United Way sets a $10 million goal for the 2017 campaign

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 18th, 2017



There were a reported “hundreds” of United Way community partners on the tarmac at the John C. Munroe Hamilton International Airport to pull a 200,000 lb.

Over 250 community partners joined UPS and United Way to rally around this fall’s fundraising campaign. Teams of 15 pulled with all their strength to move the 200,000 lb. plane across the finish line.

Plane pull“We are so grateful for the support and dedication of partners like UPS and so many who continue to stay committed to making our community great for everyone”, said United Way
President & CEO, Jeff Vallentin during his opening remarks at the Hamilton Airport.

“As you know, the beginning of April was a watershed time for the United Way movement in our region. Vallentin was referring to the decision to amalgam all four United Way operating in Halton with the Hamilton organization.

“We are focused now, more than ever, on ensuring that we remain connected to the issues that face each of the communities we serve and as always all dollars raised local will stay local. That means that whatever is raised in your community will go directly to support programs and services for your neighbours, family, and friends.” said Vallentin.

Ken Smithard, Campaign Chair and President of Cogeco Connexion also delivered opening remarks and helped to reveal the United Way Halton & Hamilton 2017 Campaign goal. “United Way Halton & Hamilton is focused on responding to local needs and providing critical impact in five distinct communities across the region. Monies raised in each community remain in that community.” Ken continued, “I am proud to support United Way and ask that you join me in helping make these communities better places for all of us to live; we’re stronger together.”

Ken then joined the rest of the Campaign Cabinet on the tarmac to reveal the $10,000,000 goal for the 2017 Campaign.

Ten million bannerAlso in attendance at the event was Craig Rayner, Vice-president of Automotive at UPS Canada. He discussed the 30 year partnership between United Way and UPS mentioning that, “ In 2016, UPSers across Canada raised more than $1.2 million in charitable donations. These contributions were a combination of both employee engagement and sponsored events, including our four nation-wide “Pulling for U” plane pull events in Hamilton, Mississauga, Vancouver and Calgary.”

Craig spoke about the importance of giving back to our neighbours, family and friends and their over three- decade long partnership with United Way.

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TD Bank on Plains Road robbed by male with a knife.

Crime 100By Staff

September 18th, 2017



The TD Canada Trust bank located at 596 Plains Rd. E in Burlington was robbed shortly before 1:00 PM, when a lone male entered the bank armed with a large knife. The male jumped over the counter and demanded cash and was provided with an undisclosed amount.

The male then fled the bank and was last seen running towards King Road. No one was injured during this robbery.

Uniformed patrol officers, canine and Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB) members attended and conducted an extensive search of the area however the male suspect was not located.

TD robbery suspectThe suspect is described as:

Male white
• 30-45 years old
• No facial hair
• 5’6″ to 5’9″ tall
• Heavy build 190-200 lbs
• Black coat with hood pulled up
• Black sunglasses
• Grey track pants
• Black running shoes with white soles

Anyone with information regarding this robbery is asked to contact Detective Phil Vandenbeukel of Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Robbery Team at 905-825-4747 ext 2343. Tips can be forwarded to Crime Stoppers; “See Something, Hear Something, Say Something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at www.crimestoppers.ca or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).



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Casey Cosgrove: An example of what will never be forgotten celebrated Sunday afternoon.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 18th, 2017



It was to be a Celebration – and it was certainly that.

And it was also an occasion when a lot of people , mostly from the eastern side of the city, most at or past the age of 50 who gathered to remember a man who made a difference to everyone he met.

He was their neighbour, he was the guy they all liked and admired. He was the guy who came within 500 votes of being the Mayor of the city. He was the guy who loved his wife so publicly it was a little embarrassing at times. He was the guy who saw his daughter as the most precious person on the face of the earth and he was the guy with one of the most unattractive dogs on the face of the earth.

Cosgrove celebration

It was close to a Standing Room Only crows at the Convention Centre Sunday afternoon where the city celebrated the life of Casey Cosgrove.

His brother Marty served as the MC.

Marty was there to help us remember Casey Cosgrove – a citizen we lost earlier in the month when he succumbed to cancer at the Carpenter Hospice.

Casey told his friends of his cancer more than seven years ago – at that time he was told he had 18, maybe 24 months left. Casey stretched that to seven years and in the process let us see what courage is all about.

At the same time we watched his children grow and we began to believe that he was going to beat the cancer.

Casey baseball cardHe was always involved in something. He always had time for whoever called him – he spent untold hours talking to people who were going through a crisis of their own.

He was exceedingly forthright about his disease. It wasn’t until the very end that we all felt that gulp of fear for the man as the realization that we were going to lose him set in

It was then that we saw the strength his wife had in keeping things together and seeing everyone though a crises that is unimaginable.

These Celebrations bring some surprising stories about the person being celebrated. Peter Pang attended university with Casey and then lost touch. He didn’t know a Casey who was battling cancer – the man he knew was a born leader and a practical joker who was inspiring people long before he became a husband and then a father.

Pang had to read through seven years of material on the Caring Bridge to learn about what his friend had gone through.

Everyone who spoke used words and phrases like “authentic”; “the world is a better place for his having been here”; “an example of what will never be forgotten”,

The 11 first cousins were mentioned – many of them in the room.

Fox run - Team Casey

Part of the crowd that took part in the 36th Annual Terry Fox Run.

The 36th Annual Terry Fox Run had taken place earlier in the day; brother Marty asked how many people had taken part in that Run – more than 85% of the hands in the room were raised.

