Did we get what we deserved from this election process?

By Casey Cosgrove

BURLINGTON, ON  October 5, 2011  –  For the last six -weeks, a process has been underway that is aimed at influencing who we cast our ballot for in tomorrows provincial election.  What should we expect from this election process?   Is it naive to expect spirited debate on the issues, clear communication about candidates ideas and vision, and perhaps a firm handshake at the front door?  Or, have we just become accustomed to, and accepted the fact that campaigns leading into elections are dominated by negativity, ‘spin’, attack ads, smear campaigns, and avoiding responsibility?

Elections are a great opportunity for aspiring ‘leaders’ to actually show leadership, to show vision, but instead, they have become a very ugly, tactical, 6-week communications battleground aimed at swaying voters.  Getting elected is the only focus it seems.

I would have liked more debate on the issues, less 'smoke and mirrors', fewer 'attack ads', more 'taking of responsibility' from the sitting government, and a little bit of 'giving credit' from the 'challengers.

In the past six weeks, we have watched a Premier that is unwilling to acknowledge the mistakes he has made in the past eight years, as if everything has been just fine in Ontario.  Voters may be willing to forgive, but the liberal strategy to simply ignore the mistakes, and hope people forget by the time they go to the polls, is not an accident.  Perhaps it is just not good ‘politics’ to take ownership of the things that did not go well, but it is good leadership.

We have seen challenger Tim Hudak obsess over the Premier, forgetting that voters want to know if he has any ideas of his own.  If you look at the refusal of the Burlington Post and Toronto Sun to endorse his party, it is clear that the jury is still out, even among those that normally support the PC’s.  It seems Hudak has waged his whole campaign on ‘don’t vote for the other guy’, and this is not resonating with Ontarians. We also saw Hudak spend way too much time and attention on a small program that he referred to as an ‘affirmative action program for foreign workers’.  These issues are distractions simply used strategically to knock the other candidate off their game, but I think Hudak erred on this one.  With an 11 point lead in the polls last summer, Hudak may have been better off not campaigning at all.

The NDP leader has fared well throughout the campaign, avoiding any costly gaffes.  Few would argue that she is the most ‘likeable’ leader.  Yet, a key question remains.  Will Andrea Horwath be propped up by the outpouring of support the NDP has received over the past few months across Canada, or does the reluctance to forget the ‘Rae Years’ still exist among Ontarians ?  It seems few are giving the NDP a real chance to govern, but they have run a solid campaign, will have improved numbers, and could hold the balance of power in the Legislature.

Locally, we have even less to go on from those competing to become Burlington’s next MPP.  We have seen a Conservative candidate that has been all but hiding, sharing very little about herself, her credentials, or her past accomplishments.  Jane McKenna’s campaign website is a basic PC party template with very little about her or Burlington, and is just another vehicle for the overall party platform Hudak has set out.  Her brochures are mostly about McGuinty, with little about McKenna.  They are banking in the fact that Burlingtonians will simply vote for the political party, and don’t care to know more about the person who may become their representative in the Legislature.

The Liberal candidate, Karmel Sakran, has a more impressive list of accomplishments and credentials to share with voters, but at times has also relied on touting the ‘accomplishments’ of the Liberals and their leader, which may not resonate.  Voters are upset with McGuinty. Sakran has enough substance and community connection to have distanced himself a little more in my opinion, and has shown focus on two key local issues – the hospital redevelopment and stopping the mid-peninsula highway from paving across our escarpment.

The NDP candidate, Peggy Russell, showed the most balance in trying to connect voters to herself, her party, and its leader, and she has been elected here before, as a Trustee.  This is a much bigger job, a larger stage.

If the majority of voters here cast their ballot for ‘party-first’, we will see another PC candidate claim victory here, as the PC brand has shown 60+ years of staying power in this community.  If voters take a long look at the accomplishments and credentials of those seeking office here in Burlington, we will likely have a Liberal or NDP candidate representing this community.

I would have liked more debate on the issues, less ‘smoke and mirrors’, fewer ‘attack ads’, more ‘taking of responsibility’ from the sitting government, and a little bit of ‘giving credit’ from the ‘challengers. Is it too much to expect clear, honest, communication about the ideas, platform, and vision of each candidate, and their party? Apparently, that is asking too much.   However, I will still be casting my ballot tomorrow, as it is my cherished right to have my say in who governs us.  Whether the candidate I support is elected here or not, I will at least know that I shared my voice in the process, and will support them in their new role as MPP for the riding of Burlington.





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How did she get to see a copy of the contract and what`s in that big orange boxÉ

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 5, 2011  The contract isn`t signed – yet; lawyers need time to get all the documents together,  but there is something going on down at the Pier.  Either that or aliens have landed and they are hiding in that bright orange container parked on the Pier.

The contents of that container is the beginning of the construction of what the city is euphemistically calling  phase two of the Pier development.  Phase 1 was a total bust but Phase 2 has gotten off to a great start.

With the contract price for the completion of the Pier fully understood by everyone and the schedule in place, it was time to move on to other issues.  But before your Council could do that Ward 1 Councillor Meed Ward wanted to know more about the sub-contractor that Graham Infrastructure was planning on working with.  The question several people had when the council meeting adjourned was: Who cares ?    Graham Infrastructure is the company the city has contracted with and who they use to work with them is entirely up to them but Meed Ward said she had researched the Joint Venture partner and couldn’t find very much about them and asked staff to provide more detail and background on the company.

Staff has better things to do with their time.  And the councilor needs to let the contractors get on with their job.  Meed Ward didn’t support the decision to re tender – she felt that something could have been worked out with the original contractor.  When it came time to vote for the project, Meed Ward did support the decision and said at the time she would have “preferred the city go through a different door but that door was now closed so we should move on“.  Indeed – it is time to move on.

What's inside that orange container? The three missing lights? Continers are the first step to getting contruction of phase 2 underway. Will we hear jack hammers soon?

Meed Ward however is sticking with this one.  She somehow managed to get her hands on a copy of the contract with the contractor, which has yet to be signed, and mentioned to her fellow council members how thick the document is.  Some time ago this council decided that it didn`t want to “get too far down into the weeds“ when it came to project oversight.  Going through a contract that has yet to be signed is best done by the folks over at legal.

There is a building level of exasperation on the part of several council members (probably safe to say all council members) over the often unnecessary questions that Meed Ward asks and the requests for information that tie up staff time and for the most part serve no useful purpose.  The member for Ward 2 has been on council long enough to have learned just what the job is and t let staff do their work and allow council meetings to proceed in a more timely manner.

What the folks at legal have been doing however is a concern for Ward 3 councilor John Taylor who wanted to know what the city`s legal strategy is going to be once the case gets into what lawyers call the “discovery phase“ and what the legal costs have been to date.  Council has a right to at least be briefed on the legal strategy (that will be and should be a closed council session) and Taylor pushed a bit to get a commitment from staff as to when council would learn where things stand on the legal side.

We will know what legal is thinking before the end of the year.  Taylor pressed for a specific date and wanted something during the last cycle of council meetings in November – the best he could get was a guarantee that there would be information before Christmas.  We can expect a hefty number when the legal department eventually opens their kimono – expect to experience some heartburn.



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We owe them at least the time it takes to cast a ballot.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 4, 2011  –  Many, if not most of them, were kids.  They really didn’t know what they were doing but deep within each of them they understood that they were doing something important and they saw it as an adventure and so they “signed up” in 1914 and 1915.

And then the hard, painful reality of it all struck them as they climbed over the top of the trenches at the Somme and at Vimy Ridge – and they died miserable wretched deaths for something they knew was right but didn’t fully understand.  Many of the men that fought didn’t have the right to vote.

Commonwealth cemetery

In 1939 through to 1944 thousands of men once again signed up and once again thousands died miserable, wretched deaths in cold wet places.  Each November we celebrate their sacrifice – there was a time when it was a national holiday.

Every family in the country was touched by those two wars.  Every year we talk about the extreme

We call them the quiet victims

sacrifice they made for us – and while we believe what we are saying we somehow are not able to take the words and translate them into the hour or so that it takes to cast a ballot in an election.

There is an election in the next few days – and YOU get to exercise the franchise for which these

men and woman gave their lives.  Pay the debt you owe each one of them.  We don’t care who you vote for – you can show up be given your ballot and tell the clerk you do not wish to vote for anyone because you don’t feel any of them are good enough.

On your way back from the polling station – talk to the spirit of those men and woman who gave their lives for that ballot you just cast – and thank them for what they did for you.


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The party or the person ? Burlington gets to look at how they have voted in the past. Will old habits change ?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 4, 2011 –  This is the part of the week you get to think about who you are going to vote for.  On Thursday when you go to the polls, you get to act on the decision you make.

Let’s talk about the thinking you are going to do.  Will you vote for the party or the person ?  If you decide at this point that you will vote for the party no matter what – well then you’re some kind of an idiot or at best an irresponsible citizen.

Political parties, like any other organization, have to be held accountable by both the voters and the members of that political party.  It is irresponsible to vote for a party because you have always voted for them.  Paddy Torsney, the former Liberal member of parliament for Burlington learned the hard way what voters do with a political party they no longer trust.

Most people, once they`ve thought about it, find a political party that reflects their views on the way society should be ordered.  And if you`re at all active in your community you support that party with a financial contribution and perhaps take a lawn sign.

And should the party you support deviate from its core principles, a sensible, rationale person would withdraw their support.  If the local political party association forgets what its job is and puts forward an unqualified candidate the rationale human being would withdraw their support. There are occasions when the party is critically important.  Is that the case today in Burlington.  This city has elected conservatives since 1943 – and what does the city have to show for that support.  Certainly not a hospital and the conservatives are talking about significant changes to the geography of the northern part of the city.

