The quarry that the operator wants to turn into a park is ready to announce an operator - it won't be the city

By Pepper Parr

September 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is an issue that no one on city council wants to talk about – the Councillors for wards 3 and 6 are terrified that their constituents would tar and feather them if they supported the offer the Nelson Quarry has made to give the the city title to the land which would be turned into a park.

The quarry, once it has been mined out and some work done to return the land to its original form has the potential to meet a need that is going o exist in the not too distant future.

Nelson quarry that is near its end of life – the site will fill with water and could be turned into a park.

Council members take the view during an election that it is heresy to talk about something many are against rather than explain the long term potential and why the idea of having the quarry turned into a large public park when all the useful aggregate has been mined out is a very wise long term decision.

The people managing the application for a license extension and renewal are about to announce that they will be making an announcement on a park operator.

Rendering of what part of the quarry could look like once all the aggregate has been extracted

Does this suggest that the city has lost the opportunity to be involved in the creation of parkland that is going to be needed in the not too distant future.  The ability to be consistently short sighted on the part of Councillors Bentivegnia and Nissan is astonishing – both are reacting to the views of their constituents north of Hwy 407 and Dundas, forgetting that the bulk f their constituents are south of that border.

The Joint Tribunal process is winding its way towards a decision.

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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'Honour the Sacrifices'

By Anne Marsden

September 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Anne Marsden has had articles and a paper published at the International, National and local levels. These publications include sports reporting. a paper for an International Conference on Mental Health and the Law based on Halton Long Term Care and a newspaper column that discussed disability issues.

My municipal campaigns since 1997 have always included reference to the very poor municipal election turnout. My 2022 campaign to be Burlington’s Mayor and Chief Executive Officer is no different. Every family has a story of the sacrificial giving of parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or grandparents. My husband Dave and I have never believed that simply recognizing this sacrificial giving on Remembrance Day is enough if, we are to teach this present generation what “Lest We Forget” actually means.

Sacrificial giving, has affected families for a full generation and more. In my family it affected two generations. The inability to just “suck it up” that was expected from those who returned to civilian life and those who had fought the battle on the home front, was often deemed mental illness that was genetic, as it was for my mom, with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia that lived with her until she passed April 9, 2006.

Mom was just 19 years old when dad left her and my brother, just a baby at the time “to go to war”. My father was a medic and anyone who has seen actual footage of the carnage he had to deal with knows what horrific memories it left him with. Mom lived in a high bombing area and worked at the ship yard during the day, which was bombed. She spent most of the war sleeping in the shelter at the bottom of the garden. There were no phone calls or leaves during that long six years, only letters that spoke of undying love. Their marriage ended in divorce when I was very young. Dad was told mom needed the divorce for a fresh start that would hopefully heal her memories. It never did despite the more than one hundred shock and coma treatments, that autopsy showed left her brain scarred, and finally drugs with horrible side effects.

Harold Stevens

Eva Bourgoin

One anonymous soldier’s words set out in a poem called “Memories” have never been forgotten. They illustrate why he could no longer walk in the woods as stepping on a twig created a noise that took him back in time. To ensure the frozen bodies he had to bury would fit a small grave, he had to force their legs together and the snapping noise haunted him forever. His words constantly remind me of how grateful we all need to be to all those who not only gave the ultimate sacrifice; but also for those who came back with their horrific memories/missing limbs/and shell shock from any war we as Canadians are part of.

God! How I hate the sound
A dead branch makes
When stepped upon

Even
The snapping of a stick of celery
Chills my spine
Calls up old memories
Makes the hairs
On the nape of my neck
Erectile!

So what has this to do with a Burlington 2022 municipal election? Most reading this know the answer. The sacrificial giving as described above is demeaned by poor turnouts at any election in any country in the world that claims to have democratically elected governments in place nationally, provincially or locally.

What can we as individual families do about it? We can decide that we will do our very best to do the research we need to do to cast fully informed votes rather than just vote for the incumbent or another name we know as they are a member of a social group we attend.

