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

By Pepper Parr

September 17th, 2021



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related news stories:


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Someone will call out Play Ball and those that knew Casey well will be gulping and trying to hold back the tears

By Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2021



This was not an easy story to write.

It’s about a guy I knew quite well; watched him struggle with his cancer but never heard a word from him about any fear.

I once went door to door with Casey, Bryana, and the three kids putting flyers in mail boxes announcing the Terry Fox Run at which Team Casey people were going to be there for the first time.

And be there they were – a remarkable sense of community that supported Casey when he was with us and support his family when he isn’t.

He comes to mind frequently and I wonder how he is doing and how the kids are.  How is Bryana doing – where is life taking her?

Then I saw the notice on the Caring Bridge web site – there was going to be a baseball game for the Team Casey people – if you wanted to play all you had to do was sign up.

It is billed as the Team Casey’s Terry Fox Event – 2021

Here is how Bryana tells us about the event:

The Cosgrove family

It’s rapidly approaching that time of year again…Terry Fox Run time!  Team Casey has been participating in the Terry Fox Run event since 2011, so this will be our 10th year anniversary!  In that time, Team Casey has raised almost $65,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation in support of cancer research….and I wanted to thank EVERYONE who has participated, donated, and supported us these last several years!  Together, we have made such a difference in both raising needed funds and raising awareness (with our awesome presence we have brought to the event!) about the need for finding a cure.

This year’s event, given our continued unusual circumstances, will be a separate event from the usual run we have done in the past.  This year’s event with be a baseball game and a BBQ at Casey Cosgrove Field!  Here are the details:

Date/Time:  Sunday, September 19th at 6:00pm

Location:  Casey Cosgrove Baseball Field (the ball diamond right behind Nelson High School)

BBQ:  There will be a BBQ with hamburgers and hot dogs, drinks, and chips with all proceeds going towards the team donations

What to Do/Bring:

  • They filled each other’s lives

    If you would like to play baseball, please send me an email at by September 16th to guarantee your spot…otherwise, you may still be able to play but there will be no guarantees (but it will be very likely)

  • Bring any baseball equipment you may have if you want to play
  • One remarkable human being.

    Bring a chair to sit in while you watch if you don’t want to sit in the bleachers

  • Bring your appetite…all proceeds from the BBQ will be going towards the team donations
  • Consider donating to Team Casey at
  • Most importantly….Bring your smile!

Even if you don’t want to play, please come out and watch some ball and have some dinner….we would love to see you!

Play ball!

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

By Staff

September 16th, 2021



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Play Ball – Team Casey takes to the field

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Ward 2 Councillor doesn't let a conflict get in the way of meeting with her people

By Pepper Parr

September 16eth, 2021



Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is going to hold her next ward meeting on September 22nd at the Art Gallery.
It conflicts with the COVID19 Town Hall. Attend Lisa’s event –when she is on a roll she’s the best show in town.

That is the short story.

Here is the long story.

When Councillor Kearns has the microphone – look out – or better still – duck.

On September 9th the Ward 2 Community meeting was circulated in the Burlington Downtown Newsletter for the September 22nd date.

On September 9th, the city released this

On August 12th, my office confirmed an in-person hybrid zoom meeting reservation with Art Gallery Burlington to host a Ward 2 Community Meeting, subject to health directives in place at the future date. Due to limited use and demand for bookings, it was quite difficult to reserve a September date, as observed by the Wednesday date instead of the usual Thursday.

On August 26th, my office received an “optional” (as all Council was noted as ‘optional’) internal invitation from the Mayor’s Office to attend the COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. External panelists were included in this email.

On August 27th, my office released a pre-scheduled newsletter titled “Your Voice Matters” which set out a number of upcoming engagement opportunities in Ward 2 and citywide surveys and initiatives.

On September 1st, my office released the September Newsletter which included an invitation to attend the Ward 2 Community Meeting on September 22nd.

Following this newsletter release, I was advised by the Manager of Engagement and Volunteers that “September 22 is the evening of the COVID telephone town hall 6:30-7:30 which overlaps with your meeting.” On verbal discussion, with the Manager it was further encouraged that the Town Hall meetings are recorded and archived, and additionally there is a half hour window to hear the beginning of the Town Hall, then return to the recording to hear any remaining Q&A’s should any residents wish to have information from both. I also expressed the clear difference in topics and would mention that if additional information was needed by any attendees related to COVID-19 that the Town Hall would be an additional resource.

You may also note that the City Town Hall was not included in the Ward 2 newsletter as the public notice had not been released until September 9th, Cllr. Galbraith also did not include in his summer edition newsletter on September 1st.

All those words – all that scurrying back and forth. Is this the way city hall really works> Looks like a major work project to me.



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Is there a parking train wreck coming our way?

By Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2021



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive Director and City Planner Heather MacDonald

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Elizabeth Street Parking Lot

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

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

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

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

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

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

Can you see the train wreck coming our way?

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

By Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2021



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

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

Planned schedule for the first Burlington Holiday Market.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The event

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

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

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

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

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

Described in the report to council as:

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

The Staff report went on to say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on the specifics of that debate in part 2

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

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Oakville North Burlington Green Party candidate slams the Conservative candidate for not showing up at debates

By Ryan O’Dowd, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

September 16th, 2021



Bruno Sousa wants to serve as a watchdog in federal politics, to force action in place of what he calls “a merry go round of posturing between the Liberals and Conservatives.”

Sousa, the Green party representative for Oakville/North Burlington, spoke with the Gazette to call for immediate climate change action with effective spending. Sousa says the Liberal have been ineffective, that the Conservatives can’t be bothered showing up to climate change talks “is infuriating”(and he has heard from some of their candidates they’ve been told to avoid debates and interviews), and that while Sousa agrees with the NDP on several matters their lack of fiscal accountability makes them an unviable choice.

Sousa didn’t become the Green party representative until after the snap election call on August 15th. He credits the “unbelievable” decision by Justin Trudeau to call the election as his call to politics. His frustration with Canada’s major party leaders was a long time coming, disappointed by scandals and lack of transparency plaguing the Trudeau administration. Sousa suggests the Liberals and Conservatives are both prone to wilting in the face of their moralistic ideals.

“Seeing the platforms throughout the years it’s a lot of empty promises because of the friction that comes out of that desire to just be the populist party. And I think what’s happened along the way is we’ve lost sight of what’s important at the end of the day when it comes to governance, and that is that you know, parties like the Green Party, when they even came into existence after the 60s and 70s. They came into existence already because of values and morals that pose an issue in politics by essentially not being observed.

And what we’re seeing right now with the two major parties is exactly that. No one is being held to their moralistic ideals. The Liberals, and Justin Trudeau specifically, ran on things like transparency of platform, transparency of governance, transparency in all of the doings of government. Yay, you got my vote, but unfortunately what’s happened after six years, is a complete breakdown of that entire process, where anyone that would have respected you for that is now left wanting some answer as to what happened.

And that’s not the only problem I mean we’re talking specifically there on transparency but there have been all sorts of other ethical issues that have come up throughout the last six years. And when you compare that to the previous parties, and the previous governments, what you end up seeing is the same thing happening over and over again.

“And when you look at it closely, you start seeing what the Greens are doing, what have they been able to do and what they’ve been able to do is to continue to follow that early on the idea of the values and morals and say well look, if we don’t ever have large representation, what we can do is hold them accountable. We can get in there and say we’re at the table to ask ‘Why aren’t you deciding on things? Why aren’t you taking action? Why is this happening?’ And at least from my perspective, I feel like we can put a small dent in at the time,” said Sousa.

During a Chamber of Commerce debate, Sousa pointed out his Conservative opponent, Hanan Rizkalla, hadn’t bothered to show up for the climate change debate and questioned the Conservatives’ seriousness on this topic. Rizkalla joined Burlington’s Emily Brown and Milton’s Nadeem Akbar in ensuring every Conservative in the Burlington region no-showed the climate change debate attended by every other major party candidate.

“If you talk to a conservative now, for the most part, tell you climate change is nothing to be concerned about. The truth is they’re just not there. And even today, I was in another debate and again no Conservative candidate. So they’re just not showing up at the table, I don’t know who they’re talking to when they’re talking about coming together and talking to people. I’m not sure why they’re not showing up. We hear from some of their candidates that they’ve been told not to take debates and interviews. If that’s the reason why I don’t want to attack the candidates, I don’t know. But they’re not there and it is kind of infuriating because if we’re all supposed to be at the table to have a conversation and to hear the ideas it’s not really conducive to that when you don’t show up and then make statements as if you were there,” said Sousa.

Sousa’s vision isn’t much at odds with the NDP however he doesn’t consider them credible due to a lack of fiscal accountability.

“Where the NDP lack any vision is on how they deal with fiscal accountability. And we’re seeing that now again they have the highest rating climate change plan in terms of the platform. I don’t disagree with them. I think that we are parallel at this point, but we’re past the expiry date and asking for a warranty, you know, we have to pay for it now. I don’t think there’s going to be much of a choice in that question. I think any party that decides to ignore that fact at this point I don’t think that they’re reckoning with the knowledge that’s available,” said Sousa.

The NDPs failure to provide costing for much of their platform has been an area of ridicule for the party. For Sousa’s part, he has a costing pitch, and he doesn’t shy away from the components he knows will be unpopular like an increased carbon tax. The candidate noted fighting climate change would have been a lot cheaper if acted on when the alarm bells first sounded.

