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Will she or won't she? Calderbank has days left to file nomination papers

By Pepper Parr

August 16th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is she or isn’t she?

Charismatic, competitive – ready for big time politics locally?

Is Kimberly Calderbank going to run for the office of Mayor?

If she is – and at this point we don’t know – her recent LinkedIn piece could have been read any number of ways.

Calderbank considers herself a strong strategic thinker – is her game plan to wait for the very last minute and then announce giving her some almost immediate momentum ?

The last half of August is always a quiet time; the pace will quicken as soon as the Labour Day holiday is over.

Calderbank was identified as the “developers” candidate in 2018 when she ran for the ward 2 council seat.

She wasn’t trounced but she certainly didn’t win.

The Gazette interviewed Calderbank during the 2018 election; we weren’t all that impressed.

It could easily be taken as a political statement.

We heard a young woman who certainly had career aspirations but not much more than that say she wanted to be Mayor but didn’t appear to have much in the way of a plan or a vision for the city.

She runs a successful private marketing business and has several media related jobs.

She serves as the media point person fo the Halton Region Police Services Board as well as the Ontario Police Services Board.

One of her clients is the Food4Life non-profit organization where we learned a number of months ago that they had contingency plans in place for marketing support in the event that Calderbank filed nomination papers.

We certainly got h impression from that source that Calderbank was going to be a candidate – and it wasn’t going to be for a Council seat.

She has very strong support with several families that could and would put a lot of weight behind a campaign.

She has a very good working relationship with Cogeco.

All the pieces needed to launch an election campaign exist.

It could happen – but it has to happen before 2:00 pm on Friday the 19th – that is when nominations close.

Should Calderbank run for the office of Mayor it will be one heck of a race.

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

Related new content

Kimberly in her own words

 

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Some members of the 2018 team that helped get the Mayor elected don't see her in quite the same light

By Staff

August 11th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The readers are what count.

In the direct correspondence, their emails and the comments they leave in the newspaper for others to enjoy they reflect ideas and thoughts of some of the people in the city and the several thousand that don’t currently live in Burlington.

One reader sent the following as a comment and we have “upgraded it to stand alone Opinion.

Mr. Parr asks the right question and, wisely, leaves the reader to arrive at their own conclusion. Here is mine and it is only mine. The context for the quote referenced in the article was Meed Ward’s response to the Ford pronouncement that he was proposing to give the Mayors of Ottawa and Toronto veto rights over their Councils.

Meed Ward (along with the Big City Mayors) was very quick to support “investigating” the broader application of this veto power and cited the remarkable synergy of the Burlington Council in support. ‘We’re a cohesive group anyways, are we not?’ Well, no, and the video clip attached to this article demonstrates more vividly than words could ever do, how dangerous such power would be if placed in the hands of any Mayor.

It is particularly worthwhile to watch the expressions of Council members (even Galbraith and Nisan) and the City Manager while our Mayor attempts her ‘ad hoc’ agenda management.

Marianne Meed Ward on election night in 2018

Whether you are one of her many followers, true believers in her brand of social media populism, or one of her detractors, often once part of the faithful who now view her with an open cynicism – Marianne Meed Ward is, I believe, a divisive figure; she polarizes. There are few in Burlington, if they draw breath and are on the right side of the grass, who don’t hold an opinion on Her Worship.

She is exceptionally charismatic; she can make someone feel that they are the only focus of her interest and commitment. She attracts followers as if by a force of nature. She is also resourceful, insightful and one of the hardest working politicians you are likely to meet. She picks the popular issues and rides them until they are exhausted. And she knows no “time out”. If she fails in something, it will never be because she has not put the time and effort into winning.

But she can also be, in my opinion, impatient, spiteful and self-absorbed. She does not appear to forget a slight or a perceived harm and she seems to lose perspective when an opportunity to “get back” presents itself.

Her treatment of Shawna Stolte is a glaring and shameful case in point. (Click HERE to view the video) So, does she work well with her Council? I would suggest that if the criteria are toleration of opposing views, natural ability to lead or a desire to selflessly mentor all subordinates equally, then the answer is a rather resounding “NO”. But this is only my opinion and my conclusion, of course.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward doing a Cogeco TV show with Blair Smith and Lynne Crosby

Blair Smith is a life long Burlington resident who has been active in representing the views of his peers.  He was part of the team that worked with Marianne Meed Ward to get her elected Mayor in 2018

 

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Poo, poo, poo - why so much shampoo

By Connor Fraser

August 11th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We have allowed powerful firms to created wasteful narratives. It’s time to push back.

How many times per week do you poo?

This past winter, I happened upon a regular schedule, nearly every day. Oh, and by “poo” I mean shampoo.

In December, my hairdresser recommended a new set of shampoo, conditioner and product specific to my hair style – instead of generic soaps found at the grocery store. I suppose it was more excitement at the prospect of taking better care and ownership of my body that caused me to embrace this daily routine. Recently, it has propelled me to think about how often I wash, and whether soaps are even necessary every time. They are not.

Proponents of the moderately famous “no poo” movement will argue that abstention from all commercial soaps is possible. There are people all over the internet who claim to have done so for 5+ years. While those claims are more than a bit ridiculous and I don’t plan to jump on their boat anytime soon, recently I have experimented with lathering up only every third day, and (maybe) rinsing for the remainder. And I haven’t noticed any difference. If anything, my hair is healthier than before.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Europeans get away with much less – they shampoo roughly half as often as North Americans. My friends and family who recently returned from vacation in France, Spain or Italy all reported a great experience. They didn’t mention anything about slippery streets or having to throw out clothes after brushing into someone’s head on the subway.

The push to have long flowing curly hair is a feature of advertising in North America

In fact, regular use of shampoo arrived only in the 20th century, when large-scale advertising campaigns “showered” people with the idea. They painted an image whereby buying and using their product was a ticket to gaining social acceptance. Those who remained on fringe were medieval.