Talk the fact that we have an election October 24, 2022 up with family, friends and neighbours and encourage them to vote. Participate in the Honour the Sacrifices sign blitz I am proposing as my effort to bring up the numbers casting informed votes. While I would prefer no candidates’ names appear on each family sign just encouragement to Honour the Sacrifices and vote on or before October 24, 2022, everyone is free to design the sign they think will Honour the Sacrifices.

EASTER 1991 THE MARSDEN FAMILY MOTIVATED THE BURLINGTON AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITY TO FILL THE FOOD BANKS FOR EASTER AFTER JOHN TUCK SCHOOL ALERTED THEM TO THE EMPTY SHELVES IN LOCAL FOOD BANKS. . WITH THE SUPPORT OF LOCAL MEDIA AND SCHOOL BOARDS THEY RAISED OVER $1,000 TO BUY WHAT WAS NEEDED TO SUPPORT DONATED FOOD. THE EMPTY SHELVES OF THE SALVATION ARMY, COMMUNITY UNITY, BURLINGTON EAST EMERGENCY FUND AND OAKVILLE FAIR SHARE WERE FILLED. IT TRIGGERED LOCAL POLITICIANS, THE BURLINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT AND OTHERS TO UNDERSTAND THE NEED AND MEET IT ON AN ONGOING BASIS. THE MARSDEN FAMILY HAVE FOUND ANOTHER CAUSE TO BRING TO THE PUBLIC’S ATTENTION, THE LUDICROUS LOW TURNOUTS AT MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. THEY BEGAN ADDRESSING THIS IN I997 WHEN THE TURNOUT WAS 17%. THERE HAS BEEN SOME IMPROVEMENT BUT IT IS STILL FAR TOO LOW. THE MARSDEN FAMILY ARE ASKING THE COMMUNITY TO BRING ATTENTION TO THE NEED TO “HONOUR THE SACRIFICES” AND CAST VOTES IN THE OCTOBER 24, 2022 ELECTION. CREATE YOUR SIGN TAKE A PHOTO AND EMAIL IT TO anneandave@gmail.com AND LET US KNOW IS IT GOING TO BE A GARDEN SIGN, A CAR SIGN OR A T-SHIRT LOGO.. EVERY EMAIL WE RECEIVE WILL BE PUT IN A DRAW FOR FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT TREATS. WE KNOW WE CAN RAISE THE PARTICIPATION LEVEL – THE COMMUNITY FILLED THE EMPTY SHELVES IN 1991 IT CAN INCREASE THE VOTE TO A RESPECTABLE LEVEL IN 2022. WHILE THE MARSDEN FAMILY HAVE A GREAT ARTIST IN THEIR MIDST, USE OF PHOTOS, ETC. OR WHATEVER A FAMILY MAY UTILIZE TO GET THEIR MESSAGE ACROSS IS ACCEPTABLE.

Everyone who sends a photo of the sign in place in their garden or as a magnetic sign on their car or posted on their car window will be entered into a draw for several family entertainment treats. Hopefully this can happen at the Friday Fish and Chip Night at the Legion with a veteran making the draw before the election. Send the photos of your sign in place to anneandave@gmail.com. Your email will be your ticket in the draw. Print shops can laminate your sign to protect from the weather.

I was told a pack of cigarettes was the price dad paid for a drawing of mom by a German prisoner of war. He drew it from a photograph mom sent. The first time I saw the drawing, long after their divorce and folded up with the crease lines wearing a hole in the bottom right corner, I pictured Dad in my mind’s eye soaking in every feature of mam’s beautiful face. Re-energized he would fold the picture up and put it in his uniform’s top pocket close to his heart and then get back to his difficult work as an army medic, dreaming of when his darling Eva would be back in his arms.

September 7, 1945 our family was complete with my birth. The words of the Dame Vera Lynn song mom sang so beautifully every day of her life are carved into my brain, the same as Jim Menken carved the veteran in my “Honour the Sacrifices Gazette Block Ad” into a dead tree, never to be forgotten “There will be joy and laughter and peace forever after, tomorrow when the world is free.”