“We have a lot of ways that we plan to create funding for this model, so a lot of these methods involve, for example, reallocation of funds that are currently being used for other industries so that’s one easy way to do it. Other ways include our taxation model for example on small businesses because we still want to incentivize growth, we’d be holding it at 9% but for large companies that are already doing quite well in Canada, we’d be looking to increase their corporate tax code to 21%. And I think that’s pretty aggressive when you look at the other platforms, but that will provide additional funding. And the other thing we’re looking to do is to tax the E-commerce companies that make so much money outside of Canada. Because Canada tends to forget that it is not a state. Most of its funding for these companies across the border from us, shouldn’t just go out the door without taxation in my opinion. And right now they do, and that’s just a lost opportunity for Canada.

So, as in the European Union, they’re trying to downsize to a model where, depending on which country you’re in, the system can automatically charge you the correct tax, and then an entity is set up to collect those taxes from the different countries and redistribute it. So it’s a very simple model that we can institute here in Canada as well, to work with these eCommerce companies, but I think that they almost see the writing on the wall it’s coming, they’re in some cases already adopting it, even joining the committees that are organizing on these things.

“We also do try to increase the carbon tax, I know that’s not a popular idea right now. We plan to increase it to I think 25 compared to the levels of $15. But when we look at where we currently are we’ve got to ask ourselves how much more do we want to pay for it down the line because that’s really what’s happening here is we’re just delaying the pay, but that’s going to come with interest later, and that’s going to be a lot higher. And if we take a look at our plan right now, it could have been implemented as I think early as 1996 where we were already talking about these kinds of measures, but it would have been a much lower price at the, at the time, and we would have probably been outside of this scenario, at this point as well. We just didn’t embrace it soon enough and now we’re having to pay essentially a surcharge on what would have already been taxed,” said Sousa.

Bruno Sousa is a business leader and advisor with over 15 years of experience in business development, community building, and marketing. He is an entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and consultant.

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A poll of 100 people on what they think of an election taking place and what the issues are

By Staff

September 16th, 2021



Last August the Gazette did a very short poll of Burlington residents asking how they felt about the calling of a federal election.  The vast majority were opposed to an election at that time.  Views have shifted.

We had our team do a follow up poll asking:

Should this election be taking place?

What are the issues? Rank them 1,2,3,4

Climate change
Budget – taxes

We noted gender and age spread from rough age under 25; 26-40; 41-55, and over 60.  We did not ask for an age – we made an educated guess.

Max Bowder and Ryan O’Dowd were out on the streets of the city: O’Dowd covered downtown Burlington, Appleby mall and Aldershot, which we called SOUTH, while Bowder covered everything north of QEW to Dundas which we called NORTH – he did not venture north of Dundas.

They both interviewed just over 50 people each.

A breakdown of the data by the part of the city that xxx took place is below.

Question:                                       NORTH          SOUTH     TOTAL
Election taking place NO               30                  21            51
Election taking place YES              11                  17            28
Election taking place No opinion  12                  12            24

Housing-                                      12                   21            33
Budget/taxes-                              10                  12             22
Climate change-                           7                    10            17
Covid-                                          13                  5               18

O’Dowd found it “interesting that the numbers shifted, at least in my data, from strongly opposed to mostly in favor of it or indifferent. I suspect this is because that the election was a majority power grab attempt has faded from the collective zeitgeist due to how unlikely a majority looks. But can’t say for sure.”

The Age breakout was

26-40:           22
41-55            12
60+               10
Under 25       5

Gender breakdown


Ryan O’Dowd

O’Dowd found that “Generally there seemed to be a lot of apathy towards the election but the negativity around the calling of the election seems to have subsided. Which was an odd dichotomy. COVID with only 5 first place votes was rather shocking.

“This suggests to me that the people surveyed aren’t all too worried about Trudeau’s decision to call a pandemic election but are disillusioned by their choices.”

Bowder found that “A vast majority of people believed that now was not the time for an election because of how much it costs. The few that did feel that the election should happen now felt that it was good for the general public to have an election so they could review their options.

“Main concerns were to do with Covid-19 because it is the most impactful thing in their lives right now. A close second on people’s issues was housing as they feel homes in Burlington are becoming too expensive.”

Among the comments Bowder got were:

“You know this democracy is very messy but hey, dictatorships are clean and easy, I would rather live in a messy democracy than a clean dictatorship.” – Male, white, plus size.

“Climate change is up there, jobs for students and their entire education aren’t getting enough benefits anymore. I’d also like stiffer penalties for gun crimes.”

Max Bowder

“It’s halfway through the mandate, fourth wave, the delta wave, Trudeau wants us to go yea. It’s not to everybody’s taste but I can see why.”