The hospital we have is in desperate need of an upgrade and it needs much better funding.  One floor of the hospital isn`t even open – because the President of the hospital can`t get the funding he needs to open up the beds on the floor of the hospital that is closed.  The current member and the member before her didn`t do all that much for the hospital.  The hospital got so run down and so difficult to keep clean that it had a serious C.difficile outbreak that resulted in the loss of more than 90 lives.  That kind of funding failure in any community is criminal.

If the member of the Legislature or the House of Commons cannot deliver for the community then you might want to look for a person who can deliver.  A member who sits in the opposition seats isn`t exactly a cripple – they have a telephone and they can make phone calls and badger the bureaucrats until they do something for you.

While being part of the government certainly has its advantages – it doesn`t solve all the problems.  What a community needs is a member of the Legislature or the House of Commons who understands the community, cares about the community and has the smarts to get the job done.

Running for city council and winning a seat at that level is usually part of the job training that a person goes through as they progress through the ranks.  Nothing wrong with that.  Having someone who is immersed in politics is a plus for a community.  The person believes and loves the job – and it is people like that who deliver for the community.

Is it the person or the party ?  You always have that choice.  And right now Burlington has two very good choices if you take the view that the person matters.  If you take the view that the party is what really matters – then you have a choice for a candidate that will have a very long learning curve and there is no assurance at all that the candidate has the capacity to make it through that curve.

The party or the person?


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Why the anonymity from the Pier Watcher ? This one doesn`t pass the smell test.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 4, 2011  – In the world of newspapers and other media you learn to protect your sources, but at the same time be sure that your sources aren’t using you – and when a source does not identify themselves, by which I mean you don’t really know who they are – be very, very, very careful – because that source usually has something to hide and they want to manipulate the process.

A number of months ago there was an email address burlingtonpierwatch@gmail.com – a citizen who had developed an interest in what was happening at the foot of Brant Street.  The Pier watcher disappeared during the summer and has now re-appeared with information that they could only have been gotten from the lawyers involved in the dispute with the city.

Your city council has finally resolved what has been a debilitating and financially expensive experience,  but to the credit of both the Mayor, his council and senior city staff – plus those secretive folks in the city’s legal department,  the pier project is now back on track and with a bit of a break with the weather you will be out on that Pier in the summer of 2013.

Expect to see men and equipment out on the Pier any day now. The lawyers of course can now begin their squabbles - the city has a strong casse.

It has been an exhausting process and an expensive one in terms of money spent on lawyers and consultants not to mention the staff time the construction errors ate up.  But we are past that – and we truly are past all that.

However, there are those that want to limit the damage to themselves and they are using the electronic media to mess things up a little while the lawyers work towards some kind of a settlement.

The parties in all this are primarily, Zurich Insurance, the company that put up the performance bond – they want to get out of that mess for as little as possible.

Henry Schilthuis and Sons, the original contractor who walked off the job when they found that they couldn’t complete the job with the design they had been given and  Aecom, the company that now owns the engineers who did the original design work.

The city is suing both for $7.5 million and $10 million respectively and looking for $3.5 million from the insurance company.  These are large sums of money and the people being sued will fight very hard to get the amount of the claim they are going to have to pay down to as low as possible.

So when you see things like what is set out below being sent out you begin to wonder – who is the Pier Watcher and who is he working for and where is he getting his information ?  Read on and decide for yourself.

 Enter Howard Wise – the construction lawyer you would rather have on your side.

 Clearly HSS Construction is not planning to back down from the Brant Street Pier fiasco. In fact, they’ve decided that Howard Wise will be replacing Phil Horgan to lead the HSS legal battle. This only can signal that the gloves are coming off. Horgan is known as a construction lawyer who concentrates on reaching solutions. Howard Wise has a reputation of fighting and winning.

 This seems to be a shift for Henry Schilthuis, (president of HSS) well known for his gentle demeanour and his default to working out problems (HSS hasn’t been embroiled in a lawsuit in over 50 years until the pier came along).  It could be that the bonding company is pushing HSS to start playing hardball and teach the municipality a lesson. There are concerns among bonding companies that municipalities are relying too heavily on bonding companies to solve what are contractual disputes.

 What does all this mean? Goldring and company now know Election Issues #1.

Language like “teach the municipality a lesson” and the concerns of the bonding company – interesting.  Will the Pier Watcher come forward and identify himself ?

Election issue # 1 is to deliver on your promises and Goldring said he would finish the Pier and his Council has gone along with him.  All the critical votes have been 7-0  Promises by the Mayor have been delivered.


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Lakeshore Road could go dark Christmas of 2012 – Festival of Lights could be discontinued.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 3, 2011  A tradition that has brought literally hundreds of people down to Spencer Smith Park during the Christmas Season may not take place in 2012.  The Festival of Lights, developed and done for the city by the Burlington Down Business Association (BDBA) was expected to draw traffic downtown for the merchants.  It certainly drew traffic downtown but not enough of that traffic made its way up Brant Street and into the area shops and restaurants. The BDBA has decided that the event no longer delivers enough for their members for them to continue.

The city contributes $5000. to the project but that is nowhere near what it costs to mount the event which is put on by

Part of the delight of the Christmas season may not be seen in 2012. Downtown merchants can't afford the Festival of Lights.

BBDA members.  They do it all“ explained Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation, who added that the city lets the association use some of the Roads and Parks Maintenance space to build the lighting exhibits that are put up.

Discussions by the BDBA on what to do with an event that was popular but didn`t deliver the needed economic benefit to the BDBA members took place in August.  At last Monday`s Committee of the Whole meeting Ward 2 councillor Marianne Meed Ward brought up the situation when a report on events in the city  was being discussed and advised that she was going to bring forward a staff direction that would have city hall staff look into possible resolutions to the Festival of Lights predicament.  The event is not a city project and no one at Parks and Recreation appeared anxious to jump in and rescue this event.

And a Staff Direction wasn`t on either.  Meed Ward`s fellow councillors could see no merit in that idea and it got voted down.  The Festival of Lights takes place in Ward 2 and Meed Ward has to find a way to deliver something for her business constituents.  No one jumped in with any ideas or suggestions other than Councillor Jack Dennison who said he and his family walked over to the Festival every year and enjoyed themselves.  But Dennison didn`t say that he wondered up Brant Street and stayed for a meal at one of the restaurants.

And that is the problem.  Spencer Park – a gem if there ever was one, is the focal point for some of the largest festivals in the province.  The Rotary Rib Fest is seen by most people in the tourism business as the Grand Daddy of Rib Fests in the province.  Tens of thousands attend – but they congregate in the park, spend their money there and don’t get very far north of Lakeshore Road.

The retail merchants do all the work and pay for the bulk of the costs for the annual Festicak of Lights - but it no longer delivers the economic benefits the merchants need.

The city doesn`t have any staff sitting on the BDBA committee that runs the Festival and so there wasn`t much in the way of warning to the Parks and Recreation people on the problem.

One of the concerns discussed around the council table is finding a way for a more equitable distribution of events throughout the city.  All the major events take place along the lakes edge and that doesn`t do all that much for retailers sprinkled either side of Brant and up the street to about Caroline.

Meed Ward didn`t leave the Committee of the Whole meeting with very much in hand – this is a can she is going to have to carry on her own.  The lights on Lakeshore Road may not go on during Christmas of 2012.

On the event side of things – the numbers are great.  The city held 78 events so far in 2011 – 52 major and 26 minor events with attendance that ranged from 25 people to 190,000.  Parks and Recreation estimates that 605,000 people attended events in Burlington so far this year.

Grand numbers but they have a lining that is less than silver.  The Latitude restaurant in the Simms building on Elgin just off Brant has closed forever.  Restaurant and retails sales have not fully recovered since the 2008 recession.  People are keeping a tighter grip on their wallets and credit cards.

Burlington has yet to find a formula that will bring customers into the stores and restaurants in the downtown core and many retailers are giving it up.  Store closing have basically equalled store openings so the entrepreneurs that want to give it a go are still out there.

One of the prime concerns is the tax rates that are levied on commercial property.  When a property owner gets hit with a tax increase they pass it right on to the tenant.  The increase in high end condominiums in the downtown core has put pressure on property evaluations which gets translated into increased taxes – and the retail community can`t handle those increases.

The city has a Downtown Task Force looking into the problems.  Councillors Meed Ward and Taylor sit on that Task Force –

Brant Street looking south - needs more hustle and bustle to it.

and they do have their work cut out for them.  While unemployment in the city is not rampant there is still a very soft underbelly that needs to firm up in order for the retailers to make a better go of it.

The Burlington Economic Development Corporation doesn’t appear to be in the picture when it comes to downtown core issues.  Their focus is on bringing high tech, high paying jobs to the city and servicing the needs of organizations and corporations that look at Burlington as a possible head office location.

And that`s where that whole chicken and egg situation comes into play.  Without a really solid, profitable, bustling downtown commercial community the city looks a little drab and doesn`t have that many places one can take a clients out for lunch.   It is the corporate executive class who spend on the lunches and the dinners and because Burlington doesn`t have any Class A office space we have yet to attract much of that community.

And that brought up the question: Where does the Festival of Lights event go from here ?

The cover of the short form Strategic Plan document that is in the process of being taken to the community lists three strategic directions for the city.  Vibrant neighbourhoods, Prosperity and Excellence in Government.  We are falling short on the prosperity side and the Strategic Plan has yet to be approved.



