Another Purse Thief Arrested in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

November 29th, 2018



The Halton Regional Police Service are still receiving reports of purse thefts. In most occurrences the suspects targeted female, older adults whose purses and/or wallets were stolen from their shopping carts while they were distracted in some fashion.

HRPS crestOn Sunday November 25th 2018 Gentiana STOJKOVA (18-yrs) of Czech Republic, residing in Brampton was arrested by members of Burlington Uniform Patrol for a purse theft at the Wal-Mart on Dundas Street. They were assisted by members of the public and two off duty Halton Regional Police officers.

STOJKOVA was also charged for a purse theft that occurred on October 19th 2018 at the Fresco on Upper Middle in Burlington. Other theft investigations are on-going at this time and further charges are possible.
STOJKOVA was held for bail for the two charges of Theft Under $5000.

Halton Regional Police are reminding residents to be aware of their surroundings and stay alert for distraction type thefts when shopping in the grocery stores, malls and other retail business.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents or other purse thefts is asked to contact Detective Constable Derek Gray of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Vulnerable Persons and Seniors Liaison Team at 905-825-4747 ext. 2344.

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

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Provincial Climate Change Solution includes expecting people to pick up litter.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 29, 2018



The Ontario government today announced a Balanced, Made-in-Ontario Climate Change Solution to Preserve and Protect the Environment for Future Generations. Styled a a new made-in-Ontario environment plan to protect our air, land and water and reduce litter and waste while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and helping communities protect themselves from climate change.

“This plan strikes the right balance between a healthy environment and a healthy economy,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “It contains solutions that will protect our air, land and water, reduce waste, address litter, increase our resilience to climate change and help us all do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, it does all of this without imposing an ineffective, regressive carbon tax on hard-working Ontario families.”

“Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations: A Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan will help protect the Ontario we know and love, ensuring its pristine beauty and strong communities can be enjoyed now and in the future. The new plan is posted on the Environmental Registry for public input for 60 days.

“This government will hold polluters accountable with stronger enforcement and tougher penalties for breaking environmental laws. These made-in-Ontario emission standards will also consider factors such as trade-exposure, competitiveness and process-emissions and will include the authority to introduce exemptions for Ontario’s auto sector and other exposed industries as needed.

“The plan additionally includes robust transparency measures that will ensure the public has real-time information about monitoring, incidents and enforcement activities.

“Ontario will also enable others to be environmental leaders and do their part in developing environmental solutions. This includes helping unleash the resourcefulness and creativity of the private sector while freeing them from burdensome taxes and red tape that make them less profitable and hinder their growth.

Litter - people picking it up

Meaningful local environmental action through initiatives such as a new province-wide day of action to fight litter.

“It will also encourage meaningful local environmental action through initiatives such as a new province-wide day of action to fight litter, alongside meaningful partnerships with organizations like Ducks Unlimited and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to fight invasive species and encourage conservation.

The province might want to consult with Burlington Green on how to organize a litter clean up day.

The media release went on to say:  “Our plan will encourage individuals, families, governments and businesses to take greater ownership of our shared environmental challenges through real actions, big and small,” said Phillips. “We promised the people of Ontario we are serious about addressing environmental challenges of our day while respecting hard-working taxpayers – and we are keeping that promise.”

Ray Rivers will be doing an opinion piece on the new policy

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McKenna gets a salary bump - appointed a Parliamentary Assistant

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 29th, 2018




Jane McKenna

Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington has been appointed the Parliamentary Assistant to Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour.

Premier Doug Ford said: “I am confident that Ms. McKenna will do a fantastic job as a member of our all-star team.”

McKenna threw her hat in the ring for the job of Speaker of the Legislature.

She has been a Parliamentary assistant when she was the member for Burlington in the 40th Parliament (November 21, 2011 – May 2, 2014 )

Member, Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills

Critic, Economic Development, Trade & Employment

Member, Standing Committee on Social Policy

Critic, Government Services

Member, Standing Committee on Social Policy

Critic, Children and Youth Services

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Seniors taking exercise classes upset over program changes that will require people to provide their own equipment.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 29th, 2018


The city has asked that we publish a statement they have made related to this news story.  That response can be found HERE. 

The city Parks and Recreation department runs a number of programs for the seniors in the city.
Some are exercise related and the some people taking part in those classes, for which they pay a fee, are not happy.

One Exercising Class was told that they would have to provide their own equipment – for health reason.

The equipment includes yoga mats, stretching bands and exercise balls.

resistence bands

Sitting on exercise balls and working with resistance bands is part of most classes – transporting that exercise ball seems unfair the class participants.

Yoga mats and the resistance stretching bands are not much of a problem but the Aldershot resident who talked to the Gazette wondered how a senior was going to use public transit with an exercise ball on her lap.

What also bothered the people in the exercise class was that the message was delivered by the class instructor and not a member of the Seniors’ Centre staff. The change is to be effective with the Spring classes which begin in April of next year.

“Many of the people in the class are on fixed incomes: said our source. “They were shocked and perturbed and couldn’t understand the health reasons.”

The group is getting ready to put together a petition asking that the new plan not be put in place.

Comments from people who were uncomfortable providing their names centered around policy changes without any input from the program participants.

Seniors Centre

The Gazette sat in on a meeting where seniors were asked to comment on the programs that were being offered at the Senior’s Centre on New Street. Few words were spoken because there were a number of staff in the room and participants didn’t feel free to speak their minds. That seemed to be a policy approach at the Centre that wasn’t appreciated.

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Region puts on an Effective Municipal Councils workshop on Setting the Course.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 29th, 2018


REVISED: This story was revised when city hall provided information the Gazette did not have.

There was a meeting of The Council of the Regional Municipality of Halton and the Councils of
The Town of Halton Hills, The Town of Milton and The Town of Oakville who took part in a Joint Council Workshop presented by Fred Dean and Nigel Bellchamber on “Effective Municipal Councils – Setting the Course”

The City of Burlington Council members didn’t take part – four of the seven won’t be returning to the Region or city hall for that matter.

Someone got creative and found a way to invite the new members of Burlington’s city council to sit in on the event. Senior staff members sat in on the presentation.

