Joan and the Mayor: Columnist taken to task

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

July 15th, 2021



It is difficult at times to follow an argument when both sides are not in front of you.

This morning the Hamilton Spectator published a piece written by Mayor Mead Ward who takes Joan Little, a Spectator columnist, to task.

We have published both the Little column and the response from Meed Ward.

Joan Little column of July 7th in the Hamilton Spectator:

Tough council decisions exposing rifts in unity

When writing my last column, I got a rude awakening about how some things are done today in Burlington. I had questions about a city report on the Regional Official plan, so e-mailed a senior planning person to check that my understanding was accurate. The reply came from a name I didn’t recognize. Too late I realized it had been filtered through the communications dept – read PR people!

Because I watch committee and council meetings, I seldom request additional help about issues. This reply was filtered through PR people, an insult to highly capable specialists in their field. Citizens would thank communications staff if they improved the city’s dreadful web site, which offers several hundred (mostly irrelevant) results for any search.

The Adi development on Lakeshore is underway, a constant intrusion on neighbours’ lives.

Disclosure – I live nearby. The worst problem is that the Ford Government has overridden reasonable hours of work bylaws. Burlington’s, like many, is 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Ford’s is 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, seven days a week. Ironically many other businesses faced restrictions.

Adi simply wants too much development on a tiny lot. City staff refused it, as did council, but OMB chair Susan Schiller (now a full-time vice-chair of the new Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) approved it. Note – New legislation rolled five tribunals into one super-tribunal – the OLT. It handles land use, environment, conservation review (heritage), expropriation, mining, etc.

Because Adi wants 26 storeys on such a small lot, they’ve had to excavate seven floors to meet minimum parking standards – probably deeper for elevator shafts. This, within a couple of hundred meters of the lake. The site ponded regularly. They hit bedrock early, so have jack-hammered for months, from 6:00 am. And this small deep hole magnifies sound, like an echo chamber.

It there any chance that months of daily jack-hammering could weaken foundations of nearby buildings? Do cities ever do stress tests to ensure neighbouring buildings aren’t compromised by development activities?

Recently Coun. Lisa Kearns had hosted a virtual meeting with Adi to answer questions. There were few answers. A subsequent Adi communique made excuses about a “complex” project.

Surely they knew the deep parking garage (deepest in the city) required a larger excavator? That simultaneous activities could create problems? They did however provide a number to call when problems arose (905) 335-2929. With affected neighbours on all sides, calls could be numerous.

Council faces a tough 2022 budget that projects the city portion of total taxes (city, region and education) could rise 5.57 per cent, with an overall increase of 3.33 per cent.

The last council meeting exposed chinks in Mayor Marianne Meed Ward’s grip on council.

When this council was sworn in almost three years ago, only the mayor and Paul Sharman had experience. Five were new, and tended to “follow the leader”. Now they think for themselves.

The issue was Rainbow crosswalks. Burlington installed its first one last year for about $10,000, with consensus that the program would continue. Recently the mayor presented a motion to install six (three this year) and directed staff to address options on rainbow benches and banners.

Councillors Kearns, Sharman and Shawna Stolte supported one a year, because the mayor’s motion meant using unbudgeted dollars from reserve funds this year, and future capital budgets.

Meed Ward’s motion carried four to three. Then she issued a statement thanking the three who supported her, perhaps leaving the impression the other three did not support Pride.

In response the three dissenters took the unusual step of issuing their own statement, outlining costs associated with the mayor’s position. They claimed it would cost taxpayers up to $50,000 this year, and upwards of $100,000 plus, in unplanned future funding. Our mayor is capable, but my observation is that when she wants something, budgetary caution suffers.

It will be interesting to watch council as we approach 2022’s municipal election. Will the chinks become large chasms?

Freelance columnist Joan Little is a former Burlington alderperson and Halton councillor. Reach
her at


Meed Ward opinion piece in the July 15th, Hamilton Spectator:


Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Thank you to columnist Joan Little for her recent roundup of Burlington issues, particularly the recent 4-3 vote on funding additional rainbow crosswalks to show our city’s support for our 2SLGBTQIA-plus community.

There are several factual errors in the column that must be corrected, especially on such an important topic. I recognize these errors come from a statement on social media by several council members, which also contained inaccuracies. Accurate information can be found in the minutes or recording of meetings, all available online. (See June 8 minutes, item 5.5)

I brought a motion at committee to add three additional rainbow crosswalks in 2021, using the appropriate reserve fund, with consideration for three additional crosswalks to be discussed and funded during the 2022 budget discussions. Those discussions are still to come, and council will determine the source of funding at that time. The cost to date is an upset limit of $50,000 (not $100,000, as noted in the column).

Six crosswalks would provide one per ward throughout the city, something we heard was important from several councillors and the community. Doing multiple crosswalks now provides the potential for bulk savings on paint and contracted services.

It’s been said a council’s priorities are found not so much in the words of their strategic plan, but in the actions of their budget. We fund what we value.

The motion also provided consideration for rainbow benches and banners, with a report back from staff on cost and feasibility. That motion carried 5-2 at committee and 4-3 at council.

Only one alternative motion was presented at committee and supported by three council members.

The column stated councillors supported one rainbow crosswalk “per year” — that is incorrect. Per the minutes of the meeting, the actual motion tabled was for one additional crosswalk in 2021, and removing consideration for three additional crosswalks during upcoming budget discussions. If approved, that would have limited additional crosswalks to one and done. That motion failed 4-3.

I thanked those who supported the original motion. The three councillors who voted against it issued a statement explaining their vote, which is welcome. In the interest of transparency and accountability councillors are encouraged to explain to residents how they voted and why, whether in the majority or minority. I have regularly done so myself in my monthly newsletter, as both a councillor and now as mayor, including the vote count.

The characterization (and headline) that the 4-3 vote on this matter “exposed chinks” in the mayor’s “grip” on council, does a disservice to every member of Burlington council.

All members of council are fully capable, independent thinkers who have made decisions from the start of their terms based on the evidence presented, the merits of discussions and what they believe is best for their constituents. These decisions are done regardless of who puts the motion on the floor. Please respect that — and them.

I’m immensely proud of the careful thought and compassion they bring to each discussion. During this term, we have had 7-0, 6-1, 5-2 and 4-3 votes. That’s as it should be. I can’t imagine any council anywhere in the world that has unanimously passed every motion brought forward to them, nor is a 4-3 vote to be avoided. We welcome different viewpoints. When we disagree, we aim to do so respectfully.

