City administration runs amok with electioneering rules that defy understanding.

opinionviolet 100x100

By Jim Young

September 10th, 2018


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?


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



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



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



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



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



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



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.


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.


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



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



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.


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

Greg Woodruff - This, as far as I can see, has not worked anywhere on the planet.

opinionviolet 100x100By Greg Woodruff

August 30th, 2018



In 2014 I was going around saying Burlington’s transit strategy is no more complicated than “Walk, Bike or stay home.” I figured that would make others explain what the transit strategy actually was. No luck on that count 4 years later we have – absolutely nothing. The upside is the website didn’t need any adjusting for the 2018 campaign. The downside being I live here.

The transit strategy when it finally arrives I suspect it will be full of city math. Where 2+2 doesn’t equal 4, because 2 of those people will stay home for no explicable reason.

I once said to a City staff member at a meeting that; “There is no realistic way you can get 100,000 more people into Burlington.” I fear they took the comment as a dare because. The “Grow Bold” plan puts at least 100,000 people in Burlington.

Realty time. All these high-rise buildings sit atop massive parking lots – all these people are bringing cars. Maybe they are not bringing two cars like traditional suburbs, but they still bring cars. How if
100,000 plus people are coming are we not going to cross the James Ridge
50,000 car doomsday line? The math just doesn’t add up.

Never fear though this problem will be solved by the “New Burlingtonian” who for some reason buys a car but never uses it. Yes, they made sure to get a parking space and bought the car, but it never goes anywhere. Existing residents will find hours of new time for walking, biking and bussing.

As you can imagine, running for office, you end up talking to a lot of people. I’ve never run into one person who is planning to modify there life to fit this new paradigm; Not one.

So the manifestation of everyone going about their busy lives; getting groceries, getting the kids to soccer, visiting friends or going to work – is that the road system will keep becoming an ever greater waste of time.

Don’t worry say transit experts; at some point, driving will waste so much time – people will give up on it. They drive less – fewer cars on road – problem solved. The math is solved not by making the numbers add up, but by changing the definition of two. Changing how much and how people are expected to travel.

This as far as I can see has not worked anywhere on the planet. What you discover is that those people who bought parking spaces and cars – use them. Though the road system gets ever more painful – it’s not more painful than trying to walk home with a case of canned tomatoes.

I might have to modify my line  for the 2018 campaign to:  “Walk, Bike, stay home or waste incredible amounts of time and gas”.

Related new article:

Transportation study: A draft is sitting on a desk somewhere in city hall.

Greg WoodruffGreg Woodruff is a candidate for Mayor in Burlington.  He ran as a candidate for Chair of the Halton Regional Council.  Woodruff lives in Aldershot.

Return to the Front page

Transportation study: A draft is sitting on a desk somewhere in city hall.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 29th, 2018



City hall is telling citizens that over the next 25 years, Burlington is going to grow in its urban areas.

“With 193,000 people expected to live in Burlington by 2031, the city is planning for future population growth including how people will move through the city.

“Over the last 30 years, Burlington’s transportation network has accommodated growth by building more roadways. This strategy is no longer sustainable. The city does not have the space to build new roadways and the financial cost to maintain a larger network of roads is significant.

“A 21st century city is built around a different transportation model, one designed to provide people of all ages and abilities with more travel choices for things like walking, cycling and transit.

“Go Bold is Burlington’s Transportation Plan. The plan is built around eight new directions for the City of Burlington. When implemented, these directions will result in a new era of transportation.

In a Transportation study that seems to be talking ages to make it to a city council Sanding Committee the department explains that eight New Directions are being worked on.

The study will provide a wide range of options for getting around regardless of age, means or ability, including walking, cycling, public transit and automobiles

Uses compact modes of travel like buses, bicycles and walking to efficiently move larger number of people

Is well connected to transportation systems in surrounding regions

Offers fast, reliable and more frequent transit

Features improved facilities and safety for cyclists and pedestrians


Traffic barriers in place on LAkeshore for the Car Free Sunday last year were expensive and not really used. The event was poorly attended.