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Elite level cycling opportunity brought to a close. City will terminate the agreement.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 3, 2011  Today was the Go – No go day for elite cycling in Burlington and because a hard deadline the city had set for a response from the MidWeek Cycling Club did not arrive before the end of the cling events during the summer of 2012 in Burlington.  Which is unfortunate because the city’s geography offered so much potential for the development of some sports tourism that the city had dearly hoped to develop.

The Canadian Cycling Association has given the rights to the 2011 and 2012 qualifying events to Mid-Week Cycling who then approached Burlington and the

We could have become a great place for elite level cyclists to develop their skills. Not this time but the geography we are blessed will be there for the next attempt.

city along with the Burlington Hotel Association put up a total of $50,000. to support the initiative that was to see exciting Criterion races in the downtown core of the city o

n Canada Day.

But it was not to happen.  In 2010 Parks and Recreation staff bent over backwards to make the event happen.  The Halton Regional Police spent hours working through traffic plans and routing possibilities.  But time and again the Mid Week Cycling Club failed to deliver documentation and details.  The last time around in 2010 and 2011 everyone worked very hard and there was the one race event in the Aldershot areas that most people felt went off very well.  But the city tired of never really knowing of the cycling people were going to come through.

At one point in the comedy of errors on the part of the Mid Week Cycling Club a required payment was made to the Halton Regional Police but the cheque bounced.

Police turned a blind eye to the offence and continued with all the field work.  It amounted to nothing.

The contract was for a two year agreement and 2012 was to be the year that it all came together.  This time the city was not going to be run around in circles.  The Parks and Recreation people at the direction of Council established deadlines that had to be met and October 3rd was one of them.  If event route data was not in the hands of the city by 5:00 of the 3rd – the event was off and the agreement  would be terminated.

There was nothing in hand by 5:00 pm.  So no cycling races in Burlington during the summer of 2012.  City hall staff were not as disappointed as they had been in the past.  They learned some hard lessons last summer and were not going to make the same mistakes twice.







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More than $37 million later and there is a performer on the stage and wine and cheese in the BPAC Family Room.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 2, 2011  The opening piece made you feel like taking the missus into your arms and dancing away.  Royal Wood had that ability to create a mood and keep you with him as he performed exquisitely on the keyboard and moved from number to number during the opening performance at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on Saturday October 1, 2011

The evening the city had been waiting for actually began back in August – on the 20th, when people lined up around the block to buy tickets at the then newly opened box office – the Centre was open for business.  “There were people who brought lawn chairs to sit on that Saturday, while they waited in line”, exclaimed Hilary Sadler, Marketing Manager for the Centre,  who then told the opening night audience that 6500 tickets had been sold in the six weeks since the Centre opened and that there were already several sold out events.  The Centre had a promotion for the early tickets buyers and “when we went to put all the entries into the draw barrel we had to stuff them into the container we had – there was hardly enough room” but Brenda Heatherington was still able to reach in and draw out the name of Robin Summers as the winner

The sound was just a tad too loud for me – but the piano work was exceptional.  Royal Wood has been at a keyboard since the age of four – and it showed.  He has his fan base and there were many of them in the audience Saturday night .  There were also a lot of people who may not have seen themselves as Royal followers –they just wanted to be in the audience opening night. The event wasn’t sold out but the hall was at least four fifths full – with people in the prime box seats as well.

An interesting and somewhat ironic observation.  Two of the people who were on the ground and in the trenches during the very early days of the drive to bring a performing arts centre to Burlington – then city council member Mike Wallace and bookkeeper Deb Tymstra were in the audience.  Mike was in one of the box seats while Tymstra sat with the regular crowd.  Wallace is now the MPP for the city and Tymstra now runs her own bookkeeping business and had to recently announce that Creative Burlington, the organization she ran to promote the arts and create something of a marketing base of those commercial and artistic organizations had to cease operations for lack of funding.  Life at times appears unfair – but Ms Tymstra, the opera is not over until the fat lady sings; you know that.

Royal Wood signing CD's after the first commercial event at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. They loved him.

Royal Wood moved from number to number and on several occasions you could sense that he was going to let himself go just a bit more and each time he did that – the sound was grand but there was the sense that there was even more voice within this artist.  We have not seen the best of Royal Wood yet.

The piano work touched the very edges of a nice jazz sound and then seemed to get just a little honkey tonk, but Wood always came back to strong, solid keyboard work.

The evening started off with a video on the upcoming programmes which was interesting,  but all that information was in the promotional literature; we were in our comfortable seats and just wanted to get on with the show.  The introduction  ran just a little on the long side as well.  Wood moved from the grand piano (and it indeed is grand) to the microphone where he played his guitar with the back up of three musicians.  From time to time he would engage in light chatter with the audience and we got to see a side of this man that isn’t always noticed.  He talked about teen suicide – not a subject that was sure to endear him to an audience, and said that he didn’t want to be preachy or be “Bono” but he didn’t understand why all teens were not full of life and love and then quietly added that one had to “wait it out .. wait it out.

The concert – more of a performance actually was working towards its last coupe of pieces and when Wood announced that “this will be the last piece this evening” then the sly fox in him added that if the audience insisted he had a couple of others in his bag.   And the audience of course brought him back several times.

During the performance Graham Frampton, Manager, Operations and Facility Sales,  was seen scooting up and down an aisle – whispering a few words into the ears of the technicians handling the sound.  Technically the place works.  The sight lines are perfect and the Main Hall has a comfortable feeling to it – nothing fancy.  Executive Director Brenda Heatherington sat on the edge of her seat for part of the performance – you could almost hear her saying – it’s working.

First two people to enter the theatre with tickets in hand.

Given that this was the first night ever for the Centre, someone sprung for the cost of a wine and cheese reception.  Nice to be able to saunter over to the bar and pick up a glass of wine and then another if you chose and not have to pick up the tab.

People hung around for at least a full hour after the performance, talking in small groups.  Some gathered in the balcony that surrounds the Family room, that is huge lobby area right outside the theatre.  The place works – and it gave Royal Wood, its opening night performer, the “royal” treatment.

Tuesday of this week, the hard financial side of operating the Centre comes before a committee of city council that will receive a report setting out what is left of the $3,439,300 the Centre was given as contingency funds.  There is $74,297 left in that contingency account.

Those behind the development of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre speak regularly about the project being on time and on budget – welcome words to the ears of citizens who have heard nothing but grief about the Pier and, even though a contractor is in place to complete the Pier, there are still many who think the city should have walked away from the project and just blown the whole thing up.


The capital cost for the Burlington Performance Arts Centre has amounted to $37.2 million which includes the close to $3.5 contingency.  The city owns the building and is in the process of completing both a Lease Agreement and a Relationship Agreement with the independent arm’s length Board that governs the Centre.  That Board, a non profit corporation will operate what we know as the Burlington Performing  Arts Centre.  The corporation that oversees the Centre staff and its operations as well as representing the interest of the citizens, is known as the Burlington Theatre Board Inc.

So we have the Theatre Board operating the Performing Arts Centre which is owned by the city.  We will get back to you on how the Theatre Board is organized and what role the average citizen can play in the operation of the Centre.  At the Invitation Only event for the donours Vice Chair Rick Burgess explained very briefly that the role of the Theatre Board was one of oversight for the citizens of the city.

Oversight is certainly in order because the city will be giving the Centre $480,700. each year to go towards the cost of operating the organization.  An additional $262,800 was made available to the Centre as one time funding for the opening year.  The city owns the building and is therefore responsible for the upkeep and maintenance which will require the creation of a reserve fund.

The Relationship Agreement sets out the ability of the Theatre Board to make application for financial assistance through the city’s annual budget process.  The Staff report that is going to Council committee emphasizes that the Centre is not expected to be a fully self-sustaining facility.

There is a program in place; it’s called a Capital Surcharge that has an amount of between $1.00 and $1.50 added to the price of every ticket sold.  That surcharge is shown as a separate line on every ticket sold.  At the moment that surcharge amount to $1.70 (HST snuck in there somewhere).  The surcharge proceeds are divided  on a 50/50 basis between the city and the Centre.

Six thousand five hundred tickets for performances at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre have been sold. More than 550 were used on the first night.

The city’s Corporate Strategic Initiatives run by Allan Magi will have input on the capital plant, which means the building and the things actually attached to it and the stuff that is inside the building is the responsibility of the Centre staff.  Tables, chairs, the seats in the theatre – that kind of thing.

The Lease Agreement (which has yet to be made public) and the Relationship Agreement get a thorough going over at council committee.  The nature of the relationship between the City and the Board has more than enough clauses in it to protect the city.  Try this one on for size.  “The city may terminate this agreement by written notice … in any of the following circumstances and then goes on to list the events that would be defined as a default in the agreement.  But here is the killer: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, the city may, in its sole and absolute discretion, terminate this agreement on 20 business days.  The city may exercise such right arbitrarily…”  That’s a pretty tough clause.  The city owns the building and if they don’t like the way things are being done they can cancel the agreement with 20 days’ notice.

The trade mark “Burlington Performing Arts Centre” is owned by the city and is licensed to the Centre.  The Board of the Centre cannot approve an expenditure of more than $1,000,000 until it has been approved by Council

The relationship between the city, the Centre’s Board of Directors and the staff at the Centre have been remarkably positive.  The city has council member, Rick Craven along with the Mayor, sitting on the Board of the non-profit corporation that runs the theatre as well as a staff member; Steve Zorbas, Acting General Manager Development and Infrastructure.

Volunteers are a large part of what makes the Centre work. Patrons will meet friendly ushers like these two gents.

The city provided the telephone system the Centre uses but doesn’t pay the telephone bill.  The city was involved in the setting up of the web site but doesn’t provide ongoing technical support.  The Centre staff will get paid through the city’s payroll service.

