Social media at its best: a community sharing information and a known information source carrying and distributing that information.

saltlogo1By Pepper Parr

September 13, 2014

Burlington, ON.


The phrase social media means different things to different people. And there are few really good examples of how social media works and the role it can play in the sharing of information.

While there are mountains of information out there – what exists may not be what you want. Perfect social media is when what you want is also what others have to share.

Flood Fairview plaza

A plaza on Fairview – stores flooded.

Last August 4th when rain fell on the city for close to eight hours and left 191mm of water looking for a place to go – the Weather Network was collecting data from anyone who had something to send in.

The link  here is a really good example of social media doing what it is supposed to do. The piece you have looked at was obtained by the city from the Weather Network and shown at a city Development and Infrastructure committee more than a month after the rains fell.

The Weather Network took video clips sent to them and just stitched them together into a strip of film and loaded it on their web site.

Flood weather network bridge

Individuals sent in clips taken from the cell cameras – which are stitched together by the Weather Network and aired.

Imagine if that piece of video had been shown to the public the day after the storm – Burlington would have had a much better idea as to what had happened and the response to the flood would have been much more engaged.

Had video like this been used at the Ribfest; had the story of the flood been told to the more than 100,000 people who came from places other than Burlington – the amount raised would have been much more than the $40,000 that was raised.

That $40,000 was $40,000 more than the Community Foundation had before Ribfest and the community is grateful – but when compared to the $20,000 that one man and 35 volunteers raised in four hours on Elwood Street – questions get asked.

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Climate march to take place in Burlington Saturday September 20th - starts at band stand in Spencer Smith Park

Event 100By Staff

September 13, 2014


The largest climate march in history will be happening worldwide September 2oth, 2014, and Burlington is going to be a part of it.

Climate MarchThe march begins at 10:00 am – the route is set out below.
10:00am: Meet at the Bandstand in Spencer Smith Park.
10:45am: Begin march proceeding up Brant to Fairview – west to Maple, south to Lakeshore and back to the band stand where the Mayor is expected to address the marchers.

12:00pm: Meeting Mayor Goldring for a photo with the full worldwide petition.

12:15pm: Picnic! Please bring some food to share as well. (Or money if you’d like to go to one of the local cafes/restaurants)

The event is part of a world wide movement

March route runs anti-clockwise on the map above.
The event is being organized by Alanna Antrobus

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Gently used furniture and household items can be donated to a flood relief collection centre on Burloak - opens Saturday.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 12, 2014



There are all kinds of ways to help with the Flood Relief Drive. Some of the larger corporations are writing big cheques. Dozens of small neighbourhood groups are holding fund raisers and putting really decent dollars into the Burlington Community Foundation (BCF) Flood Relief account. The BCF hopes to have their web site with the capacity to donate directly on line and see the thermometer rise, “hopefully by the end of the week” said Burlington Community Foundation president Collen Mulholland, who had her fingers crossed as she spoke.

Wahidi and Papadopolous C0C Afrer 5 + UW

That lady on the left hand side has turned out to be quite a little fire cracker. She is Mina Wahidi, a candidate for the ward 6 council seat. Beside her is former Mayoral candidate Phillip Papadopoulos – 2010 election and a candidate for ward 2 in this election

Mina Wahidi, a candidate for ward 6, worked as the Executive Director for the Compassion Society – one of those jobs where they pay you for 20 hours and you put in at least 40 hours each week, before announcing she was going to run for office. She took a leave of absence to run in the hotly contested ward 6 where she is one of nine candidates.

While knocking on doors she got a look at a number of basements that had been wiped out by the flood and realized there were needs that weren’t being met. Her kids came up with the idea of a location where people could drop off items that were in excellent shape and no longer needed. Why not have a place where people could drop off this kind of item suggested one of her girls

Flood donarion centre - BurloakA quick call to Michael Emshi and she had space donated at 728 Burloak Drive by Emshi Developments. Wahidi expects to have at least four volunteers at the site which will be open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to noon and in the evenings from 6:00 PM TO 8:00 PM.

This is a 30 day initiative – the need is urgent. Check out what you have that you don’t need and truck it on over to the Burloak location.
The location is NOT accepting cash donations – send your cheques – or better still go on line and make a donation to the Burlington Community Foundation – they are at this location. 



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“We're looking to give you the best Friday night you've ever had.” - Cirque September 19th

Event 100


By Pepper Parr

April 19, 2014

We got our first look at what a No Vacancy event was about last year when Selina Jane Eckersall hosted an illustration event at the Waterfront Hotel. It was a little longer than the average movie but it came close to rocking the socks off the Burlington arts community.



Selina Jane Eckersall points out a location that will be active the No Vacancy Night.  Hundreds of people will be crawling through Village Square.

It took place at a time when the arts and culture community was beginning to create a presence for itself. The city had accepted the Cultural Action Plan prepared by Jeremy Freiburger and while they weren’t able to act on very much of the plan they did re-allocate a staff member from Parks and Recreation to co-ordinate events that were cultural in nature. This kind of work was being done by the Parks and Recreation department where the culture was more athletic than artistic.

BG_Ad2The No Vacancy event was a critical success and is being repeated this year with a much bigger venue and a more exciting program. Selina Jane Eckersall sums it up with the comment: “We’re looking to give you the best Friday night you’ve ever had.”

There will be 30 unbelievably talented contemporary artists who will transform a variety of spaces inside Village Square into an art experience that will have a lasting impact. “This incredible walking contemporary multi-artist exhibition will feature the best of contemporary installation art from Southern Ontario.”

“Village Square will be buzzing with activity as people explore the alleys and walkways and enter spaces they haven’t explored before. We will also have performance and street art throughout the square and a pop-up art market that will be open until midnight. Burlington has never had an art event quite like this and it is going to be a wondrous experience.”

Half of Pine Street will be closed to traffic and all the space available to No Vacancy in Village Square has been allocated.


Selina xxx Eckersall points to one of the locations for some of the "installation art" that will be on display for less than four hours September 19 - a not to be missed event.

Selina Jane  Eckersall points to one of the locations for some of the “installation art” that will be on display for less than four hours September 19 – a not to be missed event.

