steady with an average sale price of $1,260,080, up 21.7% year over year, sales were down by 36.8% when compared to July 2020. The big news at the end of July was inventory levels.

On average, for the past 5 years, there were 334 active listings at the end of July. At the end of July 2021, there were 78. During the month of July properties sold for 105.75% of the listed price and in an average of 12 days (compared to 10 days in June) and a slightly higher list/sale price ratio in June when it was 105.22.

The remarkable sales that we always referred to in months gone by are becoming less and less remarkable and more and more predictable. Prices are stabilizing and a good real estate agent should be able to predict outcomes much more accurately these days.

Price and sales data for July 2021 freehold sales

What does all this mean?

August will be a quiet month. While there still does not seem to be any shortage of buyers, there is just not enough inventory to keep them active. It is likely a very good time to list your home given the incredibly low inventory levels but, the buyer pool has shrunk. We expect to see inventory and sales ramp up fairly early in September and we also expect to see a strong, slightly more balanced fall market which is good news for everybody.

Condo market

Average sale prices in the condominium market were up 7.6%, price per square foot was up 17.5% and sales were down 43.9% in July, as compared to July 2020.

Condo apartments sold for 100.10% of the listed price and in an average of 16 days.

Inventory levels were at 53 active listings, down considerably from the 5 year average of 89. Year to date, sale prices have increased by just over 16% and price per square foot has increased by just over 18% when compared to the same period in 2020.

Pricing and sales data on the Burlington condo market.

 

 

Return to the Front page

Stuart Miller on retiring: he made a difference while Director of Education

By Pepper Parr

August 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It turned out to be a more active and somewhat hectic term of office  for Stuart Miller who retired this month as the Halton District School Board Director of Education.

During the early part of his appointment the decision was made to hold a Program and Accommodation Review (PAR);  a process defined in a school board pupil accommodation review policy, undertaken by a school board to determine the future of a school or group of schools.

It proved to be contentious and divisive and ended up with the closing of two of the city’s seven high schools.

The Bateman high school parents put up a strong fight but the numbers were against them and the trustees did not see the pluses that the school had going for the students.

Miller’s tenure ended in the waning days of a pandemic that threw the education sector into a tail spin from which Miller said he doesn’t expect will come to an end for 18 months to a year.

With the active part of a career as an educator coming to an end Miller looks back at what he managed to achieve and has come to the conclusion that equity and inclusion are the words that sum up what education is about.

Miller is passionate about his view that every student is entitled to the best education we can give them.

“The pandemic highlighted where we are not meeting that challenge” said Miller

Stuart Miller listened to the students and tended to hear what they were saying.

Adding, “the classroom is what makes education real – the casual conversation between a teacher and a student doesn’t happen in a virtual setting.

“There are some subjects, some situations and some students who excel in a virtual setting but that doesn’t and should suggest that we need more virtual experiences.

“There are those that learn a little slower than others; being slower shouldn’t be a reason to be left behind.

Stuart Miller developed staff which was reflected in the classrooms.


“I was fortunate”, said Miller “to have a staff that loved what they do.  It was my good fortune to watch teachers grow into principals and some principals become Superintendents.

“The struggle for my staff during the pandemic “was to find ways to insert some normality into situations that were far from normal.  The mental health of our students is always a concern but this pandemic brought to the surface the struggles the students have.  We had to pivot and find the resources to deal with these situations that began to overwhelm us.

“In a classroom you spot the student who is struggling – in a virtual setting it is another matter.

“The classroom teachers let me see just how professional they are – they were thrown into a situation they were not trained for – in a matter of days they had to learn how to use new technology and come up with different ways to teach. They were no longer able to turn to the blackboard and illustrate – there were no blackboards in that virtual classroom.

“The technology we had at the beginning was pretty rudimentary – that changed over time and going virtual began to be a little easier. Most of the teachers were able to make the leap from a classroom full of students to a computer screen.

It was one of the toughest days of his tenure as Director of Education. He had to explain to the public what he felt had to be done and the best way to do it.

“The students watched as their teachers adapted and in the process learned that they too could adapt.  There were some positives.

During the last week serving as the Director of Education Miller wasn’t certain that the system would not have to once again fall back to a virtual setting – “if that does happen we will be much more prepared.”

Equity has always been an issue for Miller who will say that we are not there yet.  Inclusion is a large part of equity – Miller believes significant strides have been made

Miller talks about what was achieved with the PAR that closed two high schools and emphasizes the upside.

The students who went from Lester B. Pearson to M.M. Robinson had 20 additional course choices and 10 additional extra curricular offerings.

There are now Community Pathway programs at M.M. Robinson and Nelson.

Stuart Miller with Superintendent Terri Blackwell. His support and her drive resulted in one of the most desired high school programs and a shift in direction on how teaching took place.