As a student of business, I appreciate that firms exist to harness (hopefully for good) the most basic human instinct which is self-interest. Optimally, appropriate checks and balances would be in place to control the worst impulses of owners to, among endless possibilities, commit fraud or abuse their employees. But there is nothing illegal about pushing a product which people don’t really need, or at a greater frequency than is actually necessary.

I wonder whether Canadians are guilty of sleep walking into this trap. People, myself included, love stories. We crave simplification and narratives, and marketing departments at most large multinationals have evolved into history’s most successful storytellers. The problem arises, however, when the stories we are told do not end up creating value for consumers. Business, like politics and life, is a game. We must be vigilant to keep competitors honest and fight tooth and nail to avoid being coaxed out of our hard earned savings of real and social capital.

Over-usage of shampoo is but one example. What about laundry & dishwasher detergent? For the past year, I have washed my clothes with Tide. Despite always pouring the smallest suggested measure of detergent, even for heavy loads, I have never experienced dirty clothes. Moreover, my family always splits the bar of dishwasher detergent in half. Literally zero difference.

What about cellphones? Is it fate that everyone on the planet should have a portable phone, or rather did executives in Silicon Valley conspire to cook up another great narrative which we have all embraced without an afterthought? While I’m being crude, there is plenty of truth here.

You’ve seen a lot of these.

Because we live in an increasingly digital age where advanced marketing tactics have given firms the upper hand, so too must we arm consumers, and particularly young consumers, with the tools they need to defend themselves. When I was in elementary school, I recall my teacher briefly explaining to the class why it’s important to constantly question the messages behind advertisements.

That was one lesson, in 4th grade. For the most part, myself and my classmates were left to fend for ourselves. One opportunity might be to revitalize Ontario’s media literacy curriculum such that it rigorously prepares tomorrow’s generation to become more responsible and critical consumers. Additionally, consumer protection groups might accelerate verification of claims made by companies to ascertain whether they are backed by objectivity and science. Perhaps there is a rationale for increased funding towards federal watchdogs such as the Office of Consumer Affairs.

In the meantime, I encourage you to think about what products and services you consume as part of your routine, with an eye for identifying which are truly adding value, and which are freeloading. Consider sharing your findings and perspective with a comment below – I’m excited to learn what you discover!

Connor Fraser is a long-time resident of Aldershot.

In 2020, he completed undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, with a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science and a major in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

He has returned to U of T to enroll in the dual Master of Global Affairs and Master of Business Administration program.

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Is this what the next city council will look like ?

By Pepper Parr

August 9th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

In ten days we will know who the candidates for city council are going to be and have a pretty good idea what the next council is going to look like as well.

Kelvin Galbraith: Could be in trouble

Ward 1 was a given.  Kelvin Galbraith has a high school teacher campaigning against him thinking that he can continue as a high school teacher and serve as a council member at the same time.

There appears to be a change. Robert Radway now realizes that he can get a leave of absence from the Board of Education but that will not apply to his first year as a Councillor. Radway said he has a plan in place that will allow him to perhaps do some teaching and still serve as a member of Council.

Lisa Kearns: Probably has the finest mind on this council – needs to work on some issues.

Lisa Kearns should prevail in ward 2 – candidates do keep coming out of the wood work but Kearns has earned the right to a second term.  A real race for the seat will test Kearns in a way that will make her very uncomfortable but she will be better for it.

Rory Nisan has proven to be a disappointment for many – apparently not those working with him for re-election and certainly not for the Mayor.  She now has a new lap dog.

Rory Nisan: biggest disappointment

Jennifer Hounslow has a chance but she is pushing a rock up a hill – but Councillors that disappoint consistently do lose.   and on that level Rory Nisan has proven to be a disappointment.  The Gazette supported Nisan in 2018 – mentored him a little, urged him to get a copy of the Procedural bylaw and know it well.  He certainly did that – took a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner that found Stolte had broken a rule.

Shawna Stolte should retain her seat.  There are those who have issues with the Integrity Commissioners reports and the sanctions they handed out – the Gazette will comment on just what that is all about in the near future.

Paul Sharman will be acclaimed in ward 5.

Angelo Bentivegna faces a stiff contender.  His less than 50 seat plurality in 2018 and the serious dissatisfaction on the part of a lot of people in Millcroft over the attempts to build on golf course land have not helped.

Rick Greenspoon has his work cut out for him but he seems more than able to take the seat.

While there are many that don’t like what Mayor Meed Ward has delivered – Anne Marsden just does not have what it takes to be a Mayor.

What she might manage to do is significantly reduce the Meed Ward vote enough to smarten up Marianne.

These are the people you elected in 2018. Time to think about how many you want to serve you again.

So what will that deliver?

Meed Ward as Mayor

Galbraith in ward 1

Kearns in ward 2

Ward 3 could be a surprise

Stolte in Ward 4

Sharman in ward 5

Greenspoon in ward 6

We might want to revise these suggestions after nominations close.

In the weeks ahead we will interview and spend time with each of the candidates.

The options will be clearer on the 19th which is when nominations close.

There is a hope out there that Kimberly Calderbank will take a run at the Office of Mayor.  Calderbank  is a strong strategist and there are some very respectable people who will support her.

The process of filing a nomination is cluttered – you have to make an appointment with the city Clerk.  Should Calderbank file papers the news will have been flashed to the Mayor before the ink is dry on her papers.

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

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Public School Board Chair urges people to run as trustees in October election

By Margo Shuttleworth

July 29th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As the deadline draws near for people to submit their names to run in the upcoming municipal election, there is a notable absence of names being put forward to run for School Board Trustee. At first glance, this can be seen as a vote of confidence from the community that we are doing things right at the board table. However, with several Trustees in Burlington and Oakville not seeking re-election, it has left places at the table to be filled.

