Confusing crime scene and Crime Stoppers information that doesn’t add up.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 27, 2011  This is an odd one.  Sometime last week unknown suspect(s) smashed the front glass door to gain entry to A1 Transmission located on 4179 Harvester Road. It appears that the lobby and the office were entered, however no items were disturbed. Total loss of the damage glass door is valued at $300.

Here is what is odd about this: – the break in took place sometime between 1:30 p.m.  and 8 p.m. on October 22nd, a Saturday – in the afternoon to early evening.

Wouldn’t the shop have been open at that time?

Fuzzy information on this Crime Stopper request for help.

The police report says that shortly after the break and enter, (hold it – they have the time as between 1:30 pm and 8:00 pm – confusing) a small modified blue Honda car was observed exiting the driveway at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was last seen travelling westbound on Harvester Road.

The whole story obviously isn’t here – but if you know something both Crime Stoppers and the police would appreciate your help.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes)

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The little piggies will not be going to the same market – Maple Leaf pulls the plug on Burlington, will Fearman’s take their space?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 24, 2011  Maple Leaf Foods announced yesterday that they are going to close the Burlington distribution and refrigeration plant on Harvester Road sometime  2013, which will mean the expected loss of 87 jobs.

Maple Leaf announced at the same time a massive expansion into the Red Valley Business Park in Hamilton where more than 1,500 jobs will be created. The announcement of the Hamilton move just may be the beginning of a stretch of economic growth that Hamilton needs if it is every going to shed its steel manufacturing industrial base.

Given that Burlington has had a working relationship with Maple Leaf Foods for some time one wonders if this city was ever in the game for the expansion?  We certainly have the land and the Paletta people do know how to take advantage of an opportunity.

Hamilton did have a leg up on this one with the Canada Bread operation also being set up in the Hamilton community as well.  The municipal taxes on the meat processing plant will amount to $2 million annually.

The Maple Leaf announcement was brought about by that city’s Economic development department which is an in house operation.  The Burlington Economic Development Corporation is an arms length organization that has council representation on it.

A 150 year old corporation that plays a significant role in the Burlington economy. Should a slughterhiuse be in this location?

There are some who feel that there is a bit of a silver lining in the announcement for Burlington and that is Fearman’s could take up the Maple Leaf Foods space which is immediately adjacent to their property on Harvester Road abutting the Applyby GO station.  The question for the city is – does Burlington really want a slaughter house right in the middle of an industrial part of town and next to a GO station?

Burlington will begin reviewing its Official Plan in 2012 and that question is sure to be asked.  The Strategic Plan, that city council will pass within a week, sheds no light on industry specifics, but does talk about prosperity and those elusive high tech, high paying jobs.  Nothing high tech or high paying about a slaughterhouse; but without them, bacon and eggs, and a ham at Easter won’t happen.

The F.W. Fearman’s brand is over 150 years old. So, it’s not only the oldest continuously operating pork processing plant in Canada, but also the first of its kind in the country. It was established in 1852, in Hamilton, Ontario, by F.W. Fearman, a dealer in sugar-cured hams and smoked meats.

Fearman’s sits on a site immediately to the west of the Maple Leaf plant and were the object of one of the more misdirected protests the city has seen in some time.  Nearly 20 Toronto Pig Save supporters picketed the Fearman plant early in October. “We’re talking about how animals are inhumanely treated,” said Patti Blersch. “I live in Burlington and one of Ontario’s largest slaughterhouses is down the street.”

Blersch wore a pink pig costume while protesters also spread their message with signs, pamphlets, a megaphone and video-audio display. They plan more protests in Burlington, said one of the animal rights group’s founders. She claims 8,000-9,000 pigs are killed each working day at Fearman’s.

Fearman’s is  an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc., a Boca Roton, Florida hedge fund that has recently provided significant amounts for the upgrading of plant and equipment at the Burlington location.

Obviously a major hydro user and also a company that is well funded and in a postion to grow their operation if the market demand is there.

“The Ontario pork processing business is an impressive facility with significant potential to increase production levels. We are fully committed to growing the business, bringing our investment experience in the food processing industry to bear, working closely with hog suppliers and serving the markets with top-quality products. We believe there is opportunity to further expand into international markets and build out the company’s market share for specialty and value-added products,” said Anthony Polazzi, Principal at Sun Capital Partners. “Maple Leaf Foods will continue to be an important customer as we move forward.”

“This sale will complete the transformation of our fresh pork operations to focus our growth on branded, consumer-focused prepared meats and meals business,” said Michael Vels, Chief Financial Officer of Maple Leaf Foods. “We are very pleased to have secured a buyer who will continue to operate the facility, providing ongoing employment to a highly skilled workforce, and an important market for Ontario’s hog producers.”

Sun Capital has approximately $8 billion of capital under management and often bridges the entire purchase price at closing, raising permanent debt financing afterwards.

The company targets companies with up to $5 billion or more of revenues, but many of the transactions are with businesses with sales between $50 million and $500 million. A staff of approximately 150 people and a decisive approach to business enables them to close deals within 30 days compared to three to six months for most other buyers. Appropriate acquisition and investment targets may include private businesses, divisions of larger companies, and publicly-traded companies.

Fearman’s is clearly owned by people with very deep pockets – so buying up the Maple Leaf plant is not a financial problem.  A reliable source in Burlington’s financial community suspects conversations between the two are already taking place.  Should that happen – the jobs lost through the Maple Leaf closing would be more than made up with a Fearman’s expansion.


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City turns the Performing Arts Centre over to the community and serves cupcakes to keep everyone happy.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 23, 2012   It was a lovely fall afternoon; people were out and about – and hundreds, close to 1000 actually gathered at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre to walk around the place and kick the tires and look into every nook and cranny they could find.  Few if any were disappointed.

The Burlington Teen Tour Band took over the Family Room of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre the day the city turned the building over to the community.

There was a festive sense to the day – all the politicians were there but all they were able to do was say hello to people they knew and to people who wanted to know them.

Mayor Rick Goldring was very much the man of the moment even though the building that was being handed over symbolically to the Burlington Theatre Board got its genesis from two men who asked the right question and motivated people to begin something that resulted in the building we have today that sits on a site that used to house the city`s police station.

Babies and politicians - something magnetic about the two. Here Burlington MP Mike Wallace greets a little one. Some day that child will vote..

One citizen, pushing his Mother in a wheelchair wanted to say hello to the Mayor and did so – the Mother had a shamrock pin in the lapel of her jacket which the Mayor picked up on and asked is she was Irish – she was Irish and the conversation was amiable, the kind of thing that takes place at events like this – and then they asked – when the Pier was going to open – the Mayor just can`t get away from that one.  He now has an answer – sometime in 2013.

One couple mentioned that a restaurant north of the Centre was sold to the current owners by her Father. `That used to be where our orchard was`, she commented and her husband added Ì used to come to the police station that was on this site for my papers to be a volunteer.

Actors from Burlington Student Theatre were on hand for the turning over of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Everyone had a comment, hundreds picked up a cup cake or a cup of coffee and just milled around until the Burlington Teen Tour Band marched into the building through glass doors on the east side that opened up fully to the plaza.  And in they came – all the redcoats you would ever want to see in one place.  They played a couple of tunes and marched smartly out the building.  The Main Theatre has great sound and we now know that the Family Room has even greater sound.  The sound from those drums reverberated off the walls and just filled the large hall.

David Vollick, the Town Crier for Burlington did his first official gig for the city and read out the proclamation that had the symbolic key to the building placed in the hands of the Burlington Theatre Board president Allan Pearson.  Didn’t see Pearson turn over the $1. annual rent to the city – perhaps that cheque is in the mail.

Our Town Crier was at his very best – a full force voice boomed out as he read the proclamation.

“Oyez, Oyez, Oyez” he began.

“Citizens of Burlington draw near and bear witness to an historic event in the growth of our fair city.

