The ID theft people don't quit - because sending email that tricks people works for them.

IDTHEFT 100X100By Staff

September 7th, 2017



What did we think of this one?

ID theft screenNot much – we don’t deal with the TD Bank – we didn’t open the pdf either.

Here is what we got:

This Consent to Electronic Delivery of Documents applies to the electronic delivery to you of the statements and other important eDocuments for the accounts listed within your (Web Business Banking) and any extension, renewal, amendment and replacement of any of these accounts.

You must access our Digital Banking Service to review eDocuments. Open the attached eDocument and follow the instructions to access our Web Business Banking Service.

Failure to consent to the electronic delivery of the eDocuments as described in our Digital Banking Service will revoke your access to TD Commercial Banking.

Note: eDocuments are available in Portable Document Format (PDF) and can only be viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader Software.

We thank you and appreciate your prompt response.

Relationship Manager; The Toronto-Dominion Bank

Remember and follow the rule – If in doubt, don’t. And ask questions.

The Gazette will be doing a feature length article on the how email like this gets sent to you.  Someone bought your email address and sends you email they think will pull you into their web.

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Community to celebrate the life of Casey Cosgrove at the Convention centre September 17th 4-6 pm

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2017



Team Casey is coming together to play another game.

They are going to run the 36th Terry Fox Run on Sunday the 17th and later in the day – between 4 and 6 pm they are going to gather at the Burlington Convention Centre and celebrate the life if Vincent Casey Cosgrove.

Wear your Team Cosgrove sweater and bring your stories – he will be with us. He knows who you are.

Bryna Cosgrove said last night that – “Although words just don’t seem to do him justice, we’ve tried our best.

“We will try to do even better by celebrating Casey’s life together with his friends, his family, and those who knew him.”

Some members of Team Cosgrove made their own sweaters. One of those has to be used in the Spiral submission for the Performing arts Centre if that submission is chosen.

Some members of Team Cosgrove made their own sweaters.

Cosgrove family

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Burlington male arrested for indecent exposure.

Crime 100By Staff

September 6, 2017



The Halton Regional Police have arrested a 52 year old Burlington man for indecent act.

HRPS crestThe 52 year old man is alleged to have exposed himself while shopping at the Piggymart convenience store located at 2290 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville, on August 23, 2017.

The Halton Regional Police would like to thank the public for their assistance in identifying the suspect.

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

No names released – interesting.

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Development community weighs in on the draft official plan - flawed and needs detailed growth numbers.

News 100 redPepper Parr

September 6, 2017



It was one of those Receive and File reports – it was hundreds of pages long and it focused on the new Official Plan that is being created by the Planning department with input from anyone in the city who has a comment.

The Tuesday meeting was time for the building industry to speak along with Burlington’s Sustainability Committee that is made up of citizens who advise city Council.

The time frames that have been put in place are extremely tight; the planners want city council to pass whatever the Official Plan is going to be done by the end of November.

The development industry thinks there is some information that should be in the document – specifically, what the population of the city is going to be and where those people are to be housed.

The population of the city is determined by the province – and they are telling us that Burlington has to grow. The province gives the Regional government a number – the Region decides how that number is going to be divided between Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

Region Official Plan allocates 8,086 new units to be achieved in the built-up area of Burlington over the 2017 to 2031 period. The breakdown is 2,758 new units over the 2017 to 2021 period, 2,669 new units over the 2022 to 2026 period and 2,659 units over the 2027 to 2031 period

Adi - Urban growth centre boundary

This is where growth can take place in the downtown core.. The development community thinks that growth should take place along Brant street.

In the Adi Development report “Staff recognized that the Urban Growth Centre needs to accommodate a total of 22,800 people and jobs by 2031 in order to reach the minimum target set out by the Growth Plan.”

The staff report goes on to say that: “When the estimated 15,417 residents in the Urban Growth Centre as of 2013 are added to the 736 anticipated residents and 702 estimated jobs resulting from recently approved and upcoming developments, the estimated number of people and jobs in the Urban Growth Centre within the next several years is 16,855.

This figure is 5,945 short of the minimum density target. (22,800 – 16,885 = 5,945)

The Places to Grow Growth Plan was put in place ten years ago. Planning staff calculates that, with developments in the approval pipeline included, the Urban Growth is approaching 74% of the minimum density target for 2031.

If we divide the approximate 5,945 people and jobs by the 17 years remaining to reach the target of 22,800 we get an average annual target of approximately 350 people and or jobs per year that will have to be created for each of the 17 years remaining between now and 2031.

Some members of city council will tell you that we are at the 75% point of that growth target. Some in the development community say the number is at the 66% level.

With the need to grow very clear the developers are beavering away at what they do – building housing. What kind of housing – not single family detached homes – the city managers claims we aren’t going to see a net increase in single family dwellings – for a number of reasons.

One – we have no more land on which to build and the cost of those homes is getting to be well beyond the ability of young families to be able to afford.

Upper Middle Road looking east towards Burloak - primer commercial. No takers?

Upper Middle Road looking east towards Burloak – prime commercial. No takers.  Developer wants some of the land converted to residential use.

Add to that the – the tussle over land in the city that is zoned employment lands which the developers want to build houses on. That stretch of land along upper middle Road where it curves into Burloak is seen as land that should have residential land.

If not single family detached homes then apartments or condominiums.

Mark Bales, one of the decision makers at Carriage Gate, the company that is currently building the Berkeley at the corner of Maria and John street where there 17 storey condominium, is part of a development that is to include a parking garage and Medical Centre.

Bales told council that Carriage Gate wanted to support the draft Official Plan but couldn’t do so because it wasn’t complete enough.

Existing downtown land uses #6

Graphic of the downtown core boundaries.

City Council recognizes that new growth is to be directed to a series of nodes (especially the Downtown) and along important transportation corridors within the Built-Up area.

The new Draft Official Plan is in many respects a characteristic urban structure plan with growth being focused to a series of nodes that are knit together by connecting corridors. The success of the plan will be contingent upon the ability of the Urban Growth Centre, the other mobility hubs and transportation corridors to accommodate assigned amounts of growth by 2031. “We agree with this focus” said Bales, but the draft of the Official Plan fails to propose effective growth management strategies and the policy framework necessary to bring the Plan to life.

Bales added that the draft was released in March and that Carriage Gate has submitted comments. Staff said we would receive responses yet to-date we have not received a response, said Bales.

During the council meeting the planers did say that answers would be forthcoming.

Mark Bales

Mark Bales

Bales wants to see a plan that does more than simply paint a pretty picture of what the City might generally like to achieve. He said: “Municipalities are required to encourage and facilitate residential intensification.”

For Bales and other delegations the draft of the Official Plan fails to assign population and employment distribution targets to each of the Mobility Hubs and the Downtown Urban Growth Centre in particular.