“Not concerned about Covid because with Covid itself and what’s going on and everything else it is just being used as a tool for something else or to advance an agenda, climate change, I’m not too concerned about it, I feel we as Canadians have done a lot to help absolve it. Housing is awful right now, taxes terrible, and just overall budgeting of the economy is a disaster.”

“The whole election is taking place sooner than it should be… with no real time for preparation and personally I feel it is time for Trudeau to leave and get him outa here and we need to get Doug Ford outa here as well and start fresh.”

“I feel right now we are in the motion of a change, it’s not just for Canada, it’s for the world, it’s going to affect politics, religion, money, everything.”

“I’m actually going to vote once, for the first time ever, because I have never voted cause there has never really been in my eyes, candidates I would support, but right now I feel it’s a critical time to support people who don’t vote to make a change.”

Related news story:

A survey of what Burlingtonians in north part of the city think of a federal election taking place now.

What they thought about the election call in the southern part of the city

Max Bowder and Ryan O’Dowd are Local Journalism Initiative reports with the Gazette as part of a federal government endeavour to improve local news reporting.

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Regional Council supports steps being taken to support hospital workers

By Staff

September 15th, 2021



Halton Region elected officials are supporting the  call for the creation of safety zones around hospitals to protect people seeking or providing medical treatment from harassment.

Members of Halton Regional Council

In a media statement released today the Region members collectively said:

Recent protests at hospitals have included hateful and harmful messages, harassment and misinformation. Healthcare itself and its people have been targets of abusive messages.

We condemn the abuse and harassment of healthcare workers.

Protests against government policy and action should take place at the places of government.

We represent our community’s continuing strong support for our healthcare heroes. There is an overwhelming majority in our community who support our healthcare people.

We know they join in our respect for everyone’s right of peaceful protest. We know they also believe protests must not take place in locations or in ways that could impede access to essential healthcare.

We all thank our healthcare personnel for the enormous sacrifices you have made and continue to make during this pandemic to heal us and keep us safe.

What a shame the elected officials have to make statements like this.

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Will the current Liberals representing Burlington in the House of Commons all hold their seats ?

By Pepper Parr

September 15th, 2021



It’s just a matter of days now.

The advance poll numbers for the 2021 federal election show an increase of 20% more people using advance polls to vote than they did in 2019.

We are looking at one of the most interesting federal election in some time.  A government could fall because they called an election that wasn’t needed.

Burlington happens to have three people sitting as members of the House of Commons representing our interests.

Will all three be returned?

Who amongst them is at risk?

Given her performance during the debates, such as they were, Karina Gould has earned the right to return to Ottawa.

Emily Brown needs to take a civics class and learn what is required of a candidate.

For us the Green Party candidate was a major disappointment.

The NDP candidate certainly injected some energy and a lot of common sense but it is our view that this election is a choice between the Liberals and Conservatives.

Liberal MP fr Oakville North Burlington Pam Damoff

Over in Oakville North Burlington Liberal Pam Damoff will likely hold her seat if only because the Conservative candidate had little in the way of profile and wasn’t that visible.

The Conservatives decided to hide their candidate and focus on their core vote and hope that enough people would be angry enough to oust Justin Trudeau. Time will tell if they are right.

Milton is an interesting situation. It represents the people in rural north Burlington – there aren’t that many people in that part of the world.

Milton’s ethic community is coming into their own. They are active culturally, they have good representation at the municipal level and they are now ready to take their place at the federal level.

The provincial seat is held by Parm Gill.

The Milton Conservative Party association dumped the former Member of Parliament, Lisa Raitt, from the board. It was about as close to being apolitical coup as you get in Ontario.

Nadeem Akbar, Conservative candidate for Milton. The northern rural part of Burlington is in the Milton boundary.

The issue for current MP Adam van Koeverden is going to be – has he made the inroads he needs to hold the ethnic community vote. Do they trust him or is their confidence going to go to Nadeem Akbar.

Canada has grown through the addition of immigrants from around the world. The first came from the UK, then Italy and, in time, from Japan and Germany.

Most recently they have come from the Middle East – thousands came from Syria and more thousand’s will arrive from Afghanistan.

That is how this country grew to what it is today.

It will all become clear but probably not Monday evening – there are going to be some messy situations where the fight for a seat might be contested or put to a recount.

That’s what politics is all about.

What matters new is you getting out to vote.

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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Halton opening four community immunization clinics to help students catch-up on important vaccinations

By Staff

September 15th, 2021



To support the health and safety of Halton students, Halton Region will begin operating community immunization clinics to offer the Hepatitis B, HPV and Meningococcal vaccines that are part of the school-based immunization program.