Attending as guests: Regional Councillors-Elect: Angelo Bentivegna, Kelvin Galbraith, Lisa Kearns, Shawna Stolte and Rory Nisan. Staff guests included: Kwab Ako-Adjei, Mary Battaglia, Laura Boyd, Joan Ford, Chris Glenn, Allan Magi, Danielle Manton, Angela Morgan, Nancy Shea Nicol and Mary Lou Tanner.


Half of the taxpayer provided salary paid our city Councillors is for the work they do at the Regional level. This is where they meet.

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Rivers: GM decides to give up on Ontario - have they stopped making mistakes or is this move just another one?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 29th, 2018



It is nothing short of dishonest for federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to blame the announced closing of General Motors (GM) operations in Oshawa next year on a federal carbon tax – which has yet to be implemented. It is equally dishonest for the Ontario premier to be running around blaming everything on the policies of the previous Liberal government.

Open for business sign at border

One of the bigger business operations in the province had decided to leave. There was nothing the province could do to keep them.

GM was clear that this was a corporate-wide restructure which is closing at least one plant in Canada and several more in the USA. It has to do with excess production capacity for gas guzzlers and the company’s failure to adjust to changing markets. And nothing Mr. Ford could offer, be it lower taxes, lower electricity rates, fewer labour regulations or a cash grant, would make the company change its mind. Ford was told definitively by GM’s management, as they hung up the phone – ‘the ship has left the dock’.

The traditional big three North American auto giants, and GM in particular, are chronic slow learners and always late to the game. The first electric car was invented by a Hungarian dude back in the early 1800s, over half a decade before Mr. Benz patented the first gas guzzler. By the turn of the century there were almost twice as many electric as petroleum vehicles on the road in America. But cleanliness, simplicity of operation and fast acceleration eventually lost out to the increased range and the lower costs of the more complicated Model T.

GM is not fondly remembered for its own history with electricity. In response to California’s emerging tough fuel and emissions standards in the 1990s, the company piloted the EV1 project. Everybody who drove one loved the car but for some suspicious reason GM killed the project and destroyed the cars anyway.

Two decades later, to compete with the Prius hybrid, the Chevy Volt, a miserable compromise of inadequate battery range and an inefficient on-board gasoline charging system, showed up. Its ultimate demise this coming year will result in few tears. Only last year GM finally got the memo and produced the all-electric Chevy Bolt with a battery range into Tesla territory. These cars are built in Michigan and their batteries in Korea.

Oshawa assembly plant

Neither our governments nor the company saw the writing on the wall – that doing the same things will give you the same result.

It was barely a decade ago when, as GM nearly folded-up camp, it came cap-in-hand to the Canadian and US federal and sub-national governments, begging for a handout to ride out the GW Bush recession. Canada and Ontario wasted no time asking how much, and we ended up with a combination of loans and equity totaling almost $14 billion.

The US set specific environmental conditions before issuing the lending instruments and ultimately got all of its money back and then some. The Harper government sold off our equity early in order to present a balanced budget for the 2015 election, and ended up losing $3.5 billion as a result.

In addition there was apparently a billion dollars which had been signed over to a GM entity which no longer exists. There was some kind of ‘old GM’, as opposed to a “new GM“ and the new one isn’t about to pay the money back. This for a company which earned over six billion in profits last year.

Cars are like a narcotic. If GM is a junkie then our governments are the the enablers, feeding its habits and ignoring the consequences. Neither our governments nor the company saw the writing on the wall – that doing the same things will give you the same result. Instead of sending the company to rehab, the governments just benignly encouraged GM to keep doing business as usual – making the same old cars – the same old mistakes.

GM claims the 60 year old Oshawa plant is unsuitable for production of the new generation of EVs and autonomous diving cars. Indeed the facility may be old but isn’t a car a car? Auto companies regularly run different models on the same assembly line. GM is doing that now, building trucks on a line formerly used for sedans.

And why have we all been blindsided by this closure announcement? The company has a contract with its labour union which extends beyond the planned closure date, surely the union should have been consulted. The union president is convinced GM is on a path to also close the other two factories it operates in Canada. What does that hold for the security of pension and benefit obligations?

Leggat old adv

The Leggat family have been in the car retailing business for a long long time.

GM was once Canada’s largest auto maker. Does its executive brain trust think there will be any remaining buyer loyalty after this caper? Once the dust has settled GM might as well take their dealership operations with it if it closes the door on Canadian production. The union boss, Jerry Dias, wants Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Trump to impose a 40% tariff on GM cars built in Mexico and China. That would teach it a lesson Dias says.

We know little of GM’s corporate decision making process, but perhaps somebody should have listened when it warned that Donald Trump’s recent tariffs would end up in a smaller GM. Trump’s reaction to the US plant closures, threatening to remove the federal subsidies for buyers of GM EVs, is as wrong headed as his tariffs were. Those EVs are currently built in America, after all.

GM claims that it has seen the light, joining Ford Motors, Volkswagen and others in shifting from gasoline to EV production. Once upon a time, six months ago, Ontario buyers used to get a provincial incentive for new EVs, as buyers do in several other jurisdictions across Canada and throughout the USA. And a carbon tax raising the cost of gasoline would encourage more car buyers to join the EV crowd. These policies are consistent with the direction the new GM is heading.

Scheer and Ford

Leader of the federal opposition Andrew Scheer with Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Note the picture to the left of former Toronto Mayor the late Rob Ford

But it doesn’t sound like retaining those Wynne government pro-EV policies would have kept the Oshawa plant open any more than Mr. Ford’s killing them did.  Scheer and Ford need to take a step back and re-examine their own policies before they heap unwarranted blame on their political opponents.

Pointing fingers and slinging mud are unhelpful at this time. And putting up signs saying ‘Ontario is open for business’ is a waste of time when the business model the government is using dates back at least thirty years. Like the evolution of the automobile its past time to move into the 21st century.

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:

Who Killed the Electric –      History of the Electric Car –      GM Trade Unertainty

Open for Business –      Trump’s unintended Consequences –      Trump Tariffs

Bailouts Don’t Work

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Youth Arrested for Armed Robbery in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

November 28th, 2018



On November 27th 2018 at approximately 4:30 PM, police responded to a report of a robbery in the area of Mountainside Drive and Maryvale Court in Burlington.

Police arrived on scene and spoke with a 15-year-old male who had been robbed of a gold chain which he was attempting to sell through “Letgo”, a buy & sell website.