There was a couple standing in front of me. At first they were just standing beside each other; then thy held hands; then they put their arms around each other’s waists and seemed to get closer to each other. They had lost someone dear to them, a peer who was taken by a disease that we don’t understand and the fear that is part of not knowing where it is going to strike next.

We were all holding on tightly at the Convention centre Sunday afternoon.

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The Mother of All Photo Ops is to be taken at the Freeman Station on Friday September 29th - at 6:30 pm

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 18th, 2017



It has been announced as the Mother of All Photo Ops – and for Burlington that is saying something.

The political class was thought to have that all to themselves but the Friends of the Freeman Station are moving in on that title.

On Friday night, September 29th at 6:30 PM Bob Chambers, a professional photographer who did the photograph accompanying this article will take another picture – this time it will include:

Freeman station Sept 18-17

Photographer Bob Chambers has produced the best picture yet of the Freeman Station.

Those who have volunteered in any capacity during the restoration project

Members of the Friends of Freeman Station

Supporters of the project

This is going to be a historic group photo.

The picture is going to be taken — rain or shine — when everyone is assembled and the dramatic sunset light envelops is available.

Make sure anyone you know who’s been involved with the Freeman Station restoration project is invited to join the group photo.

You can buy a T shirt and show your support.

You can buy a T shirt and show your support.

What do you wear? Wear what you’d wear when you were working at the Station. Please, no shorts, loud shirts, or humorous garb – or Bob may put you behind the group, even if you’re short!

The next day, Saturday, bring your family to a fun day at Freeman Station for the Doors Open Burlington event.

The Friends of Freeman Station expect to welcome more than 1000 people to the Station that has undergone a remarkable renovation. It is something well worth seeing.

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What if ...

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2017



In the near future there will be an announcement on the appointment of a Facilitator who will review the request for an Administrative Review of the Halton District School Board trustee decision to close two of the city’s seven high schools.

There was a request from the parents at Pearson high school and a request from the parents at Bateman high school for Administrative reviews.

The bar to getting a review was not low – the parents had to show they had wide community support.

The Facilitator will meet with each parent group and meet with the Board of Education staff for reaction from them.

And in the fullness of time there will be a response.

What if – the Facilitator decides there was enough wrong with the process and recommends that the PAR be done again?

PARC with options on the walls

Would another PAR Committee be formed?

The Board would, we think, have to create a new Program Accommodation Review (PAR)  and put a new recommendation forward. Would a new recommendation be any different than the first which was to close Pearson and Central and then revised to close Pearson and Bateman?

Assume all this happens.

Would the current Board of Trustees act any differently?

The power to make a decision exists at the Board of Trustee level and that group does not appear to be in touch with the sentiment in the community.

Unfortunately the Burlington communities are quite fractured – making it difficult for the trustees to make a decision.

Central demo #4

The Central parents were out early and they spared no effort to make sure they told their story.

Central high school parent care only that their school not be closed. They put forward very solid arguments and did a superb job of rallying the parents and focusing the concerns.

The Pearson parents didn’t have anywhere near the resources that Central had and there was a lingering unwillingness to be as bold and as forward as the Central parents were.

The Batman parents failed to read the tea leaves.

The issue the trustees were given was that Burlington has 1800 classroom seats with no students in them. (We appreciate the 1800 number is debatable.) If this was true, it was evident the moment the first map showing where the high schools were located that Batman was at significant risk. They failed to see that until their name was on the list of schools to be closed and while they have done a decent job of getting their story out they have not shown an ability to work with the Pearson parents and create a united front.

PAR presentation - ay Bateman Nov 2 HDSB

That empty room was a damaging and telling statement made by the Bateman parents.

The Bateman grievances are real. They have every reason to feel that they have not been heard. Part of the reason is they didn’t say very much early in the game when it counted.

Given all the turmoil within the different parent groups is it any wonder that the trustees took the safe route and went with the recommendation they were given by the Director of Education?

There was within all the options put before the trustees one that would have given the community the time it needed to take a long hard look at just what Burlington has in the way of high schools and what it needs now and what will be needed ten years from now.

Option 7 - short

Option 7 – close no schools – was on the table but it didn’t get a lot of support from the PARC – this tally was 8 out of 14.

Option number 7 was to not close any schools and take some time to determine just what future needs were going to be. Much of the data the Board staff put forward was suspect and didn’t stand up to the scrutiny the PAR tried to impose.

The public may have expected the trustees to make that kind of decision – the current board of trustees just isn’t up to that task.

Someone is going to have to come forward and pull the parent groups together and hammer out what they collectively want and take whatever consensus they can find to the Board administration and the trustees.

And then begin looking for trustee candidates across the Region to fill those seats with people who are up to the task.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions of the publisher of the Gazette

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Police think they might have stuff stolen from your car.

Crime 100By Staff

September 15th, 2017


During the overnight hours of 14/15 September 2017 Halton Police responded to a call about a male breaking into cars in Oakville.

HRPS crestPatrol Officers attended and located a male in the backyard of a nearby residence.

Daniel SAUNDERS 34yrs of Hamilton has been arrested and was held for Bail and charged with:

– Theft Under $5000
– Trespass By Night
– Possession of Break & Enter Tools
– Possession of Property Obtained By Crime
– Possession of Weapons Dangerous
– Fail To Comply Probation.

Police believe there are other victims in the Northwest Oakville and Northeast Burlington areas.

