City of Burlington will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 as a holiday

By Staff

September 22nd, 2021



The City of Burlington will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30 as a holiday. To mark the importance of the day, City of Burlington administration buildings will be closed.

Residential school survivor Lorna Standingready (left) is comforted during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada closing ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, June 3, 2015.

Beginning Sept. 27, and leading up to Sept. 30, City employees will observe the holiday by focusing on educational events and opportunities that reflect on the nation’s past and recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history and advancing reconciliation.

We encourage residents to visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website for educational materials and event opportunities.

City Services open and closed on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021:
City Service Holiday Closure Information

Animal Services The Animal Shelter at 2424 Industrial St. remains closed to the public due to COVID-19. To report an animal control-related emergency, call 905-335-3030 or visit

Burlington Transit Burlington Transit will operate a regular weekday schedule on Sept. 30. For real-time bus information and schedules visit

The downtown terminal at 430 John St. and Specialized Dispatch will be open.
City Hall The Service Burlington counter at City Hall (426 Brant St.), will be closed to all appointments and walk-in service on Sept. 30.

Many service payments are available online at

Halton Court Services – Provincial Offences Office All court proceedings will be closed on Sept. 30 and all matters that were scheduled for that day will be rescheduled.

Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will be open and operating with skeleton staff on Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Telephone and email services will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at: 905-637-1274 and

With the exception of the skeleton staff operations on Sept. 30, telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. All in-person services are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday. Many services are also available by email at or online at Halton Court Services.

Parking Paid parking will be in effect on Sept. 30.

In Downtown Burlington, receive 90 minutes of free parking when you pay for parking at the pay station or using the HonkMobile app.

Parking in Downtown is Burlington is free after 6 p.m. and on weekends.

Recreation Programs and Facilities Drop-in recreation programs and rentals will run as scheduled on Sept. 30. Visit or follow @BurlingtonParksRec on Facebook and @Burl_ParksRec on Twitter for the latest updates.

Registered recreation programs will be closed on Sept. 30. Participants impacted will be contacted with additional details.

Please note: In keeping with the provincial regulations and Ministry of Health guidance, effective Sept. 22, 2021, individuals entering indoor City facilities used for sports, recreational fitness activities, meetings, and events, will be required to be fully vaccinated (as defined in the provincial guidance) and provide proof of vaccination, along with identification (unless otherwise exempt). To learn more, visit

Roads, Parks and Forestry The administrative office will be closed on Sept. 30. Essential services will be provided as required.
Burlington is a City where people, nature and businesses thrive. As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at and follow @CityBurlington on social media.

Quick Facts
• Sept. 30, 2021 will mark Canada’s inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation also known as Orange Shirt Day.

• In June 2021, the federal government passed legislation proclaiming Sept. 30 as a public holiday. The holiday is one of 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is intended to honour and commemorate Indian Residential School survivors and those children that did not make it home.

• Before it was a public holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was started in 2013 as “Orange Shirt Day” where Canadians would wear the bright colour as a sign of their allyship and support toward Indigenous communities.

Links and Resources
• Learn more about Orange Shirt Day and how you can contribute:
• Hear Survivor stories and read the Calls to Action at National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.


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Lowville residents enjoy sneak previews at Thinkspot


By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 22, 2021




Some 40 residents gathered in Lowville  at Walt Rickli’s Interactive Sculpture Garden last night; something they do each year to celebrate the fall Equinox.

The treat this year was two sneak previews from Lowville Festival.

The first was from dancer – Trevor Copp’s mime interpretation of Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. The second was a 10-minute excerpt of the 2021 Lowville Festival video – A love letter… from Lowville to Burlington.

Attendees walked away from both previews pleased – both were seen as heartfelt and beautiful.

“I really enjoyed the motions and expressions, lots of talent, very beautiful,” said Claudia, a local attendant.

Carnival of the Animals

Trevor Copp

Copp provided quality entertainment with his Mime theater of animals such as chickens and elephants. Copp’s physical theater was incorporated with seductive dances and impressive animal mannerisms as well as the aid of classical music and rhyming poetry.

“Trevor is one of those gems in the community that is incredibly talented,” foundation president Deb Pickfield said.

Copp enjoyed the performance saying he had “Such a generous crowd.”

Copp has been put on the long list for the child’s writing award for the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors.

A love letter… from Lowville to Burlington

Walt Rickli in the studio he once had at the Nelson Quarry

The 10 minute excerpt of “A love letter… from Lowville to Burlington” was loved with particular praise for the video’s humour and beautiful photos.

The excerpt contained voice-over audio from Walt Rickli as well as unique videos and photos from its shooting location at the Mt Nemo Quarry.

“It’s my favourite joy, watching people enjoy art,” Walt Rickli said.

Collaborators of the film, including executive director Garner Beckett said it was a pleasure watching the crew work.

ThinkSpot’s Debra Pickfield

Conservation Halton Foundation is still deciding when to release the full film,  Pickfield says the foundation is considering October – December as a window for the projected release date. Pickfield also said she might consider releasing the film in stages throughout the rest of the year.



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It was Casey's evening - friends gathered at Cosgrove field to celebrate # 19

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 20th, 2021



It is said that having empathy for others is a very common trait in most people, but very often the virtue of true selflessness is something that most of us lose as we get older. There are very few who throughout adulthood can maintain the purity of heart until the very end. Two people come to mind:  Terry Fox and Casey Cosgrove.

Dozens of people went to Nelson Park baseball diamond in order to play rounds of soft ball, enjoy burgers, hotdogs and drinks and remember Casey.

Bryna Cosgrove

“Genuine, he was known for being genuine, he was known for a special gift for people and making anybody he was talking to feel special and the only person in the room,” said widow Bryna Cosgrove.