Today we celebrate the beginning of a new era for comedy, tragedy, aye for theater in all its forms in our newest and most favourably furnished facility –

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

It was a proud day for former Mayor Walter Mulkewich, standing center with his hands in his pockets. The Centre has been a gleam in his eye for more than 20 years.

Mayor Goldring and his wife look on as the Burlington Teen Tour Band entertains hundreds in the family Room of the Centre.

The centre is a gift from the City of Burlington to all the citizens of our fair city. It will encourage local talent of both our performers and our technical producers and will draw performers from across the great Country of Canada, and also from the world at large — to grace its stage.

To mark the significance of this occasion His Worship –

Rick Goldring – The Mayor of Burlington, will present the Symbolic Key to the Performing Arts Center to Mr. Allan Pearson — Chairman of the Board of Directors.

I call forth His Worship Mayor Goldring”

And with that the Mayor came on stage and the transfer and presentation of the key began.  The building was now in the hands of the Burlington Theatre Board which is the organization that oversees the working of the staff at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.  But the building is still very much a people place..  With the Burlington Teen Tour Band having sort of blessed the place with its sound people were milling about as if they were on a village square meeting friends and chatting away.  The chatter and the exchanging of gossip was all part of the day.  Our Theatre had been launched and the people of the city were there to witness the event.

Sometime in December there will be a very fancy $400. a ticket event and then the Centre will move into its Christmas Season program.  The Nutcracker Suite has been sold out.  Stuart McLean’s The Vinyl Café was sold out and – an additional performance added and it too was sold out.  Both are tried and true events.  As we move into 2012 the staff at the Centre can begin to bring in more innovative programs and begin to stretch the artistic imaginations of the community.  Expect some birth pangs.

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Sakran is sanguine about his election loss – but he isn`t losing any sleep over it. Back at his law practice.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 21, 2011  He is in really great shape.  Jovial, animated and having fun.  Karmel Sakran didn’t want to lose the provincial election but – lose it he did and while he certainly isn’t saying no to another run – that’s not on today’s agenda.  “I went four months without an income and now I’m glad to be back to work doing what I was trained to do.”  He might have added that his wife and family get to see more of him these days.

For Karmel Sakran this all started back in November of 2010 when he got a call from the late John Boich.  “I was coming out of Cumis with a cheque for $92,000. for the United Way in my pocket and I was feeling great.  I was on Bluetooth and John Boich called and asked me if I would consider being the Liberal candidate in the 2011 election.  It came right out of the blue – I wasn’t even a member of the association.  I was kind of stunned – John had to ask me several times if I was still on the line.   I said that I would have to take some time to think about it – and I found that all I needed was a day.” I called John the next morning and said I would stand for nomination.”

Karmel making his views known to a Spectator reporter

As it turned out Sakran had a competitor for the nomination when Alyssa Brierley put her name forward but she withdrew shortly after when she was asked to run as the federal Liberal candidate against Mike Wallace.  Brierley ran a short vigorous campaign but lost to long time Burlington Conservative whose roots went back to municipal council.

As for Sakran – what’s next?  His time on the Hospital Board has come to end.  “The day I was nominated I was legally required to resign from the Hospital Board”, explained Sakran who was on the Board when that internal bit of hospital governance was passed.

“I’ll be seen more frequently at Rotary where I`ve been a member for a number of years.  I will hold my annual fund raiser – the Wills & Power of Attorney event I put on, so I`ll be busy.

We did our very best as a campaign and I`m proud of the team I was given to work with”, is the explanation Sakran gives for the loss.  A look at the numbers and it was evident that Burlington was not prepared to elect a Liberal provincially.  McKenna took every one of the advance polls – and while those numbers weren`t evident during the last few days of the election – they are an indicator of just how well the Conservative team did.  They got their vote out.

The Liberals also got their vote out – but the New Democrats got more of their vote out – a surprising 19.9% of the Burlington total went to the New Democrats – in the past their numbers were in the 5% (in the 2007 by-election) and 11% in the 2007 election.

No one really knows yet why the NDP did so well.  Walter Mulkewich, former Mayor of Burlington and chair of the NDP Finance Committee for their campaign,  will tell you that the NDP is back to where they have been historically.  Others think there was a distinct Layton factor in play.  The federal New Democrats took a very significant number of seats in Quebec during the federal election and basically wiped out the Parti Quebecois.  Shortly after the federal election Jack Layton died and many felt there was a sympathy vote that brought out NDP types in Burlington that had in the past gone to the Liberals.

The overall poor voter turnout didn’t help.  Because Burlington actually had a bit of a contest going,  the voter turnout was higher here than in the rest of the province.  For many it just wasn`t that exciting an election.  Andrea Horwath, the NDP leader brought some colour to the picture but other than that it had a bit of a boring cast to it.

Quite why elections have to be exciting and a real contest is beyond me.  That poor bugger who died in a mud filled trench in France trying to clear the mustard gas from his lungs didn`t sign up so that we could have exciting ‘elections.  But I digress – this is something that I get a little steamed about.  It`s not about partisan politics – it`s about a democratic process where a community chooses the best person it can find to represent that community in the Legislature.

As for Karmel Sakran – he is sanguine about the whole thing. “It was an amazing experience.  I loved every minute of it and I sure learned a lot.  Would I do it again – maybe.“

If you`re a community based organization and you are looking for some very experienced executive talent – Karmel Sakran is in the phone book – give him a call.


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Community party FREE! Big deal, it was also a very expensive deal and it is now up to you to make it work.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 21, 2011 – A golden key, a silver bullet – something to commemorate the handing over of a building constructed for the Performing Arts – something brand new for Burlington.  That’s the schedule for Sunday afternoon – October 23rd.

Thousands of people put in a lot of time and large sums of their own money during the past 30 years, which was when the idea that the city should have a performing arts Centre.   One donation that is particularly poignant was the $60,000.+ donated by what was then Performing Arts, but renamed Creative Burlington who found recently they could not sustain themselves financially and had to cease regular operations.  They were one of the first groups to put up real cash – it has been that kind of selfless dedication that has resulted in the building the city is going to turn over to a non-profit corporation that will provide a level of entertainment generally not available to Burlington.

You are the owner - make some time to check out the property - get your face pained and enjoy a piece of cake.

We’ve done stories on the relationship between the various organizations before and will do more of them in the future – but this Sunday afternoon from mid-day to 4:00 pm in the afternoon the public is invited out to look the place over, get your face painted, enjoy a piece of cake, get your bum in a seat, and take in a small performance.  Basically just check the place out.

There will be tours through the building, many if not most, of the volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and show you around.

The Centre has a great bar – just not sure if it’s going to be open.  No one was sure if this was a city event and therefore their bar and Centre staff couldn’t get us an answer to that question in the hour we had.

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Black four door sedan – with a spoiler – do you know of one ? Police would like to hear from you.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 21, 2011  The police need your help in locating a vehicle that struck a 12-yr-old girl, at the intersection of Appleby Line and Lakeshore Road, Burlington early in October.

It was 4:30 pm. In the afternoon, the girl had just exited her school bus and was walking westbound across Appleby Line when a vehicle travelling west on Lakeshore Road, turned north onto Appleby Line and struck her.

The vehicle ran over the girl’s foot, causing her to fall to the ground and scrape one of her knees.  As a direct result of being struck, the girl sustained a fractured foot.

The driver of the vehicle stopped briefly, but subsequently left the scene prior to police arrival. The police are looking for a male, non-white, 45-55 years old, short black hair (spiky), wrinkly face, with a high-pitched voice.  The driver was wearing blue jeans and a jogging style ‘Adidas’ jacket.

The vehicle is a black, 4-door sedan, with a spoiler on back.