Dr. Margo Shuttleworth, Chair Halton District School Board

The role of a trustee is not an easy one. There is a large time commitment involved in juggling work commitments, however, it is extremely rewarding. We have done many great things over the past four years during my term which, as a board, we are all proud of:

We launched and are responding to our Reimagine Forward initiative

We created a Multi-Year and are working hard to fulfil our goals and commitments with a focus on students’ learning and achievement, mental health and well-being, equity and inclusion, indigenous perspectives and environmental leadership

We have work hard to represent those traditionally underrepresented groups

We have asked hard question but have always ensured we are kind and respectful

(and probably most importantly) we have worked collaboratively as a team to support students, families and staff

These great achievements are some of the amazing pieces of being a trustee. We all came to the table for different reasons, and that diversity of opinion is something that makes our board so great.

Please consider what your reasons may be. Look at it from a positive lens, what you can add, how you can contribute and how you can serve your community. Reach out to your Trustees to get information as to what is involved. I know the Trustees who are seeking different paths in this upcoming election are happy to chat and would welcome the opportunity for some new and diverse voices to be at our table. We want our students to see themselves within the people who represent them. It is disappointing that we have not seen more interest in the trustee role, but I hope that people will reach out to either myself or your local trustee, find out what is involved and consider the opportunity.

Dr Margo A Shuttleworth is the Chair of the Halton District School Board and the Trustee for ward 4.  She can be reached at Shuttlewortm@hdsb.ca
905 691 4508
Twitter: @margoshuttle
Facebook: Margo Shuttleworth Burlington Ward 4 Trustee
Instagram: Margo4Trustee

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Brian Hall on a Report Card for the Mayor of Burlington

By Brian Hall

July 27TH,2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With the recent school year just ending and report cards being given out, coupled with the recent Province of Ontario election now behind us, perhaps the time is right to shift our focus to the Municipal Election this fall and in particular, a report card on Mayor Meed’s first term as Mayor.

Here are 3 subjects to consider:

Currently under construction opposite city hall this tower will be 26 storeys high.

1) Original Election Platform – this was built on the promise to deal with and resolve the continued high rise condominium buildings destroying Burlington’s downtown appearance. Well, she has a 0 -7 record with the Land Tribunal people, resulting in mega legal fees for the taxpayers of Burlington, which currently are running close to $250,000 now. Grade score on this subject – “F”

2) Needless Spending – for special crosswalks to highlight only 1 small segment of many marginalized groups in the City and at a cost of $50,000 or more. What the City did to the Halton Catholic School Board, and I am not Catholic by the way, was a total ‘slap in the face’ and the City should be ashamed. Grade Score on this item “F”

Mayor Meed Ward at a diesel bus delivery announcement.

3) Transit – Each & every year over the past 15 years, Burlington Transit has probably averaged a staggering loss of $15,000,000 per year for a total of approximately $225,000,000 or just shy of a quarter of a billion dollars in total.

Thanks in part to the many outside consultants that the City continue to go to, who do not know Burlington, plus the lack of City leadership to find a better solution.

The City needs a good transit operation and the current one is not a good one and the fact the council and the Mayor continue to do nothing about it, is extremely disappointing and frustrating to see our tax dollars wasted with large empty buses. We need to be like a gardener and cut it right back so that new growth can come instead of wasting money year after year. Grade Score on this subject “F”

Well there you have it and the overall grade score of 3 ‘F’s, doesn’t look like a passing grade to me. Can’t wait till this October.

Brian Hall is a ward 3 resident who has operated a business that serviced the construction sector of the Burlington economy.

 

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Rivers on the return of the turbines to the Russians; breaking his own sanctions, albeit indirectly.

By Ray Rivers

July 23, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

As the Russians were marching into Ukraine, Canada’s PM, Mr. Trudeau reassured the President of Ukraine that Canada had his back. Mr. Zelenskyy, of course, had heard this before. Every time his government had asked for defensive weapons following Putin’s first invasion, they would receive a belly full of verbal support. But instead of arms the Ukrainians would be given palliatives, and more helmets and night goggles. The prevailing western notion was that supplying anything more useful in a conflict might encourage Russia’s Mr. Putin to invade again.

But he invaded anyways. And as the Russians were massing on the border, their intention dead clear, Canada, with great fanfare, finally flew over some sniper rifles. It was too little and way too late to help save lives and prevent the genocide that accompanied the deadly invasion. But Trudeau told Mr. Zelensky that he had something better than artillery in his quiver. Stiff sanctions would stop Putin in his tracks.

Russian turbine being refurbished by Siemens in Montreal. It was being held under a sanctions protocol.

The Nord Stream 1 is a natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, built by the Russians a decade ago to bypass the traditional pipeline which runs through Ukraine. It requires compressors driven by turbine engines to move the gas. One of those turbines, belonging to Russian state-owned company, Gazprom, the largest gas company in the world and largest corporation in Russia, was being refurbished in Montreal. That made it subject to Canadian sanctions and prevented its return to Russia.

But Gazprom wanted their turbine back. Gazprom uses six turbines to help move gas through this pipe but it is a huge company with more pipelines and turbines than you can shake a stick at. So this was less about that particular turbine than trying to get Canada to break its stiff sanctions. This was diplomatic blackmail and a weaponizing of gas exports.

Mr. Putin had said that if he didn’t get the turbine back he would shut down the pipeline, which supplies the EU with something like 40% of its gas. And to make the point he did shut it down, claiming it was for maintenance. The Germans realized this was nothing more than diplomatic blackmail, but they needed to replenish their gas supplies for the upcoming winter, so they asked Canada to return the turbine.

Trudeau, stuck between a rock and a hard place, did some skating. He sent the turbine to Germany, knowing full well that the Germans would return it to Gazprom. He justified his action by claiming he was keeping a NATO ally on side. But he was breaking his own sanctions, albeit indirectly. Energy is Russia’s largest source of export earnings and that helps finance Russia’s massive military and its war effort.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with the German Chancellor

The trade off was between helping keep Germans warm this winter or potentially slowing down Russia’s war and saving lives in Ukraine. Despite all his righteous indignation at Russia’s invasion, Trudeau had allowed Putin to break what was supposed to be a wall of stiff sanctions, turning it into more of a slippery slope. And the question is what he and other western leaders will do the next time Putin comes up with anther blackmail scheme?