On July 8, at committee, councillors unanimously supported a motion I brought forward to embark on renaming Ryerson Park, out of respect for Indigenous residents and as part of our path to reconciliation.

If reported on (and I hope it is), I hope this unanimous vote won’t be characterized as the mayor now regaining a “grip” on council.

Rather I hope coverage would focus on the importance of renaming the park as part of our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and the unanimous vote as reflective of the deep commitment of every member of council to reconciliation and action.

I hope these clarifications are helpful to your readers’ understanding of what took place.

Marianne Meed Ward is mayor of Burlington.

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New city auditor announced

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 14, 2021



The City of Burlington announced the appointment of Maciej Jurczyk as the City Auditor starting August 16.

The City Auditor reports directly to the Audit Committee, a standing committee of Burlington Council. The Audit Committee is comprised of both City Council members and citizen members, of which three members were directly involved in this hiring process.

city auditor

Maciej Jurczyk: newly appointed city auditor

Maciej brings over 20 years of internal audit and organizational performance experience. He has worked in both the public and private sectors. More recently, Maciej was with the City of Brampton in various audit and business improvement capacities as well as Director Internal Control & Organizational Performance for Niagara Region. Maciej was a member of the City of Burlington Audit Committee for four years as well as a member of the Halton Region Joint Audit Compliance Committee.
City Auditor role

The Office of the City Auditor is an independent office. The City Auditor sees the whole of the organization and supports the City in the achievement of its strategic, department and service-oriented goals and objectives. The work of a City Auditor includes:

• assessing how risks are managed
• providing recommendations to increase the certainty of achieving goals and objectives
• looking at operations through a continuous improvement lens to support enhancements
• advising and consulting management and staff during the development of new opportunities and projects to enhance internal controls and minimize risk.

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Deputy Chief Wilkie Appointed as Member of the Order of Merit

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 14th, 2021



On July 13, 2021, Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie was presented with the Member level of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki.

Wilkie Rober HRPS

Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie: MOM

The Member of the Order of Merit (M.O.M.) specifically recognizes exceptional service or performance of duty over an extended period, usually at the local or regional/provincial level. Normally, recipients are invited to a ceremony where they are presented with the insignia of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by the Governor General at Rideau Hall or la Citadelle. This year, due to the pandemic, the presentation was virtual in nature.

Established in October 2000, the Order of Merit of the Police Forces honours the leadership and exceptional service or distinctive merit displayed by the men and women of the Canadian Police Services, and recognizes their commitment to this country. The primary focus is on exceptional merit, contributions to policing and community development. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the Order’s Sovereign, the governor general is its Chancellor and a Commander, and the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is its Principal Commander.

There is a rigorous nomination and appointment process involved in receiving this recognition, with a focus on exceptional merit, contributions to policing, and community development and/or implementations.

Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie began his career with the Halton Regional Police Service in 1996. Throughout his career he has served in uniform operations in the Town of Milton, Town of Halton Hills, City of Burlington and Town of Oakville. He has worked in the Drug Unit, Mobile Surveillance Unit, Homicide Unit, Criminal Investigations Bureau, Domestic Violence Unit and as the Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief. He has also led several areas as the Operations Commander in Milton and Halton Hills, District Commander in Oakville, Critical Incident Commander for major public safety incidents and the Commander of Emergency Services, Training, and Human Resource Services. He was promoted to Deputy Chief of Regional Operations in 2018, and in October 2019, he started in his current role as Deputy Chief of District Operations.

In addition to his role as Deputy Chief, he is Vice President of the Executive Board of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and is also the Co-Chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

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City Council starts a six week break - back at it September 6th

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 14th, 2021



They waved to the cameras once the motion to adjourn was passed – and with that the seven members of Council were off for the summer.

They return to a thick schedule of meetings September 6th.

Some have set out pretty hectic schedules for themselves; others are taking a break.

Meed Ward - at lectern

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Nothing specific from the Mayor – she will network with her tribe and shore up the weak spots.

Stolte May 5

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Ward 4 Councillor Stolte is going to hold Pop Up meetings in parks throughout her ward. We lost count at seven locations. They will take place on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Bentivegna plans on something a little more subdued – he will be meeting with small groups of five or six in back yards to listen and to ensure that they know he will be running again.

AB Apr 20

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

Bentivegna is very effective in working a crowd; he plunges right in and makes friendly. He isn’t as available for media – basically he doesn’t respond; he used to – early in his first campaign he posed for pictures and talked about his plans as a city councillor. When he didn’t like what we had to say – he stopped talking.

Sharman Jan 2020

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Councillor Sharman is going to focus on his Orchard Park community – it might have to be virtual. He has an annual Appleby Line event that might make it out of the Covid19 social distancing limitations.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith will be taking part in a couple of community events. The Rolling Horse Tour d’Aldershot is on his calendar. Summer is cottage time for the Galbraith household.

Every member of Council will begin, or have already begun, looking at their election prospects.

Lisa Kearns

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns will be doing some Zoom broadcasting. A usually reliable source told the Gazette that Kearns told him she would not be running for the Council seat even if she lost the attempt to gain the Liberal nomination for a seat in the Legislature.

We all know how that event went – she dropped out the day another candidate threw her hat into the ring.
Kearns can be mercurial at times. Will she live up to the statement she is reported to have made?

The long break gives the people elected to represent the interests of the tax payers time to think about what they have managed to get done and what they want to do with the time left in this term of office.

The achievements have been significant – they set a different direction in terms of the development that is taking place and will take place.

They have also come to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses are of their fellow council members and what they can achieve personally.

Some rude awakenings for several.

For those that decide to run again – most of them will – but they aren’t all going to retain their seats.

The Mayor will run again – she loves the job and, truth be told, there is no one out there who can beat her at this point in time.

Also true – she was the best choice the city had for Mayor in 2018

The budget could trip her up – there are too many changes coming on the expense side. Insurance premiums are going to sky rocket for the municipal sector – and there isn’t much councils can do.

Spending on small items will add up –a reported $100,000 for Rainbow Crosswalks comes under the Mayor’s “want to have”. She used to talk in terms of must have and nice to have.

There are two members of Council with Mayoralty aspirations – both realize this is not their time – 2026 might be.


City Manager Tim Commisso

City Manager Tim Commisso has done a fine job of rejigging the way the administration is to operate and put some very qualified people in place. He has a number of top level positions that will see retirements – Legal and Finance might not change while the pandemic has to be dealt with but once things are secure they will want to live different lives.