The driver of the vehicle knew what he had done – he could have and should have remained at the scene of the accident.  For failing to do so – he just may spend some of his time in a jail cell – that will only happen if he is apprehended – and that will only happen if you help.  Keep your streets safe – make the call if you know anyone who drives a black four dour sedan with a spoiler on the back.  Police will take it from there.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to contact Detective John Ophoven at 905 825-4747 x2307, or Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222 TIPS(8477), the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crime).

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Great deal for children on HALOWEEN – Ireland House is going to become creepy

BURLINGTON, ON October 20, 2011 – Halloween can break the bank and there is more taking on the part of the kids than giving.  Burlington’s Ireland House has revived a program that is intended for smaller children and their families.

Takes place Sunday October 30st – beginning at noon and running through to 4 pm.  Small fee of $5. For the children and $2. for the adults.   Thrown in to make it a real deal is a pumpkin for everyone for as long as supplies last.

Lots of activities and crafts for children and adults! Pumpkin carving and painting! Make a magic potion, see special amulets and learn about herbs with The Witch (La Bonne Sorciere) in her creepy cabin!


Goblins and ghosts and the scary cabin at Ireland House - great entertainment for the young ones

Put on a brave face and find your way through our haunted woodshed!  March in a costume parade!  Enter our costume contest and win prizes! Make some supernatural creations with Mad Science!  See a breathtaking fire & ice show!  Have you fortune read in a crystal ball! Sink your fangs into delicious barbeque refreshments! Take in carnival style games & a Giant Maze! Live entertainment for children and adults including costumed belly-dancing instructions with Belly-up Dance Studio and other special attractions!

 Looks like a fun program:

 Storytelling with Child Proof: 12:30

Mad Science Fire & Ice Show: 1:15

Belly-Dancing Demonstrations & Lessons: 2:30

Costume Parade & Contest: 3:15

Crafts, activities, tours and other attractions all day!

 The house itself will be decorated for the Halloween season with a woodshed being set up for a special surprise as well as the cabin being put to interesting use.  We are told there will be “belly dancers” on the premises – that should ensure that Dad comes along with the kids for this event.

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This give convenience store service a whole new meaning – pretty close to take out.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 20, 2011  Halton Regional Police Service is still investigating the theft of cigarettes from a convenience store in Burlington.

Sometime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on July 24th, unknown suspect(s) entered the rear storage area of the Big Bear Convenience Store located at 450 Appleby Line and removed several cartons of cigarettes.  The suspect(s) then exited through the back door leading into a laneway.

The store was open for business at the time of the theft.  What – is someone kidding?  No insurance claim on this one – and you have to know that someone who knows the a store and how it operates was the one who provided the information to the culprits that made off with the smokes.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes)

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A time for new leaders to emerge.

By Casey Cosgrove

BURLINGTON, ON  October 19, 2011 –  It may just be me, but the city feels remarkably quiet and calm this week.  The provincial election is over, and we will have a respite of three years or so (we hope) before going to the ballot box again in Burlington.  In the past year, we have elected those people that Burlington wished to see as its representatives, our political leaders on three fronts  – provincially, federally, and on the municipal scene. I know many friends and colleagues that are looking forward to the time off to re-energize.

Things seem too good to be true here at home.  The ‘mistake on the lake’ (pier) is on the right path, we have a lovely new performing arts centre opening downtown soon, the hospital development and mid-peninsula highway issues are in the hands of the ‘right’ provincial government – things just seem so, well, suburban.

Believe me, as a director of an organization that does work with low-income families across Canada, Halton was a tough place to get partners. It was as if people here didn’t want to recognize that poverty exists. I live here and know it does.

I see no signs of ‘Occupy Burlington’ on the horizon either.  This time of relative ‘peace’ begs the question – What are the ‘burning issues’ that will affect Burlingtonians over the next while?  Of course there are always things to do, ‘one-off’ problems to solve here in the city, but what will occupy the news in the coming months?  Perhaps it will be another fight to preserve lakefront or green space, the protection of a piece of Burlington history, another possible sports franchise relocation, or maybe even a good old-fashioned political scandal! One never knows, and it is just this that would make having a crystal ball so wonderful!

No matter what dominates the news, when I wear my ‘community engagement’ or  ‘leadership prof’ hat, I see this as just the right period in time for new leaders to surface here in the city.  Yes, leaders often emerge in crisis, but it is also these ‘quiet times’ that allow civic minded people to take on a cause near and dear to them, and to plant the seeds to dealing with an important local issue. Take Mina Wahidi, and her building of the Compassion Society of Halton a few years back.  This was a terrific example of leadership in action right here in the community, and was not done with interest of seeking political office.  This was community leadership in its purest form. As a lifelong resident of the city, I do have my own wish list of areas that I would like to see local leadership emerge.

First and foremost, I would like to see genuine recognition that poverty exists here, and then see something done about it.  Believe me, as a director of an organization that does work with low-income families across Canada, Halton was a tough place to get partners.  It was as if people here didn’t want to recognize that poverty exists.  I live here and know it does.  The way I see it, many people that are consumed by taxes and their own pocketbook took the opportunity to vote here in Burlington last week, with a predictable local result.  Now it’s time to get involved, and the best way would be to step outside ones comfort zone and better understand and see that there are a lot of people ‘hurting’ close to home.  I believe that there is a great potential for people to step-up as leaders in the fight against poverty here in Halton, and hope to see it on the radar.

The other area that I believe has excellent growth potential in terms of local leadership involve seniors and youth – both individually and collectively. Imagine a community that not only honours its most senior members (which we have in great numbers), but works closely and actively with them in building community.   Imagine a community that builds leadership in their young people ‘on purpose’, inspires them to be leaders no matter where their personal journey takes them.  Utilizing these two local riches (seniors and youth) both individually and with a number of inter-generational approaches not only contributes to the development and growth of the people involved, but most certainly to the community as a whole.  We hear the word leadership used a lot during elections, but it is this ‘quiet’ period of time in between elections where we should be focused on developing and encouraging emerging local leaders.  Lets get at ‘er.

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Chugging along with money in the bank. The Freeman station is just not going to go away.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 18, 2011   This should have been written  on Thanksgiving Day – for the citizens of Burlington indeed should be thankful for that band of hardy people who are fighting the good fight to keep the dream of restoring the Freeman Railway Station alive.  It has not been an easy task.

The organization has new leadership, James Smith is the chair and there is something in the order of $20,000. in the bank, perhaps more.  Les Armstrong was the chair previously.  Les is a member of the Waterfront Advisory Committee where he did better than yeoman`s work on the gathering of data on waterfront locations where public access to the lake is blocked by private citizens who sort of assumed they could get away with letting people believe that access to the lake that was close to their property could be treated as if it was their property.  Les hasn’t finished with that battle but he has stepped away from leadership at the Freeman Station.  He served very well and very faithfully while he was there.

The Freeman Station could - and should be placed on a site just beyond the trees in this picture - in Spencer Smith Park where it would be yards from where the railway line used to come into the city. It would have public washrooms that are badly needed in the Park.

The Station has a colourful history.  Council, both the current and the one prior to that, were completely irresponsible to the community when they let federal Stimulus funding get away because they seemed unable to find a place to put the station.

No need to go through all that dirty laundry now – there is only one place for the structure and that is right alongside where the railway line into Burlington used to run.   Kind of across Lakeshore Road from the Joseph Brant Museum.  With the Burlington Arts Centre across the street the city would have a small cluster of cultural, historical structures and it is that kind of clustering that draws traffic – which the Joseph Brant Museum could clearly use.

Once the station is in place – what are we going to do with it?  Have the city move the Tourism office into the building – yes, there will be concerns over plumbing and electricity – just find a way to do it and get on with it.  No more excuses please.

The structure sits beside the Fire Hall on Plains Road where rot has begun to take hold.  Something is going to have to be done to wrap the structure and make some basic fixes so it doesn’t  fall apart and have to be sold for poor quality fire wood.

