Burlington might have gone through the next election before there is a decision on the Nelson Quarry

By Pepper Parr

October 11th, 2023



If you are at all concerned with what is going to happen with the Quarry – be prepared to be patient – very very patient.

At an Ontario Land Tribunal this morning we heard that the lawyers were talking about a 60 – yes 60 day hearing.

One wanted to set a date now so that people could block out the dates.

And if what we heard today is any example – it is going to be bloody.

The lawyer representing Nelson Aggregates it one tough cookie and knows how to work the rules.

The Member (which is the title that the OLT person hearing the arguments and making the final decision is given) could have been a little stronger in the way he handled the lawyers.  Some of the back and forth was almost as good as a decent boxing match.

The City had a Notice of Motion that it expected to have heard today – but a technicality got in the way and the hearing of that Motion got moved back to March 7th.


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Millennials put off buying homes - some will move elsewhere

By Staff

October 11th, 2023



During the first half of 2023, buyers had to be quick to snatch up homes amidst historically low inventory environments. This heightened competition allowed major markets to rebound closer to pre-pandemic sales and prices, however, inventory concerns were significant.

As interest rates continued to climb in the summer, buyer urgency softened. When the Bank of Canada announced its second and third rate hikes of 2023, a sense of economic uncertainty was created among buyers that slowed down sales and price growth. The silver lining to this buyer slowdown has been the build-up of inventory which has in turn led to more balanced market conditions.

 With more homes to choose from and prices starting to flatten out, will buyers return to the market as energetically as in the spring? To find out how the current real estate climate has affected buyers’ outlooks, we surveyed over 1,600 Zoocasa readers on their housing preferences and real estate plans and broke those answers down by generation.

More Canadians Are Delaying Buying a Home Due to Economic Conditions

Homebuyers have undoubtedly been impacted by inflation and our survey respondents demonstrate that with 62.1% saying they have delayed buying a home and the largest reasons for that are rising interest rates (29.4%) and high home prices (27.9%). Renters in particular, with nearly 50% being Millennials, have faced difficulties in entering the housing market. 81.1% of survey respondents who are renters say they have delayed buying a home, and of those, the majority cite high home prices as the reason.

Even across generations delaying buying a home has been a hurdle: 67% of Millennials, 69% of Gen X, and 46% of Baby Boomers responded that they have delayed buying a home. For Millennials and Baby Boomers, the largest reason was because of rising interest rates, while Gen X largely cited high home prices as the reason.

Despite this, demand is still there and 65.9% of respondents said they are looking to buy a home in the near future, with Gen Z and Millennials resoundingly answering yes at 80% and 75% respectively. It’s likely that we won’t see those buyers enter the market until interest rates start to drop, which many expect will happen in the middle of 2024, as 66.5% of respondents said they plan to wait a year or longer to buy a home. That sentiment was echoed pretty evenly across generations with 69% of Baby Boomers, 64% of Gen X and 65% of Millennials planning to wait a year or longer.

The top three types of homes buyers plan to buy are permanent homes (46.1%), smaller home/downsizing (16.4%), and investment properties (13.7%). Only 11.6% of respondents said they were planning on buying a starter home, suggesting that the majority of first-time buyers are shifting towards longer-term property types.

In fact, 48% of first-time buyers surveyed, which largely consists of Gen Z, Millenials and Gen X, responded that they were looking to buy a permanent home, compared with just 27.1% who said they planned to buy a starter home. First-time buyers were pretty split when it came to the type of home they preferred to buy with 31.7% preferring a condo apartment, 29.7% preferring a detached home, and 23.2% preferring a townhouse. This contrasts with Baby Boomers, who at 57% largely prefer to buy a detached home with the major goal being to downsize.

As unaffordability is a major concern, buyers are becoming more flexible about where they will live with 38.3% of respondents saying they would consider moving to another city in order to afford a home and 26.1% saying they would move to either another city or another province in order to buy a home. Gen X was the most flexible, with 31% responding that they would consider moving to another city or province in order to buy a home, compared with 26% of Millennials and 22% of Baby Boomers. 45% of Baby Boomers would not consider moving to another city or province to afford a home, the largest percentage of respondents.

Nearly Half of Millennials Will Receive Financial Assistance to Buy a Home

Out of all survey respondents, only 30.7% said they have or will have to receive financial assistance from relatives in order to buy a home. That number jumps up quite significantly when looking at just Millennials, with 46% saying that they have or will have to receive financial assistance from relatives in order to buy a home.

Just 28% of Gen X and 10% of Baby Boomers said they have or will have to receive financial assistance from relatives in order to buy a home. Despite this economic gap, Gen Z and Millennials’ outlook on the market is more positive than their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts.

30% of Gen Z and 24% of Millennials rank current housing prices as affordable, while only 15% of Gen X and 13% of Baby Boomers ranked current housing conditions as affordable. The majority of Gen X respondents ranked current housing affordability as not at all affordable and the majority of Baby Boomers ranked current housing affordability as in the middle/neutral.

Only 5% of Baby Boomers and 8% of Gen X agreed that the average Canadian could afford to buy a home, compared with 22% of Gen Z and 14% of Millennials. On the other side of the spectrum, Gen X and Baby Boomers were more united. 49% of Gen X and 41% of Baby Boomers strongly disagreed that the average Canadian could afford to buy a home, while 14% of Gen Z and 29% of Millennials strongly disagreed.

The younger generations’ optimism could also be felt in their response to whether they felt now is a good time to buy or not. 42% of Gen Z and 30% of Millennials think now is a good time to buy, with only 22% of Gen X and 20% of Baby Boomers agreeing. Gen X and Baby Boomers largely think now is not a good time to buy, at 47% and 46% respectively.