“No one can figure out how much of what is intended to go where. Even if we knew, the guts in the Plan to make it happen are missing” said Bales.

“Without assigned population and employment targets for each of the mobility hubs and the corridors, it is impossible to determine whether or not the underlying principles and policies of the Plan are appropriate or if success can be reasonably achieved.”

Bales went on: “We recognize that redevelopment and intensification projects within existing urban areas can be some of the most challenging that a city will experience. This is precisely the reason that new planning policies must focus on matters of “fit” and not sameness. “The current Draft Official Plan fails in this regard” he said.

“To be successful, the new Official Plan must not only provide clear policy directions for new development but must also foster an environment that will bring it to life.”

Bales brought to the attention of council that city planners said at a recent Ontario Municipal Board hearing that Burlington is 66 percent of the way towards meeting its required minimum target for 2031. Staff also confirmed that the existing planning policies for the Downtown will not enable the City to reach its required minimum population and employment targets by 2031.

Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward said she believed the city has “blown past” what it needs to have achieved in terms of meeting the 2031 target.

Bales is concerned that the city’s incorrect messaging continues and that the city’s additional growth requirements have yet to be presented to Council and the public.

“You may ask why this is so important” said Bales. “It is important because not only are appropriate planning policies required for the Downtown, but these policies may impact other Official Plan policies and those being developed for other mobility hubs, nodes and corridors – in other words, the policy framework being prepared for the entire Plan may be flawed.”

Flawed or not – the construction of the high rise in the downtown core is well underway.  Set out below are the projects underway,before the planners or in front of the OMB.


Bridgewater CROPPED

The Bridgewater development is under construction – it is a done deal approved in 1995.


The Berkeley is under construction. Another done deal.

421 Brant

421 Brant – in the hands of the planners who will issue a report in the near future.


The Nautique – the OMB hearing has taken place – report might be seen before the end of the year. Council and the planners appear to be prepared to settle for an 11 storey structure – developer wanted 28.

Bales made reference to a consulting report Carriage Gate had done that sets out some mind boggling numbers. The Gazette will report in detail on that document. To give you a sense as to what it had to say Bales told council the report concludes that within the Built-Up area, 45 new tall buildings are required between now and 2031 with 23 of those to be located within the Urban Growth Centre/the Downtown.

To put this into perspective, said Bales, the residential housing supply in the Downtown is required to expand by over 40% between now and 2031.

The report adds that “In addition, we are challenged to find any locations in the Urban Growth Centre that are currently designated and zoned to reasonably accommodate this scale of redevelopment.”

23 new tall buildings – you can guess what that is going to do to the look and feel of Burlington.

Looks like an election issue to us.

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Mike Wallace wants the Mayor's Chain of Office - tapping people on the shoulder all over the city.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 6th, 2017



Ken, an intelligent citizen who comments in the Gazette from time to time, made an interesting comment earlier this week.

Burlington Citizens are in charge of their future, he said. “If the people of Burlington want to build to accommodate more people then let’s see how the voting goes in 2018.”

That election is more than a year away but some of the ducks are already being lined up.

Goldring tweet

Cute – why doesn’t the man just come out and say that on May 1, 2018 he expect to file nomination papers.

There are three who covet the Mayor’s chain of office: The current occupant who has said in a very coy way that he is in the race.

Mike Wallace has been telling anyone who will give him 15 seconds of their time that he too is in the race.

And we assume the ward 2 council member Marianne Meed Ward is still in the race. She was running for Mayor when she ran in 2010. Meed Ward had run previously in Ward 1 against Councillor Craven.

Mike Wallace was a member of council for a number of years and expected to be the Mayoral candidate but found himself in a federal election where he won and was off to Ottawa.

Greg Woodruff, an Aldershot resident, has run some numbers based on the votes he got when he ran against Regional Chair Gary Carr and figured out that he has a chance of winning. Will he toss his hat in the ring? Who knows?


Meed Ward loves her job; she revels in pulling people together. During her first term of office she spent her annual postage allotment in a couple of months – she was mailing everything to almost everyone.

At the Mayoral level there is an interesting situation. Meed Ward has her tribe’ they will stand by her – the question is – does she have enough people in the other five wards that will be with her?. If she has – and she seems to believe she does – then the question becomes this – is her vote bigger than what Wallace and the Mayor have to split?

The Meed Ward vote is not going to go to either Wallace or the Mayor. Those two will have to share what Meed Ward doesn’t get.

Mayor at Wallace election HQ Oct 2015

The Mayor spent the night of the federal election watching he vote come in at Mike Wallace’s headquarters.

Mike must feel that he can pull in more of the vote that Meed Ward doesn’t get than the Mayor can.

Wallace and Gould

Wallace congratulating Gould on her defeating him for the Burlington federal seat – it will be interesting if Wallace becomes Mayor and has to deal regularly with the woman that beat him.

Mike has profile, he has been around a long time and he wants the job – close to desperately.

The Mayor chose to go the photo op route – he couldn’t sustain the approach his Chief of Staff Frank McKeough developed for him during his first term.

The Mayor has gone through four Staff Chief’s. He hasn’t delivered on any of his environmental issues – still no private tree bylaw – and he hasn’t been identified with an issue that the public is fully in support of. And he seems to have to cling to the New Street Road diet.

Meed Ward is described as “divisive” – she is focused. She knows where she stands and sticks by her decisions. There isn’t the understanding of the economics of land values that the job needs.

Often, whenever ward 1 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward appears at events with the Mayor she sounds more "mayoral" than the man who wears the chain of office.

Often, whenever ward 1 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward appears at events with the Mayor she sounds more “mayoral” than the man who wears the chain of office.

Should she win her first two years will be hectic – she will want to do everything at the same time. Meed Ward believes she will be a great Mayor. Whether she is not will become evident in the third and fourth year of her first term.

At the council level – no one is going to beat Craven in Ward 1; Leah Reynolds was being primed for the ward 2 seat by Meed Ward but the fiasco with the texts sent between the two during the school closing debate might put a wrinkle in those plans

There is a credible candidate for ward 3 – the issue there is whether or not John Taylor is ready to retire. He has deep deep support in the community but 30 years is a long time. At some point the harness has to be put away – and if Taylor likes the look of the candidate he might decide to support the person and mentor him during the first term.

The potential candidate was raised in the ward and currently holds a very important job at another level of government.

Dennison announcing

Jack Dennison the day he announced the sale of Cedar Spring. his health club operation.

Ward 4? Can Dennison be beaten – Of course he can but not by a candidate who comes into the race late in the game and doesn’t have a team or the funding. Dennison has name recognition – some think the recognition is past its best before date.

Ward 5 – Sharman holds sway there and there doesn’t appear to be any one in the trenches prepared to do the work to take him on.

There is hope for a change in ward 6 – there is at least one very credible candidate who would do a superb job of representing the residents. Career options are a family issue there.