Will Commisso renew his contract? Probably not – but his work isn’t done yet.

However, his replacement gets better every day.  And a majority of Council thinks she great.  Awesome was the word used by several.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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If you need proof of your vaccinations.

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 14th, 2021



needle and vaccine

People can prove they are fully immunized by showing the physical or emailed receipt that was provided to them at the time of vaccination.

Vaccination receipts can also be downloaded or printed through the provincial portal.


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City manager now has the authority to make $250,000 spending decisions - he has to tell Council in September how many times he did that

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 14th, 2021



Council is on their summer break until September 6th.

The city will wake up each day – do the things a city does and hope that the wheels don’t fall off.

The City is still in a declared State of Emergency which puts the day to day running of the city in the hands of the Emergency Control Group (ECG).

What if they have to do something quickly – really quickly to deliver the services council has approved?

Council found a solution for that – they gave the city manager delegated authority to spend $250,000 without referring to council before getting the cheque signed.

Pretty decent amount in terms of pocket change for city manager Tim Commisso to carry around. That kind of cash could certainly burn a hole in one’s pocket.

Commiso July 5 a

City manager Tim Commisso

To be serious this is just prudent management that allows the City Manager and his delegate (when the City Manager is absent) to make the decisions normally deemed to be decisions of Council. Such decisions would be limited in dollar value to $250,000 at a maximum per individual decision. In making these decisions, the City Manager and his delegate will have the support of Burlington Leadership Team and Emergency Control Group.

This authority begins on July 14 and stays in place until September 6.
The City Manager and the Mayor will stay in touch and if a situation crops up that is more than critical the Mayor can call a Special Meeting of Council and do the necessaries.
The City Manager is required to report any and all decisions made under this delegated authority to Council in the September Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability committee meeting.

In addition, the City’s Corporate Continuity of Governance & Operations Plan describes the importance of the succession of leadership, particularly when involved in an emergency situation, to ensure the City of Burlington can carry out mandated responsibilities. In the case of the ECG, this succession is clear between the City Manager and his alternate, namely the Executive Director, Environment, Infrastructure & Community Service.

FLOOD man walking in water Harvester Road sign

It was a relatively light downpour – it just lasted a long, long time.

Many will remember the crisis that occurred when during a Sunday in August 2014 rain began to fall and it kept falling. When it was all over the city had to deal with the 191 mm of rain that flooded basements, underpasses and large open areas.

The preparations in place at the time taught city council that things had to change.

In May 2020, the City’s service re-design strategy outlined a responsive and highly measured approach to resuming delivery of City services and operations. This strategy included a framework for governance and decision making, clearly outlining those decisions to be made by Council and those that could be made directly by the Burlington Leadership Team/ECG/Service Leads.

The decisions of Council are in accordance with the following approved framework:

Guidelines for ECG spending

There are five question the City Manager and his leadership have to ask when they are making a decision about the delivery of services.

City staff looked at a number of options before arriving at a recommendation:

1. Hold decisions until the resumption of committee and Council meetings in September – NOT RECOMMENDED

This option would hinder the City’s ability to respond to changes in the Provincial re-opening regulations and orders in a timely manner resulting in further financial impacts, potential loss of service and significant reputational damage.

2. Seek approval of Council to delegate decisions up to $250,000 per individual decision to the City Manager (or his delegate in his absence) –RECOMMENDED
This option is consistent with the application of all formal delegated authority decision making by the City whereby authority transcends from Council to an identifiable staff member. In discussion with the City Clerk, delegating most COVID re-opening activities to the City Manager through the Council break would be most appropriate. The City’s current policy framework, with the Delegated Authority By-law and Procurement By-law have Council established approval limits that will be respected throughout this time. In September, a report to CSSRA as an addendum would report the COVID-related activities during the break. When the dollar threshold is expected to exceed $250,000, the City Manager and City Clerk will confer with the Mayor on the need for a special council meeting.

3. Seek approval of Council to delegate decisions to the Mayor – NOT RECOMMENDED
This option is not consistent with the application of all formal delegated authority decision making by the City. Delegation of authority, as is the case with all areas under the existing Council approved Delegated Authority by-law, sees the authority transcend from Council to an identifiable staff member.

4. If and as required, Mayor to call a special meeting of City Council to consider and approve COVID related service redesign decisions – NOT RECOMMENDED
This option is contrary to Council’s prior approval of the annual Council Meeting Calendar which specifically sought to re-establish an extended break during July and August. In so doing, both Council and staff are
afforded the opportunity to “lead by example” and support measures that address ongoing fatigue and stress caused by many months of COVID emergency response. However, there is a provision in the recommendation for the City Manager and City Clerk to confer with the Mayor on a call of a special council meeting should the $250,000 per individual decision threshold be exceeded.

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

Joan Ford, the city’s Chief Financial Officer is on top of every financial decision made – her counsel is sought and respected by the City Manager.

The Chief Financial Officer continues to have corporate oversight of all COVID-19 service re-design decision impacts and reporting to Council. The City Finance team, working closely with other staff, have applied extraordinary due diligence in securing COVID related funding (approximately $20 million in total). As a result, the City is very well positioned financially to address any impacts arising from additional service redesign decisions in July and August.

As long as it doesn’t rain in August and assuming that the vast majority of the public act responsibly and get their vaccinations – we could be in for a decent summer.

The announcement yesterday by the Chief Medical Officer for the province that he expected a wave of infections in September is certainly a bummer.

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Brant Museum re-opens - features a Space Exhibit - starts July 20

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

July 14th, 2021



Things are opening up

Brant Museum transformedThe Brant Museum announced today that they have a special feature on Space that will run from July 20 – September 18, 2021

Health in Space: Daring to Explore is a special exhibition developed by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, one of three museums under Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation, in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency.

Brant museum SpaceHealth in Space demystifies the health challenges — such as variable gravity, radiation, and isolation — that astronauts face while living and working in space. Through authentic artifacts and captivating interactive activities, this exhibition will engage visitors to better understand Canada’s role in advancing health research.

Discoveries in this field will be essential for the success of future deep-space expeditions, and may also help solve medical challenges on Earth.

Health in Space also includes video interviews with Canadian astronauts, which offer first-hand insight into their experiences. A special section within the exhibition highlights astronaut David Saint-Jacques’ recent mission, from his selection and training to the experiments conducted while aboard the ISS.