Naturally, growing up in different economic climates has impacted the way homebuyers view the real estate market. More than any other generation, 15% of Baby Boomers think it was easiest to buy a home 50+ years ago, compared to just 3% of Gen Z and 7% of Millennials. Gen Z and Millennials largely think it was easiest to buy a home 10 years ago at 45% and 36% respectively, and the majority of Gen X and Baby Boomers, on the other hand, think it was easiest to buy a home 20 years ago at 38% and 23% respectively.

If you’re like our readers and are thinking about entering the market in the near future, give us a call! We can help you prepare and plan for your future real estate goals.

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Millcroft Greenspace Alliance to Hold Province Accountable for Commitment to Protect Homes in Burlington


By Staff

October 11th, 2023



Millcroft Greenspace Alliance, a local community association, is appealing to the Doug Ford government to honour its commitment(1) to prevent all building on floodplains by voiding a developer’s application to build homes on zoned open space designated for flood protection in Burlington.

At issue is an application from local developer Argo Development Corporation (under the name Millcroft Greens), to build on portions of the existing open space currently occupied by the Millcroft Golf Course and which have been designated as floodplain lands by Conservation Halton. This area of the golf course forms an integral part of the Millcroft stormwater mitigation infrastructure, which is critical to the collection and drainage of stormwater throughout the community.

The design was ahead of its time.

“This design was ahead of its time and now with Climate Change, experts are recommending the integration of green infrastructure with traditional structures”, says Daintry Klein, President of Millcroft Greenspace Alliance. Ms. Klein references an Official Plan Amendment (No. 117) which was approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on February 27, 1986. The plan states “these lands [Millcroft Golf Course] will remain as permanent open space, since portions of these lands contain creek features which are part of the stormwater management system for the Community”

The developer has appealed to the OLT (Ontario Land Tribunal) which favours developers “97 per cent of the time” according to The Hamilton Spectator.

Millcroft Greenspace Alliance supports the City of Burlington Council unanimous opposition to the proposal and resolution to request the province issue an MZO (Minister’s Zoning Order). This MZO would immediately halt the costly and time consuming effort for the City of Burlington, its residents and the Province. It would also exclude these designated lands from development and honour Premier Ford’s commitment not to build on floodplain lands.

Local residents have come together to protect their homes and the homes and businesses of their neighbours downstream from future flooding crises like the one that devastated Burlington in August 2014.

One of the unfortunate aspects of the fight the community is underwriting with their donations is that there are two organizations.  For reasons that have never been clear the two cannot find a way to merge and become a common cause.  Egos appear to have gotten in the way.


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Hamilton International announces its Adventure Starts Here program - think sunshine when the snow gets here

By Staff

October 11th, 2023



We are well into fall and there is that chill in the air.

For many that means looking into what the options are for going south – with no assurances that the weather will be what you were expecting.

John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (Hamilton International) has unveiled its 2023/24 Winter Program featuring many getaway options, including popular sunny destinations in the United States, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico, low-cost connections into Europe with direct flights between Hamilton and Reykjavík, Iceland, along with continued access into Western Canada.

Play Air is a recent addition to airlines that have chosen to make Hamilton a destination airport.

The  Adventure Starts Here! officially takes effect in November with services operated by WestJet, Lynx Air, PLAY, and seasonal airline partners, Air Transat and Sunwing.

“This winter, travellers can start their journey from Hamilton International and enjoy direct flights and easy connections to destinations across Canada, the sunny south, and internationally,” says Cole Horncastle, Executive Managing Director of Hamilton International.

“WestJet has affirmed its long-standing commitment to Hamilton, introducing several popular sun destinations in addition to its established domestic service to/from its Calgary hub.

Lynx is fairly new to Hamilton International Air.

Lynx Air will continue its ultra-affordable flights to Calgary and Vancouver, while PLAY continues to offer low-cost flights to Iceland and onward to Europe. Our seasonal partners, Air Transat and Sunwing, return and join WestJet in offering a range of sunny getaways.

The variety of destinations served by multiple air carriers this winter, combined with the ease and convenience of travelling through Hamilton International, make it an ideal option for vacationers and sun seekers.”

2023/24 Winter Program Highlights:

  • WestJet will offer service to popular sun destinations with new flights to Orlando, Tampa, Cancun, and Punta Cana, while continuing to provide non-stop connectivity to Western Canada with service between Hamilton and Calgary.
  • Lynx will continue to provide ultra-affordable domestic flights to Calgary and offer travellers a convenient connection to Vancouver with its through-flight service.
  • Low-cost, direct flights between Hamilton and Iceland will continue with PLAY, providing seamless connections to over 30 iconic destinations across Europe including Paris, Amsterdam, London, and Frankfurt.
  • Air Transat returns to Hamilton International with service to Cayo Coco, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, and Cancun.
  • Sunwing resumes service to Cayo Coco, Holguin, Varadero, Punta Cana, and Cancun from Hamilton International.

Cancun – a destination that is a direct flight from the Hamilton International Airport.

Travellers can also take advantage of Hamilton International’s new online reservation system to secure their Airport parking spot in advance. Parking reservations are available for booking now at parking.flyhamilton.ca.




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Stiles want the Premier to assure members of his government will fully comply with the RCMP about what exactly happened here.

By Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2023



Marit Stiles, NDP Leader of the Opposition did what she has been doing on the Doug Ford Greenbelt land swaps file– asking tough questions.

