One nut case and one provincial cabinet minister who seem to think that the rules don't apply to them - great notes to end the year on

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

An Ontario politician who has already been charged once for disobeying COVID-19 rules is blatantly breaking them again.

MPP Randy Hillier posted a photo on Twitter Sunday showing himself and 14 other people at what appears to be a holiday celebration. He used the hashtag “#nomorelockdowns” to accompany the photo, which shows disregard for Ontario’s public health guidelines.

In another tweet, he confirmed the photo was taken Dec. 27.

Ontario has been in a province wide lockdown since Dec. 26, put in place to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and ease the strain on the province’s health-care system.

Announcing the lockdown last week, Premier Doug Ford said it was a necessary measure to save hospitals from becoming overwhelmed in upcoming weeks. Currently, no indoor social gatherings are allowed, except for those with members of the same household.

Hillier Randy MPP

Randy Hillier, MPP for an Eastern Ontario riding had been expelled from the Tory Caucus, is still pushing back over the Covid rules.

Ontarians found guilty of hosting illegal private gatherings can face a fine ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, according to the Reopening Ontario Act.

In November, Hillier said on Twitter he was charged for his role organizing a large gathering at Queen’s Park in Toronto. He has opposed lockdowns and masks and has promoted a debunked pandemic conspiracy theory in the Ontario legislature.

Ford previously called the MPP “totally irresponsible” for the protest. The premier said he’s “never figured out” anti-maskers who believe COVID-19 is a hoax, saying, “this is a very serious virus we’re seeing … around the world, around our country.”

People on Twitter have called for Hillier to resign.

This comes after more than 40 local physicians signed an open letter to Hillier in December, fact-checking his incorrect claims about COVID-19.

“You are spreading misinformation that minimizes the seriousness of COVID-19 to support your personal anti- lockdown and anti-mask beliefs,” Dr. Jeanette Dietrich wrote.

“I urge the public to ignore you and heed the advice of trained health care professionals. Continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, and keep everyone safe.”

The above was picked up from Huffington Post Canada.

St Barts

Described as The Island for Billionaires St. Barts was the holiday destination for the province’s Minister of Finance while the rest of Ontario is under a month long lock down.

It gets worse. We learned today that the Ontario Minister of Finance, Rob Phillips,  had slipped out of the country early in December to the Caribbean island of St. Barts to celebrate the holidays in the sunny, sunny south.

Premier Ford, said he was not aware the Minister had left the county and ordered him to return immediately.

ROD pHILLIPS

Rod Phillips, was once the Minister of the Environment and moved into Finance. He was at one time the Chair of Post Media. His is going to have to get some media help to get out the mess he is in now.

The Minister did leave for his holiday, which had been planned sometime before the lock down was put in place.

While out of the country his staff was sending out tweets which implied that he was still in the country serving the public.

An example of really sick hypocrisy.

Durham Region, where Phillips’ constituency is located, entered into the “control” phase of Ontario’s tiered lockdown system in late November. Public health guidance for this phase says trips outside of the home “should only be for essential reasons.”

Tweets from Phillips’ official Twitter account reminded Ontarians on Christmas Eve to thank the “special heroes” making sacrifices during the pandemic.

“As we all make sacrifices this #Christmas, remember that some of our fellow citizens won’t even be home for Christmas dinner over Zoom,” the tweet reads.

“Thousands of front line heroes will be at work, looking out for us.”

stocks -

There was a time when Stocks were set up in public places where offenders against public morality formerly sat imprisoned, with their legs held fast beneath a heavy wooden yoke. It was never outlawed – just fell out of favour. Might be time to bring it back

Several photos of Phillips on public visits to small businesses and fundraisers were taken before his trip and were tweeted while he was abroad.

The only thing we haven’t heard from the Minister are the words “Let them eat cake”.

The Premier should think in terms of firing Phillips.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds of young people have had to cancel wedding plans because of the 10 person limit lock down requirement for gatherings of people.

With hundreds dying from Covid there are literally thousands who will not be able to attend funerals for the departed.

What I am looking for is a word stronger than ‘hypocrisy’. Putting Phillips in stocks on the lawn outside the Legislature might be an appropriate punishment.

The bigger damage is to the concept of public service which used to be something that was seen as noble. The giving of one’s self to serve the public, which is certainly what those thousands of hospital workers who care for those with COVID-19 are doing, gets trashed by people like Phillips.

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.