Do a head count at the council level: Craven, Dennison and Sharman are close to a given. If the right people are elected in wards 2, 3 and 6 – and Meed Ward is Mayor – Burlington will be a much different city.

We thought we saw it that way in 2014 and we were dead wrong. No predictions at this point – but the possibilities are intriguing.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion column written by the publisher.

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Province advises the Halton school board that they will appoint a facilitator to review the process that was used to close two of the city's seven schools.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 5th, 2017



“The Halton District School Board received notification today from the Ministry of Education, granting Administrative Reviews of the Burlington Secondary School Program and Accommodation Review (PAR) undertaken by the Halton District School Board during the 2016-2017 school year. Requests for these reviews were submitted to the Ministry of Education by the Lester B. Pearson High School and the Robert Bateman High School communities.

“According to Ministry Guidelines, an administrative review is a process by which an independent, impartial facilitator reviews that the Board has followed it’s pupil accommodation review policy. An administrative review is not an assessment of the decisions made by the Board of Trustees. In the near future, a facilitator will be appointed by the Ministry of Education.


Halton Director of Education Stuart Miller

“We welcome an independent review of our process,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “Having an independent third party review of our Program and Accommodation Review Policy and the Burlington PAR ensures that we have followed our processes and provides an opportunity to address community concerns. It is important for the HDSB, the community and the Ministry of Education that the process is thoroughly examined and reviewed.

“During this review period, the Halton District School Board will continue to keep student needs at the forefront. As such, we will continue to collaboratively plan for and implement the Board’s decisions made in June 2017. We will, however, be cognizant of minimizing the expenditures of the implementation during the review process.”

What does this mean?

It does not mean that the decision to close two of the seven high schools in the city is now reversed.

The review is a review of the process that was used and followed by the Board.  One of the decisions could be a requirement that the Board do the PAR all over again because the view of the facilitator is that the process was badly flawed.

PARC with options on the walls

Will the 14 members of the PAR get called back to do the job all over again? Nope.

That is a stretch but it has happened to Halton before. Given that the province has sort of admitted that the new PAR process, which was revised considerably, has some serious flaws there is an outside chance that the facilitator might send everyone back to square one.

There may be a number of people asking that they not rush into this and give some time to elect some new trustees.

What the two parent groups now have to do is lobby effectively at several levels.

Related news story:

Director of Education has been through a review before.


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We are done said the city manager. The end is in sight.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 5th, 2017



“We are done!”, said the city manager.

James Ridge - looking right

City manager James Ridge

In addressing the Planning and Development Committee City manager James Ridge said that in his talks with people he points out three facts that Burlington is up against.

The city is not only going to grow – it has to grow- “we are mandated to do that” he said.

We are looking at between 15,000 and 18,000 new people every decade.

There is not going to be any net new supply of single family homes

And there are not going to be any new roads built for the next hundred years.

Ridge then said that this could put an additional 50,000 cars on the existing roads at some point – and if that happen “We are done!”

Ridge seldom gets excited about anything – but there was a sense of foreboding in his voice.

Even in their wildest imaginations - the Alton family would never have thought those farm fields would look like this - imagine the increase in value.

Even in their wildest imaginations – the Alton family would never have thought those farm fields would look like this – imagine the increase in value.

He could see the apocalypse coming and he knew what the impact would be – but he wasn’t sure that the public he has to deal with can see or wants to see what our future as a city is going to look like.

Ridge was speaking at meeting that had more than 250 pages of material to wade through.

Much more to write about.

Question we have is: Is there a difference between “we are done” and “we are toast” and if there is which is the more serious?

Sounded like done to me.

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Downtown stabbing in the early morning hours on Sunday.

Crime 100By Staff

September 5th 2017



On Sunday September 3rd 2017 shortly after 2:00 AM, police were called to the Maria and Elizabeth intersection in response to a report of a stabbing.

On arrival, police located a 23-year old male victim from Burlington with a laceration to his left bicep. The victim went to Joseph Brant Hospital where he received 10 stitches to close the wound.

HRPS crestPolice learned that the victim and his girlfriend were walking home after having attended a downtown bar when they came across a group of 3-4 males and a female.

One of the males was alleged to have made an insulting remark to the victim which started a fight between the victim and the group of males.

During the fight, the victim was stabbed by one of the males who brandished what was described as a black handled knife.

The only descriptions at this time are that the males were all white in their twenties and the female was white with long dark hair, thin build and a half or full sleeve tattoo.

Police are asking for anyone with information to contact D/Cst. Erin Toth of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 Ext. 2313 or Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS, through the web at or by texting “Tip 201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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13 of the 860 school bus runs didn't have the needed drivers for the first day of school

News 100 redBy Staff

September 5th, 2017



For the most part the students who rely on school buses to get them to the class worked smoothly.

schoolbus-stop-signThe consortium that runs the school bus service for the two school boards reports that: “The vast majority of delays this morning were caused by high traffic around schools, construction  and some mechanical issues with buses which is typical for the first few days in September.

“Minimal delays were a result of school bus drivers not being available.

“Thirteen of the of HSTS’s 860 runs, which include runs for both the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board, that were late this morning (approximately 1.5 %) could be attributed to a shortage of school bus drivers. ”









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Annual Terry Fox run - Sunday the 17th - expect thousands this year.

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

September 5th, 2017



The next major public event that doesn’t call for people to sit at a table and think through a document they don’t agree with at all is the annual Terry Fox Run – Sunday September 17th.

Fox monument with Brant Inn

The 2017 run will start immediately south of the Terry Fox monument.

The run will start at the Terry Fox Monument just west and south of Spencer’s restaurant just west of the Compass point. The turnaround point will be near the lift bridge so the route is along waterfront trail NOT on any roads.

Terry Fox runners

There will be no running on Lakeshore Road – all the traffic will be on the Waterfront Trail with the turnaround point at the lift-bridge canal. No bikes this year.

It is 4.5 km just short of our normal 5 km loop. There is some construction about to take place on the Naval Promenade starting at the Waterfront Hotel

MC’s for the vent will be Peter Jaycock and Yvonne Van De Wiele who are the money team on radio 92.9 THE GRAND.

Registration for volunteers is 7:30 to 8am, registration for runners is 8 am(located parallel to the parking lot on the west side of Spencer’s restaurant on the grassy area by the Terry Fox Monument.

Runners will leave at 9 am and walkers/strollers leave at 10 am.

Once again because of the use of waterfront trail sadly NO BIKES.

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

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

As usual we will have a warmup, DJ , free food, free henna tattoo’s, face painting and balloon animals for the families. Dog bowls and treats at the water stations.

The Gazette will publish a detailed map of the route later in the week.

Over past 36 years the Burlington Terry Fox Run has raised over $1.8 million which, when combined with Burlington school runs – amounts to over $3.5M to the Terry Fox Foundation with 84 cents on the dollar going to cancer research.

