//static.getclicky.com/js

The quaintness Burlington longs for will be in the part of Waterdown the city wants to annex.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 19th, 2018

BURLINGTON. ON

 

There is another way of looking at the idea the Mayor has of annexing parts of Waterdown.

There is a real drive to keep Brant Street the way it was in the 60’s and 70’s; small, quiet, slightly quaint.

The picture got over-developed (pun intended) when the city approved a 24 storey structure opposite city hall. ‘There goes the neighbourhood’ would certainly apply in this situation.

high profile 421

The Burlington the city is going to get …

Waterdown- street 1

The Burlington many had hoped the city would be. We couldn’t keep what we have – so we are going after parts of Waterdown.

In a Scott Radley radio broadcast – the link to that is HERE, made it pretty clear that Mayor Goldring had not really thought this one through.

To not even advise Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger beforehand is an insult and just plain bad politics.
Goldring’s rationale appeared to be that annexing Waterdown would “help alleviate the growth pressure on Burlington” Goldring sees a natural affinity between Burlington and Waterdown and thought that this was an idea to at least consider.

Eisenberger didn’t see it that way. Hamilton has invested more than $50 million in Waterdown and didn’t take kindly to the Mayor of Burlington grabbing the tax revenue and development charges that are generated by developers and tax payers in Waterdown.

Scott Radley

In the Scott Radley radio program, on which the interviews took place, Goldring said that no one at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs thought it was an outrageous idea.

Eisenberger, trying to be polite, thought that he was owed an apology for the way Goldring “completely blind-sided” him.

“This sounds like an idea that Goldring just threw up in the air without thinking it through. I don’t know where this is coming from.” Said Eisenberger.

LaSalle Pacillion

Hamilton just might take the property back when the lease expires.

It probably puts the kibosh on Burlington’s efforts to buy the water lots that are part of the LaSalle Park and owned by Hamilton. They just may have a very nasty surprise for us..

Eisenberger pointed out that he saw Goldring as a huge supporter of intensification and that what Burlington was doing amounted to the tail wagging the dog – he could have added that the dog just might decide to bite.
Hamilton has 165 hectares of land that it is ready to develop; and there are 5000 residential properties currently in various stages of development.

Eisenberger thought that at a minimum there should have been some analysis and research done before putting an idea like this on the table.

Messy messy. To get back to that quaint feeling that many in Burlington want to keep – it seems to be something that is now gone putting the Emerald and St Luke communities at considerable risk.

The quaintness that Burlington wants will be in Waterdown where the streets are a lot more vibrant than anything Burlington has.

Look at the Waterdown street scrapes.

waterdown street plumbing

waterdown 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher.

Return to the Front page

The end of Burlington as you know it - thank Mayor Goldring

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 19th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is called connecting the dots.

Mayor Goldring determines that he is in trouble with his election campaign.

goldring-at-council

What has he done?

Mayor Goldring is Chair of an AMO committee (Association of Municipalities of Ontario)

He gets together with other Mayors, most of whom are east and north of Burlington.

He comes up with the idea of meeting with the Minister of Municipal Affairs asking him to ease up on the Places to Grow legislation which requires municipalities to create more housing and jobs.

The Mayor meets with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and some of his staff who, according to Mayor Goldring, had no objections to his suggestion that Burlington be permitted to annex parts of Waterdown.
Goldring doesn’t say how much of Waterdown he wants to annex.

Goldring doesn’t inform Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger

Fred Eisenberger

Fred Eisenberger – thinks the idea was a flyer crafted on the back of a napkin.

Eisenberger is not impressed. He calls the idea a flyer that was written on the back of a napkin.

While all this local nonsense is going on the Premier of the Province has made it very clear that he wants less local government and is ramming legislation through to get a bill passed that would let him reduce Toronto city council from 47 members to 25.

Holding a session of the Legislature at mid-night would qualify as ramming.

Premier Doug Ford has said he will use a section of the Constitution  to impose his will on municipalities.

Doug Ford finger pointing

What will Doug Ford do with the idea of Burlington annexing part of Waterdown.

The province can order a municipal level of government to do anything he wishes

Watch for what Doug Ford does with the subject that Rick Goldring put on the table.

Doug Ford will order Burlington and Hamilton to merge and become one municipality.

Premier Harris forced the amalgamation of the Toronto suburbs into the mega city that is now Toronto.

The end of Burlington as you know it will have been brought about by Rick Goldring.

Burlington sign

The sign might get an upgrade.

Return to the Front page

Just who will be on the stage when the ward 5 debate takes place Wednesday evening at Bateman high school?

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 17th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

The following are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of Pepper Parr, publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

There are five candidates in ward five running for the city council seat.

The incumbent, Paul Sharman, who has served two terms as a city Councillor finds that he is unable to attend a public meeting at which he would debate with the other four candidates.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is usually very direct, tends to want to see data that is verifiable and expects to get his way.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is usually very direct, tends to want to see data that is verifiable and expects to get his way.

Councillor Sharman just doesn’t like community organizations he does not control; never has never will. A community organization has mobilized itself to organize the debates but the Councillor does not think they are legitimate enough for his liking.

During his decision to run for office in 2010 Sharman first filed nomination papers for the role of Mayor. He had not lived in Burlington all that long, had not done all that much as a person active in his community. Sharman was a member of the committee that produced the Shape Burlington report, he was also a member of the city council that endorsed the report which he then forgot about.

During his first term of office Sharman was a fire cracker. One more than one occasion he has put a senior staff member in their place.

He was the driving force behind the 0% tax increase for 2011.

He was the driving force behind getting something done with the Lakeshore Village Plaza that was close to a dump; shabby and to a considerable degree unoccupied.

Sharman worked hard to get something done. He managed to help craft a Staff Direction that got the Economic Development Corporation involved. That resulted in hugely successful community engagement event where all kids of ideas were brought to the surface and city hall got a better idea as to what the residents were looking for.

The owner of the proper was persuaded to attend the public meeting. His firm had hired planners, architects and specialists to do the studies city hall needs before they accept a development application.

That’s when the proverbial hit the fan. What the property owner’s planner put before a public meeting was close to outrageous.

Lakeside village plaza proposal

The proposed Lakeshore Village Plaza development. The city planners have yet to issue their report on the proposal.

It was never very clear just how in sync Sharman was with his constituents. At the two public meetings we watched him he seemed more defensive about the project and said it was now in the hands of the planning department staff who would prepare a report for city council.

The Gazette did learn that the city planners want much more in the way of park space and they want to see the skating pad and the park to the north of the site included in the development.

Sharman is on record as saying the development is too expansive. Many residents wanted to hear Sharman say that it was far far too large and that he would not be supporting what he had seen.

Sharman gets no brownie points for his early position on the work a community group did to save the Freeman Station. His comments to the late Jane Irwin when she was pleading for the time they needed to find a location for the structure were dismissive, embarrassing and shameful.

He argued against a pilot program that would have made transit free for seniors one day of each week. Oakville did a pilot that proved to be very successful and resulted in increased transit use overall. Sharman argued that the data wasn’t conclusive.

Sharman is an account by profession – what matters most to him is ensuring the right data is at hand to make a sound decision. It took the Gazette a couple of years to realize that the longer Sharman kept asking for data the longer it meant he didn’t have to make a decision.

Sharman puzzled LVP

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

The one tool missing in the Sharman toolkit is an executive capacity to make a decision.

His relationships with people are awkward. His treatment of a former Director of Transit deserved to be investigated; his relationship with a member of the planning department was well outside the limits of a member of council and a city employee. There are rules that set out what is acceptable.

There are two women running for the ward 5 council seat: Mary Alice St. James and Wendy Moraghan.

St. James is a retired elementary school principal who is known, liked and respected within the community.
She has been a tireless community activist on the Blue Water development; that was turned down by staff.

The developer appealed the staff decision to the LPAT. The appeal was lost.

St James talking to seniors

A slid campaigner – appreciated by the seniors.

St. James knows the issues. She is tireless when it comes to connecting with residents; the senior’s love her. She offers to play card games with the seniors, go for walks with those who want to lose some weight.

She can talk – she can talk – to the point that on occasion she loses her listener.

She was an active participant in the Shoreacres character study. She has attended Ontario Municipal Board hearings.

Mary Alice - pointing

Mary Alice St. James attending the anniversary of a school she served as principal.

Ms St. James does not live in the ward she wants to represent. She is about two football field length west if the ward boundary. This is not material. While it is preferable that a candidate live in a riding, what matters is the quality of the candidate. Insisting that your candidate of choice live in the ward is pretty provincial. The current Mayor did not live in ward 5 when he was the council member for that ward.

St. James maintains a web site, an email address and she tweets.

Web site: https://www.stjamesward5.com/
Email: stjamesward5@gmail.com
Facebook: Mary-Alice St. James – Ward 5 councillor
Twitter: @14marocks

Wendy Moraghan is a former police officer with 30+ years’ experience. Her career was focused for the most part on community relations tasks.

Moraghan with seniors

Detective Constable Wendy Moraghan with some of her friends at a meeting of seniors who were learning how to detect counterfeit money.

Our first interaction with Detective Constable was on an occasion when she was running a meeting for seniors that had several Bank of Canada staffers explaining how to detect counterfeit currency.

Events like this are a way for people that need to use walkers to get out of the house.

The men taking part in the event were quite taken with the attractive blonde police officer who was kind and attentive. One commented that if he was looking for girlfriend she would be his choice. We wrote up the meeting to reflect the mood of the room. The Detective Constable took exception and proclaimed that she was a married woman.

