What will the province look like on Friday June 3rd

By Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2022



What will the province look like on Friday June 3rd?

Put a different way – How bad could it be?

Has Doug Ford changed? And if he has – how much? Building the 413 is not a change – its the same old Doug.

Province wide the polls say that Doug Ford will be returned as Premier.

Who will form the Opposition?

The polls again suggest that the New Democrats will continue to be the Opposition

What the polls are also telling us is that Steve Del Duca may not win his own seat.

Wishful thinking?

The New Democrats will be deeply disappointed about not being able to form a government and will need to think about their leadership.

Leadership for the Liberals will have to come out of whatever they have in the way of members sitting in the Legislature.

There is a better than even chance that Del Duca will lose his seat.

Will this happen?

Polls are never accurate – but they are an indicator.

The challenge for the people of Ontario is to find some way to limit how much damage Doug Ford can do.  A Progressive Conservative government would serve Ontario well.

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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Data from city survey on Bateman high school limited but has merit

By Staff

May 26th, 2022



There weren’t that many participants taking part in the survey the city put out and then withdrew two days later but the data they collected does have merit.

The city wanted to know how people felt about the city selling a sports field to the Board of Education, and how people felt about the city buying the Bateman High school site and then renting part of what they bought to Brock University.

The results will surprise a lot of people – especially the ward 2 councillor who thought selling the sports field was close to a travesty.

The results:

There is some additional data if this kind of thing turns your crank Click HERE for that data.

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Burlington Drug Investigation Leads to 3 Arrests and Seizure of Firearm

By Staff

May 26, 2022



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) – 3 District Street Crime Unit has concluded a drug trafficking investigation in Burlington.  Three male suspects were arrested as a result of the week-long investigation.

On May 25, 2022, a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) search warrant was executed at a residence in Burlington.  Two suspects were arrested outside the residence in a parking lot while the third was arrested inside the premise.

Yahya Yusuf (31) of Burlington has been charged with:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Possession of a Prohibited Firearm with Ammunition
  • Careless Storage of a Firearm
  • Tamper with Serial Number
  • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose (2 counts)
  • Possession of a Weapon Obtained by the Commission of an Offence
  • Careless Storage of Ammunition
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000 (2 counts)
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine (2 counts), Fentanyl and Oxycodone
  • Breach Release Order

Abdirahman Adan (23) of Burlington has been charged with:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Possession of a Prohibited Firearm with Ammunition
  • Careless Storage of a Firearm
  • Tamper with Serial Number
  • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose (2 counts)
  • Possession of a Weapon Obtained by the Commission of an Offence
  • Careless Storage of Ammunition
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000 (2 counts)
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine (2 counts), Fentanyl and Oxycodone

Ali Mohamud Ali (28) of Calgary has been charged with:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Possession of a Prohibited Firearm with Ammunition
  • Careless Storage of a Firearm
  • Tamper with Serial Number
  • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose
  • Possession of a Weapon Obtained by the Commission of an Offence
  • Careless Storage of Ammunition
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine, Fentanyl and Oxycodone
  • Obstruct Police

All three accused were held in custody pending a bail hearing.

As a result of the search warrant, the following items were seized (see attached photo):

  • A loaded Colt 38 Special Revolver with the serial number partially defaced
  • 41 rounds of ammunition
  • 147.4 grams of cocaine
  • 29.2 grams of fentanyl
  • 76 oxycodone pills
  • Over $11,000 cash
  • 2 stolen licence plates
  • 7 digital scales
  • 9 cellular telephones
  • 1 kg of cutting agent
  • 1 flick knife

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Det. Scott Heyerman of the 3 District Street Crime Unit at 905-825-4777 ext. 2342.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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Natalie Pierre has things to say and values that matter - much of the public won't get to hear them.

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2020



Word that we hear is that the Progressive Conservatives are getting some serious blow back on the decision to pull their candidate from debates as they campaign door to door.

The decision to pull the candidates from public debates was decided by the people running the provincial campaign.

In Burlington the PC’s stayed away from the Chamber of Commerce debate – which was surprising.  If there was ever a venue that was tailor made for the PC’s – it has to be the Chamber of Commerce.

The traditional focus for the Conservative community has always been – respect for law and order; being responsible for yourself; financially prudent and supporting the social institutions.

This country has had some great Conservative leaders.

Good graphics, a strong visual presence – all things a well funded campaign can afford.. That strong voice they advertise turned out to be close to mute.

In my short interview with Nicole Pierre I was impressed, especially with her empathy for people and the problems they face.

She didn’t bring much in the way of political experience to the table but she struck me as being sharp enough to pick up how the Legislature works and how to serve the community she would represent.

I find myself wondering how she felt about being told that she would not be taking part in debates.  I didn’t see Natalie as a woman who does what she is told to do if she thinks it is wrong or stupid.

In the event that she wins – and it is a very tight race in Burlington, how does she present herself as a person who is there to serve when she wasn’t prepared to let the voters hear what she had to say – even if she was just parroting the party line.

Elections are a part of our culture for which we have paid a very high price for – the cost in lives is set out in stone at the cenotaph with the names of the men who were lost.

To not campaign and take a sincere part in an election – the event those men gave their lives for is an insult.

Natalie Pierre – a decent candidate; someone who they could be proud of; someone who would reflect their values. Might have been false advertising.

Will we be seeing Natalie Pierre and the rest of the Burlington Progressive Conservative Party leadership on November 11th with poppy’s in their lapels?

The people who went along with the decision to keep the candidate in a bubble should be ashamed of themselves.