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First Canadian Craft Biennial taking place at the Art Gallery

artsorange 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 5th, 2017



The Art Gallery of Burlington, in collaboration with Craft Ontario, are presenting the first Canadian Craft Biennial. It is open now and will run until October 29, 2017. The launch of this inaugural event during Canada’s 150th anniversary will serve as a spotlight to celebrate and educate on the importance of contemporary craft throughout Canada’s diverse history and future. Under the theme Can Craft? Craft Can! the Biennial will explore What and Who is ‘Canadian Craft’?; the Biennial will analyze ideas regarding the agency of craft.


This piece needs a slow look – see if you can see what the artists wants you to see.

The Opening Celebrations are being held on Friday, September 15, 2017; 6:00pm-9:00pm in the Lee-Chin Family Gallery at the AGB

This Biennial is made up of several events:

Fat boy 2 BESTA Craft Symposium taking place on Friday, September 15 (Holiday Inn, Burlington) & Saturday, September 16 (OCAD University, Toronto)

Eleven sessions covering a variety of themes and approaches will be presented by forty-four scholars and makers from around the world.

Professional Ceramics Workshop being given by Anton Reijnders.
September 11-14, 2017; 9:00am-5:00pm/day

This event is open to professional ceramists only. Participation is closed at this point. Prospective participants were asked to submit a one-page letter of interest outlining what they intend to gain from their experience.


red pieceNational Craft Exhibition: Can Craft? Craft Can!; August 19-October 29, 2017
Bringing together seventy makers from across Canada, Can Craft? Craft Can! will present works in glass, ceramics, wood, metal and fibre that address three sub-themes exploring ideas of Identity, Sustainability and Materiality.

Craft Ontario Provincial Exhibition: Nothing is Newer than Tradition; August 19-October 29, 2017
Craft Ontario’s Nothing is Newer than Tradition will present the work of emerging Ontario makers that reflect a dedicated engagement with specialized skills and materials. The exhibition will explore how craft materials, tools and processes are creatively reiterated through the hands of a new generation of makers.

canoe + mason jars

Mason jars put to a different use.

AGB Provincial Exhibition – Setting Ontario’s Table: Once Upon a Time; August 19-December 31, 2017
Drawing from the Art Gallery of Burlington’s Permanent Collection of Contemporary Canadian Ceramics, Once Upon a Time will present a special exhibition exploring functional ware from Ontario ceramists. Each artist selected will be represented through both a piece from their early years, juxtaposed against a recent work to explore the progression in their practice.


Anton Reijnders

International Ceramic Exhibition – Anton Reijnders; September 9-October 29, 2017
Dutch ceramist Anton Reijnders will present his new work in a solo exhibition. Anton Reijnders graduated at the Fine Art Academy in Hertogenbosh in 1981. He participated in exhibitions throughout the world and contributed to conferences and symposia and has given lectures in Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA. He has contributed to the creation of what in 1991 was to become the European Ceramic Work Center (EKWC)—Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands.

He has been the visiting professor at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University three times.

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A 3D look at a proposed downtown development opposite city hall.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 5th, 2017



421 BrantThe debate on the construction of a 26 storey mixed-use development at the corner of John and Brant Street opposite city hall is getting tied up in the debate over the Grow Bold discussions that are ongoing.

There is a meeting Thursday evening at the AGB,  that will look at the public reaction to the plans for what gets done with the downtown mobility hub.

The city prepares the 3D renderings as part of its engaging the citizen’s program. The 3D renderings  give viewers a sense as to what a community would look like when a development is completed.

The view is close to what you would expect from a drone that was flown over a community. It will take several viewings to see what is being proposed.

Click for a fascinating view of what is being proposed.

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Noted photographer to publish a lavishly illustrated book on the Niagara Escarpment

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 4th, 2017



Later this month Mark Zelinski will launch his book on the Escarpment. It is a large format publication with loads of pictures – Zelinski is a photographer with an eye for the outdoors.

zelinski Mark

Mark Zelinski, graduate of both Sheridan College and OCAD and the recipient of several awards for his work.

However, it would be a mistake to see the book as a collection of really nice pictures in between hard covers – the kind of thing that sits on a coffee table or in an office reception room where people flip through the pages.

It is one of the first books of this type that I have read that recognizes the place of the Indigenous community in the geography of our community.

Zelinski let the Indigenous people tell their story – his use of the a wonderful piece by Richard Hill about the: The Great Escarpment In Haudenosaunee Oral History is so powerful that we have included it in this review.

“The Haudenosaunee Confederacy consists of the Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga and Tuscarora First Nations. Our Creation Story is a road map to our underlying values, beliefs and customary practices. It sets in motion our way of life, and the annual cycles of nature that impact on our lives. It also tells of the re-shaping of Mother Earth that was created on the back of a giant turtle.

Turtle_LOGO_ON_MAP-©[1]“Oral history tells of giant serpents that lived underground and emerged into the deep Great Lakes, only to surface from time to time to seek out human flesh. One huge cavern behind Niagara Falls soon became the home of the Thunder Beings. These powerful spirits rode the skies behind the dark storm clouds. When they saw one of those giant serpents trying to make its way to this world, the Thunder Beings would fly into action, shooting flint-tipped arrows that turned into lightning bolts, hoping to strike down the serpents and keep the land safe for humans.

“Our oral history also tells of a time when the Sun, Our Elder Brother, also known as the Great Warrior, while making his daily round of overseeing the Great Turtle Island, would notice that humans are fighting and hurting one another. As the story continues, our Elder Brother will pause, directly overhead when he sees such chaos. He will turn up his heat, hoping that the humans will pause and look skyward.

“In doing so, the people can recall the sacred origins of this land, and of humans of the clay from the back of the Great Turtle. His hope is that if we recall our Original Instructions to look after one another, humans just might stop fighting and return to the way of life that was intended for them – peace on Mother Earth. If humans refused to reconsider their actions, the Elder Brother said he would transform himself, becoming the Spirit of the Earthquake and shake the Earth so much that all that was made by humans would be destroyed, including the humans.

“This universal struggle between the serpents below and the Thunder Beings above is a metaphor for our own existence. We live in the middle of these two zones. While walking on the earth, we experience one aspect of life. When we die and are placed in the loving arms of our mother, we may experience another aspect of life. We can be like warriors who sneak up on others to do harm, or we can live in peace so that when our Great Elder Brother looks upon us, he will smile, knowing that we remember our Original Instructions. Life can flourish in this beautiful world we call home. Or, we can lose it all if we do not heed to wisdom of our ancestors and be thankful for all that has been provided.

“To me, The Niagara Escarpment represents the jagged edge of our existence. a place that has had a profound impact on the Indigenous people who live on or near it. It remains a place of power, a reminder of the original battle over this land, and an ongoing threshold between the goodness of our Mother the Earth, and the mysterious forces that are above and that lie below.”

