Readers have an opportunity to give council the benefit of their creative thinking. Let’s help them do the job.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 11th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday the Gazette published an opinion piece on an opportunity for the current city council to take steps to ensure that Burlington got the kind of city manager it needs.

Mayor Meed Ward made a point of telling the public that council was going to take the time to get the job done right.

A Gazette reader commented as follows:

You have provided a good and thoughtful perspective on the current situation. There is a rare opportunity today for City Hall to be opened up, programs made understandable to citizens, performance made transparent and staff made both accountable and visible to the clients they serve.

ECoB debate at Baptist on New

Burlington has hundreds of residents who want to play a part in creating a city that fits the vision they have. This is one of the crowds that took part in a public meeting.

There are a number of readily available exemplars in the form of other jurisdictions that have adopted ‘open government’ reforms to make the bureaucracy responsive/understandable to the public, to greatly improve client service, to reduce unnecessary processes and boost overall function.

I would hope that this Mayor and this Council would look for best practices in other jurisdictions, as they exist quite close at hand – Toronto, Hamilton and Oakville to name just three.

Similarly, I would expect that Burlington might want to beg, borrow (or steal) the directly applicable expertise that is at hand, both in other municipalities and right in our own backyard.

However, to date (and it is early days), the signs have not been overly positive. Simple reforms such as staff contact listings, clear organizational charts and simple program guides remain on the ‘to do’ shelf.

ECoB Crowd Feb 22

This was a meeting for people interested in the process of getting elected. The desire for a better form of local government was there. The 2018 election did bring in a much different city council that can now tap into all the talent available.

More substantive improvements such as performance dashboards, responsive reporting and feedback vehicles and effective self-service portals are not even referenced. Indeed, the COB website remains one of the worst and most difficult to navigate of any municipality in the GTA (IMO). And recent staff additions appear to focus on communications and social media without any marked improvement in these areas either.

Time will tell whether this is the watershed Council many had hoped for. Early indications are not promising.

Let us not despair this early in the game.

Gazette readers have commented intelligently in the past; there is an opportunity now for those readers to do some research on just where they feel “open government” is practiced and set out some ideas that members of council can benefit from.

We look forward to publishing what we receive.

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LPAT is beginning to look like a pat on the head for some residents and then being asked to go away.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 12th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The business of making changes to the Official Plan that was adopted by city council on April 26, 2018 but not accepted by the Regional government has begun.

Changes to the Official Plan was a contentious election issue and resulted in a new Mayor and a decidedly different council. Five of the members are new.

Getting all the changes made is not going to be a simple one step process.

On Feb. 7, 2019, Burlington City Council voted to re-examine the policies in Burlington’s Official Plan, adopted in April 2018.  That plan was sent to Halton Region for approval. The Region sent the plan back with some questions without approving it.

Meed WardMayor Meed Ward has taken the position that “Once the Region identified areas of non-conformity, that stopped the clock on approving the new Official Plan and opened the plan up for any other matters of discussion. This allows our new City Council the time to define what areas we want to study, undertake that work, consult with the community, and send back a comprehensive plan. We expect that plan to truly reflect the needs, best interests and vision of the community and it’s elected Council.

The motion, approved by Council, directs Burlington’s Director of City Building to immediately commence a process to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan adopted April 26, 2018.

Proposed Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017

On January 15, 2019, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released proposed amendments to the Growth Plan, 2017 which can be found here. The Province identified that the purpose of the proposed changes is to streamline growth management planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe to achieve the following outcomes:

• More Streamlined Process: Provide greater flexibility so that municipalities will be able to move forward faster on the implementation of the Plan and meet the deadline to update Upper-tier and Single-tier official plans to conform with the Plan by July 1, 2022.

high profile 421

One of the development proposals that can resolve the housing availability. Nothing affordable about it.

• More Land for Housing: Respect the ability of local governments to make decisions about when and where to add new land for housing, to ensure that there is enough housing supply to meet demand.

• More Housing and Jobs near Transit: A more flexible framework for focusing investments around transit infrastructure will enable municipalities to plan to increase the supply of housing and jobs near transit faster and more effectively.

• Greater Local Autonomy and Flexibility for Municipalities: Ensuring that municipalities will have the ability to implement the Plan in a manner that better reflects their local context while protecting the Greenbelt.

A staff report regarding the proposed submission to the Province will be delivered to Planning and Development Committee on February 27th at 1 pm.

It is clear that there are going to be many stages in the re-writing of the plan that was approved in April of last year.  What we are seeing now is just the first step.  It will be interesting to see how Staff responds to the Direction.

The matter of streamlining the process has a number of Burlington residents who have been trying to take part in Tribunal hearings concerned.

One Gazette reader said in her opinion “the streamlining comes about because there is little or no resident participation.”

LPAT process graphicResidents are finding that they have no problem preparing comments – they are accepted and put in the file. But when they ask to be able to be a “participant” they are for the most part being denied.

Scobie

Gary Scobie delegating at city hall.

Gary Scobie asked to be a participant on the Reserve development for the former Elizabeth Interiors property.  The developer didn’t have a problem with Scobie and the city lawyer didn’t have a problem – so there he was – a participant.  Now what – Scobie doesn’t know – he might have played his role – submitting a document.

A resident of the Dynes Community was told they would not be recognized as participants. To date that group has spent $17,000 to date on legal counsel.

Being a participant you have no liability.  If you have status as a Party you could be sued if the developer thinks you have simply tried to delay an application from being approved.

With the OMB – a resident could come to the hearing – and as a participant could basically delegate.  The lawyers from both sides then had the opportunity to “cross examine the witness”.

The residents we have talked to get the feeling that the process is going to be “streamlined” because it will consist of lawyers talking to lawyers and arguing fine points of provincial policy. The “local” element and response seems to be missing.

Not a healthy process.

Will the city planners push for better public participation?

