City manager asks people to be kind - 'we are here to help you so let us do our jobs'

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 13th, 2021



It is disturbing when the City Manager feels he has to send out a message to the public asking people to be kind and considerate when dealing with people – adding a focus on the city staff he manages.

“We’re all in this pandemic together – Please be kind.

Tim Commisso H&S 2

A very poor quality screen shot of City Manager Tim Commisso taking part in a virtual Council meeting. He must be working out of a very uncomfortable location.

“We get it. We’re in another Provincial State of Emergency that includes a Stay-at-Home Order, with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19. People are tired of having to stay home, wear masks, wash their hands a lot and anxious about vaccines.

“This is why it is more important than ever to be patient and be kind to your neighbours, fellow residents and workers that serve you in our community.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, the health and well-being of our community and staff has been and continues to be the City of Burlington’s top priority.

“The City continues to coordinate efforts to protect the public and staff from the spread of COVID-19, while maintaining essential City services.

“We ask that you be considerate and kind to City staff doing their jobs. Frontline City personnel have been working tirelessly to serve the public, despite the risk, throughout this pandemic and City staff continue to work remotely whenever possible to ensure seamless delivery of programs and services.

“Under the City’s Zero Tolerance Policy and as part of the City’s social media commenting guidelines, unacceptable, abusive behavior will not be tolerated. Words hurt: Using abusive language can have a direct and harmful impact on the people who are doing their best to help you.

“As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority.

“We are all in this together. We’re here to help you so let us do our jobs by being respectful and following the rules and bylaws that are in place to protect us all.”

“We are all in this together” – apparently some don’t appear able to get that message.

Return to the Front page

New Democrats want teachers and child care workers vaccinated while schools are closed

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 13th, 2021



The New Demorats came out swinging today – they too want to ensure that teachers are vaccinated before they return to school – whenever that is.

Clearly the teacher vote is up for grabs – the Liberals want to do the same thing.

And, if students are mini virus spreaders taking what they have at home to school and they taking what they pick up at school it would make sense to vaccinate the teachers.

Let’s put some data behind those assumptions – and if the science is there – for heavens sake vaccinate them. There won’t be a better time to get the job done,

“Vaccinating teachers now is a critical step if Ontario hopes to keep child care centres open, and to re-open schools safely said Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Andrea Horwath

Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Horwath’s call comes after Doug Ford ordered schools closed indefinitely, and families and early childhood educators express fears that child care could be shut down next.

The Leader of the Opposition continues: “Child care workers are frontline heroes. They have been looking after little ones — especially the children of essential workers — during the shutdown of schools, and they are worried about their safety as the third wave worsens. And we know teachers and education workers are anxious to get their vaccines before returning to classrooms,” said Horwath. “Meanwhile, students and parents are bracing for another round of school closures with no end in sight. An action plan would give everyone hope for a safe return to daily life.

Andrea_Horwath 2

Andrea Horwath: If called upon – could she form a government?

“Doug Ford marched us right back into another classroom shutdown because he didn’t want to spend the money on education,” said Horwath. “I believe our children’s safety is worth the investment. If I were premier, I’d be vaccinating teachers, education and child care workers now, and I’d be making urgent investments in a safe return to schools.”

Despite several regions shutting down all schools prior to this week, there were 12,280 school-based COVID-19 infections in the last 14 days, plus 913 cases in child care centres.


Return to the Front page

Ward 4 Councillor talks to her constituents virtually - covers a lot of ground

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 13th, 2021



Members of Council are working out new approaches to meeting with their constituents.

With the next election not that far away the need to thicken the relationship with the voters becomes essential.

News anal REDWard 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte had made a practice of setting up a couple of coffee urns and lets her people know that you could find her at Denningers early Saturday morning on a specific date. People got to know and would drop by with their issues – sometimes a decent crowd sometimes just a couple. The point was she was available –and it worked.

Covid put a stop to that approach. Stolte, ever the innovator, decided she would hold virtual events – held one last night that went well.

opening screenThey are not the “anyone can drop in” type of event. You had to register and if you lived in the ward Stolte’s assistant would send you a link that got you in the door as it were.

The Gazette was told that these were not public events per se – they were open only to people in the ward.

Earlier in the day we had a conversation with a person who had bought a property in the Pinewood Cove area and was having a very difficult time getting the changes he wanted to make to a property he bought before moving in – he wasn’t able to get the clearances he needed. .
He didn’t, technically live in the ward and didn’t think attending would do much for him. He did take part in the Zoom event last night but finds himself no further ahead.

Stolte explained that things were not moving as well as everyone wanted them to in the Planning department and getting a building permit was close to impossible. They are seriously understaffed when it came to getting building permits. Stolte explained the One Window approach that was being created – that single window meant that anyone going to the Building permit people would be assigned a Project “manager” who would shepherd their project from start to finish.

As Stolte explained – they weren’t quite there yet – which is really not good customer service. Someone needs to rattle some chains and clear out the backlog so that people can get on with living their lives.

This particular individual said he has been told that there are no problems with his application – it is just going to take time to move it through the process. He has his trades people lined up but fears he is looking at a winter build – there is no word on just when the “being there” would occur.

Stolte gave a quick overview of what the budget looks like – where the money goes and where Council was able to do some cost cutting.

budget infographic


Unfortunately Stolte, like almost everyone else at city hall, has swallowed the Kool Aid when it comes to explaining the tax increase.. The tax increase this year is 2.5% – which is true. She then explained that the tax figure is an averaging of the amount of taxes that are paid to the Region and to the school boards. Burlington does all the collecting.

