opinionred 100x100By Jim Barnett

October 15th, 2018


Jim Barnett can remember a time when the city had a number of rate payer associations that kept city council on its toes.  Now that there is a grass roots organization in place at least three members of  the current council is doing everything they can to trash the group and get rid of them.

The term of the current Burlington city council is almost over and this is a good thing. In my opinion there has been little teamwork likely due to a lack of leadership, taxes raised beyond the rate of inflation, and no clear plan for the future. Grow Bold is not a plan, it is an essay on what should be planned.

The root cause for the difficulty we are in was caused by politicians creating a green belt which resulted in Burlington loosing half of its land from development opportunities. They forgot that this created a scarcity of land on which to grow in Burlington and ignored the classic economics that scarcity leads to increase prices, and in Burlington’s case has priced many people right out of the market and put great hardship on those needing “affordable housing”.

high profile 421

The developers indeed did see the opening – they took the risk and they won.

Developers saw this scarcity coming and took advantage of it. They were then given an additional gift with the downtown designated as a mobility hub requiring intensification and the race was on.

The old plan, and in fact the one that is still on the books in Burlington, limits heights of building to four to six stories. Yet even with this regulation the developers have been able to get the planning department to present to council projects with over 20 stories on many occasions. Somewhere the citizens of Burlington lost control of their city and we find our elected council spending all their time blaming the Provincial government and the OMB for the loss of character in the place we live. In my opinion the blame is with them. The new plan, currently at the region for review still needs a lot of work to put meaningful measurements into it and I hope the new council will make its first order of business to put a defensible plan supported by the citizens in front of the region.

I have been a regular delegator, both to the committees and to council for the past six years. I have attended three of the recent debates and read extensively the campaigns, both in print and on electronic mediums. I have drawn the following conclusions.

Goldring with bikeMayor Goldring has decided to double down on his record. If you are happy with the Burlington city tax increases, the plans for the downtown in disarray, and wanting more of the same, he is your man.

Portrait standingMead Ward seems to be in sync with the majority of Burlington residents about development and had the right solution to the Pier debacle. However, she seems to end up in a lot of six to one votes. Has she a consensus building problem? Can she provide leadership? Will she be willing to address she staffing problems?

WallaceWallace does not seem to be part of the current problems which is an asset. His campaign has a lot of good ideas and seems to be more aware that it will take collaboration with the region and the province to find solutions to our ills. If you think he can deliver on that need, read his campaign again.

WoodruffWoodruff has some refreshing ideas and rookie naivety. He need seasoning at the councilor level.

While I am at it, If you live in wards five and six, remember your current councilors, Sharman and Lancaster refused to participate in a public debate. Democracy is presenting yourself and your ideas to the electorate. What did they want to hide? Dennison, to his credit, while initially refusing, saw the light and attended most of the debate he was asked to attend.

Our future depends on fixing the parking issues, developing a realistic traffic plan including transit and listening to the citizens. A good start would be to having committee chairs pay attention to what the delegations are saying and realizing when the delegations are being critical of the council and staff they might be right! For starters all the new council should read the file, The Road Diet on New Street versus the people.



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The voices of reason and stability have gone silent in this city.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 15th, 2018



We got a comment from a citizen who had this to say:

“Disrespectful behaviour creates division in our city – whether it’s the mayor taking a cheap shot using the school issue to save his own political skin; or Sean Baird and whoever he’s fronting, hiding behind anonymous 3rd party advertisers.

“We need our civic leaders – whether it’s the politicians (where’s John Taylor?), former politicians ( Walter Mulkewich), the media, business people, community group leaders, church leaders speaking up against disrespectful behaviour to say “Not in our city”.

“If we don’t have community consensus on acceptable public discourse and a willingness to speak out, then Burlington is big trouble.”

Hear no evil monkeys

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. It is time for civic leaders to stand up and say what the city really stands for.

That citizen just might be right – we could be in for some really big trouble.

Another question: How is this city going to heal once this is all over?

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Fifty years ago this week the Burlington Mall opened - today it is called the Burlington Centre.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 15th, 2018



It was 50 years ago this week when the Burlington Mall opened.

It was the beginning of a change to the way people shopped that hasn’t stopped. The choices improved and the easy parking was an attraction.

Burlington Mall - parking lot

Parking lot was full on opening day. A lot of big V8 engines in there.

Retail has gone through massive changes. Converting farm fields to a parking lot and a large indoor collection of retail locations

In the past decade the Burlington Mall went through some difficult changes.

The Zellers chain went out of business, the US Target chain took their place – then they went out of business and the mall had to make some hard decisions.

Burlington Mall - Oct 16 - 1968 crows

The crowds were impressive – Burlington was at the beginning of a retail change.

They chose to enlarge the Mall and rename the place to the Burlington Centre and make it more of a family destination with an additional five restaurants, a book store, and a small supermarket.

Management plans on making the Centre a place where people gather for community based events.

There will be more on that later in October.

This week – the city gets to remember what happened the day the Mall opened.

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Wow! This actually happened.

council 100x100By Staff

October 15th, 2018



A ward 3 resident answered a knock at her door and found an election candidate.  The candidate had been to her door before.

The resident said she couldn’t talk because “I was getting ready to call a taxi to take me to the vets. My cat was so sick. The candidate offered to give me a ride there. Wow!”

This is the Burlington people want.

We have not identified the resident or the candidate; both are identified in the comments section under the Letters to the Editor story.

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A dirty election just got a little dirtier - all the guns are trained on the one candidate.

council 100x100By Staff

October 15th, 2018



There is an absolutely despicable advertisement being published that links the words spousal abuse with Mayoralty candidate Marianne Meed Ward.

Spousal 2

It takes comments made 20 years ago so out of context that it is laughable.


Using ridiculously small type to identify the advertiser is well outside the spirit of the legislation that approved Third Party advertising.