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A full moon and common sense don't seem to mix

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is something about the strength of a full moon – the tug it has on our emotions and the impact it has on the earth.

Unfortunately that gravitational force does not bring any common sense with it.

full moon dec 29

A full moon in the process of rising over the city

One Gazette reader learned that the 6 foot social distance had been reduced to 3 feet for some – and the moon had nothing to do with it.

“Saw a family of cousins, aunts and uncles greeting on the street, mask-less, hugging and exclaiming, “So nice to see you again”, while the cousins piled into a van.”

Our reader suggests that family might want to touch base with each other around the 9th of January and ask how they feel.

The vaccine exists – but we have to be inoculated with it before it can do any good.

I am sure that most people listen for the number the province publishes on how many new infections are reported and how many deaths are recorded.

Adhering to what the lock down requires us to do individually is not always easily – but it is the only way we can stop the spread of the virus.

There is no rocket science to what we have to do. The rocket science has already taken place – the vaccine was determined and manufactured in record time.

We now wait for the next full moon and see what the governments report.

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Brant hospital worker first to be vacinated

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday, Joseph Brant Hospital’s first health care worker received the hospital’s first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine was administered at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH), the Vaccination Centre designated for Halton Region.

JBMH president Eric Vandewall is reported to be working on his schedule and aking tme to meet with the city. Dinner with senior city staff was a good start.

Eric Vandewall, President & CEO Joseph |Brant Hospital

“All Joseph Brant Hospital Staff and Physicians celebrate this important milestone in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Eric Vandewall, President & CEO.

“After many months fighting against COVID-19, it is a remarkable moment our teams are recognizing.

However, we must be vigilant in following the safety measures, to protect our community, our vulnerable populations and our front-line health care workers for many months to come.”

After Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Ontario moved to rollout the vaccine to health care workers in high-risk settings, at 17 hospital vaccine delivery sites. OTMH is the Vaccination Centre for the Halton Region.

On December 22, 2020, COVID-19 vaccines began being administered to health-care workers across the Halton Region, who are providing care in long-term care homes and other high-risk settings.

Joseph Brant Hospital is working with Halton Healthcare and Halton Region Public Health to identify health care workers to receive the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the OTMH Vaccination Centre.

Planning is underway at Joseph Brant Hospital to prepare to open a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for staff and physicians at its own site in early 2021, as the vaccine becomes more widely available.

Although the news of the first vaccination at Joseph Brant Hospital is extremely positive, it is critical that everyone continues to follow public health advice to help keep everyone safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

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Update on City services and programs during the COVID-19 province-wide shutdown

News 100 redBy Staff

December 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, 0N

 

The province-wide shutdown, with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19, is beginning Saturday, Dec. 26 at 12:01 a.m. The shutdown will be in place for all regions of southern Ontario, including Halton Region, until Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021.

Impacts to City services and programs

City Hall
Starting Jan. 4, 2021, City Hall, located at 426 Brant St., remains open for in-person service by appointment only for commissioning services and marriage licences. Walk-ins are not permitted.

Please visit burlington.ca/commissioning, burlington.ca/marriages or call 905-335-7777 to book your appointment. Residents can also visit burlington.ca/onlineservices to access a variety of City services online.

Service Burlington is available to answer questions by phone during regular business hours at 905-335-7777 and email at city@burlington.ca.

Burlington Transit
Burlington Transit will continue to run as scheduled including specialized transit. The transit terminal at 430 John St. will remain open to provide PRESTO services including SPLIT passes. Presto services are available at Shoppers Drug Mart or online at prestocard.ca. Transit schedules are available online at burlingtontransit.ca to download and print, via Google Maps, Apple Maps and using myride.burlingtontransit.ca.

Halton Court Services – Provincial Offences Office
Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will remain open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Friday. Visitors to the courthouse must self-screen using the provincial e-screening application at http://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening and wear a mask or face covering unless exempted from by the Mandatory Mask Bylaw

Telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Many online services are also available by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or by visiting www.haltoncourtservices@burlington.ca

Recreation Services and Facilities
City of Burlington indoor recreation facilities will close, and all programs are cancelled. Recreation Services staff are contacting user groups, renters and program participants affected by these changes. 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 liveandplay@burlington.ca. 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.

Residents are encouraged to remain active by accessing outdoor recreation opportunities such as walking/biking on trails or visiting parks and playgrounds. Residents can also take the Outdoor Winter Play Challenge and see how many free activities they can complete by Feb. 19, 2021.