What she didn’t explain was that city Councillors have absolutely no influence on the school board tax; they have some influence on the Regional tax but Burlington has just 7 of the 24 Regional Council votes.

Burlington council members decide on what the city tax rate is going to be and this year it went from 2.99 in 2020 to 4.14 in 2021.  Finance has projected something int the order of 5% for 2022

To use the 2.25 %number as the 2021 tax increase is misleading – dishonest actually and is a habit the bureaucrats and the politicians need to put an end to.

A lot of time was spent on the housing initiative the city has taken on. It appears to be shaping up as the issue Mayor Meed Ward will use as the strongest election platform plank come May of 2022 when election campaigning can start. The rest of Council will jump on that band wagon.

Housing at a price that younger people can afford is an issue – Council has spent a lot of time crafting policies and procedures that they expect will get the city to the point where they will have a plan they can put before the public, Hard to argue with something that could put people in badly needed decently price accommodation.

Councillor Stolte looking for a response to her motion - put forward last April

Councillor Stolte looking for a response to her motion.

Meed Ward at BSCI

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Stolte made it clear that the city will not be building homes – what they want to do is create an approach to providing homes that are badly needed. They talk in terms of working with different stakeholders, collaborating with people who have a strong interest in housing – perhaps making some city owned land available to a group who, under the right circumstances, would build homes that would be “attainable”

Is it a pig in a poke? Far too early to tell.

The organizational structure is a compromise with what council wanted and what the city manager said he could work with.

There is a Steering Group and a Working Group.

Commisso stare

City Manager Tim Commisso

Every idea will be run through the Steering Group, which will not have any council representation and will be chaired by the City Manager, will however tell council about every idea they looked at.

The working group will be made up of 20 people. At this point we know that the Mayor and Councillors Stolte and Sharman will be on that committee. The rest of the spots are open to people who apply.

Just what the working group is going to do is not clear but there will be about 20 people on it.

City Staff are assembling a Working Group in support of the Housing Strategy to advise on local issues, be champions for the Housing Strategy and to provide key insights from a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and expertise. If you are interested, please fill out the form

The Steering Group is in the process of hiring a consultant and has a budget of $250,000

What is really happening is this – Burlington has decided to horn in on what is a Regional responsibility. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

There is a lot of confusion about just what affordable housing is and who gets it. There is a very clear, but complicated formula that determines if a family or a person qualifies for assisted housing – something they can afford,

Affordable had a connotation that it was welfare housing – the people involved in this new initiative needed a new name – the bureaucrats and the politicians have solved that problem. The have coined the word “attainable’ meaning that the properties would be attainable if the price or cost is low enough.

Co-op housing has been doing that for decades with deep support from CMHC. But with co-ops the residents don’t have any equity – which means they are not in the housing game and able to take advantage of the fabulous property price increases that we have seen in the past year.

Stolte explained that the initiative that has everyone a flutter is a made in Burlington approach to a Burlington problem.   Housing” she explained, “ is not just a building people live in – it is about community and community is very much what this council is all about.

A draft public engagement plan will be presented to Council late May or June.

This is a significant new policy initiative that reflects the views and aspirations of this Council.  It needs to be watched very carefully – the intentions are laudable – the execution of those intentions is the concern.

Related news stories:

The affordable housing issue.

A virtual meeting where the public had some input.

City wants to get into the housing game   Part of a series

Return to the Front page

Word from Blue Jays is that someone from Burlington could win half a million - think the team should focus on winning the game - they are up against the Yankees

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

April 13th, 2021



Blue Jau 50-50 Tomorrow night, one Blue Jays fan in Ontario will win a minimum half million dollars with Jays Care’s first virtual 50/50 jackpot of the 2021 Blue Jays season. Fans 18 years of age and older in Burlington can join Blue Jays fans in the fun and get their tickets for this massive online 50/50 at

All funds raised through the draw will support Ontario kids and families who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This builds off a proud history of Jays Care’s community impact I Burlington with a local Challenger Baseball league running in the community.

Jays Care Foundation’s MLB-leading 50/50 draws are back! Celebrate the start of the Blue Jays season by getting your tickets for the season-opening draw, with a minimum guaranteed jackpot of $500.000.

Sales are open through 10 p.m. on April 14th following the Blue Jays home game against the New York Yankees. Join fans across Ontario in the excitement of virtual 50/50 and get your tickets HERE now.

All funds raised through the draw will support kids and communities as they safely emerge from the pandemic. Support Jays Care and get your tickets now!

Must be 18+ and located in Ontario to purchase.

Return to the Front page

Crime Stoppers offering top reward for help in arresting human traffickers and drug dealers

Crime 100By Staff

April 13th, 2021



It is such a hideous crime – Human Trafficking – the exploitation of people.

Crime Stoppers of Halton, in collaboration with the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) and the Halton Police Board, are bringing awareness of opioid/fentanyl drug trafficking within the Halton region, with an enforcement campaign.

From now until June 1, 2021, Crime Stoppers of Halton will take anonymous tips about opioid/fentanyl drug traffickers operating in Halton. If an arrest is made of a trafficker from your tip, you will be guaranteed the maximum $2000 reward.

In 2021, the HRPS has already responded to more than 80 suspected overdoses, 18 of which were fatal.

Jan Westcott

Crime Stoppers of Halton Chair Jan Westcott

Crime Stoppers of Halton Chair, said, “It’s time for Crime Stoppers, together with other community organizations, to aggressively tackle the scourge of opioid overdoses and deaths. Crime Stoppers of Halton intends to play a leading role in this effort.”