Like many people I took the short boat ride when I last toured the falls at Niagara aboard the Maid Of The Mist. I never asked where the name of the boat came from – I recall more vividly how close we got to the falls and how wet we were when we returned.

Chezney Martin tells the story of the creation of the Niagara Escarpment and Maid of the Mist. It begins with a battle that involved the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee.

“The Thunder Beings are considered the supernatural grandfathers and protectors of the earth. They make appearances in many Haudenosaunee stories and tales. The duties of the Thunder Beings flow from the creation story to the belief that they keep dinosaurs underground with strikes of lightening.

“In this particular story we meet a monstrous snake-like beast conjured by witchcraft that decided to live within the Niagara waterways to kill and eat the Haudenosaunee people.

“Enraged by this, the Thunder Beings sought to dispel the snake with force. This battle raged on for days as thunder rumbled in the sky and lightening struck the serpent until it dissipated into a huge crevice in the earth, the same crevice we call the Niagara Gorge today.

“The Thunder Beings were suspicious as to whether or not the snake had truly been defeated. Rather than leaving the earth they sought shelter behind the waterfall that had been created by the serpent. The Thunder Beings natural rumbles were covered by the sound of falling water, as they awaited any sign that the snake had survived.

niagara-escarpment-turtle-island-©[1]“Shortly after this battle, the clouds in the sky cleared to a beautiful day. The sunshine attracted a young woman to lie near the water. She was soon to be wed and wouldn’t have much time to enjoy her alone time once she had children.

“As she closed her eyes, the snake that was shrunken by the strikes of the Thunder Beings slithered out of the water. It is said that the snake entered her body during her rest.

“The young woman was later married and after the first night spent with her new husband, he died. She mourned and decided to try marriage again with the same result. She tried once more to marry, desperately craving a family. Her third husband died.

“Distraught with grief and guilt the young woman decided to end her life. She entered a canoe up stream and allowed the current to carry her to the waterfall.

“Just as her canoe was going to tip over the edge and to the sharp rocks below, the Thunder Beings heard her weeping. They caught her mid-fall, and brought her into their cave behind the water.

“Once inside, the Thunder Beings taught the young woman how to dispel witchcraft as they alleviated her of the snake and destroyed it.

“It is said that the Thunder Beings returned to the clouds. The knowledge passed on to the young woman was brought back to the Haudenosaunee and has been used ever since.

“This is the story of The Maid of the Mist from the Original People.”

The care and preservation of the Escarpment is now in the hands of the public that is represented by the Niagara Escarpment Commission and Conservation Halton.

Robert Edmondson was with Conservation Halton for 38 years, starting his career as a biologist in 1974 and retiring as the director, watershed management services at the end of 2012. He describes and explains the huge stretch of land that he oversaw that extended through the world’s largest freshwater island, Manitoulin, and emerging from the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay surrounding Flower Pot Island, follows a 740 kilometre journey from the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to Queenston Heights.

“Visual highlights along the Niagara Escarpment include dramatic views at vistas such as Lion’s Head, Colpoy’s Lookout, Nottawasaga Lookout, Rattlesnake Point, Mount Nemo, Spencer Gorge, and featuring creeks and streams flowing over such outstanding features as Inglis Falls, Eugenia Falls, Hilton Falls, Webster Falls and Balls Falls.


The Escarpment is our backyard.

“All these natural wonders are found on publically owned lands that make up the Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Space System (NEPOSS). Over 44,300 hectares of land, representing close to 23% of the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area is part of the park system. For the most part, these lands are connected by the Bruce Trail as it winds its way some 855 kilometres from Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula to Queenston on the Niagara River. Manitoulin Island, which is outside of the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area, cherishes its own incredible parks, such as Misery Bay Provincial Park; a 1000 hectare coastal alvar sanctuary, with the largest wetland in the eco-district. The Cup and Saucer trail on the islands east end, possesses one of the most exhilarating views in the province.

“The NEPOSS is administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and governed by a council with representatives from the park owners and the Niagara Escarpment Commission. The main objectives of the park system are to protect the unique ecological and historical areas; maintain and enhance the natural environment of the Niagara Escarpment while providing for outdoor education, recreation, and public access to the Bruce Trail; and promote the principles of the Niagara Escarpment’s UNESCO World Biosphere Designation.

“There are over 147 parks within the system that are maintained by a mix of public bodies and conservation organizations including seven conservation authorities: the Ministry of Natural Re-sources, Ontario Parks, Parks Canada, Ontario Heritage Trust, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, Niagara Parks Commission, Royal Botanical Gardens, Bruce Trail Conservancy as well as a number of municipalities and organizations such as the Hamilton Naturalists Club, Nature Conservancy and Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy. The Conservation Authorities of Grey Sauble, Nottawasaga, Credit Valley, Toronto, Halton, Hamilton and Niagara maintain more than half of the lands and 60% of the parks in the system.[1]“All Escarpment parks are classified according to their attributes and ecological significance: such as Nature Reserve, Natural Environment, Recreation, Historical, Escarpment Access and Resource Management Area.

The Parks provide a wide range of experiences: visits to preserved historical sites, walking or cycling to vistas with their breath-taking views; tumbling waterfalls; quiet strolls along hiking trails meandering through mature forests; and observing the active life of the wetlands, or the enjoyment of cross country and down-hill skiing. The fundamental responsibility of the park system is to preserve the legacy of the Escarpment, all the wonders of its ecological diversity and outstanding features.”

These three people set the table on which Zelinski places the several hundred photographs that capture what it is that we see, feel and experience when we spend time in this vast stretch of land.  For those of us who have to spend time in sometimes stop and go traffic on six lane highways – an understanding and appreciation of this collection of land that has been preserved becomes close to poignant.

The book – title will be launched at an RBG reception September 20th at the RBG Rock Garden 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

The Heart of Turtle Island retails for $50.  It is available for a limited time at a discount at

It is also available at: A Different Drummer Books, Royal Botanical Gardens,,  and Indigo Books for the full retail price.

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Tributes reminiscing and outpourings of affection for Casey Cosgrove who passed last Thursday.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 3rd, 2017



The late Casey Cosgrove Facebook is alive and has become the place to grieve, commiserate and openly love the man we have lost.

And old friend of Casey’s posted a note – it is not easy reading, especially if you know Casey – but it is worth reading. We still speak of him in the present tense – don’t we?

Hey Cosmo

Well, it’s been a shitty 24 hrs, not going to lie! I’ve cried more than I have since my dad died 40 years ago. I hurt because I won’t get to see you anymore but that’s selfish and I know that’s something you weren’t so I will stop that but it may take a few days ok sorry.