The hours of operation are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 3:30pm, with COVID-19 protocols and procedures in place to allow the public to safely enjoy the galleries and exhibition.  Visitors can purchase tickets in advance online or in-person.

Museum hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 3:30pm with COVID-19 protocols and procedures in place to allow the public to safely enjoy the galleries and exhibition.

Entrance fee:  

$10 – adults

$8 – seniors

$6 – child

$30 – family (2 adults and up to 4 children)

Free – child under 3

Did you know…

Did you know that David Saint-Jacques was the most recent Canadian to go into space? Before he was an astronaut, he worked as a doctor in Puvirnituq, Nunavik, a remote community in Northern Quebec where he had to make work with minimal resources, just like in space!

Canadarm in space

Canadarm in use – serving the shuttle

Did you know that there is no “up” on the International Space Station (ISS)? The ISS is a small space, so all four walls are covered with workable equipment, therefore, whichever way an astronauts head is pointing is considered “up”. Also, switches have an very visible “On/Off” on them, since there is no “up” to show that it’s on.

Did you know that the Neuroarm was inspired by the same technology and principles at the Canadaarm? The NeuroArm allows surgeons to do very delicate operations while a patient is inside an Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine.

Did you know that Mercury is the smallest plant in our solar system? It is only about 40% larger than the Earth’s moon.

Did you know that astronauts go swimming to train for spacewalks? Floating in space is a lot like floating in water. Astronauts practice spacewalks underwater in a large swimming pool and train seven hours in the pool for every one hour they will spend on a spacewalk!

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Brave App – Another Tool to Prevent Fatal Drug Poisonings

graphic community 5By Staff

July 13th, 2021



In the first six months of 2020, Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) officers responded to 168 suspected drug poisonings. One-third of those victims overdosed while alone, and nearly one in five did not survive.

In their media release the police explain why a new service has been put in place and the outcome they hope will be realized.

“We have been asked why we have taken a harm reduction approach to the overdose crisis in our community. The answer is simple: our goal is to prevent overdose deaths. Ultimately, a life saved today is an opportunity for recovery tomorrow.

“In an effort to ensure our community is aware of any and all resources available to them, we would like to introduce you to the Brave App.

“The Brave App is designed to connect people at risk of overdose with help they need: an ally they can talk to, a human supporter to help them stay safe, and digital monitoring technology to help them when they’re in danger. The app connects them with a community of overdose responders, and/or professional emergency first responders.

“The app is another tool that can be used to reduce the harms to individuals, families and communities from substance use, and is a complement to the services and resources that are available in Halton. The Brave App is not a substitute for calling 911.

“The Brave App was developed independently by Brave Technology Co-op, a multi-stakeholder cooperative in Vancouver B.C., and is not affiliated with the Halton Regional Police Service.

Brave app

Designed by people who use drugs.

How the App Works
1. A person at risk of overdose can use the app to connect with remote, peer support through a voice call.

2. If your supporter thinks you might be overdosing (through a pre-determined span of non-response), they will request access to the details of your private Rescue Plan.
This plan can include your location, access instructions, and an emergency contact to call instead of, or in addition to, calling 911.

3. You will then receive a 10-second countdown alert letting you know that information will be shared unless you indicate that you are ok by dismissing the alert.

4. If you are unable to dismiss the alert, then that information will be revealed to your supporter, who will only use it for the purpose of sending help.

Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act
If you use the app, and your Rescue Plan includes calling 911, our frontline officers and other first responders in Halton carry naloxone and we want to assist. As a reminder, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides broad legal protections for anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose.

This means that individuals, including youth, will not be charged for offences such as simple possession for calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.

People who request supervision remain anonymous and their location is only revealed if it is necessary to keep them safe. If there is no overdose, then their location is not shared. No account is needed to use the Brave App, and you don’t need to share your name, number, e-mail, or mailing address. No personal information is shared with responding Emergency Services unless it is part of the pre-determined response and only if the Rescue Plan is activated.

Learn More
The Brave App can be used by anyone with a mobile phone and internet access, and is available for download, for free, on both Apple and Android phones.

Click HERE to learn more about the Brave App

Photo credit: Sara Wylie, National Day of Action | February 21, 2017

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Council to hold its last meeting until September - much has been achieved - still a lot left to do and some unfortunate practices have crept in

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 13th, 2021



City Council meets at 1:00 pm this afternoon for their last meeting until September.

The agenda for that month is loaded.

There have been very few delegations since the first lockdown in March of 2020 – those that did take place left little impression on those listening.

During the period of time the city was in a State of Emergency with its affairs guided by an Emergency Control Group they met whenever it had to –seldom less than twice a week. The City is still in a State of Emergency, which is where the city manager thinks it should remain for as long as possible.

Provincial funding goes to those who are in a State of Emergency.

Last week Council went through an impressive schedule of Standing Committee meetings that were both controversial on some levels and solid governance on others.

The Mayor’s ill-advised tweet about support she got from some of her colleagues but not others was petty politics at its worst – while the comment from Councillor Sharman on the decision by Human Resources to do away with annual performance reports was excellent governance.

Sharman Jan 2020

Councillor Sharman was not amused.

We will let you know when the annual performance reviews are put back in. Sharman will beaver away at this – expect him to prevail.

Will we see that decision as a Staff Direction? That might be expecting a little too much.

City Council meeting - before COVID

We used to get this: City Council meeting – before COVID

The meeting today will be swift – there is next to nothing on the Agenda page in terms of documents that are going to be approved.

Council with clerk

Now we get this. All the Council members were present – they don’t always all appear on the screen at the same time

The City Manager’s work plan – all the things he is going to get done, was not available to media during the Standing Committee meeting.

Some of the narrative in the City Manager’s report was available but the specifics, what was going to get done and when, was not available and the city communications adviser we dealt with said it would not be available.

Public participation was a feature of the Goldring council – there were opportunities to speak – even though they didn’t listen all that well.

This Council is using the pandemic, and the phrase “an abundance of caution” as a reason to keep the public away – and at this point they have succeeded. We no longer hear from Gary Scobie, Jim Young or Blair Smith to name just a few.

During the last Standing Committee  last week we did see some rumbling on the part of Councillor Stolte about finding a way to involve living, breathing members of the public.

Stolte got jerked around but her point was made. The City Clerk did set out his concerns – there were a lot of them, few with much in the way of merit.