Crime stoppers logo“Opioids are increasingly common in Halton and have a high potential to be lethal” says Colin Jessome, Executive Director of Crime Stoppers. “We want to hear from you. If you know of someone trafficking these drugs please reach out to Crime Stoppers of Halton. Together we can remove these traffickers from Halton”

Visit Crime Stoppers -for more info or to submit a tip. You can also call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Contacting Crime Stoppers guarantees that you will remain anonymous and will not need to testify in court.


Return to the Front page

Transit is asking its customers to use the buses only if necessary

News 100 redBy Staff

April 13th, 2021



Burlington Transit is asking its customer to use transit for essential travel.  If you are not well, stay home and stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires – those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

A very strict bus cleaning protocol is in place.

Burlington Transit buses have been sprayed with the AEGIS Microbe Shield.  Staff completed the most recent application on April 11, 2021 as part of our enhanced bus cleaning protocols.  We also clean each vehicle daily.

Our buses have been sprayed which includes

  • Arm rests
  • Grips and grab bars
  • Head rests
  • Seat back and bottom cushions
  • Stanchions
  • Stop pull cords and buttons
  • Windowsills and window panels

Services available

  • Regular bus service – visit our MyRide Real-time website for schedules
  • Specialized Dispatch is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for bookings
  • Downtown Terminal is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Boarding Buses and Fares

Don’t leave home without it – and don’t lose it.

Don’t leave home without it – and don’t lose it.

Board buses from the front doors and, if you can, exit by the rear doors. We are collecting fares and recommend touchless fare payment using a PRESTO card.

Wearing a Mask is Mandatory

Non-medical masks or face coverings are mandatory.

Mandatory masks and face coverings help to keep customers and staff safe.

For more information on non-medical masks and face coverings, visit the Government of Canada Non-medical masks and face coverings page.


Return to the Front page

Back to remote learning when the Spring Break ends

News 100 redBy Staff

April 12th, 2021



The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has made the difficult decision to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning following the April break. This move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

intensive prep covid

Medical professionals are being pushed beyond the limits – with triage decisions possible in the weeks ahead.

“We are seeing a rapidly deteriorating situation with a record number of COVID cases and hospital admissions threatening to overwhelm our health care system,” said Premier Ford. “As I have always said we will do whatever it takes to ensure everyone stays safe. By keeping kids home longer after spring break we will limit community transmission, take pressure off our hospitals and allow more time to rollout our COVID-19 vaccine plan.”

With appropriate measures in place, schools have been safe places for learning throughout the pandemic, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health and have demonstrated low rates of in-school transmission. However, increasing rates of community spread pose a threat to the health and safety of school communities. As a result, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the April break on April 19, 2021.

empty classroom

Classrooms will remain empty – for how long? Depends on how well the public learns to listen.

Private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15, 2021. This action is being taken in support of the Government’s broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and health officials will be consulted to determine when it will be safe to resume in-person learning.

Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided. To protect the most vulnerable, boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.

“This was not a decision we made lightly, as we know how critical schools are to Ontario students. Our priority has always been to keep schools open, however sharply rising community transmission can put our schools and Ontario families at risk,” said Minister Lecce. “While Ontario’s plan has kept schools safe, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we are taking decisive and preventative action today to ensure students can safely return to learning in our schools.”

Case rates, hospitalizations, and ICU occupancy are increasing rapidly, threatening to overwhelm the health care system. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province have increased by 22.1 per cent between the period of April 4 and 10, 2021.
In addition, during this same period of time, Ontario has seen

the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care increase from 494 to 605.

Since April 8, the province has been under a provincewide Stay-at-Home order, requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise with your household in your home community, or for work that cannot be done remotely. As Ontario’s health care capacity is threatened, the Stay-at-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures, will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.

Ford Apr 12 schools closed

One has to wonder how much longer Doug Ford can get up every day and continue to tell the people that he is doing everything he can and pleading with people to say home as he watches the numbers of infections rise.

With students moving to remote learning, vaccine prioritization of education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province, and all education workers in select hot spot areas, starting with Peel and Toronto, will continue. Starting today, special education workers across the province and education workers in Peel and Toronto hot spots will be eligible to register for vaccination by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1 833 943 3900. More information is available at

It is critically important that as Ontarians receive the vaccine, everyone continues to wear a mask, maintain physical distancing when outside of their immediate household and frequently wash their hands. As well, continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested if symptoms are present.

“As we continue to see rapid growth in community transmission across the province, it is necessary to take extra precautions and measures to ensure the continued health and safety of students, teachers and their families,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “As the fight against this third wave of the pandemic continues, everyone must continue following all public health and workplace safety measures and stay at home to prevent further transmission of the virus, so we can once again resume in person learning in our schools.”

Lecce Miniter of Education

Minister of Education: Stephen Lecce

Steven Del Duca,  the Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party who has yet to earn a seat in the Legislature said in a prepared statement that:  “Just yesterday, Minister Lecce wrote to parents telling them that all publicly funded schools would remain open after the April Break. One day later, Doug Ford is closing them for weeks. The in-fighting between Doug Ford and his education minister is putting our children and education workers at risk, and Lecce should be fired for it.”