It was suggested to us by senior levels of the police service that it was important to maintain good relationships and would we consider removing the article. There was no threat – a decent woman didn’t appreciate the article – it wasn’t important enough to insist that it remain.

When we learned that Ms Moraghan was running for public office – she called us – and asked if there was going to be a problem with the past. None whatsoever. Ms Moraghan will have to get used to a different level of involvement with her constituent should she win.

Wendy M on Paul in group setting

Councillor Sharman defending a point of view while being peppered with questions from candidate Wendy Moraghan.

So far she has been very much ‘in your face’ with Mr. Sharman. She is strongly opposed to the proposed Lakeshore Village Plaza. She presses him for answers and doesn’t tolerate his practice of skirting around an issue (No pun intended.)

While police officers are in place to serve the public they don’t often actually engage with the public outside of police duties. That’s the nature of police work.

Wendy Moraghan H&S

Wendy Moraghan is a candidate for the ward 5 seat on city council.

Unfortunately that leaves people like Moraghan out of the loop on local matters. That is not so suggest the Ms Moraghan doesn’t know all that much about what is going on in the city.

She is an avid environmentalist. To the best of our knowledge we have never seen or heard of Moraghan making a delegation at city hall.

Moraghan is the Chair of the Willow Foundation. Established in 2002, The Willow Foundation is a non-profit registered charitable organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. The Foundation enhances the lives of seniors and adults with disabilities living in Halton Region’s three long-term care homes through a variety of programs and activities. From weekly ‘Artist Corner’ to Zumba classes, from our annual Strawberry Social to Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony we bring our residents a variety of social, arts and physical fitness programs.

Moraghan is about as local as a girl can get. Attended Pineland public school, Nelson high school, worked at Canadian Tire in the summers, was a member of the Burlington Teen tour band.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendymoraghanward5/
Web site: https://www.wendymoraghan.ca/

Daniel Roukema and Xin Yi Zhang are fringe candidates. Mr. Roukema has said elsewhere that he is not certain he will take part in the debate.

Daniel Roukema

Daniel Roukema works in the Immigration sector and is a candidate for the ward 5 seat on city council.

Mr. Roukema was in touch with the Gazette yesterday demanding to know why we had published his home address. We explained that we took our information from the city’s web site. We find it difficult to understand why a candidate running for public office would not want the public to know that they lived in the ward.

Roukema maintains a web site that sets out his campaign. It can be found at:

www.roukema.ca. 

email: electdaniel@roukema.ca

xyz 2

Xin Yi Zhang is an Information Technology specialist and a candidate for the ward 5 city council seat.

Mr. Xin Yi Zhang is also a fringe candidate. We were unable to find the time to talk to him – our fault not his. This candidate has a web site: www.electxyz.com. He can bee reached by email at: electxyz@gmail.com

While the subject of what is going to happen to the high school the debate is taking place in will not be part of the ward level debate – it will be the 800 lb. elephant in the room. Given the plans that are in place now, Bateman will be closed by the time the election after this one takes places.

Bateman parents are desperate for a solution – moving the programs and the students from Bateman to Nelson high school is not seen as a solution; they see it as disruption and expense that isn’t necessary. They are not necessarily wrong – but that train left the station without them when the debate was really intense and the Bateman parents assumed Central was going to be closed and they were safe.

The ward 5 debate that is taking place is your opportunity to ask questions and decide for yourself which of the five you want to represent you at city hall.

ECOB logoECoB – the Engaged Citizens of Burlington has gone to considerable length to make this debate happen despite the efforts of the current city Councillor to shut it down.

Councillor Sharman has said he will not attend the ECoB debate but will take part in the candidate Meet and Greet Burlington Green is sponsoring. That event is at a location that doesn’t have any public transit. The debate that will take place is between the candidates for Mayor.

Return to the Front page

The human side of politics - it can hurt.

opiniongreen 100x100By Shannon Gillies

September 18th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

Shannon Gillies was a candidate in the 2010 municipal election.  She was new to political theatre – all she had was some ideas and a conviction that the Burlington she cared about was undergoing a change which she didn’t think all that many people wanted.

Little did Gillies know than that the change she sensed in 2010 would mushroom and result in a 24 story structure opposite city hall – and that was just a starting point.

Gillies write the Gazette with these comments:

“We’re at that point in the municipal election season where things start to get nasty and the gloves come off. Suggestions are made about candidates being in it for themselves, or for developers, and not for residents. Nasty comments from anonymous accounts are made on Twitter. Facebook posts are shared about how our city is being ruined which riles up the others and they all tsk tsk about it over their lattes without really knowing the facts.

“What people tend to forget at this heated point in the process is that candidates are human beings and they’re rarely up to anything nefarious. Every single one of them is a human being. It doesn’t make someone a bad person just because he or she has a different opinions and views and approaches than you. No one runs for office because they want to ruin their city.

“I’ve been there. Eight years ago, I was a total rookie and had no idea what I was doing. What I did know, is that I wanted to make my community better. I thought our downtown was dull and frankly, quite crappy and I wanted to make it better, so I decided to run for council. Unfortunately, no one knew who I was, I didn’t have much community experience, I was too shy to knock on every door, voters didn’t agree with my views, and I lost. That’s fine. I deserved to lose. That’s how elections should work.

“What people should know is that running a campaign is hard. There is an unimaginable amount of learning in a short amount of time. Campaigns are also emotionally draining, physically exhausting, and can take a real toll on a marriage. I’m always fascinated that so many people think that taking contributions from developers is a huge sin. I would’ve gladly taken anyone’s money! Anyone who thinks someone would work his or her butt off and sacrifice their family for months only to sell their integrity for $750 or $1000 dollars over a four year period is a fool. But I digress. Instead, I spent over $10,000 of my own money, which my husband still hasn’t quite forgiven me for.

“The absolute worst part of running for council, and what I wasn’t prepared for, was the condescension and the cruelty. I was told on numerous occasions that my campaign was “a good experience” for me or told with a patronizing smile that maybe I should try running for school trustee instead. Someone said I shouldn’t have worn a pink suit for my campaign photo. I was told I didn’t exactly look like a Councillor and was asked on numerous occasions why I didn’t have children. Lack of experience aside, I was employed, nearly forty years old, university-educated, knew my stuff, and was adequately articulate. These comments were unwarranted. But alas, that’s politics.

During the campaign there was a personal family matter that kept me away from the city. I considered dropping out of the race but decided to stick it out. I tried my best to complete the endless number of questionnaires that candidates receive from various community groups but was completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t get to the doors. I didn’t have a team and was doing everything myself.

I had to be at a hospital feeling very distressed – someone close to me was  big health challenge. It was an awful time. One day, while I was in a waiting room at the hospital, trying to catch up on campaign matters on my laptop, I got an email suggesting I was in bed with developers (I think because I had written something that was pro-intensification), and that I hated trees.

What?! Have you seen my yard? I love trees!

“The angry email ended with a wish that I have a miserable life and not ever enjoy a successful career in politics. In retrospect, it was a dumb comment I should have ignored, but at the time, under the circumstances, it caused me to run to my car in an underground lot and break into tears. I couldn’t understand how people could be so awful. I know better now.

“My point is that we’re all stuck on this earth together and we need to be kind. It’s fine to have political disagreements and we should absolutely have political disagreements. But let’s just remember that all candidates are human beings, with lives separate from election campaigns, and are made out of flesh and blood, not steel.”

Shannon GilliesShannon Gillies is a frequent contributor to the Gazette. We welcome he insight and candidness. Besides the trees on her property Shannon has a couple of rabbits about the house. She looks just fine in a pink suit.

 

Return to the Front page

An open letter to Burlington Residents regarding incorrect info being promoted about Marianne Meed Ward & Leah Reynolds regarding school closures in Burlington.

opinionred 100x100By Steve Cussons

September 17th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With the Municipal Election looming and the volume of untruths in this election I find myself compelled to present my expert opinion on this issue. I say expert as I was a very active member of the PARC representing Aldershot HS and community and attended every single meeting including those at the Board after the vote was made.

The first untruth is that Marianne Meed Ward had an unfair influence during the par process because of her position as Councillor. I can emphatically state the she had no more influence than myself and the other 12 community members of the PARC. In fact her professionalism added important value to an otherwise difficult process. More importantly the committee as a whole had no real power in the whole process other than to provide recommendations to Board.

PARC with options on the walls

Members of the Halton District School Board PARC committee meeting in a formal session.

Unlike some committee members Marianne always kept her composure even when being attacked by fellow committee members. She was elected by the school council where her children attend just like six other members that were put on the committee. Marianne disclosed up front to the Board of her role as Councillor in the city and was told she was still quite welcome to join the committee. The other seven community members like myself were randomly chosen by the Board as we had put our names in the hat to be part of the PARC. Our mandate was to represent our respective communities and to bring forward to the committee ideas comments and concerns of our respective communities. I know each of us did exactly that, no more no less and this included reasons for not closing schools and reasons for closing various schools.

Many members put forth recommendations to close schools other than their own based on feedback from their community. So to suggest that Marianne had any more ability to move a certain objective forward than any of the other members is just plain false.

MMW typing

PARC member Marianne Meed Ward typing on her computer.

The other major untruth being circulated for months and I believe will be ramped us as the election draws closer is that on June 07 the night of the final vote to close Bateman &Lester B Pearson Marianne Meed Ward and Trustee Leah Reynolds colluded to help close Bateman. This is an outright lie and I am an expert as I sat beside Marianne that evening and was in discussion with her about the motion on floor which had nothing to do with the vote to close Bateman but a different motion all together.