If you had your vehicle entered or property taken during this timeframe and location please contact HRPS 2CIB at 905-825-4747 x2216.

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Taxes - an approach to income redistribution?

Rivers 100x100Ray Rivers

September 15, 2017



One only pays income taxes if one has some kind of income. The more income one has, the more taxes he/she can afford to pay. Canadians agreed a long time ago that it is only fair that the wealthy pay a greater share of the tax burden, commensurate with their greater income. So our income taxes are progressive, meaning that the percentage of income being taxed rises with earnings.

Tax ladder

Tax ladder

Over the last several decades however, it has all gone awry. The richest one and/or ten percent of us continue to grow their share of the economic pie at the expense of the rest of us. And the spread between the upper and lower classes continues to grow wider while governments cut income tax rates and rely more on sales taxes (HST) for their revenues. Sales taxes are regressive in that they hurt the lower income folks more than the wealthiest.


Robin Hood – Not a model any government wanted to use.

Income taxation is not only the fairest from the perspective of equity, but also the most efficient in terms of economic growth. According to the early British economist Sir Robin Hood stealing from the rich to give to the poor favours economic growth simply because the poor spend more of the money they have than do the rich. Of course Sir Robin’s theory flies in the face of now disparaged right-wing gospel song titled ‘trickle-down-economics’, in which giving more money to the rich was supposed to eventually trickle down over the tops of their boots to the poorer people down below.

Mr Trudeau came to office with a promise to restore the middle class in this country and he knows appropriate taxation lies at the heart of that promise. So in his first budget he made the tax system more progressive by adding more tax classes and marginally increasing the rate the biggest income earners have to pay, while even more marginally reducing the ones at the lower end.

He also campaigned to reduce unfairness in the tax system by closing loopholes. So the other day his finance minister Mr. Morneau announced they were going to curb the way in which small incorporated business owners have been avoiding taxation by misrepresenting the costs of doing business – sprinkling payments to family members who don’t actually work in the business.

Of course everyone of us believes in getting rid of tax loop holes and believes in tax fairness. That is, until our own ox gets gored, the hens come home to roost, or whatever it is we say on the farm. So small business people, and most notably doctors are screaming blue murder that they’ll have to pay more taxes if this loophole is eliminated. And they have their rationale, indeed as we all do. But unless you are a doctor you can’t possibly understand how hard it is to get by on what doctors make, even the ones who opt to be paid a salary.

Small-Business-Tax-LoopholesThe truth is that our tax system is a mess, a morass of loopholes and tax exemptions which have crept up on us like cobwebs in an untidy garage. Successive governments kept gluing on these addenda, primarily doing their best to serve the needs of the country, and too often and sadly, serving the needs or their electoral base in spite of the country.

Like everything governmental there is a political perspective to the tax system. So we retain popular personal deductions when that function could mostly be replaced simply by raising the minimum level at which people have to start paying taxes. If the politicians would agree to making our Canada Pension Plan a genuine livable pension, RRSP’s and private pension plan contributions could be eliminated as deductions. And of course broadening our health insurance system and adding dental coverage to our social programs would eliminate those health deductions from needing to appear on the tax form.

A dollar of income is a dollar of income, right? So why not treat all sources: employment earnings, net business income, bank/investment interest, dividends and capital gains the same? And why don’t we tax the other incomes, from windfalls such as lotteries, gambling and inheritance? Interestingly a professional gambler does need to pay taxes on his/her winnings, though he/she can also claim eligible business deductions.

tax returnAside from the loopholes and the degree of progressivity, there is the whole tax filing process. Once upon a time we could get by by mailing in a measly four sheets of paper and a couple T-4s. Today’s return requires reams of annexes and tables up the wazoo. There are now literally dozens of private sector computer-based and on-line packages and they are all just different enough to make them proprietary, though they all claim to be accurate.

In fact the government has stopped mailing out tax filing packages so one practically has to buy a package anyway, or hire a tax accountant. Complexity had made the long tax form obsolete. Nobody can file that way unless they have at their disposal a computer, calculator, abacus and rabbit’’s foot, perhaps not in that order.

So it is hard to argue against Mr. Trudeau taking on the long overdue and thankless job of reforming a system which was last re-invented in the late 1980’s when Brian Mulroney sought to give us a taste of his notion of tax simplification. However, the approach Mr. Trudeau is taking is piecemeal at best, a sort of facelift when what is really required is major surgery.

justin-trudeau + middle classMight one speculate that the Liberals are hoping the changes they are making, like decorating a house room at a time, will be harder for any subsequent Conservative government to dismantle and discard?   Or perhaps the task of tearing down and reconstructing the entire building at one time is just too daunting for a government nearing the middle point in its term in office. In which case we can only hope that there is a master blueprint for the design of a better castle or implement shed.


Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington in 1995.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.     Tweet @rayzrivers

 Background links:

Tax Fairness –  Morneau’s Changes –   Tax Reform

Taxes and Growth –   Tax Consultations –   Capital Gains Taxation


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Waterfront Hotel site is reported to be getting a recommendation for two towers - 17 and 25 storeys - city planner says recommendations have not been made.

Newsflash 100By Pepper Parr

September 15th, 2017



There is word that the recommended re-development of the Waterfront Hotel property will allow two towers with maximum heights of 17 and 25 storeys.

