Is Mayor Meed Ward considering a run for the office of Regional Chair ?

By Pepper Parr

June 5th, 2022



With the Ontario election over and Doug Ford in place until 2026, running the province with little in the way of an opposition party, our eyes turn to the municipal election in October.

Look for a move on the part of Councillor Sharman to indicate that he will run for the office of Mayor.

Jane McKenna, MPP when the photo was taken, at a Freeman Station event with a friend.

A comment made, at a Joseph Brant Museum event last week, by someone who would know, that Mayor Meed Ward might consider (is considering) running for the office of Regional Chair where she would be running against Jane McKenna who gave up her seat at Queen’s Park to run for the office that Gary Carr doesn’t appear to want any more.

Carr moved from Milton into downtown Burlington recently.

Meed Ward has let the very strong support she had when she became mayor dwindle away; it will take more than we think this Mayor has to pull that support back.

Meed Ward has changed the way municipal government works in Burlington – too many, the changes were not all that beneficial.

The biggest thing Meed Ward brought was hope – and then she dashed that hope by making herself the focal point.

As a Councillor for ward 2 between 2010 and 2014 Marianne Med Ward made a significant difference – she brought hope to the hearts of those who wanted to keep the Burlington they had.

Politics is both an art and a science. The better politicians have a strong survival instinct – Meed Ward may have figured out that her political life can be extended by moving to the Regional level and then on to the provincial level where she has always wanted to end up.


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Councillor Sharman puts the Bateman High School development in perspective

By Paul Sharman, Councillor ward 5

June 4th, 2022


The following appeared in Local News – Burlington, an alternative online news source.  Reprinted with permission

Many people are extremely interested in what is happening with the acquisition of the former Robert Bateman High School (RBHS) by the City of Burlington.

In a nutshell, as they say, after a year of talks, property analysis, assessment, engineering analysis and negotiations, the acquisition is getting closer to completion. Here are the key steps taken by the city in the process to acquire RBHS, with two steps still to occur:

The former Bateman High School site. What will the city name the location once it acquires the property ?

Key steps completed

June 23, 2021: the Halton District School Board (HDSB) announced that it has declared Robert Bateman High School surplus to its needs.
June 24, 2021: the City of Burlington announced that an expression of interest would be submitted to the HDSB to purchase the Robert Bateman site through a partnership with Brock University.
December 2021: council provided direction to staff to submit a formal offer to purchase the Robert Bateman High School site, subject to price and details to be negotiated.
February 3, 2022: Burlington City Council endorsed next steps to advance the potential acquisition of the Robert Bateman High School site from the Halton District School Board.

Steps yet to come

June 21, 2022: city council will consider results of public input and then decide whether to proceed with the land exchange and long-term leases and will then authorize staff to complete all matters.

September 2022: The deal will be complete (if authorized to proceed) and funds transferred, at which time the land exchange price and other details will become public in accordance with provincial regulations and city policy. The parties are prohibited from disclosing price information until after completion.

What is going on
Halton District School Board (HDSB) voted to close the school in June 2017. I and a huge number of community members opposed that choice for several reasons. Those reasons remain extremely relevant to this day, but that is another article. After the decision was made, I and then-Mayor Goldring committed to seeing RBHS purchased by the city for community, recreation, and other uses.

On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, HDSB declared the Bateman property surplus to its needs. Since then, the school board has followed a prescribed process to negotiate the sale of the property. The City of Burlington had the right to purchase it if no other school organization wanted it. Because Burlington’s population has grown significantly over the last 20 years and is due to increase in the order of 70,000 more people in the next 30 years, more land and buildings are required for community recreation and other uses by the city. Accordingly, shortly after the property was declared surplus, the city voted to proceed with the acquisition of the property.

After a year of work, on June 21, 2022, city council will consider results of public input from a survey and a meeting held on May 31, and then decide whether to proceed with the land exchange and long-term leases of space to the HDSB and Brock University. Council will then authorize staff to complete all remaining matters. In September 2022, the deal will be complete and funds transferred, at which time the land exchange price and other details will be made public, following provincial regulations and city policy. Unfortunately, those details cannot be released earlier.

After that, a lot of activity will occur to obtain community input on how the property will be used. Partial details of use are discussed below, and they will evolve over time.

What Burlington is getting
When the HDSB declared invited offers to purchase from municipal government, they prescribed that only those that allowed the board to retain approximately 39,000 sq.ft. of space in the school under lease for a period of over 20 years would be accepted. Meanwhile, Brock University also wanted to lease a similar or larger amount of space as HDSB in order to offer programming in Burlington. The City of Burlington press release discussing the Brock partnership in June 2021 can be found here.