In a media event this afternoon she said she expects the “members of his government to fully comply with the RCMP about what exactly happened here.

Marit Stiles, NDP Leader of the Opposition

“That includes ensuring that government emails, political staff, emails, phone records, including personal phone records of the premier because we know that he uses his personal devices for government business must be preserved.

“I want the government to give us the same assurance and the premier himself. The Auditor General has confirmed that they are looking into the Ford conservatives overuse of MZO’s .”

Stiles wants the government to suspend those deals and and suspend the Ontario Place deal as well because there are many similar questions around the nature of that deal.

“I really hope we get the answers we need.  Ontarians deserve so much better than this. And certainly, they deserve a government that can restore trust and integrity to the province of Ontario. The first question comes from Richard Souther, City News  who asked:

“If the investigators find any wrongdoing as regards the Premier’s office, any connection to the Premier’s office, what do you think should happen?”

Stiles: “ I don’t want to determine the outcome of the investigation but it’s very serious. We know that and certainly the integrity commissioners reports on his investigation of the Auditor General’s reports seem to indicate they really are a direct indictment of the premier and his role in his office.

“In the meantime, I don’t want the premier to use this as a way to hide from us to our questions on behalf of the people of Ontario in the legislature. I want him to actually answer our questions and the questions of Ontarians. I could see very well using this as an excuse not to respond to the questions that we have and I don’t think that is an excuse. I expect him to be completely transparent with the people of this province,

Souther: “The premier has previously said that nothing criminal went on here that he had no direct knowledge of what went on.  Do you take him at his word for that.

Stiles: “You know, I wish, I could I wish I could but simply defies belief. The Premier mandated these changes be made. He directs everything from the top. I think it defies belief that the Premier and his staff did not have direct knowledge of all of this, but we will see,  I don’t want to predetermine the outcome whether or not anything criminal took place. “I’ve used words like corruption and collusion and I do believe this goes right to the top.”

A second question from Alan Hale at Queen’s Park Today.

“Let’s assume for the moment that there is some sort of prosecution comes up eventually. Do you think that the that the attorney general should be recusing himself or appointing a special prosecutor or anything like that to keep him at arm’s length away from any institution that might come?

Stiles: “I think that the Attorney General will have to address that question. I think the Attorney General would have to decide whether or not it’s appropriate to recuse himself.

“I find it shameful that other government ministers have not stepped forward to solve this problem. i We have a government in complete disarray. They know what needs to take place it’s not enough to simply put your head in the sand or, or pretend it’s not happening and you know, that game. It’s not acceptable.

Unfortunately, there were no other media taking part in the event.

Later in the day Stiles added to the Premier’s grief announcing that , the office of the Auditor General has confirmed they are investigating the Ford Conservatives’ process for selecting and approving Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs).

“I am pleased to see the Auditor General launch an audit into the way Ford’s government selects and approves MZOs in this province, and I welcome the eventual report that will help shine light on this process.

“With Ford’s Greenbelt grab, we’ve seen a troubling pattern of corruption and preferential treatment for well-connected land speculators. People have questions about whether that pattern extends to other decisions – such as urban boundaries and this government’s frequent use of MZOs.

The Ontario NDP are committed to answering these questions and bringing ethics and transparency back to Queen’s Park.”



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The other shoe just dropped - RCMP announces the launching of a criminal investigation into the Greenbelt land transfers

By Pepper Parr

October 10th, 2023



The other shoe just dropped.

The Toronto Star just reported that the RCMP is launching a Criminal Investigation into Premier Doug Ford’s $8.28-billion Greenbelt land swap scandal.

In what the Star calls “another stunning setback for Ford’s embattled Progressive Conservatives” , the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s “sensitive and international investigations” team is formally on the case.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“Following a referral from the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP ‘O’ Division’s Sensitive and International Investigations (SII) unit has now launched an investigation into allegations associated to the decision from the province of Ontario to open parts of the Greenbelt for development,” the RCMP said in a statement Tuesday.

“While we recognize that this investigation is of significant interest to Canadians, the RCMP has a duty to protect the integrity of the investigations that it carries out, in order to ensure that the process leads to a fair and proper outcome. Therefore, no further updates will be provided at this time.”

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Between rising interest rates, sliding supply, and increasing demand, home prices have spent the last three years on a rollercoaster.

By Staff

October 10th, 2023


Between rising interest rates, sliding supply, and increasing demand, home prices have spent the last three years on a rollercoaster.

In the early days of the pandemic, historically low interest rates, tight supply, and high levels of demand sent home prices soaring across Canada.

But, after reaching a record-high in early 2022, prices began to tumble as the Bank of Canada started raising interest rates. When the BoC paused this spring, they rose once more.

The price rollercoaster of the last three years spurred Zoocasa to examine how much property prices have changed since the summer of 2020. In a new report, the real estate agency analyzed average home prices in 19 cities and regions from August 2020, 2021, and 2022, and compared them to prices for the same month in 2023.

While some locales have seen a slight declines over the last year or two, home prices across the country are higher in 2023 than they were during the first summer of the pandemic. As the report notes, buyers who purchased property in 2020 have seen the greatest appreciation.

As of August 2023, the national average home price was $750,100 — a negligible $2,900 increase from a year ago, but a $179,100 jump from the summer of 2020.

On a local level, the most significant growth has been seen in the Greater Toronto Area. In August 2020, the average home price in the GTA was $860,700; in August 2023, it was $1,113,900, a $280,700 increase. Over the last two years, prices have risen by $118,600.