“It’s time for Doug Ford to adopt our Ontario Liberal plan, which includes capping class sizes at 15, investing in urgent repairs to ventilation in classrooms, and vaccinating all education workers over the April Break so that schools can be safe and stay open for good after this closure. It’s time to end Doug Ford’s chaos once and for all by making schools safe.”

And doesn’t Doug Ford wish that it was that easy.

Return to the Front page

QR Code Provide Easy Access to COVID-19 Webpage

News 100 redBy Staff

April 12th, 2021



The evolution of health measures, recommendations, guidance and legislation pertaining to COVID-19 has proved challenging to keep up with. For this reason, the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is using QR (Quick Response) code technology to keep its officers and community better informed with up-to-date and accurate information regarding COVID-19.

The HRPS has created a QR code that is available to frontline officers, which provides them with direct access to a page on the website that warehouses links to the following:

• The province’s Zone and Restrictions (and public health measures associated with each zone)
• The provincial COVID-19 response framework
• The Halton Region Public Health COVID-19 webpage
• The Halton Region Public Health COVID-19 Vaccines webpage
• City of Burlington COVID-19 webpage
• Town of Halton Hills COVID-19 webpage
• Town of Milton COVID-19 webpage
• Town of Oakville COVID-19 webpage
• The phone number for the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 enforcement hotline

With efficient access to this information, our officers are better equipped to respond to COVID-19-related questions and incidents within our communities.

Halton Regional Police Services Chief Tanner wants to tweet with you.

Halton Regional Police Services Chief Stephen Tanner .

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner explains: “This past year of living through COVID-19 has been unprecedented. As our understanding of how the virus is transmitted evolved, legislation, by-law and public health recommendations shifted quickly and frequently. Recognizing that it can be difficult to keep track of these changes, we believe we’ve found a way to facilitate.

I’m proud that our members arrived at an innovative solution that allows for easy access to provincial, regional and municipal updates relating to COVID-19, as well as the latest updates on the Regional vaccine rollout. It is important that we leverage technology at this time to best inform and protect the public that we serve.”

A copy of the QR code has been made available and is attached to this release.QR code HRPS

© Halton Regional Police Service Headquarters 2485 North Service Road West, Oakville, Ontario, L6M 3H8

Return to the Front page

City plans for summer parking problems in the Beachway

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 12th 2021



City Council spent three days last week on a lot of business that covered everything.

We fell a bit behind – promise to get caught up the next few days.

Vito Tolone Dir Transportation

Vito Tolone, Director of Transportation – plagued by parking problems – while he stick handles a Master Plan for Cycling.

Parking was on the agenda – this is Burlington after all. Director of Transportation Vito Tolone mentioned that checking on parking meters downtown is a “little lax” right now. You get 90 minutes for 25 cents as it is – little point in having bylaw people checking on those that stick around for longer.

The parking in the Beachway got a lot of attention. Much discussion on using concrete block to keep vehicles from parking – Mayor wanted flower boxes instead – thinks the concrete is ugly. But the flower boxes are expensive. Armour stone appears to be the option of choice – however the Parks and Recreation department thinks there might be an opportunity to engage the public by holding painting contests to see who can come up with the nicest art for the concrete blocks..

Councillor Sharman was running the numbers while Council members debated the merits of the different options.

Whatever they decide on – people will be asked to pay $20 to park all day, or $2.50 an hour.

The better minds at city hall are looking for ways to create a discount for those who live in Halton Region – the Beachway is Regional Park so whatever discount is available has to be for people from all four municipalities.

Staff and Council members expect the Beachway to be a major attraction making parking an issue – it was certainly that last summer.

Beachway - no cars parked

There are going to be a number of ways to prevent people from parking. Among the options are concrete blocks – flower boxes and Armour Stone.

The Communications people are being asked to come up with a way to tell the hordes that are expected that parking will be limited but parking in the downtown core will be free and there is a bus line that runs from the John Street terminal right through the Beachway. They are thinking of creating drop-off areas for people who want to let passengers out while the driver goes hunting for a parking space.

The city will have Park Ambassadors who will travel in pairs explain and advising people on what they can do and can’t. Word is that they will have distinctive uniforms. Fashionable maybe.

It all goes to Council later this month where final decisions get made.

More to come for sure.

Return to the Front page

Liberals put their election platform in place - expect to vote in the not too distant future

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

April 12th, 2021



A record breaking 4000 Canadians participated in the Liberals’ fully virtual 3 day, 60 hour, biennial policy convention this past weekend. And 26 policy resolutions were adopted including; a national pharmacare program, a universal basic income (by a vote of 491-85), and national standards for long term care, as the top three priorities. These now become party policy.

trudeau Justin

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Mr. Trudeau delivered a blistering closing address which looked every bit like a pre-election stump speech. Trudeau claims he has no interest in an election at this time. But the polls are good for the Liberals, Canadians are finally seeing vaccines arrive, and the opposition is divided.

Erin O’Toole is battling his own party of climate change deniers, and a-woman’s-right-to-choose is the ghost still haunting the party. Then Mr. O’Toole has some suicidal issues of his own making; namely, bringing back assault weapons and killing the CBC.

The new Green Party leader finds herself in a tussle with the party’s old guard amid accusations of racism. The NDP is struggling to find an issue on which it can out-left the Liberals, and their leader has faded into the background and become the de facto silent partner in the Liberal minority government. And Trudeau must know that every single election during COVID has returned the incumbents, and even propelled a few into a majority position.