Fully Align Land Use and Transportation

Ensure all land use and transportation decisions made at City Hall, from policy-making to budgeting, are integrated and support walking, biking, transit.




Re-think streets

There was a time when LAkeshore was known as Water Street and traffic was a little slower. But Burlington isn't a sleepy little town anymore - traffic has toi be controlled.

There was a time when Lakeshore was known as Water Street and traffic was a little slower. But Burlington isn’t a sleepy little town anymore – traffic has to be controlled.

Rethink Streets

Creating more travel options for the community means thinking differently about how our city streets look and function. One of the ways to allow for more travel choice is to create complete streets. These are streets that are designed to be safe, comfortable and efficient for people of every age and ability including pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and drivers. They also easily connect people to the places they live, work and play.

In rural areas we, envision the potential for rural roads to serve more than just automobiles, but instead as key pieces of infrastructure that improve community interconnectivity and social interaction.


Prioritize choices

Lot of traffic lights at big pole

Reprioritize Mobility Choices

Reprioritize decision making at City Hall to support the creation of new facilities for walking, biking, transit that can compete with the automobile.





New street - being rebuilt

New Street when the Road Diet was thought to be a good idea.

No new street capacityNo New Street Capacity

Land use intensification with further auto-oriented design will only result in continued auto-dependency, expensive infrastructure and overall traffic failure. Understanding that as the city grows, expanded mobility will be achieved by investing in walking, biking, and transit instead of building new roadways.




Walking more enjoyableSnow on street - lady - walkerMake Walking More Enjoyable

Walking is the foundation of the transportation system. Design streets that are safe, vibrant, active and easy to navigate.






Biking more enjoyableCycling in BurlingtonMake Biking More Enjoyable

Design streets with biking infrastructure that provides a safe, well connected system throughout the city. In the rural areas, encourage development of biking opportunities over time with infrastructure where strategically appropriate.




Public transit more enjoyableBfast poster with BG logoMake Public Transit Enjoyable

Implement significant and strategic improvements to transit in order to improve experience and increase ridership. The result is a transit network that offers quick, reliable and more frequent transit service.





Transit - Vito Tolone

Vito Tolone – Director of Transportation

Walk the talk folow thru“Walk the Talk” in the Follow Through

Dedicate energy and attention to ensuring the actions identified in GoBold are implemented. Align decision making and budgeting to support the new mobility hierarchy.





Phony baloney according to ward 2 city council candidate Lisa Kearns. She explained to a small audience last week that the problem with all these studies is that they are never related to each other.

Her example was the traffic study done for the now approved development on the NE corner of Brant and James, directly across from city hall makes no mention of the traffic study done for the development Reserve Properties wants to put up on the SE corner of that intersection.

Kearns at podium

Lisa Kearns before she announced her decision to run for the ward 2 city council seat.

According to Kearns it makes no sense to look at the traffic projection studies independently.

There is a report on traffic impacts attached to every application – the problem is that the cumulative impact of the developments never appears in the reports and so far the public hasn’t seen anything from the Transportation department on just what that cumulative impact is going to look like.

The people who live in the downtown core don’t need a study to know what the impact is going to be – they experience it every time they drive in the downtown core.

Using her whimsical, straight to the point style Lisa Kearns got it right: phony baloney indeed.

Return to the Front page

A strong, direct statement on what one citizen feels is wrong with city hall as people begin to think about who the next city Councillors should be.

opinionred 100x100By Stephen White

August 28th, 2018



The Burlington Community Engagement Charter is not the Ten Commandments, and the last time I checked James Ridge was not Moses. Uttering a collection of sanctimonious pronouncements and expecting that suddenly things will change for the better or be done differently is not only naive but is foolhardy and absurd in the extreme.

Real engagement is not about a slick website with colourful pictures, or pretty PowerPoint presentations, or holding public meetings feigning interest while citizens rail on about the latest development proposal desecrating neighbourhoods. It is about real communication based on a respect for and an appreciation of the benefits that come from joint problem-solving, articulation of divergent viewpoints, and the search for viable solutions. Most importantly, it is a dialogue and sharing amongst equals.