You created quite a stir on FB since you left, and I’m going to tell you that you certainly touched a lot of people and they too are as gutted as I am. You have some friends and family who can articulate very well by the way… without F-Bombs even 🙂

I know you know this but Bryna, Ev, Jack, Kate, Stanley, Rudy and Hefty will all be doted upon for years to come by everyone you touched. Not because you left, but because of the family core values you guys all showed us that caused us all to fall in love with the Cosgrove clan.

Judson - Casey and # 19

Cory Judson found his way of remembering.  Cosgrove was one of the driving forces behind getting the monument in place.

It’s been 30 years since you walked up to the dugout of our team and said “Hey guys, I’m Casey, Casey Cosgrove and I’ve been asked to play with you guys”. You had flow (as they call it now) and a smile that just broke down any barriers we may have wanted to implement with the “new guy”. Casey Cosgrove… has there EVER been a better baseball handle in history? Maybe Mickey Mantle but I heard he was an asshole so…

You always had a competitive air about you, sometimes to a fault! Remember that hanging curve you threw that behemoth first baseman in the Nationals in Yarmouth? He hit that friggin meatball so far it should have had a flight crew on it. After the game you said “I can’t believe he got lucky and hit that out” we all laughed and said they had to scramble jet fighters to shoot that bitch down!

Then there’s all the years of ball hockey on Mainway, the moves you had with those silky mitts was ridiculous and you kept reminding me of that with every goal you scored on me. I’d tell you you it was just because you were lucky, you tell me it was just because I was a shitty goalie. We both know who was right, oh, and I still am haha.

My step daughter texted me yesterday morning and said “I am so sorry about Casey Jaker.” I responded with “You know Casey was the first person to call me Jaker 29 years ago” You remember that Cosmo? I got caught stealing second and was walking back past the bench and you said ” nice try Jaker” and I stopped in my tracks and said “did you just call me Joker?” You gave me that sly Cosmo smile and said “no you f***ing idiot I said Jaker”. Whether or not you called me joker or were quick on your feet to back pedal it stuck. Every time someone now calls me Jaker, my thoughts will go to that day and it’ll make me smile… you f***ing idiot 🙂

Well Cos, I gotta fly, Rach needs me to take a load of stuff to Western for her. Thanks for listening. From now on it will just be a silent discussion between you and I but everyone is sad here so I thought I’d share our first chat with them in hopes that some of our stories will bring back a smile or a laugh for them! That is, after all what you did best for all of us! I promise to get back to smiling and laughing, I just need to see Petey in pastels 😉

Love ya bro, so happy your pain free. Say hi to my Dad and Miley for me.
Chat soon…. Jaker

The family held a reception this afternoon and have said they will announce a public celebration for later in the month.

How is this city going to get through the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope on September 17th?

Casey Cosgrove had a couple of hundred people walking with him last year in the Terry Fox Run. This year he will serve on the organising committee - imagine if those who ran and walked with Cosgrove all volunteered as well? This is going to be THE event come September. Get your name on the list now.

Casey Cosgrove in the 2015 Terry Fox run.

The family held a reception this afternoon and have said they will announce a public celebration for later in the month.

In an obituary that is far more formal than Casey ever was he is named as Vincent Casey Cosgrove.  I don’t think very many people knew his full name.  We could have been calling him Vinnie!

The obituary is at:!/Obituary

How is this city going to get through the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope on September 17th?

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John Street in the process of getting a new look as the Berkeley condominiums begin to rise.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 3, 2017



Construction cranes in the downtown core – a welcome sign of growth to some, and intensification that isn’t welcome to others.

The provincial government has said we are going to grow and that the population of Burlington is going to rise – those are facts that we have to live with.

While construction crews put rebar in place and pour concrete the citizens gather in meetings across the city to give their views on the Grow BOLD initiative the city has undertaken to create four mobility hubs in the city around which the growth is to be contained.

There is a public that is concerned about what is going to happen to their community and a Mayor who does his best to soothe the concerns and explain that intensification will only impact 5% of the city.

Bridgewater Aerial-rendering-1024x758In the meantime the Bridgewater project rises out of the ground – a 22 story condominium; an 8 story hotel and a seven storey condominium tucked in behind the hotel – and the Berkeley on John Street become visible as it rises to the 28 storey height that was permitted.

That John Street construction site is to include a public garage and a medical centre – they will follow the construction of the condominium.

Medica One or the Carriage Gate project - pick the name you like best - will go up at the top of John Street and consist of a medical offices building, an above ground garage and an apartment/condo complex. It will bring significant change to the intersection and drive redevelopment of the plaza to the immediate north, A transit hub a couple of blocks to the south then makes a lot of sense.

Medica One or the Carriage Gate project – pick the name you like best – will go up at the top of John Street and consist of a medical offices building, an above ground garage and an apartment/condo complex. It will bring significant change to the intersection and drive redevelopment of the plaza to the immediate north, A transit hub a couple of blocks to the south then makes a lot of sense.  This rendering is from the Caroline – Elizabeth Street intersection.

The city expected all three projects to rise at the same time – and were worried enough about the construction actually taking place that they had the developer commit to coughing up $300,000 if the project doesn’t proceed by March of 2020.

City hall does appear to fully appreciate the market forces the developer has to contend with.

Berkeley street + poles BEST

The utility poles will disappear – all the cable will be underground. Getting that decision in place was no simple matter.

Berkeley - Maria entrance

Maria Street, currently closed to the public, will be the entrance to the Berkley condominium.

Carriage Gate, the developer, has had their share of grief with both the city and Burlington Hydro over the existence of utility poles on John Street. A hydro line had to be pulled in from Lakeshore Road to the site – an expensive job. There was much discussion over whether or not all the hydro wires would be underground.

The developer was prepared to pay for the cost of burying the cable in front of their project but wasn’t prepared to pay for the cost of burying the cable for every foot of the distance from Lakeshore Road.

And they didn’t like the price for doing the work that Burlington Hydro had put on the table.

It’s getting resolved – with the developer trying hard to keep the lawyers out of the room.

When completed John Street will take on a much different look. Other developers have already begun to acquire and assemble property on the street.

As construction continues the planners are looking for ways to improve the look of the rest of the street and bring more activity to the area.

There are parts of John Street that are really the back alley of some of the properties on Brant Street – the top end of John Street isn’t even a street – it is designated a lane-way that leads to a supermarket.

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Province wide test results for the grade 6 classes last year show Halton has done quite well. Details later in the month.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 3, 2017



Households throughout the city begin to get into the routines that are part of getting the kids back into the classrooms.

How well did they do last year and how can parents help their children improve?  Just how did your child do last year is a question some parents don’t really know.

White board with math

Are the students in the Halton Region measuring up to the needed standard?

EQAO – the acronym for the Education Quality and Accountability Office has published the provincial-level results of the primary- and junior-division 2016–2017 Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics written by students in Grades 3 and 6, and of the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics.