Aldershot High School, which looked as if it might be closed. is now one of the “hot” schools in the system.  The iStem program that came out of the PAR is now consistently over subscribed and there are now iStem programs in Milton and Oakville.

A program they stumbled into proved to be one of the best things Stuart Miller did – when the opportunity was not much more than an idea Miller and his staff were able to research, build community support and create something that became a stellar program Board wide.

Before Miller got into education he was working with a private company in the food sector and earning $30k a year which was very good money in the 80’s.

He left that work to become a teacher for $18k a year.  “The difference was that I was very happy” said Miller

Stuart Miller is still a young man who will be around education for a long time yet.  There have been some job offers and there is an opportunity in the north with the Indigenous community that he is excited about.

Ward 5 trustee Amy Collard giving Director Miller a hard eye.

The Gazette found Miller to be very accessible. He would never duck an issue – he was quick to realize when he didn’t get it quite right.

He had a board of trustees that held him to account.  He will never forget the day that ward 5 trustee Amy Collard blind-sided him over his decision to close Bateman High  School.  She was passionate about keeping that school open and she wasn’t wrong.

We expect to hear more about Stuart Miller in the years ahead – the world of education isn’t finished with him yet – and he isn’t finished with education.

Return to the Front page

Milton Mayor stands with Liberal candidate during campaign office opening

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 23rd, 2021

MILTON, ON

 

Things are changing in Milton.

Gord Krantz was a Conservative from the moment he drew his first breath a long long time ago. His next election will be his 21st.

Last week he stood beside Liberal candidate Adam Van Koeverden Main Street and said:

Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz standing with Liberal candidate Adam Van Kouverden during the opening of the campaign office.

“People are probably well aware I do not need a microphone, I have a built-in one. And of course I’ll be turning my microphone over to Adam in just very few moments. When Adam invited me here I accepted his invitation without any hesitation whatsoever. And one of the main reasons is just to say thank you for putting your name forward to run for public office, such as Adam has.

“This job is not easy. He goes around knocking on doors to find out what people are thinking. Hopefully most of it is good, some not and I’m well aware of that. Now, how do I know that my last election was my 21st election? ”

“Adam and I work well together” said Krantz. And if that isn’t an endorsement – then just what is an endorsement?

When Van Koeverden got the microphone he spoke about pandemic recovery in the form of his Sports for All Initiative, how Canada can afford $10 a day child care, where Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives really stand on abortion, mental health, and a disputed bill to ban conversion therapy.

One of the main reasons Van Koeverden got involved in public service he said “was to champion physical activity and recreation”. To those who know him as an Olympic Gold medalist this comes as little surprise. He cited this inspiration speaking about his new Community Sports for All Initiative which invests $80 million to help communities with the lowest sports participation recover from the pandemic. Van Koeverden’s focus on sport and activity is not to groom his kayaking successor – the Liberal candidate’s primary concern is health: physical and mental.

Adam Van Koeverden opening his campaign office on Main Street in Milton.

“Sport, physical activity and recreation represent physical health, mental health, social cohesion, and development. I’m not pushing competitive sport, I’m not pushing for more high-performance sport funding. What I’m pushing for is a change to how and why we fund sport in Canada, and that’s to achieve better health outcomes for Canadians. Sports are expensive in Canada.
“There are numerous barriers between access to physical activity and people, and it’s my obligation as an Olympic athlete as a champion for sport, and as a legislator to ensure that those opportunities to live your healthiest life, to learn physical literacy, and to develop, are universally available,” said Van Koeverden.

COVID-19 hit the entire sports and recreation sector hard. Van Koeverden cited “devastating” research from Canadian Tire Jumpstart indicating at least one of the four young women and girls involved in sport will not be returning post-pandemic, a figure representing 365,000 young women and girls. The study acknowledged lower but significant figures for boys as well.

While Adam Van Koeverden is not shy when it comes to talking about his Olympic achievements – and they were substantial – he is sincere about the need to introduce more sports activity at all age levels but especially young people.

Studies have shown youth have been at high risk of experiencing poor mental health during the pandemic, particularly relating to concerns about social ties. Mounting mental health issues and loss of prime developmental years demand a return to normalcy, and Van Koeverden suggests available community sport would play a part.

The program also focuses on inclusivity with Van Koeverden mentioning safe environments for racialized groups, LGBTQ plus groups, Indigenous youth, and people living with disabilities as a priority.

Van Koeverden tied $10 a day child care to pandemic recovery as well, and when pressed on expenses the Milton incumbent insisted the program pays for itself.

“It’s so important that women get back to work, and if they can get back to work by knowing that their little ones are in early learning and childcare programs which are good for their social development, good for their education and also affordable, and that’s a win-win-win. Programs like this pay for themselves because when women get back to work the economy benefits.

“COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain groups, that’s women, that’s racialized, that’s LGBTQ plus individuals, that’s lower-income families who were struggling before the pandemic, it’s small businesses and restaurant owners who haven’t been able to serve a meal in almost a year and a half. It’s been challenging, but our government’s been there for people who needed a helping hand, we’ve listened and we’re addressing any gaps found in our programs,” said Van Koeverden.

The Liberal candidate accused Conservative leader Erin O’Toole of “talking out of both sides of his mouth” on abortion. Van Koeverden acknowledges that while O’Toole may vote pro-choice himself he still needs support from the Campaign For Life Coalition, and other anti-abortion groups. Asserting it’s irrelevant if O’Toole is personally pro-choice if 81 of his MPs aren’t and a vote for O’Toole is a vote against pro-choice, regardless of where the federal candidate stands himself.

There was a time when we didn’t talk about these issues – today they are front and centre – but the divide between the political ideologies is still far too wide.

“O’Toole needs to stand up and say clearly that his party will not allow for any legislation that restricts access to women’s reproductive rights, women across the country need to hear that from them. There’s a lot of women who are considering voting Conservative but want to know that their rights, to safe and available abortion, will not be restricted. And we’re seeing it in New Brunswick where clinics are being closed and access is restricted.

“It’s not an all or nothing thing, just because O’Toole voted on a pro-choice level a couple of times to demonstrate that he’s pro-choice there’s a lot of gray area, and the gray area is going to far-right groups and social conservative groups to ask for their support and to tell them that he’ll act in their best interest, he’s talking outside of both of his both sides of his mouth,” Van Koeverden said.

Van Koeverden said he’s happy to hear conservatives talking about mental health but condemns more than half their caucus voting against a bill to ban conversion therapy as hypocritical.

“I’m a huge advocate for mental health and more funding for mental health, but they’re very selective about who gets these mental health services, because any conservative that voted against Bill C-6, which is a bill to make conversion therapy, and I don’t even like to use the word therapy because it’s not therapy, gay people don’t require therapy, they require love, what’s missing in that equation is compassion and empathy, and support, so they don’t feel like they’ve got to change.

The lasting impact of the pandemic will be the damage done to mental health. The first big step is accepting that people suffering from mental health issues are sick – not weak, and they need treatment.

“If any Conservative MP voted against Bill C-6, and then spoke up in the house about mental health services that is a very very clear contradiction and indicates they’re hypocrites because the group that is most vulnerable to things like suicide are disenfranchised LGBTQ plus youth who don’t have the support of their families and feel like outcasts in society. And those youth, and especially the youth who have been subjected to the horrible and horrendous practice of conversion practices, those youth are disproportionately likely to try to commit suicide. So if we’re going to be putting a five-point plan together as the leader of the Conservative Party has, and one of those pillars is to talk about mental health, I welcome that, but I say, mental health for everybody, not just people who vote Conservative. Especially groups that are disproportionately impacted by mental health issues and aren’t supported in many groups in society,” said Van Koeverden.

Bill C-6 on conversion therapy has been contentious, when the bill was debated Conservatives who voted against Bill C-6 asserted their issue was with the definition of conversion therapy. Many Conservative objectors began by stating they support banning conversion therapy but not the proposed legislation. For their part, Liberal members suggested they had been open to re-write the definition but the Conservatives had stalled and functionally squandered that opportunity.

O’Toole voted for Bill C-6 and his platform proposes to re-introduce legislation to ban conversion therapy with the amendment that the ban does not criminalize non-coercive conversations which addresses unclear language the Conservatives objected to.

Bill C6 amends the Criminal Code to, among other things, create the following offences:

(a) causing a person to undergo conversion therapy without the person’s consent;
(b) causing a child to undergo conversion therapy;
(c) doing anything for the purpose of removing a child from Canada with the intention that the child undergo conversion therapy outside Canada;
(d) promoting or advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy; and
(e) receiving a financial or other material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy.

It also amends the Criminal Code to authorize courts to order that advertisements for conversion therapy be disposed of.

Speaking to the public, Van Koeverden spoke about being there for his neighbors focusing on COVID-19 response, work done within the Region of Halton, and climate change as a top priority.

“I have a youth committee and they would never let me forget about climate change,” said Van Koeverden.

Adam Van Koeverden takes a selfie with part of his campaign team

Return to the Front page

How much public notice should there be - Mayor can't get a win for trying

By Staff

August 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It appears that the Mayor is sponsoring or holding events in the downtown core but not telling very many people about them

That has some residents ticked.

Mayor Meed Ward just may be doing the right thing.

The Caribbean Association was giving it a go –

What the city doesn’t need is large crowds of people gathering to take part in an event. Tough to maintain social distancing under those circumstances.