Except for a bit of a flap over the bricks that were to be used on the building the project was completed to the satisfaction of just about everyone.  The city took possession of the building from the contractors on September 13th and, believe it or not, there is a one year warranty on the place.

All however, is not sweetness and light between the city and the Theatre and its Board of Directors.  Staff is providing verbal updates at the committee meeting “so that committee members are clear about the few remaining areas of difference between the parties.”

Will it work, can it work?  There are a number of very positive signs that it will work but show business has never been easy and the entertainment business is fickle at the best of times.  Brenda Heatherington and her crew have their work cut out for them as they not only fine tune the building but also get the full measure of the community and figure out what we want and at the same time discern where the community can be taken.

The Board that provides the oversight is going to have to be both vigilant and supportive and give the staff the room they need to develop the business and at the same time be fiscally responsible.  This isn’t an 18 month undertaking; this is a three year exercise at a minimum and the Centre needs to develop a relationship with the citizens of the city that is strong enough to allow that amount of time.  That isn’t going to be the easiest thing to do in a city that had people who wanted the Pier torn down.

And if the Board and the Centre staff can’t do that – well the Centre could become, as one city hall wag put it, an All Elvis location.

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Mad chase through Hamilton streets, bear spray doesn’t stop Halton’s finest. Got their man then headed for the showers.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON September 29, 2011  A couple of Halton Regional Police plainclothes officers drove over to Hamilton to locate a suspect they wanted to put handcuffs on.  The suspect had some outstanding arrest warrants in both Halton Region and Hamilton. Investigation led to a residential address on Victoria Avenue. The police were permitted access to the house by the home owner for the purpose of arresting the suspect.

Two officers went downstairs identifying themselves verbally as police and located the suspect hiding in a crawl space. The suspect sprayed the officers with bear spray, forcing them to retreat from the enclosed area.

Two other officers, stationed outside the house, noticed the suspect emerging from a trap door underneath the front porch. The suspect immediately sprayed those officers and fled.

 Despite the effects of the spray and hampered vision, officers continued to pursue the suspect, while he continually sprayed them. The suspect was eventually apprehended.

You can imagine how ticked those police officers were. One of the officers sustained a serious knee injury when he ran into a fire hydrant while chasing the suspect who was spraying bear repellent at anyone who came near him.  It must have looked like a scene out of wild west movie.

The suspect was identified as David Thomas of no fixed address.  He was charged with Assault Police (three counts); Breach of Probation (two counts); Fail to Comply with Recognizance (two counts) and possession of a Controlled Substance.  Did you know that bear spray was a controlled substance.  Hamilton police assisted in the arrest.  And Mr. Thomas now has a fixed address.




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Citizens group lays out the facts and the real issue when it comes to the Escarpment.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON September 29, 2011  –  For Burlingtonians the two issues are the hospital and the Escarpment – one at the bottom and the other at the top of the city.  The citizens have heard what each of the political parties has to say – but no one is really sure that those politicians will deliver on the promises or on the priorities as some politicians are calling them.

Thus it is good to hear from an interest group that has one objective – No highway here – thank you.  The Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition

This is the part of the country side the environmentalists want to keep the highway makers away from.

(SEHC) has been consistent in their opposition to any new road.  And they bring  with them 13 organizations with 8500 members on the mailing lists – all a part of the coalition.  In the world of politics – this is called clout.

So here is what they have to say about the position the politicians have taken:

Plans to build a costly Horseshoe Mega‐highway from Fort Erie to Vaughan that will saddle Ontario taxpayers with an estimated $16 billion bill are being fought by a growing coalition of citizens’ groups. The Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition (SEHC), with 11 member groups from Niagara to Oakville, will now be acting in concert with Sustainable Vaughan and Concerned Residents Against Superhighway in Halton Hills (CRASHH).

While Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne has announced that Ontario’s Liberal government would not move forward with part of the planned highway from Niagara to North Burlington, other portions of the highway are still on the table and background work and environmental assessments for all portions are still ongoing. As well, opposition leader Tim Hudak has said he would build the highway if elected as Premier.

“We aren’t fighting highways, we’re fighting a transportation planning philosophy that only looks at highways,” says SEHC spokesperson Geoff Brock, adding that efficient, modern, multi‐modal transportation options across Ontario need to be considered including rail, shipping, and many types of public transit. Brock notes, plans for the Horseshoe Mega‐highway, have been announced in stages, with costs relayed separately for each portion, so it hasn’t aroused the public concern that it should have.

Yet, throughout the entire proposed route of the superhighway, citizens’ groups, and in many cases, local and Regional governments have risen up to oppose it and advocate for a better way.

“The problem is the mandate and focus of the Ministry of Transportation precludes this type of planning,” says Brock. “Traditionally, the Ministry has been focused on building and maintaining a road‐based, car and truck focused transportation system.  Ministry staffs know a lot about roads but we need experts who understand integrated transportation networks that include shipping, rail, light rail, buses and subways,” says Brock.

This is the part of the province that all the huffing and puffing is about when Burlingtonians talk about protecting the Escarpment. The province has wanted to build a new highway from Buffalo, New York all the way around the western end of Lake Ontario and into the industrial parts of the province North of Toronto. The good folks of Burlington have no problem with that idea – they just don’t want a highway built through the Escarpment. The Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition thinks the province needs to re-think transportation and see beyond just building highways.

In a global economy, Ontario has to compete with places that are investing heavily in fast, cost‐effective, multimodal transportation systems for people and goods, Brock notes. “We need a transportation plan that’s faster and cheaper than one based on cars,” says Brock. He cites a recent study that showed Toronto’s commute times are quickly becoming the world’s longest while cities like Barcelona, that have just completed a massive public transit system, have the world’s shortest.

“We can’t afford to be left behind,” says Susan McMaster of Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment (COPE), a Member of the SEHC. She notes that the creation of Metrolinx, and increased Provincial funding for GO expansion, are steps in the right direction but those plans are limited to the Greater Toronto to Hamilton Area (GTHA).

“Many people are commuting from the Kitchener, Brantford and Niagara areas to the GTHA. A lot of goods are moving through the border in Windsor and Sarnia to all parts of the Province. We need a greater vision for transportation in Ontario that will keep people and goods moving now and into the future,” says McMaster, citing the escalating costs of fossil fuels as a major reason to focus on creating a multi‐modal transportation network across the Province.

The cost of building the superhighway is also a major concern, says McMaster.  With the world’s economy in a tailspin the Province is under a lot of financial pressure and there is only so much money to go around. “Funding this proposed highway will cost billions of taxpayer dollars. And given current budget constraints, every dollar spent on new highways is a dollar that won’t be spent on building the kind of efficient, integrated transportation network that would make us competitive,” she says.

COPE, which has been fighting the construction of a Niagara Escarpment highway for years, is also deeply concerned about the new and expanded quarry operations the highway would generate. “By Provincial policy, aggregate must be sourced as close to the area under construction as possible. That means a lot more and bigger quarries; a lot more blasting in the Niagara escarpment and adjacent areas,” she says.  This is a large part of what the Nelson Aggregate OMB hearing is all about.

Country side that was not meant for highways.

Progressive Conservative candidate Jane McKenna didn’t even know what the Nelson Aggregate hearing was even about – which is kind of scary.

Brock argues that:  “Until we hear the announcement that the government of this Province is committed to creating a Province‐wide, multi‐modal transportation network, SEHC will continue to expand our membership and our efforts to make this necessary change happen,” he says.

SEHC also wants the Federal Government to step up to the plate. “The bottom line is the Province can’t do it alone. The Federal Government has an important role to play

especially in terms of providing funding but also in helping to integrate, rail and shipping, and in easing congestion at borders. They need to step up to the plate, like other federal governments have around the world, and recognize that having an efficient, multi‐modal transportation network in Ontario is in the national interest, says McMaster.

“Let’s face it, we can’t get our economy moving if people and goods aren’t,” she says.



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Popular jazz vocalist at the Alexander Barn of the Halton Museum in Kelso. Take in the fall colours as well.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON September 29, 2011  Gary Carr, the Chief Cheese over at the Region wants you to know that  “Fall is the perfect time to visit the Halton Region Museum in Kelso, you can take in the fall colours, the beautiful views and round it out with a top notch performance from two well-seasoned and soulful jazz/blues musicians, Terry Blankley and Al Matthews.”

Cool, quiet jazz vocals in a fall colour setting.

The Chair is absolutely right on this one.  The Jazz at the Museum program is great entertainment and very good value.  It would be nice to see the Chair at one of these events – he could use a little R&R and the Missus would probably like a chance to get out of the house.

Artist/composer Terry Blankley will draw you in and warm your spirits on October the 9th.   Described as a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits, Terry has been a regular at the grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.  Whether singing Billie Holiday’s classic, “Don’t explain” or the Ray Charles hit, “Hallelujah, how I love her so,” or songs from his latest CD, Cold Weather Blues Blankley is fine entertainment.  Terry will be joined at the Museum by Al Matthews, whose brilliant musical styling’s  and vocals are matched by a wicked sense of humour.

Sunday, October 9th – great way to spend an afternoon – take friends.  Limited tickets are available at the door for $20 per person and include light refreshments. The performance  takes place in the Hearth Room in the Museum’s historic Alexander Barn from 2 to 4 p.m. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.  You can reserve a ticket by calling 905-875-2200, ext. 27


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Another heavy equipment theft in Burlington. Insurance rates may rise soon. Crime Stoppers could use your help.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON September 29, 2011 –   The construction industry took another hit the past few days.  A loader was stolen from a Longmoor Drive construction site

The equipment was valued at more than $170,000 so you know it wasn’t taken away in a wheel barrow.  If you’re offered a chance to buy a 2008 John Deere Loader, Model 544J, take a pass on the offer and give Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.com or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes)

There are always equipment thefts from construction sites – the contractors need to find ways to better secure the equipment at night and on weekends and the police might make a practice of driving by known construction sites regularly but randomly as well.