During the attempted sales transaction, the suspect reached into the vehicle he arrived in, pulled out a pellet gun and demanded the victim surrender the chain.

The victim grabbed onto the pellet gun and threw it to the ground after which a struggle ensued. The suspect then fled in the vehicle with the gold chain.

HRPS crestThe vehicle operated by the suspect had been stolen from the Dundas area of Hamilton overnight on November 25th to 26th. This vehicle was later located by police abandoned on Lansdowne Drive in Burlington.

On November 28th 2018 at 12:40 AM, police arrested the suspect, a 15-year-old youth from Hamilton who cannot be identified because of his age. He was later released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Youth Court on December 27th 2018 charged with robbery, using an imitation firearm during the commission of an offence and possession of property obtained by crime under $5000.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Constable Mark Urie of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2338.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Brant street development running into timing issues - over-development has neighbours up in arms

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 28, 2018



The first the Gazette heard of the status of the 2100 Brant development that is currently at a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal was a mention at the final city council meeting of the current council.

The discussion took place in a Closed Session so there was no information to report.
Then we got a document that had a letter from the National Homes legal counsel. A portion of that letter said:

Please also be advised that we will be asking the LPAT to convert this PHC to a SETTLEMENT HEARING to approve the settlement which National Homes (Brant) Inc. and the City of Burlington have reached. The settlement is reflected in the planning instruments (the Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment and Plan of Subdivision), all of which are attached to this letter. If you have a concern with the PHC being converted to a settlement hearing please contact the undersigned prior to Tuesday, December 18, 2018.

Also, part of the document we got was an outline on where things were in terms of what the developer was asking for.

Aerial of the site

Vacant for years, the land had been donated to the Catholic church and then bought by a developer who had big plans – too big for the neighbours

The development application was at LPAT because the city had failed to respond to the development application within the 120 day timeframe required.

The application was to permit the development of 233 townhouse consisting of 27 dual frontage townhouses, 123 standard townhouses and 83 street townhouses at a density of 43.4 units per net hectare.

The documentation on this development is complex and constantly changing.

Residents from the Havendale community put together a very well written and data supported response to the delegation.

Area resident’s point out that “a lame duck outgoing Council exacting some final tribute likely instigated by the retiring ward Councillor. There are so many planning failures and empty information boxes on so many critical things in the OMB/LTAP Notice that it is a repugnant rip off of the democratic and due public process in the planning and normal sequence outlined in the Planning Act.

Landscape master plan

Traffic issues with just the one street running through the development that exist onto Brant and Havendale

“There will be no staff reports on important matters such as: stormwater and groundwater flows in this escarpment location and how they are to be managed to achieve pre-development runoff rates, and to prevent impacts downstream; a full staff recommendation report with comments from various City departments and the public on the amendments and 19 or so variances requested; a Committee meeting with delegations and debates, and a vote; a following Council meeting with delegations, debate, and a vote; and then an opportunity for appeal.

“All of this democratic process and more is being arbitrarily taken away in this move by a defunct Council.
Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident said “I was told that the planner in charge of the file, Lola Emberson, wrote the basis for the amendment – there is no signature or otherwise identification – and that she agrees with it. Frankly, it looks more like it was written by the developer consultant than an objective planner. It’s a disgrace for a professional and objective planner, working for the residents of the City, to sign off on such a deficient basis for an approval of all the amendments wanted.

Park distances

The lack of a park within the development is a major issue.

“Anything built on such a vacant site as this application would meet the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) targets for intensification, including a reduced build that would address and meet the existing OP and substantial resident comments and submissions suggesting revisions to the application that would satisfy all the PPS and intensification needs.

“It is notable that this appeal by the developer was made possible by the City neglect to make a decision on the requested Official Plan amendment within the 180 days’ timeline.

“This City neglect to make decisions on requested amendments extends also to amendments on zoning by-laws within the 120 day timeline on several other applications, appears to be a policy-like decision to sidestep the normal democratic public process, described above, for the planning process.

Built form

Traditional look to the built form.

“The developers love it as it removes any negative public and planning objections from the process of deciding the application. The public is effectively shut out of any due process, rights of appeal, and the City Council cannot do anything of its own volition without going through the OMB/LPAT. In the end, only one or two LPAT Chairs make the decisions.

“There is another appeal by National Homes on their 484 and 490 Plains Rd application for zoning by-law amendments based on the City failure to make a decision within 120 days. Again, this appeal is designed to sidestep the democratic due planning process, and is facilitated by the City planning and legal staff in an apparent deliberate fashion in ignoring the lapses of the mandated timelines for making decisions. There is a pre-hearing conference meeting set for December 19, 2018, one day after the meeting for 2100 Brant St.

“It’s the same developer, and similar logic, so it is a logical question as to whether this application can be approved without due process, just like the 2100 Brant St application.

“We ought to be concerned that such a planning ruse like these appeals can be used throughout the City planning and development process to undermine public participation in a democratic way of transparent decision-making based on a discussion of the merits and demerits of applications.

Brant street frontageMuir said: “And we should definitely be concerned that the existing planning, legal and senior managers have seemingly organized themselves in such a way as to allow this failure to occur. All I have heard in my complaints to city planning is a litany of possible things that could have happened to allow such a failure to occur, from inadequate staff for processing applications and studies submitted by the developers.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir has pointed out many of the problems with a development he feels is being rushed.

Muir believes “This is a management and policy failure that must be fixed right now.

All this will land on the desks of the new city council that will roll up their sleeves and figure out how development applications are going to be handled.

The Planning department is swamped with applications. There are a reported 26 planners on staff who have to manage the reported 30 development applications in the pipeline.

It is close to an untenable situation and must be emotionally draining for the planners, who for the most part are young, well educated and personally motivated to do good work.

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Bryce Lee: Wants more than any city council could get done in its first 100 days; doesn't think the new Mayor will last more than one term.

100 daysThe Gazette has invited residents for their thoughts on what the new city might try to achieve in its first 100 days.  A lot of wishful thinking and some misunderstanding of how the city actually works.  Interesting comments.


By Bryce Lee
November 28th, 2018

Have often thought the ward boundaries should shift, to accommodate two extra councillors account some wards are geographically larger than others. Even the load so to speak.

No more structures blocking the view of Lake Ontario.

The lake is perhaps the greatest asset this City has, do not lose it to developers!