Anne Marsden during a contemplative moment in front of the Cenotaph at Veteran Square

Paid for by the Anne Marsden election campaign

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Engagement has become malodorous - city hall doing stinky stinky

By Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

It would appear that City Manager Tim Commisso and citizen Stephen White have different views on professional courtesies.

White was told that the Staff Report going to Council for the September 14th meeting of the CSSRA – Corporate Service, Strategy, Risk and Accountability would include his report as an Addendum and that if he wanted to delegate he would have to register.

Note something that happens in polite households – and if Burlington is anything – it is polite

He adds that “ If they sit on it until the 14th, and don’t release it before, then in fairness they should have advised Julie and I as a professional courtesy.”

So far the promised report has not been seen by anyone we know.

The city certainly has its own definition of “engagement” – something you talk about when it is to your advantage but neglect when it has an odour that isn’t going to pass the smell test.

This is not what the bulk of the people in Burlington think their city is about.

Some people at city hall need to change their diaper.

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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Who is going to hold the debates that give the people of Burlington a chance to see who wants their vote

By Pepper Parr

August 23rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The Roseland Community Organization (RCO) is hosting a debate that will involve the ward 4 candidates and the people running for the office f Mayor.

And good on them for taking this on.

In 2010 the Gazette sponsored a debate for the ward six candidates – there were eight or nine of them. It went well but it required a lot of work and ate up time we just didn’t have.

In 2018 ECOB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington sponsored debates in all six wards during which the city saw some of the biggest turnouts for a political event in several decades.

ECOB filled the Baptist Church on New Street during the 2018 election debates.

ECOB’s Penny Hersh did the bulk of the work to make those happen.

Other than the Roseland Group – who else is going to step up and arrange for debates in their wards ?

Are there service clubs that could take this on ? Sponsoring a debate is not a political activity – it is a civic decision to put in motion an event that gives people a chance to inform themselves.

Ward 2 and 3 both badly need a debate as does ward 5 now that Paul Sharman has to run for office instead of being acclaimed.

There were some interesting comments made by Gazette readers on the story we ran of the RCO announcement

One reader wrote: Roseland Community Group is a group of homeowners, who show interest and take pride in their community. There is no reason why other communities cannot form the same type of organizations.

Another wrote:  The problem I have is, who is the Roseland Community Organization? Who are the members? Are any candidates” a member or affiliate with them? Did any of the members of the ROC help or donate to any of the candidates’ campaigns? If so, isn’t that a conflict of interest? and how do we know it will be fair and impartial. Even the venue is suspect, do any of the candidates belong to the church? Who is going to moderate the debate and come up with the questions? Hopefully it’s not Mr. Parr because we know he mentions Shawna in every article he writes. What experience does the ROC have in running a political debate?

All this reader had to do was spend five minutes on the RCO web site and his concerns would disappear.  Suggesting that using a church would be a conflict – Really?

The same reader went on to say that RCO “hasn’t truly thought this out and don’t have a lot of experience with a political debate. I mean the can’t even figure out how candidates answer questions and alphabetical order is not that fair i mean 1 person always has the first word and 1 person always has the last word.. I would suggest that they have a predetermined order to answer each question determined buy random draw now isn’t that fair.

The level of political naivety and sophistication is so disappointingly low in Burlington.

One can only wish that each community had organizations like the Roseland Community Organization.

Until that happens – would the people in each ward look for a way to hold a debate in their community.

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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Gaetan: POPS unfair to Condo Owners

By Joseph Gaetan

August 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you know anyone who is thinking about buying a condominium – pass this along to them. They will thank you.

Privately Owned Public Spaces, a.k.a POPS, are spaces dedicated to public use and enjoyment, which are owned and maintained by private property owners (but not all property owners in the City of Burlington, just condo owners), in exchange for bonus floor area or waivers.