The artists doing the installations are being paid – a bit of a first for Burlington. In the past artists have been asked to donate to various causes – when they themselves are a cause. The beer garden profits will be used to pay the artists that are putting up the installations.

Eckersall is putting on a much bigger event this year and giving the Village Square some life – something it has needed for some time.  The longer term plan for No Vacancy is to be quite ambitious. They have organized themselves as an Ontario Not for Profit Corporation and have gotten charitable status in Ontario and are going after federal charitable status.

Later in the year they will apply for Trillium Funding (that’s where a lot of your lottery money goes) so they can develop the much more robust program they have wanted to put in place for some time.  “We want to open minds and push people out of their comfort zone just a bit and we feel that we need a bigger presence in the city, which is why we are looking for a place, where we can be seen and the work of the artists we want to highlight can also be seen.”

“We would like to find a building somewhere or work with someone who has space –visibility is key to what we are setting out to do. What we want to create is a facility that is part studio, part media lab and part gallery” said Eckersall.  “One of the bigger challenges is to come up with a business model that can result in an operation that is sustainable – we are still working at that”, she added.

“We would really like to find a van we could use to transport some of the material involved. Installation art tends to be quite large.”

Eckersall says she has “no idea how many people are going to show up on September 19th – it could be anywhere between 500 and 5000.” The event will run from 7 pm to 2 am and as Eckersall says : “A night of incredible art installation in Burlington.”

All the space in Village Square have been allocated and the artists are busy working on the fun stuff. Administratively Eckersall is dealing with permits, contracts, and insurance.

There is going to be a “pop up” market. If there are artists out there that are looking for a venue to sell some stuff – touch base.

Eckersall says the event is all about “Art that makes your heart beat faster.”


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Ceramics residency being created at Art Gallery of Burlington; applications close September 8.

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 18, 2014

The Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) has been a champion of visual art and fine craft in Burlington in the more than 45 years it has been operating. They engage the community in the appreciation and creation of visual arts and are home to seven art and fine craft guilds. They provide opportunities for discovery and ‘hands-on’ learning, as well as mentoring and showcasing visual artists at all skill levels.

BAC aerialThe AGB is dedicated to the growth and promotion of our collection of Canadian contemporary ceramics.

The AGB is now going one step further in the development of the visual arts with the establishment of a residency in ceramics that will start in September and run for a full year.

The working days are flexible to suit both the Gallery’s needs and the successful candidate’s other commitments. A stipend of $200 per week is being offered.

The successful candidate will be expected to work as a studio technician for up to 15 hours per week, not to include the studio time used for personal artistic explorations.

Suitable candidates are: Recent graduate in ceramics from a recognized institution or in his/her graduating year in a ceramics program at a recognized institution. A person with an interest in arts and craft and able to tackle a few projects at once and deliver them all on time. Self-motivated and able to work in a communal environment.

The benefit to the artist is a great opportunity for the successful candidate to build their portfolio with diverse projects supporting our programs including the possibility of exhibiting in our Community Gallery.

The successful candidate will have access to a fully equipped studio including potter’s wheels, electric, gas and raku kilns. Tools, clay and glazes are not included.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to teach in our Community and Studio programs. The AGB is open some evenings and weekends.

Respond with a resume and cover letter by September 8, 2014 to:

Denis Longchamps, Chief Curator Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Rd Burlington ON L7S 1A9

A current portfolio will be required if you are selected for an interview.

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Book of Best Wishes celebrating the birthday of the fourth in line as monarch of Canada to be set out in Spencer Smith Park Canada Day

Event 100By Pepper Parr

June 29th


There will be tens of thousands of people strolling along the promenade of Spencer Smith Park on Canada Day as we celebrate our 147 year of existence as a country.

And what a marvelous country we have.  We are a wealthy country and we are a free country able to elect who we want to represent us and lead us.  Two home grown examples are the seven candidates running in ward 6 and the decision of the voters in Burlington to end more than 70 years of Progressive Conservative rule – with a shot being fired from something as small as a pea shooter.

Contrast that to the hundreds, make that thousands, who are being killed, to day, now, in far off countries.  There are a reported five million people in refugee camps in the Middle East because they cannot go home – there homes were destroyed or they face death if they do return.

RR BBW spine of DEMO

Spine of the classically bound book of Best Wishes for Prince George.

Tuesday is expected to be a sunny day – so when you stroll along the edge of Lake Ontario – revel in how fortunate we are and realize that the freedom you have was earned by men and woman who paid the ultimate price.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy. This means that the powers of the monarchy in Canada are limited by the Constitution. The Constitution is a set of basic principles, laws and rules that explain the powers and duties of the government and the rights and freedoms of the citizens. Our formal head of state is a monarch. Our monarch is now Elizabeth II, who is also the Queen of the United Kingdom.

Final banner

Seven foot banner that will be on the Spencer Smith Park promenade on Canada. It will be hard to miss.

A group of Burlington citizens came up with the idea of creating a Book of Best Wishes that would be available for everyone to sign and convey their Best Wishes to the Prince on his birthday.

Thousands of citizens have already signed and provided a greeting.  Monday evening, members of Council will sign the Book of Best Wishes.  City staff will have an opportunity to sign the Book which will be at city hall during the day on Monday the 30th.

Book mark V2 bigger type

Commemorative bookmark for those who sign the Book of Best Wishes.


On Canada Day the Book of Best Wishes will be set up in a booth on the waterfront  where anyone passing by can sign.  You won’t be able to miss the seven foot high banner.  Everyone who signs the Book of Best Wishes will be given a commemorative bookmark.

When the pages have been bound the book will be taken by Burlington MP Mike Wallace to Rideau Hall, the home of the Governor General who will have it transported to Kensington Palace, where the Prince currently lives with his parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

RR BBW cover with gold

Cover of the leather bound 14 x 11 inch Book of Best Wishes that will be delivered to the Prince on his first birthday.

The group that started this initiative will be organized as a trust – the Burlington Royal Reading Trust, that will exist until the day the Prince dies. Given the length of time his Great Great Grandmother lived Burlingtonians can expect to be signing a Book of Best Wished well into the next century.  Queen Elizabeth, the wife of King George VI, known as the Queen Mother in her later years visited Canada many times.  Canadians, can expect the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to visit Canada frequently.  When do you think the Prince and his parents will come to Burlington?