Clinics will open the week of September 20, and residents will be able to book an appointment through Halton’s online booking system at  – starting Thursday, September 16.

“Supporting the health and safety of our community continues to be a top priority for Halton Region,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Halton residents have shown their incredible commitment to getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and protecting our community.

Push is on at the Regional level to get student brought up to date with the immunizations.

With many local pharmacies and primary care providers now offering the COVID-19 vaccine, Halton Region will be able to transition some of our clinic locations to help Halton students catch-up on their important school-based immunizations, as well as continuing to operate COVID-19 vaccine clinics for those who haven’t gotten their COVID-19 vaccine yet.”

The COVID-19 pandemic required Halton Region Public Health to pause the delivery of school-based immunizations. Currently, over 30,000 students born in 2004-2009 require at least one of three school-based vaccines. Post-secondary students born in 2002 and 2003 who may have missed their opportunities to receive these important vaccines will also have a chance to catch-up. Eligibility is as follows:

Hepatitis B HPV-9 Meningococcal-ACYW 135

Birth Year 2006*, 2007*, 2008, 2009
• Females: 2002*, 2003*, 2004-2009
• Males: 2004-2009
• 2002-2009

Grade in 2021-2022 school year Grade 7, 8, 9, 10
• Grade 7-12
• Females: Grade 12 in 2019-2020
• Females: Grade 12 in 2020-2021

• Grade 7-12
• Grade 12 in 2019-2020
• Grade 12 in 2020-2021

*remain eligible until August 31, 2022. Series must be complete by that date.

Residents can book appointments starting September 16. Immunization clinics are planned for each municipality and are expected to run September 20 until mid-November. As more clinic options and appointments become available, residents are encouraged to check regularly for the latest updates.

“As our COVID-19 vaccination clinics wind down, Public Health is ready to get our student population caught up on their school-based vaccines, which are critical for protecting the health and safety of our school community,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “This program will leverage the successes from our COVID-19 clinics, including many of the clinic locations, resources, supplies and technology, to efficiently implement these mass clinics and begin catching up students as quickly as possible.”

In addition to the launch of school-based community immunization clinics, Halton Region will continue to operate two COVID-19 vaccination clinics in September—the YMCA in Oakville and FirstOntario Arts Centre in Milton.

Appointments are available on a walk-in basis only. To learn more about options to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Halton, including clinic locations and hours, visit

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Rivers: After the Debates…Confusion

“We make a lot of television in Canada. Some of it is brilliant and some of it is mediocre. The worst of it is truly, truly awful. This botched election debate is down at the bottom of the list; an indictment of everyone involved from the host to every politician who attempted to speak during the shambles.” (John Doyle – Globe and Mail)

By Ray Rivers

September 15th, 2021



The Debates in French were better. In fact they couldn’t have been worse than that horror show last Thursday. What went wrong? We could start by the debaters. There were too many.

Green Party leader Annamie Paul

Did we really need to see the Green Party leader at the debates when she has zero chance of ever leading a government, let alone winning more than Elizabeth May’s seat again. The party is polling at about 3% and imploding into a legal fight over the choice of its leader. Her voice is important, like everyone else. But in a league of potential PMs she is out of her league.

The Bloc leader’s stated goal is to tear Canada apart. And his party’s popular support is currently sitting at around the 6% mark, given that he is a Quebec only politician. While Annamie Paul may have a delusional ambition of becoming Canada’s next PM, Yves-François Blanchet takes pride in saying he never wants to be PM. So why was he invited?

Maxime Bernier on his way to being sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Harper government – he is now the leader of the People’s Party of Canada.

Meanwhile People’s Party (PPC) was not invited, even though his party is now polling in fourth place, ahead of the Bloc Quebecois and almost double that of the Greens. Of course there are no PPC MP’s in the House and Bernier would probably need to get vaccinated to appear with the others, something anathema to his party’s platform. Still, he should not be dismissed if the Greens are invited. After all, the Reform party before him came from relative obscurity to opposition in a single election.

Moderating a leaders’ debate takes skill and patience and none of that was present in the English debate unlike the other two held in the French language. It was pathetically unprofessional, on the one hand encouraging the debaters to go at it, then cutting them off before they could finish their sentences – allowing anyone interrupting them to take over the floor. And as most have observed the moderator tended to favour the other parties over the Liberals, the Bloc being the sole exception.

Jagmeet Singh leader of the New Democrats

The most cringeworthy moments were when Jagmeet Singh opened his mouth. Singh’s election platform is best described as nothing more than broad generalized notions and aspirations dotted with sob stories of all the poor people he met on the street. As in that old song – anything the Libs are doing he can do better – he can do anything better than them.