The city holds budget review meetings that draw 50 people sometimes - seldom more. Putting questions about the budget on line and letting a panel of 5,000 people respond would give city hall a much bigger picture. They may not like the response they get - then what do they do?

Citizens at a budget meeting, reviewing a budget that has already been decided on. White wants that to change to a process that involves public input before the budget is cast in stone.

What we have in Burlington is a power imbalance that works for the benefit of a few against the interests of many. We have a Mayor who has really proven powerless to lead over the past four years, and who keeps trying to appease everyone with platitudes but really ends up pleasing no one. We have a Council who, despite multiple appeals and admonitions to the contrary over the past two years. has pushed their bloody-minded OP and Mobility Hubs agenda over the objections and against the wishes of residents.

All of this has played out against a backdrop of the business community, supported by the Chamber of Commerce and developers, who keep telling us, figuratively at least, to just shut up and drink the Kool-Aid, and whose grandiose promises extolling the virtues of development are over hyped while the negative externalities (e.g. traffic congestion, too few parking spaces, lack of green spaces, etc.) are dramatically under-reported. And watching it all from the sidelines are municipal public servants whose contribution to this circus performance is to continually prattle on about how we all need to “Grow Bold” and “intensify” while producing copious amounts of communications drivel intended to mollify an increasingly militant and wearisome public, all done in the name of “engagement”.

We can change our Mayor, and we change our Council, but those actions, in and of themselves, will not yield change post October 22nd. What we really need to change is the process and the players who manage it.

Beachway meeting April7-15 full house

Citizens gather for a public meeting on what should be done with private homes in the Beachway. Their views were not included in the final decision. The Region will buy every house when it comes on the market.

Consultation and dialogue needs to occur from the outset, not as an afterthought. We need dedicated resources at City Hall, not aligned with developers, who will aid citizens and support neighbourhoods when mounting objections to development proposals. We need City Hall support to create and sustain neighbourhood and ratepayers’ associations as a non-elected counter-veiling force to challenge developers and as a conduit to meaningful citizen engagement.

We need advisory panels whose members are reflective of the community, and not populated with special interest advocates. We need to build in the concept of engagement and communication into every business process that is conducted municipally, and not just some pious Engagement Charter that gets framed and hung on a wall somewhere and is essentially meaningless.

CHAT group photo

Members of ChAT – the Charter Action Team responsible for ensuring that the Engagement Charter is actually complied with.

Those who manage the process need to be evaluated and held accountable on how well they actually do it.

And finally, we need to open up a serious discussion around the continued employment of several municipal public servants whose past derisive comments and behaviour don’t exactly connote with the concept of “engagement”.

Related news story.

The Engagement Charter.

The Shape Burlington Report

Stephen White is a Burlington resident who lives on the east side of the city.  He comments from time to time on how well the city is run.

Return to the Front page

We will keep you informed. We will implement what you decide. It's all in a promise the city made to you.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 23rd, 2018



Is it deliberate?

Or is it from an organization that is now so dysfunctional that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

We published an opinion piece by ward 2 city council candidate Roland Tanner who wrote about a meting that was very poorly promoted, pointing out that even the ward Councillor and candidate for Mayor didn’t know about it.

We did a follow up piece on how a public meeting on such a critical matter could be so poorly promoted. We kept coming across the Get Involved part of the city web site.

CHAT group photo

Those who know or should know how to communicate effectively: Back row, left  Kwab Ako-Adjei, Senior Manager of Government Relations and Strategic Communications,. Bottom row, centre Donna Kell, Manager of Public Affairs and to her left city manager James Ridge. They would have signed off on the ChAT report.

While we were reading up on Getting Involved we came across ChAT – an interesting group that, in their group photograph, has several city staff in the group – including Kwab Ako-Adjei, Senior Manager of Government Relations and city manager James Ridge.

In April 2013, Burlington City Council approved the first Burlington Community Engagement Charter. The Charter was created by citizens with support from staff. It is an agreement between and among Burlington City Council and the community concerning citizen engagement with City government and establishes the commitments, responsibilities and fundamental concepts of this relationship.