Holding small pop-up type events does help give people something to do.

Our reporter toured the downtown area and on up to the Orchard and then on over to Bronte Creek Park and found few people outdoors – they heat was surely part of the reason for people staying home.

The Mayor opened Black/Caribbean month. Residents are complaining that no one was notified. “The only way I found” said our reader, “about last night was chatting with one of the girls involved. I was watching the BPAC music and she said I should come to City Hall on the 21st for a party. I asked if she was sure and she said Yes – the Mayor is putting it on.

“That’s when I went to the tourist office to dig a little deeper. They send out happenings in Burlington all the time.

“Marianne told me the last time, they didn’t want to advertise the prayer celebration for the indigenous kids, prayer for the Muslim family (hundreds of attendees), pride party… so as to keep the numbers down.

“Is that not selfish to the rest of Burlington?

Wasn’t much of a crowd..

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns got wind of the event and sent out a late notice. Our reader thought this should have been “virtual”

“Pretty much like all the rest of MMW’s “events”. If we can’t celebrate CANADA DAY (except virtually), how is it we can celebrate all these other days outdoors?

Our writer though that the downtown business people might have been able to benefit as well had there been more notice.

“Two Saturday ago”, continued our reader (who chose not to be identified) the same thing. Party at Spencer Smith Park put on by the mayor and nothing advertised so that we could all attend. I found out after the fact.

“I’m not sure if you are aware, but next Saturday it’s back at Spencer Smith again.”

There are times when the Mayor can’t win for trying. Managing public expectations is not a simple task.

Return to the Front page

Hot weather and a concern about a 4th Covid19 wave kept people away from restaurants and parks.

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Bronte creek Provincial Park and local businesses in Burlington experienced low attendance over the weekend: was it the hot weather or concern over what appears to be a fourth Covid19 wave?

The usual crowd didn’t show up for the skateboard pad at Norton Park.

There were a handful of families in various parks  celebrating birthdays and giving children a chance to get outside.

Attendance was very low compared to their capacity during the summer season. Residents appeared to be hesitant about going to public places feeling it is safer to stay isolated at home.

Many families that did decide to go out this weekend enjoyed activities such as playing on the playground, riding bikes and hiking.

Traffic at the splash pads was very low. Maybe everyone was out of town at a cottage?

These low turn outs are being contributed to Covid cases on the rise while entering the fourth wave of Covid, being stuck in stage 3 of reopening and low vaccination rates.

Parks in the Orchard area also had low attendance despite the park facilities getting infrastructure upgrades.

Residents preferred to stay home over the weekend;  TV shows and board games for the family seemed to be what people were choosing to do..

Burlington has fallen short of its goal of having 90% of residents being vaccinated with 824,536 vaccine doses administered as of August 22nd.

The Covid19 new infection rate for the province on Sunday was 722 with two deaths.  The Delta variant is clearly out there – those not vaccinated are at serious risk – and when they are at risk we are put at risk as well.

The Bronte Creek parking lot was close to barren.

Public health experts have been warning about a 4th covid wave for months saying that the Covid Delta Variant will be the driving force in increased cases.

The un-vaccinated are still the most at risk and are encouraged to get vaccinated.

“They call it the ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said infectious diseases specialist Dr. Anna Banerji, told Global News earlier in the week.

 

Return to the Front page

Karina Gould takes to the streets - campaign is in full throttle.

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

The interview with Karina Gould proved to be quite lengthy so we have broken it into two parts;, the first covers the work Gould has done during the term office. The second looks forward to what another Liberal term would look like.

Karina Gould, Minister for International Development and Burlington federal Liberal candidate, spoke with the Gazette ahead of her campaign kickoff event which took place on Saturday.

Karina Gould – having fun on the campaign trail

Gould spoke about what she’s done for the Burlington and Hamilton Area, her federal work, including the Feminist International Assistance Policy, the situation in Afghanistan, how comfortable she is to be judged on the Liberal’s COVID-19 response, climate change, and what the government has done to practically address reconciliation with Indigenous people.

On her work with the Burlington community, Gould touted Hamilton Harbour cleanup, as well as an announcement to pledge $400 million to essentially get rid of the Dofasco smokestacks.

Gould says the Dofasco investment will take the equivalent of a million cars off the road, and benefit not only Burlington air quality, but will also guarantee thousands of jobs in the area for decades to come.

“What we’re seeing is a major investment from the federal government in the Burlington/Hamilton area. Whether it’s Randall Reef, whether it’s the Dofasco announcement of $400 million, to essentially get rid of the smokestacks, that’s gonna take the equivalent of a million cars off the road, it’s gonna have such a huge benefit in Burlington for air quality but it also guarantees 1000s of jobs in the area at Dofasco for decades to come. So, you know, our government and the work that I’ve been doing on behalf of the region is investing in people. It’s investing in the economy, right, and we’re seeing the results of it,” said Gould.