For the second year in a row, 50% of Grade 6 students met the provincial standard in math. Among Grade 3 students, 62% met the provincial standard—a one-percentage-point decrease since last year.

Not quite sure why that 50% seems acceptable – the number has to be a lot closer to 70% if those students are going to get jobs in the world they are going into.

The breakdown of the numbers by Board of Education get released September 20th – we are told by a source that should know that Halton has done very well – which we hope doesn’t get translated into the complacency that tends to prevail in this part of the world.


Results at a glance – are they good enough? Are the best we can do?

Elementary school reading results for Grade 3 students have increased to 74%, an increase of two percentage points since last year, and reading results for Grade 6 students have remained at 81% for the second year in a row.

Those are good numbers; the minimal decline in writing at the elementary level should be noted and then produce different ways to keep the number at the earlier levels.

Achievement results in writing at the elementary school level have declined since last year by one percentage point for both Grades 3 and 6, and stand at 73% and 79% respectively.

Eighty-three percent of Grade 9 students enrolled in the academic course were successful on the assessment, a result that is identical to last year.

Meanwhile, 44% of Grade 9 students enrolled in the applied math course were successful on the math assessment, marking a one-percentage-point decrease since last year, and continuing the trend over the last five years whereby less than half of students enrolled in the applied math course met the provincial standard.

Applied mathematics are critical for many of the jobs that are going to solve the problem we have as a society. The academic course is producing the needed results – someone wants to be looking at what needs to be done at the applied level.

Some facts to worry about and the focus on finding solutions:

In math at the elementary level, 62% (82 928) of Grade 3 students met the provincial standard, compared to the 67% who did on the 2013 assessment. Of Grade 6 students, 50% (64 686) met the provincial math standard, compared to the 57% who did on the 2013 assessment.

Results from EQAO’s student questionnaire show that a large number of students in Grades 3 and 6 (77%) are motivated to do their best when they undertake math activities in class. Despite this high motivation, only 56% of Grade 3 students and 53% of Grade 6 students believe they are good at math. It is encouraging that motivation remains high, now to translate that into better results.

The gap between motivation and results suggests different approaches might be needed by dthe teachers.
The majority of students who had not met the math standard in Grade 3, but who were able to meet it in Grade 6, carried that success forward into Grade 9.

In math at the secondary level, 83% (80 350) of Grade 9 students enrolled in the academic math course met the provincial standard, compared to the 84% who did on the 2013 assessment. Of Grade 9 students enrolled in the applied math course, 44% (15 321) met the standard, the same percentage of students who did in 2013.

In elementary-school reading, 74% (93 130) of Grade 3 students met the provincial standard, compared to the 68% who did in 2013. Of Grade 6 students, 81% (106 135) met the provincial reading standard for the second year in a row, compared to the 77% who did on the 2013 assessment.

In elementary-school writing, 73% (92 372) of Grade 3 students met the provincial writing standard, compared to the 77% who did in 2013. Of Grade 6 students, 79% (103 450) met the provincial writing standard, up from 76% in 2013.

EQAO is an independent agency that creates and administers large-scale assessments to measure Ontario students’ achievement in reading, writing and math at key stages of their education. All EQAO assessments are developed by Ontario educators to align with The Ontario Curriculum.

Grade 9 literacy

Some of the conclusions on the grade 9 literacy testing made by the EQAO researchers

The assessments evaluate student achievement objectively and in relation to a common provincial standard. EQAO is undertaking a multi-year project to move the provincial assessments online.

EQAO provides results to each student who writes an assessment. Its personalized reports help support individual student learning. The agency provides schools and school boards with detailed reports about their students’ achievement, as well as contextual, attitudinal and behavioural information from questionnaires, in an interactive online reporting tool. These data are used to improve school programming and classroom instruction.

EQAO also reports the results of the provincial assessments publicly. This helps keep the public education system accountable to taxpayers.

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Ribfest weather has been a little iffy - but the ribs are what they have always been - d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 3, 2017



Buddy Gerl, chief ribber at Camp 31, said that Ribfests are driven by weather – that being true Saturday turned out to be an iffy day . When it is too cold – people don’t come out. If it is too hot – they don’t come out.

But when the weather is just right – they come out in droves.

Chowing down

Chowing down and listening to the music – with the sun shining. The cranes in the background speak of a changing skyline

With little luck Gerl and his Camp 31 operation will have a good season and the Rotarians will rack up another solid fund raising event.

The crowds were soft when we toured the site in the middle of Friday afternoon – but they got better. Saturday was a disappointment – the rest of the weekend looks as if the weather Gods are with the Rotarians again.

VIP tent

VIP tent is open to the public for parts of Sunday and Monday.

There are a number of pluses this year. There is a VIP tent that is available to the public on parts of the weekend – Sunday and Monday for the most part.

Blonde with beer

Fetching the beer.

The beer prices are reasonable and you can use both cash and plastic and there is an ATM on site where you can draw some cash.

The usual set of Ribbers are on site – the lineups seem to dictate where the prize sauces are located.

The Rotarians took a different approach to their fund raising this year when they partnered with the Carpenter Hospice – that organization is getting close to finalizing their plans to a significant addition to the facilities.

BTTB collecting

Teen Tour Band – collecting for Carpenter Hospice

Members of the Burlington Teen Tour Band were on hand at some of the entry point with collection tins.

We noticed a bit of a tightening in security at the entry points to Spencer Smith Park. A security guard asked to look inside the bag I was carrying – it was a pretty cursory look. It is a changing world.

Ribfest south lake side

South side of Spencer Smith with all the ribbers open for business.

Ribfest north side 2017

North side of Spencer Smith Park – crowds were sparse – but it was decent for a Friday mid-day.

The Ribfest first came to Burlington in 1996 – since that time the Lakeshore Rotarians have raised more than $3 million which they have given back to the community in the form of scholarships and awards.

For the past two years those academic scholarships have amount to $3500 for each person given a scholarship.

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MP Pam, Damof provides her constituents with a very useful document: not what usually comes of of an MP's office.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 1st, 2017



The material that gets pumped out of the constituency offices of the federal and provincial politician’s is usually about an opportunity to take their picture,

We seldom see a document that has information that is focused and informative.

Damoff with big wide open smiles

Oakville Burlington North Member of Parliament Pam Damoff.

Pam Damoff, the federal member for Oakville Burlington North sent out both a comment and a document that many of the professional class who have incorporated their operations for tax purposes and most of the small business who have questions about changes in the tax act will find useful and interesting.

Damoff refers to an announced set of proposals aimed at reforming the tax planning options available for private corporations. Since the changes were released Damoff reports she has heard from a number of incorporated professionals, and small and medium sized business owners in Oakville and Burlington.