Ako-Adjei and Ridge surely know something about communicating.

ChAT had their most recent annual report on the web site.

Some excerpts from that document

1. Ensure notification is as widespread as possible:

a. Use communication tools that include City of Burlington website, local print media, online digital communication, direct delivery and social media.
b. Reach out to groups/individuals that may be affected by proposed developments, policies, initiatives, studies and municipal projects.
c. Create and develop partnerships that will help reach out to citizens.
d. Ensure that communication plans include early and widespread notifications.
e. Where appropriate, provide progress and/or completion notices.

2. Ensure notification is given early enough so that the citizens may be fully engaged:

a. Set up and maintain a way for citizens and groups to subscribe or sign up for early notification through email, social media or other means.
b. Advise the public of proposed developments, policies, meetings and major projects as soon as possible. For major projects and public meetings, at least two weeks notice to the public is expected. Exceptions will be made in emergency situations where less than two weeks notice will apply.

3. Support staff in providing early and widespread notification so that it becomes part of the corporate culture:

a. Provide staff training in effective public engagement practices through workshops and e-learning opportunities.

4. Collaborate with citizens and partners in empowering citizens through different means of communicating:

a. Use existing resources in the community to help to provide information as soon as possible.
b. Develop and use networks for information sharing of contacts.

5. Clearly communicate meeting dates and deadlines:

a. Schedule public meetings to take place early and with opportunities for public input into decision- making.
b. Create a central point on the City’s website where all dates are available.
c. Ensure dates are reflected on City project pages on the website.
d. Include dates in all relevant communication materials.

CHAT promise to the public graphic

Is this happening?

It is so immoral for a city to publish statements like this and then fail miserably to deliver on the promise.

The people who work at city hall want to be seen as professionals – and they should be. But there is nothing professional about how that public meeting Wednesday night came into being.

Burlington once had a city manager who made mistakes – and he had the decency to apologize publicly for the mistakes he made.

And he wasn’t crass enough to define his mistakes as a “learning opportunity”.

Related opinion and news stories:

Roland Tanner opinion piece

Public meeting that failed.

Return to the Front page

Planners looking for public input - too little too late says ward 2 candidate.

opinionviolet 100x100By Roland Tanner

August 22nd, 2018



The City is holding two drop-in open houses for residents to learn more about the mid-rise building guidelines currently being developed.

A mid rise building is defined as any building between five and eleven stories high. The guidelines will be presented to Council on November (after the election, but before the new Council takes office).

1. Take the online survey

2. Attend the open houses

Wednesday, August 22nd from 6pm to 8pm at the Art Gallery of Burlington

Thursday, August 30th from 1:30pm to 3:30pm at the Art Gallery of Burlington

The city advises that “your input will be used to help create the guidelines that will be presented to Burlington City Council in November 2018”.

Mid rise example Tanner

An example of a mid-rise structure

How this affects you

The city guidelines that are adopted will have a large effect on all future development that fall within the ‘mid-rise’ heights. For instance, the tall building guidelines agreed in 2017 set out certain required features for any tall buildings which are planned. These include things like road setbacks, public accessible areas and architectural features. In theory, the guidelines should ensure that new buildings which fall within their remit are designed appropriately and fit well within and transition to the neighbourhoods where they are planned.

Public engagement – too little, too late

As is so often the case, it appears that public engagement on these design guidelines are happening late, at a time of year when many people are away, and with relatively little notice. Residents are being asked to provide informed feedback on design criteria which will have already been planned and considered for many months by city staff and/or consultants.

I feel it is unlikely that bringing in citizens at a stage when so much work has already been done is likely to enable any significant discussion of the guidelines which will result in meaningful adjustment of the guidelines. The decision will be made by council before most residents have even become aware that the guidelines are under discussion. To my knowledge, there has been very little publicity of the public meetings until this week.

What could have happened:

Public meetings at the start of the staff process of drafting design guidelines.
Based on public meeting initial feedback, creation of a short-term citizen-staff committee to research and explore design guideline possibilities.