Perhaps the police could provide a service that allowed contractors to call in and let police know there is equipment on a site.  They could then do drive byes and keep an eye on things.  The thieves will figure out the sites are being watched and look for easier picking.


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We appear to be in the mudslinging phase of the provincial election.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  September 29, 2011  You know someone is running a little on the scared side when they start slinging mud.  However, with every story there is often a grain of truth – and truth be told, political parties do have to fund their campaigns and when they need money it usually calls for a trip to the bank.

And banks don’t give money away – so when you need a loan and you don’t have much in the way of assets – what do you do?  You have to get someone to co-sign the loan, which appears to be what the New Democrats did recently.

Nothing wrong with that.  Every one of us has kids that need a helping hand and we put our “John Henry” on the line for them.

If there is a financial understanding between an organization and a political party it is usually wiser to get the story out before someone else puts it out on you with their spin and not yours.

There was a time when the federal Liberals always had a Senator who was also a Director of one of the largest banks close at hand, so that when an overdraft had to be approved all it took was a phone call.

The NDP has never formed a government and has never been able to give goodies to the banks – and so they have to look to other friends for support.  Nothing wrong with that – just come clean fast.

Here’s the story the provincial Liberals have out on the

 New documents reveal that Andrea Horwath misled reporters and failed to disclose the true relationship between the Ontario Cornerstone Leadership Corporation and the Ontario NDP.

 Asked this morning if Cornerstone plays any financial role in the NDP campaign, Horwath said “None whatsoever.  None whatsoever.  It’s a separate corporation, separate board of directors, no role whatsoever in our campaign, no financial, you know, no financial connection whatsoever.  It’s completely separate.” (Andrea Horwath Media Scrum, September 29, 2011)

 And she continues to duck questions on the whereabouts of $100,425 of taxpayer money and another $100,000 in union funds granted to Cornerstone for accessibility.

 But that’s not the whole story.  Horwath was in a position to know how her party raises money.

 Documents obtained by the Liberals reveal that links between Cornerstone and the NDP are far greater than previously believed.  Not only are all 8 members of the Cornerstone board current or former board members of the NDP, but the corporation is actually bankrolling the NDP’s campaign.

 Land registry documents show:

•           Cornerstone served as collateral for a $4,350,000 loan that is currently financing Horwath’s 2011 campaign

•           Cornerstone served as collateral for a $3,450,000 loan that financed the 2007 NDP campaign

 And contrary to Andrea Horwath’s claim that Cornerstone “has nothing to do” with her, new documents also reveal that Andrea Horwath sat as an ONDP Vice President when the Cornerstone fundraising scheme was hatched, and served as the 2007 NDP Campaign Co-Chair. (OntarioNDP.com)

The Cornerstone campaign’s sole goal was to purchase a property that would finance NDP election campaigns:

•           “The Cornerstone Campaign is a 3-year capital campaign aimed at purchasing a permanent party headquarters in order to finance future election campaigns…purchasing a building will allow the Ontario NDP to continue to qualify for election campaign loans.” (NDP Cornerstone Campaign, The Business Case, pg. 1)

 It’s time Andrea Horwath told reporters and Ontarians the truth on the NDPs intricate relationship with Cornerstone.  It’s time she said what the NDP did with the $100,425 they received from the federal government and provided assurances that money was not funneled to the NDP campaign.  It’s time she returned the money.

When you need money for a project - and an election is a project - you pay a visit to a friendly banker, and if that banker isn't really friendly, you take a freind along who can co-sign for you. All the politicalparties do it - the Liberals want you to know how the NDP is doing it. Why?

What’s interesting about the comments the Liberal’s released about Cornerstone is that they never say what the company does, who owns it and how long it has been around.  Cornerstone is a marketing company that deals primarily in the creating and marketing of lists of names.  Everyone uses lists of names.  When you get an offer from a credit card company mailed to you they bought your name from a broker who developed the list and kept it active.  Good list brokers develop and maintain very sophisticated lists and market them.  It’s all part of the way products are brought to people’s attention and sold.  If you live in an apartment you don’t want an offering for a lawn mower and a good mailing list will not have apartment dwellers on lawn mower lists.

The really good list development people can put together a list that is very tightly targeted.  That’s what Cornerstone does and if they have enough money in the bank and are able to help a political party obtain the loan they need – nothing wrong with that. Just be clear and up front about it.  Play it straight.

Could all this “new” news from the Liberals be because Andrea Horwath did quite a bit better than the Liberals expected in the all candidates debate earlier this week – and that her position in the polls has risen a bit more than the Liberals are comfortable with and they need to knock her down a point or two?  Just asking.

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Wake me up when it’s over!

By Casey Cosgrove

BURLINGTON, ON September 28, 2011  – Is it just my imagination, or does there seem to be a noticeable lack of interest in Burlington over the coming provincial election ?  Naturally, those working on a campaign, directly for a candidate, or as advocates for a specific issue (like the hospital or mid-peninsula highway) probably won’t see it this way as the city serves as a daily campaign battleground until October 6th.

The mainstream media is covering the election as usual, but on the ground here in Burlington, there seems to be very little buzz.  One usual predictor of interest – lawn signs – also tells the story.  Take a drive through the city and you will see relatively few lawn signs staked into the grass Burlington.

A  reading of local newspapers, blogs, campaign brochures, and discussing the coming election with neighbours, friends, and a network of young families in Burlington in recent weeks, I wanted to gain a better understanding of the level of interest among Joe Voter.

I conducted a small, informal survey with 41 busy, working, middle-income individuals, mostly commuters, and most with school-aged children.  These folks are common working Burlington families – a demographic each of the political platforms I have read appear to be targeting on paper.   Of the 41 respondents, 26 will vote in the Burlington riding, while 15 (who live in the Orchard or Millcroft) will vote in the Halton riding.  All are Burlingtonians, but none described themselves as politically ‘active’, or are involved in any of the campaigns under way in either riding.

I asked five basic questions.

 1- Will you be voting in the coming election? 

2 – If you are voting, have you decided whom you will vote for?

3 – How will you determine who will get your vote? (local candidate, party itself,

      party leader, party platform, a combination, a specific issue, or other).

4 – Have you seen a candidate at your doorstep yet?  Does that matter to you?

5 – If you are not voting, have not decided, or are reluctant to vote, why is that?

 19 of 41 respondents (less than 50%) said they will definitely be voting in the coming election.  12 said they might, while 10 said that they won’t bother to vote.  Interestingly, 14 of the 19 who will be voting have already decided whom they will be voting for.

Of the 19 sure voters,

10 said they vote for the party itself,

2 on particular issue,

3 for the local candidate,

1 the party platform,

2 the party leader, and

 3 indicated it was a combination of all of the above.

 Of the 41 respondents, only 1 has seen a candidate show up at their door.  When asked whether this mattered to them, 16 said they’d  like the chance to talk to candidates while 25 said it does not matter to them if a candidate shows up at their door.  Some even stated that they would prefer if they did not see a candidate.   It is worth mentioning that only two respondents were seniors, the rest were younger families, which may better explain this particular result.

As you might guess, the most intriguing, and disturbing responses were to the last question – ‘if you are not voting, have not decided, or are reluctant to vote, why is that?  The responses to this question included

 ‘why bother, they break their promises anyway?’,

 ‘I cannot tell the difference between them’,

 ‘my vote wont count in Burlington anyway’,

‘I do not trust any of them’,

‘I do not feel informed enough to vote’,

‘I do not like politics’,

‘I do not know the options well enough’,

‘there is no issue that I feel particularly strongly about’,

‘I waited 2 hours last election’ and

‘they are all the same, so I do not care who wins’.

 We often focus on the percentage of people that do not vote, but we spend little time analyzing this reluctance or refusal to participate in this

Platforms are full of smoke and mirrors, and are like moving targets. There are plenty of reasons to be disillusions and even disgusted with elements of our electoral process.

democratic right.  It seems clear that many people in Burlington are feeling a lack of engagement, a lack of trust, and a feeling that their vote does not matter.  Why is this?  Are those that do not vote just plain lazy and unappreciative of this right that was fought for?

Perhaps a few, but many have good reason to be fed up.  Election promises are often made and broken. Partisan ‘spin’ has become a prime tactic in campaigns.  Loca

l candidates often ‘hide’ behind the leader, not sharing much about their own credentials and vision.

Once elected, representatives are basically forced to toe the party line, or else they can expect to get comfortable in the backbenches. A vote for a truly independent thinker may be a ‘lost leader’ if that party ends up governing.

Elections seem to be used as much to confuse people as to bring clarity, as the lines between the existing parties have blurred substantially, fighting for a piece of the ‘middle’.  Aspiring candidates spend much of their time obsessing about those in power, rather than trying to engage people with their own ideas and vision.

Platforms are full of smoke and mirrors, and are like moving targets.  There are plenty of reasons to be disillusions and even disgusted with elements of our electoral process.  Getting elected is the  prime goal of those campaigning so there will be no acknowledging these issues during a campaign.  Smile, stay on message, disregard and poke holes in the opponents platform and ideas. Just win.

I am among those that have never missed an opportunity to vote.  I am sometimes offended during elections, and I don’t always have a clear choice that I feel great about, but I always vote.  I care enough to find something I feel strongly enough to vote for.  This is not simply about getting people to cast a vote.