He is promising to pay for his promises by taxing Jeff Bezos and other billionaires, regardless that Bezos is not even Canadian. He is also looking to eliminate subsidies to the fossil fuel sector estimated at $18B, something Trudeau had promised to do back in 2015. Though that would be the proverbial drop in the bucket given the hundreds of billions he includes In his spending plan.

Singh, comes from a well-to-do family which sent him off for private schooling in the USA and then paid for his law schooling. Yet he is constantly comparing his life to that of poorer Canadians and indigenous folks. Justin Trudeau may have been a drama teacher but he could learn a lot about acting from Singh.

You can either attract first time voters or steal those from other parties to build up an electoral base. Mr. Singh has targeted Trudeau Liberals and is appealing to them with often inaccurate and half truth drive-by attacks on the Liberal leader. He recently accused the Liberals of talking about a national child care program for 30 years but failing to deliver, for example. Yet he conveniently forgot that Paul Martin’s pan-national program was killed by Jack Layton’s motion of non-confidence only 15 years ago.

Erin O’Toole leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons

Erin O’Toole has a tough road ahead of him given the party he leads, though he is still polling well. His dramatic shift to a more central position on key issues will encourage voters, fed up with Mr. Trudeau, to vote for him. But he is also losing the hard right faction of his party to Mr. Bernier, who is gradually improving in the polls. Quebec premier’s endorsement of O’Toole may only strengthen that erosion, though Quebec is still a wild card.

And O’Toole like the other leaders and the media keeps asking why we are having this election. And Mr. Trudeau has not really given a satisfactory response to that question. But most folks suspect it was political opportunism to call an election while his popular support was high with the Tories still in the formative stage of redefining themselves.

One benefit of this election, however, is that Canadians are having a healthy debate about a number of issues, primarily climate change. If the Tories don’t win the most seats and claim the right to govern, which they might still do, they will have been given direction on what they need to do fashion policies for the next election.

The Liberals, whether they form the next government or not should have learned a couple of lessons. First they should not call an election, even if in minority, unless they are forced to by the opposition. Second they need to redouble their efforts at phasing out Canada’s fossil fuel sector, starting with ending their subsidization.

Third, when the Liberals do next call an election they need to be better organized and have a good reason for that call. And they actually have a pretty good record of accomplishments, which most of us seem to have overlooked:

1. The problem-free legalization of cannabis and decriminalization of all the people once involved;
2. Over-achievement of the 20% goal of poverty reduction;
3. The first significant federal action on reducing our carbon footprint, including a carbon tax, a cessation of new pipelines and the prohibited sale of new gas vehicles 2035; and
4. Commencing the long road towards indigenous reconciliation.

Justin Trudeau in the political race of his life – if he wins just a minority it might be the end of a political career.

But as Mr. Trudeau ponders his future in the last days before an election which still might see him out of power, he needs to reflect why he gave up on his promise of electoral reform. Over half of all Canadians support parties which promote progressive social and economic policies.

Yet our first-past-the-post system might well allow the Tories to sneak up the middle and win seats with only 30% of voter support while the lefties argue among themselves about who can target even higher emission reductions.

Implementing electoral reform would have been and still might be Trudeau’s greatest accomplishment.

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



Background links:

The Debate –

Liberal Platform –    Singh’s Lifestyle –

Who Won the Debate –

Climate Crisis –

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City launches free Wi-Fi in Spencer Smith Park

By Staff

September 14th, 2021



The City in partnership with Cogeco, has launched free, public-facing Wi-Fi in Spencer Smith Park

The Wi-Fi network is open to all park visitors daily and is available throughout most of the park.

The Mayor calls this the

Park visitors can access the internet using a Wi-Fi-enabled device such as a laptop computer, tablet PC, or smart phone. The City’s Wi-Fi signal will display as “City of Burlington_Guest”. When accessing the Wi-Fi at this location, users will be presented with, and required to accept, the “Terms of Use of the Wireless Network and Disclaimer.”

Chad MacDonald, the newly appointed Chief Information Officer said: “This project is just one of the ways we are modernizing the delivery of the City’s services to help everyone stay connected, access public services and enjoy a better park experience.”

Quick Facts
• In 2015, free Wi-Fi was installed at Millcroft Park (4250 Millcroft Park Dr.) as part of a pilot program with Cogeco, to provide internet access within certain areas of the park.

• Currently, there is free Wi-Fi access in over 15 city facilities, including City Hall, arenas and recreation and community centres.



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The other side of a quarry being taxed as farm land story

By Staff

September 14th, 2021



The Gazette recently published an article on the tax rate that applies to quarries.  There is a link to that article below.

The article came out of a comment the Mayor made at a Standing Committee when she said quarries are taxed as farms – and farms have a very low tax rate.

The Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA), lobbyists for the aggregate industry,  took exception to the article and sent us the following:

The assessment of property tax in Ontario is a complicated business. Likely we all agree – too complicated. That said, OSSGA believes there is a fair and equitable system currently in place.

We note that the Burlington Gazette states they “believe fervently that an informed population can make informed decisions.” We agree, and that is why a deeper understanding of the tax environment is needed to understand that the aggregate industry does in fact pay its fair share. It likely won’t come as a shock to your readers that politicians don’t always tell the whole story.

The current operating quarry in Side Road # 2 in rural Burlington

The issue of a fair and equitable Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) valuation system for aggregate is not new. From 2005 to the present there has been a full pendulum swing from what the industry would consider reasonable rates, to excessive rates, and back to reasonable rates again.

To assess pits and quarries MPAC uses a cost-based methodology that assigns a Class 5 farmland rate plus a licensing cost to account for the investment in the land to get a licence allowing for future extraction. This calculation is used to determine the ‘value’ of the land – and then an appropriate ‘tax’ classification is applied based on how the land is being used. For example, if a portion of a licenced area is being actively used for extraction – it is taxed at an industrial rate (far higher than a farm tax). If it is currently being farmed, it is taxed at a farm rate. If there is no activity at all on the land, it may be taxed at a residential rate. This methodology was agreed to by the municipalities.

In 2016, after eight years of consultation and mediation between aggregate producers, municipalities and MPAC, more than 500 appeals were finally settled. However, it appears not all municipalities were happy. Some were banking on the excessive rates that they are now calling ‘lost revenue’.

Nelson Aggregates has filed an application for an extension of their license and set out places where they want to expand.

Hence the disagreement continues. The new valuation system has been challenged again by Wellington County. The hearing has taken place and a decision is expected in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, politicians accusing the industry of not paying their fair share are not telling the whole story!

One final point. When speaking about revenues received from the aggregate industry, municipalities typically fail to mention (and there was no reference to it in your article), that the aggregate industry also pays a per tonne aggregate levy. In 2020, the amount of the levy was $25 million Province-wide. Dollars that help pay for roads and other infrastructure. No other industry pays such a levy.

We encourage your readers to learn more about the industry by visiting

The letter was submitted by Norman Cheesman Executive Director, Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.


Related news stories:

Mayor thinks quarries are being taxed as farms\

Nelson quarry wants to expand the area they are mining and give land to the city when the pits are mined out.

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Gazette reporter misses out on a chance to put a question to a political leader

By Pepper Parr

September 14th, 2021



A number of months ago the Gazette was selected as one of more than 100 local newspapers from across Canada that would receive federal funding to support the work we do each day.

More than 300 local newspapers applied.

The grant was based on what an experienced journalist felt we could do.

We have employed three people who are attending journalism classes and wanted real world experience.

One student returned to her class at Carleton University. Two others are continuing their classes at Sheridan and putting in 15 to 20 hours a week, interviewing, writing and developing story ideas.

About ten days ago we were given an opportunity to apply for accreditation to take part in the Federal Leadership debates.

Ryan O’Dowd, a Local Journalism Initiative reporter with the Burlington Gazette

We applied and we were accepted. Ryan O’Dowd was to take part in the media questions at the end of the debate that took place last Thursday.

Well, it didn’t quite work out that way.  O’Dowd was standing by his cell phone waiting for the virtual media scrum to begin.  He waited – and waited.

There were two groups of reporters involved; one was located in Gatineau, Quebec where the debates were taking place – the rest of the reporters were in their communities standing by.

The moderator expected to move back and forth from the group on Gatineau and those elsewhere.  The Gatineau reporters were seen – the others were voice only.

That was the plan – but it didn’t work out that way.  Something went wrong with the technology and the voice-only people couldn’t be contacted.  That problem was corrected late into the event by which time most people had given up.

So – Ryan O’Dowd missed his 15 minutes of fame moment.  However, you do get to read what this developing reporter has to say about the election which he is covering.

O’Dowd, a second year student at Sheridan College will be given a chance to put questions to one of the leaders.

This is a big deal; some reporters spend a large part of their careers hoping for a chance to put questions to the leadership of the country.

We are humbled at having been selected to hire reporters and to have one of ours accredited to put questions to the candidates who lead the political parties.

The Gazette was formed 10 years ago – it has been a long, hard, emotionally-draining road.

Our readership grows month after month; our comments section is one of the most robust out there.

We just might be doing something right.

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

By Ryan O’Dowd, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

September 14th, 2021



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

Hanan Rizkalla – Conservative candidate for Oakville North Burlington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo op that becomes a political statement

Pepper Parr

September 14th, 2021



Journalists call them – photo ops.

Those occasions when a developer or a politician want to ensure that their picture is in the paper.

They are part of the media world.

There are times when a photo op is more than a picture of an event or an occasion.