The RBHS building is so large (at 212,270 sq. ft.) that the space available for community and recreation use after deducting Brock and HDSB leased space from the total will be greater than any existing Burlington recreation centre.

Central High School land transfer
On May 18, 2022, the Halton District School Board issued a media release stating that they were

“…advancing a land transaction with the City of Burlington that would see the exchange of the City-owned sports field at Burlington Central High School (1433 Baldwin St, Burlington), with the sale of the former Robert Bateman High School ​(5151 New St, Burlington).”

“The parcel of land adjacent to Burlington Central High School is approximately five acres and includes the sports field and track to the west of the school. The Board’s purchase of this land ensures the continued operation of Burlington Central High School by the HDSB for the foreseeable future.”

This relates to the fact that the city already owns land at Central High School, Wellington Park on the west side, on the corner of Hager Ave., and on Baldwin Street, which features a sports field, outdoor track, and playground, and is integrated into daily school use. The school board has been interested in acquiring the property for a number of years. It makes no sense for the city to own land that the school is using, especially downtown where it is very valuable, and to then be buying land from the school board for the city to use elsewhere. Therefore, city ownership of land at Central High School will be transferred to the board with a value based on market prices. The dollar value of the property will be credited in favour of the city against the price of the Bateman purchase.

Brock, HDSB tenants and the Central High School land transfer all have the effect of making the acquisition of RBHS less of a burden for Burlington taxpayers. In the long run, when Brock and the HDSB leases expire, the city will decide how to use the entire building for community or other uses.

If Central is ever closed, then the board would have to declare it surplus and the city should be able to buy it back, if it wants.

City and recreation uses of the property
The primary goal of the city for the Bateman site is to satisfy community recreation needs, which will include: retention of Centennial swimming pool and school gym; public greenspace; new flexible programming areas (i.e. expanded city community centre); relocation of Burlington Public Library (BPL) – New Appleby Branch; and relocation of TechPlace. All of this is being done to create a sustainable signature community hub, with a focus on learning and active living.

Assuming final purchase of the Bateman property by the city concludes as expected, we will be able to offer recreation services to members of our community of all ages for decades to come. I am totally supportive of acquiring the property at a reasonable cost by the city, which I expect will happen.





Paul Sharman has been the Councillor for ward 5 since 2010

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Stephen White sets out what went right and what went wrong.

By Stephen White

June 3rd, 2022



Compare the 2022 provincial election results in Burlington with those of 2018 and some interesting trends emerge.

In 2018, the PC’s won 25,500 votes, and 40% of the vote. This time around they won roughly 22,200 votes and 42.5% of the vote. However, the Liberals went from 15,000 votes to roughly 15,400 votes and garnered less than 30% of the vote. The NDP vote totally collapsed. They went from 18,000 votes in 2018 to just over 9,200, and 28% of the popular vote to 17.6%. 63,737 residents voted in Burlington in 2018. I would be interested to see what the final tally is this time round.

The key messages:

1) a lot of residents didn’t bother to vote. I went by two polling stations during the day at schools and there was little traffic.

2) the private sector union vote went solidly PC. Witness the gains in Windsor, Hamilton and Brampton.

3) electors haven’t forgotten, or forgiven, the Liberals for the mess created by Kathleen Wynne.

4) the NDP is increasingly tied to special interests and public sector unions. They have continually failed to make inroads with moderate voters who don’t like and don’t support their policies or style. Even with a superlative local candidate like Andrew Drummond they couldn’t hold their vote.

5) given the lack of viable alternatives offered by either the Liberals or NDP the electorate opted for the status quo.

The Liberals need to find a much better leader, and not one tied to the Wynne government’s sorry legacy. They also need smarter policies, not $1 a day transit fares that are untethered to reality and amount to little more than half-baked promises.

The NDP need to hit the re-set button and hard. WOKE messaging, critical race theory, EDI “happy talk” and “word salads” don’t resonate with voters who want practical policies and viable alternatives. That’s why they lost the private sector union vote. Jobs matter.

As for the PCs, they really need to engage their base and start listening to the public. Add the residents who didn’t vote, supporters like me who parked their vote with New Blue, and the potential of two new energized leaders by the time 2026 rolls around, and the future isn’t entirely smooth sailing.

Stephen White is a life long resident of Burlington who teaches at Sheridan College and consults in the Human Resources sector



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Congratulate the winners and get on with governing

By Pepper Parr

June 3rd, 2022



The beautiful thing about the form of government we have is that once the ballots are counted and  the result are clear – we accept the results and get on with letting the new government do its job.

Burlington residents are represented by three constituencies:  Burlington, Oakville North Burlington and Milton.

Burlington results:




Oakville North Burlington



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Burlington recognizes Pride Month with banners along Brant Street

By Staff

June 1st, 2022



City of Burlington has installed new Pride Banners in recognition and celebration of Burlington’s LGBTQ2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, TwoSpirit) community for the month of June, which is Pride Month.