Rather than berating people for not exercising their right to vote, perhaps we should spend more time engaging citizens, exploring things that they do care about, and making them feel heard.  If one really cares about something, and feels ‘heard’, they will vote every time, guaranteed.


Casey Cosgrove has lived for all but five of his many years in Burlington where he has been active in the community.  He ran as  city Councillor in the 2006 municipal election. He  teaches leadership a the University of Guelph and is on leave as a Director of the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy.




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If it works, leave it alone. If it’s broken, fix it. If it cannot justify its existence, it goes.

By Jane McKenna, Progressive Conservative candidate for Burlington.

Our Burlington was created to reduce the information deficit that was described and defined in the Shape Burlington report.  As part of this initiative we asked the Progressive Conservative, the New Democratic and the Liberal party candidates to provide material on two features.  The first was an opinion piece on what each candidate thought was not in the best interests of Ontario and Burlington in the other  party’s platform.  The Liberals and the New Democrats participated in the editorial feature.  The Progressive Conservatives declined.

 The second editorial feature was an opportunity for each candidate to set out their political party’s platform.  Today our readers hear from Liberal candidate Karmel Sakran.  Later this week you will hear from NDP candidate Peggy Russell and Progressive Conservative candidate Jane McKenna.


BURLINGTON, ON  September 28, 2011  Dalton McGuinty had his chance. But over the last eight years, he chose gimmicks over growth, indulgence over responsibility.

And again and again: Dalton McGuinty raised taxes. He raised taxes even after he signed a pledge not to raise taxes: With Dalton, “put it in writing” isn’t a protection. It’s a temptation.

Right now, Dalton is on another of his spending sprees – from his secret deals with unions to raise their pay to his expensive energy experiments that are running up hydro bills.

And you know how Dalton McGuinty plans to pay for all this secret spending? Of course you know. With another tax increase should he win the next election. In fact, the McGuinty team has their next round of tax increases planned already, such as the Carbon Tax, Smart Meter User Tax, Water tax and school board property tax.

Our changebook is a stark contrast from the Liberals and the NDP’s platforms. Not only is it completely costed, but it is the only platform to have been written by Ontario families, seniors and small business owners.

We say it’s time for change. Change that gives families the relief they need and the hope they deserve.

Instead of raising taxes for most – while lavishing special breaks for the favored few – we will provide broad based income tax relief.

We will lower taxes 5 percent on the first $75,000 of taxable income and allow income-sharing for couples, providing over $1400 in tax relief annually for families.

This change is an important step towards recognizing that there really is a family budget.

We will double the caregiver tax credit. That’s compassion and it’s the relief families need when taking care aging parents or critically ill family members.

And we will remove HST from home heating and hydro bills. And then we will remove the debt retirement charge, the DRC, from your Hydro bill.

The charge was imposed in 2002 to pay off Hydro’s residual stranded debt.

All of the debt principal was paid in full by 2010. But the charge was not removed! It was extended to 2018.

Can you imagine if a bank did this to you as a credit card customer?

You’ve paid off your balance – congratulations – but we’re going to keep hitting you for interest payments anyway? They’d go to jail.

Late campaign start was soon overcome. LAwn sign team seems to be winning the battle at that level. Two copies of the Changebook needed by the candidate - one to read and the other to put under her pillow.

But in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario, it’s just another experiment in creative revenue enhancement.

Under a PC Government – it will be gone.

As we relieve families of tax burdens, we will restrain spending in a responsible way that protects health and education.

We will increase healthcare spending with an extra $6 billion.

The Joseph Brant Hospital redevelopment will be a priority for a Tim Hudak government.

Under Dalton McGuinty, 24,000 seniors are still waiting for access to a long term care beds. We will fix this by investing in 40,000 long term care beds.

Under Dalton McGuinty, Ontarians are waiting more than 26 hours in emergency rooms. We will fix this by implementing ER wait time guarantees that put hospital CEOs accountable.

Under Dalton McGuinty, one million Ontarians still do not have a family doctor. We will fix this by bring more doctors, nurses and physicians to communities that need them.

Under Dalton McGuinty, half of urgent cancer patients don’t receive care within the recommended wait times; eliminated 2,500 nursing positions and cut 4.3 million hours of nursing care; and closed two ERs. We will fix this.

We won’t be spending that money the way McGuinty did – to hire Walt Disney world performers to entertain LHIN bureaucrats.

In fact, we’ll abolish the LHINs, which have wasted $300 million on unnecessary bureaucracy. That money could have gone to the redevelopment of Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, which just shows you the priorities of the Liberal Party.

Excellent healthcare costs money. Ontarians pay the price and pay the price willingly. But we get mad when we are told to pay for bureaucracy and bloat.

Beyond health and education, we will work to find 2% in responsible savings throughout the government. That’s two cents on the dollar each year until we get this province’s budget balanced again.

It took 23 Premiers 136 years to do what Dalton McGuinty did in just eight- double the debt.

Ontario has a serious problem. If you were to compare Ontario (population of just over 13 million) versus California (population larger than Canada at over 34 million) and were to take each of their debts and divide equally for every citizen, Ontario would be worse off. Each Ontarian (including infants) would be paying over $16,500 and each Californian $9,000.

What Ontario can live without, we will live without.

Ontario has almost 630 different Agencies, Boards and Commissions. Every one of them will be reviewed to ensure they are providing good value.

Our process will be straightforward. If it works, leave it alone.

If it’s broken, fix it.

If it cannot justify its existence, it goes.

We will shrink Dalton McGuinty’s bloated public sector and bring public-sector salaries into line with private-sector realities.

McKenna listens and she responds quickly. Given the short, short length of her camapign - she got the jist of it all.

We believe in paying public servants what is fair.

But I also believe in taxing Ontarians no more than is fair.

We will bring fairness and democracy to our labour law.

We will uphold the right to a secret ballot in certification votes.

We will introduce pay cheque protection so union members are not forced to pay fees towards political causes they don’t support.

Unions spend more money on Ontario elections than any of our political parties, but with much less transparency.

Which means that public-sector collective bargaining in Ontario often puts union leaders on one side of the table – and politicians elected by union money on the other side.

Who’s looking out for the taxpayer?

Dalton McGuinty can’t do it. I can. I will.

In this northern nation, heat is not a luxury. In this industrial province, electricity powers our jobs.

For Dalton McGuinty to hike the power bills of ordinary families so that he can pay higher prices to special favorites – it’s a rip-off and it’s wrong.

That is why we will end the $7 billion sweetheart Samsung deal.

A PC government will restore the fundamental principle: one law for all.

If you or I decided to open an illegal cigarette factory in our backyards, we’d have the OPP on us two hours later.

But some lawbreakers are more equal than others in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario.

Lawbreakers will use their time in provincial prison to repay society: picking up litter, raking leaves.

We’d especially like to see prisoners using mop and pail to clean up the graffiti that defaces our cities and towns – and that threatens law-abiding citizens with the message – gangs rule here, and there’s nothing the authorities can do.

If entrusted with the government of Ontario, those who fight the law will find… the law won.

For 8 years, Dalton McGuinty has governed Ontario by his unique ideology. If it works, break it.  If it’s broken, hide it.  If you run out of money, borrow more.

Everything is government’s business, but nothing is ever government’s fault.

We have the opposite point of view: a practical plan for Ontario families.

Changebook.  If it works, leave it alone. If it’s broken fix it. If you are out of out money, stop spending.  When things are going wrong, change them. Respect working people. Support families. Create opportu

Ted Chudleigh, running as the PC candidate in Halton and the current member, Joyce Savoline who announced her retirement opening up the seat for a newcomer, were on hand for one of McKenna's first campaign forays.

nity. Restore hope.

And whatever else you do, never ever stop believing in the great future of this beautiful province of Ontario and its compassionate, hard-working people.

Now decision day has almost arrived. I’m looking to you, for your support – to deliver the change that Ontario families need. The choice on October 6th is clear.

Vote Liberal and vote for more tax increases, more surprises, more misplaced priorities, more experiments with your money, and more and more of your money being wasted on bureaucracy and bloat.

Or you can vote for change- change that delivers families relief on their taxes and hydro bills; that guarantees the services that matter most to you; and change that cleans up government.

Together we will change this province – and restore Ontario as the best place on this earth to live, start a business, and raise a family.

Dalton McGuinty won’t do it. Dalton McGuinty can’t do it. We can. We will.

I will represent you with passion and distinction- listening, working hard and delivering the results that matter most to you, so that this community remains the greatest in Ontario.

On October 6th, vote Jane McKenna, PC Candidate for Burlington.

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Dreadful, is being polite. Not one of the candidates roused any interest or enthusiasm. Surely Burlington can do better than this.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 27, 2011  The Chamber of Commerce web site said “No walk ins” – implying that if you hadn’t reserved a seat you were out of luck because the place was full.  A busload of people could have walked in and the room still wouldn’t have been full.  The event was the first time Burlington has seen all three candidates in the provincial election at the same podium.  Maybe the rain dampened everyone’s enthusiasm to see what the political choices were.

The soup was on the thin side.  The only time there were any amusing answers was when the issue of a gas fired generating plant was mentioned and all three candidates came back with a “not on my watch”.  The question was – given that Oakville has turned down a gas fired energy plant and now that Mississauga has said they don’t want the thing either could Burlington be home for the plant?   And that was about as exciting as it got.

Liberal candidate Karmel Sakran, out on his third all candidate event but his first with Progressive Conservative Jane McKenna didn’t make it.  New Democrat Peggy Russell was on point and her energy was certainly evident,  but this was a Chamber of Commerce crowd and they tend not to want to hear about the poor and the suffering.  McKenna held her own.