Family, friends, students, and many more came out to the diamond wearing commemorative team Casey T-shirts with the saying: “This disease will not take away my disability and wish to inspire,” Casey, 2017.

When I asked about who Casey was, everyone said almost the exact same thing: that he was a man who wanted to be involved, that he could connect with ANYONE in a way that no one else could and was unapologetically funny and would be the first person to make fun of himself.

The undisputed biggest trait being said about Casey was he was a man who wanted to be involved. Being involved can mean so many things but in Casey’s view there wasn’t any kind of involvement that was in bad taste. It means doing the girly things with his young daughter such as trying on nail polish or taking her to a Justin Bieber concert, both wearing pink sweaters.

The name says it all.

He way so caring, he just wanted to be involved,” said friend, Amy.

The Terry Fox Run was a mission for Casey Cosgrove.  The Fox Foundation pumped millions into cancer research that paid for the many drug trials Casey took part in.  When he was first given the diagnosis, his doctors thought he had 18 months: he had a full seven years and accomplished a lot.

Casey was a person who only wanted positive energy around him – he would always manage to turn any negative situation into a positive outcome. A man who was so self-deprecating that during a treatment he would post a blog while playing “Knockin’ on heaven’s door.”

Casey was a driving force behind getting this Marker Monument to Terry Fox in place.

One of the main events that made Casey who he was occurred when at thirteen he ran down the street with his hero Terry Fox.

Years after Terry had passed, he was instrumental in getting Terry’s Marker Monument put up in Spencer Smith Park.  Casey raised more money than anyone else.

It’s hard to imagine one man being able to accomplish so much from being a husband and father while coaching several baseball teams at once, with the ability to plunk down on the couch or the Lazy Boy and watch endless Seinfeld episodes in order to create more self-deprecating jokes and drinking everlasting amounts of coffee that always seemed to end up on his shirt.

A man who went to Starbucks so many many times – when he passed away Starbucks sent a floral bouquet. It’s hard to imagine one person having that much of an effect on you, let alone a business.

More people at the BBQ stand than at the T-shirt stand.

Among Casey’s many interests was politics. He ran as an independent for several Burlington positions: both as a Councillor and gave a lot of thought about running for Mayor.

An interest in politics was passed on to his son Jack who believes it is time to see changes in politics as well as not keeping it a quiet conversation; he sees the election taking place to day as a good place to start but had no comment on what the outcome might be – just hoping change will come soon.

When Casey passed away in 2017 the whole community came together to help his family. According to his son Jack they did it by “being involved” just like Casey used to be and to communicate with one another.

Hanging around the bullpen with a pickup game in progress.

Everyone at the park on Sunday, whether you were close to him or not, can say that when you walked away from him you felt like he had made a real connection.

“His parents always had an open door policy (for anyone who wanted help),” said childhood friend, Lisa Rodwin.

The family continues to be honored by Casey’s memory not only with last night’s event but with the baseball diamond being named after him as well as the Casey Cosgrove Memorial golf tournament held at Hidden Lake in 2018.


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41st annual Terry Fox Run kicked off on Sunday - dozens of teams running and walking to meet targets

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 19th, 2021



Terry Fox passing through Burlington 41 years ago on his Marathon of Hope

It all began that April day in 1980 – when Terry Fox was on his Marathon Of Hope.

That event continues to inspire the people of Canada as hundreds of organizers participants and humble observers came to the 41st Terry Fox Run at Spencer Smith Park.

Thanks to Terry’s efforts and sacrifices the Terry Fox Run has raised over $851 million making it the worlds largest one day fundraiser for cancer research.

The Run has always had teams of people out for the Run Day. The pandemic has limited what can be done – but the event takes place nevertheless. Last year – the 40th anniversary was one of the Best Burlington had in terms of raising funds.

The Cedar Springs, Kick some ASSphalt and many more came out to participate in the run by setting high goals with some as high as 3K – 5K runs.

There is a lot of history in this picture: The Terry Fox monument in the middle; the plaque commemorating the Brant in that was once on the edge of the lake where people danced under the stars and the Brant house in the background.

During the day those out for the Kick Off gathered around the Terry Fox monument in Spencer Smith Park to cheers and applause with mineral water drinks being served in exchange for requests to donate to the Terry Fox foundation.

“I’m so impressed with our community, I think it has led to a tremendous impact,” said organizer Shannon Calsey.

“It’s great – our group goal is to raise $1500: we’ve already raised $1300,” Calsey continued.

The Terry Fox marker monument – none like it anywhere in the country – it was paid for by citizen donations.

Several participants felt connected in the run with many telling similar stories of having a loved one diagnosed with cancer or having lost someone to cancer and are willing to come out and support the cause to make sure the funds needed to pay for the research are there.

Although the crowd of onlookers was not as big as organizers hoped, they feel it has been more than made up in donations received with a goal set of raising $150,000 and getting $110,000 raised before the event even started.

Among the volunteers at Spencer Park was retired Canadian football great Tony Gabriel telling great stories to anyone who would listen.

Gabriel has had many run-ins with cancer. His father dying from lung cancer at the age of 57 and his brother being diagnosed with cancer and passing away within weeks.

Gabriel also shared how his son, Shane Gabriel was diagnosed with Leukemia and credits the Terry Fox Foundation for helping save his son’s life because of the advancements made in cancer research.

Coincidentally, Gabriel’s son today is exactly the same age as the Terry Run at 41 years old.

Gabriel told stories about him meeting Terry Fox and finding out after several years that Gabriel, the football player was an early role model for Terry along with Bobby Orr and Darryl Sittler.

“I was very fortunate to meet Terry Fox… 40 years later I found out I was one of Terry’s heroes!” said Gabriel.