The region with the greatest increase over the last year, though, is Halifax-Dartmouth. Since August 2022, prices have jumped $46,200 to $530,900. In 2020, the average home price was $344,500.

Like Toronto, Vancouver, Barrie and District, and Victoria have also seen prices rise by over $200,000 since 2020.

In Vancouver, the average home price in August 2023 was $1,208,400, a $261,800 increase since August 2020. In Barrie and District, prices have risen from $571,700 to $818,000 over the last three years.

Despite a $218,500 jump from August 2020 to August 2023, Victoria has seen the largest decline over the last year, with prices falling $18,400 since August 2022.

Winnipeg, Barrie and District, Regina, and Edmonton have also experienced price drops over the last year, ranging from just $300 in the former to $14,800 in the latter, while Regina has seen prices dip $1,100 since 2021.

Like Victoria, the aforementioned cities have still seen significant price growth since 2020 — the smallest of which was Edmonton, at $25,400 — despite the recent declines.

However, with buyers increasingly cautious in the face of high interest rates, dwindling affordability, and a looming recession, further depreciation may be on the horizon. In some cities, including Toronto and Vancouver, price declines have begun once more.


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An email that is original gets read - if it is a template it gets counted - the difference matters

By Pepper Parr

October 9th, 2023



The Good folks in the Millcroft community are ready to bombard the politicians with email requests to support the city request for a MZ0 – a Ministerial Zoning Order.

If they get what they are asking for it will be one of those Zap! You’re done or a wave of a Magic Wand.

It would mean an immediate end to the application for a decision from the Ontario Land Tribunal.

With a stroke of a pen, the Minister can instantly override any chance of appeal of land use planning.

The City is requesting a Minister’s Zoning Order (“MZO”) to protect and preserve the existing uses of Areas A to D and to facilitate appropriate residential development in Area E.

Email from constituents matters – they read what you write but they do count what comes in and they note if what they are getting is the same thing from everyone.

The view taken by constituent offices is:  if you don’t care enough to write your own letter then why should we bother paying you all that much attention.

Millcroft Aganst Development has provided some tips and suggests.  But make a point of making it personal – make a mention of the impact this will have on YOUR home and the larger community.

Do that – and you have their attention – and you might have your Zap! Moment.

The community is served by two Conservative MPP’S who support our cause.  Everyone can be involved so please forward this email to friends and family>An email should go to:


Hon. Paul Calandra,

Hon. Doug Downey, make sure you put KC at the end of the Downey email.  He’s pleased is as punch with the Kings Council designation he gave himself.

Hon. Parm Gill

Send your email to the following addresses:

Premier@ontario.ca”>Premier@ontario.ca; minister.mah@ontario.ca; attorneygeneral@ontario.ca; minister.mrtr@ontario.ca;

cc. effie.triantafilopoulos@pc.ola.org; Natalie.Pierre@pc.ola.org

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A bit more of the City Manger's decision to get out of the civic administration business.

By Pepper Parr

October 8th, 2023



The Tim Commisso story –

On September 18th, City Manager Tim Commisso said at the opening of a city Council Workshop :

Tim Commisso during a Standing Committee meeting in September

“It’s about how precious land is in this community for making things happen. The Burlington Land Partnership was a bit of an experiment, but I think it’s held its own and we are going to be looking coming back to council to say, you know, this model isn’t necessarily right for us now, but we do think it’s time to really put some, ideally permanent funding in place.

“It is not a Municipal Development Corporation. And I want to really be clear about that, because it doesn’t have the same structure and all of that.

“So today what you’re going to see is the work that’s been done.”

He tells Council that sometime in November they will be presented with a prioritized list of the properties the city might want to look at.

He is still very much in the game

Commisso also said “community engagement is our priority”

During the September 18th Workshop Tim Commisso was all in: he was in philosophically, intellectually and emotionally committed. This was work he believed was vital if Burlington was going to manage the huge population growth it was required to accept and had committed to carrying out.

On September 28th, ten days later, the city announced that Tim Commisso’s salary was to be increased from $252,486.00 to $315,499.00 effective September 10th.

The salary increase would have been discussed at some length. We are not sure if Commisso had an agent that negotiated the increase or if he was simply told that his salary was now going to be $315,495,00 – when it was $252,486.00

It is hard to imagine that Commisso would have accepted the increase and then 24 days later (October 3rd),decide he no longer wanted to be the City Manager.

Something happened between the salary increase and the announcement that he no longer wanted to be City Manager.

The public tax money pays these people and they have a right to know why.

We believe that on October 3rd, Commisso informed the Mayor that he was not going to seek a renewal of his contract.

We believe that on October 4th Commisso informed Council members, in a CLOSED session, that he was not going to seek a renewal of his contract.

Included in the Addendum of the Agenda for the October 4th Environmental Infrastructure and Community Services Standing Committee meeting that had both a long list of items that were to be discussed in a CLOSED session and an Addendum to the Agenda with the following:

Confidential verbal update regarding an HR matter.
Note: this item was added to the agenda on October 3, 2023 and requires a 2/3 vote of Council to waive section 36.2 of the Procedure By-law
Pursuant to Section 239(2)(a) of the Municipal Act, personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees.

While there is no one at City hall who can or is prepared to comment on this item it now appears that this was the occasion when Tim Commisso would have informed the members of Council of his intention to not seek a renewal of his five year contract.

While we are not certain that Commisso was the “identifiable individual” that is our belief.

Kwab Ako-Adjei

The “identifiable person” may have been Kwab Ako-Adjei: Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement There could have been two people on the Agenda – both Commisso and Kwab Ako-Adjei

We were advised by a reliable source that the email address we had for Kwab Ako-Adjei: Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement was no longer valid. We tested it and found tat it was no longer valid

When we asked two councillors and two city staff people for comment on whether or not Kwab was still with the city there was no response.