Gould is comfortable if this federal election takes the form of a referendum on the Liberal administration’s handling of COVID-19. The candidate cited community appreciation while knocking on doors throughout the community for the federal government’s pandemic handling. Gould spoke about emergency response benefits, wage and rent subsidies, and being ahead of schedule providing enough vaccines for all Canadians.

Gould pulling cheers out of her campaign team

“We had anticipated to have enough vaccines for all Canadians by September, we delivered two months ahead of schedule in July. We have 82% of eligible Canadians vaccinated but we need to get those numbers up. Because there are still Canadians 12 and under, for example, who are ineligible to get vaccinated, we need to protect our young people. Florida is a terrible example right now, in terms of the number of pediatric cases and Icos and with COVID-19. So, for those of us who can get vaccinated, it’s an act of kindness to do so because we’re protecting each other,” said Gould.

Speaking on her work with the Feminist International Assistance Policy Gould said Canada is a “rockstar” around the world on women’s rights, and a leader in gender equality, recognized as such for the work the Liberal administration has been doing. She referenced working with organizations abroad providing sexual health and reproductive rights and services to individuals and striving towards gender equality.

“When the Conservatives were in power, they defunded organizations that provided sexual health and reproductive rights and services support to individuals. So if an organization supported a woman’s right to choose abroad, the conservatives defunded, we reversed that policy when we came into office.

“We’re one of the top funders for access to abortion and other underserved areas when it comes to sexual health and reproductive rights around the world. That is super important, because there are a lot of people who live in places who simply can’t access sexual health and reproductive rights. We are the top funder when it comes to gender equality 95% of our international assistance deals with gender equality in some way, shape, or form. And it’s, it’s cool to see us living those values, not just here at home, but also around the world supporting women’s rights activists, feminist organizations, who are often on the frontlines in their communities. So that’s been really exciting,” said Gould.

Fear is mounting around what the Taliban takeover means for women’s rights in Afghanistan. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid has said women’s rights will be honored within the norms of Islamic law but for many, this did little to alleviate concern. Gould was asked if the Afghanistan situation posed a setback for her feminist work abroad and insisted Canada is getting as many people out as quickly as they can.

This Air Force C17 cargo plane violated every Air Force rule in packing it so full.

“And then maybe just in terms of what’s happening in Afghanistan. My goodness, this is horrific and awful to see what’s happening. And we are working very closely with our allies to do everything that we can to get vulnerable Afghans out, particularly those that have supported Canadian efforts over the past 20 years. And so whether it’s interpreters, whether it’s women’s rights activists, right, who maybe we didn’t necessarily contract with, but we formed government policy.

“And so we’re in very close contact with vulnerable people, either who were activists who supported Canadian efforts, but also vulnerable groups like the Hazara, or the Sikh minorities. And so we are watching the situation very closely, but also actively taking people out as much as possible. And we were able to evacuate over 800 people before the Taliban made it into Kabul. And we’re sending flights in and getting people out as quickly and as many as we can,” said Gould.

The Liberal government didn’t manage to put an end to the boil water notices but they do claim to have significantly reduced the number of them.

From an international tragedy to a national one, Canada’s reckoning with past and present Indigenous relations will be at the forefront of this election. Gould spoke to the Liberal government’s record with Indigenous people and what actionable reconciliation looks like. Gould touches on lifting long-standing boil water advisories in Indigenous communities, a 2015 Trudeau campaign promise that’s lagging deadlines have been battered by the opposition. Gould acknowledged reconciliation is a work in progress but spoke to her party’s commitments in-progress.

“Practically it’s the $18 billion that we committed in the last federal budget, to equalize the amount of money that we spend on Indigenous Canadians. So when we were elected in 2015, for every dollar of public services that was spent on you and I only 70 cents was spent on an indigenous person living on reserve, so we have this huge gap to overcome.

Liberal candidate Karina Gould outside the campaign office – rallying the troops.

“And over the last six years, we’ve been making big investments, whether it’s in housing, childcare, education, health care, water provision of clean water, the list goes on and on to try to equalize those serve at those levels of service protection, and means ending all boil water advisories, you know when we came into office in 2015, the previous government said this was not on their radar, they literally said ‘not on our radar,’ it was not an important issue for them.

“We committed to having the advisories all lifted by 2021, didn’t quite make that, but we’ve had 108 lifted, right, we still have a few more to go. But we’ve done significant amounts of work. And it’s been billions of dollars that have gone into that because many of these communities didn’t have any infrastructure at all. So this is a top priority,” said Gould.