Pride Month is a time when we celebrate the diversity in the LGBTQ2S+ communities, acknowledge their history, the hardships they have endured, and the progress that has been made.

The banners were designed in consultation with representatives from the LGBTQ2S+ community and are installed along Brant Street from Fairview Street to Ghent Avenue. They are part of the City’s Pride recognition and are in addition to the four Rainbow Crosswalks installed around the City.

The four Rainbow Crosswalks are located at:

• Lakeshore Road at Burlington Avenue
• Upper Middle Road at M.M. Robinson school entrance
• Fairview Street and Drury Lane
• Plains Road West and Botanical Drive

A project dear to the Mayor’s heart

The Lakeshore Road Rainbow Crosswalk location was selected by a committee of representatives from organizations from the LGBTQ2S+ community. This was the City’s first Rainbow Crosswalk and was installed and unveiled in June 2020.

At the June 22, 2021 Burlington City Council meeting, Council voted to fund three more rainbow crosswalks. Council approved up to $50,000 from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund for the installation of the three rainbow crosswalks in 2021. The locations were chosen using survey feedback that asked the community to choose their top six locations from a list developed in consultation with council members and members of the former rainbow crosswalk team. City staff reviewed the six locations to determine the three locations that were installed in 2021.

Indeed they did not weather well

These three locations did not winter well and have sustained damage. The defects in the crosswalk material has resulted in parts of the rainbow crosswalk coming away from the pavement. This damage is being repaired under warranty at no cost to the City and will be done when ideal repair conditions are met. The material used in the rainbow crosswalks needs the road to be dry with mild overnight temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius.

Pride Rainbow Banners
The Street Banner Program will include Pride rainbow themed banners along major streets in Burlington. These rainbow crosswalks and banners will be important features and key landmarks geographically and socially for the city.


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Virtual meeting lasts an hour and a half - does the public know much more other than that there will be a report to Council next week

By Staff

June 1st, 2022



One of our correspondents set out one view on the Public Meeting that took place virtually last night with the statement:

Smoke and Mirrors adding that the “the city doesn’t have a clue what it will be doing with the space other than the 15-20% of the building ( approx 40,000 square feet) that Brock is perhaps willing to sign a 20 year lease.

The space has to be ready by September 2024, and I have to wonder if there is a clause that if the renovations are not completed in time they can simply walk away from the lease.

The parking issue was skirted around, very similar to how the city deals with parking and traffic ” We will do this in phases and the existing parking will be sufficient”. What happens when phase 2 and 3 are complete? No mention of the timeline between the 3 construction/renovation phases. I can see this going on for years and years before it becomes “the much needed community centre”.

The City has not even looked into the cost of the removal of the asbestos. They have no plans to do this until the sale is finalized. Who does this ??? – go into such a large project without knowing what the cost will be for this removal ( this will be a very expensive proposition )- as you know it can be more dangerous to remove the asbestos.

I found it interesting that in 2014 the City paid to renovate a pool that didn’t belong to the city.

The HDSB who took art in the virtual event, skirted the issue as to what it will do with Gary Allen.

No company in the private sector would go through with the purchase or renovations of Robert Bateman without having all the necessary costs involved known before acquiring the property.

Early thinking on what the site could look like.

The only thing I got out of this meeting is how much or should I say how little space Brock is going to lease and that in my opinion this is what is driving the speed in decision, especially since Tim Commisso indicated that the city is the only one interested in the Bateman Property.

At the close of the meeting City manager Commisso said “ I think the fact that this is going to create a really strong facility and legacy for our community. But it’s been a year of us trying to look ahead while also seeing what the immediacy of having to make a decision about the purchase.

I’m not going to make any apologies for the fact that we’ve done as much as we can as much due diligence, but we don’t have all of the answers that perhaps people think we might or should have. In order to make the purchase decision.

Partly because we’re under a prescribed process that really requires us to be responsive to the school board in terms of meeting their needs. I will say the worst thing that can happen is that somehow that we weren’t involved in this process or whatever. And I won’t even speculate on what that means. But, you know, I think we made a commitment. And counsel certainly made that commitment that we would go through this process and try to do as much as we could in advance. But we don’t have all the answers. We do commit to is the process from here.

So let the design you know, what’s the community centre going to look like? What are the uses? How is that going to be done parking through zoning will all be public thing. It’s really a part of a process.

I think that we see moving forward and we hope and we encourage as many people as possible to get engaged now. Because I think at the end of the day, you know, this is a facility that we all want to be proud of. And I think by having our partners in there to really showcase I think the fact that Burlington is creating a hub here, so I’ll leave it at that.