There are two locations that top the list; one in Spencer Smith Park, the only really logical one, and another in Central Park tucked away in the back where it can`t be seen and sitting beside the planned location for the public market gardens that we will see in place early in 2012.  If it goes to Central Park it could end up being a tool shed for the gardeners.  Shudder

During the period of time when the city was trying – haphazardly it must be said, to find a home for the structure, there was talk of putting it in the parking lot behind the Arts Centre – but they didn’t  want anything to do with the structure.

The Freeman Station currently sits in the parking lot of the Fire Station on Plains Road where the weather isn't doing any good to the structure - which is still basically sound..

The city ran advertisements looking for expressions of interest – no takers there either.  There were all kinds of rumours but no takers.   It was when Councillors Marianne Meed Ward and Blair Lancaster asked council for some time to create a committee that would find a way to raise the money needed and to restore the building and find a permanent place for it.  It is that hardy band of people who toil away with fund raising events that got us to where we are today.  Time now to take the next brave step and get council back into the game.

There should be enough support on Council to make this happen.  Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison is a right off; he’d float the Joseph Brant Museum out into the lake and let it sink.  There might be a small chance of getting Dennison support if you put ina bicycle rack or better still set up a bicycle rental service – that would keep Dennison happy.

Councillor Paul Sharman was sympathetic to what the community wanted to do but his perspective at the time was that the community should be given a chance to see what they could do – and if they weren’t able to raise the funds needed – then they should just let it go.  Sharman has enough pluckiness in his character to see what the citizens have done and while he is not part of the Meed Ward fan club he and councillor Lancaster have a good working relationship – there’s your four votes.  And, the Mayor – he should be with them.

The station is on the border of Wards 1 and 2 – but even though Meed Ward and Craven sit beside each other – they don’t exactly hold hands.  Craven could see the larger picture and perhaps be brought on side.  That leaves good old John Taylor of Ward 3 who cares passionately about the rural part of the city and could be brought to appreciate that during the days when the railway ran through part of town it was those box cars that carried all the produce into the city.

Councillor Craven could make amends and spearhead a drive to get the Freeman Station located in Spencer Smith Park where it belongs. That would mean getting along with Councillor Meed Ward. Can Craven get beyond his problems with Meed Ward and see the greater good for the city?

During the phase of this structure`s history mention of Spencer Smith park came up as a location for the train station and at the time Councillors Peter Thoem and Rick Craven voted against the building being located in the park.  There were apparently some people with more money than they know how to count and more influence than most people on the voters list – who convinced – bullied would be a better word – the two Councillors to back off the Spencer Park site.  Something about it creating traffic that would not be welcome and noise – can you imagine – the Sound of Music Festival has a band stage less than 25 feet from the proposed site.

It is going to take a significant chunk of money to get the station out of “storage” and into a public place but with some effort and focus – this city could have the thing opened at about the same time the Pier gets opened.  There will have to be a lot of creative thinking and the city is going to have to loosen up the purse strings quite a bit – but given that they failed to use the money the city actually had in hand – they should come up with much of the cash.

One obvious source for perhaps as much as $100,000. is the Mayor’s planned Cabarets that are going to be held at the Performing Arts Centre.  The proceeds from the first event are already committed to the Centre – the Freeman Station people should begin cozying up to the Mayor and lobbying him for whatever can be generated in 2013.  Don’t be shy people.

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Mayor to hand over a golden key – should it open the door to the Burlington Performing Arts Centre? No lease in place yet.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 18, 2011  – It is going to be a “boffo” event.  There will be something for everyone.  Face painting, cake, balloons, the Burlington Teen Tour Band, tours of the facility and special shows that will give everyone a chance to sit inside the Main Theatre and hear a short performance.   All to commemorate the turning over of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre from the city (it is your building) to the Burlington Theatre Board, a non-profit organization that is in place to oversee and govern the staff of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Mayor Goldring is usually very direct - no flim flam with this guy. But something went werong last Monday.

This is all a little on the complex side but there are very good reasons for having these different organizations in place.  One of the reasons is to ensure that city council doesn’t get its sticky fingers into the workings of the Centre.  All your council gets to do is own the building on your behalf and provide an ongoing financial subsidy to ensure that it is able to operate.  Council has no say in who appears on the stage, nor can council hire or fire any of the BPAC staff.  That can only be done by the Theatre Board, which is all very good governance and important stuff.

Getting to the point where all those legal wheels turn smoothly is easier said than done.  Plans for the public event have been in development for some time – problems is that there isn’t a lease in place nor is the Relationship Agreement that is to govern how the city, the BPAC and the Theatre Board are going to get along has not been completed.

Council met last night and would have liked to have approved the agreement but it wasn’t ready and so an amendment was put forward that changed the words “Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to sign”  to “ Authorize staff to continue negotiations regarding”,  and that really isn’t a subtle difference.  It is a very significant difference and your Council could have and should have made that point very clear.  The city does not have a deal with either the Theatre Board or the Burlington Performing Arts Centre – yet.

Burlington is fortunate to have a Mayor who is pretty straight forward guy.  I’ve not seen any fast and loose stuff from him before but on this one – he is treading on soft sand and not the solid footing we normally see from him.  The Mayor is pretty close to a tireless promoter of the Performing Arts Centre and mentions it every chance he gets and promotes with all the authority behind that chain of office he wears.  During the live broadcast of the Council meeting Monday evening he urged people to go to the Centre’s web site and get all the details on the big event.  Fortunately for the Mayor the council meetings broadcast on Cogeco has a limited audience (and we mean limited) so few people would have heard the message.  Good thing – because there isn’t a single word that we could fin on the BPAC’s web site about the city event at the Centre.  Nor was there any mention of the event on the city’s listing of what’s going on in town.

The Theatre Board and the city and yammering away at some pretty fundamental matters – money of course, like who is going to pay for what, when.  If these details don’t get the attention they deserve right up front – you know what happens?  The lawyers get phone calls asking them to get us out of this mess.

That happened to Burlington with the development of the Brant Street Pier.  The agreement between the original contractor and the city didn’t have an adequate dispute resolution and when there was a difference of opinion – well you know what happened with that one.  We got known as the city with the “mistake on the lake”.

Quite why the Mayor wasn’t right up front about the problems – he was being broadcast live on Cogeco and could have used a few minutes to explain what the problem was, but he chose to take a pass.  Not like him.

So, right now the BPAC people are squatters in a building you own.  We apparently haven’t learned all our lessons yet.  The people at BPAC are all very decent folk and very good at what they do.  The people on the Theatre Board are decent folk as well and other than the fact that there are too many lawyers on that Board they are good at what they do.

But good intentions are not what we base our legal undertakings on.  Thought we had learned that lesson.



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More than 500 regional residents had unhappy discussions with police officer during Thanksgiving weekend.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 17, 2011  –  While Thanksgiving weekend is a bit behind us now – it is a date that will remain on the minds of a number of people in Halton Region who had unintended meetings with a police cruiser or an unmarked police car during the holiday.

Halton Regional Police report that laid the following charges:


Impaired Driving – 9 charges

Roadside Suspensions – 14

More than 500 people got to see this crest up real close and personal on Thanksgiving weekend. More than 500 calls to lawyers made later in the day.

Distracted Driving – 79 charges(including 43 in relation to hand-held devices)

Aggressive Driving – 405 charges(including 340 for speeding)

Seatbelt Offences – 22 charges

Prohibited Driving – 7 charges

Dangerous Driving – 4 charges

These were part of a national road safety partnership called Operation Impact and they will certainly have an “impact” on those that were pulled over.  The goal of the program was to remind drivers that an essential part of traffic education and enforcement is to save lives and reduce injuries on our roadways.

Assigned officers focused on behaviour that puts drivers, passengers and other road users at risk:  impaired driving, seat belt use and all aspects related to aggressive/distracted driving.  The focus resulted in a total of 540 Highway Traffic Act charges being laid.  Great day for the lawyers.