Mr. O’Toole is calling for a public inquiry into Canada’s response to the pandemic. That piece of theatre could spell trouble for Mr. Trudeau, given his government’s failings in border control, as recently reported by the Auditor General. Still the Liberals claim they’d welcome such an inquiry. Perhaps they figure it would allow them to focus on the failures of the provinces.

At the outset the provinces rejected Trudeau’s offer of invoking the federal emergency measures act and claimed jurisdiction over administering public health measures to keep the epidemic in check. And they have largely failed, repeatedly, except in Atlantic Canada, allowing this country to recently surpass the US in new COVID infection rates.

Given that most of the provincial premiers are political allies of Mr. O’Toole – one could ask where his voice was in any of this. And in an election Trudeau would claim credit for the economic measures he introduced: workers sick pay, wage subsidies and CERB; which just about everyone supported.

Trudeau has been pretty consistent at following through on his party’s resolutions. Cannabis legalization is a case in point. And he even tried to implement electoral reform before giving up and breaking his promise of change. But he has expressed dislike for the universal basic income policy which almost everyone else in his party wants. So people may be wondering whether Mr. Trudeau is really as liberal as one would expect given his record of financial deficits.


Mark Carney comes out of the closet – he’s a Liberal

The keynote address by former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney got the Liberal chattering class excited. Would he make a suitable replacement for Mr. Trudeau were the Liberals to lose the next election? Carney, who has finally come out of the closet to announce his liberalism, would bring a huge amount of financial credibility to a government now running up massive debt. Perhaps this could be another Paul Martin moment – someone loved by both liberals and fiscal conservatives.


Chrystia Freeland,, Minister of Finance preparing a budget that will set new deficit records ?

And speaking of money, Canada’s current finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, talked about a window of political opportunity for her pet initiative, a universal child care program. Among the other resolutions were a couple demanding a Canadian ‘green new deal’ and a post pandemic ‘green’ recovery. And, interestingly, the fourth priority item called for a high speed rail network.

All of these progressive measures will involve some new spending and Canada is already heavily into the red just from all the pandemic security blanket measures. So it was discouraging that relatively pocket-book painless resolutions to increase capital gains taxation and introduce an inheritance tax for estates valued over 2 million were defeated.

Perhaps the delegates think we can grow our way out of debt, or that we should wait for inflation to shrink the relative size of what we owe ourselves.

Chart April 10 0 covid

There wasn’t a lot of media coverage of either this event or the NDP convention on the same weekend. The front pages are mostly full of the passing of Prince Philip and the ongoing misery of COVID infections and deaths and the race against time to vaccinate our people. But, whether right or left or in the middle, media coverage of COVID has become more united and has coalesced around a common theme. Our governments have let us all down.

Still 4000 Canadians had enough faith in the future of the Liberal party to make their voices heard at this policy convention, even if it has to be conducted over the internet. And sadly even that number was smaller than the number of people who contracted viral infections in Ontario the day after the convention concluded.

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




Background links:

Liberal Convention –    Priority Resolutions –    Basic Annual Income

Green New Deal –   Mark Carney Coming Out –    Mark Carney

Our Governments Fail Us –    Ontario Failures –   Why Does Tam Still

Lockdowns Meaningless –   Public Health Canada Meltdown

Return to the Front page

What is it we aren't hearing - and why?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 12th, 2021



The weather was wonderful. Lots of people out and about.

I was driving south on John Street turning right onto Lakeshore where there were a good sized gathering of people sitting about. Traffic was a little clogged on Lakeshore – I was heading west to see what things looked like in the Beachway.

I was stunned by the number of people I saw sitting around – unmasked, side by side enjoying the sunshine.

Earlier in the day I was given the number of new infections reported by the province,

4456 new Covid19 cases.

The projection had been that we would reach 6000 new infections daily by the end of the month if we didn’t shut everything down.

Non-essential, elective surgery has stopped – the beds are needed for those who are very very sick due to Covid. My partner had her vaccination earlier in the week – she experiences  pain and tightness in her arm. You worry – are you Ok, because I don’t think we know what Ok is anymore.

We are in trouble.

Most of the people I saw were young – high school maybe. They live in Burlington – and we are safe in Burlington. It is those other people who live elsewhere and in circumstances that aren’t as good as they are in Burlington that have to worry.

True enough – but this virus travels and it seems to be able to find groups of five to ten people and settle in.

NHL hockey games are cancelled because a team member has a temperature.  One would think that those million dollar men on skates would be watched very closely and kept away from other people.

None of us are safe. That isn’t meant to be alarmist – it is the reality we have to live with.

That “abundance of caution” phrase is used by the politicians when they shut things down – it doesn’t appear to be something that most of us put in our pockets when we leave the house.

We are no longer able to gather as a “public” to express our concerns, offer our opinions or just enjoy the company of close friends. We learn of friends who have relatives facing critical health issues and we can’t drop by and visit with a casserole and some freshly baked bread in hand.

They miss out on needed support and we miss out by not being able to give that support. We are caring people put in a position where the opportunities to care get limited.

What is it we aren’t hearing?

And why?

Return to the Front page

Securing delivery of the vaccines and finding people who can actually govern are the biggest challenges we face

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 10th, 2021



Is there anyone saying the provincial government is doing a good job in managing the pandemic – the only people who are saying anything positive are the politicians. Their advisors have been pressing for stronger measures to stop the spread of  Covid19

Ontario is caught between a rock and a hard place. We don’t have any facilities where we can manufacture the virus and we are having problems getting the vaccines the federal government has ordered.


Managing the supply of the vaccines under contract isn’t working very well.