I know I’m kind of over my comments over the time, but I just wanted to acknowledge that says that this is a unique project. It’s not like we bought a piece of land and then we started planning for it. We have to meet a prescribed timeline in order to purchase it because we’re an eligible agency. And then we have to essentially make sure that we design and program that properly. So that meets the needs of the community over the long term. In my years this has probably been the most challenging facility projects that I’ve worked on. And I’ve worked on quite a few of them.

The Gazette had two meeting taking place at the same time and has not found a way to be in two places at once.
We will review the recording a d go through the transcription we have of the event and report back real soon.

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The race for the Burlington seat in the legislature is not as tight - the PC's have the edge - the undecided could make the difference

By Pepper Parr

June 1st, 2022



Our final data set from the on the street, one on- interviews carried out by Jason Octavio, a Sheridan Journalism student is set out below

Our survey began May 6th and ended yesterday.

People were engaged where people congregate, at the mall, at he LCBO stores, at supermarkets and on the main streets of the city and at the GO stations.

It is not as tight a race as it was at the middle of the month. Two things were evident. A lot of people do not plan to vote and a lot of people did not want to say who they planned to vote for.

The proof is in the pudding as they say.

The results will begin to flow in shortly after the polls close. The Gazette will do what it can to provide a flow of local information and the ideally, interview all the candidates before the evening is over.

Your job now is to decide who you want to be your representative at Queen’s Park.

We got a call from an Orchard Park resident asking why we did not provide coverage to the election race in the riding of Oakville North Burlington. It was a matter of resources – we just didn’t have the manpower needed to do a survey in that riding.

The candidates for the riding of Oakville North Burlington are set out below.

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Some additional comment on the public meeting on the Bateman matter

By Pepper Parr

May 31st, 2022



The reader who has asked, for good reasons, to be left as an anonymous writer explains why the City Manager is fronting the Public Information meeting this evening.

There is still very little information from the city Communications department other than that the event is taking place and here is how you can take part.

A big site with loads of potential has become a big problem

The reason why Tim Commisso, city Manager, will host the upcoming Community Updates tomorrow is due to the need to follow the City’s governance processes.

In the case of the Bateman situation, the City under the direction of the City Manager must present what recommendations may be considered for the elected City Council for approval.

What will the City manager put on the table this evening?

That would require a written report that citizens could read and form opinions. There is no written report.

In other words, the City negotiates to derive their recommendations but can’t approve their recommendations. City Council must ensure public input is received prior to making any approval decision associated with the recommendation from City staff. The known exception relates to legal matters associated which typically have already been made but are now appealed to a higher authority or which were not made in a timely fashion as dictated by published guidelines issued by the higher authority.

In our case, City Council has yet to receive a recommendation from City staff. As such City staff may present what has been received and to seek public feedback on the same. Any decision sought from City Council is unlikely to be made prior the end of session in mid-July and instead be postponed until after the Municipal election in October by the newly elected City Council.

The same goes for HDSB matters. The Director of Education presents recommendations for the elected Board of Trustees approval. In other words, the HDSB staff under the Director negotiates to derive their recommendations, but can’t approve their recommendations.

To do otherwise opens the doors to a conflict of interest. The elected members guard the purse and ensure that the rules of governance are followed.

It is up to each member of the public to be vigilant to ensure that changes to any rules of governance do not negatively compromise the public as a result of proposed recommendations made by the HDSB, the City or the Province.

The Municipal electorate has to be satisfied as to the steps already been taken by City staff on a matter which enhances the City delivery of services to the community in a cost effective manner. Likewise, the HDSB electorate has to be satisfied as to the steps already taken which enhances the delivery of education services in a cost effective manner.

This meeting is taking place because there has been so much blow back from citizens; something had to be done – so the City Manager is going to explain what has and what he expect will take place.

At the risk of being rude – the people of Burlington can read – provide a detailed report on what the options are, what the expenses are and what the long term contribution to the city will be.

Then let Council get input from staff and then make a decision.

The problem with this, a traditional and accepted practice in the municipal world, is that this project has become something several members of Council want and they are going to do everything possible in order to show what they are capable of.

What they are capable of is the mess the public is looking at.

The event this evening is being recorded and we are told will be available for view “soon” after the meeting.

The meeting details are:

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Either Miriam Manaa or Andrew Drummond should be elected for the constituency of Burlington

By Pepper Parr

May 30th, 2022


Editorial Opinion

The public has listened to what the politicians have had to say since May 3rd.

It is now time for the voters to decide what they want in the way of political leadership.

The Gazette has watched the candidates for some time; years in the case of Andrew Drummond, about a year and a half for Miriam Manaa and about three months for Natalie Pierre.