Aerial - Bridgeater - looking to Waterfront

The 8 storey Mariott Hotel is on the left side of this picture. The Waterfront Hotel parking lot is to the right (west) and then the Waterfront Hotel. The plans have been to demolish the existing building and put up two towers. Heights of 17 and 25 storeys are reported to have been recommended.

We have yet to get conformation – our information is from a usually reliable source who however has a vested interest in what gets permitted in the downtown core.

Three structure project has been the "in the works" since 1985 when developers were given the right to build a 22 storey plus building on the property where the Riviera Waterfront Motel used to exist.

Three structure project has been the “in the works” since 1995 when developers were given the right to build a 22 storey plus building on the property where the Riviera Waterfront Motel used to exist.

Bridgewater Aerial-rendering-1024x758

An aerial rendering of the Bridgewater project.

The Bridgewater development to the east of the Waterfront Hotel is going to top out at 22 storeys – something that was approved in 1995 – assembly of that land had begun in 1985

Waterfront hotel from the south.

The site would be completely redeveloped with two towers – 0ne 17 storey and a second 25. Not much more than a recommendation at this point.

The city’s Planning department has been holding public presentations and workshops seeking public input.

City planner Mary Lou Tanner in a response to our piece on the height limits of the proposed redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel said: “Your information is not correct.  We are only part way through a process with the community.  We held two public workshops and a stakeholder workshop yesterday.  We received valuable feedback and commentary from over 60 community members. We have not formulated any recommendation because we need to review and incorporate the feedback into the analysis.  To repeat we have not formulated any recommendation.

Tanner adds that the “Waterfront Hotel site is a complex public planning process. I strongly believe we must respect the process and the members of the public who give their time and views.  That includes providing accurate information as to where we are and what has been decided.

We are only part way through this process and no recommendations have been formulated.  I was so pleased with the feedback last night and the many comments we received.   We must be partners with the community in an honest process.

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United Way to announce the 2017-18 fund raising goal after they pull a 200,000 lb Airbus along a tarmac.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 15th, 2017



It is that time of year again when everyone is asked to pitch in, pull together and raise the funds the United Way needs to support those in need.

This Saturday, September 16th, United Way and UPS Canada will bring together community partners to pull a pull a 200,000 lbs Airbus A300 as a demonstration of what can be done when everyone pulls.

The event will take place at the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.

United Way Plane Pull 2016

United Way Plane Pull 2016

Each team will get one opportunity to pull the plane 50 feet across the tarmac in the shortest amount of time. The fastest three teams will participate in a pull-off.

Prizes will be awarded to the three fastest teams, top fundraising team, and teams with the most spirit.

The United Way is a different organization now. We used to know it as the Burlington Greater Hamilton United Way – they outgrew that name and are now United Way Halton & Hamilton and include all the municipalities in the Region rolled into the one organization

It was a controversial move – didn’t get the required number of votes the first time around but after some lobbying and frank conversations all the municipalities were brought to realize that his kind of structure is what was needed.

United way 2017 tag lineThe new organization will be “showing the flag” in all five communities it serves this weekend! Look up into the sky Saturday morning to see a surprise, sponsored by Cogeco! Share your photos on social media and include @UnitedWayHH and #improvingliveslocally.

All those whose living depend on photo ops will be on hand on Saturday at the airport.  Scheduled to attend:

United Way Executive Director Jeff Valentin

United Way Executive Director Jeff Valentin

MP Bob Bratina, Hamilton East — Stoney Creek
MP Karina Gould, Burlington
Sam Oosterhoff, Niagara West—Glanbrook
Mayor Burton, Town of Oakville
Jeff Vallentin, CEO United Way Halton & Hamilton, will deliver opening remarks.
Ken Smithard, CEO Cogego & United Way Halton & Hamilton Campaign Chair will deliver remarks and reveal the 2017 campaign goal.

It all takes place Saturday, September 16th, 2017 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

City general manager for Budge and Corporate Services Kim Phillips gives it more than the old college try for the United Way. Last year the city staff contribution was for a total in the last 22 years of xx

Former City general manager Kim Phillips gives it more than the old college try for the United Way.

In the past few years the Gazette has watched the public face of the United Way change. We used to see city hall much more engaged. The equipment pulls used to take place on Brant Street outside city hall with a BBQ lunch where staff got to pony up.

The city was always very good in the way they supported the United Way. The occasion was fun and at the same time told the story about the need.

It seems more corporate these days – which has not been the United Way in the past. Supporting people is a human endeavour – it’s a heart to heart thing – not a page of talking points.


City of Burlington Clerk's department did a great job last year during the United Way campaign drive. Interesting to see what they do this year. Burlington campaign has a $2 million target

Someone at city hall decided to hold a content – and had each department competing with the others on how they would tell the United Way story. One department had two teams. Everyone had fun – and they raised more from the staff than they had in the past. United Way is a people story which the city staff once told very very well.


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Regional Police do the grunt work and raise more than $5,000 for Special Olympics

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 14, 2017



The Halton Regional Police Service has concluded its 2017 fundraising initiative in support of Special Olympics Ontario. Throughout the year, Halton Regional Police officers have been working with community partners to raise funds in support of our Special Olympians.

One of this year’s highlights was the annual “Cops for Cowboys” night at Lone Star Restaurants in Milton and Oakville. For this event, officers donned western apparel and partnered with restaurant staff during dinner hours to serve patrons. All gratuities were donated to Special Olympics Ontario.