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All City of Burlington facilities closed and programs cancelled due to winter storm

notices100x100By Staff

February 12th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Enough said the decision makers at city hall.

As of 4 p.m. today, the City of Burlington is closing all city facilities and cancelling all city-run programs and rentals for Tuesday, Feb. 12. The City will work with sport user groups and renters to reschedule times.
Residents are strongly encouraged to avoid travelling as the roads are unpredictable as the city’s snow-fighters plow, sand and salt the primary roads.

Snow fall - Joe Dogs Feb 2-15 001

Hospitality services taking a beating today.

All vehicles parked on the street must be removed and parking exemptions are void. Failure to remove vehicles from residential roads could result in being ticketed or possibly towed to allow snow plows and other heavy machinery to safely navigate the narrow streets.

If residents notice a vehicle on their street, they are encouraged to kindly ask the owner to remove the vehicle or call Parking Control during business hours at 905-335-7816 (Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) or after-hours, Halton Regional Police Service at 905-878-5511. (Ask for “dispatch” and police will send a parking officer).

Residents are also asked for their patience as clearing all 1,900 km of roads can take up to 24 hours and 850 km of sidewalks can take up to 72 hours to clear.

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City Planning and Development Committee meeting cancelled.

Newsflash 100By Staff

February 12th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Planning and Development Committee scheduled for this evening – Tuesday February 12th has been CANCELLED. It will be rescheduled.

A Statutory meeting on the Lakeside Village Plaza was on that agenda.  There are many people wanting to delegate at that event.

Lakeside village plaza proposal

The proposed plan was just a little too much for most people in the neighborhood. Has the developer heard what the residents thought?

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If you park on the street - you might find a parking ticket on the vehicle. Snow day - no street parking.

notices100x100By Staff

February 12th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The city has a message for those who are able to or have to stay at home because of the weather: Don’t park your car on the street – give the snow plow operators a chance to do their job.

An accumulation of 15-20cm is expected The city will be concentrating on Primary and Secondary roads during the snowfall.

Please do not follow snow plows too closely or pass them when they are clearing the roads. Vehicles parked on-street during a snowfall and prior to clean up operations may be subject to ticketing or towing.

Snow plows - tandem on Fairview

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Second information session on private tree bylaw to take place February 26 - bylaw becomes effective March 1st in Roseland community.

News 100 greenBy Staff

February 11th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

Second information session on private tree bylaw to take place February 26 – bylaw becomes effective March 1st in Roseland community.

The City of Burlington’s second public drop-in information session on the Roseland Private Tree Bylaw pilot is set for Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Central Arena’s auditorium.

The first drop in session took place at LaSalle Park, about as far away as one could get from where the impact of the bylaw is going to be felt.

The Private Tree Bylaw will come into effect on March 1, 2019, only within the Roseland community area, for two years. Later this year the city will begin the process of public engagement on the possibility of implementing a citywide private tree bylaw.

Appleby Village - trees on Pineland

These trees in the east end of the city are at the edge of land that a developer wants to put two apartment towers on – the trees would be cut down and replaced.

The pilot project aims to protect private trees with diameters larger than 30 cm, historic and rare tree species from damage or destruction.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to attend to learn more about how the bylaw will protect Burlington’s tree canopy and how it will impact their homes and businesses.

Businesses such as landscapers, pool companies, homebuilders, general contractors and tree companies are also encouraged to come and learn about the bylaw.

The first information session was held earlier in the month specifically for Roseland residents. Approximately 25 people attended the session.

Tree Guelph line close up -no name

Private property – private tree. This type of thing would not be possible under a private tree bylaw – without something in the way of consequences.

About the Private Tree Bylaw
No person can injure, destroy, cause or permit the injury or destruction of a tree with a diameter of 30cm or greater or of a tree of significance (historic or rare).

To read the full bylaw, including information on permits, exemptions and fines, visit Burlington.ca/PrivateTree.

Examples of exemptions include:

• Trees with a diameter of less than 30cm
• For the purpose of pruning in accordance with Good Arboricultural Practices
• For emergency work
• If the tree has a high or extreme likelihood of failure and impact as verified or confirmed by an Arborist or the Manager
• If the tree is dead, as confirmed by the Manager of Urban Forestry, or designate
• If the tree is an ash tree (due to the Emerald Ash Borer), as confirmed by the Manager of Urban Forestry, or designate
• If a tree is within two metres of an occupied building
• For more exemptions, visit Burlington.ca/privatetree

Willow tree wood

This will tree was taken down in |Spencer Smith Park because it was thought to be diseased and in danger of falling down. No permit was needed.

Permits
A person wanting to remove a tree with a diameter larger than 30 cm or of significance can apply for a permit online by visiting Burlington.ca/privatetree.

Fines
Minimum fine is $500. Maximum fine is $100,000.

Public Information Session
Residents and businesses are invited to attend an information session on the Private Tree Bylaw pilot on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Central Arena (auditorium), 519 Drury Lane, Burlington.
The session will allow residents and businesses to learn about the Private Tree Bylaw and how it will impact their homes, business and neighbourhood by speaking with city staff including members of the Forestry Department.

For those who are unable to attend, more information can be found at burlington.ca/privatetree.

In comments from the Office of the Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “I know from talking to residents that there are many people in our city who are passionate about our trees. Their benefit extends far beyond the beauty they provide. Their ability to mitigate flooding and absorb pollution is tremendous. They are a critical part of Burlington’s green infrastructure; we need to protect them and that’s what we believe this Private Tree Bylaw will accomplish.”

Steve Robinson, Manager of Forestry explains that: “Every tree matters. Our trees are under constant threat from climate change, weather-related storm events, invasive insects and diseases, as well as people. The benefits trees provide to all of us are critical such as air quality, shade, and carbon sequestration. We are working hard to protect trees, including encouraging preservation and replanting to restore lost canopy. It takes decades for the lost benefits of one mature tree to be replaced. Together, we can keep Burlington green and healthy which benefits us all.”