Learn more at burlington.ca/playoutside. Options to stay active at home are available online at burlington.ca/activeathome.

Rotary Centennial Pond is open for skating, however all users must pre-register and complete the online screening at burlington.ca/screening. Capacity on the rink is 25 people. Please follow our social media channels and website for updates.

Roads, Parks and Forestry
Services provided by the Roads, Parks and Forestry Department will continue as needed. Residents with questions or issues can email RPF@burlington.ca or call 905-333-6166.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward made the following comments:

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

City Hall is an essential service – but you can’t just walk in. Appointments necessary.

“I support additional measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and appreciate that the Province listened to our voices (and those of others) calling for capacity limits based on size, including for big box stores, supermarkets and malls. Essential services will remain open, with restrictions.

“What has changed in the last few days is the need to look at health indicators beyond a single public health unit as we have in the past, especially for hospital capacity. We will continue to make decisions based on health evidence, and adapt quickly in light of new information that can change daily, sometimes hourly.

“Having recently spoken with the President/CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital, we’re supporting communities around us, so it’s critical to bring the numbers down across the entire GTHA region.

“It’s also clear the current measures in lockdown/grey areas are not sufficient – their numbers are not coming down. More needs to be done to stop the spread at source. New measures must be effective, enforced and based on health evidence. More must be done to protect long-term care homes, essential workers, and improve workplace safety.

“The City of Burlington is an essential service and is prepared to enter the Province’s shutdown. Our staff will continue to work from home serving residents, and we have established safety protocols for those staff required to be on site.

“I remain grateful to our residents and businesses who’ve followed health advice to keep yourselves and others healthy. Your efforts are working, and we will continue to do our part to assist regions around us.”

Quick Facts
• To report an incident of non-compliance with the provincial emergency orders in Halton, please call the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 hotline at 905-825-4722.

The hotline will accept non-compliance reports for the following Provincial emergency orders:

o Restrictions associated with level grey/lockdown of the provincial COVID-19 Response Framework
o Indoor/outdoor gathering limits
o Consolidated Mask Bylaw 47-20

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City hall figuring out what they will be able to deliver in terms of services during lock down.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 22, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lock down graphicCity staff are reviewing the lock down restrictions to determine how it may impact city programs and services.

The Gazette will monitor what city hall decides to do and keep you fully informed.

In the meantime do the responsible thing – let’s not make this any worse than it is.

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City reviewing details from province to determine how different this lock down will be from the last one.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Province puts us into a 28 day lockdown – but city hall continues to do what it does; deliver the services needed as best it can under the circumstances.

Commisso stare

City Manager Tim Commisso

City Manager Tim Commisso said earlier today that his office got detailed instructions from the province which they are now reviewing and will get information out to residents as soon as everything has been figured out.

Commisso did say that “Some city service delivery differences compared to previous lockdown and we will get out an updated what’s open/what’s closed list out ASAP once we review the provinces detailed list that they provided minutes ago.”

From Commisso’s point of view there is “Really no change for the Emergency Coordinating Group (ECG) – it will still meet regularly during 28 day lockdown period.

Gymnasiums in Haber Recreation Centre

Haber Recreation Centre: Ideal place to do mass inoculations

We don’t know yet when city council will meet – given that everything is virtual they should be able to maintain their January plans – budget being one of the biggest hurdles to get over,

Commisso wasn’t able to add much to how the inoculations are going to go other than that “it is too early to say if city facilities will be needed for that purpose”

Commisso expects that in January we will start to see a picture of what is needed (in the way of municipal facilities) for Covid19 vaccinations.

Right now we just hunker down and do what we can to let the Covid19 virus die out while we wait for the vaccines to arrive.

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Public Health office instructs retail operations to tighten up how they handle people using their locations

News 100 redBy Staff

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Regional Medical Officer of Health, using the authority she has under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA), issued instructions to the commercial and retail sectors.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Regional Medical Officer of Health, Dr. H. Meghani.

“I am issuing additional instructions to retailers ahead of anticipated higher volumes of shoppers this week,” said Dr. Meghani.

“Owners and operators must maintain capacity limits and physical distancing in retail spaces, common areas and indoor/outdoor line-ups to create safer spaces for both employees and patrons.