The rules were so uncertain that not only did the board require some guidance from legal counsel and then actually had to go in. private session to try and sort out the protocol.

Marianne provided Trustee Reynolds with her interpretation of the ruling as she saw it as Trustee Reynolds was an active participant in the motion. What bothers me more is that Lisa Bull the PARC Representative sitting right behind Marianne and myself took the totally unethical first step of capturing images of Marianne’s private laptop screen she was using to capture the texting.

Reynolds with Roberts rules

Leah Reynolds being observed by HDSB vice chair Kim

Then to take it one step further posts it on social media suggesting the conversation was about how to vote to close Bateman and plying Trustee Reynolds with direction. I am appalled the a fellow member would stoop to such low and yet the media has never question the ethics of this. I have a timestamp of the moment the images were snapped and they were at least an hour before the vote to close Bateman.

It was confirmed that all the Trustees that evening were receiving mobile communications from constituents and others for various reasons and I input and this was a normal practice allowed at these meetings. The fact they needed very specific lawyers experts in procedural matters to assist in deciphering what the was the correct process and then have to go into private session should be obvious why someone like Marianne with years of this type of process being City Council would be stepping in to assist Trustee Leah as she happened to be the Trustee in the ward she represents on City Council and the Trustee of the school where her children attended.

Lisa Bull shocked

Lisa Bull

There was no collusion but there was certainly unethical behaviour by Lisa Bull a fellow PARC member and then to be exaggerated and pushed as truth in social media by many others in the community unhappy with the decisions.

In summary it is sad that we have had to close to schools but to defame individuals that continually put out an earnest effort to help our communities in so many ways is so wrong. I am not running for any office, my school did not close but I pride myself in ethical behaviour and will stand up when I factually know untruths are being made to hurt others I respect.

I am ready to debate any one on the facts of the PARC process and the specific night of the vote to close two schools.

 

Steve Cussons AldershotSteve Cussons is an Aldershot resident and a business man who operates a modern printing company..

Return to the Front page

Ray Rivers wonders if the Premier of Ontario can run the city of Toronto from the provincial legislature - beginning to look that way.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 16th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a disgraceful display, such petulance, like a spoiled child. No I’m not talking about the unruly New Democrats who got booted out of Queen’s Park for protesting the other day. That was pretty poor behaviour alright, making noise, banging their desks like trained seals clapping flippers before a crowd in an aquarium.

But the really disgraceful behaviour came from that vengeful school yard bully we elected as our Premier, determined to roll over the rights of the people of Toronto.

We call it liberal democracy – government based on the recognition of individual rights and freedoms and the rule of law. It’s not a partisan title and all of our political parties claim to subscribe to a classical liberal philosophy, and the Conservatives most of all. Democracy, but with due regard for the rights of the individual.

Canada’s provincial premiers rule with virtually no checks on the power they wield, so long as they control a majority of the seats in parliament. Despite the debates, committees, and opposition delaying tactics they will pass pretty much every bill they introduce. More than a guide, the constitution and charter of rights are there to constrain the near absolute power of a majority government from trampling over the rights of others.

doug-ford-1

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

And trampling is what Doug Ford is doing with his 13th hour intervention into the municipal election in Toronto. That was the verdict of recent Superior Court justice, a judge who knows more than a little about matters constitutional. Mr. Ford has confirmed this by moving to override the court decision with the so-called ‘notwithstanding clause’, Section 33 of the constitution. His legal appeal of the ruling is effectively moot, though, since his intention is clear – he doesn’t care about those people or, their rights.

The notwithstanding clause is unique to Canadian politics. Americans have no such provision in their constitution, for example, and so the courts are the final authority there. Only Saskatchewan and Quebec have ever invoked the clause – a couple of times each, a couple of decades ago. There is a 5 year sunset clause and no jurisdiction has re-authorized this extraordinary constitutional provision.

The architects of our constitution have felt the need to weigh in. Jean Chretien, Bill Davis, and even Brian Mulroney, father of Ontario’s Attorney General, have condemned Ford’s plans. They are clear, Section 33 should never be used – but if it is, there had better be a pretty good reason.

A military invasion, an insurrection or something of that ilk comes to mind. Quebec once over-rode the rights of non-francophone small businesses by demanding the prominence of French in commercial signage. It argued that this would help it in its efforts to preserve the use of French in the province, and it probably has.

Toronto city councillor Doug Ford (L) and his brother, Mayor Rob Ford (L) react to the gallery after the mayor and an unidentified member of his staff captured images of the gallery during a special council meeting at City Hall in Toronto November 18, 2013. The Toronto city council may further curb the powers of embattled Mayor Rob Ford on Monday, slashing his office budget and offering his staff a chance to transfer to new jobs. (Aaron Harris/Reuters)

Toronto city Councillor Doug Ford (L) and his brother, the late Rob Ford

But we all know why Ford is ramming though his unconstitutional Toronto council seating plan – It’s personal. The Ford brothers felt offended that not every crazy idea they had was accepted by council when the dynamic duo roamed City Hall. And then Ford lost out on the last mayor’s race to John Tory. Oh and his ferris wheel idea crashed big time.

And it’s political too. Using the federal ridings as ward boundaries runs roughshod over the various smaller communities. So he believes it will serve to muffle those lefties who oppose his hidden agenda, which will be revealed in due course. Seriously, life would be easier for him if those potential opponents were out of the way.

Ford with Tory

Toronto Mayor John Tory with Ontario Premier Doug Ford. The body language says it all.

After all Ford has mused about moving some city services, like transit, to Queen’s Park, why not all of city government? Who says you can’t be mayor and premier in one? Eat your heart out John Tory. First Ford took his job as party leader and then premier. Now he’ll push Tory out of the mayor’s chair and run the council himself, the playpen he really covets.

We have no reason to believe that Ford is being purely vindictive, though there is considerable poison on his tongue when he speaks of the lefty councillors. And there is no question that the province has the authority to manage the size and operation of city councils. But his timing, in the middle of an election is more than a little problematic, unless his bigger ambition is in play.

Ford would be more credible if only he had a single shred of evidence that fewer politicians would make better government. When the judge asked for proof that a smaller city council would be more effective, he was met with silence from the government side…’crickets’ he called it. Ford doesn’t need analysis; his touchstone is his ideology. Fewer politicians good, evidence-based decision making bad. He doesn’t care that dinner is on the table, he wants his dessert now.

What’s not child’s play is how Ford Nation is also changing the rules in order to ram legislation through the legislature without the traditional kind of debate and due process we’re used to. That means that the only official opposition party, the NDP, will be virtually powerless to slow down or amend – even if they can’t stop poorly conceived legislation, like the one slashing Toronto’s council in half.

Doug Ford with wife

The wife

Vic clapping in Ford face

The sycophant

Toronto had spent four years carefully considering its expanded ward structure and then Ford trashed all of that work in a heartbeat based on his gut feel. He doesn’t need analysis to justify his actions and he doesn’t need some unelected judge, appointed by the federal government, to tell him what is right and wrong. After all he was elected for a four year term by 40 percent of the voters in the last election.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

 

Background links:

Ford’s Bill –     Canadian Charter of Rights –     Undermining Canada’s Constitution

Amnesty Comment –    Globe Editorial –     Andrew Coyne –

Davis Comment –     Consolidating Power

Return to the Front page

Calderbank: Can Successful Cities Ever Be Truly Affordable? What Burlington Can Do To Address Its Affordability Challenges

opinionviolet 100x100By Kimberly Calderbank

September 15th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington is a vibrant city. We have a beautiful waterfront, scenic parks, safe neighbourhoods, great schools, access to some of Ontario’s top festivals and events, and successful businesses. Unfortunately, what makes Burlington such a desirable place to live also makes it expensive. We have seen house prices and rents skyrocket in recent years to the point of making our city un-affordable, especially for first-time home buyers, newcomers to Canada, young families, and seniors.

Spencer Smith PArk from the west

Spencer Smith Park – there was a time when it was weed filled space. It took foresight and community involvement to get this park to where it is today.

Right now, the average price of a detached house in Burlington is about $1 million, up 13 percent over this time last year. The average price of a town home is $578,000, up 6 percent from last year. The average price of a 2-bedroom condo is $434,000 which is actually down 5 percent which could possibly be attributed to a recent increase in supply.

What exactly is the definition of affordable housing? One figure often used by Councillors and city staff when referring to “affordable” units in new developments is about $362,000, but this definition is rather meaningless, because for someone with a family income of about $50,000, the affordability threshold is almost half that. A more reliable definition of affordable housing is housing with a market price (for purchase or rent) that is affordable to households of low and moderate income, spending no more than 30 percent of their gross household income on housing, without government assistance.

For a household of three or more people with a gross family income of about $130,000, the maximum purchase price for a home considered to be affordable would be $456,000 (based on a maximum monthly home ownership cost of about $3,300). As residents of Burlington, you and I both know that you can’t buy many family homes here for that price, and a detached house under $500,000 would be hard to find.

A significant challenge to Burlington’s housing affordability is that we are running out of property on which to build new subdivisions with detached houses while maintaining and protecting our agricultural areas.

This is the Escarpment we are talking about. Our country, our rural country - forever.

Half of the city’s land mass is the Escarpment where other than three settlement areas residential development is not permitted.

Municipal, regional, and provincial policies, such as land use policies set out in Official Plans, help ensure an adequate range and mix of housing for complete and healthy communities while fulfilling the provincial mandate to “grow in place”. These policies can also provide us with some tools to address affordability.