It is our view that Ontario needs a Premier over whom there is some ongoing control and we advocate for a minority government. It is clear that the Progressive Conservatism have a strong lead provincially and will form the next government.

The Gazette believes that either Liberal Miriam Manaa or New Democrat Andrew Drummond would serve the public well.

Liberal candidate Miriam Manaa

Manaa has some experience working with elected members – those who belittle her work experience do not understand just what elected officials do. Manaa was not at a desk licking envelopes; she was doing case work and working closely with a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons.

Drummond is a stronger policy person than Manaa and he has a significant amount of experience in a very competitive industry.

If elected Manaa would bring some of the Burlington diversity to the legislature.

Andrew Drummond candidate for the New Democratic Party

If elected Drummond would bring strong policy chops to the job.

Both would serve the people in the Burlington constituency well once they settle in.

As impressed as we were with Natalie Pierre, the Progressive Conservatives have not earned the right to have their candidate sent to Queen’s Park.

Natalie Pierre, Progressive Conservative candidate

We see it as unfortunate that a political party would flout the traditional practice of putting their candidates before the public and listening to what they have to say,

The public never had the chance to learn more about the woman. They appear to have taken the position that the PCs have it in the bag and the public de damned.

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A tight race for the Burlington seat in the provincial legislature appears to now be between the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives

By Pepper Parr

May 31st, 2022



It is still a tight race but the Liberals appear to be widening the gap.

Some readers have misunderstood what the Gazette has been doing.

The survey we have carried out is for the residents who are in the Burlington constituency.

Our survey has been one on one short interviews with more than 750 at this point. We will be surveying for an additional day.

We asked people four questions.

Question 1: Do you know there’s going to be an election in June? 

Question 2: Do you know anything about the issues? 

Question 3: Are you going to vote? 

Question 4: Would you like to say who you will vote for? 

Of interest is that the province wide polling  being done by the Toronto Star has the Burlington seat leaning PC.

Burlington has been a rock bed of conservative people and Conservative voters; for the Star to suggest it is leaning PC would have the Star agreeing with the Gazette.

Of course it all comes down to what the voters think. We will never know what they think – but we can urge you to think and then vote.

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City Manager Tim Commisso will lead the Bateman High School purchase Public Meeting on Tuesday

By Staff

May 30th, 2022



The following was passed along to us by a reader who was given the information by the city’s Communications department.

Director of Communications  Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement said:

 “As with any public meeting the City holds, including virtual meetings, those in attendance will have an opportunity to ask questions. We are finalizing the details of how the questions will be asked, we will let those in attendance know at the beginning of the meeting how they can ask their questions.

“City Manager Tim Commisso will be leading the discussion along with other City staff (to be confirmed) that can speak to the project.”

Want to see just how good those facilitating chops are.

Finalizing the details the day before the event is cutting it kind of close – but better late than never.

The City Manager will lead the event – our recollection is that this will be the first time Tim Commisso will chair an event.  His practice is to make a comment during a meeting.

It will be interesting to see just how good his facilitating chops are.

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Young columnist not impressed with the way politics is done in Burlington

By Pepper Parr

May 30th, 2022



We are fortunate to have a young person writing a column for us.

Connor Fraser, a graduate student at the University of Toronto writes once a month (weèd like more)

He has been tasked with writing on subject and doing his best to reflect the views of his demographic and his peers.

In the past he has written about his chances of actually being able to buy a house when he reaches that stage in his life.

His next column is due after the provincial election.

In going over what he has planned he made the following comments about the provincial election and the way Burlington has handled it.

“Regarding the race in Burlington, I think the PC will likely win but I’m disappointed by the character of the campaigns, especially the candidate selection process held by each party.

“Not much transparency or opportunity for debate within the Liberal nomination race, and zero within PC. No chance for the Liberal nominees to debate each other beyond a pre-written, 5 min speech.

“There should have been more debates, too. Only one chamber of commerce debate – which was more of a Q&A session from what I heard. What about a good old fashioned debate, I think the people of Burlington deserve a few different events/venues to observe the major issues being dissected.

“Overall, a very sad, tired looking affair.”

A little more about this young man.

Connor Fraser

Connor was born in Hamilton in 1997, is a long-time resident of Aldershot. He attended Waterdown Montessori School, Glenview Public School, Burlington Christian Academy and Aldershot High School, graduating in 2015. Passionate about the issues facing Burlington, Connor has volunteered for several local organizations and advocated to municipal leaders on building transit oriented, walkable communities. His career goal is to help Burlington – and Canada – navigate the challenges of transitioning towards a just and inclusive low-energy economy.