Every year a large Dedication board is set up – people who are running or walking to commemorate someone special write a note. Tony Gabriel is explaining how much the Board means to so many people.

Gabriel has also pushed hard in petitions to put Terry Fox on the $5 bill feeling it would be appropriate not only as a national hero but also with the issues of Indigenous people being brought to light because Terry Fox does have indigenous ancestry through his Maternal Grandmother.

The chair of the Burlington Terry Fox committee, Craig Gardener, spoke of how unique the Terry Fox run is compared to other causes and how this was all started by just one man leading to people surviving much longer than expected given their diagnosis.

“It’s had great impact, I mean I know several people who have survived,” said Gardener

In Burlington Terry Fox usually gets the last word.

“I know one fellow who was given 18 months, survived 7 years on Terry Fox research money,” Gardener added.
Gardener’s father died of colon cancer in 2007.

Craig Gardner has been a volunteer for 15 years; when his father passed he found that he wanted to do more and eventually become the chair of the committee. In four of the last six years as Chair of the Terry Fox Run in Burlington they have raised over $100,000.

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There is now a Terry Fox donut - exclusive at Sunshine

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 19th, 2021



Perched on the top of the building – for donut lovers it is a local beacon.

Sunshine Doughnuts – a shop at the south end of the Art Gallery parking lot – can’t miss it – the dripping donut on the roof tells you  – you’ve arrived.

The business model for this company is to make the batch of donuts early in the morning and when they are all sold – close for the day.

They’ve been doing this since 2016 – fresh handmade doughnuts every day.

The Terry Fox donut – a nice local touch.

This year the company decided to bring some sunshine into the Terry Fox Run, which kicked off today by creating an honorary Terry Fox doughnut.

People were lined up – sales were brisk

The special donut drove up business today, customers lined up waiting to buy from the bakery.

The doughnut is their traditional birthday cake flavour covered in a light blue icing and sprinkles.

All proceeds go to the Terry Fox cancer research work being done across the country.

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The Holiday Market looks like a done deal - with nothing in the way of public input

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Pepper Parr, Publisher
September 17, 2021


Local business owners are divided over the potential benefits of an expanded Burlington Holiday Market patterned after the very successful Christmas Market held in Germany.

The Grey Cup takes place in Hamilton on the 12th

Members of the Burlington Downtown Business Association generally seemed on board with the expansion but felt very much out of the loop – they just didn’t know all that much about an event that could significantly change the holiday season that brings in 20% of their annual revenue. The result has been some notable push-back.

The Agora Marketplace owner shared his enthusiasm with the Gazette, saying he has been asked to take part and while the details are yet to be finalized he isn’t under the impression any additional fees will be required for his wares to feature in the market.

“It’s great and I want to be a part of it, it should last even longer, all through December,” he said.

The Odd Spot manager and business partner replied similarly but noted no one has been in touch with them about the market expansion.

“No one has reached out to us personally but it’ll be great, it’s always a good time,” he said.

Garden area of Centro market on Brant Street

A number of owners were hearing about the market expansion for the first time and didn’t have anything to say positively or negatively, including Centro Market, Bush’s Men’s Wear, Book Nook, and Mirella’s Lady Boutique (which will close permanently before the holiday season due to COVID-19). Unfortunately the Gazette was unable to reach Joelle Cooling, one of the city’s smartest marketers, for comment prior to going to print.

Jason Pepetone, owner of Centro Market, is usually plugged-in to the city happenings but was blindsided by the holiday market when the Gazette reached out to him for comment.

“No ,the [Burlington Downtown Business Association] haven’t contacted me, I know nothing about it,” said Pepetone.

Other business owners had negative views of the proposed expansion.

Bocana Boutique owner, Carol, said she heard about the Christmas market but had to send an email to find out more. Carol didn’t see the appeal for local businesses and raised COVID-19 concerns.

“I don’t think we need to bring lots of people down here in the middle of the pandemic. We don’t need to open this up to other cities, we should be supporting our own right now. We didn’t have Sound of Music, we didn’t have the Rib Fest, because of the pandemic so why are we doing this? It also takes up parking a week before Christmas,” said Carol.

The proposed Burlington Holiday Market would take place between December 9th-12th. The downtown Burlington business association (DBBA) had little to say during a standing committee earlier this week other than to say they would play a supportive role to ensure that BDBA member interests were protected.. A potentially hands-off approach by the DBBA was reflected by the lack of awareness amongst local business owners.

While some mentioned the DBBA and touching base with Brian Dean, Executive Director, there was no awareness of the Zoom meeting where the DBBA had some fifteen local businesses take part.

The folks at the Poacher love the idea – takes place close to their doorstep.

Management at the Poacher is fully on board, they are in constant communication with Dean. This is little surprise as they will be participating in the Holiday Market in some capacity, restaurants out of the loop will surely view plans less favourably.

Council earlier in the week approved a motion to:

  • Moved by Councillor Kearns

    Approve an event called the Burlington Holiday Market as outlined in Recreation, Community, and Culture Department report RCC-12-21 for 2021 and 2022, and report back in Q2 2022 on the economic impact of local businesses, cultural impact, and parking/active transportation impact of the new event; and

    Authorize the Director to Recreation, Community and Culture to implement the specific details required to support the various components of the event that are to be hosted on city property.

    Moved byCouncillor Stolte

    Refer recreation, community and culture department report to the Council meeting on September 21, 2021.



    Moved by Councillor Nisan

    Amend the motion as amended to remove the words ‘two year pilot’, replace the words ‘for 2021 and report back in Q2 2022’ with the word ‘annually’ and add the words ‘to be reviewed in 2024’ at the end.



    Moved by Councillor Nisan

    Amend the amendment to remove the words ‘two year pilot’.