Citizen committee empowered to reach out and engage further with residents by a range of methods and ensure voices of entire community are heard from all demographic areas, communicate, liaise and interview staff.

Citizen recommendations included as integral part of staff draft guidelines which are then presented to further meetings, via questionnaires, advertised in local media.

Final adjustments made to draft guidelines.
Council considers guidelines which have been developed by staff and residents in a collaborative process.

What’s worse that no engagement? Engagement done badly

I believe that the current City engagement methods actually do more harm than good. By holding ineffective ‘engagement’ sessions where citizens can do little more than provide extremely minimal feedback, late in the process, citizens end up feeling more rather than less resentful of the decision-making process. Not only are they being ignored, but they’ve given up an evening of their lives to be ignored less efficiently. Bad engagement, in many ways, is worse than no engagement at all.

If we are going to ask citizens for their opinions, it’s essential that it happens in a way that those opinions are heard, respected, and built into the development of plans and guidelines from the very outset.

Nevertheless, I encourage all Ward 2 residents to attend the open houses and complete the online survey if you have the time available.

Roland TannerRoland Tanner is a candidate for the ward 2 city council seat.  He was a member of the Shape Burlington report that was adopted by city council unanimously – then never acted upon.

Return to the Front page

Drummond on the new provincial government - How are they doing so far?

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

August 20th, 2018



Last Tuesday, the Doug Ford government’s first legislative session came to a close. It was clear from the outset of the session that Ford wanted to accomplish much and was willing to endure widespread public opposition to do it. However, it was also abundantly clear throughout the session that the government was being run top down from the Premier’s office and Ford’s ministers were frequently unprepared to discuss government policy until they had been briefed, even when it was regarding decisions within their own department.

Tory Education Minister Lisa Thomson

Education Minister Lisa Thomson: Old sex ed program to be used.

One of the areas that has been the source of the most confusion has been the Ministry of Education and Minister Lisa Thompson. One of the government’s first acts was to announce that they would be removing the current curriculum for Health and Phys Ed (colloquially known as Sex Ed) and replace it with the 1998 version from Mike Harris’ government. This decision was immediately met with near universal condemnation, as the 20-year-old curriculum does not cover topics such as cyberbullying, consent, sexting, or same-sex relationships.

The government’s reaction showed how unprepared they were for this decision. They have flip flopped four or five times, and eventually Minister Thompson ran from reporters rather than be forced to give further non-answers to what the government’s plans are. To this point, the government still has not communicated to school boards what the expectations are, and the Elementary Teacher’s Federation as well as many school boards have announced that they will continue teaching the existing curriculum.

The debate on what the curriculum should include notwithstanding, it is the chaos and lack of direction from the government that is most troubling. Minister Thompson seems to not have any idea why she is changing the curriculum, what she is changing it to, or how to implement such a change. Students in Halton are now going to be at risk of losing valuable lessons that have been recommended by police, health professionals, and social workers because the government is dysfunctional enough on this file to ensure no one knows what to do.

Another important area of education is school repair. During the election campaign, it was identified by the group Fix Our Schools that Ontario had $15.9 billion in overdue school repairs. Many Conservative MPPs signed a pledge to address this. The pledge specifically commits the MPP to “Support the provision of adequate, stable funding needed to ensure that by 2022 all Ontario schools meet this “State of Good Repair Standard”.” Burlington MPP Jane McKenna and Minister Thompson signed the pledge (it is worth noting that Effie Triantafilopoulos did not). One of the government’s early actions was to announce the cancellation of the Cap and Trade program, one part of which included $100 million in school repair funding annually. In response to the public uproar on this, Minister Thompson announced 3 days later the program would be reviewed before being cancelled, but has not commented further in the month since.

Following through on this pledge is critical for Halton, which on its own has hundreds of millions in needed repairs. But it is important from a different perspective as well. Citizens are cynical about politics. Many believe that politicians will say anything to get elected and then only act in their own best interest once in power. We need to all fight that assumption. But it starts with the ones who were elected on June 7th. They need to follow through on their word. If Jane McKenna signed a pledge, she needs to act on it. Even if she is not strong enough within the government benches to accomplish change, she needs to stand up and say she is trying. Or stand up and say anything. Silence makes you complicit in the deceit.