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On the second date she still looked good but I noticed she wasn’t exactly perfect. Would she mind if I commented?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 16, 2011  A second look at the newest gem in the city – the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.  We are all agog about the place and Our Burling has certainly been a big and consistent supporters.

Having attended the Royal Wood performance and noting that it wasn’t sold out, we didn’t bother going on line to order tickets to the Jacob Moon event – just drove downtown and expected to walk up to the box office and buy a pair of tickets.  SOLD OUT – which is great but we missed out on a performance the Missus wanted to take in and she wanted to see the place I was talking about so much.

Jacob Moon - SOLD OUT at the Performing Arts Centre

I had checked in on the web site and there was no mention there that the event was sold out – I didn’t think Moon would fill the 718 seat Main Theatre.  Nowhere on the first level of the web site was there a note that this was a Studio Theatre event. The start time was there and that’s  what I was after.  I think if I’d know that I would have gone on line and ordered.

So, to the folks in the marketing department, which I assume is responsible for the box office and the web site – tighten things up over there a bit please.  Use the technology to be instant – when the last ticket sells get the words SOLD OUT (which you just have to love) up on the web site pronto.

The Centre is one of the best people watching places in the city, especially if you get up into the second level where you can look down into the Family Room.  With no tickets available, the Misses and I decided to have a glass of wine and just enjoy the space.

“It’s bare”, said the Missus. “There are no plants, no colour – it’s a cold room – can’t call a cold room a Family Room.”  I’d not looked at the space quite that way, but the Missus was right.  There is no colour unless you are sitting in the Main Theatre and you see that gorgeous, magnificent, crimson  red, velour curtain that rises so elegantly.

The walls have no art on them.  There isn’t a picture montage telling the story of what the site looked like when it was the local police station and then pictures of the various construction stages it went through.  There are places on some of the pillars where luscious green plants could be placed.

The Family Room and the upper level could use a little more furniture – kind of bare except for the two very comfortable chairs on the upper level.  The square upholstered benches don’t support your back when you’re sitting .

The Family Room would be a great place for a huge Christmas Tree - all that space and to be able to see it from the street lit up at night. Will wee see something like that this year.

And what are they going to do around the 10th of December?  Will there be a humungous Christmas tree erected smack in the middle of the Family Room and will there be a community event to decorate the tree?  Maybe Carollers in costume walking about as people take part in the decorating of the tree.  So many opportunities to brighten up the place – not that it is dour or dull – but now that it is open and done “on time and under budget” as well – let’s make it look  lived in.

The bar has potential.  It’s long, approaching twenty feet is my guess, and the prices are manageable.  $8.00 for a very decent 7 ounces of a good Chardonnay.  Friendly staff with a mobile bar up on the second level.  And even though the crowd for the Jacob Moon performance was small – they were using the Studio Theatre, there were quite a few people bellying up to the bar for some libation.

Now, Centre staff will ask for some time to get all these little things done – they don’t get the time.  This is a “community” theatre and every one of us are landlords and we want to see that place just hum.  The Jacob Moon event was, we are told, one of the first events, where a performer rented the space and put on his own show.  Moon has a significant following with the Christian evangelical crowd and they were out there supporting his music.

The Stewart McLean Vinyl Café performance has been extended to include a Matinee – the evening performance was SOLD OUT.  We’re doing something right – but let us not rest on our laurels.


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You want a little Jesus to run the city and if he’s not available – how about a really solid performer who likes the job.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 16, 2011  –  The city is in the process of hiring a new city manager.  The last manager “stepped” aside when it became clear that his five year contract was not going to be renewed.

Applications for the job close October 24th and the word is there are a number of excellent candidates who have sent in applications.  If you want to be considered send you resume along to:

The job of city manager is the most important one within the city – nit so much for the work the man or woman will do but for the leadership the person will provide and for the relationship the Mayor and the City Manager can create.

City Manager is a flag-ship level job - most important one at city hall. No slackers please.

When Roman Martiuk left the job, unexpectedly to many but no surprise to the small group that oversee the operation of the city day to day,  Many thought the Mayor’s right hand man Frank McKeown would seek the title.  McKeown has made it very clear he has no interest in the position.  And if you know McKeown you realize he takes a “project” focus to the work he does.  But McKeown knows that a city manager should be and will tell you that this is the one person the Mayor communicates to staff through.   A Mayor is not in place to run a city – he is there to communicate the wishes of council to the city’s administration and the city manager is the funnel into the administration.  The two must be of the same mind.

The city manager is hired by the city council.  All seven members interview the candidates and boil it down to a short list and select from that list to choose the candidate they want.  The process is overseen by the consultants that were hired to first develop the protocol that would set out what the city wants and then sort through the applications and arrange for the interviews.

The protocol is in place and is set out below.  What does it tell you about the kind of person the city wants?  Some comment has been added and appears indented beneath several parts of the protocol.

Reporting to the Mayor and Council, the City Manager provides the cornerstone leadership for all aspects of business and services.  The City Manager is expected to facilitate strategy formulation, manage strategy execution and implement Council directions; develop new governance models for Council and the Executive Team to ensure a focus at the strategic level and on critical issues; lead the organization to be innovative – not just best practice but leading edge; build the relationship between Council and staff and enhance collaboration to deliver a “we are in this together” climate; and be a change agent to make a difference.

Note the use of the words “to facilitate strategy formulation”.  The job is to make it happen but not to create it.  Previous city managers forgot that part of the job and some senior staff need to be reminded of that aspect as well.

The City Manager is expected to be a visible leader; to proactively develop critical internal and external relationships; build a strong and effective executive team; and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of programs and services delivered to the community.

Efficient and effective applies to any successful commercial operation – problem is that a municipal government is not a commercial operation and many fail to remember the words.

The City Manager candidate must possess a progressive track record of success in a leadership role within a multi stakeholder organization.  The ideal candidate will have significant and varied leadership and executive experience.

As an ideal candidate, you have experience and a demonstrated track record in the following:

A transformational leader who has the ability to vision and explore creative and innovative service delivery models, promote new ideas and implement new solutions or processes.

This what the city doesn't want - looking for a facilitator, an innovator and a doer that will work very closely with the Mayor and his Council.

Significant political acuity; able to deal with the culture of the City and navigate the formal and informal channels; able to network with Council, the Executive Team, management groups, the media and the private sector.

A solid strategic visionary and implementer of plans; experience in the development of strategic plans including developing operational priorities and associated resource allocation requirements – ability to translate strategic vision into plans for implementation and execution.

As a relationship builder; establishing, building, and maintaining strong and reciprocal relationships with Council and staff; enhancing collaboration between Council and the Executive Team.

“Collaboration between council and the Executive Team” easier said than done.  Council members will certainly focus on this when they do their group interviews. Will the candidates look askance at some of the members of council and wonder if it is possible to collaborate with them?

A strategic communicator; able to adapt and tailor the conversation / presentation to a variety of audiences and contexts; understands the importance of both formal and informal communications.

Ability to break down organizational silos. Given the many challenges facing the City currently and in the future, the City Manager needs to exhibit a strong horizontal style of leadership – lead initiatives across the organization, rather than using the more traditional up and-down approach.

This is a challenge for any organization – how long do you think it will take the new city manager to figure out just where the silos are and then bring them into the horizontal, across the board approach the city is looking for.

Talented broker and strategic negotiator in both an “at the table” sense as well as behind the scenes.

A bold decision maker, who is not afraid to make a mistake and have the ability to learn from it. Track record as a decision maker – absolute results oriented and performance driven; links short term actions and long term goals.

How much room is your council prepared to give for mistakes making?  Did they give the previous city manager too much room?  $9 million + was one heck of a mistake.

Breaking down the organizational challenges and getting department directors to work to their potential is one of the challenges for the new city manager.