Our region is surrounded by areas in lockdown which will increase the number of visitors from neighbouring regions to our stores. It is more important than ever that we follow public health measures and I am hopeful that residents outside our region stay home or shop for essentials in their own community.”

Instructions issued by Dr. Meghani are intended to supplement the Regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA). Today’s instructions require that that all persons who own and/or operate one or more shopping malls and/or one or more retail stores in Halton region manage and actively monitor capacity to maintain adequate physical distancing. This is in addition to public health measures and regulations already in place

Dr. Meghani is also reminding all residents of their civic responsibilities to protect themselves and others.

“Patrons are also responsible for following all rules and protecting each other. In addition to wearing your mask, if you are shopping in person please keep a two metre (six foot) distance from others at all times,” Dr. Meghani added.

“This means being patient and courteous when shopping, waiting your turn to select items at grocery stores, following the directional arrows marked in store aisles, staying two metres apart in all line-ups and accepting that your trip may take a little longer than usual. Please take your responsibilities seriously and please continue to be kind to one another.”

This isn’t the first lockdown we have experienced.  We have been down this road before – so we know what we have to do.  Let’s just make sure we do it.

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Hospital iissuing approved masks to everyone entering the hospital.Mask a MUST

News 100 redBy Staff

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When you next enter the Joseph Brant Hospital you will be given a mask to wear.

You may be wearing one of those snazzy decorative masks that are as cute as all get out.

Doesn’t appear to matter – the hospital administration wants everyone to wear the mask they give you as long as you are a visitor to the hospital.

 

JBH mask notice

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Public Health Unit issues some very disturbing comments on how people in Halton will be vaccinated.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We asked the media people at the Regional Public Health Unit what there were in the way of plans to vaccinate people in Halton once the vaccine is available.

We got the following response:

Plans are underway to establish a COVID-19 vaccination centre at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) for the region of Halton.

• Due to the current limited supply, the province is focused on getting vaccines to the most vulnerable populations. Halton Healthcare is working with Halton Region Public Health to prioritize the use of the vaccine for health care workers and essential caregivers in long-term care homes in our region as well as those working in high risk retirement homes (i.e. memory care provision).

For additional information on how priority populations are identified, please contact the Ministry media line at 416-314-6197 or media.moh@ontario.ca.

We received a note from a reader who said that Joseph Brant Hospital did not have the capacity to freeze the vaccines the required intensive freezing. The Public Health Unit said:

Please contact Joseph Brant Hospital regarding freezer capacity.

Are we all going to have to trek to the Oakville hospital?

A very disappointing response from the public health people.

Last week Burlington City Manager Tim Commisso said that his understanding was that vaccinations would be top level down with the federal government providing the vaccines to the provinces and the province passing it along to the municipal sector who would do the actual inoculation in municipalities using spaces that were large enough for people to enter, get their needle in the arm and leave the building.

The Nelson arena south of the QEW and the Haber Recreation centre north of the QEW were mentioned as locations.

The nurses doing the inoculation would be provided by and supervised by the Regional Public Health Health Unit.

This sounded like a sensible approach – but it certainly doesn’t jibe with what the Public Health Unit had to say.

There is a communications problem here.

What was that line Paul Newman gave: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

 

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Joseph Brant now clear of Covid infection problems

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Joseph Brant hospital advises that they are all clear of the Covid19 virus infection they experienced.

A COVID-19 outbreak on 3 North 700 (3N700), a medicine inpatient unit at Joseph Brant Hospital, was declared over on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, by Halton Public Health. The outbreak on this unit was initially declared on November 27.

brant-hospital-rendering-aerial

Illustration shows how the older part of the hospital was connected to the new section.

Effective Tuesday, December 15, 2020, Joseph Brant Hospital is no longer in outbreak status.

The public should be aware the Regional Public Health unit oversees what happens at the hospital. The oversight matters.

Joseph Brant Hospital remains a safe place to receive care, and continues to perform safe surgical and out-patient clinical care, including emergency and urgent care. Cancelling a procedure is not necessary, and delaying treatment can actually can pose a serious risk to a patient’s health. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your health care provider or the hospital.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, please visit our website for more information.