No more fancy homes on Lakeshore east to Guelph Line.

The issue is the portion shown as parkette. The city had three options: keep the land and develop it as a parkette, lease the land to adjoining property owners until the city decides on its long term use or sell the land. The want to sell it.

The issue is the portion shown as parkette. The city had three options: keep the land and develop it as a parkette, lease the land to adjoining property owners until the city decides on its long term use or sell the land. The city sold it.

Over a long time that entire area should become a linear park. Selling those lots on Lakeshore Road between Market and St Paul to home owners was stupid and short sighted.

Let the council delegations be heard, good amplification is required; citizens must not be ignored. They voted the current Councillors in; they can just as easily be voted out in four years!

421 Brant

Approved – all but impossible to change the decision

Looking north from Queens Head

Developer is expected to appeal the council decision to keep the structure to 17 storeys – developer wants 24 – same as the approved building across the street.

As to the planned monstrosities opposite the current city hall and elsewhere; the so-called Official Plan needs to be reviewed. Such tall buildings should be fronting the edge of Metrolinx railway line, not in the downtown area. Keep the downtown building height to six stories, set back from the new wider sidewalks.

Have affordable shops on perhaps the ground floor or even the second floor.

Motorized vehicle parking should be at the rear of said structures or below level; 1.5 vehicles per household please. Employees should also be afforded parking, below street level.

Traffic barriers in place on LAkeshore for the Car Free Sunday last year were expensive and not really used. The event was poorly attended.

We are an automobile based society

We are an automobile based society regardless of the method of propulsion; make charging stations available payable by bank card. The car park with Elizabeth on the east and John Street on the west should be a many level parking garage with retail shops and professional offices on the ground floor and second level, shops to be fronted on the streets mentioned above.

Maintain, if possible, the residential areas of old Burlington below Ghent Avenue; homes constructed post WWII, and occupied for the most part by baby boomers.

Keeping those aforementioned residences allows residents to walk to most locations; The Brant Street No Frills plaza needs to be retained; grocery outlets are few and far between in this City unless one has suitable transportation.

City sponsored transportation should have free Sundays and free all the time to seniors.
Ensure all of the provincial subsidy is used; smaller electric powered (solar?) buses with frequent service is required.

And if the current Provincial Premier wants to merge Oakville and Burlington to Hamilton, tell him he too could be voted out of office, sooner than later!

Meed ward election night 1

Mayor Elect Marianne Meed Ward

My own thoughts on Meed-Ward: she will be a one term mayor, as were the two previous female mayors of Burlington.

She was wonderful as a Councillor however a mayor requires a whole different mindset.  She will stumble and in four years be out of office.

As for the other newly elected Councillors; being a ward Councillor requires time; time far beyond what the incumbents know. A Councillor is a 7/24/365 job; no rest during the four years; while  elected.

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Burlington Animal Shelter Closed Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018

notices100x100By Staff

November 27th, 2018



The Burlington Animal Shelter, located at 2424 Industrial Dr. will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

For urgent animal issues, please call 1-888-264-3135. All calls will be returned within 24 hours.

Animal shelter

Animal Attacks

All bites or scratches from an animal that cause a break in skin must, by law, be reported immediately to the medical officer of health. If you have been bitten or scratched by an animal, especially if rabies is suspected, contact your doctor or your local health department immediately.

If your dog or cat is injured from a fight and you believe it may have been bitten or scratched by a rabid animal:

Do not handle your pet. There may be fresh saliva from a rabid animal on its coat that may carry the rabies virus
Isolate your pet
Call your veterinarian and Animal Control right away

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December Glass Show & Sale Reception taking place on Plains Road December 1st.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 27th, 2018



The Annual AGOG December Glass Show & Sale Reception is happening this Saturday December 1st.

Visit the studio, meet the artists, have some snacks and enjoy an afternoon of Glassing!

Five talented glass artists in two studios at 654 & 652 Spring Gardens Road, Burlington, Ontario L7T 1J2

Siobhn glass rabit

A piece of work by John Highley will be on display

John Highley / Mosiac Glass
Siobhan Lynch / Copper Foil
Joe Speck / Fused Glass
John Martin / Painted Glass
Teresa Seaton / Copper Foil

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Public meeting on erosion control in Aldershot conflicts with new council inauguration.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

November 27th, 2018



The people who are politically active in this city will want to be at the Performing Arts Centre on Monday December 3rd to celebrate the swearing in of a new city Council.

The City of Burlington has initiated the West Aldershot Erosion Control Class Environmental Assessment (EA) study to address erosion concerns and produce detail design for erosion control works within the study area. This study is being completed as a ‘Schedule B’ project in compliance with the Municipal Engineers Association Class EA process.

The PIC is scheduled for December 3rd, between 6 and 8 PM at the Aldershot Pool, Community Room

West Aldershot erosion control map

Area of erosion control study in Aldershot.

One wonders then why the city would schedule a Public Information event on the erosion control work the same day as the swearing in.

Surely it wasn’t deliberate?

“A key component of the study will be consultation with interested stakeholders (public, landowners and regulatory agencies). Dates, times and locations of these Public Information Centres (PICs) will be advertised and posted here on the project study page. Those interested may subscribe to this page and will be alerted of future updates.

“A Public Information Centre (PIC) to review and discuss the EA Study, including improvement options, is scheduled for:
Date: Monday, Dec. 3, 2018; Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: Aldershot Pool, Community Room
50 Fairwood Place West, Burlington, ON L7T 1E5

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Lowville Festival Benefit Concert December 1st.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 26th, 2018



Lowville Festival, the festival of all the arts for the artist in all of us, is presenting a special fundraising concert on Saturday December 1st, 2018. Lowville Lit Up will feature a broad range of performers from Burlington and environs, all of whom will be donating their efforts in support of the Festival.

Andy Griffith

Burlington folk singer-songwriter Andy Griffiths

Featured artists include legendary Hamilton singer, Jude Johnson, who was born in Burlington; young Burlington country singer-songwriter Hayley Verrall; Kate Madden, a recent graduate of the Sheridan College Musical Theatre Program in Oakville; Toronto baritone Lawrence Cotton, who was featured in last summer’s Truth and Illusion; Burlington folk singer-songwriter Andy Griffiths; Burlington musical theatre performer Paul Mark, who has appeared on Broadway; and pianist Michael Mulrooney, a veteran of numerous theatrical productions across Canada, who is currently Music Director at Tansley United Church.