Excellent interpersonal skills, capable of relating effectively to a diverse range of people, personalities and styles (both internal and external) – demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with stakeholders across the City and in establishing and building relationships with all stakeholder groups; an objective sounding board and voice, able to listen to vested interest groups and make objective recommendations that are best for the City; ability to speak the ‘partners’ language, establishing rapport immediately; exhibits a character of integrity and develops trust easily; willingly accepts the trust delegated by Council.

Drives for results and accountability at all levels; pragmatic, delegates responsibility and holds individuals accountable for results/performance; encourages the establishment of high standards and stresses the importance of continuous improvement; asks tough questions and addresses sub-standard performance quickly and effectively; assumes responsibility for decisions / results.

Holding people accountable and deciding that some are not cut out for the job they hold – moving them on – will the new city manager cut those who clearly can’t do their jobs ?

Exhibits a “Boardroom” presence – credible and articulate, able to present and sell concepts and plans to Council, the Executive Team and other external stakeholders and partners.

To have a city manager with some passion for the city and willing to work with council to make what we have even better – imagine?

Track record of building strong teams; demonstrates the ability to energize, motivate and lead an organization to achieve objectives; demonstrates the ability to build a sense of confidence and consensus, and create a positive and constructive work environment; sensitive to team needs, shows honesty and genuine interest in their concerns, avoids arrogance and defensiveness, develops sound solutions or approaches; requests, listens, and responds to feedback.

Lot of interesting language in this one.  You can almost hear senior staff and council members recalling past experiences and saying ‘please’, not again.

Enhanced analytical problem solving skills; an ability to think critically; a realist who exhibits a common sense approach to problem resolution.

High energy level, a self-starter who exhibits high adaptability and flexibility to changing systems, conditions, or priorities; responds quickly to requests, meets deadlines and budgets.

Utilizes a variety of management styles, depending on the situation, with a capacity to facilitate groups through issues; leads by example; action oriented, generates original and innovative ideas and solutions – a continuous improvement perspective; high tolerance for change.

Knows him/herself well; capacity to build an executive team to capitalize on strengths and minimize limitations.

Wants to have fun and enjoy the role – has a sense of humour.

Will the person that meets the majority of the points set out above  apply for the job and will your council recognize that person should she or he appear before them?  And can council members set aside their own agendas and choose the person best suited for the job ?   We’ll let you know.

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Show time for the Mayor and an interesting approach to fund raising for the city.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 15, 2011 – The Mayor has gotten into show business and in the process changed one of the major fund raising events in Burlington.  Traditionally the Mayor has held an annual Gala to raise funds for projects the Mayor feels will advance the development of the city.

The city has not held a Mayor’s Gala for a number of years.  Former Mayor Cam Jackson didn’t hold a Gala during his last year in office.

Current Mayor Rick Goldring hasn’t been in office for a full year yet and he has put forward his approach to Gala’s.  When asked where the idea for his approach came from he responds with: “I had the idea before there was a stick in the ground and I just grew it”.

Burlington's Top Talent will take to the stage - Sound of Music will screen the performers.

So what is the Mayor going to be doing?  The Mayor’s Cabaret – and it will take place February 24,  2012  What’s a Cabaret?  A night of local talent on the biggest stage in town.

Here’s how it is going to happen.  The Mayor has partnered with the Sound of Music people to choose who will take part in the Cabaret.  The Sound of Music people certainly know something about show business and by having them do the selection takes any favouritism out of the Mayor’s office.

There will be ten acts and tickets to the event will be priced in the $100. range.  That plus some corporate sponsorships and the mayor thinks he can raise upwards of $100,000. During the first year those funds will go to the Performing Arts Centre.  Where will funds go after that?  Mayor Goldring isn’t sure yet but with seven more years in office – expect this man to come up with some interesting ideas and know that the environment will be in there somewhere.

Goldring Galas for the next seven years?  You thought the Mayor was elected for just four years – true – but do you really think anyone is going to manage to challenge a Mayor who has brought tranquillity to a council that was torn with division ?  Burlington has a council that is focused, about to release a Strategic Plan that is significantly different than anything else this city has seen.  There is going to be a very different approach to developing the budget as well and a demand that staff report on the city’s financial affairs in a more timely manner.  The city will never see a surprise surpl

The Mayor won't be dancing.

us of more than $9 million again and the significant infrastructure (road repairs) deficit will get whittled down over time.  You can expect much sounder civic direction from this council.

The city will see long range plans that address vital issues coming forward in the next six to nine months and a significantly different environment that has the potential to create a more engaged and responsive senior civic administration.  Staff are now working with a council that appreciates the contribution they make and the intellectual energy they bring to their jobs.

Sometime in the very near future a new city manager will be hired who will tighten up the team that leads the city day to day.  While morale isn’t bad the new city manager will mould the seniors manager into a team that works with council.  We will get away from the distancing that ruled in the past and we should see a much tighter working relationship between senior management and council.  It will be a healthier place for everyone.

What we won’t apparently see is a mayor wearing tap dancing shoes the opening night of the Cabaret.  The Mayor doesn’t dance.

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Good times financially for Performing Arts Centre – Trillium grant of $200,000.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 15, 20111  It has been a very good month for the Burlington Performing Arts Centre (BPAC).  First they got off to a very smart start, their first commercial performance went off well and for an act that was not a big name event – it was well attended.

The building works and the different groups responsible for the place now have a firm grip on the reigns and we can enjoy this newest addition to the arts side of the city and watch how Brenda Heatherington and her team grow the place.

Fund raising is always going to be an issue – despite the views of some on city council – the arts cannot be both profit centres and at the same time a place where local talent is nurtured and grown.

You can still get your name on one of the 718 seats at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre and Executive Director Brenda Heatherinton will thank you and flash you a smile as well.

The growing will get a little easier with the receipt of a $200,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium foundation – those are your lottery dollars at work.  The Performing Arts Centre has known of the grant for some time but did not made a public statement because there was an election going on  – not the understanding most people have of what transparency means.  The BPAC people apparently didn’t want to make an announcement during the provincial election.  One can understand the Trillium Foundation not wanting the funds they distribute to have any taint of politics – if they didn’t want the BPAC to say anything – they shouldn’t have announced that a grant was going to be made.  But, the grant has been made and BPAC will certainly put the dollars to good use.

And you can put your dollars to great use by Taking Part in the “Take Your Seat” campaign.  All 718 seats in the theatre can be ‘purchased’ which will get your name on the back of the seat.  Click here for more information on that opportunity.  It isn’t quite the same as getting your name up in lights but there will always be the satisfaction of knowing that you are part of the original history of the place as you sit comfortably in “your” seat to enjoy a performance.

Later this month, the 23rd to be exact, there will be a public ceremony to commemorate the turning over of the building to the BPAC people and they will officially become the tenants on a building the city owns and for which BPAC pays rent of $1.00 per year.



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This was slick – this was really slick. The Jag is probably in a container on its way to Yugoslavia.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 14, 2100 The Halton Regional Police seek the public’s assistance in identifying a car theft suspect.  And if you’re offered a good deal on a 2007 Jaguar – call the police.

Get the picture.  It is a Tuesday, October 11, 2011 to be exact at 2:45 p.m. A man enters a car dealership on the  South Service Road and Bronte Road, Oakville.

While there the man steals a set of keys and walks out into the dealer parking lot and drives off with a car.  How did the man manage to lift the keys off whatever hook they were on ?  No one at the dealership is saying and the police didn’t provide that level of detail.  All anyone is saying is that the last the people at the dealership saw was the car being driven off the lot and heading west.

By using the cameras that track all movement along the QEW the police were able to track the car until it exited at Eastport Drive, Hamilton.


A 2007 Jaguar XJR - black, last seen speeding west on QEW - exiting at Westport.

The vehicle was a black, 2007 Jaguar XJR.  When stolen it had an Ontario dealer licence plate of 960 DMY affixed to it.

The man is described as white, early 20’s, very short dark hair, 5’8″, 135 lbs, wearing large sunglasses, grey dress shirt with a black tie, dark pants (no belt) and wearing skateboard type shoes that were black with a unique light blue design.