The occasion yesterday was the raising of the Terry Fox Flag at city hall to mark the beginning of the 2021 fund raising campaign.

Traditionally the Mayor is on hand along with members of the Terry Fox campaign and, on occasion, a member of council.

There was a political statement being made during the raising of the Terry Fox flag at city hall earlier this week.

While Paul Sharman advocates for the Terry Fox initiative –is there anyone in Burlington who doesn’t – it is unusual for him to take part in events like this.

But there he was, standing behind the mayor.

And if that isn’t a photo op with meaning then nothing is: Sharman is in the race should the job of Mayor be in play.

The tribe that Marianne Meed Ward created when she first ran in ward 2 as a council member certainly did grow.  That growth seems to have stalled.  There are members of council that no longer support every initiative she comes up with.  She is no longer assured the a majority vote at Council.

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What if the pandemic never ends?

By Pepper Parr

September 12th, 2021



What if the pandemic never ends?

What if we are going to experience one version of the Covid19 virus after another?

Where are the variants coming from – indeed, where did the virus first exist. There are far far too many counties that do not have aggressive vaccination programs.

We are currently dealing with the Delta version.  Given that less than 40% of the world’s population is getting vaccinated it is not that outrageous to suggest that there will be other, perhaps more dangerous variants.

Will we experience decades of limitations on what we can do?  As a society can we cope with that kind of a situation?

Segments of the population have very strong feelings about the current federal leadership.

The anti-vaxers are close to rioting on a daily basis.  Our human rights are being limited and we are tolerating that for the “better good” – but how long are we prepared to put up with that.

Are we going to find ourselves being inoculated a couple of times each year against the latest variant?

Ontario certainly doesn’t have the leadership it needs to get us through this – and the alternatives don’t inspire all that much confidence.

Societies go through immense change with situations like this.

The Western world became a much different place at the end of WW II – we saw decades of growth and prosperity the like of which human society has not seen since the Enlightments.

The scientists have delivered – and they might be able to continue to deliver at the same level.

But the world is made up of people, driven by their emotions and best interests for the most part.

Are we descending into a different Dark Age.

Do we have the capacity to overcome what we are faced with?

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

By Staff

September 12th, 2021



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please click on links below

EventBrite Reservation CLICK HERE

VideoDescription of Carnival CLICK HERE

Parking Reservations CLICK HERE





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Quarries are about to get a different tax category if the Mayor gets her way - and on this one she is probably going to get her way

By Pepper Parr

September 11th, 2021



Who knew?  It wasn’t until we saw the note on what the Mayor had done at the AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) conference that we learned quarries are taxed as farms.

The tax rate for farms is very low.  Not sure if there is a tax rate for quarries.

Bringing home the bacon for the citizens of the city. Wants to change the tax category for the quarries – currently taxed as farms

The mayor represents Burlington on TAPMO (Top Aggregate Producing Municipalities of Ontario) given our city has two active quarries: Nelson and Aldershot.

TAPMO represents local Municipalities across Ontario, including Halton Region, that have significant reserves and annual production of aggregate, stone and sand materials. Their membership shares the perspective that local municipalities have a vital role to play in ensuring a sustainable aggregate industry for Ontario.

In addition, TAPMO members believe the aggregate industry should pay their fair share of municipal property taxes and be classed as profitable businesses rather than as farm.

Does this look like a farm? Its tax classification has it down as a farm. How long has that been going on? And how did the quarries get it in the first place?

The current farm classification has cost municipalities millions of dollars in lost revenue, for which taxpayers have picked up the tax, effectively resulting in Burlington taxpayers subsidizing the aggregate industry.

At our January board meeting, TAPMO approved hiring Upstream Strategy Group to conduct their advocacy strategy and initiative with the Provincial Government to correct the tax classification.

Individual meetings are also being arranged between Upstream, the mayor and MPPs in each of the aggregate- producing municipalities. Our meeting for Burlington is currently being scheduled. TAPMO is requesting financial support from member municipalities in 2021 for this advocacy work.

There are three shale quarries in Aldershot – they have been taxed as farms – Mayor wants to see that changed.

Halton Regional Council has already supported this priority and directed staff to contribute to this advocacy effort through the approval of the contribution of $2,100 from the Council-approved operating budget to TAPMO.

The Jefferson salamander, native to the northern part of the city.

The Regional resolution requested  Halton municipalities to also independently support the advocacy work around the  change in tax classification, so the mayor will work with the two Councillors (Bentivegna and Nisan) who represent rural Burlington to bring something forward in early fall, including, if applicable, a funding request.

The quarries can look forward to a financial squeeze.

Perhaps they will argue that the land is a breeding ground for the Jefferson Salamander and the habitat could be classified as a farm – maybe?

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