The ad is paid for by one of the Third Party Advertisers – a numbered corporation. The type identifying the advertiser is so small you need a magnifying glass to read it.

Why would the advertiser make a point of hiding the name?

Because they don’t want to know who he really is.

All the numbered corporations that registered as Third Party advertisers belonged to restaurateur Sean Baird

There are three people who don’t want Meed Ward to win: The current Mayor, Rick Goldring, former MP and city Councillor Mike Wallace and hopeful Greg Woodruff.

This is the dirtiest local election campaign Burlington has ever seen.

Are intensification, grid lock, lousy transit and dirty elections Burlington’s future?

You get to decide that on the 22nd.

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Paul Sharman, ward 5 Councillor has said he will take part in the Orchard Park debate.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 15th, 2018



The good people in the Orchard community are going to have a debate and an opportunity, finally, to hear what the incumbent city Councillor has to say for himself.

Sharman seat at ward 5

The Sharman seat was empty at the ECoB ward 5 debate was empty. He is reported to be attending the Orchard Facebook debate.

Councillor Sharman wasn’t prepared to attend the debate for the ward organized by ECoB but he is willing to take part in a debate organized by the community in the dying days of a very controversial election.

The debate will be moderated by Amy Collard, the ward public school trustee who once told the Gazette that she was considering taking a run for the city council seat.

When Councillor Sharman said he would not take part in the ECoB debate his reasons were he knew nothing about that organization: no mission statement, no financial statements, no identified Board members, which is just balderdash. A classic example of being willingly blind.

Ward 5 Waldorf

The event takes place at the Waldorf School at the Halton Waldorf School, 2193 Orchard Road.

The event was organized by the Orchard Facebook Group and taking place at the Waldorf School.

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Letter to the editor - unparalleled examples of nastiness in Burlington’s municipal election campaign.

Letter to the editorBy Carol Victor

October 14th, 2018



These past few weeks have seen unparalleled examples of nastiness in Burlington’s municipal election campaign.

As a citizen I am disgusted by the lack of respect shown particularly to mayoral candidate Marianne Meed Ward.

People in Burlington are very engaged in this election for good reason. Unprecedented over-development has been the focus of discussion and this issue has materialized in every candidate debate. Many depositions were heard at City Hall to no avail.

In two recent debates, candidates were asked to provide a summary of their platforms. In both instances, the current mayor used his time to personally attack and denigrate Meed Ward who has been his chief opponent re-development.

After the debate, I was shocked to see that the candidate in Ward 3, Peter Rusin had uploaded a disgusting article where he compares Meed Ward with the incumbent Goldring and accuses Meed Ward of being a liar.

Rusin 2

This leaflet was published electronically and delivered to mailboxes in the city. Peter Rusin has been negative about Marianne Meed Ward since 2010. At one point the GAzette had to ask that he refrain from using the comment section of the Gazette. In 2014 Rusin ran for the Office of Mayor challenging Rick Goldring.

A printed version of this article was mailed to households across Burlington this week.

Rusin 1

A better understanding about Peter Rusin and his beleifs can be seen in the ECoB video of the Ward 3 debate.

This style of politics has no place in Canadian society. There is enough of that elsewhere. We must insist as voters that our leaders have integrity and demonstrate respect during the democratic process.

Carol Victor is a Burlington resident who contributes to the Comments section of the Gazette frequently.

Ward 3 debate.


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How did the Aldershot community handle the election debate - they made it a family event.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 12, 2018



The ECoB debates took place in every ward. The happiest event was in ward 1 where 11 candidates laughed with each other and talked about how each could serve the community.

It was a fun evening – there was laughter and kidding around and serious discussion about the serious issues in the community. It was clear that there were those who were not ready for public office, it was also clear that there were some very good candidates – any one of four would be good council members.

Audiende at the entrance

It was standing room only for the Aldershot community who came out to hear the 11 people running for public office,

There were some foolish statements; one candidate committed to giving half his salary away and another who promised to do what he could to get the salary for council members cut by 10%.

Some clearly didn’t understand the issues, others were there to promote their pet issue.

What was pleasantly clear was that they all loved the community they lived in, in a way that wasn’t as evident in any of the other ward level debates.

resident ward 1 reading bios

ECoB made sure that everyone had a bio sheet that could be used to follow the debate.

ECoB made sure that everyone in the audience had a sheet with a photograph and a short biography of every candidate. It was difficult to remember who was who amongst the 11 candidates.

There was an environmentalist who would make a significant contribution to city council thinking were he to be elected.

There was a transportation specialist who could ask Transportation department staff some hard questions.

There was a candidate who has the solid support of the retiring council member – so much so that the current incumbent managed to convince his wife to stand at the candidate’s table at the Burlington Green debate.

The Aldershot candidates were asked where they stood on the question of should the city allow retail cannabis stores. Most of the candidates stepped gingerly around this one – except for the candidate who suggested the stores be permitted – if they didn’t he said, his sons would have to continue buying from the sons of another candidate. The audience roared with laughter

The evening was a little like a large family gathering for some festive occasion and enjoying the company of each other.

One of the biggest concerns in the community was traffic congestion. No one had a solid answer.

Intensification and the loss of retail that gives people a reason to get out and walk to stores that are disappearing. It would be a hoot if Aldershot was chosen by the city as a cannabis store location when the community doesn’t have an LCBO location or a beer store.

TEC stop quarry expansion Jul17

Tyandaga Environmental Coalition has managed to get their concern about further development of the quarry on the public agenda.

The plans the Meridian Brick company has to extend their shale mining to the third cell on the east side of the quarry got more mention than that problem has gotten in the two years the Tyandaga community has been asking for a change in the 30 year plus license the company has from the provincial government.

What was surprising was that there wasn’t even a mention of the Beachway that was once a lively almost self-contained community that is in the process of being taken apart one house at a time.