That recommendation will be heard by Council on Tuesday September 21st and passed unless one of the four people who voted for the recommendation chooses to put forward an amendment that would require a two thirds majority to pass which is unlikely.

Councillors Lisa Kearns, Angelo Bentivegna, Shawna Stolte voted against the recommendation. Mayor Meed Ward, Councillors Galbraith, Nisan and Sharman voted for.  One of these four would have to move for a reconsideration.

In order to reverse this two (Sharman and Galbraith) would have to change their vote.

Nisan is too tightly tied to the Mayor to change and Galbraith is very much onside with the Mayor.  He wondered why the matter was even pulled from the Consent agenda.

Councillor Sharman is said to have taken the position that he will support the merchants but he has to hear from them before he can do anything.

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Councillor assures her constituents that her September ward meeting will be very safe - and a happy place as well

By Pepper Parr

September 17th, 2021



Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is showing some leadership, along with a lot of caution on meeting with her constituents.

She has decided that she will hold a live ward meeting at the Art Gallery September 22nd.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns wants to be able to see real people and talk to them, listen to them and address their concerns, Virtual meetings are something she appears to want to get away from – providing people are safe.

The time 7:30 pm, does conflict with the Town Hall Call-In on Covid19 matters – Kearns points out that the Town Hall is recorded – so people can listen to it later.

She does have one concern – while she wants people to show up she does have to limit the number of people in the room.

And be certain that Kearns is going to insist on a strict interpretation of the rules – six feet and a mask – and ensure her that you have done the self-screening that is necessary.

Other than that – show up – Kearns doesn’t do the traditional dry as old bones meeting – she has in the past let a couple of real zingers fly.

Kearns asked that: “Before people start freaking out that I am hosting a super spreader event, can you please advise people that registration is limited and pre-registration is required at”?

Kearns is breaking ranks with the Mayor on a number of issues.  The position she appears to be taking on the Holiday Market that is being promoted as something that could take place this year in her ward is something about which she has a lot of questions that have yet to be answered.

She also doesn’t appear to agree with the approach the Mayor is taking to opening up council meeting for real public participation and getting away from the virtual approach that has limited how people can gather.

The Mayor appears to like going virtual – claims that citizens get more work out of her when things are virtual.

Related news stories:


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Gun rights organization will be electioneering on the streets of Burlington

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 17th, 2021



In the dying days of a tight election you bring in every boot you can find and get them on the ground.

Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR) has organized an election tour: they will be in the streets of Burlington starting at 2:00 in the afternoon today.

Pamphlet the gun rights organization will be handing out in Burlington on Friday.

In a note to their members they say: “Here we are!!! Once again the CCFR and our members and supporters are hitting the road, boots to the ground to do our part in influencing this election.

“We must do everything possible to ensure the Liberals are finally defeated. We’ve got 260,000 election brochures to get out into the hands of voters so they can learn the truth about the Liberal party.

“The mainstream media will never give voters an honest overview of a future under more Liberal government.

“2:00pm EST – Canvassing in Burlington, Karina Gould’s riding. Meet Tracey at Maple Park, 750 Maple Ave, Burlington. Let’s help her constituents make the right decision on election day.

“Dress casual, comfy shoes.”

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Terry Fox Run Day is a gathering this year with teams on hand to talk about their plans - and a time to think about when the Run can take place again.

By Staff

September 16th, 2021



This is what the city always turned out for – in droves.

The Terry Fox  Run Day is Sunday September 19th from 8 am till noon

It will take place in Spencer Smith Park because we are limited to 199 people at a time.

They will not be running – instead, they’re having an open house/drop in from 8 am to noon. It will be primarily on the east lawn by the waterfront hotel; with three live bands playing at various points along the promenade from 9 to 12. We will be selling shirts and masks, have some free food approved by Halton Public Health.

The Remembering Board tells a large part of what the Terry Fox Run is all about.

The Dedication board for signing, team pics and safe kids activities will be up .More than thirty teams have registered and over $60K raised. Team activities planned go from runs, rides, hikes, raffles, baseball game.

There is another event taking place in the evening behind Nelson High School.  A ball game – but that’s a separate story.

Play Ball – Team Casey takes to the field

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Is there a parking train wreck coming our way?

By Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2021



Expect to hear a lot about the planned Holiday Christmas Market that is scheduled for December 9th to December 12th.

It looks a bit like a mad dash to make something happen – a final decision will be made at council on September 21st.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward once said the only thing that gets more attention than parking is fireworks.
Parking is an issue for some people concerned about how people will move around in the downtown core during one of the busiest times of the year – the Christmas holidays.

For the merchants along Brant and John and Lakeshore it is said that 20% of their business comes through the doors during that season.

For a sector of the economy that has been slapped around by the pandemic every opportunity to get a customer on the streets and through their doors is treasured. Don’t mess with the parking.

During the Standing Committee debate there were a lot of parking related questions. Staff provided some data that Councillor Lisa Kearns didn’t like the look of and she asked for a closer look at the numbers.

Executive Director Heather MacDonald said to the Councillor “a response to your request made at ECIS Committee on Monday for validation of parking utilization data for downtown parking lots during the month of December.

Executive Director and City Planner Heather MacDonald

To provide some context, Transportation staff had been asked by Brian Dean to provide parking utilization data for Lots #1 and #4. Staff provided a response on September 9th which included utilization data for Lot #1. In this response, it was indicated that we did not have access to reliable data for Lot #4 due to technology issues that were being worked on.

A closer look has now been taken and it has been found that BI Dashboard we rely on for this data is reporting “inaccurate data/unable to pull data”. Transportation staff is working with IT and the BI vendor to get this reporting issue resolved as soon as possible; however, in the meantime Transportation staff was able to look into the back-end of the dashboard to the source data and performed a more detailed analysis on parking utilization in lots that would be impacted by the proposed Holiday Market.