One tool municipalities could decide to use is inclusionary zoning. This enables cities to set out guidelines for affordable housing units to be built in residential developments of 10 units or more. Another policy tool is Section 37 of the Planning Act. If a property owner wishes to build something that does not comply with zoning regulations, such as height and/or density limits, the owner may voluntarily agree to provide “community benefits” in exchange for approval—benefits negotiated by councilors and planning staff. Lately, it seems there hasn’t been enough thought put into exactly which types of benefits would be as valuable to the Community as the extra height/density is to builders.

For example, a recent community benefit listed for one of the development proposals at Brant and James took the form of discounts on condo units. Considering the high price of units, a $50,000 discount would unlikely make a dent in affordability. We can do better than that. How about allocating Section 37 funds to Halton Region to be used for the provision affordable housing or to go towards the building of purpose-built rental housing?

We have a huge opportunity here to collaborate and negotiate with builders and grassroots, community-led organizations such as the Halton Community Benefits Network, in consultation with residents, to determine which community benefits are most needed. Our councilor should be consulting with residents before these proposals even come to the table, not after, to determine community priorities.

At election time, candidates will tell you that we have been growing too fast and over developing. However, regional housing stats prove otherwise. In 2017, only 594 new units were added in the entire city of Burlington—a low number compared to Oakville which added about 2300 new units, and Milton which added over 1100. In addition to the tens of thousands of detached homes we already have in Burlington, we’ll need to add more apartments, condos, and town homes.

back-to-back-townhouses

A proposed back to back townhouse development.

A denser urban area does not necessarily mean less expensive housing but very often, it can. Increasing the supply of homes for purchase and for rent while providing a wide range of housing options are both essential to affordability. Town homes are especially needed in Burlington as a more affordable housing option (both for purchase and for rent) for families. Only 2.2 percent of new builds in 2017 were town homes, while nearly 87 percent were apartment/condo-type units. We will need to shift this balance if we’re serious about attracting more young families to Burlington.

Burlington is growing from a suburban to an urban Community. As much as we’d like things to stay the same, we must consider the needs of all members of our community, now, and in the future. The challenge of managing and sustaining our city’s rapid growth is also an opportunity to improve the quality of life for many residents, especially in terms of affordability. Let’s continue to attract new residents to our welcoming, vibrant, and inclusive community with diverse neighbourhoods and affordable housing options for everyone who would like to call Burlington home.

Calderback in blackKimberly Calderbank is a candidate for the Ward 2 city council seat.  She is one of ten people seeking the job.

Return to the Front page

An open letter to Ward 6 residents - please vote on October 22nd

opinionred 100x100By Staff

September 14th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a resident in ward six who is so concerned about the level of public interest in the October municipal election that she has printed up a couple of thousand notices that she is going to distribute door to door.

Krista Richards is a ward six resident.  She has some questions for her neighbours.

Did you know that there are over 22,000 registered voters in our Ward?

Did you know that in 2014 just approximately 5,000 actually voted?

Did you know the results of the municipal election for Ward Councillor was a difference of 600 votes?

Did you know if you are registered you could vote online?

Vote ward 6 1Vote ward 6 2If you are registered to vote you will get your voter card by October 1. If not, you can contact City Hall.
You can use your id # on that card to vote in early voting, or simply click away from your table while the kids have breakfast, or watching a hockey game, all from the comfort of your own home. Online voting begins October 1st- 17th .

Our little Ward does not get much attention from City Hall. It is very much a commuter area, with many of use driving our cars to other municipalities to work, working long hours, and taking care of kids, parents and community. Many of have a hard time getting to the polls on Election Day. I know.

However being able to vote online has taken the stress away. No more planning and having Murphy’s law take over.

The last municipal election had 10 candidates for Ward 6 Councillor. There are only 3 in the 2018 election. Perhaps, we would have had a proper voice for our Ward. Imagine, less than 1% made the difference in who stood for us while important decisions were made about our Ward and our City.

Who stood for us when Alton Village parking and snow clearing became a safety hazard? Who stood for us when a condo community was approved with less parking than originally planned causing more chaos.

Who stood for us when the land of the northwest side of Walkers and Dundas that was not supposed to be developed suddenly changed. These are just a few examples. The answer… NO ONE!

Please take the time to have your voice heard. There is no reason for so few folks in our area to cast their ballot, when voting cannot be any easier. The apathy towards not participating in City elections has hurt us. As Ward 6 residents and all the residents of Burlington. So many bad decisions have been made at City Hall, that we will all suffer, for generations to come.

Do some reading and find out what is going on at City Hall. You may find it as disturbing as I do.
I urge you to not let less than 20% of the residents of our Ward make the decision for the rest of us. Please make sure you are registered to vote. Vote on line and have your voice heard.

We need a voice at the table in City Hall.

Thank you, your neighbour.

I am not affiliated with any campaign. I am simply concerned.

Return to the Front page

That raffle ticket kerfuffle - it was telling and no one came out of it smelling like roses.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 14th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There was a time in Burlington when people behaved quite a bit differently than they do today.

It was a more genteel community. People knew each other and the city’s rural roots were still part of the way people looked at things. One of the most influential organizations in the community was the Horticulture Society. Burlington was a produce community that send apples, pepper, pears, cantaloupe around the world.

There was a spur railway line that the engineers backed their train into to load on barrels of produce that got rushed to Montreal where it was loaded on ships.

Garden-of-Canada-poster-train-bckgrnd-666x1024

There was a time when Burlington shipped its produce around the world; the railways did great business hauling fruit and vegetables from area farms. It was a more polite society as well

The Grant Trunk Railway had two tracks coming into Burlington property that is now a walking path along the edge of the lake.

City council was there to help and for the most part it did. Roly Bird and Walter Mulkewich and were Mayors that saw things a little differently than the current crop.

There was a small incident earlier in the week that highlighted the kind of Burlington we have become.

Gareth Williams who is running for the ward 3 city council seat became aware that Rory Nisan, who is also running for the seat, had planned a community BBQ at which raffle tickets were going to be sold.

Gareth Williams

Ward 3 candidate Gareth Williams

Gareth talked to people at the Clerk’s Office – the city Clerk is the election Returning office.

He asked if the sale of raffle tickets was permitted and was told what the rules are.

If you want to sell raffle tickets you need a permit to do so from the city.

In an older more genteel Burlington Gareth Williams would have called Rory Nisan and advised him as to what the rules were; instead he waited, arranged for one of his team to attend the event and take pictures of the table with the raffle tickets on it and made them available to media.

rory shot

Ward 3 candidate Rory Nisan

When the Gazette got the media release from Gareth we called Rory Nisan and asked some questions. Nisan admitted they had screwed up and were doing everything to repair the damage. We asked Nisan if he was going to issue a statement. At first he wasn’t sure but thought about it and said he would issue a statement – which he did.

It was less than a fulsome statement. Nisan referred to documents that were not crystal clear on just what the rules were.

Nisan’s response was not a fulsome, unequivocal apology for not ensuring that what his campaign was doing was onside. It fell a little short of what was expected from a Canadian diplomat.

The Clerk’s Office didn’t cover itself in glory on this disappointing situation. They were aware that someone was offside. It didn’t take a rocket scientists to figure out if questions were coming from a ward 3 candidate that the concern was in ward 3.

City Clerk Angela Morgan fails to ensure media alerted to Special Council meeting. Her communications people dropped the ball as well.

City Clerk Angela Morgan serving as Returning Officer in the 2010 election.

Would it have been too much to ask the Returning Officer to issue a bulletin to all candidate explaining the rules? Something along the lines of – it has come to our attention that etc. etc.

When this election is over there are some very hard questions to be put to the Returning Officer: Which part of the democratic process are you having difficulty with?

The city administration adds a tag line to every media release they send out.

“Burlington is one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive.”

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher

Return to the Front page

Councillor Sharman continues to embarrass himself - there is still time for him to do a course correction.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Staff

September 14th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is silly and embarrassing.

The pettiness and rancor that have become part of the process of determining who is going to represent the people of ward 5 at city council next on December 3rd when the new council is sown in.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington have worked hard to organize debates at the ward level. This is something Burlington has not had for well over more than a decade.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Paul Sharman, the incumbent who was first elected in 2010, re-elected in 2014 rather easily is in a tough battle this time around.

He has decided not to take part in the ward debate that has been organized.

His reason? “My very presence at your event will provide the opportunity for you to load the questions and to create the kind disrespectful behaviour we have experienced over the last 10 months.

“Therefore it will be better for everyone that I will not be present.”

Mr. Sharman, an accountant by training, knows full well that ECoB was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. He also knows that ECoB will not have anything to do with the questions that are asked by the moderator other than to collect the questions written out by the public when they are in the auditorium.

To suggest that ECoB has an opportunity to load the questions is just plain sleazy.

Wendy up against Paul 1

Ward 5 candidate Wendy Moraghan in conversation with incumbent Paul Sharman

Sharman has a battle in front of him; the chatter on social media is pretty vicious and Sharman is adding to it.

Why he doesn’t talk about his accomplishments, and there are some, is beyond this observer.

In 2011 Sharman literally pushed through a 0% tax increase – something that has not been seen since then.
With that notch in his belt he went on to be close to abusive with delegators. It was a path he chose to take – it has not served him or his constituents well.

Sharman claims ECoB avoided the question of whether or not ECOB is a) actually an organization and b) whether you are simply organizing a public forum or one that will be characterized by the regular ECoB tactics of divisiveness and c) who is funding these activities.

As to the ECoB funding – they are donations made by citizens who attended the public meetings. There were more than 50 people who were dropping $20 bills into a box and several that wrote healthy cheques.