Anyone with information that would assist in this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Paul Craig at 905 825-4747 x2261 or Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

Detectives in Oakville are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man responsible for the recent theft of a vehicle.  That Jag was in a container on its way to Yugoslavia before the police had fully completed typing out there reports.


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Next generation of Tories take their places; the student and the candidate pair up to take the brass ring.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 12, 2011  You find people like Chris Cottingham around every election campaign.  They are usually male but some females fill the role.  If they are male and Conservative, they always wear suits with white shirts and ties and they are always polite and tend to stay in the background and have that buttoned down look about them.  More often than not they are policy wonks, the minutia of government policy fascinates them and the more arcane the more intriguing.

They are called  “political geeks” and those who are so described see it as a badge of honour.  If the geek is a Liberal they tend to be serious and walk around with a copy of the Economist  where everyone can see it.  If the geek is a New Democrat they will be in sandals and riding a bicycle possibly sporting wispy facial hair.

During the Burlington provincial election the Tory campaign geek was Christopher James  Cottingham, a first year McMaster student who played a surprisingly important, even critical role in the win that Jane McKenna experienced.

Chris, close cropped hair and pretty straight forward and earnest look about him can and does loosen up when you get him to relax.  His sense of humour is in there somewhere and he has a really pleasant smile.  He will tell you: “I was born at Jo Brant because my Mother was a nurse there” and you sense the strong family unit that he grew within.

Chris Cottingham has to decide which election sign he will take home and put up on his bedroom wall.

Cottingham, the product of a small city that is really a town, is from a significantly different social and economic demographic than McKenna.  Both suffer from the cultural limitations of a community known more for its geography than its industry.  In many ways Burlington still has the mindset of a bedroom community that is now doing better fiscally than the Hamilton it once sent its workers to on a daily basis.

Chris has a vision, an objective – something he wants to do with his life.  He is waiting for Mike Wallace to retire and then he will run for the Burlington federal seat and in time become Prime Minister of Canada.  Chris doesn`t smirk when he makes that statement – it`s just what he is going to do with his life – so there you go.

It doesn`t take long to get Chris to talk about policy, where his interest tends to be about national defence and immigration.  At this point Cottingham talks the Conservative party line but as he grows academically, he will be introduced to ideas from other thinkers and will develop more balance and a broader viewpoint.  That is not so suggest there is anything wrong with what Conservatives did for this country; the CBC is a Conservative government initiative and it was a Conservative that pulled disparate provinces together to form the country in the first place.  Ontario has certainly seen some great Conservatives run the province.  To see young Mr. Cottingham shape himself in the mould of George Drew, John Robarts or William Davis would not only makes his parents proud but leave us with a better province than we have today.

Cottingham hasn’t travelled outside North America. He will in time expand his horizons and spend a summer in Europe and a couple of summers elsewhere in Canada.  It’s a big world out there and it changes every week and Cottingham has a lot more to learn. He attended Robert Bateman high school,  plays hockey and expects that at some point he will find a life partner who he will share his thoughts, ambitions and goals  in life. It would help if she had a membership in a Progressive Conservative or Conservative Association somewhere in the country..

Cottingham can handle French but doesn’t see himself as fully bilingual  – yet but, with elections aside for now, he will begin to take evening classes and get his French to the point where he can be described as fully bilingual.

Getting the election intothe trunk of his car was a problem. would the hockey stick have to go? Big sign - big election win as well. Cottingham played a major role in the election campaign.

He worked on Tim Hudak`s leadership campaign and was immensely impressed when Hudak called him personally and was thanked for his help.  Hudak said “call me anytime” and now that Jane McKenna, the winner of the Burlington seat in the provincial election is getting ready to be sworn in, Hudak may get many calls from Cottingham.   Young Chris has worked with Mike Wallace and fully expects to work in Jane McKenna’s constituency office when it is opened up in the next couple of weeks.

He sees Mike Wallace, the federal member for Burlington, as a mentor and one of the people responsible for moulding his political thought and view point.  Better Mike than some of the others that call themselves Conservatives. If Cottingham is going to get anywhere near the Prime Minister’s office he is going to have to move up the political food chain a number of notches to get the nutrition he will need.  Right now he has a very matter of fact, quiet ambition that he nurses while he learns.  The 2011 Ontario provincial election was the first in which Christopher James Cottingham cast a ballot.

He studies political science at McMaster, was three term papers behind at the close of the election but is the kind of industrious student who can do the all nighters and grind out the papers.  He doesn’t plan to do a Master’s level degree and has no interest at this point in going on to law school – that’s refreshing.

During the provincial election he was in touch with Jane McKenna every day, usually several times each day.  She knew she was nowhere near up to speed on the issues and she relied heavily on Chris to explain an issue to her and why it was relevant.  The young Tory didn’t manage to cover all the ground.  There was the one occasion when McKenna referred favourably to Mike Harris and his tax policies and was promptly booed by an audience pulled together by the Canadian Federation of University Women event – not normally a noisy crowd.

Jane, a 45 year old mother of five, has a sense of humour and a perkiness to her that people close to her see and appreciate.  The public didn`t see that aspect of McKenna because her managers chose to run a peek-a-boo campaign and not get out in front of the larger community because she wasn`t confident enough to stand up for herself.  That statement isn`t meant as criticism.

McKenna was almost drafted into the nomination and had 36 days to run her campaign.  She had precious little experience and didn`t for a second think that she would be sitting as the member for Burlington in the provincial election when her candidate, Rene Papin, withdrew as the Tory candidate 45 days earlier.

McKenna has huge energy and is described by her friends as a very “in your face” person.  She takes on challenges that are formidable to most people very easily.  But she had a lot to learn and found young Chris Cottingham in the room and able to help her.  There was an odd chemistry between the two of them.  Chris, – serious, earnest with a very polite sense of humour and Jane with a bit of an edge, a sensibility that is a part of a mother of five.  McKenna found herself in the midst of the opportunity where she just might manage to grab the brass ring.  In her wildest dreams – she never saw herself as being a member of the provincial legislature.  She did put a lot of time and effort into developing a campaign for Rene Papin who at one point was seeking the nomination but withdrew when he says the Party advised him he didn’t fit the profile they wanted.

A tired candidate talking to supporters at the end of a long day - when she pulled in 2000+ more votes than the other guy.

McKenna has street smarts. There might be enough intellectual curiosity to get her beyond the current close to complete lack of experience in provincial politics.  She does have chutzpah and is not afraid to ask questions.  The high school education and the lack of enough history and sociology to fully understand the dynamics that make a society work is painfully evident – but with good advisors around her –she could do it – and Cottingham at this point in his career is clearly going to be one of those advisors.

McKenna once said that her Dad told her: “If you can only afford one suit – make it a good suit” and that she did.  There were actually several suits but the point is that we have as our MPP a woman who was heavily influenced by her Dad, who left her with a set of values and a strong sense of who she is.  We will now get to see more of what those core values are and how she uses them to perform as an MPP for a community that hasn’t seen much in the way of benefits from the provincial government since the Cam Jackson days.

Joyce Savoline, the retiring MPP didn’t deliver all that much that was visible but she kept out of trouble, which is more than can be said for both Jackson and his predecessor George Kerr.  Savoline also brought a very acute understanding of the Regional level of government where she made substantial changes.

McKenna didn’t bring much in the way of experience to the team he was part of  He worked alongside Mark Preston and Mark Fedak.  There were some very smart strategists involved in the campaign and they had some political players who had been around for a long time as far away as a telephone call.  They quickly grasped what they were working with in McKenna and what they were up against.  It was vital that they get their core vote out to the polls and to do that they needed to trot McKenna out to every group that had at least three Tory voters in it.  They knew too that they were up against a Liberal candidate who was perceived to be strong and an organization that had its act together.  But the hope for the Tories – and it turned out to be a valid one – was that the New Democrats would increase their share of the vote and take it up from the 5% and the 11% they had recorded in the two 2007 elections.  Walter Mulkewich, chair of the NDP finance committee, said that the NDP was now where it once was in terms of the local popular vote.  When the NDP got to that level they gave the riding to the Tories.