We had also picked up a news tip about a whistle blower who wanted to make comments he could support about the Director of Communications and Engagement.

We suspect there is a connection between the status of the Director of Communications and the notice Commisso gave Councillors during the closed session.

On October 6th Commisso announces a desire to be closer to family in Thunder Bay. Commisso recently purchased and moved into a condominium in Burlington.

Tim Commisso does not tends to make hasty decisions. He considers the options and consults with others widely.

After accepting the salary increase on September 10th, why did he then decide he wanted to get out of the municipal administrative management business on October 3rd – three weeks later?

It would appear that Commisso had made up his mind to move on and that he was doing the responsible thing, – which is very much in character for Commisso, and giving Council four months’ notice.

What is troubling, and very reflective of the view Commisso has of transparency and engagement; he doesn’t walk the talk.

He has on a number of occasions said that his experience as the City Manager for Burlington has been the most meaningful for him in his 42 years of experience is as a municipal bureaucrat.

That is not something he could say about his 12 years as the City Manager in Thunder Bay, but that is another story the Gazette has not yet had an opportunity to finish researching and then telling.

Had Commisso chosen to use the city channels of communication or use his own Facebook page to speak directly to the citizens of the city he could have, in less than five minutes, let the public see and experience their City Manager talking to them – which is what engagement is all about

That unfortunately is not his style.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Tim Commisso is leaving as city manager under his own steam and a time table that gives City Council the time it will need to find a replacement. Kwab Ako-Adjei: appears to have already left, just not under his own steam.

The timeline suggests that the public does not have the full story and given the way both this Council and the City manager view transparency and accountability we may never know what really happened.

What we do know is that Mayor Meed Ward now has Strong Mayor powers and she can hire whoever she wants; she can move staff around, bring new people in or send others on to a life of retirement.

Stand By for the follow up

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If there is going to be a really good political argument at the dinner table tomorrow - you tips on how to direct it all

By Staff

October 8th, 2023


The following comes from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Who doesn’t love a good political argument, preferably over good food? Some of us may even have grown up in households where loud political debate was (is?) the default communication mode.

But increasingly, it’s not just political perspectives that clash. Frequently, the truth itself is up for debate—and heated rhetoric can decimate friendships and divide families. Those who celebrate Thanksgiving may be dreading the awkward dinner table conversations this year.

How do we avoid that tense standoff or shouting match while still using the opportunity to reconnect and talk to family members about important issues? How can we, as progressives, have those conversations without sounding preachy and turning off potential allies? There’s an important key to doing so—and that’s to think like an organizer.

Research shows that people trust their close friends and family members when trying to figure out fact from fiction. That’s a vital role we can all play for the people in our life.

Approaching these conversations with a sense of genuine curiosity can avert the tense standoff scenario and help you find common ground you didn’t know existed. Organizers listen more than they talk—and that’s a good thing.

We had this kind of behaviour well before Covid – just imagine what it is like now?

That angry uncle might also have fear of job loss or housing unaffordability. Maybe that cousin has been growing afraid of the increasingly erratic weather on our burning planet but has been convinced that something other than fossil fuels are to blame—or maybe they feel utterly defeated at the prospect of things ever improving. Perhaps your mom is upset about the unpredictable or unstable future for her kids or grandkids.

Even if they’re taking out that anger on people who aren’t actually responsible, it’s worth listening, even when they’re misguided, because it’s how we can identify if there’s any common ground to work from—and there often is.

Here’s a starting point: despite rising prices, workers aren’t getting their fair share. No matter how hard we work or the sacrifices we make, the cost of living is rising faster than we can keep up. Everyone—even that uncle—can see that.

Behind all the bluster, the reality is that Canada is home to multiple misinformation campaigns, led by certain politicians and extreme right organizations that feeds an ongoing suspicion that the real reason things are so difficult and unpredictable is because of whoever the scapegoat of the moment is—trans folks, migrants, Muslims, woke students, whatever. There is an entire class of people whose purpose is redirecting people’s anger away from the actual source of the problem and towards scapegoats—to hell with the very real and sometimes life-threatening consequences.

To get to a place where we can find common ground, we need to identify who’s really benefiting from inequality: the actual elites. It starts with a more careful assessment of 1) who’s really taking far more than their fair share, and 2) who’s being vilified as the “real” problem and sacrificed by cynical power brokers as collateral damage.

On schools and pronouns

Maybe you have a family member who is critical of the public school system. We can all see there’s plenty of room for improvement! Schools are underfunded, classrooms are crowded, educators are unsupported, and some of the most vulnerable kids aren’t being as well-served as all kids should be. We want a well-resourced system that works for everyone. So why are pronouns suddenly the problem we need to address?

On the carbon tax

Anger about the carbon tax might actually be about the cost of living. But is the carbon tax the main driver of that—especially since Canadians get rebates for that tax? Grocery store CEOs are raking in massive profits—is it really the fault of the person stocking shelves at barely over minimum wage?

On the high cost of housing

Housing prices—for new purchases, mortgage carrying, and rent—are at or near all-time highs, and private sector “solutions” have been a disaster. Are newcomers to Canada, who are also struggling to find affordable housing, make a decent living and put food on the table, really the culprit? No. Is it high time for governments to step up? Yes.