In the second part of our interview, Gould discusses the issues the Liberals want to move on when they are returned to office. Discussing what the future of Canada looks like for those who decline vaccination without medical justification, the cost of living, what Bill C-10 means for Canadians, hate speech on the internet and what if any role the government could play in regulating it, and more on what reconciliation looks like moving forward.

Return to the Front page

Why a publication ban related to the biggest drug bust every done in the Region?

By Staff

August 22, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Regional Police reported the largest drug bust in their history earlier this

The police reported on the number of raids they made and called the joint police force Project Icarus.

More than a dozen arrests were made and all kinds of evidence gathered.

There was a lot of evidence on display.

The Gazette sent a reporter out to gather details at the media event the police held and published a report.

The following day the police contacted the Gazette and asked (instructed) us to remove one of the names from the list of those arrested explaining that the person was subject to 517 publication ban.

We responded asking: What is a 517 publication ban ?

Regional Police Inspector Constantini did most of the explaining on the details of the police raids.

The police responded with:
A section 517 publication ban is a temporary ban which extends until the accused is discharged after the preliminary inquiry or the trial is completed, subject to any other court orders.

The purpose of the ban is to preserve the rights of the defendant to a fair trial, and the presumption of innocence. Further, the ban prevents public dissemination of information or evidence so that jurors make their decisions based only on admissible evidence presented during the trial. It is also intended to maintain the integrity of the evidence of any potential witness who may be called to testify in the case.

Members of the public and media are permitted to view and photocopy court files covered by a section 517 publication ban but, again, details covered by the ban cannot be published in any document, or broadcast or transmitted in any way until the ban ends.

All publication bans are noted in the court record. The Information or charging document (in the Ontario Court of Justice) or Indictment (in the Superior Court of Justice) is endorsed with “PUBLICATION BAN” and the appropriate section number of the Criminal Code is noted. Ministry staff are instructed to inform members of the public and the media wishing to have access to the court record that the matter is subject to a publication ban.

This should be an interesting trial when it takes place.

Related news story:

Biggest drug bust in Regional Police history.

Return to the Front page

Are the Rainbow Crosswalks becoming a political issue?

By Staff

August 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Seems there is still some mileage in the Rainbow Crosswalk issue.

The decision to create Rainbow crosswalks through out the city left a bitter taste in the mouths of several members of City Council.

Then it looked as if it had died down as an issue.

Mayor Meed Ward has taken the Crosswalk issues to heart,

Councillor Sharman thinks what the Mayor is doing is disrespectful.

Yesterday Councillor Paul Sharman, who was one of those opposed to what the Mayor had her heart set out on doing, posted a tweet letting his supporters know that he thought what the Mayor was doing was “petty opportunism.”

Several Gazette readers have called the Mayor’s decision as going after the “gay vote”.  Is there such a thing in Burlington ?

There is a large number of people who strongly support the rights of groups that are sensitive about how the public reacts to them.

Mayor Meed Ward has chosen to position herself as a champion of those people which is good.  Let’s not let that “championing” become exploitation.

 

Return to the Front page

City hall is losing some of its bench strength - not a healthy situation

By Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During the past year Council has heard regularly about serious staffing issues – with frequent mention of people who are about to retire.

Vito Tolone retired this month as Director of Transportation

Vito Tolone retired this month, Christine Swenor left in June. There are a good half dozen that are on the edge of retiring.

There are people who were given opportunities to move up the leadership leader and chose to stay where they are.

The more troubling issue is the number of younger people, several with exceptional skills and really solid work ethics.  They were their to make a difference.

Danielle went to Cambridge where she is now Clerk, Rosa left Burlington to become Director of Planning at another municipality.

There were two other women, I call them the Andreas – one worked in the Clerk’s Office and the other was in Planning and moved on to Information Technology at City Hall.

Both are now working in the City of Hamilton; one is now the Clerk in that city.

I knew both women quite well; always had huge respect for the way they handled themselves and the work they did. Both were excited about the work they were doing and brought very strong work ethics to their jobs.

And I found myself wondering – how did these two women get away. They were the backbone on which the new civic administration was going to be built.

While I personally wish the very best for all four women – they will be missed and the city is much the worse for their deciding to leave, there is that lingering concern – where is the bench strength.

Our Staffing issues are not yet resolved.

Return to the Front page

Scouts Canada had zero transmissions of covid19 cases; continue to run a safe program

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With students heading back to school in the fall,  parents are also looking for extra curricular activities their children can take part in.

Parents are  searching for programs that offer social connection, a sense of normalcy and fun in an environment that puts safety first.

Scouts Canada which is a non-profit youth service organization that helps children of all ages get in touch with nature, have great adventures, learn outdoor skills and care for the environment as well as be good and helpful members of their community.