Tory buck a beer

Buck a Beer program gets announced – few craft brewers sign on.

Another of the flagship promises of the government was to lower the regulations on the minimum price of beer from $1.25 a bottle to $1. This was a very popular promise from Ford on the hustings, but another that was short-sighted in practice. The first point that the Conservatives failed to consider was that although the current mandated minimum price is $1.25 a bottle, no beer in Ontario was actually selling at that price. The lowest price for 24 bottles of beer is currently $35.50 at the Beer Store (or $1.48/bottle). If no beer company could afford to sell at $1.25 why would they at $1?

To avoid the PR problem that it would cause, Ford lined up a single brewery in Prince Edward County to commit to selling beer for $1 (despite their current cheapest beer selling for $2.95). He also offered the “Buck-a-Beer Challenge” to breweries where they would be given priority marketing spaces at the LCBO free of charge in exchange for lowering their beer price. To date, I am not aware of any other brewery taking him up on it. Buck-a-Beer by itself is a relatively minor issue, but it again showed a government not ready for governing and making poor decisions without forethought.

When Finance Minister Vic Fideli said on radio that the government needed to get Buck-a-Beer in place for the Labour Day long weekend so they could then focus on other priorities, it reinforced the image of a government that is out of touch with the things that people actually need. This was followed up with local opposition from nearly every craft brewery in Ontario. Burlington’s own Nickel Brook Brewery put out the following statement:

“Nickel Brook will not take part in the proposed “buck a beer” plan. We’ve always been about quality & don’t aim to change that now, or ever. We have no intention in joining a race to the bottom. We stand with our fellow craft brewers in opposing this gimmick by Ford.”

Tory Staffers applauding

Tory staffers paid to clap during media events to drown out questions from reporters.

All of these decisions have been hasty and ill conceived. There has also been a variety of “Trump-style” attempts to control or discredit the media. Throughout August, the Ford government sent paid government staffers to Ministerial press conferences to loudly applaud and drown out reporter’s questions. They have also used government money to construct “Ontario News Now” in order to produce their own news-type content. Possibly the worst example of this was Minister Lisa McLeod claiming that the Toronto Star was reporting “Fake News” when they pressed her on the Conservative pledge to see through the Basic Income Pilot. Minister McLeod has since apologized, but all of these actions show a dangerous disregard for the public and media as necessary in democratic government. It also will ring hollow any claims the Conservatives make regarding a lack of government funds. If staffers can be paid to stand around and clap, surely there is enough money to fund the programs we need? Actors were hired to be at a location to applaud when the Premier was giving a speech.

The Basic Income pledge again shows a troubling lack of influence and honesty from our local MPP. Jane McKenna stated clearly during the election campaign that she and her government would see the Basic Income Pilot through to completion. However, her government announced within a month of taking office that it was cancelling the program. Again, there are many, many reasons to want to see this program through to completion. The data collected would be invaluable to anti-poverty strategies for a generation. But, Minister McLeod cancelled the program for ideological reasons. “It really is a disincentive to get people back on track,” she said of the cancellation.


Burlington MPP Jane McKenna in campaign mode.

Which means that the government is making an ideological decision that our MPP disagrees with (unless she was being disingenuous during the campaign, which would be worse) and she is unwilling or lacking the strength to say anything about it. Twice in the first month of this government, Ford has taken actions that directly contradict Jane McKenna’s public promises. Twice, Ms. McKenna has said nothing to defend herself or residents of Burlington.

The Ford government was elected to bring a certain kind of change to Ontario. And Jane McKenna was elected to fulfill her promises to the people of Burlington. Two months since their election and their actions do not live up to this obligation. So far, all Burlington has seen is a government that will accept crumbling schools when students return in September. Burlington has seen a government that is hurting the most vulnerable in our society because they have ideological problems with helping them. Burlington has seen a government rush to get cheap beer out in time for a holiday and say they will focus on other issues later. Burlington did not deserve this kind of change.