On extreme weather

Talking about the weather used to be something everyone could agree on, but not necessarily anymore. The weather is getting more and more erratic—from summer becoming a “fire season” in much of the country to ice storms knocking out electricity grids in the colder months, there’s a lot to worry about. We can all see what’s happening in front of us, but there are still climate change deniers in our midst. Can we imagine a world where we manage to both address the climate crisis while also making the world more just? That’s something we must all take part in—because avoiding the harsh reality about climate change won’t make those forest fires disappear.

On health care

Our health care system—one of Canadians’ most prized pieces of public infrastructure—is falling apart under the weight of decades of cuts and austerity. The pandemic just exposed the reality of under-investing in the system. More and more of us are realizing that things aren’t working, as we see family members or loved ones wait for care. Those concerns are real and legitimate—but the solution is not to increase privatized care. We need to demonstrate—and we have the evidence—why that’s not the case. Creating private health care services via the back door only siphons needed resources in the public health care system. Remember that question we raised earlier about elites? Private health care lets the rich get to the front of the line while the rest of us wait. That undermines Canada’s vision of universal health care.

Reach across our differences

Our youth face the biggest challenges with little in the way of support.

As progressives, we need to be able to offer a vision of the world that isn’t just compelling—it’s irresistible. We need to understand that the anger that folks are feeling out there (and around the Thanksgiving table) is based on real issues—even if the target of that anger is, to put it charitably, misplaced.

That misdirection is often fed by politicians, capitalists, and the well-funded propagandists whose job is to keep the working majority squabbling amongst ourselves. Not only do we need to have a compelling vision of what victory looks like, we need to be able to map out how to get there—otherwise we’re just (pumpkin) pie-in-the-sky dreaming.

Of course, everyone has the right to draw boundaries—with family members or others—around conversations like this. Nobody has to participate in them. But as progressives, we also have a responsibility to try to move the needle a little bit towards justice. If we don’t, our opponents are happy to do their own organizing—at the Thanksgiving table, and beyond.

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Tim Commisso announces that he will not renew his five year contact with the City

By Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2023



Maybe the $63,000 payroll bump wasn’t enough.  Or had he had enough?

Never got to know the man.

Tim Commisso – how long has he been thinking about this?

Earlier today Burlington City Manager Tim Commisso announced his intention to not seek a renewal of his 5-year contract as City Manager.  Tim was appointed City Manager effective July 1, 2019 and was Interim City Manager since January 2019.

Once she was elected Mayor Marianne Meed Ward knew she had to find a new City Manager – she was about to get the five new members of Council to go along with bringing him in as an Interim.

He convinced himself that he could work with Meed Ward – and on much of the work she was able to make it work.

Somewhere along the way the wheels fell of and he came to the conclusion there were roses that needed some smelling.

No word on “why” he chose this time to bail out – does he know something about the budget that is coming from her and couldn’t stomach it?

Sheila Jones: Currently an Executive Director – without a doubt the strongest player on the Commisso team.

During Tim’s as City Manager he led made some first class hires and promoted people who have and will continue to serve the City.

Look for Sheila Jones to be asked to serve as an Interim if Tim wants to turn in his keys and his parking spot and take a break.

Commisso said he would stick around and help in a seamless transition – his comments were pure boiler plate – wants more time with his family.

The Mayor took the same route – same something acceptable and pull the team together to get past this.

They will need some time to get their story together.


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The Under-explored World of Digital Gaming in Ontario's Local Communities

By Felix Sherman

October 6th. 2023



While many narratives celebrate Ontario’s lush landscapes and rich cultural background, there’s an emerging storyline that remains less explored. This story line is shown through the rapid rise of digital gaming in its local communities. From immersive multiplayer experiences to the thrills of slots online, Ontario is embracing this new frontier. Hence, signalling an intriguing shift in its entertainment ecosystem.

The Role of Community Centers and Social Clubs

The modern gaming environments includes casinos you can attend and sites you can log into with friends and enjoy games of chance.

In the heart of Ontario’s tight-knit communities, digital gaming is making space that’s hard to ignore. Community centres and social clubs, traditionally hubs for local gatherings and events, are now becoming arenas where digital gaming thrives. It’s not just about individual experiences, it’s also about collective enjoyment, friendly competitions and shared moments. This digital revolution is not limited by age. The younger generation leans towards action-packed games or team-based adventures. By doing this, they embrace the adrenaline that these platforms offer. Meanwhile, the older generation, though initially hesitant, finds comfort in strategy games and classics. What’s more beautiful than watching these generations come together. Each of them brings their unique perspective and approach. Through gaming, Ontario’s communities are finding new ways to bond, communicate and understand one another.

Niche Game Themes and Ontario Culture

Much of Canadian history involves historic battles – today the two countries have economies and defence systems that are tightly linked.

This province with its rich history and diverse culture, has become a muse for game developers. Many popular online games now echo themes inspired by Ontario’s heritage, be it the majestic Great Lakes or tales from its Indigenous communities. These thematic touches not only enhance game play, but also deepen the connection players feel to their province. Meanwhile, local gaming tournaments are on the rise. What once were simple neighbourhood challenges are now blossoming into major events. Whether held in community halls or streamed online, these tournaments foster friendship, competitiveness and pride. Imagine a game inspired by Toronto’s iconic skyline or a strategy game set in the historical War of 1812. These aren’t just games, they’re stories, memories and echoes of a community’s shared history. Through tournaments and culturally resonant themes, digital gaming in Ontario is becoming more than entertainment.

The Tech-Savvy Ontarian

Digital gaming has grown in sophistication and speed due to the exceptionally good internet connections.