We have determined that the metrics conveyed to Brian Dean on September 9th were an underestimate of actual parking lot utilization. Our analysis of the raw data for the month of December (weekday and weekend combined) is summarized below:

Parking Lot                                          2018      2019      2020
Lot 1 – Elizabeth Street                      99%      72%        75%
Lot 5 North – 391 Brant Street         89%       85%        57%
Lot 5 South – 391 Brant Street         80%       86%        65%

**2020 data has not been factored into our commentary below due to pandemic impacts on parking operations

For the purposes of determining effective parking capacity, industry standard is 85% utilization. Once a lot reaches 85% utilization we deem it at capacity. Based on our combined knowledge of parking operations and our “boots on the ground” experience within the lots, our observations would confirm that Lots #1 and #5 are at effective capacity during the month of December. There is no reserve capacity at either of these lots.

The Elizabeth Street Parking Lot

Unfortunately, we cannot report on parking utilization of Lot #4 as the sensors in the lot do not provide reliable data. We are currently working on a deployment strategy to equip each off-street stall with a sensor to rectify this issue. Anecdotally, we know that Lot #4 is at capacity as it is our most heavily utilized surface lot in the Downtown. If parking supply were to be reduced in order to accommodate a Holiday Market, we would need to have those discussions with the Downtown Parking Committee and consider impacts to the businesses Lot #4 serves, as well as the overall parking system.
Councillor Kearns did the necessaries and got back to MacDonald saying: “The response is appreciated and deeply valued in the way in which we use data to inform decisions of Council.

“The purpose of the question was to recognize that the approval of one stakeholder priority would impact another. In this case we know it is a trade-off between parking and an event during what has been proven as a critical economic time for local retailers.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

“I believe that accurate data and transparency are critical in decision making and likely much of my pressing of this was to reconcile what ‘boots on the ground’ know to be true with a transparent discussion of the request. Even more granular, I had requested weekend capacity and see that the capacity number offered is smoothed with the inclusion of weekdays.

“As you can now infer from the updated data, my strong request for a pilot/termed event was anchored in this critical balance and its implications on local business. In the absence of a complete understanding of withdrawing use of a full capacity lot how might we continue to communicate this updated information?

“Please expect that I will be asking this question in Council and will exercise the response as further confidence in a termed/phased program. This also guides the importance of completing the Parking Needs Assessment study given that I expect Lot 4 would have 100% capacity and the pressure will continue to mount on the east side municipal parking needs.

Can you see the train wreck coming our way?

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City council will decide on the 21st if there is to be a Holiday market in the downtown core in December

By Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2021



It looks as if there will be a Christmas market in the downtown core from December 9th to December 12th.

It was a hotly debated issue at a Standing Committee meeting earlier this week.

Planned schedule for the first Burlington Holiday Market.

What was rather stunning was the item being placed on the Consent Agenda – this is where items that are not very significant and don’t call for that much debate get placed.

Any member of Council can ask for an item on the Consent Agenda to be pulled and set down for debate – which then takes place at the end of the meeting.

That something as vital as what takes place downtown in terms of commercial interests at a time when a number of commercial operations have had to give the keys back to the landlord startled this reporter.

We were advised by a person who asked not to be identified that the decision to have the item on the consent agenda came from the Mayor.

Brian Dean, top toff at the Downtown Business Association was out drumming up business for his members.

The Burlington Downtown Business Association –lobbyist for the interest of the business sector, had surprising little to say.  It began to sound as if the BDBA had lost control of their agenda – and that Sound of Music had eaten it.

One would expect any event that was all about merchants and their interest would have BDBA fingerprints all over it.

A call the Gazette made to the BDBA offices when the event first came to our attention got a “we don’t know who is behind the event” which turned out to be somewhat disingenuous.

Turns out that the people behind the event are folks from the Sound of Music – they – not the BDBA, will be running the show.  SoM will be involved – the event planner will handle the actual organizing.

The event

During the debate all kinds of information floated to the surface.

Getting permission to hold an event on public property is handled by the city’s Festivals and Events department.

One makes an application and that department has the delegated authority to approve or not approve the event.

Once approved the event can run forever or until the Events people decide that it has served its purpose.

There was a time when every event came to council – they delegated that authority to the Festivals and Events people who do a debriefing every time an event takes place.  If everything is in order and all the commitments have been met the event usually gets approved for the next year.

Described in the report to council as:

This first of an annual Burlington Holiday Market will bring a blend of different foods, music, experiences and shopping moments to the city core. Inspired by the Christmas markets of Germany, the first annual holiday event will delight all five senses and inspire the community to come together, in a way that will create lasting memories for all that attend.

The Staff report went on to say:

Using parking lot # 1 which abuts this easterly section of the Promenade as ground 0 – the event will sprawl over a street they hope to close (parts of Martha) and a parking lot.

The event is anchored at Parking Lot 1 (431 Elizabeth Street) which includes temporary vendor stalls and entertainers and envisions a sprawling market across multiple locations and footprints (public and private). Working closely with the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) to engage business owners and showcase to them how they can be a part of this inaugural event. The Burlington Holiday Market will be made available for all ages, with certain aspects of the event targeting specific age groups, with targeted attractions for different customer segments.

Pending sponsorship, event components may include a full-size stage highlighting high profile entertainment if revenues are secured in 2021, if not, plans would be to grow the event to include these event elements in 2022.

In 2022, the event may wish to include alcohol sales and would secure a Special Occasions Permit from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and follow all necessary rules and regulations surrounding the permit and the City’s Municipal Alcohol Policy.