GreenUp 2017 tree plant

When large numbers of new trees have to be planted scores of volunteers show up.

There are those that are having problems accepting that the city can tell them what they can do with trees on their property. Understanding that a tree is not a person’s property but a piece of nature that they have become stewards of while they are owners of the property. As a steward their role is to do everything they can to ensure the tree is cared for and allowed to grow to its full maturity and serve the environmental needs of the wider community.

One can no longer cut down a tree just because one no longer wants to rake the leaves up in the fall.

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This city council has an opportunity to bring about the changes that are really needed at city hall.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 11th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

MMW-arms-out-thank-you-2-300x198

With power in her hands – Mayor Meed Ward has an opportunity to really lead.

When newly elected Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward had the Chain of Office placed around her neck on December 3rd, she told the audience that she had some news she would release the following day.

The next day city hall announced the dismissal of city manager James Ridge.

Commisso alone

Interim city manager Tim Commisso.

While there was a Deputy City Manager, this new city council wanted an experienced city manager in place and entered into a short term agreement with Tim Commisso to serve as an Interim City Manager for a period of six months and announced that council would begin the process of finding the next full time city manager

Burlington has gone through four city managers in an eight year time frame.

Former Mayor Rick Goldring dismissed Roman Martiuk. The city then hired Jeff Fielding who left the city of London to come to Burlington.

City manager Jeff Fielding is about to significantly reorganize the senior levels at city hall. will Council let him do it?

Former City manager Jeff Fielding did his best to significantly reorganize the senior levels at city hall. When a better offer came along he left.

City staff needed time to get used to the energy and drive that Fielding brought to the city. After less than two years a head-hunter discovered Fielding and introduced him to Naheed Nenshi,  Mayor of Calgary – those two were a match made in heaven.

Fielding resigned and the city was once again looking for a city manager. They brought in Pat Moyle, who was a retired CAO for the Region of Halton to Burlington.

Moyle saw the city through the August 2014 flood and kept the city on track while the search for the next city manager took place.

Council settled on James Ridge who came to Burlington from British Columbia. Ridge was a good fit for the Goldring council; – he wasn’t a fit for then ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.

Ridge 4

City manager |James Ridge defined his job as protecting his staff rather than holding them accountable. In one memorable memo he told staff that he “had their backs”.

Ridge is reported to have told a person he knew well at city hall that if Meed Ward won he would not be the city manager for long. That proved to be true.

There has been no word yet on if there have been any meetings on what the process of looking for a new city manager will be.

In a detailed book on the Premiership of John Robarts, who was Premier from 1961 to 1971, Steve Paikin reports that in 1968 Robarts “created one of the most important advisory bodies in his entire premiership.”

John Robarts - one of the best Premiers the province ever had: knew how to balance a budget.

John Robarts – one of the best Premiers the province ever had.

Robarts had been convinced that the province had grown to the point where it needed more qualified people in its senior ranks and created a Commission on Government Productivity that helped set the framework for an administration that has served the province exceptionally well.

The Commission wrote ten reports and lasted well beyond Robarts’ years as Premier. It submitted ten reports.

The Gazette is not suggesting that Meed Ward and her council create a commission that takes a decade and writes ten reports but she might want to give serious consideration to looking for outside advice on what the structure of a municipal government should – could look like in these changing times.

The last time any advice was given to Burlington’s city hall it didn’t get much in the way of a professional reception.

Shape Burlington logoThe Shape Burlington report set out what was wrong with city hall and what was needed in the way of change. Written by John Boich and former Mayor Walter Mulkewich who were served by a board of advisors, Senior city hall staff at the time didn’t want the report published – that wish wasn’t granted – they then wanted some changes in the wording.

Jogn Boich - co-chair of the Shape Burlington Committee died in 2011

John Boich – co-chair of the Shape Burlington Committee died in 2011

Asking the late John Boich to revise strongly held views was not a wise response. In terms of culture and the way city hall has chosen to serve the public that pays them – here hasn’t been much of a change. City managers have taken the view that their role is to protect their staff rather than consistently hold them accountable for the quality of the work they do.

It should be possible to find a consulting firm (not the one that foisted that 25 year Strategic Plan on the city), to do a comprehensive report in three months and then meet with council to expand on their views and recommendations.

city hall with flag poles

There is an opportunity to change the way city hall is currently organized – too many silos as well as significantly change the culture. Shape Burlington was the start.

If the city is  ever going to get to be run properly they might as well take the time to do it right. There are structural issues that need attention and there are cultural issues that need to be worked on.

Let us not make this a missed opportunity.

Salt with Pepper are the views,musings and opinions of the Gazette Publisher.

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TEC thinks they now have a true advocate for their cause.

News 100 greenBy Staff

February 11th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Tyandaga Environmental Coalition (TEC) continues to focus on the issue of Meridian Brick’s planned development (clear cutting and quarrying the North Aldershot East Quarry in ward 1.

During the election they focused on getting their story in front of every candidate – a mammoth task with 11 people running for the ward 1 seat.

Graphic of TEC quarry

The quarry operation was part of a corporate amalgamation and was re-named – Meridian Brick.

“TEC was delighted” with the outcome at the Mayorality level – they needed some time to get a sensed as to where the new Council member for the ward stood on the quarry issue.

They are now reviewing/resetting their strategy as a result of the new leadership and senior staffing changes at city along with the change in policies and legislation.

In November, 2018 TEC members had an introductory meeting with MPP Jane Mckenna who is open to meeting again.

TEC stop quarry expansion Jul17

Tyandaga community organizes to prevent the clearing of an estimated 9000 trees behind their homes.

On February 6th, members of TEC met with Councillor Galbraith. It was an introductory meeting at which TEC requested that he and the City take the lead and determine a solution that would benefit all involved and stop the clear cutting.