The federal government has contracts with just about every vaccine company but none of them are delivering on time.

There are delays upon delays. The supply was so short that the rate at which second doses of the vaccines was increased. Difficult to understand how the scientists can invent something and issue instruction saying the product should be applied four weeks apart and then, when the province finds they don’t have enough to deliver on that prescription – they make the second dose months later – and that seems to be OK.

It has to be because the supply just isn’t there.

Doug Ford covid t shirt

Listening to the advice of people who put the public ahead of politics is proving to be a challenge for the Premier.

The politicians are playing political games – Prime Minister says I sent you 2 million doses – and the Premier replies – sure you did – yesterday.

This is beginning to look and sound  like a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera.

We failed the seniors’ community, because the most of the long term care homes are run by the private sector where profits come before service.

We can of course vote the politicians out of office – any assurance that the next lot that get elected will be any better?

The public service is a good place to work. That sector however, seems to have forgotten what serving actually means.

There have been some upsides. The science community has performed, for the most part, superbly. They were able to come up a vaccine in a very short period of time. And the leadership from the science community has pressed the governments to listen.

Finding men and women who bring courage, tenacity and a belief that public service is a calling is the challenge for the rest of us. Hoping for the best isn’t going to be enough.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

Return to the Front page

Burlington grass is greener - Mayor helps out attracting new building official

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 10th, 2021



Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

Mayor Meed Ward – welcomes the best to the city

The Mayor sent out a note from her Linked In account today, touting how great it is to work for the city of Burlington and pointing to the need for a Manager of Building Inspections and Deputy Chief Building Official. Job pays between $112,000 and $140,000.

If you follow the links that are part of the message the Mayor sent out we learn that:

“As you look through our current job openings, remember: the grass is greener at the City of Burlington. With approximately 890 full-time and 600 part-time employees, we focus on teamwork, collaboration and investing in our co-workers. It’s no wonder our employee turnover rate is less than 7 per cent (that’s good). The City of Burlington is an award winning city, filled with award winning staff. In fact, we put the “greater” in the GTA.

Laura Boyd 2a

Laura Boyd, Director of Human Resources

“We surveyed our staff and the top reasons why they chose to work/stay with the City of Burlington are the location/commute, the people, benefits and pension. Burlington is located between three major highways, has three GO train stations, public transit, bike paths and change and shower facilities at all main working locations.

“As public servants, our job is to provide excellent public service and good value for taxes. Our staff know this and are proud of the work they do, because as Canada’s best mid-sized city, we’re second to none. Our staff are dedicated, caring, professional and award winning.

“We have excellent benefits and pension as well as flexible work arrangements such as work from home, job sharing/rotations and a compressed work week. If you want to join a forward-thinking organization, apply today. Come for the job, stay for the career. We’ve got it all.”

Having the Mayor out there touting the city is a good thing. And there area lot of exceptional people working at city hall.

A report from the Human Resources department in the not too distant past paints a bit of a different picture.

Links to related news content.

Is Burlington going to have to pay more to attract good people?

Boyd report: trouble in paradise

Return to the Front page

Covid19 infection numbers are still rising: 3813 new infections reported by the province this morning

News 100 redBy Staff

April 10th, 2021



Here is why we are under a Stay at Home order.

Chart April 10 0 covid

This is why there is a Stay at Home order

On Friday the Halton Public Health Unit reported:

Halton Region reports a record-setting 163 new cases of COVID-19 in one day

As of today,(Friday) Halton has administered over 100,000 doses of vaccine

The number of patients at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital have more than doubled in the last 10 days

Halton’s active cases have increased from 470 to 760 in one week; Total cases at schools in Halton are at an all-time high, with cases having doubled in the last week

Two-thirds of coronavirus outbreaks are either in a workplace or congregate living setting.

We know what the solution is:

graphic-covid- Mayor stay homeGet out for fresh air and exercise but wear a mask and keep that six foot distance.

Don’t meet with people that are not part of your family unit – that is people you are with all the time on a regular basis.

As of Friday her were 140 active cases, 50 deaths in Burlington since the start of the pandemic. Of the 2938 cases in Burlington 218 were variant versions of the virus.

On Friday the Joseph Brant Hospital announced that it was suspending elective surgeries.

Province wide – the figure reported by the province Saturday morning (today) was 3813 new infections.

Stay at home – and when you do go out keep your distance and wear a mask.

Related news story:

Joseph Brant Hospital announcement

Return to the Front page

Non-urgent pre-scheduled surgeries and procedures are put on hold at Joseph Brant hospital effective April 12

News 100 redBy Staff

April 9th, 2021



Joseph Brant Hospital is ramping down and postponing all non-urgent pre-scheduled surgeries and procedures effective Monday, April 12 in response to significant pressure on critical care bed capacity across the province. This decision follows the direction of Ontario Health.

Patients who have a scheduled procedure are being contacted directly by their care provider to confirm the status of their procedure, and are asked not to call the hospital. JBH is prioritizing cases based on the hospital’s patient-centered philosophy and ethical framework to ensure that non-deferrable, urgent activity is still completed and that the effects on patient outcomes are minimized.

Eric andewall TITLE

Eric Vandewall, President and CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital.

“Creating this additional inpatient capacity will help address the immediate needs of Ontario’s healthcare system at this critical time. We understand the impact that this will have on our patients and their families, as well as on our staff and physicians,” says Eric Vandewall, President and CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital.

“We will be continuously monitoring this rapidly evolving situation and will resume the scheduling of surgery and other procedures as soon as safely possible and in alignment with Ontario Health. I would like to thank our community for their continued understanding and cooperation.”