In June, 1 District (Milton and Halton Hills) hosted the Halton Regional Police Service’s Law Enforcement Torch Run/Ride (LETR). The LETR for Special Olympics engages law enforcement officers worldwide who champion acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the LETR, a fundraising event was planned in Milton. Officers and community members cycled, ran or walked more than 65 kilometers to raise money for Special Olympics Ontario. All participants were also invited to 12 Division in Milton for an afternoon barbecue.

On Tuesday September 12, 2017 fundraising results were calculated and more than $5500.00 was presented to Special Olympics Ontario at 12 Division in Milton.

The Halton Regional Police Service would like to thank all members of the community who donated to this worthy cause including:

• Law Enforcement Officers across the Greater Toronto Area
• The Halton District School Board
• The Halton Catholic District School Board
• Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch
• Lone Star Restaurants
• Mattamy Homes and Gee Wizz Portable Rentals
• Maple Lodge Farms
• Optimist Club of Milton

HDRP _Cheque_Presentation

(Left to Right – Inspector Derek Davis (District Operations), Sergeant Paul Harrower (Regional Community Mobilization Bureau), Cody Jansma (Special Olympics Ontario), Inspector Dave Stewart (Regional Community Mobilization Bureau)

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National Newsmedia Council upholds complaint against the Gazette.

News 100 redFor immediate release

September 14, 2017



The National NewsMedia Council has upheld a complaint that the Burlington Gazette breached journalistic standards in printing a correction that was inaccurate and did not provide opportunity to respond to an allegation.

Complainant Denise Davy stated that a May 23 2017 article, “The Gazette erred – Director of Education Miller did not meet with MPP McMahon”, provided no evidence to support a statement in the correction that false information was “knowingly given”, and allowed no opportunity to respond to that allegation.

nnc logo with glassesThe complainant stated that she was called by the Burlington Gazette for information related to a school closing, and in that conversation she stated the director of education met with the MPP about a school closing issue. The news media organization reported her information. Later the same day it ran a correction stating the meeting in question had not occurred, and that “false” information was knowingly given. The complainant alleged the inaccurate correction and accusation impugned her reputation as a writer. She provided wording for an amended correction.

In its response, the news media organization said the interview with the complainant was interrupted and not resumed. It justified the decision to rely on a single source for the original story by referring to the established working relationship with the complainant. The correction article reported the director of education stated the meeting format was by phone rather than in person. There was no evidence of effort to verify either source in either instance.

The paper’s correction apologized to the director of education and the MPP, and faulted the complainant for the error. The news media organization denied the correction impugned the complainant’s character as it did not specifically identify her.

Reviewing the articles, Council found the news media organization’s view that it did not specifically identify the complainant was disingenuous in view of reporting her gender, occupation and position on the controversy. As well, the complainant was named and her photo was included in the original article, which remained easily searchable on the news media organization’s website.

No evidence was provided to support the statement in the correction article that the information given by the complainant was known to be false. The unsupported statement in question is an allegation of intentional error or shortcoming, with no indication there was opportunity to reply to the accusation. Council found the correction breached journalistic standards of accuracy and accountability by making a serious allegation and by failing to provide opportunity to respond to the allegation.

In upholding the complaint, Council noted it is commendable that the news media organization corrected information about whether a high-level meeting on a contentious community issue was held in person or by telephone. However, no evidence was offered to support the allegation that the flawed information was known to be false.

Best journalistic practice is to avoid single-source material. Adherence to that practice may have avoided the problem in the first place. In this case, the error was in the format rather than in the fact of the meeting. Because there was a breach of best journalistic practice, a simple clarification noting a reporting error would have been appropriate.

The complainant specified the wording of a correction. Because the NNC supports the prerogative of news media to determine their own content, it will not dictate the wording of a correction or compel a member to publish an apology. The NNC does expect member news organizations to publish or post NNC decisions in the case of an upheld complaint.

The NNC’s business is to consider complaints about journalistic standards. It declines to comment on the allegation that the complainant’s character was impugned.

The Gazette and the Newsmedia Council

Reach the National Newsmedia Council

The Gazette wished to add that “We have been judged to have erred and accept the wisdom of our peers.”

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Length and listen is the advice a successfully retired small business person has for the Minister of Financne


opinionandcommentBy Joe Gaetan

September 14th, 2017



In order to understand why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau are on the wrong track when it comes to small business taxation, Joe Gaetan explains that they have to understand what small businesses are all about, how they tick, the challenges they face and the risks they take.

“According to government statistics, approximately 80,000 new small to medium sized businesses (SME’s) are born and about 80,000 cease to exist each year.


Where does your funding come from?

“To start a business you need seed money, in 2014, 51.3 percent of SME’s sought external financing, compared with 48.7 percent that did not request external financing. If a small business owner funds his or her own business they are doing it with after tax dollars, something many people forget. If they borrow from a bank they will have to collateralize the loan which means if things go awry they could lose their home. Lacking both a credit history and the collateral needed to secure a loan, over 80 percent of start-ups face great risk by personally financing their new businesses. On top of that one should know that small business owners (SBO’s), doctors, farmers, restaurant owners are not tax cheats.


Retirement is not a sure thing.

“SBO’s have no pensions, let alone indexed pensions, no stock options with generous tax treatment, no health benefits, no sick day benefits, no vacation benefits, no golden parachutes and no help from Provincial and Federal politicians. When it comes to vacations and sick days, small business owners lose income when they are away, but their expenses continue and they usually experience a drop in income for however many days they are away. Generally speaking small business owners have no entitlements and no security blankets to get them through any rough patches. The same cannot be said for government workers, politicians, teachers and employees of many public and private enterprises.