Galbraith slight smile

Ward 1 city Councillor Kevlin Galbraith

“We were pleased to hear that this community matter is a priority for Galbraith.  We expect he will speak about this at his upcoming ward meeting which will take place on Wednesday February 13 from 7-9pm at NUVO Network, 1295 North Service Road, Burlington.”

Note that due to ongoing renovations, the front door at NUVO Network is not in use – parking and entrance are at the back of the building.

You can find his contact information on the Galbraith website: https://www.burlington.ca/en/your-city/councillor-kelvin-galbraith.asp

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Rivers: Universal pharma-care a no brainer - will save the country $8 billion as well.

 

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 11th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We’ve seen the numbers. Canadians spend almost $30 billion a year on some 600 million prescriptions. And we know we could save as much as $8 billion by transitioning to a universal nation-wide single-payer system. It’s a no-brainer, right?

Tommy Douglas

Tommy Douglas – advocating for universal health care.

What would a universal program look like? It could be modeled on Canada’s universal health care system. In fact that would make it the perfect complement – administered by the provinces and funded jointly by both levels of government. The provinces already have a seniors’ drug program in place, and Ontario even had an OHIP+, covering those youth without a private health plan.

But to go that route, the provinces would have to agree among themselves on the universality and portability aspects. And they’d have to agree with the federal government on their joint responsibilities and cost sharing. That kind of deal might have been do-able back when the feds and most of the provinces shared a common political stripe, but with national partisan bickering increasing in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election, it won’t likely happen this year.

Ford at joseph-brant-hospital-doug-ford

Doug Ford at the Joseph Brant Hospital

For starters, Ontario, which is preoccupied with cutting or ending former Liberal programs has little interest in adding anything resembling a new or expanded social program, especially one which might lead to increased taxes. And cost-sharing discussions with a federal government currently being sued over carbon taxes is definitely a non-starter.

On the other hand there are good reasons for the federal government to implement a cross Canada program all on its own, given federal jurisdiction in the management of pharmaceuticals in this country.

One might expect the provinces to welcome a comprehensive program, funded at the federal level, saving them the costs of current provincial drug programs. But provinces are always wary about federal intrusion in what they see as their areas of responsibility, particularly in Quebec, so it’s not that easy.

How can we afford it? Well folks we are already paying the costs…and more. The existing patchwork of federal and provincial government subsidized programs is being funded through your tax dollars. On top of that, there is the cash we dole out at the pharmacy, the subscriptions to private drug plans, and the lower earnings accompanying a work place drug benefit. And that doesn’t count the costs to both the health system and work places for people who can’t afford to fill their prescriptions and end up just getting sicker.

It’s what we learned after moving to single-payer universal health care. We can’t afford not to have Pharma care. The four to eight billion dollar savings estimates may be speculative but it’s clear the savings won’t be zero. Efficiencies will be gained as competing pharmaceutical programs are reduced. Lower prices should be expected by negotiating for larger orders and buying in bulk. And then, of course, there is all that drug and drug insurance company profit.

Big pharma

Profits for the pharmaceutical industry are among the highest in the world.

Besides partisan politics at the provincial level, the other obstacle to implementation comes from lobbying by the Canadian patent drug industry and its international parents. They have become wary of efforts like Pharma care to compromise their profits in the nation with the highest drug prices on earth, after the USA. So they have offered to voluntarily hold the line on drug price increases over the next decade.

Their offer, which they estimate at $26 billion has been spurned by the federal government and for good reason. One has only to look at countries like New Zealand for inspiration. They manage to keep drug prices as low as one tenth of those here.

Pharma care was an integral part of Tommy Douglas’ vision for the nation’s first medicare program which he enacted In Saskatchewan. It was also a component of the original plan for universal national health coverage which the Pearson government introduced in 1964. The federal Liberals, in 1997, campaigned on a pledge to develop a plan for the implementation of universal Pharma care but failed to deliver.

Layton_Quebec

Jack Layton won almost everything in Quebec in the 2011 election. That let Stephen Harper form a government with the NDP serving at the Opposition.

Only in 2004 had Paul Martin finally secured landmark inter-jurisdictional agreements for a number of social programs, including universal Pharma care. But dithering and being caught up managing fallout from the Liberal Sponsorship scandal took its toll. In 2006 Martin’s minority government fell thanks to Jack Layton’s NDP, and with it so did our hopes for universal Pharma care.

Stephen Harper wasted no time giving any more time to universal Pharma care. Tommy Douglas must have shuddered in his grave knowing that his own party had helped deprive Canadians of Pharma care for the next decade and a half. It was only last year that the Liberals announced setting up an advisory committee to plan for a national drug plan.

scheer mute

Scheer hasn’t had much to say on a universal health care plan.

And Trudeau’s own finance minister mused that it might require means testing for income, thus ending dreams of universality. He clearly needs a primer on what the term Pharma care really means. And so does opposition leader Scheer, who, like Harper before him, has been mute on the idea, except for partisan attacks on the person leading the advisory committee.

And if Scheer wins the next election… there may well be somebody else writing this column in fifteen years and she’ll be asking … It’s a no-brainer, right?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

 

Background links:
Global Pharmacare –     Pharmacare –    National Program

Drug Prices Deal –     Advisory Committee –     Scheer

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Pasquale Paletta dies at the age of 87 - funeral on Monday

News 100 blackBy Staff

February 10TH, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward issued the following statement on behalf of city council on the death of Pasquale Paletta:

“I and many residents of Burlington are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pasquale Paletta. Our condolences go out to Pasquale’s family.

ergr

Pasquale Paletta

Pat, as he was affectionately known, donated generously to health care organizations which has greatly benefited all our residents. The City of Burlington has also been a recipient of his family’s generosity through numerous contributions including an addition at Carpenter Hospice, Tansley Woods Community Centre and a contribution to Paletta Mansion allowing the early twentieth century mansion to remain in public hands.