In addition to Lot 1, the event wishes to utilize the Elgin Promenade, the new Promenade expansion area that will connect Lot 1 to the Centennial Trail and a one-day, single block road closure adjacent to Lot 1 along Pearl Street between Pine and James Streets.

Parking lots are not typical event spaces, but the City has previously allowed events to use parking spaces and lots as locations. Due to the time of year and potential for snow, a hard surface lot provides the opportunity for snow and ice clearing without damage and a safe surface for accessibility and pedestrian needs. Parking Services has noted that Lot 4 is highly used by consumers of the downtown area.

Staff recognize that the organizing committee is still in the planning phase of the proposal and many details for the overall event area remain to be solidified. It is anticipated that the event will use a combination of parking spaces/lots and promenade space along with a one block street closure as the core event footprint, with participation sprawling to downtown merchants and restaurants. To move forward with the planning, the organizing committee requests Council’s approval of the event in their desired location. Staff would then work with the organizing committee through the Special Event Process managed by the multi-functional Special Events Team made up of staff from the region and various departments will work together to ensure a safe event for all attendees.

We learned from ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns that should council approve the event at the September 21st meeting it will become an “in perpetuity event”.

We learned from Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan, who is seen by many as a “stalking horse” for the Mayor has been a non voting member of the committee set up by people who are heavily involved in the Sound of Music for the past two years.

Peter VanDyck, an insurance executive and a major player at SoM – has been working on this Holiday Market idea for several years.

Peter VanDyck, a senior member of PV&V, an insurance company and a driving force at SoM did all the talking and answered most of the questions during the delegation.

He, along with Meagan Madill, owner of an Event Planning and Production agency, operating under the name of Curated by M, will be handling the actual running of the event.

Meagan Madill – an event planner with an impressive client list was described by the Mayor as a Rock Star

Madill was called a Rock Star by the Mayor who couldn’t say enough about the woman who handled an event for the Conservation Authority that was described as a huge success.

Councillor Kearns had been approached to sit on the committee but declined explaining that her responsibility to her constituents and that she wanted to be unencumbered by any allegiance to the group that would be at odds with what her constituents would wish.

More on the specifics of that debate in part 2

Related news story.
A new special event market coming to the downtown core.

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Oakville North Burlington Conservative candidate avoids the media - takes part on Chamber of Commerce event

By Ryan O’Dowd, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

September 14th, 2021



Oakville/North Burlington Conservative candidate, Hanan Rizkalla, has become the second candidate to opt-out of media availability.

Hanan Rizkalla – Conservative candidate for Oakville North Burlington

Rizkalla joins fellow Conservative candidate Emily Brown in not being available for interviews.

Both candidates failed to appear for climate change debates sponsored by the Halton Environmental Network.

The only public event that the Conservative candidates took part in was Chamber of Commerce events.

After some communication with Rizkalla’s campaign, they requested questions in advance and that they would relay some answers through email. Fulfilling such a request would not meet the standard the Burlington Gazette operates on, nor does it afford the opportunity to provide the information voters need. The Rizkalla campaign’s proposal would amount to little more than a press release.

Like Brown, Rizkalla’s sole interview takes place with a high school conservative program by and for conservatives. A tradition in Canadian elections is for media to interview candidates and set their different views.  The men and woman running for public office have a responsibility to let the public they want to represent know where they stand.  Almost hiding from media is a dangerous first step from becoming unresponsive to the wishes of the people who elected them.

Needless to say, these candidates have not been part of the media process – we are all the poorer for it.

Every other candidate the Gazette has reached out to in Burlington, Oakville/North Burlington, and Milton has been willing to be interviewed.

Rizkalla took part in a Chamber of Commerce debate with the other candidates in her riding and when climate change came up the Conservative candidates’ had little to say.  Oakville/North Burlington Green Party candidate, Bruno Sousa, was kind enough to point this out to those listening to the debate.

“I’ve participated in quite a few debates on the environment and climate change and I’ve failed to see the Conservatives show up for these meetings so I don’t even know how they have a proper climate action plan,” said Sousa.

Hanan Rizkalla – Conservative candidate for Oakville North Burlington who has chosen to avoid the media

Rizkalla noted the Liberals had failed to reach their target and touted the Conservatives’ ability to hit their target, which was criticized as unambitious. Rizkalla focused on the low carbon savings account which she describes as the Conservatives “incentivizing rather than punishing you,” and lauded the choices it would provide Canadians.

“Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals attempted to reduce emissions by taxing hard-working Canadians, families, and businesses. Mr. Trudeau and his team haven’t set a target to deliver. The Conservative plan will allow us to meet our target in 2030 by reducing the burden on Canadians while reducing emissions by using a low carbon saving account, the Conservative government will work with provinces to incentivize Canadians to adopt a greener lifestyle while giving Canadians a choice of how to best use that credit for their families,” said Rizkalla.

Rizkalla got into a dispute with Liberal incumbent, Pam Damoff, over a question regarding government regulatory systems. Rizkalla pushed for the need to appoint a minister of red tape reduction to assist businesses and to redress credential red tape facing immigrants (where Rizkalla proposes working with a task force to acknowledge immigrant credentials more quickly). Damoff implicitly suggested there were dangers with Rizkalla’s position when she referenced the Walkerton E. coli outbreak that killed 6 in May of 2000.

“We need to be smart when we’re bringing in place things to make it easier to deal with the government. When I hear about a minister of red tape reduction my mind goes to Walkerton and the people that died there,” said Damoff.

“What we have in hand right now is six years of the current Liberal government saying they are supporting people for red-tapping and immigrant credentials,” said Rizkalla. “What we are seeing is lack of physicians, lack of nurses, lack of resources. Proposing the right credentials for immigrants is one of the main areas we are targeting, this will secure the jobs back in Canada.”