The questions were a lot better than the answers that were given and because of the format – you wrote out a question and it was asked of each candidate in a rotating order – you had the table with the Tory supporters writing out questions and having them asked – then the Liberal supporters would do the same thing.

The predictable answers to the question of raising the minimum wage: Liberals have  already raised it, Conservatives would leave it where it is and the NDP saying it had to be raised because it wasn’t even keeping up with inflation.

Burlington’s conservatives are still at that point where they believe that keeping wages at the minimum level keeps the costs down – they’ve yet to learn that if the minimum wage is raised people have more money to spend which results in higher sales.  They will get it over time.

What was disturbing, and I mean really disturbing, was the way all three candidates would dive into their briefing books to look for the party position on the question they had been asked.  McKenna didn’t seem to be able to get through a question without referring to her briefing book,  Karmel Sakran wasn’t much better and even Peggy Russell had to refer to her notes.

At times the candidates seemed to be racing through what they were reading to ensure that they didn’t get caught by the time keeper.

One of the questions late in the event was to “put the scripts aside and tell us why you want the job”  McKenna came back with why she went after the job – which just wasn’t true.  The Progressive Conservatives recruited her when they couldn’t find anyone else or didn’t like those who had put their names forward. McKenna got talked into the job, she was originally the campaign manager for Rene Papin who withdrew when the PC association asked him to do so.

McKenna then said something that was surprising.  She said that the “severity of where we are is not understood” by most people and then added that she was “overwhelmed by how much she didn’t know”.  To her credit McKenna has learned a lot – she had a lot to learn but she is more than ‘hanging in there’.  She is earning her spurs.  For a period of time she had chosen to be a peek-a-boo candidate.  She would go to events that were safe for her.  Her handlers should have let her out of the bubble they had her in earlier.  She may not be steeped in all this political stuff but she is learning and punching above her weight.

This was an event that Karmel Sakran should have taken hands down.  He is the most qualified candidate for provincial office, and he is said to be one of the best candidates the Liberals have had for some time.  He is a local boy who has done very well and has done more than his share in terms of community service.  But the room he spoke to Tuesday morning was a room that was not moved by Karmel Sakran.  He wasn’t able to move the words he read off the page.  I am sure he is just as disappointed as his supporters.

There was very little spontaneity and even less passion from any of the candidates.  During the last federal all candidates meeting and the municipal event almost a year ago I don’t recall seeing candidates sitting there with briefing books.  It was absolutely amazing to watch each candidate flip to the appropriate page in their briefing book.

The concern going in was – would McKenna show up.  And of course she had to show up and while her performance was passable at best she looked pretty good because the others just weren’t all that good.

Cogeco Cable had three cameras set up in the room – if they broadcast any of what they filmed they will surely be in the running for one of the worst public service performances ever put on by candidates for public office.  It was dreadful.

Peggy Russell kept having problems with the time allocation.  The Chamber of Commerce had a time keeper who would hold up a yellow care signifying that you were about to run out of time and a red card saying you were out of time and you got cut off.  Russell should have learned that when she saw yellow she had to say five more words of which the last two should have been thank you.

Sakran, a lawyer by training, droned on several times as he read from his briefing book – for a man of his experience that just wasn’t acceptable.

If you were an executive with a large corporation and you had asked Human Resources to advertise a job and send you their top three candidates and you interviewed each one of them – you would have asked Human Resources to run the ad again.  The first batch just weren’t all that good – with the possible exception of Peggy Russell who would be out there fighting the good fight.


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Council offices, the Mayors Open Door and seeing taxpayers as revenue and city hall staff as an expense.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 27, 2011  The Mayor has always been on the eighth floor of city hall.  Up until very recently Council members were in dingy little offices on the ground floor where the windows were so high up in the wall that you could hardly see out and some councillors didn’t even have windows.

The space for the councillors and their assistants was moved to the seventh floorwhere there is more light and the offices are,while not spacious – they are decent and their assistants are all close at hand. There isn’t any sense of individual privacy for a council member by which I mean if you pay a visit to your Council member, every other council member can see who you are.  So if you’re looking for a confidential meeting – pick a coffee shop somewhere.

If you want to see your council member they ask you to call and make an appointment and they will have someone come to the reception area and take you to the seventh floor.  It’s a little awkward but security is a wee bit on the high side at city hall.  There was an incident at a city hall in the Niagara area I think, where someone went in with a baseball bat – and council across the province installed various levels of security.

What would be useful is a small meeting office on the ground floor where you could meet with a council member and enjoy a cup of coffee.  But we’re not there yet.

Mayor Goldring is constantly looking for new ways to involve the people he represents - next idea for him is going to be an Open Door day.

The Mayor is taking this meeting with the voters one step further and is going to hold what he calls an Open Door – his office is just “open”.

FRIDAY September 30th  10:00 am to 3:00 pm

No appointment necessary – just drop by city hall. Tell reception you are there to see the Mayor and you will get escorted to the top floor and have your meeting with the Mayor.  Please don’t take your baseball bat.

The city has installed a new telephone system that is going through the usual kinks and bugs.  One very senior person at city hall wondered aloud why the city would spend as much as it did for the new telephone system when people don’t use the telephone the way they used to.  My informant said that the bulk of his communication is by email and texting.  He might find that they’ve taken away his desk telephone and given him a megaphone.

In every business there is what the academics and the consultants refer to as the “core competency” – that is the one thing, sometimes several things that you are really good at – and the thing you are known for.

So what should the “core competency” be for the civic administration.  They are not a service you choose – you own a house, you pay taxes, you drive on a road and it is cleared of snow and that work is paid for by your taxes; but you don’t have much in the way of choice.  A city doesn’t have to do very much to get your business – they’ve got you.

So what is it that you have a right to expect from your municipal government?  If you don’t like the policies or the tax rate you can elect a new council member, but you don’t have much choice on the staff side of things.

Burlington has been talking about ‘improving’ customer service which is nice to know.  They have a web site – which is a bit of a challenge to navigate.

I want to pass along to you an experience we had when we wanted to learn more about the tax deferral plan the city has in place.  The subject of deferring tax increases for seniors that want to remain in homes they own but find that they face some difficulty with tax increases when they are on fixed income.  We will come back to what the various tax deferral programs are later – for the moment let us share our experience with city hall.

                     Your request for information for Property Tax Deferral for Seniors has been passed to me.

 May I suggest that you review the information on our web site.


 Click on City Hall

Click on Departments

Click on Finance

 Scroll down to Property Tax Rebates, directly below Taxation.

 The 5th item is a question and answer document pertaining to the Low Income Seniors and Low Income Persons with Disabilities Tax Deferral .

Directly beneath that is the application document.

 In addition, you will find information under the 3rd bullet for the Low Income Seniors Property Tax Rebate as well as an application for 2011.

 Once you have reviewed this material, should you have any questions, please contact me.


Customers have a way of telling you they are not being served very well. Are you listening?

Is this customer service?  I managed to get through to where the tax collector wanted me to be – understanding what I read when I got there was another matter.

If there is a senior out there who thinks the tax deferral program will help them and they want to know more, the information the city provides leaves much to be desired.  Most people will just give up.  I am on line for more than a third of every day and often well into the evenings and I didn’t find the instructions all that helpful when I finally got to them – there was the kind of information only a lawyer would appreciate.  What is someone who does not have much in the way of computer literacy going to do?

New offices for council members were necessary – they deserved attractive, bright offices to work in.  The Mayor is doing the right thing with his experiments in getting through to the people he serves.  City hall staff have a long way to go however to provide a user friendly web site and a level of customer service that respects just who the citizens are.  In the real world, the tax payers are revenue, city hall staff are an expense.  Which ones do you cut first and which one do you give the most attention?


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This is Burlington’s most important election in decades, Jo Brant Hospital redevelopment in peril under Hudak


Our Burlington was created to reduce the information deficit that was described and defined in the Shape Burlington report.  As part of this initiative we asked the Progressive Conservative, the New Democratic and the Liberal party candidates to provide material on two features.  The first was an opinion piece on what each candidate thought was not in the best interests of Ontario and Burlington in the other  party’s platform.  The Liberals and the New Democrats participated in the editorial feature.  The Progressive Conservatives declined.

 The second editorial feature was an opportunity for each candidate to set out their political party’s platform.  Today our readers hear from Liberal candidate Karmel Sakran.  Later this week you will hear from Progressive Conservative candidate Jane McKenna.

By Karmel Sakran, Liberal candidate for Burlington

BURLINGTON, ON  September 26, 2011 — There’s no question: this is the most important provincial election for Burlington in decades… because the Liberal government-commitment to redevelop Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital remains at stake. When it came to our hospital, here’s how the Hudak PCs treated Burlington voters.

This summer, after the McGuinty Liberal government officially endorsed the hospital’s $312 million redevelopment plan, Mr. Hudak stopped in Burlington. The resulting September 16th Post story quoted him saying this:

“If Tim Hudak becomes Premier on Oct. 6, there is no guarantee the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital redevelopment will be completed under a Progressive Conservative government.”

Five days later, after Ted McMeekin and I held a news conference, Tim Hudak changed his position. He agreed “there is a definite need” but said only a redeveloped hospital “will be a priority” if he forms a government.

Liberal candidate Karmel Sakran at a press conference with fellow Liberal Ted McMeekin

We all know a “priority” is not a “commitment,” so for me, nothing has changed – especially when you look at Hudak’s record. Early on, he vowed to scuttle the HST but later admitted it was OK and he wouldn’t change it. Around the same time, he scoffed at full-day kindergarten, then flip-flopped on that issue as well. The Hudak PCs just seem to make up policy as they go along… when they see a backlash.