POPS agreements when in place are provided by a developer but then maintained by property owners in perpetuity in accordance with the statutes, bylaws, regulations in place and pursuant to any City approvals. POPS in part are also the result of City zoning regulations aimed at ensuring the densest areas of our city also offer a measure of open public space and greenery. Thus, POPS can be important amenities for the enjoyment of Burlington citizens, and visitors.

The POPS that is to be part of the Core development located between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road is a decision made by the developer that future residents will have to pay for.

If you have never owned a condo that has a POPS or never plan on doing do so, you may think what is the big deal anyway? Well, the big deal is, those who do own one, end up paying for something they had little input on and something that will affect their cost of living as long as they live there. The cost of the POPS will be reflected in both the common area fees (CEF’s) that owners pay on a monthly basis as well as the monthly contribution to the Reserve Fund that is put in place for major repairs and/or replacement of the POPS assets at some point in the future.

So, imagine a situation where the parking structure is buried under a POPS. In the beginning owners will be paying for basic and ongoing yard maintenance, snow removal, pruning of trees, replacement of benches and any litigation, insurance etc. Sometime in the future (as identified in the Reserve Fund but often sooner) the underground concrete slab will have to be repaired or sections replaced. But before that, all of the overburden, all the trees, all the sidewalks, everything on top of the slab will be stripped clean and taken off-site so that the remedial work can be performed.

Upon completion of the repair/remediation work, guess what, new soil will be returned to the site, new trees planted, new sidewalks poured and after 6 to 8 months of disruption the POPS will have been restored to its original design parameters. Without exaggeration this could cost the property owners millions of dollars.

When a developer turns a property over to a not-for-profit condominium corporation the common area fees and Reserve Fund allocations are grossly understated. The principal reasons for this being, there is no cost history or Reserve Fund study to base these figures upon. A condominiums first Reserve Fund study occurs during its first year of incorporation with follow-up studies every three years afterward.

Under normal circumstances per the Condominium Act 1998, upon turnover the Condominium Corporation usually has one year to cancel any contracts made by the Declarant.

Case in point, one condo in Burlington chose to cancel the Geo-Thermal, Renewal Energy Agreement put in place by the Declarant. The corporation was able to cancel the agreement and then secured a loan to purchase the system saving residents approximately $6 million dollars over a 30-year period. This option does not apply to POPS as canceling such agreements is beyond the scope of this section of the “Act.”

Below is an excerpt from an Official Plan Amendment Rezoning Application document for a development that was approved in 2008:

Conditions of Zoning Approval
“agree to grant an easement to the City for the purpose of providing public access over the (feature details redacted) containing the (feature details redacted) at the South end of the front yard, from (address details redacted) of, and pay for all costs associated with the easement including the preparation of a reference plan legally describing the location of the landscape courtyard subject to the easement; and,

“include the following warning clause in all Offers of Purchase and Sale and in the

Condominium declaration:
“purchasers/tenants are advised that the landscape courtyard containing the (redacted) at the South end of the front yard, is for public use”

POPS were invented in New York, in 1961 via a Zoning Regulation, the purpose was to find solutions to the city’s budget gaps in providing public spaces. Mobilising private funds seemed like a good way to build public infrastructure and something a city could offer that was seemingly free (i.e., public spaces, in exchange for additional housing units).

POPS have a place in the public realm and should not be discarded in totality. The use of POPS has been successfully used throughout the world (i.e., High Line NYC) but not without issues (i.e., Autumn of 2011, a small anarchist group occupied Zuccotti Park, a public plaza in Downtown New York).

All homeowners in Burlington should expect and deserve to be treated fairly and equitably. While I there is a place for POPS, such developments that create a cost burden to one class of taxpayers and not others are simply wrong. If the City of Burlington approves POPS for additional height on a particular building, or additional housing units in a development, those costs should be spread across all taxpayers within the City of Burlington.

With an election on the horizon the subject of POPS deserves attention. When a candidate asks for your support, it is fair game to ask them if they are in favour of approving developments where the POPS will place an unfair financial burden on some taxpayers (condo owners). Residents of a building that sits on .58 hectare of land, and contributes around $1 million a year in realty taxes, should not be asked to also pay more for a POPS.