There are no other changes to current services at JBH at this time. JBH will continue to leverage virtual care technology for appointments, while providing on-site services based on need. The Halton Region Vaccination Clinic continues to provide COVID-19 immunization to eligible adults and the COVID-19 Assessment Centre is providing ongoing testing – both services by appointment only.

The hospital is also safe to provide emergency medical care and to allow access to essential care partners (ECPs) who are supporting patients under exceptional circumstances (one ECP permitted per visit). JBH adheres to the strictest infection prevention and control (IPAC) procedures, including entrance screening, environmental cleaning, PPE protocols as well as thorough disinfection and sterilization of medical equipment.


Return to the Front page

Civic Square is going to get a new look - to be completed sometime in 2025

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 9th, 2021



Lots of cash poured into the city today.

The federal government dropped $1.9 million while the province added its$1.6 million and the city will contribute $1.3 million for a total of $4.8 million.

We don’t recall any mention of the $1.3 million the city is putting into this being mentioned during the last budget.


Civic Square Dec 2018

Civic Square as it looks today – by the time the redesign is done in 2025 the high rise across the street will have a major impact on the look and feel of the space.

The funds are going to be spent on revitalizing the Civic Square.

A Zoom call was used to make the announcement with talking heads from the federal, provincial and municipal levels chimed in.

The technology didn’t work all that well but the message was clear – Burlington is going to have a much different looking Civic Square starting in 2025.

The plan is to engage with the public in 2023, do the design work in 2024 and put shovels in the ground in 2025

What was a little confusing is that during the Zoom call both MP Karina Gould and Mayor Meed Ward made mention of trees being planted and a new fountain – the existing fountain is to be replaced.

How do those decisions get made without public engagement?

Burlington city hall with clock

A former Director of Planning once described the building as “iconic”; dated would be a better description

Civic Square was in need of an upgrade. It was not really accessible and the look is dated.

When the talks about how the inside of the ground floor of city hall might get changed mention was made of a much more grand entrance to city hall.

One gets the suspicion that a lot of decisions have already been made.

Let’s wait and see what happens.

Related news stories:
The ground floor of city hall plans.

2019 plans for Civic Square – what happened to them?

The 2018 plans for Civic Square

Return to the Front page

Fraud Investigation Leads to Arrest and Multiple Charges

Crime 100By Staff

April 9th, 2021



HRPS crestThe Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) located and arrested a suspect wanted for multiple fraud charges dating back as far as 2017.On April 8, 2021, investigators with the HRPS Risk Mitigation Team located and arrested Christopher McSwain (40) of Gatineau QC in Ottawa.

He was arrested with assistance from the Ottawa Police Service. He has been charged with:

• Fraud Under $5000 (12 counts)

McSwain was held pending a bail hearing in Milton.

The Fraud charges relate to contracts entered by the accused from 2017-2019. These contracts with victims throughout Halton, Hamilton, Peel (and elsewhere in Ontario) were for snow removal services, roofing services and cottage rentals.

The contracts were signed under various company names including “Alton Village Landscaping Group” and “Brant Hills Landscape Group”.

Crime stoppers logoIf you believe you have been the victim of a fraud offence in Halton please contact the Fraud Intake Line at 905 465 8741.

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

Return to the Front page

City of Burlington services during the Provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order; Tyandaga Golf Course Opening

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 8th, 2021



The Province has announced a province-wide emergency and Stay-at-Home Order, with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Municipalities now have to find ways to give people places to go and things to do that make it possible to get out and get some fresh air and exercise without compromising the rules that are vital:  Wear masks – stay six feet away from people you do not know.

Spend your time with immediate family members and don’t be part of groups that are bigger than five people.

Outdoor exercise is considered essential for physical and mental health. Please use caution and follow all public health precautions.

golfer swingingTyandaga Golf Course
Tyandaga Golf Course is preparing for opening Saturday, April 10, 2021 with COVID-19 safety precautions in place to help keep both golfers and staff safe by minimizing the spread of the virus.
The course is in great shape and combines a perfect mix of urban convenience with rural beauty, natural waterways, contours and mature trees.

Players wishing to book a tee time can now book online at Booking by phone can be done starting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. by calling 905-336-0005.

New Rules and Operations
• Tyandaga will be open daily, 7 days a week, from 6:30 a.m. to close
• Tee times can be booked online through and by phone only, no walk-in green fees
• Only credit card or debit cards will be accepted for payments (no cash)
• Food and beverage services will be limited to window take-out service only. Dining area is closed
• No tournaments at this time
• At this time, Clubhouse will be closed except for washrooms and pro-shop area. Only one guest allowed in pro-shop and washroom at a time
• All power carts are equipped with dividers for player safety. Masks are mandatory to be worn while in the power cart, if not from the same household
• Lessons and rental clubs currently not available
• Practice greens and practice chipping areas are open
• Sand bunker rakes have been removed. Any shots in the bunker are a free drop
• All high-contact surfaces are regularly sanitized such as the payment terminals, all service-related surfaces, power carts and bathrooms

The tee times for the next two weeks are fully booked.  The Junior membership has been closed – a flood of new membership applications  took up all the spots that were available.

Waterfront Trail - from east - few peopleParks and Trails
City-run parks, playgrounds, skateboard parks, Bocce Ball Court and trails are open. Residents are reminded to stay off all artificial turf fields (that are locked and closed) and to stay six feet away from anyone not in your household. Wearing a mask is also strongly recommended.