At the first ECoB organizational meeting a citizen said he was in the room representing people from his community and that he had a signed cheque in his pocket – he wanted to know who to make it out to.

There is still time for Paul Sharman to do a course correction. The ward 5 debate is on Wednesday, September 19th at the Bateman high school. You will get to see Paul Sharman or an empty chair with his name on it.

Ouch!

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher

Return to the Front page

Rick Craven at his worst ... To sully his own reputation like this is disappointing.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 10th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

So it has come to this.

One had hoped that he might go quietly into the night – but that is obviously not going to happen.
Councillor Rick Craven published a vitriolic screed about why he could not support Marianne Meed Ward as Mayor.

mww-craven-taylor-body-language

Craven and Meed Ward couldn’t get further apart – bad blood between the two of them.

There was never any doubt that he was not going to support her. The bad blood between the two of them was evident almost before Meed Ward became a council member.

For Craven to come out publicly against Meed Ward at this point in the campaign is very telling – Craven realizes that she has traction and that the incumbent Mayor is in serious trouble.

We have inserted our own editorial comments alongside what Craven wrote. This kind of cheap garbage cannot be left to stand without some comment.

In his Facebook comments Craven said:

Meed Ward for Mayor – I don’t think so.

There’s one fundamental fact about this election that I hope Burlington voters understand.

The mayor of Burlington has no power.

Under the rules set up by the Province we have what is known as a “weak mayor” system. The only power the mayor has is the power to call a meeting and the power to declare an emergency. That’s it! Everything else must negotiated with the other members of Council. This requires skill, diplomacy, care and compromise; traits that Marianne Meed Ward has failed to demonstrate.

Diplomacy, care and compromise are not exactly skill sets that Craven has demonstrated in the eight years the Gazette has watched him

Her inability to pass most of her major proposals is clear evidence that she has no interest in negotiating with her council colleagues. It’s all about her. She thinks she has all the answers and the rest of Council can simply go to hell.

Meed Ward supporters will argue that her routine 6-1 losses result from the fact that the rest of us simply don’t get it and that she is usually right and the rest of us are usually wrong.

Really?

The six other members of council are mostly wrong and Meed Ward mostly right? Surely the average Burlington voter knows that this is simply not probable.

Meed Ward supporters will tell you that the 6 to 1 losses are a badge of courage. I think they are a testament to failure. They are a testament to her inability to get along with others in authority.

So, Meed Ward can make all the promises she likes: promises that sound good and appeal to the disappointed, the angry and the worried in our City, but her record would suggest that she simply does not have the skill to get her agenda passed. She is too adversarial.

She is not a consensus builder.

I’m not the only one who believes this.

Columnist and former City Councillor Joan Little wrote “She’s smart, but not well liked by colleagues – a big minus at the mayor level”.

Joan also wrote “Meed Ward has a sharp mind and a lot to offer, but is disliked by many colleagues, and a mayor needs council support. For that reason she’d likely be ineffective.”

The Burlington Gazette wrote “One must admit that Meed Ward does run on – frequently. She has no friends on Council.”

Craven never recognizes the Gazette for what it is: a credentialed newspaper that is published on a web site. However, now that it serves his purpose, Craven quotes us.

Burlington once had a mayor who thought he was smarter than the rest of us and didn’t need to consider Council’s views. During his four years in office Cam Jackson caused a lot of problems at City Hall. Little was accomplished and 17 senior staff left the City taking decades of expertise with them. Today, we call the Cam Jackson term “the lost years”.

I have worked with Marianne Meed Ward for 8 years. I cannot support her for mayor. Today, I have outlined just one of the many reasons. We don’t need another Cam.

Rick Craven did not work with Marianne Meed Ward – he sat beside her and never missed a chance to belittle her, diminish her and disrespect her.

His personal behaviour to the woman was shameful. Much of what we know about that behaviour is confidential – we were asked to keep it confidential and will respect that request. We do want to add that Rick Craven has represented the city on the Police Services Board for the eight years we have been following him. Connect the dots.

Let us just leave it at that.

Craven said he: “Fully expects to be vilified for this in social media by Meed Ward supporters, but it can’t be helped. This election is too important. I cannot remain silent.” Indeed, when it comes to Meed Ward Rick Craven cannot remain silent. It is Craven at his worst which is unfortunate because during his time as the Councillor for Ward 1 he did a lot for the Aldershot community.

To sully his own reputation like this is disappointing.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher.

 

Return to the Front page

City administration runs amok with electioneering rules that defy understanding.

opinionviolet 100x100

By Jim Young

September 10th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

This is my Political Fridge Magnet.

fridge magnet

Political magnet on a fridge

When I stick it on my fridge it tells my friends, family and anyone else raiding my fridge for stale pizza or a cold beer, who I support in the upcoming Burlington Election.

As is my right in our democracy, I also hope it helps persuade my fridge raiders to support my candidate too.
It is after all a “Political Fridge Magnet”

fridge magnet on a car

Political magnet on a car

This was my Political Fridge Magnet when I stuck it on my Car.

My hope was that, without distracting other road users, I might inform and persuade them to support my candidate too.

That’s how our democracy works right?

Wrong!

According to Burlington Elections Office, when I stick my political fridge magnet on my car, it becomes an election sign and since election signs on cars are limited to one per candidate, my fridge magnet becomes illegal.

Bylaw Staff are interpreting “one per candidate” to mean “one per campaign”.

This seems ridiculous, we do not limit candidates to one lawn sign per campaign.

Also, I am not a candidate so the limit for “candidates” should not apply to me.

Based on this overreaching interpretation, I am not allowed to let my fellow Burlingtonians know how I will vote or to encourage their participation in the election by using my fridge magnet on my car.

It cannot be the size of the sign that offends nor the content.

After September 8th, people will be allowed to put much larger signs on their lawns that will say exactly the same thing.

Many citizens will do this in favour of their favourite candidate.

That is one of the fun, informative and engaging features of our democracy.

Except I don’t have a lawn. I live in an apartment.

If I was wealthy enough to own a house, I could have a lawn sign 100 times bigger than my fridge magnet but the poor fridge magnet on my car would still be deemed illegal.

This is my Political Fridge Magnet on my car when I stick some really ugly masking tape on it to hide the word Mayor.

Apparently that makes it legal and in compliance with Election Sign and Election Car Magnet rules.

I’m going to leave it on my car like that and I won’t tell anyone it says “Mayor” under there if you don’t.
(Rumour has it that the folks at MMW’s campaign office have colour coordinated tape for just this purpose.)

This degree of bureaucratic nonsense makes my head spin and while it easy to make fun of, it begs answers to the following:

1. Does our city really pay an electoral officer to monitor fridge magnets?

2. Does a bylaw allowing election signs on lawns, and nowhere else, discriminate against those who do not have lawns? Those without lawns tend to be the poor, the marginalised, the young, the elderly and the less abled who cannot afford a home with an expanse of lawn. (On a truly silly note, but no sillier than the bylaw, what if economic circumstances force me to live in my car? Can I call my hood my lawn and stick my fridge magnet there? Just asking.)

3. On a deeper level: This is an infringement upon my freedom of speech, freedom of political thought and my freedom to express that thought? Surely that runs counter to the whole purpose of elections in a free and open society.

4. This is the kind of silencing of citizen voices we saw in this council’s attempt to reduce citizen delegation time last year, and the insistence, despite all evidence, that we were fully consulted on major issues like The Official Plan and Downtown Intensification, that are giving rise to citizen groups demanding better from our city council and the number of candidates vying to replace them.

Jim Young standingJim Young is an Aldershot resident who delegates before city council frequently. 

Return to the Front page

Rivers: How many elected official do we really need?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 08, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It’s that same old problem. Too many doctors leads to too many unnecessary MRIs and surgeries. Too many police and you’ll have to start watching your speed on the 407. And we all know that too many cooks spoil the broth. So it’s not hard to see where our fearless premier was coming from when he decided to chop the number of Toronto’s elected offices in half.

Being swon in

Members of Parliament: we elect them, swear them in and hope they do the job.

Our federal leader once mused that he admired China’s spin on democracy. The public elect representatives to the National People’s Congress (NPC) and then the NPC pretty much appoints everyone else, including the municipal leaders. When you think about it, that’s not much different from the Electoral College appointing Trump or the Supreme Court appointing GW Bush. And it is pretty much how our Senators get their appointments.

The kicker is that roughly 1.4 billion people are represented by less than 3000 NPC elected officials – roughly one representative per half a million constituents. That is a far more miserly representation than Mr. Ford has decreed for Toronto at 1:100,000. So how does business actually get done with almost 3000 people in the big room in Beijing when 40 something elected officials were way too many people for efficient conduct at Toronto’s city hall?

Perhaps Toronto’s problem was its leadership. Wasn’t the premier’s younger brother in charge when Doug was a city councillor? And perhaps with all the time he had to devote to smoking crack cocaine, drinking and driving, cursing and high school football coaching, mayor Rob just didn’t have enough time left over for effective leadership.

FIGHT Ford knocking over council member

Rob Ford knocking over a council member during a Toronto city council meeting.

And Rob Ford became famous as ringmaster of a city hall which turned into a circus and a city which became the biggest joke on the planet. It is hard to command respect and lead with dignity when you’re also the top clown. Doug Ford is right! There were probably at least two too many representatives around the city table back in those days.

But he’s wrong in that it was just about too many Councillors, but the antics and performance of some of them that should be drawing the fire. And clearly the lack of rules of procedure that allowed such clownish or boorish and tedious behaviour to carry on. Doug Ford would not be the first rocket scientist to come up with a brilliant solution to the wrong problem, throwing the baby out with the bathwater in the process.