Should the PC’s win it will be due to some sharp practices that will find their way into how a Progressive government performs.

There is a woman, a senior, that I cross paths with from time to time, who used to complain about how big an embarrassment Jane McKenna was, hoping that the party would come up with a decent candidate.

This time around they found a decent candidate; someone who they could be proud of; someone who would reflect their values.  I wonder what the senior will say to me when we cross paths next ?

Are elections now just about winning with maybe a wink at values and the hope that the voters won’t understand what the politicians are saying.  The issues are complex – the responsibility is to explain them – which is something I thought Natalie Pierre was going to be good at.

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 tight race for the next Burlington MPP might be opening up a little.

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2022



The Tory vote seems to be coming out of the woods.

What was a very tight race appears to be opening up.

The undecided and not voting are very high.

Undecided may be waiting to be convinced.

The number not planning on voting is disturbing – as a % of the number of people interviewed amounts to 18.6%   When you combine the Not voting with the undecided the number is 36.9%

We started asking the undecided if they were leaning towards a political party of candidate – there was no pattern that we could discern

The Gazette will be out surveying every second day until May 31st.

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City council nominations now less than a trickle - look for more after the provincial election

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2022



Is there another hat about to be thrown into the ring for the ward 2 Council seat?   And is there a third candidate waiting until after the provincial election?

Sabrina Alcala – a teacher at Central High School is rumoured to be thinking about ward 2 being better than a classroom.

What is Councillor Nisan up to?

Ms Alcala was involved in the Rory Nisan campaign in 2018 . No love lost between Nisan and Kearns. Is Alcala a ghost candidate? Wonder what that is all about.  Political hanky panky?

We are seeing something similar in ward 4 where Tony Brecknock has filed nomination papers for the ward seat held by Shawna Stolte.

Brecknock and Nisan go back some distance.

Councillor Stolte will not be sending Nisan a Christmas card.

There are a lot of hard feelings floating around the seventh floor of city hall where all the Councillors have an office and an administrative assistant.  Mayor Meed Ward gets the credit for creating some of the divisiveness and a knock for not working out the differences with Council members and creating a stronger team where differences are respected.

First day for nominations attracted five of the seven members of Council – Stolte and Sharman were the exceptions.

Sharman filed his papers on the 6th.

Between now and the provincial election don’t expect much in the way of new nominations. Look for something from Stolte once the next report from the Investigator of CLOSED meetings of Council is turned in; expected early in June .

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Their first report from the Investigator, determined that the four occasions  Council went into a CLOSED session that were suspect by some, met the letter of the law. During the meeting there was some suggestion that the spirit of the law was not being met.

And that of course is the issue – while Stolte knew she was wrong in what she did – she does not believe she was wrong with what she was trying to do.

Council and the Office of the Clerk have improved significantly on how they report when they come out of a CLOSED session, which was the point Stolte wanted to make.

Councillor Galbraith, was one of the two that filed complaints with the Integrity Commissioner, has been trying very hard to make amends with Councillor Stolte.

It was a council with five new members that the public trusted; the best they have been able to do is squabble and create two groupings that are unable to cooperate fully. Mayor says it ain’t so.

What is most disappointing is how a Council that brought so much promise and hope to the business of the city has become petty, two faced, disingenuous and something of a disappointment to many.

Burlington is facing some very tough issues, the provincial policy that requires the city to grow has stretched everything including the leadership ability of Council and the leadership within the Planning department.

Each red dot is a development application that is somewhere in the process of getting approval. The vast majority are high rise buildings that require much more time and expertise for the planners to bring forward a recommendation.

The changes in senior staff in the Planning department have left that group of people, who have had to work very hard to keep up with the flow of new development applications, close to leaderless.

The developers are taking cases to the Ontario Land Tribunal before there is even a recommendation from the planners.

This very poor ethical behaviour is not being done by all the developers – but enough of them to really gum up the works.

There is a tonne of money to be made; it has drawn experienced developers into the Burlington market.

The opportunity to create a city that maintains its character is being chipped away little by little.

More is needed in the way of leadership from the office of the city manager and that of the Mayor.

Burlington has been and could be better than this.


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Polls are seldom right - but they are an indication of what voters are thinking. The number of undecided tells us someting

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2022



What will the province look like on Friday June 3rd?

Put a different way – How bad could it be?

Province wide the polls say that Doug Ford will be returned at Premier.

Who will form the Opposition?

The polls again suggest that the New Democrats will continue to be the Opposition

Steve Del Duca: Risks losing his seat – Liberals will have to find a new leader.

What the polls are also telling is that Steve Del Duca may not win his own seat leaving the Opposition leaderless.

The New Democrats will be deeply disappointed about not being able to form a government and will need to think about their leadership.

The leadership of the Liberals will have to come out of whatever they have in the way of members sitting in the Legislature.

Will this happen?

The Gazette survey results show a very tight race

Polls are never accurate – but they are an indicator.

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The winner of a very tight race for the Burlington seat in the provincial legislature is now up to the undecided voters

By Staff

May 26th, 2022



For the past three weeks the Gazette has had a reporter out on the streets of the city asking about the provincial election.

He asked the following xx 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 (if not, why)?
Question 4: Would you like to say who you will vote for?

The number of undecided responses was higher than we expected – so we have added a 5th questions asking people is there a political party they are favouring

The latest results are set out below.






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On the campaign trail with NDP candidate with Andrew Drummond

By Jason Octavo

May 24th, 2022



The purpose of an election is to get more votes than anyone else and be able to form a government and serve the needs of the public that elected you.