“The government recently issued a 63-page white paper on small business taxation that requires an in-depth understanding of tax law, something most small business owners do not have. The paper targets, income sprinkling (income splitting), earning passive investment income in a corporation and converting a corporation’s ordinary income into tax-preferred capital gains, using net income examples that any business person would be happy to enjoy, but is far from representative of small business net-income .

“The article states that,” income sprinkling” (a catchy term used by Morneau to denigrate what is really income splitting),“is perhaps deemed the most offensive” and “the one that will likely have the broadest financial impact on small business owners and incorporated professionals”. The latter is an understatement if there ever was one.


They don’t exist in the private sector where the Small Business people thrive.

“Large banks or any large corporation for that matter, can put whomever they like on their board and can sprinkle them generously with stock options, that when exercised are favorably taxed, one could say “that” practice is a major loophole, but it isn’t, it is perfectly legal under our tax code. Why? Stock options usually carry a 10-year life span which allows the grantee the luxury of exercising them when the time is right and when exercised, only 50% of the gain is taxable. In lay terms, imagine how happy you would be if only half of your income was taxed.

“This is costing the government and therefore us about $800 million a year in lost tax revenue, but the government would sooner tax the small business owner.

“At present small business owners can share part of their income with their board of directors. That could include one or more members of the family, including their spouse and children. Money taken out by a family member would be taxed at the rate for the person who benefited from the income. The family member in question may have little or a lot to do with the day to day operation of the business. One of the arguments against this is, small business owners use this money to put their kids through school, but what about the free tuition that is granted to children of university employees, is that not the same thing, is that not a non-taxable benefit and therefore a loophole that needs to be plugged?

“To understand the full impact of the impact of the attack on “earning passive investment income in a corporation and converting a corporation’s ordinary income into tax-preferred capital gains, you should know that prudent small business owners keep between 90 to 180 days of cash in the bank to get them through low business cycles and unexpected events like Sep 11, 2001 or 2008, two events in recent times that had a negative effect on small and large businesses. Except the “too big to fail companies” were helped while small business had to surf through it with zero help.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, goes face-to-face with Finance Minister Bill Morneau at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, goes face-to-face with Finance Minister Bill Morneau Photo credit – THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

“So, if you are looking for income stability or longevity, starting an SME may not be your best choice, and especially after the Trudeau/Morneau juggernaut has gutted some of the few benefits of being a small business owner. Some of the so-called loopholes the Trudeau/Morneau team wish to eradicate are in fact are a legitimate vehicle by which small business try to squirrel money for their retirement years.

“If the government is serious about fair tax reform they should at least do the following:”

Lengthen the consultative window to at least 6 months

Start listening to the many non-partisan tax experts who understand the tax laws and small businesses and are ready willing and able to contribute in a meaningful fashion.

Joseph GaetanJoe Gaetan spent 13 of his fifty years of uninterrupted employment as a small business owner.  He operated a Laser Smoking Cessation business, treating over 5,000 during the the life of the business. He retired from that business in 2013. Prior to that he worked  for a Fortune 100 company.

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Performing Arts sets out what it plans to do on Culture Day - nothing yet from city hall.

artsorange 100x100By Staff

September 14th, 2017



As part of Culture Days, The Burlington Performing Arts Centre is hosting an Arts and Culture Marketplace, opening the doors to showcase local arts organizations, groups, and artists. The marketplace will be held in The Centre’s lobby on Saturday, September 30 from 10am–4pm.

The event is free.

BTTB - O canada

The Burlington Teen Tour Band will be on hand to tell their story.

Stop by with your family and friends throughout the day to participate in arts and culture activities.

Meet The Burlington Performing Arts Centre’s Executive Director, Tammy Fox, between 12pm-2pm in the lobby.

Lynch #3

Some of the work hat has come out of the Kirkland Lynch Studio.

Participating groups include: Aldershot Players, Arts & Culture Council of Burlington, Art Gallery of Burlington, Art in Action Studio, Burlington Civic Chorale, Burlington Concert Band, Burlington Fine Arts Association, Burlington Footnotes, Burlington New Millennium Orchestra, Burlington Public Library, Burlington Suzuki School of Music, FLK Taoist Tai Chi, Harbourtown Sound, Lowville Festival, Kirkland Lynch Studio Gallery, Mark Zelinski – Photographer, New Horizons Adult Concert Band, Red Leaf Cultural Integration, Rotary Burlington Music Festival, Sahaja Yoga Meditation, soFX, Symphony on the Bay, and The Burlington Slam Project.

Wow! That is an impressive list.

Each group will share their history, future plans, memberships, auditions, and information on upcoming performances.

Many people in the arts community are grumbling about what little is being heard from city hall on the Culture Day program.

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RoccaSisters report that the real estate masrket in Burlington is now in balance and able to cool down after a blazing hot six month run.

News 100 greenBy Staff

September 14th, 2017



The Rocca Sisters, a Burlington Realtor point out that the August real estate sales results need some perspective: you have to look at the last 6 months.

Applefest posterIn March 2017(the peak of the runaway hot market), prices were up by over 30%, year over year.

In August, prices were up 2.3% a slight improvement over July when prices were up 2.2% year over year.

Interestingly, CPI for the same period was up by 1.3% which suggests that even when the real estate market is experiencing a reversal of fortunes, as an investment, it’s still outstripping CPI.