Toronto has taken the premier to court over his new law but just about everyone expects him to win. That is unless the judge determines Ford’s actions, overturning the apple cart midway into a duly authorized election, were driven by personal or political motives, vengeance and/or gain. After all this really stinks. Ford blind-sided everyone, jumping to this hasty action without any shred of having researched, discussed or allowed debate on this policy.

And perhaps Ford’s relatively limited political education or experience has contributed to this impulsive initiative. Perhaps he doesn’t appreciate that Councillors are elected to do more than just rest their butts in council chambers and spend their time trying to be heard saying almost exactly the same thing their colleagues to the right and left have already said.

Councillors are also there to help the public deal with problems the city can fix. Ironically Mr. Ford and his brother, to their credit, were renowned for being tirelessly accessible and responsive to their ward electorate. This new law will make it more difficult for the city’s taxpayers to get that kind of help when they need it.

Then there is the matter of cost savings, a straw horse if ever. Twenty five million dollars over the next five years? It’s a promise just so deja vu – recall the savings Mike Harris promised once his pet amalgamation had been completed. No thinking person really believes this back of the envelope calculation of potential savings. In any case once more paid staff are hired to assist the fewer Councillors meet the needs of Toronto’s millions of taxpayers, there would be precious little left over.

And if saving tax payer money was the issue then why not save big time? There is an estimated billion and a half dollars which we waste every single year by maintaining the anachronistic and discriminatory publicly funded separate school system. Ontario is just one of three provinces left which still publicly funds Catholic education in this country. That puts us in violation of the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and in the bulls eye of criticism and condemnation from even the United Nations.

And while on the subject of delivering education more efficiently wouldn’t there be savings by eliminating the boards all together and having the municipalities pick up those responsibilities? It’s no secret that trustees get the lowest voter attention at election time because unless you have children in school your interest is understandably limited. We have built an entire political structure around our schools when the curriculum comes from Queen’s Park and the rest is child’s play – hiring a principal and maintaining the schools.

Bateman high school

Rivers suggests that schools be added to the job municipal Councillors do. Would that keep Bateman open?

One should ask why the city couldn’t integrate the education responsibilities into their mandates. Now that would save at least the cost of the board head offices. And planning for schools might be better integrated into official and other planning processes. City planners would be more obligated to consider the impacts of new developments on schools and possibly avoid some of the issues that Burlington residents ran into as they saw their schools threatened with closure earlier this year.

By the way, one representative per hundred thousand residents when applied to Burlington would mean two wards and a mayor. And who thought they were inadequately represented at city hall with the current lot – some of whom were in office back when I ran there almost a quarter century ago?

Finally there is a school of thought that municipal politics is a potential training ground for those aspiring to rise up to the provincial and federal upper levels. In fact Doug Ford, Kathleen Wynne and Cam Jackson all got their start in local politics, for better or worse. Who knows but with a smaller number of city council seats at the time he ran, Doug might not have been even elected, family name notwithstanding.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

 

Background links:

Ford’s Plan –   Blame the Councillors –    The Right Size

Ontario Municipalities –    School Districts –    Catholic Schools

Return to the Front page

Ward 5 candidate comments on the debate kerfuffle - she will be attending.

opinionred 100x100By Mary Alice St. James

September 8th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I am proud of the courage, time, energy, skills and the monetary commitment that every Candidate across the City of Burlington has put into running in the only non-partisan election, a Municipal Election. It is a comprehensive and full time endeavour to run an effective Campaign. Incumbents though have a huge advantage which makes the playing field unequal even before they each declined participation in their only Ward Designated All Candidates Meetings.

I put my name forward as a Candidate for Councillor in Ward 5 knowing that this and likely much more can happen during this campaign. I could not sleep at night though without giving voters an alternative, without being a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. My extensive experiences with City Council over the past six years in the areas of: development and infrastructure (what many are now aware of as over-intensification or “my gosh, when was it decided that building could happen?”), congested corridors of traffic, transit challenges, affordability and environmental protections and solutions.

Research shows that incumbents have an advantage due to their paid years of service and their work with various staffs within the City of Burlington and the Halton Region. Nonetheless and despite research statistics, I pulled together an amazing group of volunteers to assist me in running my personally funded campaign. I have received a few donations … thank you! A reason though that I put my unique skill sets (25 years as a local principal) and teamwork into the foray of public scrutiny is because I could not sleep at night thinking about what Burlington will look like in four years if this continues.

Cropped sharman FB material

Taken from the Paul Sharman candidate Facebook page.

Cropped part 1 The current course of non-action, discourse and disrespectful treatment of citizens and citizens groups such as the Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) are but a few samplings of why citizens I have spoken with this summer are disillusioned and feel betrayed by their Municipal Councillor. Burlington’s citizens are exceptionally smart. I know this. People I talk with know this. It is an extremely important election. I will continue and my team will continue with our campaign as we always have intended. Every day we enter uncharted territory but for me, this is exactly why I am running a competitive campaign. I am saddened by political inaction by incumbents.

I will be at the September 19th Ward 5 All Candidates Meeting because I know that Burlington citizens are smart and they do care about the next four years. Remember to vote on October 22nd or better yet, vote early or even on line this year.

Mary Alice - speakingMary Alice St. James is a candidate for the ward 5 city council seat.  She is a retired elementary school teacher and a consistent advocate for better development in the city.

 

Return to the Front page

Halton Poverty Roundtable tells Minister that she didn't get it right - still time to change her mind.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 7th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sarah Sabihuddin, Director, Community Engagement, Halton Poverty Roundtable has written an Open Letter to Lisa MacLeod, a Minister in the Ontario government about the provinces decision to Basic Income Pilot Program in Ontario.

Dear Minister MacLeod:

We are writing in response to your government’s decision to end the Basic Income Pilot Program in Ontario. We strongly disagree with your decision to end this Pilot prematurely and without regard for the demonstrably positive impact that this program was having upon the lives of people living in poverty in our Province. As such, we respectfully urge you to reconsider a policy decision that will only serve to deepen the experience of poverty for millions of Ontario’schildren, families and seniors.

Lisa McLoud

Minister Lisa MacLeod

The Halton Poverty Roundtable is a registered charity who is a leader in connecting, educating, and acting on issues related to poverty in Halton. In our community, 1 in 10 of our neighbours do not know where their next meal will come from and 1 in 3 seniors are living below the poverty line. Our communities of Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills have over thirty seventhousand individuals who struggle daily to survive on low incomes, or who live in poverty.

Minister MacLeod, the conclusion of the first phase of the Basic Income Pilot in April of this year, brought with it an abundance of first-hand accounts of the difference that Basic Income had made to people’s lives. The decision to abandon the Pilot will cause needless difficulties for the participants struggling to escape poverty. Given the initial success of the program, we cannot understand the immediate need for cancelation. Surely, it would have been prudent to conclude the Pilot and use the resulting data in the development of social policy.

We are hopeful that your government’s announcement to reform Social Assistance in the next 100 days includes an inclusive and transparent process, collaboration across all sectors, and a fulsome consultation process including those living with the challenges of poverty. As you may know, having a 100 day timeline to reform the entire social assistance program will be met with challenges including: the potential for increases of punitive and ineffective approaches and models being implemented, the reduction of supports under the guise of decreasing resource costs and a lack of understanding of the lived experience of being on Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

As you embark on this reform, we would like to draw your attention to the living wage in Halton Region. In order for a family in Halton to cover their basic living expenses, a family of four would have to have both adults working 37.5 hours per week making $17.95 per hour. Clearly, minimum wage, Ontario Works and ODSP do not come close to affording recipients a basic standard of living in Halton. Your government’s proposed 1.5% increase in social assistance will do little to assist the most vulnerable people in our communities.

The Halton Poverty Roundtable respectfully requests that the Government of Ontario continue the Basic Income Pilot through to its conclusion before making a final decision as to the efficacy, both socially and financially, of the basic income concept.
In light of the current economic climate in Ontario, the low Canadian dollar, the ongoing trade tariff situation with the United States, combined with the cost of living, this is driving uncertainty for the most vulnerable. Bottom line, you know that it is harder for families to survive and the cancelation of the basic income pilot and the cut to our current social assistance program puts far too many at even greater risk.

Earlier this month, the federal government announced details of its first Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy (CPRS) – a national poverty plan that many in the non-for-profit and social services sector alongside people with lived experience have called for.

The Halton Poverty Roundtable, a regional organization, welcomes the launch of the CPRS and calls for the strategy to serve as a platform for further development of significantly stronger poverty elimination measures, policies, and programs at the federal level. In Halton, more than 13,500 children live in low income households, representing one in ten children. Many in our community have to decide between paying their rent, buying fresh food for their children, and paying for necessary medication.

The release of this strategy is a good start, although it does not allocate new funding nor did it announce any new initiatives. However, the CPRS provides a solid starting point as it introduces Canada’s official measure of poverty; concrete poverty reduction targets; and a National Advisory Council on Poverty.
If the CPRS strategy is going to work for those in our community, it must have full provincial support.

More importantly, we will only see measureable and long lasting results if municipalities and regional levels of government are engaged in the national conversation. All levels of government need to come together to create supports dedicated to addressing the underlying issues of poverty such as: mental and physical health, affordable housing, food security and a robust income security program, such as a basic income.

We are certainly excited that the vision of this strategy includes working towards a substantial reduction in poverty in Canada and recognizes the role that systemic discrimination plays as a barrier to people living in poverty. We are looking forward to participating and continuing the push for full elimination of poverty in our communities.