That is what every politician will say and get in that line about it being an honour to serve the public.

Elections are something more than that. Most of the people running for public office love meeting people at their doorsteps, and listening.

NDP candidate Andrew Drummond

NDP candidate, Andrew Drummond and his team were working the streets of the Mount Forest part of the city hoping to meet people face to face and have conversations trying to convince them to vote for him.

The NDP is doing much better this time around. Last election, they had 216 signs around the neighborhood. This time, they have 366 signs.

The candidate never knows who will answer the door and what they will say. They may use the occasion to take a strip off the hide of the candidate or assure them that their vote is solid.

On the doorstep – soliciting a vote.

Drummond and his team have been going door to door for about two and a half hours every day since March.

For those who answered the doorbell, Drummond was ready with the NDP policy and how their leader Andrea Horwath was going to change the way government works and how voters will benefit.

If their is no answer to the door knock – a flyer would be left in the mailbox.

One house that was approached had a sign at the front of their door saying that a registered nurse lives here and that anyone from the PC party should stay away.

One person Andrew spoke to was a single mother of two children. She worries about housing and child care. She also thinks that candidates tend to break their promises and that people are struggling.

Another person was 72 years old and retired. He said that not too long ago, he had his rent doubled. Despite his age, he has been raising his kids for 30 years. He doesn’t believe that Doug Ford will live up to his promise of lowering gas prices if he gets re-elected as Premier.

Drummond knows where his support is. He has grown that support in the years he has been a candidate; the belief this time is that he has the numbers to get a majority in Burlington.

The last person Drummond spoke to on the time I was tagging along told him that he and his team “are doing much better.”

A campaign gives a candidate a small peek into the lives of the people they want to represent – it tells them as well if they are talking to the needs of those people.

The data – this what had been done up to the 20th of May

Campaign offices are filled with charts and data that show where the strength is and what the vote potential is – the task next week will be to get that vote out on election day.

Campaigns are hard work. Everyone loses some weight; everyone is committed – the enthusiasm is high.  It all comes to a couple of hours on the evening of Thursday June 2nd.

The tradition used to be that everyone gathered at the campaign office – workers and supporters – to watch the ballot counts come in.

The anticipation – the disappointment and the fear that it might not go their way is part of the evening.

Some contests get stretched out until the early hours – sometime everything is put on hold while the Returning Officer (the person who oversees the vote count that comes in from each polling station and deals with the problems) – there are always problems.

Jasmine Attfield, the Drummond campaign manager has decided that the candidate will not be at the office until the results are known.

Losing hurts – there is only one winner and in the game of politics – to the winner go the spoils.

The practice in Canadian politics is for the losers to drive over to the office of the winning candidate – congratulate them and then go back to your team and make the best of the evening.

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Race for the Burlington seat is still very tight. Undecided voters quite large

By Staff

May 23rd, 2022



Data collected locally suggests that the Burlington seat is still very much up for grabs.

Jason Octavo, a Sheridan College Journalism student about to graduate this year, has been spending hours outside supermarket and LCBO stores – inside malls and in Spencer Smith Park. North and south of the QEW.

By the time the survey work is completed he will have interviewed more than 750 asking the following 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 (if not, why)?
Question 4: Would you like to say who you will vote for?

We have added a 5th question: Is there a political party or candidate that you are favouring?

Are the numbers relevant, do they mean anything?  They are certainly quite different than the province wide numbers where the Progressive Conservatives have a clear lead.

That province wide sentiment is quite a bit different than what is taking place in Burlington.

Impressive data – can the solid 2018 results be improved – enough to win the seat?

The decision making in Burlington is informed by the significant number of New Blue Party signs that are showing up – especially in the rural part of the city;  the size of the Muslim vote and if it will turn out for the Liberal candidate.  And will the NDP vote locally continue to grow from the record vote level in the last provincial election.  They have raised more money than ever this time around and have a spacious office set up with a motivated team of volunteers.

The Progressive Conservatives did themselves no favours when they pulled their candidates province wide from taking part in debate or interviews.

They see themselves as leading and don’t want to have a candidate say something that will blow up in their faces. There is very little being said by PC candidates on social media.

Everything comes from the Premier and so far none of the other candidates have been able to lay a glove on him.

Will voters be disgusted with the way they have been treated? Not the base vote for certain. Winning is all that counts.  The voter be damned.

Octavo will be in the field up to May 31st – if there is a break in the news flow on something that could shift voter sentiments he will back back out until the day before the election.

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Rivers on the debate: Ford doesn’t have a platform; doesn’t need one. Winning at this point

By Ray Rivers

May 23rd, 2022



The Ontario leaders election debate took place this past week. And the undisputed winner was the party which, if people were listening, should do a lot better than they ever have – but probably won’t. The Green Party’s Mike Schreiner was eloquent, articulate, passionate and to the point, and challenged the front runner, Doug Ford, as the other opposition leaders only wish they could have done.

Andrea Horwath – working the crowd

Andrea Horwath did herself no favours talking over-the-top of the other leaders. And when it was her turn to speak, mostly avoided the question while recounting tales of meeting people on the street – accounts which are probably just scripted fiction. And when she finally got to the point of a question, used the opportunity to attack the wrong enemy, her Liberal opponent.

It was clear Horwath was still fighting Kathleen Wynne and the 2018 election. She looked desperate and caused Mr. Del Duca to note that every time she attacked him, Doug Ford would smile. There is little light between the policies of the three left-of-centre opposition parties, so if they really care about those issues, their natural political opponent is the Tory in the house.