The Ukrainian president was furious that the leader of the country with the second largest concentration of Ukrainian Diaspora would bow to such Russian blackmail. The Canadian and World Ukrainian congresses have decided to sue Canada for breaking its own law. And back home the opposition parties have also called out the Liberal leader.

Germany is at the centre of this political tempest. Despite being cautioned on the dangers of becoming so dependent on Russian gas exports, former Chancellor Merkel did just that. She started phasing out the country’s nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and replacing that and the coal plants with Russian gas. Germany does get an impressive amount of its energy from wind power and has a goal to become 100% renewable, but it is currently more reliant than ever on gas – and much of it from Russia. So there is no question that Germany will just transfer the turbine to Gazprom, despite it’s own and EU sanctions.

No discussion of fossil fuels should be concluded without reference to climate change and global warming. The irony of the moment is that Europe is in the midst of a dangerous heat wave that is enveloping the continent. And while Europeans have been global leaders in reducing their carbon emissions, they are still married to gas.

Nobody is suggesting the best way to get off the fossil fuel addiction is to go cold turkey, by turning off the tap. But that could happen and it might be the silver lining to Putin’s weaponizing of gas exports. Since the invasion Germany has already reduced its use of gas somewhat, and is seriously moving towards carbon free hydrogen in addition to further developing its renewable energy options.

Russian tanks preparing to roll into Ukraine

Russia’s war in Ukraine will not end until Putin is gone. But before that happens Putin may well follow up on his threats and cut off the gas supplies to the EU anyway – turbine or not. And that would make Canada and Germany look foolish for having violated their high principles and caved in to the demands of the Russian tyrant by sending back that darn turbine.

It is a complicated story and it may be a turbine ‘tempest-in-a-tea pot’ but it is instructive. How did Mr. Putin, a terrorist and war criminal whose country has a GDP the size of Italy, manage to successfully blackmail western nations and make a mockery of the international sanctions regime?

Nobody should underestimate him.

 

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'Just watch me' said Kimberly Calderbank

By Kimberly Calderbank

July 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Lifted from the Kimberly Calderbank LinkedIn page

Everyone has an opinion.

BUT, why let the opinions of others deny you a life that will make history?

What are YOU holding back on because you are afraid of what other people will think, say, react?

Do you know how often I hear people say, “But what about…?” WHO CARES!

I am 100 percent guilty of always wanting to people please, always wanting to be sure I have taken everyone’s opinions and thoughts into consideration.

The other day, a gentleman said to me “…it’s been a while… what are you doing with your life…?”

WHOA… at that moment I felt small… I felt I had been playing small… he had expected a BIG answer, and I didn’t have one. His opinion of me shifted, and that mattered…all those other opinions had held me back, but this one pushed me forward.

For the past 4 years, I have been building quietly a plan, working on my purpose, and pulling together what I feel will be my legacy.
TODAY I acted on it. I brought in my first investor. My first believer in my plan if you will.

Mark it down, TODAY is the day that I stopped letting the opinions of others stop me, I let the positive in, and I put my first step forward in a life that WILL MAKE HISTORY (big and lofty, but just watch me).

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Is there another candidate for the Office of Mayor in the wind? Could be

By Pepper Parr

July 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

It is rare, exceedingly rare for a person with little political experience to run for the office of Mayor and win – but it does and has happened.

Will this piece of Burlington bling be placed on a different neck before the end of the year ?

Burlington’s race for the office of Mayor is seen by many as a walk in the park for Marianne Meed Ward.

That could change – there is a potential candidate that could be preparing for a run.

If it takes place it will be well funded – and it will not be a pro-developer candidate.

This individual is young, successful in the commercial world and very well connected in the administrative world.

The Gazette has spoken to a number of people, some of them called us, asking what we knew.

There are some very prominent people who want nothing but the best for the city who have come to the conclusion that Meed Ward is not up to the job that has to be done.

This is not the place to set out where Meed Ward has fallen short – this is the time to look around and ask – can we do better than this. ?

We can

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

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Opinion writer finds fault with Canada’s legal system

By Connor Fraser,

July 6th,  2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

These last few weeks I have been unusually tired. Initially, I suspected that a combination of tough assignments at work and the warm weather were doing me in. However, a string of recent crimes and developments in high-profile cases have truly taken my breath away, to the point where I am ashamed to call myself Canadian. Happy belated Canada Day, I guess.

Accident scene in Vaughan where three children and a grandfather lost their lives

A few weeks ago, Edward Neville-Lake took his own life, 7 years after his 3 children and father-in-law were killed by Marco Muzzo at a Vaughan intersection. Muzzo – who was initially sentenced to 10 years in prison (despite having admitted to driving drunk in the past a handful of times) is now a full parolee, with no driving restrictions.

Back in May, Brady Robertson, 21, who killed a woman and her three daughters in a horrific crash in Brampton in 2020, was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Considering time served, Robertson will be released in just over 14 years. With our country’s disturbing affinity for early parolees, my money says he’ll be out in less than 7.

And this notwithstanding the fact that Robertson had the gall to appeal the government’s limit of THC concentration as “arbitrary” – despite himself having a THC concentration of 8 times the legal limit during the crash.

More recently, in its decision R v. Bissonnette, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a Harper-era law allowing judges to stack parole ineligibility periods for multiple murders, alleging that such a punishment violates Section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms, which protects against “cruel & unusual punishment.”

In a country which prides itself for having a justice system designed to protect minority rights, these cases stand out for their egregious disregard for the rights of an oft-forgotten minority – victims. I cannot imagine the pain of the Neville-Lake family, who now live with the possibility of publicly encountering Mr. Muzzo. Were the roughly 4.5 years Muzzo (of his 10 year sentence) spent behind bars proportional to the damage he caused? Was the 10 year sentence?