About Halton Poverty Roundtable:
The Halton Poverty Roundtable (HPRT) is a local non-profit and registered charity; a leader in connecting, educating and acting on issues related to poverty in Halton. For the past 7 years, we have been dedicated to shifting the conversation in Halton towards acknowledgment that poverty exists in our community, increasing education and awareness of poverty and then creating opportunity for community action.

Return to the Front page

Councillor Paul Sharman looking for a reason - any reason, to note have to face and debate the four people who want his council seat.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Paul Sharman has once again confused the forest for the trees.

He has said that he is not going to attend the debate for the ward 5 candidates until he knows who the Directors of ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington.

Sharman wants to know:

Who are the directors of the incorporated ECOB entity? I understand the original participants have resigned.

There has been no information about the ECOB “organization” on the website.

In the short history of ECOB there has been a continuous demonstration of divisiveness, disrespect of Council / City management, inflammatory misinformation and partisan posturing.

If the CFUW or any other respectable, objective, well established organization with a properly elected Board of Directors were to sponsor the September event, I would participate.

Otherwise, I will not participate in any event sponsored by ECOB.

I will post this message on all my public communications with respect to this event.

Does an organization that is organizing a debate have to respect the elected members of council when most of the members of this council have very little respect for the citizens who stand before than as a delegation.

ECOB Dec 13 #3

ECoB’s first public meeting attracted more than 100 people. Would that be enough to make them credible?

If Sharman would do his homework he would know that ECoB held an event for anyone interested in becoming a candidate for a seat on city council or serving as a school board trustee.

More than 100 people turned out for the first event ECoB held – they raised a significant amount of money at that event. Some of those funds are being used to organize the debates. Church hall rentals being one of the costs.

ECoB Crowd Feb 22

A room full of people who wanted to know more about running for public office. The event was organized by ECoB who had former council members and school board trustees on the panel. Would this make ECoB credible?

Sharman is using the credentials of the people organizing the event – the people doing the hard work to make the debates happen and to deal with the antics of the sitting members of council who are doing nothing but making the job of volunteers that much harder.

What Sharman is doing is creating a phony reason to not attend a debate where he will have to face candidates that have done their homework.

Wendy M up against Paul 2

Ward 5 candidate Wendy Morghan squaring of with Councillor Paul Sharman

St James outside with bd

Mary Alice St. James talking to people outside a public meeting in the Lakeside Village Plaza where an massive change to the community was being presented.

Return to the Front page

Why is it that the incumbents don't want to defends what they have done for the past eight years?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 5th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sharman puzzled LVP

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman listening to east end residents.

Councillor Sharman wasn’t certain that ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington – had the legitimacy or credibility to organize a series of debates for residents in each of the city’s six wards.

Dennison announcing

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison

Councillor Dennison chose not to take part in the debate opportunity.

Councillor Lancaster took issue with Mark Carr moderating the ward level debates – ECoB arranged for a different moderator.

What is it about these three statement that are similar?

All three are members of a city council that has been in place for eight years and they aren’t interested in debating the issues.

Sharman and Dennison face very serious challenges – Lancaster has a battle on her hands. All three could be collecting pension before the end of the year.

The people of Burlington are now at a point where they want to be at the table where the decisions are made. They have trusted their members of city council to act in the best interests of the electorate. Many think that trust is now misplaced.

We have a democratic process where the elected go before the electorate and defend what they have done in the past and explain what they propose to do in the future.

Instead, Lancaster takes issue with Mark Carr being the moderator – and what might the basis of that concern be? Carr has been moderating the panel discussion The Issue on Cogeco TV for years. No one has ever suggested that he has shown any bias.

Lancaster on bullying

Ward 6 Councilor Blair Lancaster chairing a Standing Committee

Just what could Mark Carr do in a public debate that would harm Lancaster’s interests? This is a candidate who has come up with a case of the jitters.

Lancaster did much the same thing when the Gazette sponsored a debate in ward six when she was up against nine other candidates in ward six. On that occasion Lancaster didn’t have the “cahonies” to complain directly – she had her sister Brenda do the complaining. Slimy stuff.

Sharman has no use for any citizen group that he doesn’t control. And he doesn’t like situations where he can’t control the agenda. Ward 5 has two female candidates who are going to be in his face demanding answers to their questions and explanations behind some of his questionable behaviour during this election and that is taking far from his comfort zone.

Poor Jack Dennison – he hopes that if he can do his door to door campaigning and continue to charm the residents he can squeak through. It doesn’t look as if he is going to get away with that approach this time.

The beauty about the democracy we have is that the voters put an x mark on a piece of paper and put their marked ballot in a box – it’s a secret ballot. By the end of the election eve – the voters will know if their will was focused enough to bring about a change.

Councillors Taylor and Craven chose not to run for re-election. Craven has never been beaten – and he would probably win another term of office had he chosen not to retire. No word yet on what he wants to do next.

Councillor Taylor came to the realization that it was time to put the gauntlets on different hands. A wise decision on his part. He has served well for the most part and should be recognized for his contribution. Did he stay too long? The voters didn’t think so. He never lost an election and was acclaimed on at least one occasion.

Residents have been complaining for more than a year about the absence of the kind of engagement they want to see in the direction the city grows.

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie has delegated to the city in dozens of occasions – doubts he has ever been heard.

Council has failed to hear what the citizens are saying and staff, who serve at the will of Council, take their que from city council.

The public is very unhappy with staff, particularly with the Planning department and the Office of the City Manager.

Should there be a new city council – there will be changes at the senior staff level.

guillotineIn the meantime there are going to be debates in every ward of the city so that citizens can hear what those who want to serve have to say for themselves. Those who have served will be asked why they should be re-elected.

Three of those seeking re-election: Sharman, Dennison and Lancaster are being dragged into the debates kicking and screaming.

Same thing happened in the French Revolution when the guillotine was put into almost daily use.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher

Return to the Front page

Is the management of supply for dairy and poultry doomed? It is certainly not going to be the same - will any change lower prices?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 1st, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The one thing that all of our federal parties agree on is their support for Canada’s supply management system. Pierre Trudeau may have invented the program for dairy, poultry and turkeys back four decades ago, but Brian Mulroney expanded it in his time. And Parliament unanimously endorsed supply management in 2005. The alternative to supply management is what we saw back in the sixties and what see south of the border now.

milk USfarmers-destroying-milk

When markets were saturated milk got poured into fields. Supply management controls what is produced and farm incomes are kept stable.

Periodically farmers in Wisconsin and other big dairy states will dump millions of gallons of milk out behind the barn and into their plowed fields. They have no other option since the markets are saturated and they couldn’t even give the product away. But it’s no big deal because they know there is a federal cheque on the way to tide them over – until the next time.

It’s about market signals. That invisible hand of Adam Smith which worked so perfectly in economic text books goes numb when put into practice in our imperfect world. However Canada’s quota supply management system gives farmers market certainty, so they can plan their expenditures accordingly. The result has been stability and wealth creation.

But not everyone agrees with supply management. Donald Trump for one, as he has threatened to end NAFTA unless Canada shuts it down. He’d prefer all that Wisconsin milk to be dumped in Canada instead of in the furrow behind the plow so he could get away with paying his farmers a smaller subsidy. But not all Americans agree with Trump.

The Wisconsin Farmers Union, the National Family Farm Coalition and Institute for Agricultural & Trade Policy, support Canada’s right to manage its internal food production system. In fact they have been lobbying for the US to adopt its own comparable supply management system. And they’ll probably have as much success as those Americans advocating the adoption of Canadian-style single-payer health care.

Opponents of supply management argue that the system is inherently less efficient than the unregulated market alternative. Were that true the price of milk should reflect such inefficiency. But that is not the case. The 2018 AC Nielson Fresh Milk Price Report studied what consumers have to pay in a number of countries, in Canadian dollars, over the twelve month period ending in October 2017.

milk on shelves

Canada had the least expensive milk

Canada, at $1.50 a litre, had the least expensive milk among the nations surveyed. Australia was next at $1.57, followed by the US at $1.61 for Canadian comparable rBST-free (hormone free) milk. Prices in France came in at $1.77 per litre and export oriented New Zealand surprisingly sold its domestic milk for $1.83 a litre, raising the question of how it manages to sell as much as it does in export markets at that price. Tiny New Zealand owns between 12 to 16% of the global export market, compared to Canada which has virtually none.

New Zealand and Australia have the huge advantage that dairy farmers there don’t require costly winter housing or much stored feed for their animals. New Zealand dairy farm costs may be as little as half those in Canada as a result. But that many dairy cows in the historic land of the flightless kiwi bird has taken it’s toll. It is estimated that 60% of the internal waterways there are contaminated with animal wastes to the point that it is unsafe to swim. And agriculture has become the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for that country.

Methane is over twenty times more powerful a GHG pollutant than carbon dioxide and cows emit a lot of methane as they digest their food. Then there is all the inevitable manure and the extensive application of nitrogen fertilizers used to enhance pastures. As a result, New Zealand has grown it’s GHG emissions by almost 20% just since 1990.

Canadians spend a relatively small percentage of their household budget on food, roughly 10%, down considerably from only a couple decades ago. So perhaps that is why so few Canadians can be bothered learning how their market quota system works. An Angus Reid poll indicated that most Canadians admitted they knew “nothing at all” about Canada’s dairy system.

SupplyManagement-2_960x1025

The system also takes wide price swings out of an important part of a food source.