The tech landscape is evolving at a fast pace in Ontario, and with it, the accessibility to digital gaming grows. Modern devices, from smartphones to tablets have become powerful gaming machines. For the everyday Ontarian, this means games are just a tap away. High-speed internet has bridged gaps, hence, ensuring even those in remote areas can dive into the gaming world. And as technology becomes more user-friendly, both young and old are finding it easier to explore, play, and connect. The blend of cutting-edge tech and an eager audience has made Ontario a fertile ground for the digital gaming revolution.

Sustainable Gaming

Ontario stands at the forefront of responsible digital gaming, while embracing measures to ensure both safety and sustainability. With the passage of Bill C-218 in 2021, the stage was set for provinces to dive into a regulated betting and casino arena. And by April 2022, Ontario took the lead by introducing its legal online gambling framework. Under the watchful eye of iGaming Ontario (iGO), each operator must earn their license from AGCO.

Ontario’s commitment doesn’t end there. Age restrictions reinforce the province’s attitude on responsible gaming, thus requiring players to be at least 19 years old. As this industry grows, its regulated structure promises not just entertainment, but also an economic boost.





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There will not be a closure of Niagara-bound traffic lanes on the QEW Burlington Skyway this weekend.

By Staff

October 6th, 2023



For the past month we have received notices from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) on when the QEW Burlington Skyway Bridge would be open and when it would not be open.

Far too often the information provided was confusing – nevertheless sent out and all too often revised.

Telephone calls for clarification were responded to a day or two later – even though the telephone number provided was labelled “for media”.

We eventually gave up – we found there was a voice at MTO but nothing behind it.

Bridge open this weekend

At no time did MTO ever explain why the lanes were closed – it appeared to have something to do with expansion joints.

The latest, and we pass this along to you with some trepidation – is that:

There will not be a closure of Niagara-bound traffic lanes on the QEW Burlington Skyway this weekend.

The QEW Burlington Skyway will remain open during this Thanksgiving long weekend.

Travellers can always visit http://511on.ca/ or @511Ontario for updates on work and traffic impacts.



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Best of the works done by Fine Arts Association to be on display at The Hub - part of the Burlington Centre

By Staff

October 6th, 2023



Nicole Dolson

The Burlington Fine Arts Association is once again bringing its free public art exhibit from the annual juried exhibition “The Artist’s Mark” to the Hub at the Burlington Centre

The event will run from October 14 – 22 during mall hours.  The exhibit highlights the best art that Burlington Artists have created in the year.

The Fine Arts Association is one of a number of guilds that operate out of the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Fine Arts Association going over art that will be displayed at a public event taking place at the Burlington Centre.

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Premier takes it on the chin as the province unwinds all the land transactions that took place during the Greenbelt land grab

By Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2023



We are supposed to know how the Ford government is going to return all the land that it moved out of the Greenbelt boundary sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday when a bill will be tabled in the Legislature setting out just how this will be done.

It will be a messy piece of legislation that NDP Leader of the Opposition Marit Stiles will be pouring over with a fine tooth comb.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra said: “We have to return all of the land obviously … and ensure that the additional lands (9,400 acres) that we promised to put back into the Greenbelt (are in the new law) and we’re restoring the easements that were brought with respect to the agricultural preserve,” he said on Thursday.

It is just a moment in time but the look on Premier Doug Ford’s face, captured by the camera, tells you all you need to know – he is not a happy camper. How much of this is on the Premier and is Calandra doing what has to be done to save the government before the opinion polls tank completely.

Calandra said the bill is being translated into French and should be ready when MPPs return from next week’s Thanksgiving recess.

NDP Leader Marit Stiles said she wants to pore over the Progressive Conservative legislation before deciding if New Democrats will support it.

Marit Stile’s going for the jugular as she hammers the Ford government.

“I’m going to wait and see what they present. I don’t know what’s taking so long. I gave them a bill,” said Stiles, referring to one she introduced Sept. 25 that the majority Tories rejected.

“I don’t trust this government for one second. They’ve been making so many deals all across this province,” she said.

“We see over and over again this government in their dirty deals and their preferential treatment. People in Ontario have lost trust in this government.”


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City of Burlington to Oppose Nelson Quarry Expansion at Ontario Land Tribunal

Joint Statement from Mayor & Ward 3 Councillor:
City of Burlington to Oppose Nelson Quarry Expansion at Ontario Land Tribunal

Burlington, Ont. — Oct. 5, 2023 —

The City of Burlington will be opposing the proposed Nelson Quarry expansion, located at Mount Nemo. Council voted unanimously today to share our decision publicly to oppose the application at the appeal at the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).

Council has instructed our Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel and retained legal counsel Rod Northey (Gowling WLG) and instructed them to attend the OLT on behalf of the City of Burlington to oppose the proposed Nelson Quarry expansion and all applications made by Nelson Aggregate Co. for that purpose in its appeal to the tribunal.

There are too many potentially negative impacts to the area, environment, wildlife, and community in the proposed expansion of the aggregate operation.
Halton Regional Council has also approved the Region of Halton to attend the OLT appeal hearing in objection to the Nelson Quarry expansion. A copy of the Region’s object letter is available here.

We would like to extend our deepest thanks to our community for their commitment and advocacy on this critically important matter to our community, as well as providing evidence-based reasoning as to why Council and the City should oppose this application at the OLT.

To learn more about the project and view supporting documents, please visit burlington.ca/nelsonquarry and halton.ca

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Andy Kim on stage Friday evening. Performing Arts Season is set out for those who have yet to decide what they want to catch

By Pepper Parr

October 5th, 2023



Tomorrow evening Andy Kim will take to the Main Theatre stage with his massive international hits like Rock Me Gently, Baby I Love You and Sugar Sugar as well as his charming on-stage persona.