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Burlingtonians signing a Book of Best Wishes to celebrate the first birthday of Prince George.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 24, 2014


During the past ten days the citizens of Burlington have been signing a very unique birthday card for the newest member of the Royal family:  George Alexander Louis was born July 22, 2013.

An article in the Gazette shortly after his birth, set out a list of age appropriate books for the young Prince to play with as he grows up to become the monarch of Canada at some point.

Cover of BBW as PNG file

Cover of the Book of Nest Wishes: Gold embossed type on a rich wine coloured leather produced by a master bookbinder.

Final bannerOut of that article grew an initiative to send the Prince a Book of Best Wishes every year of his life.  The Book was to be a handsome, craft bound leather book measuring 14 inches wide by 10 inches deep with pages for anyone who wanted to send a Best Wishes.

The Book will be presented to Council at the end of the month, where Council members, and anyone in the audience, can sign the book which will then get turned over to Burlington’s member of Parliament, Mike Wallace, who will take the Book of Best Wishes to Rideau Hall , home of the Governor General.  The Governor General will have the book transported to Kensington Palace where the Prince lives with his mother and father; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Getting the initiative off the ground has been a task.  The originator of the idea found that he had to have a hip replaced just as the hard field work had to be done.

Joe Veitch, a recipient of the Rotary Paul Harris award, took on the task of pulling together a group of volunteers who would man the tables at the Seniors’ Centre, Tansley Woods and the public library.

Selina Jane McCall did much of the early design work and selected the type face for the project name” Royal Reading.

Susan Fraser, a nominee for one of the city’s BEST awards in 2012, took on the task of liaising with the Hayden Recreation Centre people, where she enticed people at the Centre, students at Hayden High and at the Alton library to sign the book.

Each person who signs the Book of Best Wishes is given a book mark – with a picture of the prince and wording to signify that they have signed.  Expect some of those early book marks to show up on eBay someday – they will take on the value of hockey trading cards.  There are those who will collect these book marks, which we will issue each year. Copies will be left with the Historical Society.

The name Royal Reading was used to signify a second part of the initiative which was to have the citizens of Burlington involved in the raising of the Prince as a Canadian.

Each year we celebrate his birthday,  a few age appropriate books would be sent, not as a gift, but as a part of the process that gives the Prince a sense as to what Canada is all about.

At some point the Prince will get to read Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie  and Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater.  He will be introduced to the work of W.O. Mitchell and Farley Mowat as well as Mordecai Richler and Gabrielle Roy.

Book mark V2 bigger type

The bookmark that people will take away once they have signed the Book of Best Wishes from the citizens of Burlington to the Prince on his first birthday.

Three copies of each book will be purchased with one being sent to whichever Palace the Prince is living in, a second copy that will go into general circulation at the Burlington Public Library with an inscription inside explaining  that the title was also sent to the Prince.

A third copy will get placed in a space at the Library that will be known as the Prince’s Bookshelf.

Given the way Royalty travels throughout the Commonwealth and indeed around the world, he will most certainly visit Canada.  Our hope,  and one of the things we will work towards,  is bringing the Prince to Burlington where he just might choose to read from one of his books to a circle of children at the library  or perhaps in a public setting at the Performing Arts Centre.

Wouldn’t that be something?

The Book of Best Wishes will be available at city hall on Friday June 3oth and in a booth in Spencer Smith Park on Canada Day.  Do drop by and join the thousands that will be taking part in the making of some history.

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The Lego Movie to be featured at Emerson Park FREE movie night – Thursday.

Event 100By Staff

June 22, 2014


Dinner is done, school is over so getting the kids to bed on time doesn’t matter all that much anymore . Taking in an outdoor movie late in the week at a local park sounds like a good idea.  The Rocca Sisters and Associates, a local real estate firm, are sponsoring what they are calling a Stars under the Stars family movie night that will take place at Emerson Park located in north east Burlington.

Lego movieIt is the first FREE outdoor movie night taking place on June 26th at 7:30pm. Several food truck operations will be on hand: SWOT (Sandwiches with a Twist) and Fro Go Xpress are confirmed.

The featured blockbuster film The Lego Movie is a sure hit – even if it has already been see.

Emerson Park is at 2390 Sutton Drive, Burlington

Funds raised through sponsorship dollars, partial proceeds through food truck sales and donations the night of the event will be going to the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.

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Local stained glass artist to exhibit – she is AGOG

Event 100By Staff

June 21, 2014


Confluence poster - AGOG - SeatonWe don’t normally promote events that don’t take place in Burlington but one of the city’s very talented stained glass artists is showing at the event – she is well worth the drive to Dundas.

Teresa Seaton is one of the driving forces behind the annual Art in Action studio tour and is heavily involved in the Arts and Cultural Collective that has come into being the past 18 months and serves as the voice of the arts community.

AGOG – Artistic Group of Glass was formed to share ideas and work cooperatively to raise awareness of their original art.  As fine glass artists they strive to perfect their craftsmanship and push beyond the limitations of craft stereotypes.

It’s an art form that may not be for everyone but if you want to see what a group of artists has done with what we have all seen in our churches – you might want to put this event on your calendar.

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The provincial election from a Burlington perspective.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 12, 2014


It was a healthy crowd.  They were attentive and at Nelson High to listen to a debate between Progressive Conservative incumbent Jane McKenna, Liberal candidate Eleanor McMahon in and Janet Mowbray representing the NDP.  All want to be elected as the Burlington representative in the provincial legislature.

Other than the debate sponsored by the Canadian Federation of University Women,  debate this turned out to be the only opportunity to see the candidates debating

The audience was attentive with the focus on what each political party would do for the province in terms of education.

The lines between the policies were as clear as any citizen could possibly want them to be.  The Progressive Conservatives were blunt – they want to see 100,000 fewer civil servants on the public payroll which meant cuts at the educational, medical and public services levels.  While cutting in these sectors was to be brutal – the promise was to create 1 million new jobs in the private sector.