Further information regarding the issues and cost effects of POPS on condo owners can be found by reading the CCI Toronto article entitled, “Privately Owned Publicly Accessible Spaces” that may be found by visiting, CCI-T-Condovoice-Spring2019-FB19.pdf (ccitoronto.org)

Related news story:

Just what does a POPS mean

Joe Gaetan is a Burlington resident who lives in a condominium that has a POPS.

He speaks on occasion before Council on civic issues and participates in Ontario Land Tribunal matter

 

 

 

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POPS - Privately owned public space - something every condo buyer wants to know more about

By Pepper Parr

August 18, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Imagine this:

You decide to buy a condominium and learn, probably well after you the sale has closed, that some of the property is privately owned but it is public space – which means any Tom, Dick or Harry can use that space and you are responsible for the upkeep of the space and probably ensuring that it is safe.

The Chrysler Carriage House will be integrated into the development

The developer selling you the property will not have told you this but it will be included in the title document you get once the condominium is registered.

The lawyer you hired to handle the paper work may not know all that much about POPS

Privately owned public space (POPS), or alternatively, privately owned public open spaces (POPOS), are terms used to describe a type of public space that, although privately owned, is legally required to be open to the public under a city’s zoning ordinance or other land-use law.

Both terms can be used to represent either a singular or plural space or spaces. These spaces are usually the product of a deal between cities and private real estate developers in which cities grant valuable zoning concessions and developers provide in return privately owned public spaces in or near their buildings. Privately owned public spaces commonly include plazas, arcades, small parks, and atriums.

The term privately owned public space was popularized by Harvard professor Jerold S. Kayden through his 2000 book Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience. The history of privately owned public space commenced in 1961 when New York City introduced an incentive zoning mechanism offering developers the right to build.

Between 1961 and 2000, 503 privately owned public spaces, scattered almost entirely in downtown, midtown, and upper east and west sides of New York City’s borough of Manhattan, were constructed at 320 buildings.

While privately owned public space as a term of art refers specifically to private property required to be usable by the public under zoning or similar regulatory arrangements, the phrase in its broadest sense can refer to places, like shopping malls and hotel lobbies, that are privately owned and open to the public, even if they are not legally required to be open to the public.

POPS is often referred to as Public Realm by a developer.

Let’s apply this concept to Burlington, and specifically to the Core development that is located on properties that are between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road and the large Molinaro development that has towers on either side of Brant Street at Ghent.

That development has five POPS.

The Core development, in the words of the development justification report describes the development as having “ been shaped by a comprehensive landscape strategy that integrates high quality public realm improvements across the site.

“A significant area of privately owned, publically accessible open space is provided on the west side of the development, adjacent to the proposed tower. The 19.3 metre wide space facilitates an important view corridor down to Lake Ontario from Lakeshore Road. The open space draws people towards Burlington’s waterfront serving as a connection point, while also providing an active meeting and gathering space where the whole community can interact, relax and play.

“The open space will provide a diverse and attractive green contribution to the proposed development that softens and balances the paving and the building massing. It has been designed to allow for the future expansion of the open space when the property to the west ultimately redevelops.
“Significant public realm improvements will also be integrated along the north and south sides of the site, through significant streetscape improvements. The widening of sidewalks and new paving and tree planting will bring life to both Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road, and significantly improve the setting of the heritage building.

This rendering shows the POPS looking north from Old Lakeshore Road

“The integration of these public realm improvements will create a strong sense of place, foster social interaction and support a positive pedestrian experience. The benefits will be experienced by both the residents of the development, and Burlington’s existing residents, and contribute towards the building of healthier communities for a more sustainable future.”

All well and god but the fact of the matter is that the condominium owners are responsible for that property and all the liability that entails.

We will be writing about this in more detail going forward.

There are eight high rise developments in this photograph. Not all of them have POPS as part of the development.  We have identified the eight properties; some are almost complete other are at the OLT appeal stage.

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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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