Del Duca was calm and factual but somewhat robotic as he kept getting gut punched by Doug Ford

Del Duca was calm and factual but somewhat robotic as he kept getting gut punched by Doug Ford and his notebook of imaginary numbers. Del Duca was a little plastic, but at least he didn’t tirade. It’s not clear how the debate will affect his party’s standing, but without a knock out and/or Ford knocking himself out, it’s a long shot for any of these opposition politicians.

Ford probably could have skipped the debate, he’s so far ahead in the polls. But he showed up with his notebook. Candidates had been asked not to bring notes, but Ford is the front runner and he is the Premier, so he can do as he pleases.  Ford appeared calm throughout, even when attacked; exuding positivity and optimism, confident that he was on the right track even if it was a railway built in the 50’s and 60’s.

The moderation at TVO studios could have been better. Steve Paikin warned that he would shut off microphones if the contestants misbehaved. But he never followed through on his threat, even when it seemed chaos was at the door. Besides, the confrontational debate format, itself, is partly to blame for encouraging over-talking. Finally, the studio venue clearly hadn’t been COVID-proofed, since two of the debaters tested positive immediately afterwards.

Ford is running on his record

Ford is running on his record as incumbents typically do. So what is that record? It’s not unfair to say that of all the candidates running in 2018 Mr. Ford was not the most qualified. His ‘bull-in-the-china-shop’ gambit at the start of his reign disclosed a clear lack of understanding of the roles of the province and federal government, not to mention the energy and climate files.

He came out of the gate, and without a shred of evidence, accused Wynne of corruption and fiddling the books. So he set up an elaborate audit to find out the real numbers. And the real numbers were pretty much what Wynne had presented except for where she disagreed with the provincial auditor general (AG) on a couple of points. It was all show and an embarrassing waste of time and money. Why didn’t someone in his entourage tell him that the independent AG was mandated to review the provincial books prior to each election, so he wouldn’t have to do it?

Ford’s early government was highly visceral, he governed from his gut with bearings set to his ideological predisposition. He declared war on Toronto City Hall, his old stomping grounds. He went after the Liberal federal government, unions (teachers and nurses in particular) and just about everything environmental. And his nihilist environmental attitude rang up a costly sum. According to a study by Environmental Defence his dismantling of climate change policies has cost taxpayers of this province over $10 billion since the 2018 election.

Most of those financial impacts included the loss of expected income from the greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, Ontario’s alternative to the carbon tax. But there were real damage payments made, including $30 million to the giant US based Koch brothers. Then he wasted $30 million foolishly fighting the federal government over the carbon tax in the courts. And, while claiming he was saving hydro rate payers money by cancelling renewable energy contracts, actually cost us all almost a half of a billion dollars. Heck, even Tesla received $125,000 in legal compensation.

Ford acted too slowly with respect to measures that would stop viral transmission.

Ford’s early polling numbers dropped like a power line in an ice storm, reflecting his dismal performance in his first years as Premier. But Ontario rallied to its premier when the pandemic scared us all, and Ford and the prime minister were our solace during those early stressful days. Ford makes much of his fight to get personal protection equipment (PPE) supplies into Ontario, and the failure of the previous Liberal government to maintain inventories. But that doesn’t explain why his government had left those inventories empty during the first two years of his premiership.

Ford acted too slowly with respect to measures that would stop viral transmission and save lives in long term care (LTC). Although he inherited a troubled long term care program, the decision to have his ministry forego spot inspections of facilities just made the problem worse. And instead of actually implementing his ‘iron ring’ he allowed LTC staff to float among various facilities for way too long, inadvertently spreading the virus. His failures in LTC finally became apparent when he had to ask the federal government to send in the army.

Ford has a habit of repeating his mistakes

Ford on several occasions ignored the advice of the provincial science table and dropped restrictions prematurely or failed to tighten them early enough, thereby contributing to another wave. His refusal to re-instate the sick leave provision of the former government meant that workers would continue to show up at their jobs sick and spread the disease. And Ford had a habit of repeating his mistake – jumping the gun rather than waiting for lower and safer infection transmission rates before removing social distancing restrictions.

Each new case of COVID represented an additional cost to society, manifest in hospital and other health care expenses, lost income for those affected, lost economic productivity, and the very real personal costs of sickness, and sometimes death. Most of the financial costs were picked up by the federal government, but as we know there really is only one taxpayer.

Mr. Ford is proud of the jobs in new electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing he will be bringing to Ontario. That is a huge accomplishment, but these investments are also federally funded and likely would have been brought forward regardless which political party was in power in Ontario. And it is remarkable that Ontario has been able to attract EV production when Ford had been so hostile to the sector, killing the EV purchase grants, tearing out GO parking lot charging stations, and cancelling requirements for EV charging in buildings.

The promise of extracting valuable metals and rare earths from the so-called ring of fire, clearly helped attract a new battery manufacturing facility. But the province has still not built the road or rail connections it had promised back during the 2018 election. And, more recently, issues are looming around electricity supply for those industries.

Ford’s government is big on replacing renewable energy with natural gas, even as the rest of the world is trying to stop using gas. He spent $3 billion buying gas powered electricity plants which will almost ensure that the province will miss its climate change goals and drag Canada’s effort down with it. Natural gas is more destructive as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and yet Mr. Ford has doubled gas use for electricity over his term in office.

Even though we are still kind-of in the pandemic, we’d all like to think it was a lifetime ago. And Ford’s earlier antics are even further away in our minds. So the number one election issue is something called affordability. There is no precise economic definition for affordability but that doesn’t matter to someone filling their tank, paying their mortgage or looking to buy meat at the grocers.