Marco Muzzo

Perhaps more distasteful is knowing that Mr. Muzzo has also regained the privilege to legally drive a car. Sentences for drunk driving are no longer a deterrent and should be stepped up dramatically. For starters, I would advocate for a lifetime ban on driving for anyone caught behind the wheel with alcohol or THC concentrations above the legal limit.

The Supreme Court’s R. v. Bissonnette decision is a poster-child for how our justice system has been hijacked by an out of touch minority of jurists and academics. The decision is riddled with self-serving language that renders it nothing more than a pathetic monograph in defence of the most hardened criminals.

The justices write “For offenders who are sentenced to imprisonment for life without a realistic possibility of parole, the feeling of leading a monotonous, futile existence in isolation from their loved ones and from the outside world is very hard to tolerate. Some of them prefer to put an end to their lives rather than die slowly and endure suffering that seems endless to them (paragraph 97).”

Oh, I’m desperately sorry if some prisoners feel their predicament is “hard to tolerate.” Shouldn’t that be an intended result, to enforce upon prisoners a “monotonous, futile existence” that is “hard to tolerate”?

At its core, the court argued that because stacking parole ineligibility can completely eradicate a prisoner’s chance for re-integration, it violates human dignity and is incompatible with the principles of fundamental justice. Even if barely, the door to redemption should always remain open. Moreover, the court positioned its ruling as one “not about the value of each human life, but rather about the limits on the state’s power to punish offenders, which, in a society founded on the rule of law, must be exercised in a manner consistent with the Constitution (paragraph 142).”

Philosophically, I cannot agree with the court’s judgement. The concept of justice is fluid, subjective, and open to widely varying interpretations, none of which are inherently wrong. Despite what anyone might tell you, there is no such thing as “universal” or “fundamental” principles. In the United States, for example, many regions continue to apply the death penalty. Given that the United States is the among the world’s most enduring democratic societies, founded upon the rule of law, it would be hard to pinpoint what “fundamental justice” actually means when their methods of dealing with multiple murderers are so vastly different from our own.

So let us not blindly accept the narrative that there is some universal, invisible force preventing Canada from, under very specific and carefully considered circumstances, guaranteeing that a dangerous criminal will spend their entire life behind bars with no chance at redemption. To anchor the verdict, the court cited the maximum sentencing possible in a host of European “peer” countries, none of which exceeds 30 years. Regardless of what pathway others have chosen, Canada is not obligated to follow. Perhaps the prevailing narrative should be that these European countries have erred, and the law existing in Canada before May 27, 2022 was in fact more “just” according to the views of Canadians.

Which arrives at my second and final disagreement, specifically with the notion that there was ever a need, through this case, to place “limits on the state’s power to punish offenders.” The original law enabling stacked parole ineligibility was advanced by a democratically elected, Conservative majority government. The government’s lawyers in R. v. Bissonnette advocated upholding that same law, and were acting on behalf of a democratically elected, Liberal minority government. With such clear and bipartisan support, I hardly concur that any government abuse of power was amok. This is the will of the people today, from which a uniquely Canadian notion of justice should flow.

The current mess we have gotten ourselves into will not be easy to rectify given the importance our legal system places upon precedence. The Charter of Rights & Freedoms is a vital document, but one which leaves the door too far open to an ultra-lenient interpretation of the rights that criminals ought to have. A mere “slap on the wrist” for killing four people while driving drunk, or even the chance at being released into society after shooting up a mosque, is inappropriate.

Connor was born in Hamilton in 1997, is a long-time resident of Aldershot.

In 2020, Connor completed undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, with a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science and a major in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

 Between 2018 and 2019, he worked as a member of the technology development team at Microchip Corporation (North San Jose, California) where he contributed to the design of computer memory for FPGA chips. During the summer of 2013, 2015 and 2017, Connor lived in Quebec thanks to support from the YMCA Student Work Summer Exchange, and the Explore Program and is decently proficient in spoken French.

Connor has returned to U of T to enrol in the dual Master of Global Affairs and Master of Business Administration program.

 

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What will Doug do first? Didn't take long to find out. Took care of his people

By Pepper Parr

June 27th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

A few days after the re-election of Doug Ford as Premier of the province we suggested that we would know within 60 to 90 days what kind of a Premier he was going to be this second time around.

It didn’t take anywhere near that long.

On the day he was sworn in by the Lt Governor he then had his Cabinet sworn in – that included his nephew (his sisters son) Michael Ford as Minister of Culture and Tourism.

Doug Ford was a proud man as he shook the hand of Michael Ford, his nephew, the day he was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister

Doug Ford was a very proud man when he shook Michael’s had effusively.

What the public was seeing was a naked act of nepotism.

Family matters and the Ford family has had its share of grief.  Some good news would be welcome and adding to the list of political achievers would be a welcome change.

Rob Ford wasn’t able to handle the job of being Mayor of Toronto – his early death was a blow to the way the family saw itself.

Michael Ford got himself a seat on the Toronto District School Board – we didn’t see much, if anything, in the way of achievement or change in the way schools were administered.

Ok – it takes time to get the hang of public service. The opportunity to take the council seat for the community opened itself up and because the Ford family owned the fealty of that community he was a shoe in.

Nor much in the way of achievement on city council – no one every described the young man as a comer – someone to be watched.

Did anyone ever suggest spending some time in a gym to the young mam?

Michael Ford dismissed any suggestion that nepotism played a role in his appointment, saying he has served on the school board and council in one of the city’s most diverse areas.

His decision to run for the provincial seat was no surprise.  It was an opportunity and the young man took it.

For his uncle to make the decision to put his nephew in Cabinet was a stunner.  Give him a year to find his way and then make him a parliamentary secretary and see how he handles the job would have been acceptable.