Council will wish us all a fun summer and be away from their posts until September. Some will begin thinking about their re-election plans. Two of the seven are at risk with a third in for a surprise once his constituents get roused.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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New items added to the City's Lending Library program - courtesy Tim Hortons

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 12th, 2021



More play equipment available to borrow through the Lending Library, thanks to donation from Tim Hortons
Burlington residents can now borrow more play equipment from the City’s Lending Library program, located at Brant Hills Community Centre at 2255 Brant St.

Thanks to a donation from Tim Hortons, the City was able to purchase more equipment, so now more families can play together, get outside and try new activities.

The play equipment is available to borrow for free (with a credit card deposit) for a one-week period. Equipment bookings can only be made online. Pick up and drop off is located at the east entrance, through Duncaster Drive. All items are disinfected between each use.

Bikes and Pickle Ball equipment can be picked up at the Seniors’ Centre

For a complete list of play equipment available to borrow, visit online reservations. Check the website regularly as new items are frequently being added.

Examples of equipment to borrow:

Play lend scope

A telescope is expensive – before buying one you might want to borrow what the city has in its Lending Library.

• Archery set
• Beginners astronomy kit
• Bird watching kit
• Giant outdoor matching game
• Large Connect 4 game
• Lawn darts
• Portable practice target net
• Stilts set
• Bikes, including a three-wheeled bicycle

For more information on the Lending Library program, visit

Link to the site showing what is available is HERE


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Traffic will be a bit slower on Walkers Line north of Britannia - bridge being replaced.

News 100 greenBy Staff

July 12th, 2021



For the cyclists that use Walkers Line there is a reward while they wait for the construction work to be completed. Work has begun and is expected to be completed by the end of August.

The Bridge Replacement work being done on Walkers Line 1.7 km north of Britannia Road will result in a new bridge width of 1.5 metre on each side.

Bridge work will be staged, west side then east side. Roadway will be reduced to one lane and controlled with a temporary traffic signal.

The new bridge will meet the high water demands from heavy rainfall events and will be constructed with an upgraded traffic barrier and railings.

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Income Inequality in Halton - disturbing differences

News 100 redBy Staff

July 12th, 2021



The widening income gap between the rich and the poor can impact negatively on economic growth, standard of living, health and well being, and social inclusion. High income inequality also raises a moral question about fairness and social justice.1 In Canada, the income gap between the top 1 percent and the median household has been historically large and is growing steadily larger.2

Custom tabulation from Statistics Canada’s taxfiler data file provides an opportunity to learn more about income inequality in Halton Region. Determining the share of total income by population deciles is one of many ways to measure income inequality. The population is divided into ten equal groups (10% each) from the poorest (lowest decile) to the richest (highest decile) – according to the distribution of values of a particular variable. Then the proportion of total income captured by each group is calculated. If each group has 10% of the total income, there is no income inequality.

cdh Income differencesUsing the most currently available data, in 2018 the highest decile (10%) of the population in Halton has by far the largest share (25%) of the total after-tax income (disposable income) and the bottom decile captures only 3%.

Oakville has a wider gap between the highest decile (28%) and the lowest decile (2.1%) than the other three local municipalities.

The concentration of income/wealth becomes more skewed when looking at income of the top 1 percent of the population.

The top 1% of Halton’s population (5,730 individuals) has 7% of the total disposable income. The top 1% of Oakville’s population (2,040 individuals) has 8.3% of the town’s total disposable income.

Another measure of income disparity is to compare income levels of various income groups. The population is sorted according to their average disposable income and then divided into 10 equal groups (deciles) each containing 10% of the population.

In Halton, the average disposable income for the top decile (top 10% of the population) was 9 times higher than the bottom decile (bottom 10% of the population). In other words, on average, for every after-tax dollar earned by individuals in the top decile, those at the bottom decile earned 11.2 cents. In Oakville, the difference is 13 times. The individuals in the bottom decile earned only 7.5 cents. In fact, the bottom decile in Oakville has the lowest average after-tax income among the local municipalities.

CDH GRAPH 2 jULY 2021The impact of Covid-19 on the income gap among Canadians has been pronounced.

According to a CIBC Economics report,3 Covid-19 has resulted in a dramatic widening of the income gap.

The data shows that this has been fuelled not only by the expected loss of many low-wage jobs, but also by an unexpected increase in the number of high-wage jobs in the fourth quartile of the wage scale, which had year-over-year growth of more than 9% or 260,000 jobs.

In fact, the report goes on to say “…if it were not for the increase in high-wage jobs during the recession, the overall level of employment today would have been almost one million below the pre-recession level.”

As we come out of the pandemic, how we respond to those that have been most impacted is critical to recovery.
If you have any feedback/suggestions on the issue of income inequality in Halton, you can contact us at data@

Community Development Halton would like to acknowledge the ongoing financial support of the Regional Municipality of Halton.


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Unpopular 400 series highway - GTA West - moves into phase 2

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 12th, 2021



The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is in Stage 2 of the GTA West Transportation Corridor Route Planning and Environmental Assessment (EA) Study.

After confirming the Preferred Route and 2020 Focused Analysis Area on August 7, 2020, the GTA West Project Team commenced developing the Preferred Route to a preliminary design level of detail.


With the decision made to proceed with the highway – MTO moves to Phase 2

Stage 2 focuses on a new highway and transit corridor.

Extending from Highway 400 in the east to the Highway 401/407 ETR interchange area in the west.

Includes a 400- series highway and transit, and potential goods movement priority

To further meet the public’s needs and address community questions, a Webinar will be hosted by the GTA West Project Team on July 28, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The transit corridor will be 60m of the total ROW, will run parallel to the GTA West highway and will:

Gta West row

Right of way for a highway that will have lanes for buses as well

Allow buses (and potentially in the future, light rail vehicles) to operate on express schedules.

Include stations at strategic locations and provide transit connections with buses onto major arterial roadways, Highway 401, 407ETR, Highway 410, Highway 427, and Highway 400.

July 28, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Zoom registration link: .

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Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

June 11th, 2021



The province in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health is moving the province into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.

In order to enter Step Three of the Roadmap, Ontario needed to have vaccinated 70 to 80 per cent of individuals 18 years of age or older with one dose and 25 per cent with two doses for at least two weeks, ensuring a stronger level of protection against COVID-19.

Step Three of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of additional indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place. This includes, but is not limited to:

Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;


Community meetings like this will not take place during this stage of the Re-Open

Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;

Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;

Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;

Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space.

Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less;

Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);

Essential and non-essential retail with with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;

Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;

Brant Museum rendering

Museum can now be opened to the public.

Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors;

Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:

up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less)
up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).

Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; and

Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).

Meed Ward in a mask

Mayor Marianne Med Ward can still wear her mask in public.

Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step Three. This is in alignment with the advice on personal public health measures issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada, while also accounting for Ontario specific information and requirements. Face coverings will also be required in some outdoor public settings as well.

The pandemic is not over and we must all remain vigilant and continue following the measures and advice in place, as the Delta variant continues to pose a threat to public health.”

The province will remain in Step Three of the Roadmap for at least 21 days and until 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75 per cent have received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent of their eligible population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated.

Other key public health and health care indicators must also continue to remain stable. Upon meeting these thresholds, the vast majority of public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings, will be lifted. Only a small number of measures will remain in place, including the requirement for passive screening, such as posting a sign, and businesses requiring a safety plan.

Ontario’s epidemiological situation is distinct from other jurisdictions and the Delta variant is the dominant strain in Ontario, which is not the case with some other provinces. As a result, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, face coverings will also continue to be required for indoor public settings. The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to evaluate this need on an ongoing basis.

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School Board Trustees explain their decision to rename Ryerson Public School

background graphic redBy Staff

July 11th, 2021



shuttle worh and Tracy

Trustees Margo Shuttleworth and Tracy Ehl Harris delegating virtually before a city Standing Committee.

Halton District School Board trustees Margo Shuttleworth and Tracy Ehl Harris delegated before a city Standing Committee earlier this week to explain what the Board of Education was doing in the matter of renaming a school.

We have heard from many voices in the community and had many conversations which culminated with formal requests from community members, including those who are survivors of residential schools to consider a change in name of our school on Woodview Drive.

Of course, we have also heard from some who feel we are discounting the positive contributions of Egerton Ryerson to the Canadian education system. He did indeed create school boards, making textbooks more uniform, and making education free. He also advocated for the separation of Church and State within education….. apart from the education for Indigenous children.

For Indigenous students he drafted a Ryerson Industrial Schools Report which supports the creation of industrial schools. These schools have been called manual labour schools, industrial schools, boarding schools, and residential schools. They included religious instruction which Ryerson felt necessary to assimilate and civilize Indigenous children, .

students with nun

Instruction for the most part was delivered by Clergy

We need to be accountable to the legacy that Ryerson also left behind and the trauma and hurt it causes our students and their families to feel. We must be compassionate to the hurt and trauma that has been part of his legacy.

I am going to read for you an overview of The Ryerson Experiment compiled by Nishnawbe Aski Nation ( Nishnawbe Aski Nation Indian Residential Schools in Ontario, 2005 ). This group represents 49 First Nation communities within northern Ontario with a population of membership (on and off reserve) estimated around 45,000 people.

In 1845, a report to the Legislative Assembly recommended that industrial boarding schools be adopted for the education of Indian children. In 1847, Dr. Egerton Ryerson, the Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada (Ontario) suggested a method of establishing and conducting the industrial schools for the benefit of Indian children.

Their purpose should be to “give a plain English education adapted to the working farmer and mechanic” and in addition “agriculture, kitchen-gardening and mechanics so far as mechanics is connected with the making and repairing the most useful agricultural implements”. To attain their objective, it would be necessary for the students to reside together, with adequate provision being made for their domestic and religious education. Dr. Ryerson especially deemed the latter essential. “With him (the Indian) nothing can be done to improve and elevate his character and condition without the aid of religious feeling”.

boys prayers before bed

Spiritual guidance was part of the curriculum at the residential schools.

For this reason he insisted that the animating and controlling spirit of each Industrial School “should be a joint effort of the Government and of the religious organization concerned. Decisions on the appointment of the School Superintendent, buildings to be erected and conditions for admission of pupils were also to be made jointly. The Government would be responsible for inspection and the laying down of general rules and regulations as well as making financial grants to support each of the operating cost, and provide spiritual guidance for the pupils.

It was these experiments that lay the foundation for residential schools. Ryerson’s approach was to separate Indigenous children from their parents in order to achieve assimilation and although it can be recognized that he made many contributions to the education system, this piece of his legacy has had a traumatic and harmful impact on a part of our school community.

The name Ryerson, for many, brings up experiences of trauma and mistrust of the education system. We value all students who are part of our HDSB community and we must live up to our commitments in recognizing the harm that some of our school names may have.


The delegation was then passed to Board of Trustees  Vice Chair Tracy Ehl Harrsion  to give an overview of policy and links to our Multi Year Plan

I am going to discuss the policy overlay at the Halton District School Board that compels this renaming process.

The Board adopted a new strategic multi year plan in late 2020.

  • The Multi-Year Plan (MYP) is a strategic four-year plan created collaboratively for the Halton District School Board (HDSB). The purpose of the MYP is to set direction and prioritize the collective actions of all stakeholders to ensure our efforts as an organization are aligned and coordinated to support the more than 65,000 students 9,000 staff and the broader HDSB
  • Five Key Areas & Commitments
    • Equity & Inclusion
    • Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Learning and Achievement
  • Environmental Leadership
  • Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness
  • The Board motion touches on a number of these commitments, including equity and inclusion, mental health and well being and Indigenous Perspectives and
  • Specifically the commitment related to Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness includes:
    • Provide opportunities for a whole community approach to understanding the  impacts of colonialism, past and present.
  • Foster engagement with Indigenous peoples, communities, practices, perspectives and realities to build awareness, mutual respect and shared
  • Enhance learning about Treaty relationships, Indigenous rights, residential schools and Indigenous peoples’ contributions to Canada to fulfil the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action for

These were not small schools. Above is a photograph of the Kamloops Indian Residential School where the graves of 215 students who attended the school were discovered.

 With this as our backdrop, as Trustee Shuttleworth indicated that the Board received a number of requests to rename Ryerson Public School. We also received a number of messages indicating that we needed to do research to understand the positive contributions Ryerson has made to public education. When the renaming requests were received, the School Naming and Renaming Policy and Governance Procedure and Administrative Procedure were followed.

These were updated in January 2021, to reflect the new MYP and the current social context.