Beachway - Full park

There is a long term development program for the Beachway. It didn’t get a single mention during the debate.

The people of Aldershot were pretty clear about LaSalle Park, which happens to be owned by the city of Hamilton. Some wanted it to be part of Burlington. One candidate thought the city should buy it for $1. Burlington currently pays rent of $67,000 and covers all the maintenance costs.

LaSalle Pacillion

Restored by Aldershot residents, owned by the city of Hamilton.

The city manager was tasked with negotiating a purchase agreement with Hamilton – they didn’t like what the city was offering.

The Mayor recently suggested that Burlington should annex Waterdown which probably means Hamilton won’t be sending Burlington any Christmas cards and certainly soured the relationship we have with that city.

The candidate who wasn’t aware that half of a council members salary came from the Region probably won’t have to worry – not likely to get elected. It would help had the candidate known where the Regional Council meets.

Aldershot has several solid choices – trust them to pick the person that will ensure that not just the needs of the community will be served but that whoever they elect will be able to see the bigger picture. Burlington is going through a critical phase of its longer term development – it is vital that the city get it right this time.

The candidates

The 11 candidates running for the Ward 1 city council seat.

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Chamber of Commerce hosts the final Mayoralty question and answer session.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2108



It was thee last debate for the Mayoralty candidates – this one hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

All the debates put on this year have been broadcast and available to the public. That is a plus. The Gazette’s raison d’etre is that an informed community can make informed decisions. It is nice to see the other media catching up.

With each of the debates running an hour and a half – few are going to choose to hang in for the full show.

Our job is to watch all this stuff. As we watched the Chamber of Commerce debate a few things became really clear.

All candidates

Candidates at the Chamber of Commerce Q&A. Everyone was polite with Greg Woodruff making some very penetrating comments. Tim CCCC moderated.

Of the four candidates: Rick Goldring, Marianne Meed Ward, Mike Wallace and Greg Woodruff – Woodruff was the one who had ideas and cogent comments. Again and again his comments put the question being asked into clearer focus.
Meed Ward was clear on her approach: Stop doing what we have been doing; it isn’t working and it won’t work.

GoldringGoldring seems to need to fudge and fuddle his numbers. He continues to say that the tax increases were equal to inflation. Just not true Your Worship. The only part of the tax bill city council controls is the city budget and for the past seven years the city has been putting out a budget that asks for 4% more each year – and that that isn’t sustainable.

Should Goldring be  re-elected he is going to have to bite that bullet and either spend less or tax even more, which the city has already done. The city asked its citizens to agree to an additional 1% tax levy to cover the city’s share of re-building and transforming the Joseph Brant Hospital. The $60 million that had to be raised and has been raised through a special tax levy should have ended. It didn’t – the city is continuing to collect that money and using it for infrastructure improvements. City council had an obligation to ask the public if it could continue to collect that special levy.

Mike Wallace is depending on his successes on getting federal funds into the city and his “connections” at Queen’s Park where be believes he can be heard. He does have a good idea for the creation of a community that could be built to attract those high tech jobs and also be a place where younger people can afford to live. It was done in Toronto in what is known as Liberty Village. It’s possible but it is a huge task – one well beyond anything Wallace has done in the past.

WallaceHe has his eye on a location for this – he has a developer who appears to be prepared to work with him. Wallace doesn’t always say where the land is and who the developer is. The words Wallace is looking for are Paletta and Bronte Meadows at the curve in the road where Upper Middle becomes Burloak is zoned as employment lands. The Paletta’s have been trying really hard to get a zoning change on that property so they can build residential – which is where the real money is.

Meed WardMeed Ward has grown as a city Councillor. She is on the wrong end of a lot of 6-1 council votes – she is also on the right end of the more than two dozen changes she brought to the Official Plan debates.

Everyone, except the Mayor took the position that the council we have now hasn’t worked very well. It has been unruly frequently with two members who disrupt, colluding and focus far too much of their energy on hammering Meed Ward. Councillor Craven has decided to retire; Councillor Sharman is running for re-election.

The existing Council was split with Taylor and Meed Ward able from time to time to pull in the Mayor and Councillor Dennison.

Councillors Craven, Sharman and Lancaster were continually and consistently opposed to most of what Meed Ward was trying to do.

When asked what the role of a Mayor was Goldring said the job was “to try for consensus” which he said had been achieved with the Strategic Plan and made it sound like it was the bedrock on which the city is going to be built. In the past Strategic Plans have been the four year vision of a council. There is nothing that says a new council has to accept a plan voted for by a previous council.

It is really hard to come up with a decision made by this council that was brought about by the Mayor working with and persuading council to do something.

Mike Wallace said the Mayor has to be an effective leader and to communicate the council’s decisions to the community. Wallace stressed that the job was to collaborate with the other members of Council.

WoodruffWoodruff pointed out that there are situations where “you are dealing with bad people” who vilify the person they are disagreeing with – “when that happens all communication stops”. He was quite right – that is what happened to the current city council and the Mayor was never able to bridge the differences and pull the parties together.

Meed Ward did bring disruption to city council. She wasn’t one of those “go along to get along” people. She believed that she understood the will of the residents and brought that understanding to city council where it turned out to be less than welcome.  Meed Ward pressed on and paid a very high price – she was on the receiving end of the vilification Woodruff mentioned.

These asre the rural lands north of the Dundas-Highway 407 boundary. PERL wants them protected forever. Some want to build communities in this part of the city.

These are the rural lands north of the Dundas-Highway 407 boundary.

The Mayor and Meed Ward agreed on the status of the rural lands north of the Hwy 407 and Dundas Road divide: leave them as they are. Meed Ward said there was an agricultural sector that could be grown, Mike Wallace said the land on the north side of the divide should be developed. Woodruff pointed out that once you develop as much as a foot of land north of the divide – where does it end?