The issue for the PC’s was the level of debt the province is carrying.  The Liberals weren’t as constrained with debt – they saw debt as what was needed to fully recover from the 2008 recession.

The differences in the political party decisions are fundamentally clear – and we don’t hear that many people talking about a “great” program from any of them.

The New Democrats are still fighting the collective agreement battle of the 2011 election – the Liberal government  of the day certainly did themselves no favours when they tinkered with the teacher’s collective agreements.  Liberals now argue that the number of teachers needed problem has been fixed and that jobs were not lost – which the Tories say is part of the problem.   They point to declining enrollments but nothing comparable in the way of lowering of the teaching compliment.

The Liberals believe that the only way the province is going to grow the economy – we still are not fully out of the 2008 recession – is to ensure that we have the labour force with the education needed to take up the good jobs they believe will surely come if the province stays the course.

The Tory’s are obsessed with the size of the provincial deficit and are prepared to cut, slash and burn – whatever it takes to get the civil service reduced.

The Liberals argue that cutting those education, health inspector and hospital staff will significantly reduce the quality of life and the life style Ontarians have come to expect.

Three provincial candidates

If you voted the political party – these were your choices – and the differences are stark.

The campaign locally has been harder fought at the door to door level than most people realize.  The Association of University Woman held their debate during which it is reported McKenna did better than the Nelson High event.

The cancellation of the Chamber of Commerce breakfast (they said no enough tickets had been sold) was a blow to the community.  Many suspected the Tories in this town suggested the Chamber event be cancelled – McKenna wasn’t looking all that good at public meetings.

At some point during the campaign Cam Jackson was seen going door to door with McKenna.  Those must have been really old solid Tory polls.

The brilliant cover page ad the Liberals ran in the Post stunned many.  It sure looked like a real front page – but it was a paid advertorial that has McMahon sweeping the election.

Then she Toronto Star report that had Burlington going Liberal after 71 years of Tory rule- that boosted moral at the Liberal campaign office on Fairview.  Some may have been surprised that the Post sold their “front” page – but a buck is a buck – I guess.

There is a time when the quality of the candidate over rides the party choice – and on that level Eleanor McMahon was the most sensitive to the issues, the most persuasive with her arguments and the most able to listen.

McKenna has been backing away from cuts in the education sector. She is reported to have said the PC’s will not be cutting education spending however she did see a need for better allocation of resources in the educational sector.

Jane McKenna has served one term as the MPP for Burlington.  She was a close to last minute choice for the nomination in 2011 and was surely the most surprised and delighted woman in the city when Keith Strong approached her to accept the PC nomination.

The question many have about McKenna is: What has she done for Burlington?  At a city council meeting recently ward 1 councillor Rick Craven asked why they had never once seen McKenna. “We’re paying her” was Craven’s comment “she should at least appear before us.”

Where the Liberals are weakest  is with the profligate spending during the McGuinty years.  There was nothing wrong conceptually with Ornge except that the government forgot they were supposed to keep an eye on what their agencies do.  Where was the oversight?  E-health was necessary but how did the government get hornswoggled into paying the salaries they paid?

At one point during the lead up the vote it looked as if the Liberals might have squeaked through with a slim two seat majority.  That would not have been because they are the best choice – they are all disappointments and the citizens of this province deserve better.

Leadership is supposed to be about hope, promise,  a better day and a better society – having “chicken little” shout at me saying the sky was going to fall in was not something I needed – thank you.

When Wynne said again and again that she was sorry  about the gas plant decisions during the leaders debate I didn’t feel that we were in good hands.

That the gas plants were going to be cancelled was a given – all three parties knew that  -it was the way the government sent good dollars after bad out the window as they settled with the contracting companies.  The public had a right to better stewardship over public funds

At the Nelson High event candidates were given four questions prepared for the candidates taking part in the Nelson High event – they were given the questions before the event which explained why all of the candidates were reading from documents in front of them

Was it a debate?  Not really but it was certainly a chance to see where each candidate and their party stood on an issue.

Other than door to door visits most of the public had not had a chance to see two of the candidates.  The evening at Nelson High was an opportunity to see how much Jane McKenna had grown as a member of the legislature – unfortunately she hasn’t grown in either stature or a sense as to just what being the member of the legislature for a community is all about.

McKenna did however make it very clear what the Progressive Conservatives would do and many in the room felt the shudder of the Harris days.  However, there were many that recalled all too well what Bob Rae did to the province when he was the NDP Premier.

McKenna, who is usually very quick with facts and numbers, got caught up on her some of the numbers she was putting out.

The politeness and courtesy between Liberal candidate McMahon and NDP candidate Mowbray was so distinct when compared to the brashness and hard words used by McKenna.  At one point Janet Mowbray had run out of time answering a question and McMahon turned to her and said – “use some of my time.  It was noted as well that every candidate for the Burlington seat was female.

For those that went to the event as hard core partisans – McKenna did fine.  For those who were reflective and thoughtful – they would have left the room wondering what kind of a society they want and if McMahon represented that society.  The difference between McMahon and McKenna was palpable.

A speaker brought to the audience’s attention that Mowbray was once a Liberal and did not live in the riding.  McMahon was quick to point out that while she lives in Burlington her residence is about six blocks outside the constituency boundaries.

The issue for the audience was those 100,000 pink slips Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak has said he is going to hand out.  McKenna is quick to add that much of that reduction in people on the payroll will come through attrition.

The campaign is over, people are now making their way to the polling stations and by the end of the day we will know what we have in the way of a provincial government for the next four years. 

If it turns out to be Kathleen Wynne – expect her to face two different people the next time out.  Hudak’s leadership will not survive another loss – and the New Democrats will begin looking for a leader who had s a plan and a vision.

Should Tim Hudak prevail and become Premier Ontario then we have to wait and see how far he goes with his plans to significantly change the way the government provides services and support to the taxpayers and how they grow the economy of the province.

Monday of next week A Different Drummer Books and Burlington Public Library will feature a guest with both knowledge and insight on just how parliamentary democracies work.

Michael MacMillan will talk about his book: Tragedy in the Commons that documents the views of former members of parliament who speak out on Canada’s Failing Democracy.   Monday  June 16  7pm at the Central Library.