Pat’s many business interests through his hard work, perseverance and vision, have all contributed to the growth and prosperity of Burlington. His incredible legacy as a self-made businessman will continue to carry on now through his family.

Mr. Paletta has left us a great legacy that will last for years to come.”

PALETTA_logo1The legacy is undoubtedly impressive – what is even more impressive was the relationship between the sons and “Pat”. In the lobby of the head office, before it was severely damaged by a fire, there hung a picture of Pat, which Angelo explained to an audience once, was their Mona Lisa – “we genuflected every time we came into the building”.

Everything the boys learned when they were young, was at the hands of their father. He was the one who made the decisions on which properties to buy, he was the one who created the strategy and took the risks.

Paletta- dad + the fourThe skills the boys have and the business acumen they developed came from a father who came to this country with very little and grew it. He prospered and gave back to the city that was home to him.

From an obituary we learn that in 1953 Pat purchased his first animal which was the beginning of the empire. In 1954, Pat, his father and brothers built their first meat packing plant in Hannon. In 1964 they purchased property at Appleby Line and QEW in Burlington and opened a federally inspected meat packing plant.

Paletta_intlBy 1983 he built the business to become the largest private meat packer in Eastern Canada. In the early 1970s Pat vertically integrated into livestock production by starting a beef feedlot and crop production to supply livestock to the meat packing plant, becoming the largest feedlot in Ontario. He also fed cattle in Western Canada and US.

In 1967 Pat started the real estate division which has prospered to owning lands across Ontario and becoming the largest land holder and developer in the Region of Halton and City of Hamilton combined.

Funeral Mass on Monday, February 11th at 10:30 a.m. at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, 2016 Blairholm Ave., Burlington. Interment at Our Lady of Victory Mausoleum in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Pasquale Paletta was 87.

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Rick Goldring bounces back - would like you to keep in touch.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 10th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For the first time in perhaps a decade Rick Goldring and his wife Cheryl were able to take a three week vacation during which he didn’t have to respond to a single email from city hall. It must have been wonderful.

Goldring spent three weeks in Australia and is now getting back into harness in his financial services profession.

He has produced a short video talking about the organization he has created and the services they will provide.

Goldring looked fit, relaxed and sounded upbeat. Losing an election is never easy.

There is one last election related task to get done. Remove the Goldring for Mayor sign on the office his campaign worked out of on Guelph Line.

Goldring sign

The sign on the campaign office appeared in two versions; one before the election campaign started – that one had just the name. The next version had the words – For Mayor which is still in place.

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New Democrats to talk about poverty at Central arena on Wednesday.

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

February 10th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

ostrich head in sandsee no evil monkeyPoverty is not a popular coffee shop conversation; we have it but we don’t talk about it. This social behavior on the part of Burlingtonians is a combination of “see no evil” and the ostrich with its head in the sand.

Talk Poverty NDPThe reality is that – there rare poor people in Burlington and the New Democrats talk about it. The Progressive |Conservatives talk about ensuring that everyone can get a job but keep the minimum wage so low that some people need two job to get by.

MPP Sandy Shaw (Hamilton West – Ancaster – Dundas) is going to be in Burlington on Tuesday, February 12th to give a talk on the Ontario NDP’s efforts to fight poverty.

Ted Hildebrandt (Director of Social Planning at Community Development Halton) will also be speaking about the face of poverty in our region, and particularly the hidden face of poverty in Burlington.
The evening will start off with a simple pasta dinner – no charge to attend and it is open to anyone interested in making Ontario a better place to live, regardless of political affiliation.

The event is from 6pm to 8pm February 12th at the auditorium in Central Arena.

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Ward 3 gets a two for one: Bentivegna joins Councillor Rory Nisan.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 9th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Now that they are elected and are well on their way to getting comfortable with the jobs they have the members of Council are getting out into the community to meet with their constituents.

Each member of council has their own style and approach. Residents of ward 5 have learned how to respond to Councillor Sharman and those in ward 2 know how Meed Ward handled issues – now that she is Mayor we are seeing a tendency to use photo ops much more than she did as a Councillor.

We will return to the change in Meed Ward.

Thursday evening ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan met with his constituents at the Conservation offices on Britannia Road. He had people in from the Finance department give a solid background piece on the budget that is before council. The tax levy put forward by the Finance department recommended an increase over the 2018 budget of 3.99%.

Mayor Meed Ward has said she would like to see that reduced to 2.99% – which might be a stretch given the new asks that are coming forward; but she does appear to have the support of her colleagues on a lower tax levy for 2019.

Nisan Lowville Feb 7 BEST

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan listening to a budget presentation.

Councillor Nisan didn’t make any direct comment on where he stood on what the eventual tax levy should be during his constituency meeting. His meeting in Lowville was to deal with rural issues and he did something surprising – he had ward 6 councillor Angelo Bentivegna join him so that the two men could hear what was pressing and on the minds of the rural community. Life north of Dundas is a lot different than life south of the QEW,

The speed with which people drive their vehicles through the rural roads is a consistent concern. There was at one point a school crossing guard at the public school in Kilbride – he retired and the city has not found a replacement.

Lowville meet Feb 7

Cold night, roads all but fogged in – but 30 residents showed up to meet their ward Councillor.

Public safety was a prime issue – and the lack of a school crossing guard produced a lot of discussion.

“If there was a school in Burlington without a crossing guard” said one resident “there would be someone sent in to cover for a crossing guard that is not able to get to their job.”

The residents of Kilbride want the same level of service. They see themselves as the forgotten residents of the city. Someone suggested that the northern parts of wards 3 and ward 6 be merged and turned into a single ward with its own Councillor.

Bentivegna explained why he thought that was not a good idea. With the current system he explained you have three of the seven councillors who have rural constituents speaking for you. You will get a better response with the current ward set up.

Lowville Regulars - Rickli +

Lowville regulars – Walt Rickli on the left and John Timmins on the right.