Sales are down by 20%, DOM are up by over 50% and inventory levels are 137% higher at the end of August 2017 then they were in 2016.

These conditions indicate that Burlington is now in a balanced market. If all goes according to plan, this balanced environment will continue right through to the spring.

The interest rate increase announced recently will ensure that the market remains balanced and that’s exactly what the increase is meant to do –  Cool things down.

August 2017

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Pearson high school parent group meets with the Mayor

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 14, 2017


“You may have already had some feedback about the meeting with the Mayor, but wanted to provide some initial thoughts” said Steve Armstrong who was part of the four member delegation that spent an hour and a half with the Mayor and his Chief of Staff Mike Greenlee.

“Overall it went very well. Once the initial uncertainties melted away about our agenda we were able to have a productive discussion.


Steve Armstrong, a Pearson parent who did some of the best analytical work on the enrollment numbers.

“We brought some reasoned perspective to the table, and have promised to follow up with information backing up our talking points.

The Mayor agreed to a follow up discussion after he has had time to digest, and reflect more on the perspectives that he was given by the delegation.

That the meeting went longer then was scheduled, “is testament to a genuine interest.”

LBP George Ward + Rory Nisen

Rory Nissan exchanging contact information with George Ward – both went on to become strong members of the high school group fighting to keep their school open.

Rory Nisan who was also part of the delegation came away with basically the same impression. “The Mayor listened and we felt we were heard. He asked real questions.” The delegation talked about the population changes that are going to take place in the city and who was going to buy the homes that were being sold.

The group of seven were able to give the Mayor information he said he was not aware of. Additional information is to be put together and sent along to the Mayor. What will come out of the meeting? Depends on what and how he Mayor gets back to the Pearson parents with.

Nisan didn’t want to go on the record about some of the conversation other than to say that the group felt they had made their point and that they would be providing the Mayor with additional detail.

LBP George Ward 2

George Ward.

George Ward, another member of the delegation who has some very strong views on the decision to close Pearson high school was expected to be very direct with the Mayor.

He came away impressed, saying it was an excellent meeting and that the Mayor summarized what had been covered very well.

Let’s watch and see how the follow up with the delegation goes.

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Brian Heagle may not be eligible to run in ward 4

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 14th, 2017



It may not be news – but he did leave without saying goodbye.

Heagle in group with Boich looking on

The man on the far right, the late John Boich, saw Brian Heagle, the man on the far left as a natural politician. But then Heagle changed his political allegiance.

It was almost as if he was slipping out a side door and didn’t want anyone to know that he was leaving the party.

Brain Heagle, a former Queen’s University basketball star, once a candidate for the ward 4 city council seat, once the chosen one as a Liberal candidate for the Burlington seat and now a resident of Cambridge.

He was a regular on one of the Cogeco community TV programs.

And he was a partner in one of the city’s more prominent law firms.

Heagle was a flash point in Roseland. He created opinion and published it for his community. He carved out his own version of Burlington by creating a community organization that had boundaries slightly different than those of the traditional Roseland Community Organization.

Heagle graph

One never knew if there was any accuracy to the data collected but Heagle made a point most of the time.

He was an astute political observer and ran small mini-polls on what people were thinking.  His base, for the most part was Ward 4.  What he got back in a poll done a number of months ago may have been a bit of a jolt for the city’s political elite.

He was not a fan of the Maranatha project that is now nearing its final height on New Street.

Brian was Brian – he had a way of coming out of a corner with an opinion, a view point and a suggestion.

Wonder what he will do in Cambridge?

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Brown calls for an inquiry into the state of city transit service.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 13th, 2017



The chair of Burlington for Accessible. Sustainable Transit (BFAST) says he wants an independent inquiry into the reasons for the mess the system finds itself in.

Bfast Transit group logo“ ‘Disgraceful’ is not a strong enough word to describe the extent to which Council has overseen the decay of Burlington’s transit system,” said Brown. “We need an independent inquiry as to why this has been allowed to happen.”

“Not only has the transit system been starved of funds with the result that ridership has plummeted, but it has deteriorated to the extent that the safety of its passengers and other users of our roads has been called into question,” Brown said.

“Council must be accountable for this lamentable state of affairs and must get serious about Burlington’s transit service.”


Doug Brown,chair of Bfast, knows that a well run bus service is a beautiful thing.

Brown has long questioned the information Council has received from City staff on the transit file and says he was “not surprised” to find that the facts confirmed the system is in crisis.

Brown says the City needs a transit study that’s part of Burlington’s overall transportation plan. He says Council’s penchant for robbing the transit budget and “micro-management” of the system have been primary causes of its decay.

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Local computer nerds have found a service niche that is paying off for them.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 13th, 2017



The world is full of grungy rooms, perhaps with a musical instrument in the corner and a bunch of guys hunched over their keyboard revising computer code.

The world is what it is today as a result of these very smart people. There are some women sprinkled amongst this cohort.

Lily - Jonathan Adams

Jonathan Adams at his computer – he is part of the team that created LilySpeech – worth taking a look at.

About a year ago a crew in the North West part of the city, surrounded by industrial operations developed what they decided to call LilySpeech.

LilySpeech is a service that lets you talk to your computer and turns your words into text which you can then send.
The service is sold on a monthly basis – $2.49 a month – those that use it swear by it.

In a drive to increase the subscription list LilySpeech gives away a $100 Amazon Gift Card to the LilySpeech user who does the best post on social media about why they love LilySpeech and how they use it.