Once of the guiding principles of the policy is to “Consider equity, diversity and inclusion in the school community;”. The Governance Procedure details what is under the purview of Trustees, while the Administrative Procedure details staff responsibilities, and the two dovetail. In summary:

Renaming requests are submitted to the Director’s office, and the Chair and Director determine whether or not to bring forward a report to the Board. According to the Procedure, the renaming of a school shall be considered if: a) the current name constitutes a significant departure from generally-recognized standards of public behaviour which is seen to undermine the credibility, integrity or relevance of the HDSB’s contemporary values; or b) the current name was appropriated from a culture or community without the necessary recognition or awareness process.

In this case, a report was brought forward to initiate the renaming, and it was unanimously supported by the Board. Next steps include:

  • Forming an ad hoc committee, involving staff, Trustees, and members of the school
  • Notifying and seeking pubic input and ideas from the whole community (staff, students, community) which are narrowed down by the committee, and vetted to ensure the uphold the MYP and the criteria of the
  • A short list of up to five, fully researched names, are submitted to the Board of Trustees for discussion and ultimate selection of one

This process for the current school under consideration, is to be wrapped up by the end of November 2021.

The discussion at the Board table was not an easy one, and certainly there are complexities. At the end of the day, the Board must uphold the commitments of the MYP. Its development reflects the ideas and values of thousands of people in the HDSB community. Now is our time to be true to those commitments, not only to the words, but to the actions that as a community we decided will make a positive impact on this and future generations.

During the discussion at the Board table, it was noted that the adjacent park has the same name, and as such, the Board wanted to alert you to the process that is going to be undertaken for the school.

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City council hears from an Indigenous Elder on the matter of renaming parks and schools.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2021



The Standing Committee on Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services met earlier this week and almost swooned as they listened to Stephen Paquette talk about why the Ryerson school and the park adjacent to it should be renamed.

The Councillors and the two school board trustees who took part as delegations were like high school students listening to a rock star.

paquette Stephen

Stephen Paquette.

Paquette on the other hand was sensible and balanced.

Sure he took a strong position on the getting rid of the Ryerson name but he said he could live with statues of Sir John remaining providing there was a plaque beside the statue putting the man’s role in context.

Unfortunately many are not as sensible and balanced as Paquette.

He taught the Councillors some important lessons; one being the way we choose to elevate some people and create a statue and put it in a public place without a full understanding of the person. He seemed to be saying the statues were more adulation than realistic accounting of the person.

The fear I have is that we will rename the park and the school and then move on to something else forgetting what the real issue is – first making amends for the harm we created and then giving the Indigenous people what they deserve. Decent housing and water they can drink.

A number of years ago Gord Downie stood on a stage and implored the Prime Minister who was in the audience to take care of the Indigenous people. And how much has been done for those people since that time?

I look to Paquette being the person who keeps our feet to the flame and helps us get to the point where the members of the First Nation are true equals.

I was impressed with the man – he is an Elder serving as a staff consultant with the Halton District School Board. He is an excellent spokesperson for his people.

Joseph Boyden, wrote a book: The Orenda. It is a hard book to read on the relationship between the Jesuits who came to Canada to civilize the “savages”. There was painful cruelty on both sides. Boyden created significant controversy writing on Indigenous people. Boyden is primarily of Irish and Scottish ancestry. A number of Indigenous writers and researchers came forward to publicly state Boyden did not have the right to speak on behalf of any Indigenous community because he was not a First Nations citizen and ultimately not Indigenous.

We are going to be dogged with controversy on the question of how we atone for some time. Hopefully the plight of the Indigenous people gets improved while we squabble.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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City beginning to plan for events - sign that the restrictions might be easing up soon

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 9th, 2021



On April 10th of next year the people of Burlington will gather at the Cenotaph just north of city hall and celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Cenotaph. The creation of the monument was the result of a large community driven initiative to honour the resident veterans that fought in World War 1.

The initiative brought together service organizations, churches and residents to raise the funds and commission the works, a true community effort.

Keenleyside with partial monument

Ed Keenleyside knows more about the Cenotaph and how it came into being. So much that he convinced the city to print copies of the book and make it available to the public.

Last year the city entered into an agreement to print copies of a book written by Ed Keenleyside on the history of the cenotaph and how it came into being.

There was discussion at a Standing Committee earlier this week about using the anniversary of the community spirit that brought about the Cenotaph and tying it to the same community spirit that is getting the city through the pandemic.

The Standing Committee decided the Cenotaph celebration should be a stand-alone event.

The area around the Cenotaph is to be identified in future as Veteran Square; (Not Veteran”s”)

April 9 is Vimy Ridge Day in Canada.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge is Canada’s most celebrated military victory. An often mythologized symbol of the birth of Canadian national pride and awareness.

There are two oak trees that were grown from seeds taken from trees in France at the Vimy Memorial; a piece of land that the French government deeded to Canada.

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Regional Public Health office provides an update - the Covid19 virus and its variants are still with us and still dangerous

News 100 redBy Staff

July 8th, 2021



As of Thursday, July 8, 2021, 638,849 doses have been administered in Halton, which includes 394,519 first doses and 244,330 second doses.

This represents 79 per cent of Halton’s population aged 12 and up who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 46 per cent who have received both doses.

The vaccination status dashboard is updated Monday to Friday between 12 and 2 p.m.

The Regional Dashboard with data updated every day can be found HERE


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Rivers: Who is Going to Pay for Global Warming ?


“Exxon worked alongside Chevron, Shell, BP and smaller oil firms to shift attention away from the growing climate crisis. They funded the industrys trade body, API, as it drew up a multimillion-dollar plan to ensure that climate change becomes a non- issuethrough disinformation. The plan said victory will be achievedwhen recognition of uncertainties become part of the conventional wisdom’”.

 (Chris McGreal – The Guardian 30 Jun 2021)


Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

July 8th, 2021



Over 700 people in B.C. alone have died so far this summer from the heat dome that sits over much of that province.  How could any rational person now dispute the link to global warming?  The rising temperature resulted in over 200 forest fires in what was to have been Canada’s biggest renewable carbon reserve.  Instead, the nation’s forests have now become another source of carbon emissions.

Lytton BC fore- street level

Street level view of a burned out Lytton, BC

It is estimated that over a billion marine animals have perished in the fires and heat, and we have no idea about the land animals we’ve lost as well.  And it’s not just Canada.  New Zealand has just recorded it’s hottest winter ever.  Siberia is on track for a repeat of last year’s hottest year ever.  And even Antarctica has recorded 18 degrees last February, the temperature I keep my house thermostat in the winter.