Councillor Nisan appear to like the idea of a single rural ward.
Bentivegna proved to be much more outgoing and robust in this rural setting than we have seen him in the past; he was all over every issue and said on a number of occasions that he was in office to make changes. He has come up with a tag line: rethink, reinvent and retool that he touts every chance he gets.

He has kept the election signage on his vehicle as well. With a win of less than 50 votes over Blair Lancaster in the October election he might well be wise to stay in election mode.

While the meeting was not in his ward Bentivegna was taking down names and phone numbers and promising to follow up “first thing tomorrow”.

Part of the budget Q&A was on the addition of a sixth bylaw enforcement officer. People in ward 3 say they never see a bylaw enforcement officer unless it is a matter that relates to Conservation Halton.

The city currently has five bylaw control officers – a sixth will allow one for each ward and Bentivegna wants to see a ward bylaw officer handle every kind of complaint. Right now the animal control people don’t take on parking problems and the parking people don’t respond the bylaw infractions relating to property. He wants the silos between the departments taken down – every bylaw office would respond to anything and everything; there would be no more specialization.

Bentivegna wasn’t able to say just how many bylaw enforcement officers there are in the city; his comment was those that are in place are “run pretty ragged”

Bentevegna starinwith Nisan Feb 7 Lowville

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna joined forces with Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan to brief the residents on what the two of them were going to do for rural Burlington. Meeting took place in Lowville.

Road conditions are an ongoing concern. Finance department staffer Anne Marie explained that the city has an inventory of every road in the municipality that details when the road was last repaired or upgraded – that data drives a large part of the infrastructure budget.

The condition of the roads and the speed at which people drive their cars is regularly brought up at rural Councillor meetings.

Residents want speed bumps; however the installation of a speed bump requires research which the residents see as waste of time. A new sidewalk was put in in Kilbride – but it isn’t snow plowed forcing people to walk on the road on which vehicles move too quickly. One resident talked of having to jump into a ditch to avoid being hit by a pickup truck. “It’s a big issue up here” he said.

Public safety was the prime concern – that and a school bus driver who is said to be driving at 80 clicks in a 40 click zone.

“Kids don’t walk to school anymore – they get driven by their parents who then speed away to get to their jobs” explained one parent.

Taylor at LowvilleFeb 7

Former ward 3 Councilor John Taylor keeping an eye on what the new ward Councillor is doing.

The Kilbride fire station is run by 30 volunteers that most people are content with. Their beef is that there isn’t any water service – it has to be transported in when there is a fire. There is a tanker at the fire station but it apparently doesn’t have any water in it.

On a cold winter night with thick fog covering the roads some 30 people gathered to voice their concerns. Sitting in the audience listening quietly was John Taylor, the former, now retired Councillor for the ward.

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Skate lending program expanded to Appleby Ice Centre

News 100 redBy Staff

February 8th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City’s skate lending program is expanding to Appleby Ice Centre. Residents of all ages can access a variety of skates and other equipment on a first come first serve basis, year-round.

The Skate Hub is located in the lobby of ice pads 1 and 2. There is no sign-out form required and there is no time limit on the equipment. The hours of operation are the same as facility hours.
The skate lending program is also available at the Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond on weekday evening, weekend and holidays.

figure skates

Put them on right and you can enjoy swirling around the ice.

Skate Lending Hours of Operation of the Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond.

• Weekday evenings: 5 to 10 p.m.
• Weekend and Holidays: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Both locations have a variety of sizes.

Skating rink Discovery Landing

Rotary Centennial Pond.

Donations Needed
Anyone with used skates, gloves, sticks or helmets in good condition can donate them to the lending program. Donations can be dropped off at any Burlington community centre, arena or pool, City Hall, as well as Emma’s Back Porch, Gator Ted’s and Wendel Clark’s Restaurants.

For more information on skating in Burlington, visit burlington.ca/skating.

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Is there a possibility that the $4 million the marina got for the build of a breakwater could be rescinded?

Budget 2018 ICONBy Pepper Parr

February 7th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is the $4 million funding given to the LaSalle Park Marina by the last city council at risk?

Scobie

Gary Scobie – prefers that the marina not get a dime but if the $4 is approved – make it a loan.

Mayor Meed Ward made mention of talk about rescinding the decision made by the previous council.

Gary Scobie who delegated on the use of the Hydro Reserve fund – something few people knew anything about.

Scobie argued that the city has no business giving that amount of money to a private organization that sits on land owned by the city of Hamilton when there are not much more than a couple of hundred members of the LaSalle Park Marina Association.

The option the LaSalle PArk MArina Association hopes is chosen through the Environmental Assessment due MArch 2013.

The option the LaSalle Park Marina Association hopes is chosen.

It was a messy debate when the $4 million was first put on the table.

What isn’t clear at this point is whether or not the $4 million is a loan or an outright gift.

Scobie said he didn’t want any money going to the Marina but if money did go to the organization it should be in the form of a loan.
The funds were needed for the installation of a breakwater – without an upgraded breakwater membership in the Marina will plummet – no one will want to tie up at a marina that insurance companies will not cover.

Rescind – it was a surprising word to hear.

More healthy debate on that one.

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Scobie once again serves the public interest - members of council don't do quite as well.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 7th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On track 101There has been a lot of confusion about just where Burlington is in terms of the provincial government Places to Grow policy. That is the program that sets out the longer term population growth plans.

The provincial government set the level to which population is expected to grow and determines where that growth should take place.

A population growth target is given to the Regional governments (they are called two tier set ups) and a number to the single tier government; Guelph and Toronto are single tier governments. Burlington. Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills are part of the Region – making us part of a two tier system.

Burlington’s Planning department has never offered anything firm on just what the city has in terms of population and what is expected in the short term future. The planners just kept saying we are guided by the Places to Grow policy. The developers would claim that their development was part of reaching the Places to Grow target.