Eric Trask and Loretta Bailey

Eric Trask with his wife Loretta Bailey doing a practice script reading.

Lowville performers appearing in the concert include actor Eric Trask, who has appeared in presentations at a couple of past Lowville Festivals, including A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters. Eric will be doing a reading from a story by the late great Canadian storyteller Stuart McLean. The Major 7th Band, comprised of musicians from Lowville and environs, who have also been featured in Festival performances, will bring their unique mix of Celtic and folk songs to the evening.

Rob Missen and Loretta Bailey

Robert Missen and Lorretta Bailey, Founding Co-Artistic Directors of the Lowville Festival.

Robert Missen and Lorretta Bailey, Founding Co-Artistic Directors of the Lowville Festival, will serve as Hosts. The concert will conclude with a number of popular singalong carols.

The concert takes place at St. George’s Anglican Church Hall, 7051 Guelph Line, north of Derry Road, at 7:30 pm on Saturday December 1st, 2018. Tickets for the concert are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and available at Different Drummer Books and by phone at 289 337 9520

7:30 PM
TICKETS $25 in advance/$30 at the door

For more information contact Robert Missen at 905-632-6047 or .

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Environmental oversight officers lose much of the clout they once had.

News 100 greenBy Gord Miller,

November 26th, 2018



There is only one thing that matters and that is the environment.

The closing of a 100 year old auto manufacturing plant pales in comparison to the environment.

glaciers melting

Glaciers melting

Climate warming is real – it is part of why the General Motors plant in Oshawa is being shut down. General Motors has come to the conclusion that the internal combustion engine has a very limited life span.

Electric cars are going to be the direction for the automotive industry.

When will the change in cars flip to all electric – no one really knows exactly when the tipping point will be reached but everyone knows that there will be a tipping point.

Ensuring that our governments understand this and react to the reality of climate change is easier said than done.

Gord Miller served as Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner of Ontario for three terms under four different Premiers. He currently resides in North Bay, Ontario. Here is his take and explanation of want is now happening with how we are protecting our environment.

“Like many jurisdictions with parliamentary traditions, the Legislature of Ontario appoints Legislative Officers (sometimes called Parliamentary officers) to oversee and review activities of government that warrant special concern. Their duties include regularly issuing public reports that critically evaluate government performance in specific areas.

“The Officers are chosen by an all-party Committee and report directly to the Legislature through the Speaker, not to the Premier and his/her government.

Queen's Park

Legislative Officers oversee and review activities of government that warrant special concern. They used to be safe from government influence – that feature of the job was dropped.

“Tradition and current legislation says they are appointed for specific terms and cannot be removed during that time (unless they can no longer do their job or have committed a wrong-doing serious enough to give the Legislature “cause.”) This inherent security of their positions is necessary to protect the Officers from undue influence by the government they review, or from reprisal for revealing embarrassing information in their reports.

“Ontario has nine Legislative Officers and is intent on cutting that to six, by elimination of the Child Advocate, the French Language Services Commissioner and the Environmental Commissioner, through recently introduced Bill 57.

“But Bill 57 goes much further. Bill 57 fundamentally undermines the independence of Legislative Officers by allowing a party with a majority to suspend any Legislative Officer based merely on “the opinion the suspension is warranted.” Of course, there is no precedent, no test or limitation to guide that opinion.

Open for business sign at border

Premier Ford celebrating the erection of one of the several signs he had set up at Canadian – American border points.

“This power to arbitrarily suspend Officers means the end of the era of independent Officers of the Legislature. Officers will now be “sitting ducks” to threats of retaliation by the governing party demanding a say in what the Officers reveal in their public reports to the Legislature.

“By failing to bend to the governing party’s wishes, Officers will risk their jobs, even though their jobs are explicitly to shine light on things gone wrong. And just to make sure the threat is clear, Bill 57 also removes the ability of eliminated Officers to seek compensation for their loss of income in the courts.

“Should you be so naive as to believe that such interference or retribution would be neither allowed or tolerated in Ontario, look no further than the current ECO Commissioner’s September 25, 2018 Greenhouse Gas Progress report (where she defended the merits of cap-and- trade). Then I invite you to read the response letter sent by the Minister of Environment Conservation and Parks.

Rod Phillips - Minister of the Environment

Rod Phillips – Minister of the Environment being sworn in.

“The Minister responded, in part, “I want to respectfully advise that any suggestion we should pursue policies that betray commitments we made to the people is not well taken.” The veiled threat made two months ago, was cloaked in the language of respect because of the protection of the independence that the Commissioner enjoyed at the time.

“Move ahead in time and read the sentence again, through the eyes of a Legislative Officer who can be summarily suspended because of the opinion of the governing party, and the threat emerges with great clarity.

“Bill 57 masquerades as an economic efficiency initiative, while it is a vehicle to dismantle an important parliamentary mechanism of government accountability. It is a shiny new tool for the governing party to stifle the criticism of parliamentary watchdogs using intimidation and threats. Is the Ontario public well-served by this development – I think not.”

Gordon MillerGord Miller, former Ontario Environmental Commissioner met with Mayor Goldring on the Meridian Brick plant in Tayandaga.  Not much came of the conversation.

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Seems like housing issues have become a political football being kicked around by everyone.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 26th, 2018



See if you can find the news in this media release from the province.

Last week, Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing issued this statement in recognition of National Housing Day:

“Twenty years ago, National Housing Day was declared after municipalities, members of the public and community agencies across the country called on all levels of government to take action on housing – specifically community housing.

Steve Clark Minister of Muni affairs Ontario

Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

People said “What can we do to help those in need of a safe and affordable home?” Answering that question is something our government cares deeply about. And while the full answer is complex, at its core it’s simple: we need more housing.

Building more housing will help Ontario create good jobs across the province. Employees need affordable places to live and getting shovels in the ground will bring more construction jobs to Ontario.

But the road to building more housing has been challenging after a decade of mismanagement by the previous government. There is too much red tape that is choking the system – from complex approval requirements, to high costs and government fees. We need that to change.

Our government for the people promised we would remove the barriers to home ownership. My ministry in particular is taking concrete action, we are consulting with the people of Ontario about how the government can remove those barriers and build the right kind of housing in the right places. Their ideas will help us create a housing action plan to boost housing supply.