Please be courteous to all visitors and help keep the parks clean by taking all your garbage home for proper disposal. Please note most park washrooms are not yet opened for the season, please plan accordingly.

Team sports on fields will be cancelled as there are no permitted activities at this time. Outdoor amenities can be used for casual use.

Participants for community sport and recreation rentals are advised to check in with their organization directly for more information.

We ask that you cooperate with others using outdoor spaces and follow all COVID-19 health precautions and posted signage. If the outdoor recreational space is busy, please try another outdoor recreational amenity in the city or come back at a different time. Please be kind to one another, remain vigilant and stay safe. For a list of opportunities available in Burlington (weather permitting) visit

Outdoor Play Spaces
All playgrounds, skateboard parks, Bocce Ball Court are open.

Sport Courts and Ball Hockey Courts
Sport courts and ball hockey courts are open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for 30-minute, first come, first serve usage. Masks must be worn when not playing, and highly recommended during play. Two-meter physical distancing is required at all times.

Aldershot tennisOutdoor Courts
All outdoor tennis and pickleball courts are open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for 30-minute, first come, first serve usage. Masks must be worn when not playing, and highly recommended during play. Two-meter physical distancing is required at all times.

Lending Library
Play Equipment – Horseshoes, glow in the dark soccer balls, Kanjam, washer toss, tennis, Spikeball and more are available to borrow. Visit

Pickleball Equipment – Borrow pickleball equipment for free (deposit required), including noise-reducing paddles, ball packs and portable nets that can be used anywhere. Visit

TelePALS, is a free phone service designed to help adults stay connected as everyone practices physical distancing to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Through TelePALS, users can participate in free, over-the-phone programs, including Chat Groups, Listen and Learn, Game Shows, Ask the Expert and Listen for Enjoyment.

All programs available through TelePALS can be viewed online at

Active at Home
Stay active at home with our virtual activities online from fitness to crafts for everyone to enjoy. Learns more at

Recreation Services and Facilities
City of Burlington indoor recreation facilities are closed, and all in-person Spring Session 1 programs are cancelled, including Spring Break Camps and PA Day Camps. Virtual and TelePAL programs will continue as planned. Recreation Services staff are contacting user groups, renters and program participants affected by these changes. An exception applies for user groups who provide childcare, they are able to continue during the emergency brake as per the Provincial Guidelines.

Residents are asked to please be patient during this time as it will take two to four weeks for staff to process the large volume of cancellations.

Those who paid using a credit card will receive a pro-rated refund to their card where possible. This applies to rentals and program participants. All other payment methods will receive a credit to their recreation account.

Cheque refunds can be requested by emailing Please be sure to include your full mailing address in your request. Individuals with questions can follow up with their sport provider or user group or call Recreation Services customer service at 905-335-7738.

Return to the Front page

City Staff performing very well after a full year of running a city while a Pandemic plagues that at almost every step

graphic community 3By Pepper Parr

April 8th, 2021



Tom Commisso

City manager Tim Commisso in his Pandemic bunker

It was exactly one year ago today that City Manager Tom Commisso and his staff began the practice of giving city Councillors a verbal update on how the city was coping with Covid19 pandemic.

It has been quite a roller coaster ride for all of them.

Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Glenn has learned to do a pivot within a pivot as he and his staff struggle to deal with how they are going to make the parks and recreation facilities available to the public when the rules get changed.

He is no longer "acting"; it's now the real deal as Chris Glenn gets appointed the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

Chris Glenn  Director of Parks and Recreation for the city. Doing pivots within pivots.

Glenn started the week being in a modified lock down mode – worked within those rules only to find that the province is now in a Stay at Home mode with being told to stay in their homes – but to also get out and get some exercise and maintain a semblance of mental health.

The only place you can walk and enjoy yourself is the public parks with Spender Smith being a magnet for most people.

So the crowds arrive – expected to wear masks and maintain the six foot distance rule and don’t be part of a group of more than five people

Glenn’s park experience as a young man was as a lifeguard at swimming pools. Not something that would prepare him for the current assignment.

What we are seeing is a staff that is much more in control of what they have to do and thinking several months ahead and trying to anticipate what they might have to do.

Councillors are in closer touch with the constituents and working hard to get the answers to questions.

Plains Road; an old suburban highway transitions into a vibrant urban main street.

Plains Road; an old suburban highway transitions into a vibrant urban main street with flower beds in place

Last year the city put plants in less than half of the 130 plant beds in the city.

This year they will have plants in every bed – assuming they can call back the part time staff that were doing this work. Many of them have moved on to other job opportunities.

What is visible is how Staff have upped their game to meet demands that change by the day – at times by the hour.

Staff are coming back with solutions to problems they didn’t even know existed.

Much more to tell about just how they are doing this.

Return to the Front page

City using phrase 'until further notice' to explain the length of the Stay at Home order

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 8th, 2021



CITY HALL CobaltIt appears that we have another one of those left hand not talking to the right hand situations.

The province announced the third Stay at Home order and said it was in place for four weeks.

So we all buckle down and make the best of a tough situation

Late yesterday the city of Burlington put out a notice saying:

Beginning Thursday, April 8 at 12:01 a.m. a province-wide declaration of emergency and a stay-at-home order are in effect to help control the spread of COVID-19. This will be in place for all regions of Ontario, including Halton Region, until further notice.

And just what does “until further notice” mean?

The communications people at city hall just have to do a better job than this.

Return to the Front page