But to drop him into Cabinet where the best he can expect is a divisiveness from those Cabinet members who have both the smarts and the cahoneys to perform well in very hard jobs.  That along with the protection of his uncle

Ford has made it clear – he is going to take care of his people – all they have to do is call – and they will be calling.

Learning to defend a government is something Natalie Pierre is going to have to get used to.

What is this going to mean to Burlington?  Think the Escarpment – especially the space between the urban boundary – the Dundas – Hwy 407 line and Side Road 1.

Will the newly elected MPP Natalie Pierre be able to convince the Premier that permitting any development north of the urban boundary is a mistake?

She will be alongside Michael Ford learning the ropes.  What little the public has seen of the woman is just not enough to have an understanding of what she might be capable of.

The days ahead for the city could be dark days indeed.

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

 

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And now we would like your opinion - new polling feature in the Gazette

By Pepper Parr

June 24th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Another way for the public to express their views of what happens in Burlington.

The Gazette has created a poll that will run frequently – asking readers for their views on matters of public interest and concern.

The first was published yesterday asking people if they felt the Mayor owed Councillor Stolte an apology for the way she attempted to force the Councillor to read out an apology.

The polling questions will be inserted into stories that are relevant and related.

This is a bit of an experiment on our part – let’s see how it goes.

Related news:

The kafuffle at city Council on Tuesday

Mayor presses councillor to apologize.

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What political future awaits the citizens of Burlington?

By Pepper Parr

June 12th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

If Paul Sharman does not wander down to city hall before August 19th, Marianne Meed Ward will be returned as Mayor in the October election.

Mayoralty candidate Annn Marsden will surprise people with the number of votes she gets but she will not be the Mayor.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Paul Sharman, Councillor

Anne Marsden

Sharman certainly likes the idea of being Mayor and it would be one heck of a way to end a political career. But Paul Sharman is cautious, especially when it relates directly to his personal interests.

He has to decide if he wants to watch Meed Ward whittle away some of the gains that have taken place.

He has a vision for the city but isn’t yet at the point where he can advocate for and speak to that vision. It probably has some rough edges yet.

The challenge for Paul Sharman is deciding what kind of a mark he wants to make before his political career comes to an end.

Will he go for the brass ring and be known as someone who took a risk and made Burlington a different and better place ?

Or will he settle for having been a four term council member and retiring – to what?

There is a lot riding on the decision Sharman makes.

There are three other members of the current council that harbour dreams of becoming Mayor – a lot of growing left to be done for all three – a meeting with a guidance counsellor in the near future for at least one

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

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City manager suggests delegation on fire services not get into operations

By Pepper Parr

June 10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The city manager sits in on every Standing Committee meeting as well as Council meetings.

The City manager is the only person that Council hires.  The city manager runs the administrative side of the city delegating the authority he got from Council to his team.

Members of Council chair the Standing Committees – as Chair they make decisions on how the procedural manual is to be interpreted and remind speakers if they have run out of time or if they are wandering from the subject matter.

Earlier this week, for the first time in the ten years I have been covering city council Tim Commisso, the City Manager caught the eye of the Chair  and said the following.

City manager Tim Commisso at Standing Committee earlier this week.

“I think it’s one of the things we’re very fortunate yo have which is a great relationship with the Chief,  but I would just caution council, I don’t know if it’s fair for the delegation to be talking in depth about operations.

I’d be honest with you, I think certainly perspective on NFPA. You know, and that I just think you’re going to hear from the on the presentation on the master plan in front of the chief.

So I just suggest that the in depth nature of fire operations and I know, Mr. Vanderlelie is more than capable of speaking about it, but I think it’s really questions that are directed, I think in conjunction with the Master Fire Plan.

Finally, the other thing that raises and it’s a very good point is the growth intensification comes with certainly a set of questions is whether we need to be in a position to fund something like a new station downtown in advance or once we see that growth in the tech space so I just I would just suggest it through the chair. The questions really don’t focus on operations so much.

Thank you.”

For the City Manager to suggest that a Fire Service Captain should not delve into operations when he was specifically asked by a Council member to do just that is a bit more than surprising.

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

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Is Mayor Meed Ward considering a run for the office of Regional Chair ?

By Pepper Parr

June 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With the Ontario election over and Doug Ford in place until 2026, running the province with little in the way of an opposition party, our eyes turn to the municipal election in October.

Look for a move on the part of Councillor Sharman to indicate that he will run for the office of Mayor.

Jane McKenna, MPP when the photo was taken, at a Freeman Station event with a friend.

A comment made, at a Joseph Brant Museum event last week, by someone who would know, that Mayor Meed Ward might consider (is considering) running for the office of Regional Chair where she would be running against Jane McKenna who gave up her seat at Queen’s Park to run for the office that Gary Carr doesn’t appear to want any more.

Carr moved from Milton into downtown Burlington recently.

Meed Ward has let the very strong support she had when she became mayor dwindle away; it will take more than we think this Mayor has to pull that support back.

Meed Ward has changed the way municipal government works in Burlington – too many, the changes were not all that beneficial.

The biggest thing Meed Ward brought was hope – and then she dashed that hope by making herself the focal point.

As a Councillor for ward 2 between 2010 and 2014 Marianne Med Ward made a significant difference – she brought hope to the hearts of those who wanted to keep the Burlington they had.

Politics is both an art and a science. The better politicians have a strong survival instinct – Meed Ward may have figured out that her political life can be extended by moving to the Regional level and then on to the provincial level where she has always wanted to end up.

 

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Stephen White sets out what went right and what went wrong.

By Stephen White

June 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Compare the 2022 provincial election results in Burlington with those of 2018 and some interesting trends emerge.

In 2018, the PC’s won 25,500 votes, and 40% of the vote. This time around they won roughly 22,200 votes and 42.5% of the vote. However, the Liberals went from 15,000 votes to roughly 15,400 votes and garnered less than 30% of the vote. The NDP vote totally collapsed. They went from 18,000 votes in 2018 to just over 9,200, and 28% of the popular vote to 17.6%. 63,737 residents voted in Burlington in 2018. I would be interested to see what the final tally is this time round.