A public wish and a badly needed solution – what will a new government be able to deliver?

And polls show that when it comes to affordability, the word in Ontario can be abbreviated to just plain FORD – even if he is paying you with your own and your children’s money. He talks a good story about lower gas and electricity prices. And didn’t he just return all the money you paid in licence fees? So Mr. Ford is projected to win with as much as a 10 seat majority.

That could still change if strategic voting comes to pass but there is little sign of that happening this election. Both main opposition leaders know they’ll lose, but they’d rather lose than be nice to each other. So they’ll both be running for second place rather than first.

Premier Ford – happy at this point.

And the big truth is that both Horwath and Del Duca blew their chances to impress the voters at the leaders’ debate. Horwath’s platform is stale and Del Duca’s piece meal. And Ford, just like the first time he ran, doesn’t even have a platform. But he doesn’t need one because the opposition parties are playing Ford’s game, almost aping the big man, but not topping his non-campaign promises of affordability and the good life, as he smiles on.

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On the Bateman high school purchase - Sharman tweets 'Failure is a possibility'

By Pepper Parr

May 22th, 2022


There is just something not quite right about the sale and purchase of the Bateman High School property.

It is monumentally expensive.

The paucity of public information resulted in the sanctioning of a council member based on a complaint by two other Council members.

Councillor Stolte was docked five days’ pay for talking publicly about something that was discussed in a CLOSED session of Council – a no no in the municipal world.

Councillors Nisan and Galbraith filed a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner.

Then there is an announcement that there will be a l and swap – the city would sell the sports field to the west of Central High school – the proceeds of that sale would go towards paying for the Bateman property owned by the public Board of Education.

The city announces that there will be public engagement – before that a short survey.

Short survey has a short life – the cit y pulls the survey and provides some detail on a public meeting.

That gets the social media close to the boiling point.  Those networks are going crazy over the Bateman high school and Central High school sports field matter,

Lynne Crosby, a frequent Tweeter, makes a comment – the city picks up on it …

… then ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman puts in a few words.


So failure is a possibility?





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Burlington election race is very tight

By Jason Octavo

May 18th, 2022



The Gazette assigned a reporter to learn how people in Burlington are handling the election for the next provincial government.

The assignment was to approach people and ask four questions:

Q1 Do you know there is going to be an election in June?

Q2 Do you know anything about the issues?

Q3 Are you going to vote? (If not – why note)

Q4 Would you like to say who you will vote for?

We captured the following additional data:

Male or female

Under 40 – over 40

Do they live in Burlington?

The interviews took place at GO stations, outside supermarkets, outside LCBO retail outlets, in Spencer Smith Park and the malls.

The results to date.

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Resident feedback wanted on Robert Bateman High School proposals

By Staff

May 18th, 2022



The City of Burlington is looking for residents’ feedback on a proposed land transaction with the Halton District School Board (HDSB) and leasing arrangements with the HDSB and Brock University for the City’s planned acquisition of the Robert Bateman High School building and property.

The proposed transaction with the HDSB would see the City transfer ownership of approximately five acres of City owned-land (sports field at Central High School) to the HDSB as a component of a land exchange for the Robert Bateman site.

The sports field beside Central High school is owned by the city. Selling it to the school board frees up some cash that can be applied to the purchase of the Bateman location. It is a complex deal with a number of players that may not have had the benefit of some some take our time second thought. Some are wondering – why the rush? One pressure point is that Brock wants to be in the space they are renting – when? Tight timeline.

The City owned-land in question is located near Burlington Central High School and includes the high school football field and running track.

The HDSB has wanted to own the sports field beside Burlington Central High School for some time; that desire is consistent with the HDSB’s long-term intention to continue operating Burlington Central High School as a school. This land exchange component will advance the City’s efforts to secure the Robert Bateman site in continued public ownership, ensuring that the Robert Bateman site is available for continued educational and community-oriented uses.

Feedback will also be sought on proposed leasing agreements with the HDSB that wants to use some of the space and Brock University that wants to locate one of its departments in Burlington.

Both leases are expected to be long-term but not to exceed 25 years.

Burlington City Council directed staff to gather feedback from the public on these proposals. Public feedback can be provided at the City’s online engagement portal, Get Involved Burlington.  The time frame for getting sufficient public feedback is short.

The site is a big one; the plans to re-purpose the location from a local high school to a multi-use site that would pull together local residents, a unit of Brock University, a public library and a number of gymnasiums with lots of space left over.

A considerable amount of controversy is expected from the downtown community where there isn’t all that much open space to begin with. The 100th anniversary event was planned to take place on the sports field in June of 2023.  Will that space still be available to the public once it is in school board hands?

Any thought of a community centre with a pool in that part of town would be lost.  With three towers planned for Ghent and Brant, a short walk from the sports field, residents wonder if they are going to be locked out of creating more in the way of public amenities.

Click for the Link to Get Involve

This engagement opportunity will be open to Burlington residents until June 13, 2022.

Following public input, staff will report back to Burlington Council with a final report and recommendations at the June 21, 2022 Council meeting.

Some background:

In June 2021, HDSB announced that it has declared Robert Bateman High School surplus to its needs.

In December 2021, Council provided direction to staff to submit a formal offer to purchase the Robert Bateman High School site

On Feb. 3, 2022, Burlington City Council endorsed next steps to advance the potential acquisition of the Robert Bateman High School site from the HDSB.

Shortly after, also in June 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.