Andrew Drummond HeadshotAndrew Drummond was the NDP candidate for Burlington in the last provincial election.

Return to the Front page

Public school board trustee candidates just as important as those who want to be members of city council

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2018



The election that will decide who the Mayor of Burlington will be for the 2018 – 2021 term of office is attracting a lot of attention. The high profile offices usually get a lot of attention when an incumbent just might be getting the boot.

Burlingtonians have two very different choices if they decide that current Mayor Rick Goldring has done his bit. Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has her hat in the ring and former city Councillor and Member of Parliament Mike Wallace are candidates for Mayor. Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff has also announced his candidacy.

While those top spots are important – the critical level of municipal government for households with children is our school board which is Regional in nature.

The Board that is seeking re-election is the Board that voted to close two of the city’s seven high schools when it was not crystal clear that those schools had to be closed.

t-shirts-central-strongThe school closings are what the Board administration wanted. The Director of Education changed his position once he had compelling data from Central high school parents. It isn’t clear why the Board staff did not spot what Central parents discovered.

Because of the doubt the Board trustees did have the option of voting to not close any of the high schools at the time and to wait for a few years to see just what high school enrollment was going to be.

The very significant intensification Burlington is going through makes it clear that we are going to see more people living in Burlington. Some of those people will be families and some of those families will have children and some of those children will be high school students.

In the process of closing Robert Bateman and the Lester B. Pearson High schools the trustees did two things that have done almost irreparable harm to the community. Bateman had a Community Pathways Program that provided an essential educational program for students that deserve as much opportunity as any other student.

Moving the program to Nelson is filled with problems.

Few, other than the parents who had children in the program, knew about the vital role CPP played in the lives of disadvantaged students.

Bateman - crowd scene with BullOn the several student events that the Gazette covered at the school we didn’t hear a word about CPP; but as the PAR process rolled out it became clear that the program was essential for a group of families.

PAR HDSB Parents at BatemanWhen the decision to close Bateman was announced those parents erupted as well they should have. Had they made their case earlier in the process a different outcome might have been possible.

The Central high school parents did their homework and pointed out how expensive (never mind how disruptive to student life) it was going to be to bus their students. The Board looked at the numbers Central provided and agreed and took Central off the close list.

They then put Bateman on the list; their response was to claim the Central parents had “thrown them under the bus”.

The closing of Bateman has been pushed back two years.

Collard Amy

Ward 5 Halton District School Board trustee Any Collard

With nominations closed – parents now know who has come forward to serve at the Board of Education level. There are a couple of bright spots. The acclamation of Amy Collard in ward 5 assures the public that there will be at least one strong voice coming from Burlington.

Diane Miller Admin review delegation

Parent Diane Miller delegating to Administrative Review Facilitator Margaret Wilson.

The entry of Diane Miller for the ward 3 seat is good news. Ms Miller made a very strong delegation to Margaret Wilson, the Facilitator appointed by the province to carry out an Administrative Review of the process used by the Halton District school Board to arrive at it’s decision to close two of the city’s seven high schools: Lester B.Pearson and Robert Bateman. Ms Wilson found for the Board of Education saying there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the process that was used.

Her public report said: “Based on my review and consultations, I conclude that, while there were violations of the Board PAR Policy, they were such that they had no material effect on either the deliberations of the PARC or on the final decisions of the Board.”

One wonders what the Board administration would have to do to draw a different response from the Facilitator.

Jason BartlettJason Bartlett, who is running for the Ward 1 and 2 seat is an active participant of the Special Education parents group and can be expected to advocate for the parents with children that have special needs. Those children need all the advocacy they can get

One can only wish that those parents had been more active during that period of time when the decision to close Bateman was made.
One hopes that the debate for the school board trustees can hear sound arguments and strong positions from the trustees and do away with that “we were thrown under the bus” claim by Bateman parents.
There is the potential to elect trustees that can do the job they are elected to do.

This is the time for voters to look over the candidates and ensure that the direction the school board takes is sound and meets the needs of the children that will be heading back to school in a couple of weeks.