 In 2020, Connor completed undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, with a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science and a major in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

 Between 2018 and 2019, he worked as a member of the technology development team at Microchip Corporation (North San Jose, California) where he contributed to the design of computer memory for FPGA chips. While pursuing engineering studies, Connor volunteered for the U of T Human Powered Vehicles Design Team as a machinist and led the design of a rollover detection system for high-speed tricycles. During the summer of 2013, 2015 and 2017, Connor lived in Quebec thanks to support from the YMCA Student Work Summer Exchange, and the Explore Program and is decently proficient in spoken French.

 Connor has returned to U of T to enrol in the dual Master of Global Affairs and Master of Business Administration program.

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There will be a public meeting Tuesday evening - who will run it and who will take part - all unknowns at this point

By Pepper Parr

May 30th, 2022



The public meeting about the city’s purchase of the Robert Bateman High school property from the Halton District School Board is going to take place – and that at this point is all we can tell you.

We don’t know who is going to facilitate the event; we don’t know which staff members will be taking part, we don’t know if the public will be able to ask questions.

It is a large piece of property – huge potential.

Will members of Council be on hand – they were the ones that made the decision to, in principle, buy the property.

A lot of just don’t know around this story.

We have asked the city of the event will be recorded.

We expect that this will be a turning point for this initiative.

The public wants answers.

We now get to see just how engaging the city is and how transparent they will be Tuesday evening.


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Citizen coalition puts their money into a campaign to tell the public what a quarry will do to them

By Pepper Parr

May 30th, 2022



Stop the Campbellville Quarry

Protests, email efforts, using social media to the max – they are all part of bringing about a change in what a government wants to do.

The Reform Gravel Mining Coalition took things a couple of steps further – the set themselves up as Third Party Advertisers.

A third party is any person or entity that is not a political party, candidate or constituency association, and that engages in political advertising.

Thousands were mailed out to the residents of Halton

They were able to raise funds and paid for the printing of thousands of brochures that were put in the mail to everyone they felt was impacted by the plans for the Campbellville Quarry which Premier Doug Ford is on record saying it would not be permitted to grow.

That speech by the Premier is on their web site.

We asked for a copy of the pamphlet and were told that they had spent all their advertising money.

We explained that ours was a news story about a group of people putting their shoulders to the wheel to prevent a quarry development from taking place.

Third party advertisers are not a new addition to the game of politics. They just haven’t been used all that much.

The work done by the Reform Gravel Mining Coalition is a welcome example of what should be done more often – the words coming from the candidates need to be balanced by more public points of view.

Third Party Advertisers are bound tightly by all kinds of rules which is unfortunate – the public needs every opportunity possible to get their views out into the public domain.

The political parties flood the airways – television and radio – telling THEIR story which is often short a lot of facts.

Graham Flint, co-chair of the group, said the coalition formed after decades of “chronic” quarry development in the province.

“After years and years of having individual communities deal with aggregate issues, a group of us felt that it was time to form a broader coalition and elevate the issues that these individual communities were facing to to a higher level to awareness across the province overall,” Flint said.

“Gravel mining is not a benign activity,” Flint said. “It destroys the natural environment and damages communities. Its product is the feed source for highways and sprawl, the various things that are accelerating the climate crisis that we need to get under control.”

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A massive transfer of power will take place on Thursday - you will give your power to the government you want. Give that a lot of thought

By Pepper Parr

May 29th, 2022



This is an act of trust – the power that is in your hands is being given to someone else with the understanding that they will govern fairly and responsibly,

You have in your hands the power that is the engine of every democracy.

It belongs to you.

On Thursday you will give that power to others and expect them to govern responsibly and to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.

That the pressing interests and concerns are given the attention and the resources needed.

Climate change – the Premier needs some help from the public on that one.

The building of new highways.  This one has a direct link to climate change and the real needs of the province.  Highway 413 is something you want to pay attention to.

Putting together a long term care program that is not in place to just line the pockets of the private sector.

Housing – and more importantly affordable housing.

Education – our students have been short clanged during the pandemic – we need to right that change.

The power to bring about what is needed is in your hands today – on Thursday you will give that power to someone else.

Will we remember them?

Don’t make your decision on who to give it to based on how your grandfather voted.

Do what you know is right – and you do know what is right – when you cast your ballot.  Most important cast that ballot.  You have a few days to think about who you want in place to run this province.

The race in Burlington is very tight – every vote will matter.

The men and women who have served this country trough several wars put their lives at risk to defend the democracy we have deserve  your attention on Thursday.

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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The province may have decided on Doug Ford but the people of Burlington are making it a very tight race

By Pepper Parr

May 29th, 2022



It is still a very very tight race.

Our reporter is hearing about the fringe parties more often as he interviewed at the Farmer’s Market, Spencer Smith Park and outside the Burlington Centre.

Next week he will be in the northern parts of the city.

The undecided is still quite high.

The not going to vote seems to be lowering.