Elsewhere Rizkalla reiterated the Conservative’s plans to secure Canada’s future and spark innovation.

“We are planning to overhaul the tax system to enhance the experience of all Canadians and small businesses. We’re going to unleash Canadian innovation by cutting all the income taxes in half of any new patented technologies in Canada.

“We will establish advanced research adjacency cutting edge with carbon capture, storage, electric vehicle development, pharmaceutical research and production, all that will support small businesses and enhance the taxation system,” said Rizkalla.

In Rizkalla’s closing statement she stuck to the party script as she had for most of the event.

Hanan Rizkalla – new to politics, forgets that media is very much a part of the political process in Canada

“It is clear the Canadian’s are looking for a government that has a recovery plan and as long as they have the will and desire to implement it, the Conservative plan, to secure Canada’s future, will deliver a stronger economy, more jobs, and the health of Canadians. It is not the time to divide Canadians with campaigns based on fear, we bring in with Canada’s recovery plan the positive hope Canadian’s are looking forward to,” said Rizkalla.

Rizkalla began her career as a physician focusing on public health, research, and cancer therapies.

Rizkalla lives in her Oakville/North Burlington riding with her husband and three children.

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The winter equinox will be celebrated in Lowville the day after the federal election - there is a message of some sort in there

By Staff

September 12th, 2021



On the 20th o September the country will choose the leader it hopes will steer us through the pandemic we are experiencing.

The the sun crosses the celestial equator and Lowville takes to the country roads.

On the 21st, the sun crosses the celestial equator and day and night are of approximately equal length and the people of Lowville will once again celebrate.

The Lowville Festival, north Burlington’s “festival of all the arts for the artist in all of us”, is excited to share a Fall Equinox interlude on Tuesday September 21st from 6:15pm to 7:15pm.

We are inviting guests to two Sneak Previews…  First, a  ten-minute excerpt from our 2021 virtual festival video  “A Love Letter… from Lowville to Burlington”, to be launched in the very near future.

Trevor Copp will be doing an inspired interpretation of Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals .

And second,   celebrated Hamilton mime artist ’s “Carnival!”, a thirty-minute family and child-focused entertainment inspired by Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals .

The “sneak preview” is short – a very talented mime will strut his stuff.  Waiting to learn when the full performance will be available.

You are invited join the assembly of Special People at ThinkSpot, located in the Walt Rickli Sculpture Garden across from Lowville Park.

Register at Eventbrite through links below, as reservations are required for the event and for parking.  Guests are welcome to bring chairs and blankets to sit on the grass: parking is available at Lowville Park (Parking reservations are mandatory).

The RSVP is complimentary and guests will be notified by 4:00 pm on September 21st if the weather is not cooperating and the event is cancelled.

Lowville Festival is supporting Conservation Halton Foundation and would appreciate donations (cheque or cash) at the event.  We will have pre-printed donor envelopes available at the event and donations $20 or more will receive a charitable donation receipt from Conservation Halton Foundation.  COVID guidelines will be strictly observed.

Special thanks to the City of Burlington for its generous support for our 2021 virtual Festival video.

Please click on links below

EventBrite Reservation CLICK HERE

VideoDescription of Carnival CLICK HERE

Parking Reservations CLICK HERE





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Food Truck Festival at Spencer Smith Park this weekend.

By Staff

September 10th, 2021



Those with patios won’t like it – but thousands of people are expected to spend some time at the Burlington Food Truck Festival taking place for the next three days at Spencer Smith Park.

More than 30 food trucks will be in the park.

FREE ADMISSION, cold beer, delicious food, and local performers geared to entertain the masses!

Sep 10:    5pm – 10pm
Sep 11:    12pm – 10pm
Sep 12:    12 pm to 8 pm

Covid Policy
Contact tracking & a COVID wellness questionnaire must be submitted upon arrival to the festival. Signage will be posted at the entrance (located off of the Promenade) with a QR code for guests to scan with the camera on their phone.

Social distancing is required at all times. If social distancing is not possible, masks must be worn.
Spencer Smith Park

*Responsible pet owners may bring their well-behaved leashed pets to the festival.

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Climate change is the focus for an all candidate virtual event

By Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2021



The election that few wanted does need attention – there are issues to be discerned.

The Halton Environment Network (HEN) and the Chamber of Commerce are hosting debates.

HEN is part of a North American event – for us in the Region of Halton the focus is on the federal election and a drill down into what the candidates have to say about climate change and the environment.

A panel has been created for each of the constituencies in the Region.

For the Burlington people that includes the constituencies of Burlington, Oakville North Burlington and Milton – which includes the northern part of Burlington.

There are 120 communities across the country holding similar events in every constituency – which is quite an undertaking.

There is a youth group involved with different moderators for each constituency – actually there are two moderators for each constituency.

There are two questions that will be asked at each event; then there is a rapid fire set of questions followed up by questions from the audience.

The two core questions will be asked at all of the 120 communities taking part.

There will be live polls taking place during the two hour event

The only regrettable part of all this is that is takes place at the same time as the leaders debate.

The upside is that HEN will be posting their debates to the HEN YouTube page on their web site.

So you can go back at any time and listen to what the candidates in your riding have to say.

You can check out their web site for the details and register.

Please join Halton Environmental Network (HEN), CFUW Oakville, Sustainable Milton and CFUW Georgetown on Wednesday September 8th, 2021 at 8 pm for the Virtual Debates on the Environment.

Click here to register


Where do your candidates stand on YOUR issues? This is your opportunity to meet and listen to your Federal Election Candidates and engage with them virtually on the issues that matter most to you.

Submit your questions! Register for the riding you live in and settle in for what looks like a well organized event.