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Kite festival Sunday at Brant Hills Park – free, fun and healthy.

Event 100By Staff

May 30, 2014


Burlington’s annual Kite Festival takes place on Sunday, June 1 at Brant Hills Community Park between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Kites - kids flying Show up, join the fun and build a kite for free, while supplies last. Event attendees will be able to fly their kites in the open space at Brant Hills Park throughout the day.

The event will feature entertainment from:

• Nick’s Juggling Family

• Thompson Clarke, a competitive Rubik’s cube solver, and

• Safari Science.

Face painting, a photo booth and a balloon artist will be part of a fun day.

A variety of vendors and activity providers from the community will be on-site. Local favourites include Burlington B.G.’s and Gymnastics Club, Putting Edge, Momstown, and Health from Within.

Kite - squid lookingLocal kite experts from Hobby and Toy Central will be at the event to answer questions about kite selection and kite flying. An assortment of adult and children’s kites such as easy flyers, diamonds, deltas, stunt and parafoil kites will be available for test flights and to purchase. Hobby and Toy Central will be offering event attendees 10 per cent off all Kite Festival purchases.

Kites sqaure colourfullThe Kite Festival will take place rain or shine. Brant Hills Community Park is located at 2255 Brant St. For more information about the event, including the entertainment schedule and list of booths, visit the city web site. 

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Magnificent creatures that many thought were headed for extinction – now winter at LaSalle Park. Not a choice that sits well with everyone.

Event 100By Staff

May 28, 2014


There are few more amazing comeback stories than that of the magnificent Trumpeter Swan.

Trumpeter swan - wings wideBrought back from the brink of extinction through the dedicated, decades-long work of volunteers, 200 Trumpeter Swans now overwinter at LaSalle Park in Burlington.

But these beautiful birds also did their part to rescue their species from the ashes of extinction. Hear their remarkable tales through stories about Athena, Magic, Pig Pen and many other individual swans at Swan Stories, a free, public event sponsored by the Trumpeter Swan Coalition.

Trumpeter - skidding to a stopThe event will take place on Thursday, May 29 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Centennial Room at Burlington’s Central Library, 2331 New St.  More on the swans and the story to save their winter home.

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Champion wheel chair basket ball tournament at Haber Centre

News 100 redBy Staff

Photography by Oliver Hannak

April 4, 2014


Things didn’t get off to a great start for the Burlington Vipers – the team Brandon Wagner, Burlington’s Paralympian, plays on – but he will be back at it on Saturday taking part in the three day National Championship tournament at the Haber Recreational Centre.  The Burlington Vipers lost their first two gamesStruggling for the ball

Reaching for ballThe 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship takes place April 4-6, 2014 in Burlington and are sanctioned by Wheelchair Basketball Canada.

The event is being hosted by the Burlington Vipers in conjunction with the City of Burlington. These Championships are the first national event to take place at the Centre which was built for just this kind of thing. 

The place has eight courts where teams can play at the same time.  The building, brand new,  is squeaky clean with large plasma screen throughout the building.

Wheelchair basketball players do not have to be disabled – something I didn’t know.  When any player falls over in their chair – and with the way these men and women go at it – there are a lot of tumbles, they have to get up by themselves. Men and women do play on the same team.

Every player is ranked, which is a number assigned to a player based on their level of physical functionality.  It is basically a measure of their body trunk capability.  The players are ranked by professionals who have experience with disabled people.

There are five players on the court at any one time – and the total value of the players cannot be more than 15 points.  So a team that has some high ranking – a player is ranked between 1-5 and can be a 3.5 for example.

Woman arms raisedIf there are two players who have exceptional body trunk capability and they have ranks of 4.5 – nine of the 15 points available to the coach are taken up.

Off to a corner of the court two people sit at a table keeping a count of the points on the floor.  They know the ranking of each player and are adding up their rank values every time a new player rolls onto the court.

A players ranking can charge but that doesn’t happen very often.

The tournament runs Saturday and Sunday.  The schedule can be reached by clicking on the link.

Brandon Wagner is back on the court Saturday afternoon.

Background links:

Haber Recreational Centre deal put in place.

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The snow will all be gone – soon; time to get the bike greased and ready to use – library offers free courses.

By Staff

 March 12, 2014


 Someone hasn’t told city hall that we have at least one more solid snowfall coming our way – and there just may be another one after that as well.  No matter, the library service wants you to begin getting ready to get that bike ready for the road and is offering three programs at the Central Library on the art of bicycle use and maintenance being given by the Burlington Cycling Committee a volunteer advisory committee of Burlington City Council.

All seminars are free, pre-registration is required. Call the Central branch of Burlington Public Library at 905-639-3611, ext. 1321.

It’s time to release your bike from winter storage and get your wheels spinning with a series of free cycling seminars suggests the city.  All the classes are free and will be given at the Central Library on New Street; they begin March 20th and wrap up on May 5.

 Amazing Cycling Cities Thursday, March 20, 2014 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

 Short videos of inspirational cities from around the world that support safe cycling in innovative and creative ways.

 Women CyclistsWednesday, April 16, 2014 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

 Yes, You Can! – featuring triathlete Nancy Hastings and health and fitness motivational speaker Gail Van Egmond.

 Ever thought about riding your bike for fun or fitness? Hear inspirational stories from women cyclists, including triathlete and coach Nancy Hastings and cyclist Gail Van Egmond on how they got started in this growing sport and how you can get started as well.  All attendees will have a chance to win a door prize of a free bike tune-up from Rock and Road Cycle and Sports.

Basic maintenance is important and knowing how to get the chain back onto the sprockets is always good to know.

Bike Maintenance 101Monday, May 5, 2014 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Learn how to get your bike road-ready for spring and how to keep it maintained throughout the year with advice from the experts at Burlington’s Mountain Equipment Co-op.

 All seminars are free, pre-registration is required. Call the Central branch of Burlington Public Library at 905-639-3611, ext. 1321.


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“Business is about promotion, connection and communication. More is better. Less is not.” James Burchill

By Pepper Parr

March 11, 2014


James Burchill, a totally shameless self-promoter, has built the Burlington Social Fusion Network to 1500 people and is currently developing an additional nine – read that again, nine social networks elsewhere in the province.