About Joseph Brant Hospital
Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) is a full service community teaching hospital serving more than 185,000 residents in the communities of Halton and Hamilton, including Burlington, Waterdown, Flamborough, Milton and Stoney Creek, with a skilled staff of 194 physicians, 1,911 full- and part-time staff and more than 700 volunteers. In conjunction with McMaster University, JBH is a Clinical Education site, and designated as an Academic Community Teaching Hospital with an expanded campus which includes the seven-storey state-of-art Michael Lee-Chin & Family Patient Tower which features a new Emergency Department, 172 acute inpatient beds, 9 new Operating Rooms and post-anaesthetic care unit to support expanded medical, surgical and outpatient services. JBH is also a partner member of the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

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Majority of Canadians support a total shut down

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The leading edge of the second wave of Covid19 infections has hit.

2275 new cases in Ontario yesterday.

Hospitals advised to set aside 15% of their beds for Covid cases and we are still not in a total lock-down phase.

Doug Ford covid t shirt

Premier Doug Ford at one of his many media events.

The Premier of the province has just not been able to fully understand what it is he has to deal with.

His focus is on the pain the private sector will have to cope with were he to shut everything down.

He understands how the world of business works, the Tories see the world that way.

This is no longer about business – this is about survival and being responsible.

The Premier has said again and again he doesn’t want the damage from the virus to land on the backs of the hard working Canadians who have put everything they have into the businesses they operate.

There are thousands of people who have not survived the virus. They died.

There will be many commercial organizations that will not survive.

Those are hard facts we have to accept

A public opinion survey done by the Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies reports that majority of Canadians support a lock down; 65% of the respondents would like to see everything shut down except for the essentials – drinking a beer in a public place is not essential – if it is there are support groups that can help you.

The vaccine that everyone has been waiting for is now available. It will take some time to get it into the arms of everyone. We each have to wait until it is our turn to roll up our sleeves.

We will get through this.

In order to actually get through this – everything has to be shut down.

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.

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Too little too late: How does one say Merry Christmas after stealing it from you?

“Speaking with reporters during a regular briefing at city hall on Wednesday, [Toronto] Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said that the recent increase in cases is a “concern” but is not altogether surprising in the context of the broader reopening of the economy.” (Chris Fox, CP24.com, August 26, 2020)

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When I mention New Zealand’s success in eliminating COVID I am immediately lectured about it being a little island in the Pacific with a relatively small population. Canada may border the USA but we enacted essentially the same border restrictions as New Zealand. And as for being small, New Zealand’s population density is almost four times that of Canada and greater than Ontario’s.

nEW zEALAND - NO MASKS

Did Ontario miss a chance to do what New Zealand did. No one over there has to wear a mask.

Today New Zealand and its sister island in the Pacific, Australia, have eliminated COVID almost entirely. That means no transmission and no more deaths. In New Zealand it also means that masks are not required, even for public transit. Anyone can go to movies, concerts, bars and restaurants as if the pandemic never happened. And perhaps most importantly, they will get to enjoy having their loved ones around them at this special time of year.

Their success, according to the respected British public health journal ‘The Lancet’ lies in having a clear pandemic plan with a target of zero COVID infections. Quarantine requirements are strict and community spread has been eliminated. In the event of an imported infection they quickly and effectively test and trace and isolate. And were an infection to start to spread they are not afraid to undertake a complete lock down until it’s over. And significantly the government’s communication is clear and consistent.

Canada is a federation with shared responsibility for public health and the provinces have insisted on taking the lead in dealing with COVID. But one look at the extent and growing number of infections and deaths and it is clear they have messed up. New Zealand’s prime minister has offered advice to US president-elect Biden as he prepares to tackle COVID as his number one priority. Apparently our provincial premiers could use some as well.

flatening the curve

Ontario chose to flatten the curve. was that the best decision?

And the place to start would be our pandemic target, which was never zero transmission, let alone zero infection. Our pandemic policy is primarily focused on flattening the curve. We are willing to accommodates some level of the virus transmission providing the death rate isn’t too high and hospitals aren’t too full. That means that we will continue to experience these on-again and off-again quasi-lockdowns until, we all hope, the vaccine can give us ‘herd immunity’ so that the virus will disappear.

The problem is that hundreds of thousands more Canadians may get the infection in the interim; an unknown number will be afflicted with long term after effects; and hundreds, if not thousands, more will die. And the danger of hosting all of that virus in our community is that it might mutate to a more deadly form, as the 1918 Spanish Flu did, and possibly negate the effectiveness of our vaccines.

Doug Ford covid t shirt

This is not a happy man.