Wallace, who describes himself as the “architect of the current seven member council” believes that the city needs a bigger council. He isn’t wrong but there are complications in creating a larger council.

Currently all members of city council are members of Regional council as well and where, for the ward Councillors, have of their income is earned. If the city adds two members to city council they are not going to become Regional Councillors. Burlington has just seven seats on the Regional Council.

Meed Ward suggests these new members might be seen as Councillors at large – with no ward to represent.
The work load at the Standing Committee is heavy – getting some help at that level is needed. A lot of debate needed on this issue – the incoming council will have bigger fish to fry.

Meed Ward points out that the city is going to have a “new” Council. Two council members resigned and Meed Ward gave up her seat to run for Mayor which means there will be at least three new council members.

She adds that if there is a new Mayor that will mean there could be some 4-3 votes in the future.

There was a time between 2006 and 2010 when Council bemoaned those 4-3 votes. Given the past four years they are looking very welcome.

Cannabis: does Burlington vote to allow commercial operations or does it take a pass on allowing them right now? Meed Ward said yes, Woodruff said yes. Wallace and Goldring thought the city should wait and see what the regulations are going to be.

The views on cannabis are forming along generational lines – same thing seems to be the case for city council.

The debate season is over; what this last debate didn’t have was the intemperate remarks the Mayor made at the Burlington Green and ECoB debates.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of
the Gazette publisher.

ECoB Mayoralty debate

Burlington Green Mayoralty debate

Chamber of Commerce debate.

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Cougars take an early lead against Stouffville - and keep it.

sportsgold 100x100By Chris Perrelli

October 13th, 2018



The Burlington Cougars kicked off an action-packed weekend Friday night versus the Stoufffville Spirit at Appleby Ice Centre. The Cougars came away with the important 2 points in a 5-2 victory.

The Cougars pounced early on a struggling Stouffville club and before the fans could even reach their seats, they were up by two and never looked back.

Just 1:04 into the first period, Jacob Buch opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season. Then 14 seconds later, Keanan Stewart doubled his team’s lead with his fourth of the year.

Cougars coach“We came out buzzing,” head coach Mark Jooris said describing his team’s strong start to the game. “They’re a good hockey team. The parity in the league is really strong. They can score, they can play with good teams. We were in tough tonight.”

Early in the second period, Zach Lawrence sent a laser past the Spirit netminder to extend the lead to three. That’s all that the Cougars would muster in the middle stanza, as Stouffville turned up the heat for the remainder of the period.

Despite being outshot 13-8 in the period, Stouffville drew within one goal at 3-2. The end of the period could not come fast enough as Cougars goalie Thomas Lalonde fought off the late Stouffville surge. Lalonde entered the game in search of his first win of the season, and it was within reach.

Lalonde would get some run support from Mitchell Morrison on the powerplay halfway through the third. 16 year-old McKay Hayes added an insurance marker for the Cougars with his first career OJHL goal, set up by an incredible no-look pass from Andrew Salt.

The Cougars defencemen held Stouffville to just 6 shots in the third en route to Lalonde’s first win. The 18-year-old made 21 saves on 23 shots to secure the win for the Cougars.

“I thought the guys played really well in front of him,” Jooris said. “It’s huge for his confidence. He’s a great goalie, he just needed that first win. It was really important to him.”

Cougar west division Oct 11

Cougar west division Oct 11

Next up, the Cougars hit the road to Buffalo for a two-game weekend series versus the Jr. Sabres. Burlington enters Saturday’s matchup tied in the West Division standings with Buffalo at 13 points apiece. Coach Jooris hopes the team can carry this momentum into a very important, albeit early, series with their division rival.

“They know how important these points are. It’s the old cliché; take it a shift at a time, a game at a time. We have to make sure we’re competing every shift or else it slips away from you.”

Puck drop is set for 7pm at the HarborCenter on Saturday.



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The selling of high end condominium units in the downtown core has begun - The Gallery has been announced.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October, 12, 2018



It is the first step into a new level of development for the city’s main street.

There are those that are comfortable with the development; there are those that love the development (and that isn’t just the developer) and there are those who think it is the beginning of the end of their city as they know.

It is a major part of the election that will get decided in less than 10 days.

421 from James

The view from the corner of Brant and James.

So what are the optics of the developer beginning the process of converting the ground level space of the building from a restaurant to the sales office for what is going to be known as The Gallery – A Carriage Gate development?

421 from Brant

The view will be a lot different in two years.

421 name - windowThe building now has a coat of white paint – we don’t know if that is the base for something more imaginative – certainly hope so.

Politically, we think that some of the candidates wish the developer had waited a couple of days.

But winter weather is closing in and with Climate Change one never knows what the weather will be.

Get that paint on while the weather is decent – and optics be damned.

There are five years of change for this intersection – seven if the development on the other side of the street gets approved.

Change is coming at several levels.

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Rivers: Clearly his Cabinet and caucus, acting like the well trained sheep they’ve been so far, are not going to change his mind. Are they/you all sheep as well?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 11th, 2018


“The world can’t say it wasn’t warned – repeatedly. But unfortunately, the dire cautions being levelled by climate scientists these days don’t seem to be precipitating the global panic and outrage that they should.” (Globe and Mail – Oct 10, 2018)

If we are already experiencing global warming, why did it snow so heavily and early in Calgary this year? The answer apparently has to do with the warming of the Arctic. The melting of the polar ice is affecting how the jet stream functions, and the jet stream has a lot to do with our weather patterns.

This new wobble or crookedness of the jet stream is also the reason last year’s hurricane Harvey, the costliest on record at $125 billion in damages, stalled and flooded Texas instead of striking and moving on as hurricanes used to do. Of course the final bills aren’t yet in from either Florence or Michael.

tipping-point- matches

Tipping point

The Arctic is warming two to three times faster than the rest of the earth. And as the ice melts it stops reflecting solar radiation which enables further warming. And one day within the next decade, as the permafrost really thaws, there will be massive releases of frozen methane. That won’t be the end of the planet but it will be the end of the planet as we know it – the so-called tipping point will have been passed.