It is a complicated process with federal and provincial milk boards and quotas for industrial and fluid milk, etc. And that makes it politically vulnerable, as we have seen with other complicated programs – like Ontario’s now cancelled cap and trade system. The general public likes things made simple, and which can be explained in a sound bite. So almost a quarter of ordinary Canadians would be OK were the system scrapped, and almost half would be willing to sacrifice it in NAFTA negotiations.

However there is also a chorus of well educated, vocal and persistent detractors who seriously want Canada to ditch its supply management system. And these advocates span the political divide. Liberal parliamentarian Martha Hall Findlay made scrapping it her major policy plank, which partly explains her loss to Justin Trudeau in the last Liberal leadership contest. And Maxime Bernier, the odds on favourite to win the recent Conservative leadership race narrowly fell on this issue to Andrew Scheer, and was defeated by dairy sector delegates from his home province.

maxime-bernier

Maxine Bernier, who wants to abandon supply management, comes out of a province where there are more milk producers than any other province.

Bernier, who has been described as a true libertarian, has now left the Tories and is threatening to create a new neo-conservative party of his own. Conservatives can recall how the last right wing splinter party, Reform, helped give the Chretien Liberals three consecutive majority governments, and led to the virtual destruction of the party of Sir John A.

So one can hardly blame them for being a little nervous about Bernier’s intentions and his appeal to the right wing of Canadian politics, joining the Libertarian party and the so-called Christian Heritage. And that should make Mr. Scheer want to reconsider his party’s discomfort with either a preferential ballot or proportional representation electoral system, particularly if Bernier resonates as well as he has in the past.

Friday, August 31 was the deadline Trump gave for Canada to cave into all of the US demands or there’d be no deal and the US would tariff us into oblivion. And if we licked his boots Canada could become a signatory to the deal Trump struck with Mexico. The US was not going to compromise on any of their conditions. Art of the deal or not, if one side won’t compromise it’s called capitulation, not negotiation. NAFTA is kaput unless this Congress, which has the annoying habit of asking ‘how high before Trump can say jump’, is willing to stop him.

The dairy producing sector is declining globally and milk producers everywhere are worried about their fate – except in Canada. Milk is healthy for children but indigestible for many of us once we reach adulthood. Even Trump doesn’t drink the stuff. But milk is entrenched in Canada’s Food Guide and milk protein has been integrated into so much of our food processing and specialty products that it will continue to be with us into the foreseeable future.

Recent polling shows that almost all Canadians are overwhelmingly content with the range and quality of dairy products available in Canada and two-thirds of Canadians are satisfied with the prices they pay.” If it’s not broken we should not be fixing it, no matter what Mr. Trump thinks he wants and how inappropriately he tries to bully us.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.  He earned a degree in economics.   Tweet @rayzrivers

 

Background links:

Supply Management –     Bernier –    Conservative Policies

New Zealand and Dairy –    New Zealand Emissions

Return to the Front page

Woodruff: The purpose of a city is to hold people - how Burlington does that is the challenge.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 31st, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

James Burchill released the fourth and final Smart Car Coffee Confidential this morning – and it is a lot different than the first three.

This morning we get to see and hear what Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff has to say as he runs a campaign to become the next Mayor of Burlington.

Woodruff and Burchill

Greg Woodruff on the left with James Burchill as they do a Coffee Confidential interview while driving around in a Smart Car

He is up against the incumbent Rick Goldring;  former city Councillor and former Member of Parliament for Burlington, Mike Wallace and ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.

In another article we are going to publish all four interviews that were done in the car that Burchill drives around the city.

Greg Woodruff is different – but he is certainly worth a listen. Worth more than one listen.

CLICK HERE for what Woodruff has to say.

If he is right …. Well listen to what he has to say.

 

Return to the Front page

When expensive political campaign strategists are brought in you know the candidate is getting close to the bone

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 30th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It’s a story that isn’t going to go away and the telephone election polling being done doesn’t appear to be stopping.

Campaign Research appears to have revised the questions they are asking the people they call in Burlington which suggests that the client is still intent on attempting to collect some information and at the same time using historical information out of context to hammer the reputation Mayoralty candidate Marianne Meed Ward’s reputation,

Meed Ward worked for a number of years as a columnist for the Toronto Sun. Anyone who wants to put a specific spin on what another person who writes for the public won’t find it difficult to do a really good smear job on them. Columnists have opinions – that’s why they are hired. Some are provocative, others entertaining. We all have our favourites.

I usually can’t wait to read what Maureen Dowd has to say in the New York Times and there is certainly a colourful background story on her.

Looking north from Queens Head

There is a lot of money riding on this development. They want what the guy across the street has in terms of height. This rendering is on Brant from the Queen’s Head looking north.

What Burlington is seeing is this – significant financial interests don’t like the impact Meed Ward is having on the rate and kind of development the city is experiencing.

Meed Ward, often described as a populist (I’ve never understood what’s wrong with being a populist) can be very blunt and direct. She has an agenda – as a politician she is supposed to have an agenda.

For some politicians their agenda is for the ward they represent. Meed Ward has always seen the city and the Region as her agenda and a city that meets the needs of the people who live here as she understands them.

She is described as well as “divisive” – that she isn’t a team player. She has chosen not to work with the current political team at city hall because she thinks they are dead wrong and she has a level of support that suggests she just might be right.

That she has the support of a large sector of the city impacts what the developers are going to get away with. Development is now all about money.

There was a time when developers cared about the communities they were building – that day has come and gone. It is now about how much you can make and keep.

The number of new developers who are new to Burlington is significant. They see a market in which they can get just about anything they want – and they are either buying up properties or getting options to buy.
Residents see opportunities to make a bundle on selling their homes – everyone wins.

Meed Ward sees it differently.

St.-Lukes-Caroline-looking-east-from-Hager-1024x578

Quiet streets with good homes – the Burlington many people want to defend and they believe Meed Ward is the person who will deliver for them.

She believes that the city is where people live and the quality of life they have experienced can continue as long as there is some level of control over the growth that is taking place.

There are numbers being put out saying that the city has to grow by a certain number of homes and jobs – it doesn’t look as if anyone knows what the 30+ development applications that are said to be working their way through the Planning department will amount to.

Which brings us back to the telephone survey that has been taking place and is still underway.
Someone wants to know just where the political support is in this city. There are three serious candidates (the fourth needs to get another hobby). Each offers very clear choices.

MMW benefit graphic

Meed Ward has always been a different campaign. She ruffles the feathers of her colleagues on city council; asks more questions than all the others combined and truly believes that the people she represent deserve a better form of local government.

The Meed Ward choice threatens the interests of people with a lot of money who don’t want to lose the opportunities they see in Burlington.

So they do some research and in the process do whatever they can to besmirch the reputation of one of the candidates by bringing up stuff she wrote more than a decade ago and then putting it in a different context.

It’s sort of like asking a man if he is still beating his wife. The answer to the question isn’t the issue – it is the question that is all wrong.

That’s what applies to what it taking place now and people in Burlington need to see the situation for what it is.

This business about being divisive is just another way of saying Meed Ward asks questions that make me uncomfortable – and that she does. That’s what her job is and she appears to be doing it quite well – too well for some people.

Goldring doing CBC interview

Mayor Rick Goldring being interviewed by CBC

The CBC radio office in Hamilton has done a good job of digging out a large part of the story. (We would love to have the resources they have.) They got a statement from the Mayor – he appears to have chosen not to release a statement to all media. Goldring, who is running for re-election against Meed Ward, said he had nothing to do with the poll. “It was definitely not me. It’s certainly not my style.”

In the CBC report Councillor Marianne Meed Ward says she first received word from residents on Sunday afternoon she was being mentioned in a telephone survey conducted by Toronto-based consulting firm Campaign Research — which counts controversial conservative political strategist Nick Kouvalis as one of its heads.

Meed Ward called the statements made about her “untrue, inflammatory and defamatory.” Campaign Research denies that. “This is heinous and it needs to stop,” Meed Ward said.

Sue Connor with Jim Young

Jim Young at a transit meeting.

Burlington resident Jim Young told said he received a call Monday afternoon.  “It started off like a fairly regular political poll, he said, “consisting of rating candidates on a scale of one to 10, and indicating how certain he was that he would support a particular candidate.”

Young said that he planned to vote for Meed Ward and then the tone of the questions the person was asking changed.

“At that point, the questions became very strange,” Young said. The woman conducting the poll said she was going to give several statements about Meed Ward, and instructed Young to indicate on a scale of one to 10 how likely he was to change his vote because of them.

The questions asked, which don’t deserve repeating, were in Jim Young’s words “seemed like character assassination.”

Young wanted to complain about the questions being asked and was told that the survey was being done by Campaign Research and was offered a telephone number in case he wanted to complain.
Young said he called the number, and got an automated recording for Campaign Research.

Campaign Research denies survey was defamatory

In an email, Campaign Research Principal Richard Ciano said the company will not “disclose, discuss, confirm, or deny the existence of any matter relating to who its clients are, or may be, or any work Campaign Research Inc. may perform on behalf of its clients unless specifically required to do so by law, or unless specifically directed to do so by our clients.”

Nick of Campaign Research

Nick Kouvalis, a campaign strategist with a reputation os his own that he uses to drum up business from people who want deep background on public office candidates.

Legal counsel for Campaign Research said, “We vehemently contest your characterization of the subject statements as ‘defamatory’.”

He also said the poll was conducted for “another market research firm, whose identity we cannot disclose due to confidentiality.”

A bunch of guys just taking care of business – see them for what they are.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher

Return to the Front page