A glance at any Canadian newspaper will tell you how badly our provincial leaders and their chief medical people have failed us. Still they are not prepared to tolerate criticism, regardless how constructive. Alberta’s Kenny, with the worst infection rate in the country, and COVID soon to be the leading cause of death, calls it ‘Alberta bashing’, even when fellow Albertan’s complain. And Doug Ford labels his critics ‘arm chair quarterbacks’ even though they include some of the real-time front-line disease experts in the province.

Dr. Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer, dispassionately admits an average of 25 deaths a day in this province, a number which will be increasing as the virus skyrockets from just below 2000 per day to as many as 5000 per day. Hospitals and their ICUs are nearing capacity and surgeries are already being postponed. And Christmas has been effectively cancelled in the province. By any measure of public health this is a disaster.

As we get ready to roll up our sleeves here for a vaccine, which may not even last till the end of the pandemic, we find that New Zealand is in no hurry to vaccinate its population – they don’t need to.

From the beginning of the pandemic that country has lost 25 people to COVID, that is how many people die every day here in Ontario. Between now and Christmas there will be almost 200 fewer of us to see the holiday in this year.

For some bizarre reason Mr. Ford has been able to maintain his popularity despite such a miserable record. Though there won’t be much to celebrate for the rest of us this year, even as Zoom let’s us virtually speak to the family who won’t really be with us. And for the most vulnerable and/or those living alone this will be the worst Christmas ever. Hey, the truth is we’re all to blame for letting this outbreak get so bad, but Mr. Ford is supposed to be guiding us – he says he is there for all of us.

For now it is a soft lockdown for Burlington – the purgatory of the red zone, replete with its dozens of rules which seem to get changed every day as if just to confuse us. But still it’s too little and way too late. Somebody was sleeping at the switch again before this train of disease really got rolling. Now, what a mess! It’s little wonder that Ford is too embarrassed to even attend his daily COVID briefings anymore. Besides, how does one say Merry Christmas after stealing it from you?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

 

Background links:

Opening Up Too Soon –    New Zealand –     Kenny Alberta Bashing

Ontario Lockdowns –     Ontario Deaths

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No lockdown for Burlington

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Premier did not put any additional Regions in lockdown.

Toronto and Peel are the only two in that status.

The Mayor of Windsor asked the Premier to put his city in a lock down. The Provincial Medical Officer of Health and the Windsor Region Medical Officer of Health conferred and decided that a lock down for Windsor was not necessary.

Status until Jan 21Those in the red or grey zones should only leave their homes for essential purposes, such as work, school, grocery shopping, exercise, and medical appointments, the government says.

With different rules and restrictions flying around, it’s important to know which rules apply to certain regions. Residents from grey or red zones should not be entering other zones, especially when the province is asking that they limit trips outside of the home.
Let us hope that they have got this right.

During the media conference this afternoon General Hillier assured everyone that the vaccine intended for Ontario will arrive at Pearson airport on Monday and be sent to Toronto and Ottawa hospitals where inoculations will take place.

An additional 90,000 doses will be distributed to 14 hospitals late in January; they will arrange for public vaccination.

Related news story:

 

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Santa back on his Magical Tour this weekend follow hashtag #SpotSantaBurlON to see where he is.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

December 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

UPDATE: Due to heavy rain forecasted and exposure to the elements for Santa and his volunteer firefighter driver, Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail for Saturday, Dec. 12, has been rescheduled to Sunday, Dec. 20, weather permitting.

Affected neighbourhoods are Alton Village, the Orchard, Corporate, Pinedale and Elizabeth Gardens. Santa will be back on the trail on Sunday, Dec. 13.

When Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail resumes, follow along or post his whereabouts using the hashtag #SpotSantaBurlON.

The Parks and Recreation people pulled a chestnut out of the fire and came up with a way to get Santa in front of the people.

The traditional annual Santa parade became a COVID victim.

Pumper 4 a

Santa stepping into his “Sleigh” for his Magical Tour of Burlington.

The brain trust at Parks and Recreation sat around a table and looked for a way to provide a way for Santa to get to the children.
Pumper #4 got a mention – that was all it took.

The antique Studebaker Fire truck was hauled out of storage in Kilbride and became the “sleigh” that Santa would use to tour the city.

He has already waved at the children in Rural Burlington, Tyandaga, Brant Hills and Mountainside as well as Headon Forest, Palmer, Tansley and Millcroft

Famil watching santa c

Families gathered on street corners waiting for the fire truck with Santa waving.