“Scouts Canada is a youth serving organization, each section … is designed for the age group kids get to choose what interests them and then help lead their own adventures,” Andrea McLoughlin, customer service.

Getting Scouters outdoors where they understand nature and lean to care for the environment.

The organization has operated for close to 115 years and  currently has 50,000 youth participating all around Canada supported by 12,000 volunteers.

Scouts Canada did not shut down during pandemic with the exception of putting a short hiatus during emergency breaks and continued to operate while in the pandemic although needing to scale back in person activities, put mandates in place and have virtual programs.

Scouts Canada has had great success in its programs with no reported transmissions of covid-19 cases.

They have ensured the health and safety of the scouting community by implementing a 5-stage reopening plan which provides members and families with clear easy to follow guidelines to ensure safe in-person adventures.

Some provinces are even in Stage Five, which effectively lifts internal restrictions for all Scouting activities while deferring to all municipal and provincial public health restrictions.

Some of the guidelines includes indoor gatherings up to 25 people and outdoor gatherings up to 50 people, cohorts (Patrols) of a maximum 8 youth, and overnight camping allowed in cohorts only, with tents or shelters preferred, Face coverings and physical distancing are required.

Orienteering – learning to use a compass and know where they are in the woods and the direction they need to go – a great Scouting experience.

“Our mission really is creating well rounded youth who are active members of the community, who care about the environment, who have faith and life skills … who can take on any adventure and be prepared for it,” said youth program specialist Siobhan Ward.

Registration for January to December 2022 Scouting opens on September 1 for existing members, with registration for new members starting September 15th. New members who join before 2022 will benefit from free participation in Scouting for the remainder of 2021.

Executives of Scouts Canada worked fast to go in different direction when covid slowed them down in March but when members turned to virtual meetings, they came up with new strategies which they say came organically despite not meeting in person for almost a full year and ran incredible programing.

Scouts Canada also sponsors the Program No One Left Behind which subsidizes costs for families experiencing hard ship.

“Providing a safe environment for young people in Canada to connect with their peers and get outdoors is our number one priority this fall,” said Executive Commissioner & CEO, Andrew Price.

Chopping wood, learning to light a camp fire and how to put it out properly. Before they do that the marshmallows get roasted.

The virtual programs still give children the experience of scouts Canada even from their houses by giving kids exercises and explore their local communities.

Scouts Canada is looking for volunteers to help fill a number of rewarding roles including running Section meetings, as well as positions focusing on finance, administration, teaching first aid and outdoor skills, leadership, communications, fundraising or property management.

Adults of all ages can sign up at https://www.scouts.ca/volunteer, Scouts.ca/Join

Max Bowder is a second year journalism student at Sheridan College.  He is part of a team with the Gazette on the Local Journalism Initiative funded by the federal government.  Before enrolling at Sheridan Max volunteered in a community in Argentina  where he worked with young people.  He is a Burlington resident who helps out on the family farm in Milton.

Return to the Front page

West Nile virus positive mosquitoes found in Burlington and Milton

By Staff

August 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A batch of mosquitoes trapped this week in Milton has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).

This is the first batch of WNV positive mosquitoes in Milton this year. Two other batches of mosquitoes testing positive for WNV were found in Burlington this year.

“Halton is committed to reducing West Nile virus in our communities through both education and preventative programs like larviciding,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “Until the hard frosts of fall set in, Halton residents should continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites and remove mosquito breeding sites.”

Urban areas are more likely to have mosquitoes that carry WNV. The types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV to humans most commonly breed in urban areas such as bird baths, plant pots, old toys, and tires that hold water.
Residents can take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

• Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.

• Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.

• Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects, where possible. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.

Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.

• Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.

Locations of standing water sites that have had larvicide applied this year is available on the West Nile Virus page on halton.ca.
For more information about West Nile virus or to report standing water at public facilities, please visit halton.ca, call 311 or email wnv@halton.ca.

Return to the Front page

Rivers on the Torys: The Compromise Party

By Ray Rivers

August 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Ray Rivers has done a background piece on two of the political parties; this is his third with a fourth to come.

Erin O’Toole isn’t just fighting Justin Trudeau and the other federal leaders. In many respects, he’s also battling many in his own party – which is never good at election time. (Gary Mason, Globe and Mail)

The Conservative party is almost twenty years old, but like any teenager it hasn’t figured out what it wants to be when it grows up. It was born out a desperate compromise between prairie libertarians and eastern red Tories. And the reds got the short end of the stick.

Disgraced in the minds of some; revered in the minds of thousands

It wasn’t the first marriage of convenience for the Tories and the birthing of a new political entity. Western progressives had joined with this party back in 1942. Conservatives have deep roots in the founding of Canada and had been led by the now mostly disgraced John A. Macdonald and their strength was in the east. The merger helped bridge a national east-west political divide thus creating a truly national political party to rival the Liberals.