But Donald Trump has heard that the climate in the future will be fabulous. I mean who needs 6,000 scientific references from 91 authors across 40 countries when your would-be prescient president knows better. Perhaps he gets his grounding in science from playing as a real estate tycoon and reality show host. Trump calls climate change a hoax and has taken pride in rolling back Obama-era climate change policies, one after the other. First it was coal emissions and power plants, then auto emissions, and now HFCs, (hydrofluorocarbon) the so-called ‘super-pollutants’.

HFCs were the first replacement chemical for the ozone destroying CFCs, (Chlorofluorocarbons)  which had been used universally in air conditioning and hair sprays. It was a rare moment back in the ‘80s when the entire world agreed to phase out the global production of CFC and thus to help forestall a global epidemic of skin cancers. But HFCs add 14,000 times as much global warming to the atmosphere as CO2 when they eventually get released.

And that is where Trump’s Brett Kavanaugh comes in. As a lower court judge, a little while ago, Kavanaugh overruled an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulation to ban HFC’s. And as if in a nod of approval to their newest member, the US Supreme Court just the other day denied an appeal on that decision. Now at least we understand why Trump was so keen on this appointment which places all three centres of government under his thumb.

What we don’t understand is the rationale behind Trump’s criminal neglect of the health of the planet. And it is already contagious. For example, Australia, despite toying with green energy and being the perfect candidate for self-sufficient solar collection, has decided to stick with coal for 60% of its electricity. And then there is Canada where the conservative party’s brain trusts are all in lock-step with Trump, regardless that they disclaim being climate deniers.

In any case, we Canadians talk a good story on the environment, but we’re not much better than the Americans in terms of our per capita GHG (Green House Gasses) emissions. We’re just smaller so pollute less in aggregate. And we are every bit as schizophrenic as our American cousins when it comes to climate policy, vacillating between doing something with liberals in power then reversing and otherwise doing nothing when conservatives take over.

The fate of our planet should not be the subject of political partisanship – it is a serious matter and we should all be in this together. Yet only one political party in Canada is opposed to taking action to mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps it’s because today’s Conservatives haven’t got any other issues and are desperately trying to distinguish themselves from the others.

American economist William Nordhaus’ won this year’s Nobel Prize for economic research only a week ago. His research verifies that the most efficient remedy for problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions is a global scheme of carbon taxes uniformly imposed on all countries. But the leading forces of Canada’s conservative parties think they know better.

Doug Ford, Jason Kenny, Scott Moe and even Andrew Scheer are so bent and determined on doing everything to prevent Canadians from doing anything to help in the fight against global warming, you’d think they were being paid by the fossil fuel industries instead of the people. But B.C.’s decade-long experience with carbon taxes proves that the carbon taxes don’t kill jobs. It is absolutely not the worst tax, as the Tory Neanderthals would have you believe.

In fact the arguments of these political leaders are totally baseless, flawed and misleading. First of all, carbon taxes are revenue neutral, so the money goes back to the taxpayers. There may be distributional effects but the tax is as efficient as any. And clearly the higher the tax, the more effective it would be in changing human behaviour.

A damaged apartment building is seen in Gatineau, Que. on Sunday, September 23, 2018. Houses and Apartment buildings had roofs torn off and windows blown out and automobiles were damaged after a tornado caused extensive damage on Friday to a Gatineau neighbourhood forcing hundreds of families to evacuate their homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

A damaged apartment building is seen in Gatineau, Que. on Sunday, September 23, 2018. Houses and Apartment buildings had roofs torn off and windows blown out and automobiles were damaged after a tornado caused extensive damage on Friday to a Gatineau neighbourhood forcing hundreds of families to evacuate their homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Second, the costs of not taking action are incredibly high as we see with $125 b damages for Harvey and $90 billion for Maria, last year alone. Yes that is America, but what about Ottawa-Gatineau? Higher insurance premiums, greater costs for government relief and uninsured personal losses await us all in the future.

And finally if those leaders do believe that climate change is real, what are they proposing as an alternative to the carbon tax. Ford cancelled the cap and trade program, which was even more effective at reducing emissions with an even lower cost than a simple carbon tax. Cap and trade would have cost Ontario households a buck a day using Ford’s own figures, before netting out the consumer energy savings from better windows and insulation.

Carbon taxes - how they workThe federal


environment minister has compared cancelling cap and trade in Ontario to the equivalent of opening 30 new coal-fired power plants. Still Ford has no alternate plan – and after also killing the province’s renewable energy program he may well take Ontario back to burning coal.

Much has been said about the financial legacy we leave our children and grandchildren, but what about the state of the planet we bequeath them? I didn’t vote for Ford in part because his only plan for the environment had to do with cleaning up litter. But some of you out there must have or he would never have become premier.

So it’s up to you, those who supported him, to let him know that the emperor’s new clothes leave us all naked to a future none of us should relish. Clearly his Cabinet and caucus, acting like the well trained sheep they’ve been so far, are not going to change his mind. So what about those 40 something percent of Ontario voters who put him into office. Are they/you all sheep as well?

I have always been careful in writing this column to embrace passion but stay unemotional. But I am angry now. This is about the future of our planet and we should know better. This is not a drill, there will be no second chances. How will we explain to our grandchildren that we failed them because ideology and partisan politics got in the way?

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:

Arctic Warming Per Capita Emissions –    Tipping Points –    Ford’s Carbon Tax Phobia

Nobel Prize –    HFC Court Action –    Stopping Climate Change at the Table

What is Plan B

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Teachers recognized, appreciated and celebrated on World Teachers Day.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 11th, 2018



The election debates took up most of the available oxygen and we missed the celebration and recognition of World Teachers’ Day last Friday, as proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

OutdoorPlay child

An inquisitive young mind.