On Saturday he is scheduled to be in Alton Village, the Orchard, Corporate, Pinedale and Elizabeth Gardens. The weather people are talking about rain much of Saturday – not to worry – there is a rain day in the schedule.

On Sunday, the 13th the fire truck will tour Longmoor, Shoreacres, Roseland and Dynes.

When you spot Santa use the hash tag: #SpotSantaBurlON to tell your friends and neighbours where he is.

The city is not releasing the route the fire truck will be taking – they don’t want to encourage crowds of people lining the street and spreading that nasty little virus that has really spooked Christmas for so many.

December 19th, Santa and the fire truck will be touring Aldershot, Central and Plains.

December 20th has been set aside as a Make-up inclement weather date, if needed.

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Premier to make an announcement on possible lock-downs today

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

UPDATE:  The Premier did not announce a lockdown for Halton Region

Sometime today Premier Ford is going to hold another media event.

Premier Doug Ford will be joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, to make an announcement.

Date:

Friday, December 11, 2020

Time:

Remarks at 3:00 p.m.
A media availability will follow, via teleconference only.

Location:

Room 247, Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON

It will be one of the hardest things he has had to do – there are knowledgeable, respected medical practitioners who are saying much of the province should be put into a lock-down.

One doctor was saying – Toronto, York, Peel, Halton, Hamilton, Windsor-Essex and perhaps even Kitchener Waterloo.

Doug Ford - habd to head

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

The argument is that people are crossing regional borders making a tough situation much harder and creating situations where people who need surgery will not be able to get the critical attention they need.

This is very very serious. The announcement that a vaccine is on the way does not mean we are out of this crisis.

The Premier will speak today.

It is going to be a tough day for him.

The hope is that the Premier has the strength of character to do what appears to be needed.

This is the time for leadership, statesmanship and not political considerations.

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Council learns that Covid vaccinations will probably be done on a mass - public basis

Newsflash 100By Pepper Parr

December 10, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When I talked to my doctor last he mentioned that I would probably get my Covid vaccination around June or July.

I fully expected to visit my doctor when I was told to and get a needle stuck in my arm.

Turns out that is probably not the way vaccinations will be done.

Is this to be "home" for anyone in Burlington on Christmas Day?

This could well be the location for some of the mass – public vaccinations.

During a Council Standing committee earlier today we learned that there will likely be mass – public vaccinations at Nelson Arena and the Haber recreation centre,

When the vaccine has arrived the public will be told where to go to be vaccinated.

City Manager Tim Commisso said he expected this would probably be a top down process; the federal government will let the provinces know when the vaccine is available and the municipalities will handle the administrative part of the mass vaccination process under the guidance of the Regional Public Health Unit.

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Burlington Foundation Delivers 2nd Round of Support Funding: $476,000 to 28 Charities

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington Foundation announced it has awarded $141,000 in funding to 10 charities through the second round of the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF), funded by
the Government of Canada.

Echoing the previous round, this funding supports charities who are addressing
critical needs affecting vulnerable community members in Burlington greatly impacted by COVID-19.   Through the first round, the Foundation was pleased to deliver $335,370 to 18 front-line charities serving Burlington, bringing the total funding delivered between Rounds 1 and 2 to over $476,000.

With the second wave of Covid-19 striking communities and driving an unrelenting demand for emergency relief, the second round of the ECSF has been a critical way that support has continued to flow to charities serving our most vulnerable.

Established by the Government of Canada as a $350 million fund in May, the fund
has been implemented with Community Foundations of Canada, in partnership with local foundations across the country, the Canadian Red Cross and United Way Centraide Canada.

BCF Mulholland H&S

Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO of Burlington Foundation.

“It is anticipated that one-third of charities may not survive the financial destruction of this pandemic,” says Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO of Burlington Foundation.

“That distressing potential reflects why Burlington Foundation continues to monitor community closely and is committed to bringing vital, rapid relief to our charities and the most vulnerable community members they serve.”
Charities Awarded Round 2 Funding:

Imagine Canada, an advocacy and research group that aims to strengthen the charitable sector, released a report earlier in the pandemic that vividly describes the devastating impact that Covid-19 is having on our charitable sector, with many charities struggling to stay open while having to rapidly pivot services and programs. As reported in May, 69% of charities have experienced decreased revenues with nearly three quarters of charities (73%) reporting that donations are down. In September, Imagine Canada shared that our charitable sector is expected to suffer a loss that could reach upwards of $15 billion in revenues this year.