Later this month – March 20th to be exact, Burchill will be holding his third mini-trade mart at the Performing Arts Centre.

Burchill doesn’t charge a dime for any of his events.  There is a fee if you want to exhibit at his events – but getting in the door is free, free, free.

He will try to convince you that a typical Chamber or Rotary networking group typically costs about $1 a day or $365 a year. It’s not uncommon for people to join multiple groups so it would be pretty easy to spend $1000 a year on networking memberships.

Quite a business card isn’t it? James Burchill, the guiding force and the energy behind the Burlington Social Fusion Network is all business.

“At the SFN we don’t charge money for membership … and believe me when I get a whiny email from someone about “too many emails” I shake my head and think maybe I should reconsider charging!

He goes on to suggest: “For instance, if I charged each Burlington member just $25 per person per month for membership, I’d be banking MORE THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS … A YEAR! And with 9 other chapters growing steadily that would be some serious money.”

“But that’s NOT why I built the network. Charging money changes the dynamic. It stifles growth and makes people treat the experience differently. It would be a short term gain for me but in the long run the network would eventual suffer the fate many “old school” networks are experiencing today. Dwindling memberships, falling revenues, lack of engagement and more. Technology has changed how we connect and network and SFN reflects that.

“So I’m not going to change the SFN model … but please remember this: The Social Fusion Network is not a charity, it operates as a business and therefore needs to cover costs and other expenses. That’s why we license the networks to smart businesses who see the marketing value of the platform and we also offer advertising … which is why occasionally you’ll get more emails.

It’s all about networking.

“Business is about promotion, connection and communication. More is better. Less is not. That’s my opinion and I know not everyone agrees, which is why I said you have choices. However I hope you’ll stay a member because I believe in the model as do thousands of other local businesses.

People do attend.  It is not uncommon to see someone pull up in front of the Ivey Bar and Kitchen and wiggle out of a pair of jeans in the front seat of their vehicle, wiggle into a shirt, fluff their hair and walk briskly into a room full of people they can network with – some they know, others they expect to get to know.  The SFN events are not a dating pool – this is business.  If you’ve not been – give it a try.

The Social Fusion Network trade show always draws a good crowd. It’s small but it is busy and clients keep returning – so something must be happening.

Back to that trade show: 517 people have registered for that Burchill calls his Business Networking and Trade Show.

Burchill has this ability to make everyone he works with feel important – because for him they are important. Graham Frampton, the Performing Arts Centre Operations Manager quickly became a critical part of the team that makes the trade show work.

Watching Burchill work with Frampton, who is his service supplier, is a lesson in customer relationship development – except in this case Burchill is the customer who goes out of his way to make Frampton’s  job easy and as a result gets  great service.  Burchill has lessons for all of us.

If you want people to be part of your team – make them feel like they are part of your team. James Burchill, on the right, drafted Mayor Goldring, centre and Performing Arts centre Operations manager Graham Frampton as part of his team. It worked very well.

Burchill wanted to add some zip to his event and gave the Mayor a call:  The Mayor responded, showed up and – well let Burchill tell that story. “Mayor Rick Goldring graciously delivered the opening remarks. I was thrilled when The Mayor publicly acknowledged our networking efforts and what they’ve done for local business. Very gratifying indeed.”

The enthusiasm is all part of what Burchill does.  What you see is what you get. “I have to say,” says Burchill, “it’s been a real thrill producing this event. When I started this project it was nothing more than a fleeting idea. It took shape and with some hard work (ok … lots of hard work!) and a little bit of luck, it all worked out in the end.”

March 20th – 5:30 at the Performing Arts Centre.  Look for James – he might be wearing a bright orange vest and matching bow tie someone gave him – I can’t believe for a second that he bought it.

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Quilt retrospective featuring work of John Willard to be shown at BAC starting February 15th.

By Staff

January 27, 2014


We have a fascination about quilts.  Long a household staple in the rural community – it gets cold out there they eventually became an art form with some very traditional patterns.

Quilt sales and exhibitions draw consistently strong audiences. In southwestern Ontario quilt designs were once painted in the sides of barns.

Over time many of those traditional patterns were challenged by new artists .  John Willard was one of those who challenged the traditional; a 40 Year Retrospective of his work will take place at the Burlington Art Centre from February 15, 2014 – March 30, 2014.  The quilts will be hung in the  Lee Chin Family Gallery

Denis Longchamps is curating this exhibit and will lead the Reception & Artist Talk on February : 23, 2-4pm at the BAC

Armed with scissors, needles, threads and fabrics John Willard has been making quilts for 40 years. Not one to follow the rules of tradition, he creates his own designs. Sometimes inspired by traditional patterns he has deconstructed, others by historical events, Willard creates quilts that are beautiful and turn the craft of quilting into an art form.

Willard working on a quilt. A 40 year retrospective of his work will be shown at the BAC in February.

John Willard is a basically self-taught quilt maker. He came to quilt making via set and costume design, photography, display and collecting, and created his first quilt in 1975 after amassing a sizeable collection of antique ones. Although his first quilts were very traditional he soon branched out into his own designs, which have evolved into bravura works of intense colour and complex patterns. He is especially noted for his daring combinations of varying and disparate fabric prints. John’s quilts have been exhibited internationally in Britain, Denmark, Japan, France, Taiwan and the West Indies as well as Canada and the US. His works are in numerous private, corporate and public collections.

There is a level of precision seen in Willard’s quilts that is not seen in some traditional patterns. This Clair de Lune, done in 2002 was well received.

John teaches the art of quilt making, specializing in contemporary design for those who wish to break away from the traditional. He and his works have been featured in many books such as A Fine Line: Studio Crafts in Ontario; Design Through Discovery: An Introduction to Art and Design and magazines including City and Country Home Magazine, Select Homes Magazine, Quilters’ Newsletter Magazine, American Quilter, Embroidery Magazine, Ontario Craft and West of the City Magazine. As a photographer he published a very successful book on Victorian houses, The Gaiety of Gables in 1974.