Many thought the target had already been met. The then Councillor Marianne Meed Ward kept saying the target for 2031 was being met and that we were in fact ahead of the requirement.

The target for 2041 is known at the Regional level – Burlington doesn’t know what its share of that number is going to be.

Much of the development in the downtown core is being driven by that Places to Grow policy.

Gary Scobie, a retired Burlington resident and frequent effective delegator, did some homework and came up with some numbers that suggest Meed Ward was right – we have reached our 2031 target or are so close that with the developments in the pipeline the city will reach its target handily.

Here is what Scobie had to say in his Growth Targets 101 presentation.

The Urban Growth Centre is where the development is taking place.

The Urban Growth Centre is shown with a red dotted line that is sometimes a solid red line. It extends as far north as Prospect Street. Total area is 104.6 hectares (ha)

Urban growth centre

In 2016 there were 156 p&j (a combination of people and jobs) per hectare in the Urban Growth Centre.

The goal for our UGC is 200 p&j per hectare – thus in 2016 we had achieved 78% of the goal.

The 2031 target is 104.6 ha x 200 p&j for a total of 20,920 people and jobs in the Urban Growth Centre.

In order to meet the 2031 target the city needs to add 4,540 p&j in the next 12 years.

Is that possible? Scobie thinks so and he offers the following data to make his point

Approved projects
These developments will add 2824 p&j in the not too distant future which will make Burlington short 1626 of the target. Note that Scobie uses an estimate of 1.5 residents per housing unit.

There is more maintains Scobie and he points to projects that are “in the works”.
In the works

Pearl and Lakeshore

A development planned for the corner of Pearl and Lakeshore is to be 29 storeys – a record high for the city.

Scobie, who shares the view of Mayor Meed Ward, maintains the city does not need 20 storey towers to meet the Places to Grow population target.

He suggests that the projects in the works will add 1355 people and 180 jobs for a total of 1535 p&J and that permitting buildings that are between eight and 11 storeys will let the city reach the objective. No need for the 20 plus storey towers that will destroy the small town feel that residents want.

“We don’t need more 20+ storey buildings to reach the target. Mid-rise building can get the city to the point where it has met the growth requirement and allow a more human scale of development.”

Is Scobie right?

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie: Are his numbers right?

Hard to tell – none of the Councillors who heard the Scobie delegation asked city staff if Scobie’s numbers were right.

The Gazette has fired off an information request to Mary Loy Tanner, the former Planning Director who oversaw much of the development that has residents upset enough to elect a significantly different council.

Our question to Tanner is:

On Tuesday, February 6th, Gary Scobie made a delegation to Council. A copy of the slides he presented is attached. Are the numbers Scobie presented correct?
If they are incorrect could you set out where his numbers are wrong.
Thank you  🙂

A question we have for the members of council who heard the delegation: Did the cat get your tongues or did you agree with Scobie? At the end of his delegation there wasn’t a single question asked. Not what they were elected to do or did we get that wrong?

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Roll up the rim is back - freezing rain doesn't matter!

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 6, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

frezing rainFacilities are open and programs are running according to city hall.

Stay tuned for updates as we monitor weather conditions.

The City of Burlington makes every effort to keep our facilities open during our regular business hours. When unsafe weather conditions occur, the city may close facilities.

Roll up the rimA planner who was in Burlington last night – returned to Toronto where weather conditions are a bit better. His comment to us was:

Roll up the rim is back at Tim Horton’s today, so there’s something to look forward to!

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The cure for staff insubordination is a big broom in strong hands.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It may not be case of insubordination but it was a classic case of mis-understanding who calls the shots and how staff should be responding to members of council.

Tuesday evening Mayor Meed Ward asked for some critical information on when a time frame on a development will be reached.

Amica development rendering

Mayor was told to google if she wanted to know when the time line for making a decision on this development would be reached.

The North Shore Road proposed Amica development had just gone through a lengthy Statutory meeting and there was concern that the city would once again fail to get reports from staff in time to ensure that a decision could be made in time.

The Mayor asked planner Lisa Stern when the 210 allows would have been reached. Google it was the response.
The Gazette reporter wasn’t in the room – so can’t say if there was an audible gasp. We did get a response from a reader who commented: “it shows a total lack of respect for the Mayor. I certainly hope someone will speak to her about it.

Stern is due to take some maternity leave. “I have to wonder” said the Gazette reader, “ when she will go on maternity leave – my question is who will take over this file and will it affect the deadline in June for the North Shore Proposed Development?

Burlington’s Planning Department has a history of failing to get a response to a development proposal completed in time which has the developer making an appeal to the Local Planning Act Tribunal for a decision.

Mayor Meed Ward wasn’t going to let that type of thing happen again. She wanted the time line date included in every report that comes to council. Meed Ward wasn’t certain just how that date was determined. Was Sunday counted?

To ask for the information and be told by a staff planner, a junior one at that, to google for the information is insubordination and reflective of the attitude the department has taken when dealing with this new Council.

broomIs there cause for dismissal here? Will the Planning Director have words for the planner? Will there be the much needed cultural re-direction from within the department or will someone with a big broom start doing some sweeping.

The Interim City Manager might begin using that hard glare he is very capable of directing at those he is unhappy with.

Tomorrow would be soon enough for that to begin happening.

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Mayor gets a motion approved - Grow Bold is to be ditched - Planners experience some indigestion with that direction.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 6, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a report to a Council Standing Committee Tuesday evening the Mayor said that “Burlington residents have consistently raised concerns about over-intensification and development in our City. During the 2018 election, they made their voices heard and clearly indicated the need to review the scale and intensity of planned development.”

Tim - Tanner Finance

The Grow Bold, Grow Smart, Grow Beautiful tag line that then Planning Director Mary Lou Tanner (centre in this picture) has now been dumped. Interim city Manager Tim Commisso, on the left has the unenviable task of unwinding that branding. Will he be making staff changes as well?