“The staggering loss of revenues that we have experienced is likely to continue well into the immediate future – and at a time when the need for the services of many charities is on a steep rise, “says Colleen. “Since the start of this pandemic, Burlington Foundation has been honoured to partner with generous fundholders, donors and our federal government to deliver rapid relief – providing $783,540 to 65 charities working tirelessly to support
our community.

“As this challenging year comes to a close, we continue to monitor our most pressing needs and are pleased to currently have $150,000 in remaining Pandemic Response Funds for a further granting initiative early in the new year. Never has the support of community been more important than right now. Please considering giving what you can – 100% of your gift supports our local charities.”

 

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What will the students bring home with them - and what will they take back to school?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a couple of weeks the kids will be coming home for the holidays.

I know of at least one student who expects to be on the plane on the 21st arriving from the Maritimes where the virus spread has been pretty limited relative to the rest of the country.

Her brother will be coming home from an Ontario university west of Burlington.

Christmas breakGiven the rules these students will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Count them – December 21st + 14 days gets them to January 2nd or third.

What are the chances of that actually happening ? These are decent people in the process of becoming adults.

They come from good families with parents who are going to want them to do the right thing.

Checking in with friends, getting together for coffee because there is nowhere they are able to scoot off to for a drink is what you do when you are home from school.

This kind of getting caught up doesn’t get done on the telephone but it does get done.

Expecting the rules to be rigidly adhered to is a huge stretch; the outcome will be a rises in the number of infections both in every town in the province and in the communities to which these students return.

Something to think about.

virus data Dec 9

How much higher will that blue line go once the students return to the universities and colleges?

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.

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A first for the city: a heated bus shelter - paid for by a seniors group

eventsred 100x100By Pepper Parr

December 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Why the city could not say they were grateful for the initiative and the money that the Burlington Seniors’ Community Initiatives (BSCI) put up to refurbish a bus shelter and install the fittings to make it heated is hard to understand.

What we got was notice of a photo opportunity where the Ward Councillor, perhaps even the Mayor, will strut their stuff and talk about the how great the city is.

The Burlington leadership team, referred to as the BLT, will also be on hand for the photo op.

The people who raised the money were at one time the operators of many of the services that were provided at the Seniors Centre.

The Bistro, the heart of the Seniors'entre and the focal point for many of the administrative problems. The new agreement with the city didn't resolve this problem but they have agreed to give it a year to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

The Bistro, the heart of the Seniors’ Centre. 

The Bistro, which is a very profitable operation, was an idea the seniors came up with.

They were unceremoniously pushed out when the City Manager at the time sent one of his threatening letters telling them their time had come to an end.

There is a reason for the bus shelter being across the street from the entrance to the seniors’ shelter where the bus could pull up – no one has said just what that reason is.

Hopefully the recognition of Burlington Seniors’ Community Initiatives contribution towards the purchase and installation of the City of Burlington’s first heated transit shelter is full-throated and heartfelt.  Not a lot of respect of the one group for the other.

Will there come a time when the seniors get to have more direct involvement in their affairs?

Carr + MAyor at BSCI

Regional Chair Gary Carr getting a workout on a piece of equipment while Mayor Meed Ward does her Hallelujah while peddling away on equipment paid for by a senior citizen group.

BSCI put up the money for the sports equipment at Burloak Park; they recently put $5000 into the Meal Bag program at Wellington Square and paid for some much needed PPE at another church – the Baptist church got funds to do an upgrade of their kitchen.

Hopefully some of that remarkable history will get a mention at the photo op on Friday: 1:15 pm at Transit Stop 45 on Burlington Teen Tour Band Way.

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Burlington Lions make major donation to the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Fundraiser

News 100 redBy Staff

December 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For many years, Burlington Lions Club members have had the great honour of ringing the bells as a group for the Christmas Kettle campaign on a Saturday in December at the two largest malls in Burlington, and were looking forward to doing the same again this year.

Bowker - Lions - Food bank - cheque

Lions Perry Bowker and Blair Greer look on as Lions President Ken O’Breza presents cheque to Laura Oros, Kettle Campaign Director

Elevated COVID restrictions meant it would not be possible to conduct the fundraiser this year.  The Lions Club  members immediately resolved to help in a small way to offset the loss of donations that they otherwise might have helped raise.

It is with great pleasure that the Lions Club made an emergency donation of $1,500.

 

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