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Public school board to purchase the city owned sports field next to Central High School - that is part of a bigger story

By Staff

May 18th, 2022



The Halton District School Board put out the following media release.

The Halton District School Board is 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 school will own the sports field once the negotiations are complete

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.

In June 2021, HDSB trustees approved a plan to declare the former Robert Bateman High School facility surplus to its needs and retain an interest in a portion of the facility to relocate the Burlington Gary Allan Learning Centre. In September 2021, the City of Burlington expressed interest and submitted their formal offer on Feb. 3, 2022, which was accepted by the Board.

This opportunity to acquire the area at Burlington Central H.S. presented itself to the Board and the City as part of the negotiation process, where the land exchange was incorporated as part of the final offer. This was supported by the Board, as it advances its long-term facility accommodation strategy in Burlington. The Board sought Ministry of Education approval and received a positive response to proceed with the transaction.

The outcome of this transaction addresses key objectives for the HDSB and the City by ensuring  important educational and community programs continue to be offered within Burlington.

The Board looks forward to continuing to work with the City of Burlington on this matter.

The acquisition of the sports field is related to the Robert Bateman High School land transaction.

The bigger story is that the city had to find a way to lessen the public pressure on a price tag that was being floated and resulting in a lot of indigestion.  Whatever the city gets for the sports field will lower the cost of the Bateman site.

The city is gearing up another engagement effort to get some grease on a very squeaky wheel.


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Marina issues: First it was insurance - now its a crane operator strike. The question some are asking - what do you do with a drunken sailor?

By Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2022



There will be a detailed report on how council and city staff will do their best to get boats into the water at the LaSalle Park Marina. For today – look at what the issues were and how Council worked their way through what is a messy problem.

The major issue was not being able to get insurance coverage.

What made their situation just that more dicey was the strike by crane operators.

One of the things that about this story is that information slips out in bits and pieces.

We did not know that the LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) pays the city a license fee of $159,000 a year for the wave break. What does the city do with that money? Do they put it back into the hydro reserve fund it was taken from?

While Tim Commisso, city manager doesn’t want to operate a marina – one of the stipulations from the insurers the city uses is that the city must have control over the marina if the city insurance policy is to include the marina.

City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol

Council looked to City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol to determine just what ‘control over the marina’ means.

While the city knows a lot about policy and process the Parks and Recreation people realize that they don’t know all that much about the day to day problems that crop up at a marina.

The solution they appear to be edging towards is having all the marina volunteers become city volunteers who would then be given some training. Those volunteers would run the marina as city volunteers.

Will it fly? That depends on the strength of the relationship between the city and the insurance company. City is big big client – some wiggle room might be found.

Another boat is hoisted out of the yard and lowered into the water as the LaSalle Park Marina opens for another season.  Just not this year – mid June at the earliest.

The marina is a profitable operation. They have 210 slips – with 160 of them rented – they are profitable.  The longer term hope for the operation was to have 310 slips and a decent restaurant on the site.

As important to anyone is – getting the boats in the water and to do that they need to find an independent crane operator with equipment big enough to hoist those boats off their cradles and into the water.

One boat has been sold – the owner apparently can’t get his boat out of the yard it is in.

Everyone has spoken about how whatever arrangement is worked out that the city will be revenue neutral. Not a dime of public money gets put into the operation of the marina.

The LPMA turns out to have a decent reserve fund of its own. They reported that they run a profit most years – something in the order of $64,000 annually. Last year was an exception.

Given that the marina association has a reserve ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte wondered if the LPMA would have some of that reserve used to secure any expenses the city did run up?

City treasurer Joan Ford told Council that any expenses that did crop up would be recorded in a new, separate account. What kind of expense might be recorded in that account?

Council learned that the city was hiring outside legal council to advise on what the legal issues were. The cost of those lawyers would be one that the city would pay and look to the LPMA for reimbursement.

Stolte put forward an amendment to a motion that was being considered. She wanted some of that LPMA reserve money set aside as a security for those unexpected expenses.  It went nowhere – Stolte couldn’t get a seconder. When asked if he would second the motion Councillor Galbraith took a pass. Smart man – no need for him to rustle the feathers of an influential group in his ward.

The Gazette has learned that one of the two slip and fall law suits took place on the docks late at night.

We don’t yet know just who made the claim and what the particulars of the claim are.

We do know that $97,500 has been spent by the LPMA defending the claim with a settlement on either of the claims nowhere in sight.

What is that phrase ”What do you do with a drunken sailor…”

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Ward 1 Councillor meets with his constituents - virtually with 12 in the room

By Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2022



Kelvin Galbraith is now embracing the world of retail politics.

Kelvin Galbraith with Aldershot residents shortly after he was elected

In the retail world – you reach out to your customers, listen to them carefully and adjust your plans and approach to meet the needs the customer are bringing to your attention.

In a phrase – you service them – or as my Newfoundland friends would say – you kill them with kindness.

Galbraith held his first community meeting in a long time.  It was a hybrid event with about 12 people in the room and an unknown number taking part virtually.

When things run smoothly – Kelvin Galbraith is a happy man.

Galbraith knows his brief – he has a firm grip on what is taking place in terms of development in the ward and has a vision that is a little hazy but in time it will become clearer.

That vision, and his focus on a second term if he is elected, is Eagle Heights and the Paletta lands on the south side of 403 between King Road and basically the Aldershot GO station.

The property is zoned Employment lands – in the real estate world the money is in residential.  If you’re in the downtown core and close to the lake – there is real money to be made.

The Paletta’s are working with the 2030 Commonwealth Games committee with a plan to use the King Road property as one of the venues.