The key messages:

1) a lot of residents didn’t bother to vote. I went by two polling stations during the day at schools and there was little traffic.

2) the private sector union vote went solidly PC. Witness the gains in Windsor, Hamilton and Brampton.

3) electors haven’t forgotten, or forgiven, the Liberals for the mess created by Kathleen Wynne.

4) the NDP is increasingly tied to special interests and public sector unions. They have continually failed to make inroads with moderate voters who don’t like and don’t support their policies or style. Even with a superlative local candidate like Andrew Drummond they couldn’t hold their vote.

5) given the lack of viable alternatives offered by either the Liberals or NDP the electorate opted for the status quo.

The Liberals need to find a much better leader, and not one tied to the Wynne government’s sorry legacy. They also need smarter policies, not $1 a day transit fares that are untethered to reality and amount to little more than half-baked promises.

The NDP need to hit the re-set button and hard. WOKE messaging, critical race theory, EDI “happy talk” and “word salads” don’t resonate with voters who want practical policies and viable alternatives. That’s why they lost the private sector union vote. Jobs matter.

As for the PCs, they really need to engage their base and start listening to the public. Add the residents who didn’t vote, supporters like me who parked their vote with New Blue, and the potential of two new energized leaders by the time 2026 rolls around, and the future isn’t entirely smooth sailing.

Stephen White is a life long resident of Burlington who teaches at Sheridan College and consults in the Human Resources sector

 

 

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Some additional comment on the public meeting on the Bateman matter

By Pepper Parr

May 31st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The reader who has asked, for good reasons, to be left as an anonymous writer explains why the City Manager is fronting the Public Information meeting this evening.

There is still very little information from the city Communications department other than that the event is taking place and here is how you can take part.

A big site with loads of potential has become a big problem

The reason why Tim Commisso, city Manager, will host the upcoming Community Updates tomorrow is due to the need to follow the City’s governance processes.

In the case of the Bateman situation, the City under the direction of the City Manager must present what recommendations may be considered for the elected City Council for approval.

What will the City manager put on the table this evening?

That would require a written report that citizens could read and form opinions. There is no written report.

In other words, the City negotiates to derive their recommendations but can’t approve their recommendations. City Council must ensure public input is received prior to making any approval decision associated with the recommendation from City staff. The known exception relates to legal matters associated which typically have already been made but are now appealed to a higher authority or which were not made in a timely fashion as dictated by published guidelines issued by the higher authority.

In our case, City Council has yet to receive a recommendation from City staff. As such City staff may present what has been received and to seek public feedback on the same. Any decision sought from City Council is unlikely to be made prior the end of session in mid-July and instead be postponed until after the Municipal election in October by the newly elected City Council.

The same goes for HDSB matters. The Director of Education presents recommendations for the elected Board of Trustees approval. In other words, the HDSB staff under the Director negotiates to derive their recommendations, but can’t approve their recommendations.

To do otherwise opens the doors to a conflict of interest. The elected members guard the purse and ensure that the rules of governance are followed.

It is up to each member of the public to be vigilant to ensure that changes to any rules of governance do not negatively compromise the public as a result of proposed recommendations made by the HDSB, the City or the Province.

The Municipal electorate has to be satisfied as to the steps already been taken by City staff on a matter which enhances the City delivery of services to the community in a cost effective manner. Likewise, the HDSB electorate has to be satisfied as to the steps already taken which enhances the delivery of education services in a cost effective manner.

This meeting is taking place because there has been so much blow back from citizens; something had to be done – so the City Manager is going to explain what has and what he expect will take place.

At the risk of being rude – the people of Burlington can read – provide a detailed report on what the options are, what the expenses are and what the long term contribution to the city will be.

Then let Council get input from staff and then make a decision.

The problem with this, a traditional and accepted practice in the municipal world, is that this project has become something several members of Council want and they are going to do everything possible in order to show what they are capable of.

What they are capable of is the mess the public is looking at.

The event this evening is being recorded and we are told will be available for view “soon” after the meeting.

The meeting details are:

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Either Miriam Manaa or Andrew Drummond should be elected for the constituency of Burlington

By Pepper Parr

May 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Editorial Opinion

The public has listened to what the politicians have had to say since May 3rd.

It is now time for the voters to decide what they want in the way of political leadership.

The Gazette has watched the candidates for some time; years in the case of Andrew Drummond, about a year and a half for Miriam Manaa and about three months for Natalie Pierre.

It is our view that Ontario needs a Premier over whom there is some ongoing control and we advocate for a minority government. It is clear that the Progressive Conservatism have a strong lead provincially and will form the next government.

The Gazette believes that either Liberal Miriam Manaa or New Democrat Andrew Drummond would serve the public well.

Liberal candidate Miriam Manaa

Manaa has some experience working with elected members – those who belittle her work experience do not understand just what elected officials do. Manaa was not at a desk licking envelopes; she was doing case work and working closely with a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons.

Drummond is a stronger policy person than Manaa and he has a significant amount of experience in a very competitive industry.

If elected Manaa would bring some of the Burlington diversity to the legislature.

Andrew Drummond candidate for the New Democratic Party

If elected Drummond would bring strong policy chops to the job.

Both would serve the people in the Burlington constituency well once they settle in.

As impressed as we were with Natalie Pierre, the Progressive Conservatives have not earned the right to have their candidate sent to Queen’s Park.

Natalie Pierre, Progressive Conservative candidate

We see it as unfortunate that a political party would flout the traditional practice of putting their candidates before the public and listening to what they have to say,

The public never had the chance to learn more about the woman. They appear to have taken the position that the PCs have it in the bag and the public de damned.

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Young columnist not impressed with the way politics is done in Burlington

By Pepper Parr

May 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We are fortunate to have a young person writing a column for us.