We know all housing is important. We also need to work together to sustain critical community housing, to repair and renew aging buildings and to maintain the financial viability of housing providers across Ontario.

On this National Housing Day, I want to stress to you as the Minister responsible, that we are committed to fixing the mess left by years of neglect.

National Housing day - structure - tent like

Part of the demand for more and better housing.

National Housing Day began as a call for all levels of government to do more about housing. I agree – we need to work in partnership with our municipal and development partners. They are big financial contributors, and they are on the front lines, helping people every day. Our government is committed to making a difference. This commitment includes working collaboratively with my colleagues in other ministries.

However, the federal government needs to step up. Their National Housing Strategy barely maintains the status quo. I believe they must do more. If we are going to renew Ontario’s housing stock and provide the housing people across Ontario need, the federal government needs to invest more.

I believe we all have a role to play when it comes to maintaining and building more housing in our communities. Today, let’s reflect on how important it is to have housing that is affordable for the people of Ontario. Housing that meets their needs and offers more choice for their families. The people of Ontario should expect nothing less.”

Did I get the message in this provincial media release?

Housing is needed, more affordable housing as well and Ontario is waiting for the federal government to do something ?

Ontario has announced that it is going to take rent increase legislation off the books for any new houses that are built.

In December of 2017 Habitat for Humanity took part in the announcement of a National Housing Strategy.

At that time, Members of Parliament Pam Damoff and Karina Gould, as well as Andrew Balahura from Halton Region were in Habitat for Humanity’s Halton-Mississauga’s Burlington ReStore today to celebrate a historic initiative from our federal government.

All three, along with our affiliate’s CEO John Gerrard, spoke about what the NHS means for our community. MP Gould and Damoff both had a role in the development of the strategy, and were instrumental in broadcasting the message from our community – that a National Housing Strategy is of the utmost importance. This message sprouted from a roundtable hosted by our local MPs, and we believe has a lot to do with our country finally developing a National Housing Strategy of its own.

Habitiat and the NHS announcement

From left to right: Habitat Halton CEO John Gerrard, Burlington MP Karina Gould, Oakville North Burlington MP Pam Damoff and Halton Region’s Andrew Balahura


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Driving while impaired is a crime in progress - the end result can be someone dead under the wheels of a vehicle.

Crime 100By Staff

November 25th, 2018



We still haven’t learned.

On November 19, 2018 just after 7:30 am, Halton Police officers initiated a traffic stop in area of New Street and Timber Lane in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Paul Wybywanez (42) of Burlington was charged with driving over 80mgs.

police trafficHeader

Being stopped isn’t a problem – being impaired and being stopped is a serious problem for the driver of a vehicle.

On November 19, 2018 just after 9:30 am, Halton Police officers responded to a citizen-initiated complaint in the area of Harvester Road and Appleby Line in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Avtar Khehra (60) of Burlington was charged with driving while ability impaired and fail or refuse to provide sample.

On November 19, 2018 just before 8:30 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Trafalgar Road and Ceremonial Drive in Oakville. As a result of an investigation, Felicia Ryan (33) of Milton was charged with fail or refuse to provide sample.

On November 19, 2018 just after 8:30 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a citizen-initiated complaint in the area of Guelph Street and Hall Road in Halton Hills. As a result of an investigation, Gregory Fuller (84) of Halton Hills was charged with driving over 80mgs.

On November 21, 2018 just after 5:30 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a citizen-initiated complaint in the area of Main Street South and Maple Avenue in Halton Hills. As a result of an investigation, Daniel Duplantis (28) of Fergus was charged with care or control while ability impaired and care or control over 80mgs.

On November 21, 2018 just after 7:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Derry Road and Trafalgar Road in Milton. As a result of an investigation, Colleen Connally (36) of Milton was charged with driving while ability impaired and driving over 80mgs.

Each of these incidents could have become fatal for anyone struck by the driver of the vehicle.

Drink if you wish, ingest or inhale anything that is legal – just don’t drive.

And impress upon you Member of Parliament how strong your feelings are on this issue. Bigger fines, longer license suspensions and an even deeper disgust on the part of the public can and will in time bring about a change.

Burlington’s MP is Karina Gould.  Email  –

The Oakville North Burlington MP is Pam Damoff.  Email –

Members of the public are reminded that driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a crime in progress and to call 9-1-1 immediately to report a suspected impaired driver.


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RBG Rock Garden transformed into a winter wonderland for the holiday season: Winter Lights at the Rock.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 25th, 2018



Royal Botanical Gardens’ (RBG) David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden has been transformed into a winter wonderland this holiday season, with Winter Lights at the Rock, an evening holiday experience (6pm to 9pm) taking place Thursday to Sunday from November 17 to December 30.

Looking into the bowlAs part of the Holiday Tradition, RBG’s annual holiday celebration, Winter Lights at the Rock leads visitors through a 1-kilometre trail of festive lights and Christmas melodies and includes admission to the Escarpment Train Exhibit. This unique holiday experience provides visitors with a special evening to capture those perfect holiday memories in the beauty of the picturesque Rock Garden.

Winter garden treesHighlights include nightly entertainment around the fire pit and a rotating menu of small snacks and warm drinks, including warm Bavarian pretzels, Belgian sugar waffles, cookies, hot chocolate and festive adult beverages. Select dates will feature local food trucks serving up popular street foods and snacks.

The Escarpment Train Exhibit is a “G scale” model train experience that depicts four seasons of whimsical Canadian landscapes while telling the story of how railroads shaped our history. The exhibit illustrates three eras of locomotion history including the steam engines of the late 1800s, the streamliners of the 1930s and the powerful modern diesels of the 1960s up to present day.


Regular Admission (online) $10
Member Admission (online) $9
Regular Admission (at the door) $15
Infant (age 0-2) FREE


Stick around and enjoy the sounds of the holiday season with entertainment in the beautifully lit Rock Garden throughout the evening.

November 17, December 1, 2, 8, 15, 16
Tanisha Boyd

November 22, 23, 25, 29
Michael Maguire

High five quartet

High Five Quartet

November 30
High Five Quartet

December 6, 13, 20
Lavish Quartet

December 9, 27, 28, 29, 30
Claudia Gennaccaro (duets with Caitlin Collingwood)

Throughout the Event
MollyCake Bakery Gingerbread Village

Food and Drink

Grab some festive sips and bites to enjoy as you wander the garden! The team at the Rock Garden Café will be serving a rotating menu of small snacks and warm drinks available for purchase.