If there are still climate deniers, or those who doubt that human activity is responsible for the rapid change in the planet’s weather patterns, they should truly be ashamed of themselves.  It’s been over a century since scientists first suggested that all the CO2 being emitted would eventually warm up the planet.

In the 1970’s computerization enabled climate modelling which predicted pretty much what we are seeing today.  In fact climate scientists now worry that, if anything, they have been too conservative, have underestimated the speed of global warming.

Then there are the other scientists, the ones employed by the fossil fuel industries who knew what was coming as far back as the 1950’s.   But neither their boys in the upstairs board rooms nor the political leaders we’d elected to protect us seemed to get the memo.   The message was blunt.  If we don’t change we’re all likely headed for a doomsday scenario like we’ve never known.

But profits were good and the oil fossil fuel lobby was powerful politically, so their solution was to muddy the waters, create enough uncertainty so that nobody could be sure.  The answer was to deny global warming and, when climate change became inevitable, deny that humans were responsible.

denial is not policy glob warming

Government did their best to sabotage global efforts at reducing carbon emissions.

It is one thing to unknowingly endanger humanity, but quite another to do so deliberately, falsifying data, outright lying and deceiving the public, as the oil executives did during the nineties and 2000’s.  They and the GW Bush government did their best to sabotage global efforts at reducing carbon emissions, and perverted the serious discussion of climate change.

Bush almost immediately after being elected in 2000 pulled the USA out of the binding Kyoto emissions agreement.  And he and the energy lobby then proceeded to do their best to sabotage the international climate change deliberations.

Canada did sign onto Kyoto, and we might have met our first committed emission reduction, thanks to Ontario closing its coal power plants.  But Stephen Harper, who had been unsupportive of Ontario’s Liberal government’s climate initiative, had done little else to reduce Canada’s growing carbon footprint.  And no sooner had he won his parliamentary majority than he pulled Canada out of the agreement.

When considering the unethical approach of the fossil fuel sector to their business, it is not difficult to look at another industry which profited from misery caused by its poison.   Big tobacco had long been lying about the debilitating health effects of the product it had been pushing, and had deliberately misled the consuming public on its health effects.  Several court actions in the USA eventually persuaded the industry to pay up just under $250 billion for the endless suffering it had caused to so many.

Reagan - cigarette ad

Ronald Reagan, a future president of the United States promoting the use of tobacco. Almost everyone smoked — until we learned how dangerous it was.

There was legal action also in Canada, and hundreds of billions of dollars were delivered in assigned settlements, $300 billion for Ontario alone.  However, big tobacco cried bankruptcy and premiers Legault and Ford, last year, conducted secret negotiations with the companies.  And it now appears that, in a bizarre turn of events, big tobacco might be let off the hook providing they make an effort to get their customers to stop using their products.

There have been a rising number of legal actions in the USA against the oil companies and Big Tobacco is the model they are using since it fits the pattern so well.   But nobody should expect any kind of accountability among the political leaders, who like Stephen Harper wasted ten years, or Pierre Trudeau who helped get the oil sands project started back in the seventies.

And there is his son Justin who promised back in his first election to end public subsidies for the fossil industry and has yet failed to do so, and in fact is building a couple of new pipelines to serve the oil and gas industry.  Subsidies are the other side of a carbon tax – they effectively lower the price of fuel production and thus serve to promote its greater use.   Canada has been named as the G7 nation which most subsidizes its oil and gas sector.

O'Toole smug 4

Mr. O’Toole changed his messaging on the carbon tax

Mr. Trudeau has been outspoken on confronting global warming and that has helped him in the polls, particularly when the opposition party denies the reality of climate change.   That might just be the loud voice of Alberta and Saskatchewan struggling with the last gasps of their dying oil industry sector.   And it was a message we all got more from Mr. Harper and Mr. Scheer than the more moderate Mr. O’Toole.  At least Mr. O’Toole changed his messaging on the carbon tax after the court legality ruling, finally acquiescing, albeit with an unworkable tax model.

There are still many otherwise intelligent people who will tell you that they now believe that climate change is happening, but doubt that humans are mostly responsible.  If nothing else a big fat court ruling may help the misguided find themselves.  And realizing the mess we are creating and leaving it to future generations to start acting responsibly to  reduce their carbon foot print.

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

Background links:

Humans Caused –    Ford Knew –      Heat Dome –      New Zealand –

Trudeau –     Climate Scientists –   Antarctica –     Billion Marine Animals – 

US Tobacco –     Canadian Tobacco –     Oil Company Deceit –    “Air Pollution Deaths”

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Council instructs Clerk to prepare a plan for returning the public to council meetings

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 8th, 2021



You won’t be able to actually attend a council meeting in September but expect to hear of a report that sets out how council meetings will evolve out of their current virtual format into what has been described as a hybrid set up.

Getting the motion Councillor Stole had onto the table proved awkward for everyone – for once the motion got passed the procedural bylaw that sets out how “walk on” motions are handled everyone was for the idea.

Burlington Bayhawks Under 14 girls soccer team, pose for the camera after being recognized by city council for an outstanding season

There was a time when the Council Chamber would be packed with people who were being recognized. When will that day return?

We learned that just a few days before the ECG (Emergency Control Group) had been discussing this very matter and opining that it was perhaps a good idea to discuss this.

The Clerk too had been giving this deep thought and advised council earlier in the week that the City Manager had asked that he prepare a report.

We did learn today there are some significant technical challenges in getting people hooked up into one seamless session with some in the chamber and some elsewhere.

The Clerk asked rhetorically who would be able to attend the meetings and the matter of vaccination was brought up.

If you’ve not been completely inoculated entry into any public space should be prohibited.

For some reason the ‘anti-vaxers’ feel that they have the right to threaten the health of everyone else just because they either don’t understand the science or have chosen to see it as junk science.

You can’t go to school if you haven’t been vaccinated for measles. If there are those who are not or don’t want to be vaccinated – let them attend virtually.

Nisan July5

Councillor Nisan congratulated Councillor Stolte for bringing the matter of public attendance to the Standing Committee.

There might be some benefit to keeping a virtual component of the public meetings.

Everyone congratulated Councillor Stolte for bringing the matter up – no one apologized to her for making it so hard for her to get the motion on the table.  She stood her ground – something the Councillor from ward 1 might learn to do.

Councillor Nisan publicly congratulated Stole for her efforts.

Related news story:

Ward 3 Councillor gives ward 4 Councillor a tough time

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