Galbraith loves the idea – he wants to see the South Service Road extended further west and if the Commonwealth games initiative will do that – fine by Galbraith.

He is basically on top of all the developments taking place in the ward.

He likes what King Paving is doing with the property on the west side of Waterdown – opposite Station West.  They are looking at moving their operation to what was once the municipal dump on the North Service Road.  That location is right beside the Mercedes Benz dealership – dust issues might become a major hurdle King Paving has to get over.

Despite a lot of effort Galbraith has not been able to get all that much for the community from the Vrancorp people who own Solid Gold. The best he might be able to get is a Starbucks franchise and a tiny park space.

There is nothing new – or positive on the development planned for the Solid Gold site.

The mess at the marina has Galbraith stepping very carefully – he needs to keep that membership happy.

The city manager is reported to have told a resident that he does not want to find the city running a marina operation – outsourcing the operation was the word that seemed to convey what the city manager would like to see.

Convincing Galbraith to take part in the Red Carpet Red Tape Task Force may not prove to be all that beneficial to him.

The Mayor finds herself trying to play with a very sticky wicket.  That raid on the hydro reserves to pay for the wave break that was essential if the marina was to remain viable has come back to haunt her politically.

Galbraith was asked by the Mayor during the early months of the current term of office to partner with her on the Red Carpet Red Tape Task Force.  The result was someone with good business credentials working with the Mayor and shoring up one of her weaker skill sets.

Galbraith is now paying a price for that early exposure.  He needs to put some space between himself and the Mayor.

The way in which Galbraith took part in the process that resulted in ward 4 Councillor being sanctioned by the Integrity Commissioner didn’t do anything for the Galbraith reputation.  That sorry situation is not over yet – there is a report due in June that will determine if Stolte decides to run for re-election

As part of a city council that voted to declare a climate emergency in the city, Galbraith still chooses to drive a gas guzzling pick up truck.  The optics on that one are terrible.

Galbraith is one of the few members of council facing a challenge to the seat he holds.  During an interview Galbraith said – anyone who decides to run against me doesn’t have a chance.

It is hubris like that that loses elections


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Rivers still sees this election as Doug Ford's to lose.

By Ray Rivers

May 16th, 2022



Mike Schreiner – Green Party

There were a couple of political debates this past week. The four main party leaders met in North Bay to stake out their promises for northern Ontario. And there were no surprises, nobody fell on their face, and despite the odd jab there were no knock-out punches. If I had to pick a debate winner it would have been Green Party leader Mike Schreiner – methodical, pointed, passionate and considered – it is a shame he wasn’t leading a party with a better chance of winning seats.

On the topic of debates, I also tuned into the federal Conservative leadership debate. It was fun, a kind of cross between a political blood-fest and a gong show. The game show host, also known as moderator, had a lot of fun tossing out hoops for the contestants to step through.

But the contest is really Poilievre vs the Charest/Brown tag team.

And if ever there was a need for fact checking, it is the stuff that the eloquent Mr. Poilievre is spouting. For example, he seems to have discovered a ‘new economics’ which no reputable economist can agree with. To be sure he speaks with conviction and sounds credible – but it mostly is rubbish. Still, if you say a lie often enough, some people will believe it.

And if you were looking for how these wannabe leaders were going to handle climate change that was the wrong channel to watch. Even Jean Charest, my former boss when he was Canada’s minister of the environment in the Mulroney government, didn’t spend anytime on the topic.

And I know he understands the science – I had written a few of his speeches and briefing notes.

The Ontario leaders’ debate was set in the north, a geographical construct which has been afflicted with climate change induced forest-fires and floods. Yet, I had to listen hard to hear mention of… let alone any promises to mitigate climate change. True enough, the opposition parties talked about Increased public transportation and support for electric vehicles (EV). But there was little from the governing Tory leader, other than boasting about some new investment for manufacturing EVs.

Doug Ford – Premier of the province pointing to what he saw as positive Covid19 numbers,

Mr. Ford renewed his promise for a road to the ring of fire and its precious metals. But even as he was bragging about landing a $5 billion lithium car battery plant to Windsor, the company was contemplating cancelling for lack of an assurance of electric power. Following the debate Ford promised a billion dollar new electricity line to Windsor from somewhere. Perhaps he shouldn’t have cancelled all those renewable energy projects.

The Green Party delivered their detailed party platform this week, promising a whacking $65 billion in new spending to transition the province to a “new climate economy”. It’s easy to make promises if you’ll never have to deliver. The party also has plans to make the province’s top doctor independent, to provide more affordable housing and a spattering of other social policies. The party would reinstate the environmental commissioner, a position which Mr. Ford axed early in his administration. And to that end Dianne Saxe, the last commissioner, is running for the Greens in the Toronto riding of University–Rosedale.

Steven Del Duca hoping to revive the Liberal Party fortunes

The Liberals released their platform earlier in the week with some interesting sound bites primarily intended for the ear of those struggling McDonalds-frequenting working class folks. After all, if buck-a-beer got Ford elected…. Del Duca plans to raise the HST exemption, or at least the provincial portion, on fast foods up to $20. He will also offer $1 a ride transit across the province for a limited time and will take the $10 billion the Tories have allocated for Hwy 413 and spend it on renovating schools. He would cap all class sizes to a maximum of 20 students and hire a bunch of teachers to make that happen. Like the other opposition parties the Liberals would end for-profit private long term care and guarantee all workers 10 sick days a year as well some kind of employee benefit package.