Select dates will also feature local food trucks with warm snacks and meals for purchase:

November 17, 18, 25, December 9, 15, 21
Get Your Own Taters

November 22 and 23
Aegean Honey Balls

November 30, December 1, 2, 8
Spring Loaded

Choco churros

Chocco Churros

November 29, December 20
Chocco Churros

December 13, 16
Beaver Tails

December 22, 23, 27, 28, 29
Curbside Dogs

Winter Lights at the Rock is sponsored by Colliers Project Leaders.

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Scobie wants to see respect in play at the city council table and a reversal of a rush to pass a flawed Official Plan.

opinionred 100x100By Gary Scobie

November 25th, 2018



There are two major issues need repair at City Hall.

First up is respect. That would encompass respect by members of Council for one another as well as respect by Council for citizens that come to City Hall to delegate their concerns. It is not a small matter to appear at Council with a prepared delegation text. It takes time and thought to prepare an argument for or against a motion and hopefully allow a better solution if there is one. The standard “Thank you for coming” response is quite a de-motivator for most citizens to ever think of appearing a second time.
I’m hoping a near total refresh of Council will start off respecting themselves and others. Citizens will be watching.

Second up is the attitude by the current Council (henceforth referred to as the old Council) of eight years that the Province alone is to blame for the over-intensification of downtown Burlington. No, the Province didn’t mandate 20 plus storey high rises on Brant and Martha Streets. The Council of 2005 accepted without a whimper the designations of Urban Growth Centre and Anchor Mobility Hub downtown. They both designate density targets within these overlapping zones, but not height. It was the developers, the Planning Department and in end the old Council that translated density over an area into one-off high rise buildings that each over-intensified the lot they sat on. It was and is the cumulative affect of adding tall buildings, without adequate parking, expanded roadways or inviting transit that will clog our streets for decades to come if it is unchecked by the new Council.

The old Council looked at the downtown as an infill area to intensify beyond targets, beyond our current Official Plan and against the wishes of the current residents. The Planning Department aided and abetted. The developers cheered. Building only for future residents without keeping in mind current residents is not a recipe for success, especially if future residents realize what a transportation-restrictive neighbourhood they have bought into to now become current residents.

The rush to pass a flawed Official Plan before the election put the icing on the cake for over-intensification. Most of the new Council ran on platforms against the new Official Plan over-development.

The new Council can talk to the Province about the two designations, can talk to the Region about the Official Plan and can talk to (and hopefully listen to this time) citizens who will accept moderate intensification and no more.

It may take longer than 100 days, but these are the issues that I would like the new Council to tackle.

Gary ScobieGary Scobie is a ward 3 resident who has delegated and usually gave more than he got from a Council that didn’t have much time for him He has served on Advisory Committees and has been active citizen by any standard.  In this photograph he is seen delegating before city council.

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Drummond: Doug Ford legislation takes away benefits from minimum wage earners.

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

November 24th, 2018



On Nov 21, the Ontario Government led by Doug Ford passed Bill 47, the so-called “Making Ontario Open For Business Act”, which cuts a number of worker protections in Ontario. It specifically:

– Allows an employer to force an employee to get a sick note if they take an unpaid sick day. It also allows the employer to force an employee to get a doctor’s note to explain a leave day taken to care for an ill family member

– Repeals the inclusion of step-brothers, step-sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, and nieces as people for whom you can take family leave or bereavement.

– Repeals the section of the Employment Standards Act that requires employees be paid equally for doing the same work

– Repeals the minimum wage increase scheduled for January 1, 2019

– Repeals any entitlement for employees to paid sick leave

The stated purpose of this Act is to increase Ontario’s competitiveness to attract and keep business. Premier Ford stated “Businesses tell us that job growth starts with cutting the burdensome, job-killing red tape that drives investment and jobs out of Ontario.” However, the question needs to be asked: If Ontario business is prospering so well, why do we need these changes that will fall most heavily on the backs of low income workers? From January to September 2018, Ontario has gained 122,700 jobs. Ontario’s unemployment level in 2018 has hit its lowest level since 2000. Why then do we need to hurt working people to give the corporate sector more money?

As detailed in an article in the Gazette in October, the minimum wage increase to $15/hr did not need to be halted. Burlington businesses have coped well with the increase to $14/hr and many of the minimum wage employers we have in this city are thriving with new ones opening all the time. There is no crisis in Burlington that required this draconian action.

Another key article of the Act is to remove an employee’s entitlement to 2 paid leave days a year. The Retail Council of Canada pushed Ford to do this with evidence such as “One employer noted that, as of August 31, 2018 (66% of the way through the year, calendar-wise), 57% of the yearly paid PEL eligibility had already been used by employees.” So the argument is essentially that because people are using most of their sick days they shouldn’t have them. How does that make sense? People get sick. People have sick children to care for. Ensuring that a low income mother doesn’t suffer financially for being ill seems like it should be in everyone’s interest.

Beyond stripping the two paid leave days, the government has also moved to restrict people’s ability to take UNPAID leave. Now for any leave (bereavement, Caring for an ill family member, personal illness) an employer can demand proof that the leave was required (i.e. a doctor’s note). The Canadian Medical Association among others has attacked this portion of the bill. Dr. Gigi Osler, president of the CMA pointed out “Requiring sick notes can introduce unnecessary public health risks; patients who would have otherwise stayed home may spread viruses or infection while out to get a sick note,”

Also, consider the local impact. There are only 9 walk-in clinics in Burlington and the majority of those close by 7pm with limited weekend hours. During the day, wait times can exceed 2 hours as the clinics are overloaded with people who actually need care and not just a note. Adding new people unnecessarily to those lines will hurt everyone in the city and reduce the impact of health care services across Burlington.

Then there is the cost. A doctor’s note for illness usually costs between $20-$30 at a walk-in clinic. The people Bill 47 is targeted at are workers at or around minimum wage. They typically cannot afford the loss of income with taking an unpaid day off. Now under the new legislation they will need to not only forgo that day’s wages, but if their employer demands a note, they will actually have to pay to be sick. This is not the way to help people on low incomes.