You can register for the debate in the following communities.




Oakville North-Burlington

Wellington-Halton Hills


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Parkinson's in the Park - exercising and socializing

By Staff

September 2nd, 2021



The Passion for Parkinson’s Foundation is excited to announce  that our Parkinson’s in the Park exercise programs  will be offered in Burlington as well as Mississauga-

These include –  Tai Chi and Walking/Pole Walking classes. These classes are designed to help those with Parkinson’s get moving , get outdoors and also provides a social environment. Our experienced instructors will ensure  everyone’s  health, safety and enjoyment.

The Passion for Parkinson’s Foundation is a non-profit corporation focused on fundraising to support and enhance the lives of individuals and families living with Parkinson’s in Halton/Peel. Our decision to form the PFPF facilitates our commitment to keeping the funds raised in our Community.

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Canada’s Largest Ribfest is back this Labour Day Weekend

By Staff

September 1st, 2021



While it may not be a mantra for Rotary – “doing what you can with what you have” is what makes it possible for them to run a Labour Day weekend Ribfest, a fundraising initiative of Rotary Burlington Lakeshore

The event will help people to wrap up the summer with another drive-thru bbq event at Burlington Centre, this Labour Day September 6th , 2021.

The public is invited to the Burlington Centre parking lot, at 777 Guelph Line from 10am to 7pm to experience Ribfest in a safe, socially-distant way. “We have been working closely with The Halton Health Department to bring the fun and flavor of the Labour Day tradition, in a safe and responsible format.

The Drive Thru Ribfest works – it isn’t the same as the real thing but it works. Support it.

The safety of our guests, vendors, and volunteers is top priority.” said Jay Bridle, Co-Chair of Canada’s Largest Ribfest. Over the course of 25 years, through Canada’s Largest Ribfest, Rotary Burlington Lakeshore has raised over $4.5 million for local, national, and international charities.

All kinds of wishes for the day that we can line up for our ribs. Not this year. Next year?

“It’s unfortunate not to be able to host our Labour Day weekend event for the second year now, but it means that next year when we return to Spencer Smith Park, it will have to be the biggest celebration of the summer we’ve thrown thus far!” remarked Canada’s Largest Ribfest Co-Chair, Brent Paszt. Rotary Burlington Lakeshore President Dean Williams stated that, “Our Drive-Thru Rib Events enable us to
continue to support those charities and individuals who need it most, this year more than ever. Proceeds from this event, along with those generated from our previous Drive-Thru Ribfests, will enable us to continue that financial contribution that our charitable friends rely on.”

Guests are asked to enter Burlington Centre from the Fairview Street entrance and remain in their vehicles for the duration of their visit. Food vendors will take orders and payment (cards preferred) and will deliver each completed order to your vehicle. Gloves and masks will be worn by all staff, vendors, and volunteers. We are welcoming back four award-winning rib teams, including Camp 31 BBQ, Billy Bones BBQ, Silver Bullet BBQ, and Sticky Fingers BBQ.

Additionally, there will be food offerings from Blaze Pizza, Ontario, Corn Roasters, and Tiny Tom Donuts.

Special thanks to the continued support shown by our returning sponsors, Burlington Centre and Cogeco. Also, to The City of Burlington’s Arts & Culture Fund, for aiding us in bringing back the Emerging Artist Showcase, an opportunity to give a live platform to local up-and-coming performers. We are grateful for the support from the community, as it means helping Rotary Burlington Lakeshore raise funds for their meaningful work.



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Trying to interview Emily Brown, Conservative Candidate for Burlington

By Pepper Parr

August 28th, 2021



We ran a piece on Burlington Conservative candidate Emily Brown that generated a lot of blow back from several of our readers.

Burlington Conservative candidate Emily Brown

As publisher I asked Ryan O’Dowd to send me a list of all the contacts he had with Ms Brown and her responses to his email and telephone calls.

That list is set out below:

On August 17th I received the contact information for Emily Brown. I received it at the same time I received Karina Gould’s contact information and I sent emails to both candidates on August 17th, 20 minutes apart from each other. Here is the email I sent Emily:

 “Good morning, Emily,

 Ryan O’Dowd with the Burlington Gazette here, I’m hoping we can meet for an interview sometime this week to discuss your platform and the key issues of the election.

I look forward to speaking with you, let me know the time and date that works best.

Thanks for your time,


On August 18th I followed up by phone. I called Emily Brown three times and did not receive an answer.

On August 19th I spoke to Emily Brown and she could not commit to a time period(I tried to arrange an interview that afternoon) but she asked for interview questions to be emailed to her and said she would provide her availability, she did not.

I sent her the following shortly after the phone call:

“Good morning, Emily,

 Ryan here with the Burlington Gazette, we spoke on the phone this morning. I’m hoping I can drop by the office for a brief chat this afternoon if that works for you.

I look forward to speaking with you.



I called to follow up on August 24th, she answered on my second attempt.

Brown said she could not take an interview all week as they were discussing strategy at her office. I asked her about the following week and she made no firm commitment.

I said I would follow up with her next week and fully intend to but at this point we needed to begin covering Emily Brown so my publisher made the decision to go ahead with what we had.

We will talk to Emily Brown whenever she chooses to make herself available.  Our belief is that informed people can make informed decisions; our role is to inform people.

As credentialed media we adhere to the view of the National Newsmedia Council that a strong democracy is possible when those who strive to lead are transparent and held accountable.


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Ward 3 residents in for a bit of a treat.

By Staff

August 25th, 2021



Some nice news!

Expect to see Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan on hand with the new addition to his family.

Summer time – opportunities to get out and mix with people – wearings masks and keeping that social distance in mind at all times.


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

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 24th, 2021



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..


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