The proposed changes will bring reform to rules that have been unaltered since the 1970s and people rightly have a lot of questions about how these changes will affect their businesses. The proposed changes are complex, and Damoff believes there is misinformation that has been circulating.

The document she refers to can be found at
Damoff believes the document will help to set the record straight.

The first thing Damoff wants people to do is inform themselves and learn how these changes will affect them personally or their business. She claims that once they did this, they discovered that the proposed changes do not have any impact on them at all.

Damoff with LiberaL sign

She was a replacement nominee who had no plans to run for a federal seat – she was content with being a member of Oakville town council.

The document compiled by the Department lays out the current tax planning strategies that corporations are currently using, some problematic elements found in these current strategies and the rationale for why new legislative measures are needed.
You can read the document in full by clicking on this link;

Damoff encourages constructive and actionable feedback: The consultation will be open until October 2nd .
Within the newly proposed rules corporations will continue to be able to take advantage of the lower corporate tax rate to expand their offices, hire more staff, and purchase more equipment. Additionally, the government has no intention of going back in time.

The proposals would only be applied going forward. All existing savings will be unaffected. Small and mediums sized business owners can continue to use all available, tax-sheltered savings plans such as pension plans, RRSPs and TFSAs. Less than 3% of wealthy individuals max out their RRSP, TFSAs and pensions.

The proposed adjustments to the tax laws that allow unlimited tax-sheltered accounts within a business over and above the limits that apply to everyone.

Levee Damoff in loom room

Pam Damoff letting a senior explain to her how a piece of equipment works.

Damoff says that: “If you own a business and are saving against a possible downturn or to invest in your business, these changes will not affect you. As I mentioned above, changes will only be applied on a go-forward basis – all existing savings for personal use in a business will be unaffected. Our proposals will only impact a business owner if the savings are used for personal use moving forward.”

Damoff points to a Special Employment Insurance Benefits that since 2010 have been made available to people self-employed on a voluntary basis. Prior to 2010 the self-employed were not eligible for any EI benefits. Now, however, for individuals on maternity leave (including small business owners), EI provides a 55% replacement rate on employment income, up to a maximum salary of $51,300.

Damoff encourages those who have questions to reach out to her office at or at 905-847-4043.

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Rivers gets the gift that keeps on giving - comments on an $8 million ask.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 1, 2017



It’s the gift that keeps on giving – for journalists anyway. I’m talking about Mike Duffy who has put himself back into the spot light by suing the Canadian government, RCMP and Senate for close to $8 million in total. One would think that once he had been acquitted on all 31 charges the RCMP had filed against him, the man would count his lucky stars and lay low.

Mike Duffy, toasting - on the public's dime?

Mike Duffy, toasting – on the public’s dime?

But not the Duff. Never shy of being a spectacle, he actually thinks we tax payers owe him something. First of all, being a senator is hardly a real job in any meaningful sense of the word. Even after Mr. Trudeau has tried to make that body of political hacks appear non-partisan, it is still a political body without a functional rationale. All the PM has done is further emasculate it – which is probably a good thing. And besides, when it comes to being owed salary, it wasn’t like Duffy was ever known for doing anything but attending Conservative party rallies.

Second, Mr. Duffy accepted the senate seat for PEI even though he wasn’t qualified. He apparently had pointed out that he really didn’t live there. But when it was PEI or nothing, he went for the lie and used his vacant cottage there as his pretext.

And then there were the expense claims. That he had to return bags of money is a pretty clear indication that even Duffy knew he was in the wrong. Sure the Senate rules may be fuzzy about entitlements for expenses, but he should have known he had been pulling a fast one.

Duffy + Judge

Mike Duffy and the Judge who sent him home.

He was a lucky man to find a judge who obviously felt sorry for him. Or perhaps, as was suggested in his decision, the judge needed to make the point that the RCMP had missed the real perpetrators – Mr. Harper and his henchmen in the Senate and the Prime Minister’s Office. And though Duffy was mainly just a patsy in the whole messy Senate-gate that is hardly an excuse.

So while Duffy may have been set free, nobody really believed that he was innocent. Except for Duffy, that is. So having been expelled from the Senate, he felt he was still owed his back pay and that riled the man. Whether righteous indignation or greed, or both, Duffy believes, that obtaining lots of taxpayer money will restore a reputation that he never had.

Duffy and the PM

Mike Duffy with Stephen Harper when he was Prime Minister; it was a contentious relationship.

It was the same argument that Omar Khadr, the former self-confessed terrorist, used to extract over $10 million from the taxpayers. He needed a big chunk of change to restore his reputation. What reputation? Duffy, was a retired journalist who was put into the Senate on a lie. His biggest contribution was in raising funds for the Conservative party, and he used his position to reward himself.

The RCMP had been suitably chastised for doing the PM’s bidding, instead of upholding the law of the land. And so they dropped the rest of the investigations against the other errant senators who had also padded their expense claims. And that was that bit of justice done.

In our post-Khadr Canada would anyone bet that those senators don’t also start suing for ‘damages’ to their reputations? And that would make the Senate even more a waste of money than it already is.

MikeDuffy smiling

Smiles – much to be happy about.

As for Duffy, if he gets his Senate back pay reinstated, he’d be lucky. But when going to court can be akin to rolling the dice at a casino, who knows? I recall watching former PM Mulroney following his admission of accepting envelopes of cash from that slimy Karlheinz Schreiiber character.

Going to court on this ridiculous $8 million claim might make good theatre and a nice diversion, but I’m guessing it would do as much good for Duffy’s reputation as the Oliiphant Commission did for Mulroney. And on the upside, were this matter actually allowed to go to court, Mr. Duffy might finally have to face real justice.

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:

Duffy’s Lawsuit –   Justice in the Trial –     Eight Million Cool Ones

Mulroney’s Inquiry –     Senate-Gate

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Casey Cosgrove passes away at the Carpenter Hospice.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

August 31st, 2017



We lost one of the really good ones.

A really special team - Casey Cosgrove and his supporters.

A really special team – Casey Cosgrove and his supporters.

Casey Cosgrove passed away at Carpenter Hospice where he was taken into their care on Monday.

Those of us who communicated with Casey on his Caring Bridge page knew the end was near when Bryna  sent out the most recent message.

She said at that time: “For those of you who follow this blog regularly, you may remember that we were told many years ago that the average life span of someone with his diagnosis was 18-24 months…and that was 6 years ago. We are truly thankful for not only all that extra time that we had to laugh with him, but that he was remarkably healthy and active for almost all of it.

The boys won the bet - the daughter got a kiiss and a pink mustache of her own.

The boys won the bet – the daughter got a kiss and a pink mustache of her own.

“We will take these days ahead to spend time together as a family and reflect and enjoy the moments we have with each other with as much positivity as we can.”
Much love…Bryna

This is the time to grieve the loss – tomorrow we can celebrate one of the really good ones.

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