World Teachers’ Day is devoted to appreciating, assessing, and improving the educators of the world, as well as taking time to look at and address issues pertaining to teachers. World Teachers’ Day also celebrates the role teacher’s play in providing quality education at all levels, which enables children and adults to learn to take part in and contribute to their local community and global society.

This year’s theme, ‘The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher,’ has been chosen to remind the global community that the right to education cannot be achieved without the right to trained and qualified teachers.

Teachers at the Halton District School Board support the learning, growth and success of more than 64,000 students. Guided by the Board’s Multi-Year Plan, teachers help students focus on important values including accountability, collaboration, creativity and integrity.

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How the city banned the Gazette publisher from city hall.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 11th, 2018


Part 3 of a series

It was September 8th of 2016. There was an email from City Manager James Ridge asking for a meeting in room 307 at City Hall.

That struck me as odd – that room is quite large and is seldom used for interviews.

There was some back and forth email about the purpose of the meeting which ended in Mr. Ridge sending me a letter attached to an email.

The letter was stunning. In part it said:

Your attendance at all meetings of Council and its Standing Committees is banned. You are able to access the broadcasting of these meetings in real time from another location.

Before attending at City Hall or Sims Square for any other reason, you need to contact by telephone or e-mail either myself, the Director of Human Resources Laura Boyd, or the City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol. One of us will arrange for an appointment between yourself and the staff member or member of Council and so advise you of the meeting time and place.

We will pre-arrange in advance to have security available to escort you to and from your meeting and you should report directly to security upon your arrival at City hall or Sims Square.

My first question after reading the letter the once was: can they do this?

The second question was – why are they doing this.

I re-read the letter a few times and then talked it over with legal counsel. As it turned out the lawyer was attending a meeting of the Hamilton-Burlington Bar Association. She asked if she could show the letter to some of her trusted colleagues.

All had one response: Where is the due process?

One of the several people I pulled together into a support group said: “The point is you have been discriminated against and are being harassed by the city – banned so that you can’t continue providing in-depth coverage – and they are hiding behind some unknown accusation by some unknown people and some unknown investigation into unknown allegations – it’s what they do in Russia.”

At the time I was going through a divorce from the woman I moved to Burlington to marry. It was a painful process for me and it took a few years to work through it. Vows and covenants were real to me.

I was referred to a lawyer whose practice was in Oakville. She wrote the city a letter on my behalf; Ridge said his position would not be changed.

It became clear to me that I didn’t have the legal representation I needed and began to work with a lawyer in Toronto who understood the issue and the Trespass Act quite well.

Unfortunately there were health issues and he had to withdraw.

I was now at the point where the one year ban was to be reviewed.

I did not go into city hall or Sims Square. I continued to do what I’ve always done as a journalist: call people and ask questions. I didn’t believe Ridge had the right to do what he was doing. I knew nothing about the behaviour. The city had held an investigation that I wasn’t involved in

The issues my legal counsel has was one of my Charter rights, the total lack of due process and the city inserting itself into media matters.

I know who I am; I know how I behave and I know what is right and what is wrong.

My difficulty was this: What is it that the city says I have done?

There was an investigation.

Why didn’t anyone interview me ?

Who am I supposed to have offended or have been vexatious with? I have never touched anyone inappropriately.

When did these events take place? Where did they take place?

The first letter from the city was in 2016 – before the #Metoo movement.

There is language that is now toxic if used irresponsibly. If I did something the city believed harassment of a sexual nature the city should have immediately called the police.

That didn’t happen. They brought in an investigator.

I asked for the name of the investigator – not going to give it to you was Ridge’s response.

The year ended and there was nothing from the city on reviewing the ban.

Instead the city issued a second ban – this time I had some evidence.

I will share that with you in the next installment.

The content of the September 8th, 2016 letter is set out below.

It has been brought to the attention of senior management at the City of Burlington, that there has been a series of incidents involving women working at City Hall and yourself that have given us cause for concern. Several women have come forward and provided information documenting interactions between themselves and you that require the City administration to take further action.

As a result of the concerns raised, the City undertook a workplace investigation with the assistance of an external investigator. The investigation was conducted with the framework of the City’s Respect in the Workplace policy (a copy of which is attached), as well as the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). As an employer, the City of Burlington has an obligation under the OHSA to ensure that it provides a workplace that is free from harassment. The Act provides the following definition of “workplace harassment”:

“engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is know or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome”.

Sexual harassment can take the form of harassment based on sex or gender. The Ontario Human Rights Commission provides that sexual harassment can take on a number of different forms such as:

• Invading a person’s personal space
• Making unnecessary physical contact, including unwanted touching
• Making gender related comments about someone’s physical appearance or mannerisms.

The findings of the workplace investigation conclude that the behaviours that you have exhibited towards certain women working at City Hall constitute sexual and gender based harassment in the workplace. As a result of this finding, as the City Manager, I must take action under the Trespass to Property Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. T.21 to limit your access to and interactions with city staff. In order to address the concerns that have been raised, the findings of the investigation, and to meet our commitment to provide a harassment free workplace, the following restrictions on your access to the city’s workplaces are being implemented immediately:

1. Your attendance at all meetings of Council and its Standing Committees is banned. You are able to access the broadcasting of these meetings in real time from another location.

2. Before attending at City Hall or Sims Square for any other reason, you need to contact by telephone or e-mail either myself, the Director of Human Resources Laura Boyd, or the City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol. One of us will arrange for an appointment between yourself and the staff member or member of Council and so advise you of the meeting time and place.

3. We will pre-arrange in advance to have security available to escort you to and from your meeting and you should report directly to security upon your arrival at City hall or Sims Square.

4. If when you arrive, security is not present in the lobby, please have the receptionist locate them, and have a seat in the lobby until such time as security is available to escort you to your meeting. Also have the person you are meeting with notify security when your meeting is finished so that you can be escorted from the building.