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Sunday – fun filled at the Lowville Winter Games. The only thing missing is a pick up game of hockey.

By Staff


January 24, 2014

It is winter – we are Canadians – we can handle it – right?

The Lowville Winter Games take place Sunday – 11 to 4 and this year there is going to be snow.

The lineup is solid; the weather is supposed to be good and the Bistro will be open with hot chocolate.

The human gyroscope

The Body Zorbs race track

A pancake-eating contest – provided by the Sunset Grill.

Log-sawing contest

Winter crafts courtesy of Momstown

Photos in the Burlington Events photo booth

Three-time Olympic gold medalist, women’s hockey champion Becky Kellar (noon to 2 p.m.) in the school house

TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games: Find out how to get involved in the games, try playing a sports activity and learn about record-holding achievements by athletes

Conservation Halton’s birds of prey exhibit

Bur Bear frisbee golf course

Horse-drawn wagon rides

Skating and tobogganing

Oliver Hannak,a Niagara College photography student came across this situation and like any good photographer pulled over, got his gear out and started taking pictures.
The hope is the Sunday weather will be sunshine and clear skies as hundreds head up to Lowville Park to enjoy the day.

Solid winter fun.  Get out and enjoy it and use the occasion to forget the really poopy weather some people have had to cope with.

Drive safely up Guelph Line – keep it between the ditches.

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What they want to take from you and how they want to spend it. Budget time in Burlington. Your Budget, Your Say

 By Staff


January 23, 2014

You write them a cheque for times a year.  It’s not exactly chump change. It’s just one of those things one does in a civilized society.  You pay taxes and expect value for money.

Joan Ford, the city’s Director of Finance knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

The city will be putting most of its Finance department people on the front line next Wednesday at the Burlington Art Centre.  No open bar but there will be coffee and cookies while you participate in a public consultation meeting and interactive workshop on the budget.

The city wants you to tell them what is important to you.  They do this each year and the turnout is not bad.   They do an overall presentation and then run small, staff-led work groups focusing on such topics as service choices, infrastructure and planning for the future.

In a nut shell this is what the 2014 budget is about:

The City of Burlington’s proposed 2014 current budget recommends a 4.13 per cent tax rate increase to the city’s portion of the property tax bill. When this is combined with the Region of Halton’s increase of zero per cent and an education increase of zero per cent, the overall result is a proposed property tax rate increase of 1.68 per cent or $15.08 for each $100,000 of residential urban value assessment. 

There are a couple of things that could be done to make this more effective.  Putting a document on-line that can be downloaded and printed that sets out the basics of the budget so that people can do some homework if they wish.  The budget is there if you want to download all 254 pages and print them out.  How about something that is say 10 pages with lots of graphs?

And why this event is always held at just the Burlington Art Centre is inexcusable.  While space is limited at Tansley Wood a public meeting could be held there and with the Alton Campus now open a public meeting could be held there as well.

The Burlington Gazette has been following the development of the budget for 2014 closely.  Links to what we’ve written appear below.

Most of the council members hold meetings in their wards to get local input. A couple of Ward 4 residents discuss a previous budget.

Members of your city council continually say that half the population of the city is north of the QEW.  City hall needs to do much more to serve the needs and interests of these people as well. This is a great opportunity for members of the public to share their insights, to learn more about the city’s proposed 2014 current and capital budgets and to discuss the impact the budget will have on property taxes.

The small workshop sessions can be quite useful, particularly if there is something you want more detail on. Every Council member is on hand and anybody that knows anything from the Finance department is in the room.

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014; 7 to 9:30 p.m.; Burlington Art Centre.  Plenty of parking at the rear of the building.  They should make the parking free on budget review nights.

This is an election year – so expect members of Council to listen with bigger ears this time around.  Make your views known and let them know you will be watching.

If you can’t attend the meeting, watch the webcast on the city’s website and complete the online workbook   If you’ve really got a burr under your saddle and have to talk to someone – a real voice can be reached at: 905-335-7600, ext. 7896.

Background links:

City manager tries to get some ground rules in place.

City administration begins to negotiate with Council on 2014 tax levy.

Will the 10% over four years hold; doesn’t look that way.


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How fast can a group put $10,000 into the hands of a locl charity? This group says in under an hour.

By Staff


January 23, 2014

It sounds really simple.  It’s as direct as you’re ever going to get in terms of getting money into the hands of people.

All you have to do is care and can space a part of an evening four times a year and are willing to write a cheque for $100.  Who does your money go to – you decide, along with the other women in the room.

Sort of like mainlining a donation. 

The Burlington Chapter of 100 Women Who Care will be holding its first meeting Wednesday January 29, 2014; bringing together women who care about the community, it’s people and causes and who are committed to community service. 100 Women Who Care is a concept that’s been taking root in many communities across North America and now it’s coming to life in Burlington.

The concept is very simple – 100 women (or more),  $100 each (or more if you choose), 1 hour meetings 4 times per year. The goal is for 100 Women Who Care Burlington to collectively generate a minimum of $40,000 annually for local charitable initiatives. The impact is very powerful!

Donations from each meeting go directly to local charities.  The idea appears to be efficient.  The 100 woman meet, choose a charity, write the cheques, chit chat for a bit and go home.

In just over an hour some group that needs help has $10,000 they didn’t have an hour earlier.

Exactly how the group decides what the charity is going to be; does it all have to go to a single charity, are tax receipts generated?  That all gets worked out at the meeting.  Could be neat – could be very effective.

Meet for an hour.

Jointly select a local charitable initiative.

Each write a $100 cheque to the selected Registered Charity and watch how the group’s commitment turns into a $10,000+ donation.

Do that four times a year and witness how $40,000 improves the lives of our neighbours when placed in the hands of deserving grass-roots agencies working to serve the local community.

This Group Is Perfect For You If:  you are committed to helping others in our community but are stretched for time; you want to be part of a powerful group of local women making an immediate, direct and positive effect on the lives of our neighbours; you want 100% of your donations to go directly to local charity;

The people putting this together in Burlington are: Marion Goard; Pat Grant; Megan Teall and Laurel Hubber.  Click on their email address below if you’ve any questions.