We decided to dig a little deeper and ask the why behind the answers we were getting.

Cub reporter Jason Octavo interviewing voters at the Farmer’s Market

Is there a political party you’re favoring?
There isn’t a party they’re favoring: 9
Favoring PC: 3
Not voting for PC: 6
Favoring Liberal: 1
Favoring NDP: 4
Favoring Green Party: 1
Either NDP or Green Party: 1
Not voting for New Blue: 1
Not voting for Green Party: 1
Wouldn’t disclose any information on the question: 1

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What a fractured City Council looks like

By Pepper Parr

May 29th, 2022



The negotiations taking place for the purchase of the Robert Bateman High School property is raising a lot of questions. The public want answers.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is doing what a good Mayor should do; take questions and give brief, to the point and informative answers
One of the questions the Mayor handled was as follows:

Q: I’ve seen reports in some media outlets that have said this acquisition will cost $50 million — is that true?

The Mayor replies:

This does not reflect the actual dollar figure.

Mayor Meed Ward

She them segways into a report from the Integrity Commissioner, who did find that information made during a public Council meeting was made public by ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte for which she was docked five days pay.

What the sanctioning has to do with the question asked is hard to figure out.

The Mayor continues:

The following sections from the Integrity Commissioner report are relevant:

• [43] We find that the Councillor’s statement, although not actually disclosing real dollar amounts discussed in closed session, is fairly perceived as revealing confidential information, risks misleading the public, and compromises the ability of any other member of Council to contradict or correct the information.

• [44] The fact that the information does not reflect the specific actual dollar figure is not an answer which justifies the apparent breach. If such were the case, confidentiality of closed discussion could be breached with impunity simply by mis- stating facts and information subject to closed session deliberations.

• [45] Accordingly we find that the Councillor’s reference to an actual dollar figure, where by implication the only source of that information is closed session, constitutes a contravention of the confidentiality provisions of the Code.

The public wanted an answer on the cost of the purchase but the Mayor chose to deflect and blame the Council member for the public confusion.

It is this kind of behaviour that has resulted in a fractured council.

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Rivers concludes that Ford will glide back as Premier - the public seems to want the devil they know

By Ray Rivers

May 28th, 2022



Ontario’s election is more about us, the voters, than the political leadership candidates or their parties.  The pandemic, which is not over yet; the vicious war raging in Ukraine; home affordability and rising gasoline prices at the pumps; another mass shooting and the impending illegality of a woman’s choice to family planning south of the border are uncertainties weighing on the electors before they even enter the voting booth.

Doug Ford: Rivers thinks he is going to get it done

And when we are overloaded with anxiety we most often choose the devil we know to lead us again, as the expression goes.  So it should be no surprise that the polls have Doug Ford’s PCs winning a majority of the seats to form the government for the next four years.  One would think that Mr. Ford’s significant lead in popular support is a testament to his governance since the last election.

But after objectively reviewing his record, as I have in previous columns, that would be a hard case to make.   Perhaps it is Ford’s competition for the job of premier that helps him stand out by contrast.  Liberal leader Steven Del Duca is still an unknown quantity, even after those years as a cabinet minister, and has failed to distinguish himself in this race. The Liberal’s second place standing in the polls likely has more to do with them than their leader.  They are, after all, the natural alternative governing party to the PCs, and the one voters will likely turn to when disaffection sets in with the current crowd ruling the roost at Queen’s Park.

Stephen Del Duca: a bit of a policy wonk who has yet to really connect with the public

And at least on one issue Del Duca and his NDP counterpart are at the other end of the spectrum from Ford.  That is when it comes to climate change.  If one discounts the unlikely scenario of Mr. Putin starting a nuclear war, global warming is the most critical existential crisis we will see in our lifetimes.  And that is not a scare tactic.  We are already experiencing the horrible consequences of global warming and we know it’ll only get worse.

We have seen Mr. Ford kill clean renewable energy projects by the hundreds simply because he doesn’t like wind and solar generation.  Ironically that has led to a potential shortfall in electricity generating capacity and is threatening the prized $2.5 B investment LG had been planning for a battery production facility in Windsor.  So much for Ontario being open for business.

Better the devil you know

Then there was the fight against the carbon tax and the lowering of Ontario’s climate goals, which, regardless, are unlikely to be met.   But most telling was the recent court case over this government’s climate policies by some young plaintiffs.  Future generations will be most affected after all.  Unbelievably, Ford’s witnesses tried to argue that climate change is just a hoax, and the case should be dismissed on those grounds.  That is very telling of Mr. Ford and where he can be expected to lead this province once he is re-elected.