5. If you have a need to contact staff either by email or by telephone, please direct your inquiries through that individual’s Director.

6. When attending City sponsored events such as public meetings, open houses, social events located at places other than City Hall or Sims Square, you are to refrain from interacting with city staff, its representatives or councillors. If you have questions you would like to follow up with, please follow the protocol in #5 above.

7. Finally, if a member of staff has expressed a desire not to have their photograph taken, you are to refrain from doing so.

The restrictions on your access to people working at or for the City of Burlington will be reviewed in 1 year’s time. If there have not been any further complaints respecting interactions with you, these restrictions may be lifted. If however, any further complaints are received the City will effect your complete ban from all city workplaces under the Trespass to Property Act.

Pepper - Gazette shirt - no smileSalt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher.

Part 1 of a series

Part 2 of a series

Next: Part 4 of a series.

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Mohawk Gardens Public School celebrating 50 years of teaching students.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

October 11th, 2018



The mid 60’s were the years when the Board of Education couldn’t build schools fast enough.

The schools are now celebrating their 50th anniversaries. Some of the schools are also now closing.
Mohawk Gardens Public School is the next to celebrate a 50th anniversary.  The school is a JK to grade six with 398 students.

Former students, staff and community will be attending an Open House on Saturday, October 20 from 12 – 4 p.m.

MohawkGardens_50Years crest

Strong school spirit.

What is now Mohawk Gardens Public School (5280 Spruce Ave., Burlington) opened its doors in 1968 and since that time hundreds of students have experienced a positive start for lifelong learning.

On Monday, October 15, the school will hold a student assembly featuring a special slideshow and guest speakers to mark this 50-year milestone. Halton District School Board dignitaries will be in attendance, and a panoramic photo will be taken of the student body wearing Mustangs spirit wear and the school colours of blue and orange.

Mohawk Public School was officially opened on October 15, 1968 and was merged with Elizabeth Gardens Public School to form Mohawk Gardens Public School in 1984.

To recognize this, there will be displays from all three schools including opening the 25th anniversary time capsule from 1993.

Mohawk 50th kids

Keeping the students in the same place while the picture was taken must have been a challenge.

Attendees can visit classrooms, see student projects and memorabilia displays, enjoy refreshments, pizza, birthday cake, a photo booth and children’s activities.

There will be a choir performance and dedication ceremony of the school’s outdoor learning garden starting at 2 p.m. Board and local dignitaries will be in attendance.

Legacy Bricks for the outdoor learning garden are available for sale to anyone through School Cash Online and forms can be submitted to the school’s office. Bricks will be installed in spring 2019.

The school is accepting memorabilia from all decades to be showcased. To provide mementos, email

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Spanish Miniatures from the guitar of Warren Nicholson - at the Different Drummer.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

October 11th, 2018



Warren Nicholson will be performing Spanish Miniatures Sunday October 21 3pm at A Different Drummer Books 513 Locust Street Burlington

Warren guitarist - guitarist

Warren Nicholson

Nicholson is a brilliant and multi-award winning guitarist who renders the beautifully sublime compositions of Isaac Albéniz, Bartolomé Calatayud, Fernando Sor, Francisco Tárrega, Federico Moreno Torroba, and Antonio Ruiz Pipo.

Refreshments, and a chance to meet the artist, happen right after the performance. Tickets are $15, $10 for students.

To reserve seats, please contact us at (905) 639 0925 or

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Steve Cussons takes a strip off the Mayor's hide after the ECoB debate.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 11th, 2018



We hear about video and tweets going viral, which in Burlington might mean 8,000 souls.

Steve Cussons, an Aldershot resident and a member of the PAR Committee that was put in place to allow school parents to debate the various options that were being discussed when school closing issues were keeping everyone up late at night.

Steve Cussons AldershotCussons was attending the ECoB debate and went ballistic when he heard Mayor Goldring take a swipe at Marianne Meed Ward during his closing remarks.  The Mayor had done basically the same thing at the Burlington Green debate when he stunned that audience with his remarks, again, about Meed Ward.

She wants his job and he isn’t going to let her have it without a fight. And if it takes a punch to the kidneys – so be it.

For Cussons this was no-go area.  A couple of minutes after the closing of the debate Cussons got himself in front of the Mayor and let it all hang out.

and took on the Mayor after the debate at Central high school Tuesday evening.

The Steve Cussons dust up with the Mayor is a click away.


The Burlington Green debate – closing remarks are at the 1:50:00 minute point.

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Job opportunities.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

October 11th, 2018



The Centre for Skills Development and Training is in the business of training people for good jobs and then helping them get those good jobs.

They hold information sessions for people who are interested in training.  The have a Job Board as well.

They are currently interviewing for Metalwork and Assembly Technicians.


The Centre 1

The Centre 2

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Seven debates and what do we know about ourselves?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 10th, 2018



Seven debates later and what do we know about the candidates, the issues and the city we live in ?

We know that there is a hunger for more information on the part of the public.

Despite the rather petty efforts on the part of two of the incumbents: Councillors Sharman and Lancaster who did not take part in the debates the public did get to here from the candidates who understood that when you are a candidate you have to appear before the electors.

Sharman puzzled LVP

Ward 5 candidate Paul Sharman – faces four opponents.

Lancaster said she was threatened and Sharman said ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington had no credibility in the community. This despite the fact that the debate in wards 2 and 1 were packed and the debate between the Mayoralty candidates were packed – people had to sit on the floor in the aisles in one of the debates.


Ward 6 incumbent Blair Lancaster faces three opponents.

Wards 3, 4, 5 and 6 had very very good audiences.

Mike Wallace made the comment that the events were really not debates – they were more Q&A events – and this is true. Burlington with the streak of politeness in its DNA doesn’t like to see real feelings on the surface.