Laurel Hubber:

Marion Goard: 

Megan Teall:

Pat Grant:


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Are you a voter or a consumer? Noted author suggests you are a consumer being manipulated and not served by your government.

By Pepper Parr


January 21, 2014

Good authors, good books and a good interviewer can make for a pleasant evening.  Burlingtonians got some of each last night at the Central Library where Susan Delacourt talked with former Liberal MP Paddy Torsney about her book – Shopping for Votes.

Torsney, who has shopped for the odd vote herself, sat with Delacourt and tossed questions to the author of four books who has been covering the federal political scene for more than 25 years. 

The keeners – those that take notes like crazy and often ask a lot of questions.

She stunned this listener when she said Question Period in the House of Commons wasn’t worth listening to – this at a time when the public is seeing some of the very best opposition questioning of the Prime Minister day after day in a relentless onslaught that has kept the hottest political topic in front of the public for more than six months.  No mean feat in this world of 24 hour news cycles.

Delacourt’s fourth title appears to have struck a chord in those who question the way politics is done in Canada.

Delacourt is however on to something significant when she talks of the way politics has changed from a discussion about vision and direction to one where the political parties treat voters the way a toothpaste company treats its customers and merchandises product to them.

Delacourt believes Canadians’ relationship with their politicians changed with the consumer boom of the 1950s.  The explosion in consumerism resulted in advertising becoming the leading source of information — even in politics.

Frank McKeown, former Chief of Staff to Mayor Rick Goldring asked about how politicians can handle complex issues when voters tend not to be informed and don’t have the background needed to arrive at decisions.

But as she argues in her new book, Shopping for Votes, consumers have wants, while citizens have needs — and that creates a clash between short-term and long-term policies in the bid for votes.

Delacourt told her audience that she has found when she speaks to people about politics and elections she is asked: “Is this all there is to politics?”  It’s not much different than going to the mall she said and then added that her very first visit to a mall was here in Burlington.

The Milton native said she found that “government is done to you instead of being you” and that governing today has followed a consumer approach.  We started with Henry Ford telling us we could have any colour of car we liked as long as it was black.  He made the cars and we went to him to buy them.

That shifted Delacourt pointed out when corporation used advertising to tell people what they had and hoped that you bought it.  We are now at the point said Delacourt where political parties research and poll the public to find out what they want and then make it for them.

A healthy, just under 100 audience, took in the event on one of the colder evenings the city has experienced. An older crowd – the kind that tend to vote. Was there a future first lady for the city in the audience?

Delacourt won a  Canadian Journalism Fellowship at Massey College where she happened upon a course in “material culture”. It was essentially about our relationship to stuff, and it raised a lot of good questions about consumerism.   “I was taking the course” she said “at the same time as the 2008 election was under way, and I suddenly realized that the politics friendliest to consumers (Conservatives) was the winning formula.

Delacourt explained to her audience that the Conservative government doesn’t like data in government but they love it in politics and are relentless in digging out small pockets of support and exploiting each to the fullest.  She gave the example of the snow mobile community for which the party bought a magazine mailing list and began targeting individual households, first with research polling and then  with literature supporting ideas that had come out from the research.  Delacourt explained that the Conservatives were miles ahead of the Liberals on this type of engagement with the public.  She added that the New Democrats are pretty good at target polling as well –  they focus on consumer interest matters.

Book signings are a part of the game for authors. Delacourt, surprisingly tended to write fairly long notes in each book – not just a signature dashed off.

Delacourt brings 25 years of political reporting to her explanation that the public does no always understand that politics and government is not the same thing.

Many people want the government to operate as a business, to bring market discipline to the operation of government services – which is an interesting approach except that the public are not consumers or employees when it comes to government – and you can’t lay off voters when times are tough and revenue targets are not being met.

What the just short of 100 people at the event heard was a journalist who has been at the game for more than 25 years and has followed the current Prime Minister from the day he began to serve as an elected politician.  As an experienced observer she brings a critical eye to what she sees and is quite direct with her observations.

Book sales are what it is really all about. The event, a joint effort by the Public Library and A Different Drummer Books, was part of a series of events.

You can almost feel her ire rise when she talks of the “robo-calling” that took place in Guelph where it was a clear case of voter suppression. “We don’t know who the master mind in that situation was” she said, “ but we certainly know who the players were” and then added that that situation is not done with yet.  Elections Canada have been all over what was done.

According to Delacourt people do not get their information from news anymore – they get their information from advertising where the message is totally controlled.  Andy Frame, a Tory since the beginning of time told the audience that he had listened to Justin Trudeau at an event in Oakville and he was convinced the young man was going to be the “next Prime Minister of the country”.  That perked up Torsney’s ear and brought some comment from Delacourt who said it is too early to tell whether or not Justin is more than a flash in the pan but there is little doubt that there is something going on there.

As people were leaving the library the membership secretary of the Burlington Provincial Liberal Association approached Mr. Frame and asked if he would be interested in purchasing a membership.  Money did not exchange hands.

Is there hope asked one member of the audience?  There is according to Delacourt.  The British are finding that they don’t like being manipulated and the changes that we have seen in the United States where Barak Obama tapped into a deep yearning on the part of the black population to be at the table.

Delacourt explained that in Canada about 60% of the people vote and that 10% of that vote is really the swing vote – people who are not locked into a political party.  Every stripe and flavour of politics works at tying down their core vote and then doing whatever they feel they have to do to get more of than 10% than the other guys.

Paddy Torsney, Delacourt’s “interrogator” during the evening certainly understood what the author was saying when she declared that attack advertising certainly works.  Jacket at Joelle’s if you wanted to know.

What about those attack ads? Delacourt was asked.  “Well the certainly work” she replied.  Dionne and Ignatieff will attest to that.  And they will continue to work as long as the public gets its information from advertising.

The irony of all this for Delacourt is that at a time when there is more information available than ever before, people have less time to read and there is no one giving the public the analysis and background needed to make sense of all the noise and the clutter.

“Is it depressing” asked an audience member?  “No” replied Delacourt, but there didn’t appear to be a lot of confidence or certainty in the response.  Many feel Justin may turn out to be a “celebrity” rather than a sound political leader.

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