To give him his due, Hudak did make a commitment in the earlier Post story; he will definitely proceed with the Mid-Peninsula Highway, which will pave over valuable farm and sensitive escarpment lands in north Burlington.

Here’s the bottom line: the Hudak PCs want to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a highway right through his riding that will shave a few minutes off the trip to Highway 401 for truckers from Buffalo and Fort Erie. And to do it, he’ll throw the Jo Brant Hospital redevelopment under a truck.

Put simply, Mr. Hudak’s preference of highways over our hospital is just NOT acceptable to the thousands of voters I’ve spoken to. And the $14 Billion hole in the Hudak PC platform tells me he’ll be doing a lot of slashing in education, health care and other programs that Ontarians deem vital. For instance, to help pay for 229 uncosted promises in his platform, watch him revert back to form when he was a minister in the Harris PC cabinet. Back then, they downloaded billions of dollars of services to towns, villages and cities across the province.

The Harris/Hudak downloads were a huge burden on municipalities, robbing their ability to use property taxes the way their voters chose. Since 2003, the McGuinty government has uploaded the lion’s share of this municipal burden and promises to continue doing it so councils across Ontario can help keep property tax hikes to an absolute minimum. Here in Burlington, the Liberal government uploads now saved the city $4.5 million in 2011 alone.

If we want a redeveloped hospital, Burlington can’t afford a Hudak PC government. If we want to preserve the agricultural and environmentally sensitive lands north of Dundas that make our city the jewel that it is, we can’t afford a Hudak PC government.

I’m the grocer’s son, raised on Ontario Street by parents who stressed the importance of community. I made a conscious decision to return to Burlington after law school to practice here. I was on the Board of Jo Brant Hospital for five years, helped found Carpenter Hospice and continue to organize runs that raise money for various worthy causes.

We’re now less than two weeks away from choosing our government in the provincial election. As Premier McGuinty has often said, what we have achieved together over the past eight years is little short of amazing.

The Liberal government’s unwavering commitment to education has put our system back on track – with smaller class sizes, higher test scores and full day kindergarten.

We have built 18 new hospitals, (the Harris/Hudak team closed 28), expanded or renovated 100 others and more than a million Ontarians now have a family doctor.

And our economy has created more full-time jobs than the rest of Canada combined.

Now, moving forward to create a better, brighter future for our families depends solely on the party Ontarians choose to lead on October 6th.

The Hudak PCs and the Horwath NDP have played politics and flip-flopped on too many important issues that matter to Ontario families. One would think they would have their

Burlington Councillors Rick Craven and Marianne Meed Ward support Liberal candidate Karmel Sakran at press event.

differences, but in fact, they have voted together an astounding 183 times against such initiatives as:

Funding for full-day kindergarten

The $1,100 benefit that is helping more than a million low-income children

Infrastructure stimulus projects that created 70,000 jobs

Second career retraining that has helped more than 47,000 Ontario workers to date.

Over the next five years, the McGuinty Liberal government plans to invest close to $8 billion in new hospitals, creating 79,000 jobs. Remember, the Harris/Hudak PCs closed 28 hospitals – after making repeated pre-election promises that they wouldn’t cut health care.

And after they closed these hospitals, the PCs told families they’d have to travel to other communities to get care or visit sick relatives.

Now, the Hudak PCs are at it again. Their platform has no money for building hospitals. The only capital projects they mention are highways.

The Hudak PCs have promised $14 billion in tax cuts and unfunded giveaways that will surely mean cuts to health care and hospitals. The Horwath NDP would introduce a crushing $9 billion in job-killing taxes. Remember too that the last time the NDP formed a government, the health system didn’t have the resources to invest in hospitals because of their disastrous economic policies and they cut medical school spaces, creating a crisis in family medicine.

As your Liberal MPP at Queen’s Park, I will deliver strong representation on these provincial issues – especially those that affect us in Burlington.

Let’s move forward! Together!

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Mea culpa – fingers were ahead of my brain. Sorry about that.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 26, 2011

We goofed.

While writing a column I somehow managed to mangle a name.  The intention was to use the name of Bert Radfordd, president of the Burlington provincial Progressive Conservative Association but somewhere between my brain and my fingers touching the keyboard I came out with Burt Radcliffe.

That was my error and it was corrected the moment Mr. Radfordd brought it to my attention.  My apologies.

For those of you who missed the error and misunderstood what was being said the story in which the error was made  here is the corrected story.

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Peggy Russell makes her case. “We believe in putting people first.”

By Peggy Russell, New Democratic Party candidate.

Our Burlington was created to reduce the information deficit that was described and defined in the Shape Burlington report.  As part of this initiative we asked the Progressive Conservative, the New Democratic and the Liberal party candidates to provide material on two features.  The first was an opinion piece on what each candidate thought was not in the best interests of Ontario and Burlington in the other  party’s platform.  The Liberals and the New Democrats participated in the editorial feature.  The Progressive Conservatives declined.

 The second editorial feature was an opportunity for each candidate to set out their political party’s platform.  Today our readers hear from NDP candidate Peggy Russell. Later this week you will hear from Liberal candidate Karmel Sakran and and Progressive Conservative candidate Jane McKenna.

BURLINGTON, ON  September 25, 2011  Burlington is my home.  It is where I raised my children and it is where I want a great future for my grandchildren.  It is the community where we have so much to be proud of, but also a community where there is still work to be done.  I am proud and honoured that this community chose me to represent them for the past 10 years as an elected school board trustee.

At the board of education and on Provincial committees I helped to deliver results for Burlington.  Working with other great people, we had 10 consecutive balanced budgets, we added resources for vulnerable children, I voted to end fees for basic school needs, and I worked hard to ensure that neighbourhood schools remained open.  I am now once again asking for the trust of Burlington residents to send me to Queen’s Park as your Member of Provincial Parliament so that I can continue to advocate and work hard on behalf of you and our community. Having been an elected official in Burlington where I met so many people and where I have listened to so many concerns and ideas I understand what still needs to be done to make our community even stronger.

The Russell family: With twin boys Russell was thought to have a bit of an advantage – they make a great election sign team.

As I write this, I know that there are many Burlington families that are concerned about the state of our economy as we continue to hear reports of a potential downturn given some of the problems around the globe.  There are young people and families that are concerned about jobs, seniors concerned about their pensions, and small businesses concerned about their future.

These are just some of the concerns and a strong reason why Burlington needs experienced leadership at this time.  As an elected official for the past 10 years I understand how to navigate through the complexities of government to get things done.  Governing can have a steep learning curve and we in Burlington and across Ontario don’t have the luxury to time if an economic downturn is at our doorstep.  We need experienced leadership now that can hit the ground running and get the right results for Burlington and Ontario.

I understand that there will be some of you that will be skeptical and I accept that.  Governments have not always made the best decisions regardless of the party they belong to.  The Ontario New Democratic Party has grown and evolved over the years into a strong, stable force at Queen’s Park and has been a leading advocate for families in Ontario.  The NDP understands that the old politics of the past don’t work anymore and that it is time for new ideas, and a new way of doing politics at Queen’s Park.  The NDP believes in politics that puts the partisan games aside and instead works in the best interests of those who elect us, the people of Ontario.

We believe in putting people first.  Jack Layton understood this and as a result many Canadians took notice and put their trust in the NDP.  It is that pragmatic leadership that drew me to the NDP and it is that style of leadership that I want to bring to Queen’s Park to act on your behalf.

Andrea Horwath, myself and our Ontario New Democratic Party Team have a plan to help youth, families, seniors, and businesses.  Our plan calls for,

 -Removing the Provincial portion of the HST off of hydro, home heating, and gas to make life more affordable for families,
-Freezing tuition for post-secondary education and removing the interest from student loans,
-Ending ambulance fees and other basic medical costs,
-Providing stable funding to municipalities for transit while freezing transit fares,
-Reducing the Ontario small business tax to 4% to ensure that small businesses have the resources to create jobs,
-Helping businesses by creating a tax credit up to $5000 for all new hires in Ontario that are sustained for at least one year,
-Expanding the home energy retrofit program and enhancing energy conservation in Ontario,
-Cutting emergency room wait times,

-Eliminating wait-lists for homecare with an addition of one million hours of home healthcare over 4 years and providing an additional 7.5 million hours of non-medical

Peggy Russell is a very forthright speaker, she makes her point and seldom backs down. Expect her to excel at the all candidate meetings

, home-making care for things such as preparing meals and shoveling snow,

-Capping out of control Public CEO Salaries and ending the million dollar/day payouts to consultants,

-Balancing the Ontario budget by the year 2017 in a responsible manner,

In Burlington there are two other big issues that have been on the minds of families in this community for many, many years; our hospital and preserving rural Burlington.

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital is long overdue for an expansion and modernization.  That is why I have made this issue my number one priority.  A hospital is not a political pawn to play games with.  As your next MPP, I will fight to ensure that shovels are in the ground as soon as possible for our hospital expansion and modernization.


Burlington is extremely fortunate to be situated in a position where we have a beautiful lake to our south and a natural treasure to our North.  We need to preserve this.  Ever since discussions began under a previous PC government to build a highway through Rural Burlington, the Ontario NDP has held a strong position that we are opposed to a Mid-Peninsula Highway and any new highway through Rural Burlington.  No other major party has made such a commitment to Burlington.  As the next MPP for Burlington I will ensure that there is no new highway across our escarpment.

In this election you do have a choice.  You can choose the partisan games of the past or you can choose a new kind of politics at Queen’s Park.  I am asking the people of Burlington to once again put your trust in me so that I can continue to deliver for you.  It is about putting our community and people first.  I hope that I can count on your vote on October 6th.


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