The last provision that will cause considerable hardship is repealing the requirement that people be paid equally for the same work. The RCC argues “While this sounds fine in theory, these provisions have thrown off numerous issues. The first of these is that there are very significant cost implications for retailers.”

Retailers will need to absorb a cost for paying their part time workers the same as their full time ones however, there needs to be consideration for what is fair. People should be paid for what work they are doing, and the existing rules still allowed different pay by seniority. The previous law was only protecting employees from being underpaid by arbitrary means.

In January of this year, labour law came into effect that significantly improved the lives of low income workers in Ontario. Over the time it was in place, Ontario gained large numbers of jobs and our economy is currently incredibly strong with record lows in unemployment. Despite that the Ford government felt it is necessary to change the laws in the hopes to drive job growth. In Burlington it’s clear that companies providing low wage jobs were not in crisis.

So, the question has to be asked again: Why do we need to hurt working people to give the corporate sector more money?

Andrew Drummond HeadshotAndrew Drummond was the New Democratic candidate for the Burlington seat in the provincial legislature last June when Doug Ford was made Premier and Jane McKenna was elected in Burlington.


Related news story:

Minimum wage earners  lost $1750.

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Rivers: Tight integration with the American economy run by a President we can't trust requires tough decisions.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 24th, 2018



The only similarity between the federal economic statement and the one Ontario announced last week was that neither has a plan to deal with their growing deficits. Canada’s debt as a percentage of its GDP is the second lowest among G7 countries – higher than Germany but lower than the USA and less than half of Japan’s numbers.

Canadian money concept

We cant just print the money we need.

Despite all the alarm-ism during the last election, Ontario’s debt compared to its GDP is quite a bit lower than that of our national government. But unlike a provinces, which can only control its levels of taxation and spending, the federal government also controls and/or influences interest rates, currency exchange rates and the money supply, including printing our money.

When Donald Trump cut US business taxes Canada had to respond or run the risk of watching new business investment move to larger markets south of the border. Canada has long had lower effective corporate taxation rates than the USA but that competitive advantage has now mostly vanished. And cutting corporate taxes to restore that advantage would have added tens of billions more to the deficit, making it a non-starter.

Trump tough glance

“America was no longer the fair-minded economic partner we had come to know.”

But it was really Trump’s trade policies that made our government sit up and take notice. America was no longer the fair-minded economic partner we had come to know. The painful process of renewing NAFTA, the unwarranted and costly tariffs on steel and aluminum, and the US role in slashing the price of Alberta oil required a new strategy – one of trade diversification.

For those who lived through the government of the first Trudeau this is a bout of deja vu. Pierre, faced with an unfriendly Nixon administration, developed what was called the ‘Third Option’ – hoping to diversify our dependency on trade away from the US. The Third Option, which also gave us our domestic metric system, largely failed as a trade strategy.

Britain was joining Europe which was itself pre-occupied resolving internal trade barriers, Japan was struggling with its identity as an emerging economic powerhouse, and China turned the tables on us making us trade-subservient to them. Then Richard and Pierre were replaced by Ronnie and Brian who bonded beautifully, and they buried what was left of the third option. Canada and US agreed to lower trade barriers in a process that eventually included Mexico in NAFTA, and the rest is history.

Can - USA economies

We are so tightly integrated to the American economy that it would be very difficult – if possible – to lessen that integration.

So today we are even more closely integrated into the US economy with three quarters of our exports and a third of our GDP tied to US markets. After all it is so much simpler to just load a truck and drive it across the border than to be bothered shipping overseas to foreigners. We share a common culture and language (except for Quebec), and the US is a prime travel destination for Canadians looking to escape the cold, making us sometimes more American than the Americans.

But we do pay a price when it comes to national identity, and in the end we can find ourselves alone, being bullied by our major economic partner who thinks it has found its own third or fourth option – the nationalist cry of America First. We have since negotiated a number of other so-called free trade agreements, most importantly with Europe (CETA) and also Asia and the Antipodes (CPTPP,) so it is time we put our money where our mouths are on trade diversification.

But it will take some money to restructure our economy onto more of an export footing. The goal of boosting Canada’s overseas exports by 50 per cent by 2025, will not be met just by accelerated depreciation, but it is a good start. And the business community, manufacturing in particular, is besides itself with praise of this mini-budget. For once they are not complaining about a growing budgetary deficit.

Increased manufacturing would enable Canada to better diversify its exports beyond our current raw materials mix, and may also lead to greater import substitution – though that is not the stated goal. Almost as a footnote, companies investing in clean energy production also get this break.

And just to be fair, other businesses will also be entitled to an accelerated depreciation though at a lower rate. Depreciation rates will be raised from four to twelve percent for a pipeline company, for example. And where is our pipeline is the lament of the Alberta oil industry and its government?

oil tank cars

The Alberta government wants the federal government to help pay for oil tankers – Ottawa hasn’t said yes to that request.

They were disappointed that the federal government didn’t pamper them by supporting the price of oil in this budget, or offer to pay for more rail cars – after it had already bought a pipeline company. Perhaps Mr. Trudeau was concerned that he’d be accused of starting a national energy program? And besides how could he reconcile a subsidy for oil when the government is imposing a carbon tax?

The federal government is also planning to redirect and speed up some of its planned funding for the national infrastructure program into marine ports, roads and railways to expedite overseas trading opportunities. And yes this throws last election’s deficit targets into the toilet not that Mr. Trudeau was on the road to balance the budget next year anyway.

There is no guarantee even if Trump is defeated in the next federal election that Democrats would not be just as protective when it come to trade. In fact there have already been rumblings from the new Congress-elect that they will want to re-examine USMCA. One has only to recall how the Canada-friendly Obama administration implemented a “Buy American” clause in the US stimulus package as he undertook to fight the 2008/2009 recession.

Conventional wisdom is that you run a deficit in a recession and a surplus in good times. The Liberals are making the case that, given the deficits in our economic infrastructure, there is no better time to invest than when the economy is booming and the money is rolling in. After all, how prudent would it be to balance our federal budget for the short run only to forego investing to make our economy viable for the longer run?

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:

Countries by Debt –     Fall Economic Statement –     Canada’s Economy

Business Reaction –     Third Option –     50% Export Growth

Manufacturers Happy –     Will it Work

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