That was the rationalization she used to bring forward a motion to re-examine the policies of the existing Official Plan that was adopted, though not officially approved, in April of 2018, and review matters of height and density.

The approved but not adopted Official Plan was sent to the Region who sent it back to the city noting that there were “identified areas of non-conformity”. City council, and the Planning department needed more in the way of clarity from the Region.

Staff from the Planning department, the legal department along with the interim city manager and the Mayor met at length with the Regional planners – Burlington does not yet appear to have the clarification they are seeking.

MMW arms out - thank you

She did win and she is going to do it her way.

The Mayor did say that “Once the region identified areas of non- conformity, that stopped the clock on approving the new Official Plan and opened the plan up for any other matters of discussion. This allows our council the time to define what areas we want to study, undertake that work, consult with the community, and send back a comprehensive plan. We expect that plan to truly reflect the needs, best interests and vision of the community and its elected council.”

Mayor Meed Ward presented a motion that she said would “provide absolute clarity to staff and to the community that the City of Burlington staff are not to use the adopted 2018 plan in evaluating current/new development applications. Multiple analyses by staff in assessing development applications, downtown in particular, have made it clear we do not need to over intensify in order to meet our obligations under the Places To Grow legislation.

Grow bold - front door

Will the Grow Bold “branding” be removed from the office door by the end of the week? The Mayor just might take it upon herself to do that ask by herself.

Meed Ward once again put out the word that the city “will immediately discontinue use of the “Grow Bold” term and related branding to ensure we are absolutely clear on our direction.”

The motion brought forward by the Mayor read:

1. Direct the Director of City Building to immediately commence a process to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan adopted April 26, 2018 in their entirety related to matters of height and intensity and conformity with provincial density targets.

2. Direct the Director of City Building to send a letter in respect of the Official Plan adopted by Council on April 26, 2018, to the Region of Halton acknowledging receipt of the
Region’s Notice of Statement of Opinion of Non-Conformity with the Regional Official Plan dated December 4, 2018 and requesting sufficient time to address the conformity issues identified.

3. Direct the Director of City Building that until such time as the modifications that result from the work being undertaken in (1) and (2) above are brought forward and adopted by Council and sent to the Region for approval, that the adopted OP policies not be given weight in evaluating development applications that may be processed in the interim period.

4. Direct the Director of City Building to report back to the Planning and Development Committee meeting in March to provide a progress update on the Official Plan work plan with key milestone dates, public engagement plan, budget and resource requirements.

5. Direct the City Manager to discontinue the use of the “Grow Bold” brand.

In presenting the Motion Meed Ward said she wanted a unanimous vote – she did get unanimity but not without some arm wrestling from Councillor Sharman.

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Rivers: Coming your way - The Nasty Political Ads Season

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

“The most divisive and negative and nasty political campaign in Canada’s history”

That was Justin Trudeau’s prediction for the upcoming federal election as he addressed a Liberal fundraiser last October. And he only had to wait a couple of months to see his prophesy come true.

About a week ago federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer posted an ad on his Facebook and Twitter accounts which can only be compared to the one PM, Kim Campbell, released on national TV during the 1993 federal election.

kim-campbell

Politicians do what they think they have to do to either win public office or retain the office they hold. Kim Campbell didn’t hold the office of Prime Minister for very long.

Campbell’s ad asserted that Chretien would be an embarrassing PM for Canada because he had a facial birth deformity compromising how he appeared and spoke. Campbell, to her credit, apologized and cancelled the ad the following day.

She claimed she hadn’t actually seen the ad, having trusted her campaign team to save her harmless. That was a huge mis-judgement on her part and it helped cost her the election. In fact she presided over the biggest election loss in the history of the Progressive Conservative party – going down to two seats. But that didn’t stop the Tories from using nasty ads in their election campaigns.

Mr. Harper was a little subtler when he went after Liberal leader Stephane Dion, who suffered from what appeared to be panic attacks that spoiled his messaging in either official language. Harper’s ad focused on images of a man struggling for words and thereby depicting the otherwise polished and professional Dion as an inexperienced bumbler. And in this case it worked.

It should be no surprise then that Harper’s protege would follow his lead. But unlike Campbell who pleaded ignorance, Scheer’s hands are all over the recent attack ad. After all who but Scheer had posted them directly onto his personal social media pages.

andrew_scheer

Politicians can sometimes be just a little too cute. Andrew Scheer at his cutest?

Mimicking the popular Historica Canada produced ‘Heritage Minutes’ which appear regularly on CBC, his ad focused on Trudeau’s occasional stutter or shortness of breath. Whatever the cause, this is something we had all witnessed during the three leaders’ debates in the last federal election. Stutter or not, the voters who gave him a majority government would have to say Mr. Trudeau won those debates.

So what does it say about Scheer, the wannabe PM, that he doesn’t get it? It’s supposed to be about what you say and not how you say it. Canadian voters respect fair play. By all means attack Mr. Trudeau for what he stands for and what he has done, but don’t just expect voters to flock to you because you denigrate your opponent for a physical imperfection, or whatever a stutter is.

Historica ad

The Conservative Party created this attack ad parody of a popular TV segment called Heritage Minutes. Historica Canada requested it be deleted, and it subsequently was.

And talk about slow learning. After the non-partisan Historica Canada complained vigorously about this cheap stunt compromising their own integrity, Sheer took down the ad. Then he posted it almost immediately, minus any direct reference to the Heritage Minutes.

Then Scheer removed it again, finally concluding that it was inappropriate. Had the intent of this little caper been to showcase the competence of the new Tory leader, all it demonstrated was nastiness, poor judgement and indecisiveness.

Historica Canada is still waiting for a simple apology. And so is the Prime Minster as are the rest of us Canadians.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, 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:

Heritage Minutes –    Chretien Ad –     Dion Ad

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