The schedule for the 2023-24 season is set out:  CLICK HERE;

View from the stage of the Performing Arts Centre.

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Should the BDBA and the Restaurant Association be able to kick the Food Truck event out of Spencer Smith Park?

By Pepper Parr

October 5th, 2023



City Council listened to two delegations today on who gets to use Spencer Smith Park.

Brian Dean – BDBA and Craig Kowalchuk – Restaurant Association

Everyone wants to use the space – Brian Dean, Executive Director of the Burlington Downtown Business Association describes the space as the Gold Standard when it comes to places people like to gather.

It is the locale for the two biggest events that take place in the city every year – Sound of Music and the Rotary Ribfest.

Foe the past three years it has been used as the locale for the Food Truck Festival.  They were expecting to use the locale for their 2024 event.

The BDBA wants them to find some other place.

The space was packed – it proved to be very popular with the younger crowd. There were lineups on the Promenade to get in.

The Recreation, Parks and Culture department had a report before the Standing Committee on how this issue was to be resolved. In their report they said:

Following re-occurring concerns from both parties previously stated, earlier this year, a Motion Memo was brought before Council regarding the event:

Direct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to work with the event organizer to explore alternative options for the location and configuration for the food truck festival outside of the downtown and report back to council in Q3 2023

It was decided that the event would carry on as planned for the 2023 year under the Delegated Authority of the Supervisor of Festivals & Events with the provision that the organizers continue to meet the Special Event Team (SET) guidelines. The organizer listened to recent feedback and the concerns expressed and subsequently offered to work with the BDBA and BRA to help market local area businesses through their extensive campaign.

It became clear during the two delegations that that idea wasn’t going to fly

Ben Freeman – Food Truck Association

The Burlington Restaurant Association argues that when the Food Truck event is taking place the restaurants take a huge financial hit – the BDBA feels it is in place to protect the hospitality sector and wants the park to be used for something other than an organization that takes business away from hospitality sector.

At some point Council is going to have to determine just how big a hold does the BDBA have on Spencer Smith?

The park is now at or very very close to capacity – and there is no way to expand.

In separate articles we set out the BDBA position, the Food Truck Association position and include the views of at least one of the restaurateurs – Martini House – on the impact the Food Truck event has on their business.

It is not a pretty picture – all three groups have strong points of view and data they believe supports there view.

The BDBA wants the Food Trucks kept out of Spencer Smith Park – some 45,000 Burlingtonians attend the Food Truck event.

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We know how big the problem is - we know what the outcome will be. What are we going to do?

By Pepper Parr

October 5th, 2023



If a picture is worth a thousand words – the is worth several thousand words.

The image should be on T shirts that everyone can wear.

It needs the same impact as the Every Child Matters T shirt.

Global temperatures soared to a new record in September by a huge margin, stunning scientists and leading one to describe it as “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas”.

The hottest September on record follows the hottest August and hottest July, with the latter being the hottest month ever recorded. The high temperatures have driven heatwaves and wildfires across the world.

September 2023 beat the previous record for that month by 0.5C, the largest jump in temperature ever seen. September was about 1.8C warmer than pre-industrial levels. Datasets from European and Japanese scientists confirm the leap.

The heat is the result of the continuing high levels of carbon dioxide emissions combined with a rapid flip of the planet’s biggest natural climate phenomenon, El Niño. The previous three years saw La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean, which lowers global temperature by a few tenths of a degree as more heat is stored in the ocean.


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Wolseley Canada celebrates its third year of support for indigenous student post-secondary education

By Staff

October 4th, 2023



An Indigenous Student Bursary fund reaches a $150,000 milestone in its third year providing support for indigenous students pursuing post-secondary education.

Teach for Tomorrow encourages and supports First Nations, Inuit and Métis students to fulfill their ambition to become teachers and provides a seamless approach for students to transition though high school into university.

Launched in 2021 in partnership with Indspire as part of Wolseley Canada’s recognition of Truth and Reconciliation Day, the Indigenous Student Bursary is part of the Building Brighter Futures program. It. provides funding for individual First Nation, Inuit and Metis students enrolled in full- and part-time studies in college, university, skilled trades, apprenticeships and technology programs.

“It is important to Wolseley Canada that we give back to the communities where we work and live,” says Kim Forgues, Vice President of Human Resources at Wolseley Canada. “We feel strongly that it is our corporate responsibility to help build stronger communities, and a key part of that is creating opportunities for young people to start a career. With this bursary program, we reflect on history and consider how we can better support Indigenous youth for a brighter future.”  

Wolseley Canada annually contributes $25,000 to the fund, which the Government of Canada matches for a total of $50,000 each year.  

For more information about the Wolseley Canada Indigenous Student Bursary or to apply, visit indspirefunding.ca. Applications deadlines are November 1, 2023, and February 1, 2024.

About Wolseley Canada

Wolseley Canada is a market leader in the wholesale distribution of plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, waterworks, fire protection, pipes, valves and fittings and industrial products.

With its head office in Burlington, Ontario, the company has approximately 2,500 employees and more than 220 locations coast to coast. Wolseley’s team of sales and service specialists, an industry-leading e-business platform, Wolseley Express, and relationships with the best vendors and brands in the business, make Wolseley the professional’s choice across the country. 

Wolseley Canada’s parent company, Ferguson plc is the world’s largest trade distributor of plumbing and heating products and a leading supplier of building materials. Ferguson plc is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: FERG) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE: FERG).




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