Today, ironically the new Conservatives are more western but less progressive than they ever have been. Stephen Harper, the father of the new right wing Conservative party had a clear focus on his adopted province of Alberta and its oil, and paid precious little attention to the rest of the country. And his successor Andrew Scheer did his best to further divide the nation, mainly on energy matters.

Erin O’Toole – leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition

Erin O’Toole is an eastern boy, born in Montreal and raised in Ontario where he sits as an eastern Ontario member. From a western perspective he’s another one of them easterners, just not as bad as Trudeau. They will vote for him but only because he represents their tribe and they have no other preferred option. Even O’Toole’s catering to the right wing of the party with promises of restoring assault weapons, killing the CBC and allowing MPs to introduce anti choice legislation has not made him more acceptable.

And O’Toole’s turnaround on the carbon tax must have hurt. Only a matter of weeks after the court decision he proposed a kind of loyalty card, actually rewarding people for using hydrocarbons, instead of taxing them. It is an insult to anyone who seriously understands and cares about global warming. But it sure looks like a carbon tax, and the oil sector must be worried about what is coming next.

The Tories are the only political party which is still obsessed with how and what women do with their bodies, O’Toole’s personal pro-choice stand must confound his membership, especially the evangelicals. Yet, strangely, he is willing to let MP’s propose anti-choice legislation.

Mr. O’Toole has put on his skates when it comes to mandatory vaccines for key sectors (health, education workers) and activities (travel, dining). He has adopted the line of the country’s conservative premiers that individual rights trump collective health and safety. He would like everyone to get vaccinated but he’d settle for an occasional test if they aren’t. Is a swab up the nose less invasive than a jab in the arm?

Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper

But it is perhaps on the economy where deficit fighting Conservatives, like father Harper, are shaking their heads. His campaign is promising to print more money than the other parties combined, though it’s hard to say since the platform has not been costed. Imagine a Tory promising to cancel the GST, pay half the salary of new workers with tax money, refund restaurant customers half the cost of their meals.

And O’Toole and Andrew Sheer were part of the minority government all party agreement to dump the billions of new spending on wage subsidies and other pandemic relief over the last two years. All the parties own the deficit and the new debt now. Still, it’s not the first time this party, which claims the title of ‘fiscal hawks’ is dishing out money to win the hearts of the electorate, just like those nasty ‘tax and spend’ left of centre parties.

Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

Brian Mulroney never once balanced his budget. And Harper ran the biggest pre-COVID deficit in history, constructing an artificial lake on the shore of Lake Ontario with some of the money. And there were the pre-election handouts by Mike Harris ($200) and Ralph Klein ($400) paralleling the $500 Trudeau doled out to seniors recently.

O’Toole would axe the federal child care program which has already got the support and signatures of 8 provincial and territorial partners. He’d replace it with another tax credit which is of little use to someone on minimum wages, for example. As usual, tax credits favour those who are better off, even if the credits are graduated as he proposes.

It is a telling moment that the new premier designate of Nova Scotia, Tim Houston, a self confessed red Tory had not joined the federal Conservatives, and had shunned any linkages to the party’s federal leader or help from the party. His was an upset victory, overturning the incumbent Liberals in that province and providing evidence that we can have safe voting during a pandemic election, and that not all incumbents get returned,

And that pretty much sums up Erin O’Toole, a compromise candidate representing a compromised and conflicted political party. There is nothing wrong with compromise per se. And all of the parties have had some share of challenges managing themselves. Just look at the Green Party today.

So the question voters need to ask is whether this Conservative party can best deal with our national priorities. In order to get back towards some kind of pre-COVID normal, we know that anyone who can, should be vaccinated or isolated until this is over. O’Toole’s trade off between individual rights and collective public health will just prolong the epidemic, rather than shorten it.

On the biggest existential threat facing humanity, global warming, what he is proposing is too little and too late. For example his carbon tax would max out at $50, well before what the other parties are promoting. Canadians cannot solve the global climate crisis by ourselves, but as a member of the wealthiest club of nations, we have to show leadership and do our part.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – fighting for a majority government – is it within his grasp?

And finally on the economic plan, O’Toole has some very interesting public funding ideas which would benefit some who have been disadvantaged by the COVID crisis. It is hard to judge these in a vacuum to ensure we are not just constructing another artificial lake.

For probably the first time ever, the public has greater confidence in the Liberals ability to manage the economy and recovery than the Tories, according to a recent poll. Perhaps it has to do with the troubled times we’re in. And maybe it’s because Mr. Trudeau, better than Mr. O’Toole, has got his act together, has more experience, or has his Liberal team working with ,rather than against him.

Ray Rivers, a Gazette Contributing Editor,  writes regularly applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

 

 

Return to the Front page