The political intelligence of the city is growing – there will come a time when the public will be ready for the thrust and parry of toe to toe debates

The public now has a video of every ward debate and two of the Mayoralty debate. There is no reason for not being informed.

What the city is up against is a level of apathy and complacency that is also part of the city’s DNA.

What this has given us is seven years of tax increases that are at the 4% level each year; a city council that decided it would let the citizens speak but wouldn’t actually hear what they had to say.

There is an opportunity to replace the four members of the current city council or stick with them and make room for the three new members that will be elected.

Is Burlington at a tipping point – the public gets to decide on October 22nd.

The debates:

Sitting in the aisles

They sat in the aisles at Central high school to hear the debate.

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
Ward 5
Ward 6 ECoB
Ward 6 St George
Mayors debate ECOB
Burlington Green Mayor debate

Full house 350

There was Standing Room only – and very little of that for the ward 2 debate.

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City Clerk sets out the rules for the Third Party Advertisers - all the numbered company registrations hit the road and left town.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 10th, 2108



City hall sent out a press release – here is what they want everyone to know about Third Party Advertising in the October 22, municipal election.

The City of Burlington reminds individuals and businesses promoting candidates in the Oct. 22 municipal election to follow the rules of third-party advertising.

City election logo

City has to manage the elections – a lot of grief.

The rules are new to this election and are part of the provincial Municipal Elections Act.

Elected positions include Halton Regional Chair, Mayor and members of City Council for the City of Burlington, trustees for the Halton District School Board and Halton District Catholic School Board and Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir.
What is third-party advertising?

• Third-party advertising refers to advertisements or other materials that support, promote or oppose a candidate, or support, promote or oppose a “yes” or “no” answer to a question on the ballot.
• Third-party advertising is separate from any candidate’s campaign and must be done independently from a candidate. A candidate running for any municipal council or school board office cannot register to be a third-party advertiser in any municipality.

What isn’t third-party advertising?
Activities that do not involve spending money, such as discussions or expressing an opinion about a candidate, or an answer to a question on the ballot, are not considered third-party advertising.
Examples include:
• Posting on social media, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram
• Speaking to friends or neighbours
• Sending an email to a group or mailing list
• Internal communications from an employer to their employees
• Communication from a corporation to its shareholders, directors, members or employees or from a trade union to its members or employees
• Advertising about an issue, rather than a candidate or a “yes” or “no” answer to a question on the ballot.

Who can register as a third-party advertiser?
• Only those who have registered can spend money on third-party advertising. The following are eligible to register as a third-party advertiser:
• any person who is a resident in Ontario
• a corporation doing business in Ontario
• a trade union that holds bargaining rights for employees in Ontario.
• Members may register as individual third-party advertisers and may contribute individually.
• If two or more corporations are owned or controlled by the same person or people, or if one corporation controls another, they are considered a single corporation. If the same person or people own or control multiple corporations, only one of those corporations may register as a third party in a municipality.

Who can’t register as a third-party advertiser?
• Federal and provincial political parties cannot register to be third-party advertisers. Political parties are not permitted to be financially involved in municipal elections.
• Groups, associations or businesses that are not corporations are not eligible to register and may not spend money on third-party advertising in municipal elections.

Baird 395

A Third Party advertiser that registered with the city – then de-registered.

Where can a third-party advertiser register?
• To register as a third-party advertiser, an individual, corporation or trade union must register with the municipal clerk.
• Being registered in a municipality allows the third party to advertise to the voters in that municipality. Registered third-party advertisers do not have to tell the clerk which candidate or candidates they are supporting.
• A third party can only advertise to voters in the municipality where they are registered. There is no limit on the number of municipalities where a third party can register.
What rules must third-party advertisers follow?
• Third-party advertisers are required to follow many of the same financial and reporting rules as candidates. A third-party advertiser must provide the following information on all advertisements, signs and other materials:
• the legal name of the registered third party. If the third party is a corporation or trade union, the name of the corporation or trade union must appear, not the name of the representative who filed the registration
• the municipality where the third party is registered
• a telephone number, mailing address or email address where the third party can be contacted.
• A registered individual cannot act on behalf of a group or organization that is not eligible to register as a third-party advertiser.
• If ads are going to be broadcast or published, such as by a radio station or in a newspaper, the ad must contain the information required above, and the third-party advertiser must also provide the broadcaster or publisher with the following:
• the name of the registered third party
• the name, business address and telephone number of the individual who deals with the broadcaster or publisher under the direction of the registered third party
• the municipality where the third party is registered.

What if the rules are broken?
• If a candidate or third-party advertiser breaks the rules, the city clerk will let them know they are in violation.
• The Municipal Election Act requires each municipality to appoint a committee to act on behalf of a municipality or municipalities. The city is part of a joint Compliance Audit Committee through Halton Region with Halton Hills and Oakville.
• The process for submitting a compliance audit application will be made available on closer to the deadline for filing of the candidates’/registered third parties’ financial statements, which is March 29, 2019.

City Clerk Angela Morgan fails to ensure media alerted to Special Council meeting. Her communications people dropped the ball as well.

City Clerk Angela Morgan serves as the Returning Officer for the Municipal election.

What is the role of the city clerk?
• Every municipality has a municipal clerk who runs the election. The municipal clerk is the main contact for registered third-party advertisers and those who want to register.
• Forms such as the registration form and campaign financial statements must be filed with the clerk’s office.

The clerk is also responsible for providing information about spending limits and filing deadlines to third-party advertisers.

Angela Morgan, City Clerk has had her hands full with the Third Party Advertiser registration and then the de-registrations.  She points out that: “Voting is the ultimate citizen engagement. The City of Burlington wants to ensure that all candidates are given a fair chance and that all potential advertisers respect the election process under the Municipal Elections Act of Ontario.”


Related news stories:

Poof – and they were gone.


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