After a crisis, as we’ve experienced with the pandemic, electors sometimes look for a fresh face.  But sometimes they prefer to stick with what they know, a kind of don’t rock the boat phenomenon.  That is what Ontario voters will be doing on election day this week, barring a miracle.  Mr. Ford represents the safe choice in their minds, the conservative voice of stability and steady as she goes.

Andrea Horwath – a safer conservative choice?

And yet of all the parties, the NDP and Andrea Horwath might more appropriately be seen as the safe choice – the conservative option.  She and her party have crafted their platform over a number of years, and while they have included some bold ideas, such as eliminating for-profit long term care, most policies are seasoned and reasoned.    Currently polling in third place, the NDP is still expected to form the official opposition thanks to voting splits.

Mr. Ford knows he’s going to win so he’s playing it safe.  He’s presumably instructed PC candidates to skip the all-candidate debates, where they might actually stumble and tell voters what they really think about abortion, gun control, private education, vaccination and masking – it’s all about ‘hear no evil, believe no evil’.  But what is amazing is how tolerant voters are in accepting that situation.

Are the most conservative among us comfortable voting for a candidate who has been velcro-lipped, and a party which has shared so little of where it is going over the next four years?   If Justin Trudeau tried to do this, there would be howls from the media, and everyone would be labelling him ‘arrogant’.



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Liberal Mariam Manaa: direct, focused, fully aware of what is ahead of her if she wins.  She will be there to listen. 'That's the job'

By Pepper Parr

May 28th, 2022


Mariam Manaa, Liberal candidate for Burlington in the June 2nd provincial election

The Gazette interviewed Manaa when she was seeking the Liberal nomination – it was a contested nomination and she came out on top.

Other than the Chamber of Commerce event there was never a chance for the public to hear all the candidates – that was the result of the Progressive Conservative Party deciding that their candidates would not take part and instead rely on Premier Doug Ford’s coat tails to get elected.

Candidate Manaa listening

Our interview with Mariam Manaa yesterday gave us a look at some of the experience she has in the world of politics and public service.

As a young woman she was invited to be part of the Youth Council that Oakville North Burlington Liberal Pam Damoff created.  Young people had the opportunity to gain some self-confidence and learn just how a Member of Parliament works.

She was seen as a smart cookie by Damoff who hired her to work in Ottawa as part of her team.

Manaa picked up a lot of really solid background on the processes that are involved in getting legislation passed. She also picked up a lot of the lingo used by the political set. “I worked on the hill for a period of time” said Manaa.

When that opportunity came to an end she was then asked by Burlington Member of Parliament Karina Gould to do some case work for her in Burlington.  Work with a member of Cabinet is a big deal for up and coming politicians.

She spent two years with Gould.

This is as good as it gets when getting ready to seek public office.

In our conversation with Manaa she didn’t say all that much about the Liberal policy for the province – what she talked about was the campaigning – that essential door to door work – meeting people and listening to their concerns.

Every politicians will tell you they love going door to door – some are much better than others at it.

Candidates meet on the door step: NDP Andrew Drummond, Liberal Marian Manaa

Early in the campaign Manaa and the team with her knocked on a door that was opened by the NDP candidate Andrew Drummond.

He was as surprised as she was

During the last long weekend Manaa said she knocked on 4000 doors during the three days.

I asked her a question that a gentleman should not ask a woman – how much weight have you lost during the campaign.  She came back with “I don’t know if I lost any weight but I can tell you I have muscled up quite a bit.”

Manaa is direct, focused, empathetic, fully aware of what is ahead of her if she wins.  She is not a policy wonk – she is there to serve.

How will you serve the people of Burlington if you are elected.  “I will do what I have learned to do – listen to what they have to say.

“When people get to an MPP’s office they are usually at the end of their rope.  They have tired everything else and often as a last resort they visit the politician and see if they can help.

“That’s the job” said Manaa

She stresses that if she is elected she will see herself as being elected to serve all the people of the city.

And with that, a quick handshake, and she was off to knock on new doors

This is an election where two of the candidates are new to the election game.

Progressive Conservative Natalie Pierre and Liberal Mariam Manaa have never served as elected officials and this is their first election.

There are three fringe candidates. New Blue candidate Allison McKenzie, Green Party candidate Kyle Hutton and an Ontario Party candidate we have not heard from

Andrew Drummond has never served; this is his third attempt to get elected as a New Democrat.

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This is still a tight race - weather will play a role on election day; getting the vote to the polls will be a deciding factor.

By Staff

May 28th, 2022



It is still anyone’s to win in Burlington.

The three mainline parties are still close to each other.

The undecided vote is still quite high a sixth of those we interviewed.

Jason Octavo has been interviewing people at Burlington Central, supermarkets, LCBO stores and Spencer Smith Park

Today he will include the Farmer’s Market.

The candidates are out knocking on doors and getting ready to pull out their vote on election day.


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