Chris Burger was the September winner. His social media post is shown below:Lilly speech

If you want to take a crack at winning yourself its pretty easy.
LilySpeech is still quite new so you’re not competing against hundreds of posts here 🙂 get creative, it takes just a few minutes and you could easily win the $100 in October.

They want your story to be funny, original and tell what LilySpeech does.

Just do your post and then send an email to social@lilyspeech.com with a screen shot of the post.

You will need to know more about LilySpeech – check out the story the Gazette did in February.


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Computer glitch screws up requests for willow tree samples and community garden requests.

News 100 greenBy Staff

September 13th, 2017




The willow trees and the gazebo lent the east end of Spencer Smith Park a certain charm.

Those willow tree (there were two of them) that the city cut down because they were thought to be dangerous to the public did have one very small upside – people could get a piece of trees that were planted more than 70 years ago.

To mollify the public disappointment the city is handing out pieces of the tree – all you had to do was go on line and make a request.

Turned out it wasn’t quite that simple.

There was a glitch somewhere in the software that makes all these wonderful things happen – the techies recently discovered issues with some online forms completed by the public and is asking those affected to resubmit their information.

New Gazebo - will wood

The new gazebo – all metal and pretty sterile. In time, we suppose, the trees around it will grow and add some character.

The technical issues affected Willow Tree wood request forms between Aug. 2 and Aug. 3 at www.burlington.ca/willowtrees and all applications for a 2018 Community Garden.

The technical issues have been fixed and the forms are now being received by the city. The Willow Tree Wood form deadline has been extended until Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

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Shape of city's transit service gets mauled at city council meeting. Several council members say they knew nothing about it.

News 100 blueSpecial to the Gazette

September 13th,2017



Burlington Transit violated provincial laws concerning hours of work and followed unsafe maintenance practices following cutbacks made by City Council to the system’s budget, according to an explosive report by City Manager James Ridge and senior staff at the beleaguered transit agency.

Ridge, Director of Transit Sue Connor and Business Administration Manager Colm Lynn painted a picture of a system stretched beyond its limits at a meeting of Council’s Committee of the Whole Sept. 7.

Councillors expressed shock that the cutbacks for which they had voted caused such chaos at Burlington Transit and directed staff to come up with a budget that would at least stabilize the system at its meeting on Sept. 11.
Ridge told the presentation that the deterioration of the transit system occurred under the City’s mantra of “doing more with less.”

Spicer + Ridge

City manager James Ridge with Mike Spicer who at the time was the Director of Transit. Much of the damage done to the transit service took place on Spicer’s watch. The city manager does not appear to be amused.

“With every exercise [in doing more with less] there’s a line you cross where you just provide crappy [transit] service that people don’t want,” Ridge said. “And I think we passed that line some time ago.”

Among the revelations in the staff report:

• A significant number of Burlington Transit drivers worked above the maximum weekly number of hours allowed by provincial legislation without a permit. BT never applied for such a permit, even though some drivers had worked more than 60 hours per week.

• Two thirds of the time, BT’s mechanics work alone, without supervision. The system has had to cut back on preventive maintenance and has the lowest ratio of mechanics to vehicle miles of its peers. If a bus breaks down, there are no replacements available. Reliability has plummeted, and BT’s new Director and staff have used their own cars to rescue passengers stranded by breakdowns. Ridge called these “fundamental safety issues [that] have to be addressed.”

• Drivers who are classed as casual employees are working an average of more than 40 hours per week, with minimal benefits and compensation below the level of Halton’s living wage. Of these employees, the annual turnover is more than 50% because Burlington pays its transit operators less than neighbouring municipalities.

• The City provides no capital funding for transit. All capital funding, which buys replacement buses, among other things, has come from federal and provincial grants and special programs.

• Ridership has declined by 16.5% as service has become less frequent and less reliable.

Citizen call for a public inquiry of the city’s public transit service.

Councillors expressed shock that the cutbacks they supported had caused such a mess.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison always has an eye open for an economic opportunity - sees a great one for the city: sell the golf course.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison has his own form of transportation. Isn’t believed to have been aboard a bus for more than a decade.

“I didn’t realize that the sky was falling as badly as it appears to be,” said Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison, who supported diverting funds from the transit budget to “scrape-and-pave” projects on little-used residential streets.

Councillors voted to take money out of transit’s share of the money the city gets from the federal gas tax to fund the shave – and-pave projects.

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about - civic engagement

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster both expressed shock, dismay and concern over the state of the city’s transit service.

“Every budget over the last four years, we’ve talked about gas tax split and every year, I’ve asked the question ‘Do we have sufficient funds going into the … vehicle renewal fund that makes this [service] viable?’ And every year I’ve been told ‘yes’,” said Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster said she was “just as shocked as anyone” by the information from Ridge and the transit staff. But she said councilors knew that the data they had been getting in the past was “compromised and not necessarily reliable.”

Transit - unhappy customer

Citizen taking part in a transit Forum put on by Bfast vents his concern over the quality of the service to the Mayo and the Director of Transportation.

“I think there’s an extreme urgency” to address transit’s problems, said Mayor Rick Goldring, but the next budget cycle was “pretty soon.”

“But I don’t believe we should be waiting two cycles before we get the fix,” he said. “I think the sooner we can get our head around this and how we’re going to address it, the better.

“We don’t want to wait. We know we have to do something.”


Related news stories:

Transit riders get specific about service.

Politicians try to romance transit users.



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