Connor Fraser, a graduate student at the University of Toronto writes once a month (weèd like more)

He has been tasked with writing on subject and doing his best to reflect the views of his demographic and his peers.

In the past he has written about his chances of actually being able to buy a house when he reaches that stage in his life.

His next column is due after the provincial election.

In going over what he has planned he made the following comments about the provincial election and the way Burlington has handled it.

“Regarding the race in Burlington, I think the PC will likely win but I’m disappointed by the character of the campaigns, especially the candidate selection process held by each party.

“Not much transparency or opportunity for debate within the Liberal nomination race, and zero within PC. No chance for the Liberal nominees to debate each other beyond a pre-written, 5 min speech.

“There should have been more debates, too. Only one chamber of commerce debate – which was more of a Q&A session from what I heard. What about a good old fashioned debate, I think the people of Burlington deserve a few different events/venues to observe the major issues being dissected.

“Overall, a very sad, tired looking affair.”

A little more about this young man.

Connor Fraser

Connor was born in Hamilton in 1997, is a long-time resident of Aldershot. He attended Waterdown Montessori School, Glenview Public School, Burlington Christian Academy and Aldershot High School, graduating in 2015. Passionate about the issues facing Burlington, Connor has volunteered for several local organizations and advocated to municipal leaders on building transit oriented, walkable communities. His career goal is to help Burlington – and Canada – navigate the challenges of transitioning towards a just and inclusive low-energy economy.

 In 2020, Connor completed undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, with a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science and a major in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

 Between 2018 and 2019, he worked as a member of the technology development team at Microchip Corporation (North San Jose, California) where he contributed to the design of computer memory for FPGA chips. While pursuing engineering studies, Connor volunteered for the U of T Human Powered Vehicles Design Team as a machinist and led the design of a rollover detection system for high-speed tricycles. During the summer of 2013, 2015 and 2017, Connor lived in Quebec thanks to support from the YMCA Student Work Summer Exchange, and the Explore Program and is decently proficient in spoken French.

 Connor has returned to U of T to enrol in the dual Master of Global Affairs and Master of Business Administration program.

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Rivers concludes that Ford will glide back as Premier - the public seems to want the devil they know

By Ray Rivers

May 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ontario’s election is more about us, the voters, than the political leadership candidates or their parties.  The pandemic, which is not over yet; the vicious war raging in Ukraine; home affordability and rising gasoline prices at the pumps; another mass shooting and the impending illegality of a woman’s choice to family planning south of the border are uncertainties weighing on the electors before they even enter the voting booth.

Doug Ford: Rivers thinks he is going to get it done

And when we are overloaded with anxiety we most often choose the devil we know to lead us again, as the expression goes.  So it should be no surprise that the polls have Doug Ford’s PCs winning a majority of the seats to form the government for the next four years.  One would think that Mr. Ford’s significant lead in popular support is a testament to his governance since the last election.

But after objectively reviewing his record, as I have in previous columns, that would be a hard case to make.   Perhaps it is Ford’s competition for the job of premier that helps him stand out by contrast.  Liberal leader Steven Del Duca is still an unknown quantity, even after those years as a cabinet minister, and has failed to distinguish himself in this race. The Liberal’s second place standing in the polls likely has more to do with them than their leader.  They are, after all, the natural alternative governing party to the PCs, and the one voters will likely turn to when disaffection sets in with the current crowd ruling the roost at Queen’s Park.

Stephen Del Duca: a bit of a policy wonk who has yet to really connect with the public

And at least on one issue Del Duca and his NDP counterpart are at the other end of the spectrum from Ford.  That is when it comes to climate change.  If one discounts the unlikely scenario of Mr. Putin starting a nuclear war, global warming is the most critical existential crisis we will see in our lifetimes.  And that is not a scare tactic.  We are already experiencing the horrible consequences of global warming and we know it’ll only get worse.

We have seen Mr. Ford kill clean renewable energy projects by the hundreds simply because he doesn’t like wind and solar generation.  Ironically that has led to a potential shortfall in electricity generating capacity and is threatening the prized $2.5 B investment LG had been planning for a battery production facility in Windsor.  So much for Ontario being open for business.

Better the devil you know

Then there was the fight against the carbon tax and the lowering of Ontario’s climate goals, which, regardless, are unlikely to be met.   But most telling was the recent court case over this government’s climate policies by some young plaintiffs.  Future generations will be most affected after all.  Unbelievably, Ford’s witnesses tried to argue that climate change is just a hoax, and the case should be dismissed on those grounds.  That is very telling of Mr. Ford and where he can be expected to lead this province once he is re-elected.

After a crisis, as we’ve experienced with the pandemic, electors sometimes look for a fresh face.  But sometimes they prefer to stick with what they know, a kind of don’t rock the boat phenomenon.  That is what Ontario voters will be doing on election day this week, barring a miracle.  Mr. Ford represents the safe choice in their minds, the conservative voice of stability and steady as she goes.

Andrea Horwath – a safer conservative choice?

And yet of all the parties, the NDP and Andrea Horwath might more appropriately be seen as the safe choice – the conservative option.  She and her party have crafted their platform over a number of years, and while they have included some bold ideas, such as eliminating for-profit long term care, most policies are seasoned and reasoned.    Currently polling in third place, the NDP is still expected to form the official opposition thanks to voting splits.

Mr. Ford knows he’s going to win so he’s playing it safe.  He’s presumably instructed PC candidates to skip the all-candidate debates, where they might actually stumble and tell voters what they really think about abortion, gun control, private education, vaccination and masking – it’s all about ‘hear no evil, believe no evil’.  But what is amazing is how tolerant voters are in accepting that situation.

Are the most conservative among us comfortable voting for a candidate who has been velcro-lipped, and a party which has shared so little of where it is going over the next four years?   If Justin Trudeau tried to do this, there would be howls from the media, and everyone would be labelling him ‘arrogant’.

 

 

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