The NDP were the first party to actually lay out a complete policy platform and their plans dive deep into what they consider has been broken in the province since they last were in government. So rent control is back with a vengeance. Horwath is promising equity in auto insurance rates and to speed up implementation of the new child care agreement. Her party would be adding more renewable energy, fixing long term and other health care, and even speeding up development of the ‘ring of fire’. The NDP detailed election platform is only a little easier to read than War and Peace, which means that most voters will not bother. Still in the small print on page 85 there is a promise to “create a Mixed Member Proportional Voting system”.

Andrea Horwath _leader of the New Democrats

The Tories consider their last budget, implementation of which was deferred until after the election, as their policy platform – that and odd sporadic announcements they’ll make throughout the campaign to keep/bring voters in their camp. And given that their poll numbers haven’t moved much since they called the vote, they’re probably safe in doing that. Ford’s main promises include more privately operated long term beds, more highways and more auto manufacturing in the province.

The Ford nation is headed for another strong majority if the polls are right. So, Mr. Ford couldn’t be blamed for spending these nice warm days till election day at his cottage, confident he’s got it in the bag. Not that I am saying he’s doing, that mind you. And, of course, that could all change with the final leaders’ debate this Monday night. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on that.

With a candidate in every riding this new party is doing surprisingly well – they could eat away at some of the PC core vote

Then there are the other two even more right wing parties, Jim and Belinda Karahalios’ ‘New Blue’ and Derek Sloan’s ‘Ontario Party’. Together their polling is close to that of the Green Party, so they could be a insignificant factor if the radical/reactionary conservatives shift their support away from the Tories to the ‘real’ right wing. Still these are fledgling political outfits and it’ll be amazing if they end with more than the one seat each they have today. But nobody should forget the success of the Reform Party.

One of these four will be Premier – could it be a government with just a minority of seats in the legislature?

On the other side of the ideological aisle the Liberals, NDP and Greens all compete for pretty much the same political base but each with their own fine tuned refinements. And with three parties on the left and three on the right, perhaps it is time to consider proportional representation after all. But you’d have to vote for the NDP or Greens to see that happen this election. In any case it is unfortunate that these new ‘bluer than Ford’ parties have not been invited to all the electoral debates during this election. They are putting a lot of effort and money into winning hearts and souls of the voters and we should be able to hear what they are proposing even if they are new to the political game.

Ray Rivers is a retired federal civil servant who has been politically active in the Burlington community.  He has a degree in economics and has been writing a column for the Gazette for the past seven years.  when the election is over he will return to writing his second book

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Two of Aldershot's best go up against Oakville Mayor Rob Burton

By Staff

May 16th, 2022



Tom Muir, a committed advocate for stronger public voices at the planning table sent a note to Oakville Mayor Rob Burton on planning matters.  Burton responded saying:

Tom, all four parties with seats in the Legislature have embraced in their platforms the call for a million and a half new housing units over the next ten years, effectively double or triple what has been planned and financed out to 2031. One might expect significant changes to urban planning processes in the name of the supposed need for haste.

Greg Woodruff, an Aldershot resident who has run, unsuccessfully for both Regional Chair and Mayor of Burlington responded to Burton:

Hello Rob,
Whatever “changes” you imagine in the urban planning process – if you imagine required infinite growth on the same land area …

If your entire city was of single family houses, then knock them down for duplexes.

If your entire city was duplexes, then knock them down for 4 floor apartments.

If your entire city was 4 floor apartments, then knock them down for 12 stores.

And if your entire city was 12 story apartments, knock them down for 50 stores.

Instead of all that building and knocking down – why not jump to the 50 story buildings?

Why can there be no reasonable or nuanced building? Because if you concede infinite sustainable growth – every single location’s destiny is a building as high as technology allows.

And once you conceded that – there is no sensible limit to the building in any one location.

In his comment Mayor Rob Burton, BA, MS, signed off as Head of Council & CEO.

I thought the city manager was the CEO – with authority delegated to him by Council. Am I wrong?

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Burlington Chamber of Commerce seems to have forgotten the reason for having democratically elected legislators

By Pepper Parr

May 15th, 2022



In an earlier news report we asked: Why did the Burlington Chamber of Commerce decide the Burlington candidate for the New Blue Party would not be permitted to take part in the Chamber’s Question and Answer session on May 19th?

We now know why.

They were told that they did not poll at least 5% of the vote in the last election.  True – they didn’t exist in the last election.

They do not have a member sitting in the Legislature – not completely true.  The New Party is represented in the Legislature by Belinda Karahalios  who was at one point a member of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Belinda Karahalios was elected as the MPP for Cambridge.  In July of 2020 she was expelled from the PC caucus after she voted against Bill 195.

The bill was in its third reading, and would allow the government of Premier Doug Ford to extend or amend some emergency orders a month at a time for up to two years without consulting the legislature.

When she was booted out of the PC party,  Karahalios crossed the floor of the Legislature and declared herself a member representing the New Blue Party.   Crossing the floor is nothing knew – it happens federally and provincially.

The spirit of a democratic  society is to accept a party that is representative of the community; the New Blue party has 124 people nominated and running election campaigns across the province.  To put it more bluntly – the New Blue have a candidate running in every riding in the province as do the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives.  The Liberal Party has 122 candidates.

Allison McKenzie: New Blue candidate for Burlington,

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce needs to take another hard look at the decision they have made and welcome Allison McKenzie, candidate as the candidate for the New Blue Party in Burlington.

Personally, I am not a fan of the party and most of the positions they have taken.

I am a fan and a strong believer in fairness and openness.  The New Blue belong at the table.

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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