McKenna brought not much more than a high school education and solid experience as an advertising sales representative to the campaign.  She was never active in the community – raising five children will do that to you.

Our Burlington, along with others, made much of the McKenna peek-a-boo campaign but at least she was always in the riding, unlike a number of the federal NDP members who never went near their ridings in Quebec but managed to get elected.

McKenna got elected because she convinced the Tory base that she was worth betting on and because her campaign team knew how to make the best of her strengths and hide her weaknesses.  That  plus the fact that the New Democrats increased their vote and the Liberals just weren’t able to convince enough the New Democrats to vote with them and the Tories got their vote out.

The Tory`s did have a base working for them but it was in pretty poor shape.  Joyce Savoline didn`t grow the association and the current leadership was asleep at the switch and couldn`t make up their minds on a candidate and eventually had to have Toronto make the decision for them.

Politics is all about power.  With it you can shape the community to your vision; without it all you can do is howl foul on the opposition benches.

McKenna is now on those opposition benches which is probably a good place for her to start.  That will give her time to learn the ropes and get an understanding of what provincial politics is really all about.  She is one of twelve new Progressive Conservative members of the Legislature; she will get to know the other eleven people very well, very quickly for they all have a very steep learning curve to go through.

McKenna turned out to have quite a team.  The Liberals weren’t prepared for the strategic smarts that Mark Preston and Mark Fedak brought to the table   Their candidate had to soak up all kinds of information and that for McKenna was a challenge.  The briefing book they gave her to work from during the Chamber of Commerce all candidate events had too many pages and she got caught a number of times reading word for word from the Progressive Conservative Change Book.  McKenna it turned out was in the same boat as the other two candidates – they too had large briefing binders in front of them.  This was an arena she had never been in before.  And, to her great fortune Chris was there with the answers the knowledge and the time to coach her and  provide much of the confidence she needed.

There was an interesting, charming totally innocent chemistry between the two – Cottingham,  the young man who had a lot of the answers and knew most of the questions as well, wanting very much to be part of the political process; McKenna, the novice, totally out of her normal comfort zone and needing all the help she could get but not knowing quite where to turn.  There were people who were counting on her and to some degree she was out of her element with them but she had to deliver.

Cottingham was someone she decided she could and would trust.  And together they got her though a short intense political campaign where McKenna’s ability to scope out a situation quickly and at the same time read people and understand almost instantly how to approach them worked for her.  She was brash and at the same time very direct about the things she didn’t know.

With the campaign won, the pressure if off – but the learning curve is going be steep.  Cottingham will be on hand to answer many of the questions and at the same time learn more than he ever thought he would get to learn and be in on the play right from the beginning.  He will play a prominent part in the setting up of the constituency office and that is probably where his summer job is going to be as well.

He might also be a prime force in the rebuilding of the organization that was allowed to get very thin and almost lost touch with its base and certainly didn’t have very much in the way of developing a stable of high quality candidates.  One got the distinct impression that the riding association was told what to do by the people at Progressive Conservative headquarters in Toronto  – not something any self-respecting political organization should choose to do.

Burlington Tories pride themselves on getting the election signs off the lawns and into storage.

McKenna has yet to develop a political culture of her own and while there are many in the association who will want to help her – most of them will have agendas of their own.  McKenna will want to create her own agenda and learn to teach the establishment types that she really is her own woman.  With Cottingham as close as he seems to be – she could pull this off.

What will the ‘good old boys’ do if McKenna turns into a stellar MPP and shows that she is really her own woman?   She’s young enough to do it, but she is going to have to move quickly.  Her Dad would be very, very proud of her.

Chris Cottingham was not the leader of the campaign team.  Mark Preston, a Tory stalwart who knew where all the skeletons were and where the support was as well, along with Mark Fedak were the core of the campaign team.  They were supported by a large team of volunteers who put together a campaign team in a very short period of time and then took down the operation in less than 36 hours and had most of their lawn signs in pickup trucks and into storage.  Cottingham explains that “getting signs off the lawns quickly is a Burlington PC tradition”.

But all is not peaceful among the natives. A Facebook entry, where you can say whatever you like, had the following from Jaclyn who wrote: “McKenna couldn’t even answer emails from constituents during her campaign – so she’s just as useless as good old Joyce. McKenna’s performance at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast was about as exciting as wallpaper paste and she did little better than the Liberal. All in all, no matter who we elected, we were doomed. They’re in it for themselves, and they’re lying if they say otherwise. No wonder voter turnout was as pathetic as it was.”



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Looking for work…visit the Employment Halton job fair October 19

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON October 14, 2011  Halton Region’s Employment Halton program will be hosting its annual job fair on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Burlington Convention Centre located at 1120 Burloak Drive in Burlington.  The job fair is open to the public and will include many employers from across Halton.  Admission is free.

“We have a variety of employers registered for this year’s fair showcasing great job opportunities that exist in Halton,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr.  “This is an excellent opportunity. Anyone who is searching for a new job can visit the job fair to learn more about what Halton employers have to offer.”

Region holds Job Fair at Burlington Convention Centre

In 2010, over 1500 skilled and motivated job seekers networked with 49 employers from across Halton at the job fair. In addition to the opportunity to meet with employers in Halton, job seekers attending the job fair can have their résumés assessed for free.

To date the following employers have registered for the event:

•       AbleLiving Services (formerly known as Participation House Hamilton Dist.)

•       ABS Machining

•       Aldershot Greenhouses

•       The Bay

•       Bayshore Home Health

•       Benlan Manufacturing

•       Bronte Heights Day School

•       Cogeco Cable LP

•       Comfort Keepers

•       Denninger Foods of the World

•       eMotion Picture Studios

•       G4S Secure Solutions

•       Halton Region

•       Halton Regional Police Service

•       The Home Depot

•       HomeWell Senior Care

•       IKEA

•       Ippolito Fruit and Produce

•       Kubra

•       Nalco Canada Co.

•       Paragon Security

•       Percepta

•       PurePages Inc.

•       Purolator Inc.

•       Stitch-it

•       Sun Life Financial

•       YMCA Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford


To learn more about the job fair or other services offered by Employment Halton visit or  Employers interested in registering to take part in the job fair can register online at


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Oakville Youth Faces Multiple Charges in Crime Spree; breaks into homes while residents sleep.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 12, 2011  It was a full night for a 17 year old Oakville male who managed to stealthily enter three homes and attempt to enter into a fourth on the night of October 9th.

The officer has complete control of the dog and while the animal is viscous and focused and he wasn’t prepared to let go of the rope the Constable was tugging at – one simple word – Kennel – and the dog slipped to the ground and walked directly to the back door of the police car and jumped in No whimpering, no looking back, no looking for a reward. A simple direct command and an immediate response.

The first break in was at an Oakville home where the youth took a purse and set of car keys from the residence and subsequently stole a vehicle from the driveway.  The youth repeatedly rammed another vehicle in the driveway to make good his escape, leaving debris strewn throughout the neighbourhood.

Later, early that same morning the youth broke into several units of a townhouse complex  in the  Northampton Boulevard  area in Burlington and entered several other units while residents slept.

Halton Regional Police brought in their K9 team and successfully tracked the male, locating him inside yet another home he had entered.

A 17-yr-old male from Oakville is charged with:  Break and Enter (three counts), Attempt Break and Enter, Theft over $5000, Dangerous Driving, Fail to Remain C.C. and Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Because the young man is under the age of 18 his identity is protected under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The “controlled substance” would have played a large role in the young man’s behaviour.

Detective continue to investigate these incidents and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Bob Lester at 905 825-4747 x2335 or Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222 TIPS(8477) or though the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).



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