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

Return to the Front page

Rivers: Driving Dangerously - Tanks, Teslas and Tweets.



Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

August 17th, 2018


“Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups… Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” (Hillary Clinton)

Word is out that Elon Musk has an offer he can’t refuse from the Saudis, to help him take back Tesla from all those critical public share holders. The question is why. Is it possible that Allah had bestowed an enormous endowment of battery quality lithium in the Arabian desert, as well as all that petroleum.

Rivers Musk

Elon Musk

One suspects Saudi King Salman must be up to something fishy. Otherwise why would a nation whose economy virtually runs on oil be buying into an electric car company? Perhaps the kingdom, sees Tesla as a threat to the gas guzzlers and is planning to buy it up only to shut it down – sort of like what US Steel did to Stelco. But why spend good cash buying a money losing car company. Odds are good it’ll go bankrupt all on its own.

If they can be taken at their word, this foray in buying an auto company may be just the start. They’ll still have ready cash available in their two-plus trillion heritage fund – enough to buy other perennial money losing auto companies like Chrysler. Or perhaps there is a deeper method behind this seeming madness.

Rivers Tesla cockpit

Cockpit of a Tesla electic car

How much simpler life would be for the misogynous state if the new Saudi Teslas could be engineered somehow so that only males could operate them. After all Elon Musk is a genius. Tesla pioneered autonomous drive as well as battery power. How difficult could it be to differentiate between males and females, and everything in between? Wouldn’t that bring a whole new slant to the term intelligent drive?

What then would be the point of those female protesters demanding equal rights to drive when they are not gender-capable of doing so anyway? Women in Saudi Arabia have finally and grudgingly been given the right to drive, provided they are accompanied by a male and/or have submitted an acceptable flight plan to a male relative or guardian. Hardly what we’d call freedom, but then that is Arabia.

Rivers Raif

Protesters demanding the release of Raif Bedawi; his wife is now a Canadian citizen

Human rights are subservient to male rights in this backward sexist monarchy and all rights are subservient to the wishes of the royal family. Back almost a decade ago Saudi authorities apprehended an independent humanitarian blogger, Raif Bedawi, for having the gumption to write on the internet about something we call freedom of speech.

For that heinous act he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes to be administered at the rate of 50 a week.

The Harper government and its foreign minister Baird roundly criticized the Saudis back then, trying to influence them through diplomacy and even twitter. But since then Bedawi’s wife has managed to flee to Canada and become a citizen. So when Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, out of desperation and as duty to a Canadian citizen, tweeted to the Saudi government that they should immediately release Mrs. Bedawi’s husband and the other imprisoned peaceful protesters, all hell broke loose and the rest is modern history.

The Saudi will accept nothing less than an apology for calling them out for exactly what they are. But Trudeau is not going to apologize for speaking out on women’s human rights, even if the Conservative opposition members, who have apparently forgotten what they did as government, are now making sounds like they think he should. After all he is the feminist PM of Canada.

And Canada is not going to play tit-for-tat trade. Our $15 billion contract to export armoured cars is wrong on several counts but $15 billion is a lot of money and jobs, and besides if we cancelled, General Dynamics would just transfer production from their Ontario plant to someplace else. Morality has never been an insurmountable issue when it comes to selling weapons for the Americans, Brits or French either.

Rivers Freeland + prince

The Crown Prince wants Canada to apologize for the tweet Chrystia Freeland sent.

It is embarrassing that over the thirty years since Trudeau the elder promised a national energy policy, we’re still importing oil from Arabia.

Perhaps once the jurisdictional matter with B.C. is resolved we will move forward on the Energy-East pipeline. Or we could start making more electric cars – like Tesla is doing.

And then there are some 800 Saudi medical students who’ve been told by their homeland to pack up and go home. Sure we’ll lose the money they bring with them, but that is about the best news ever for young Canadian medical graduates still waiting for a resident position.

Most concerting in this unfortunate tussle though was the image released by a group of Saudi whacko nationalists portraying an Air Canada plane heading for collision with our CN tower. There was a retraction and apology, but nobody thinks threatening another nation with the kind of terror we saw on 9/11 is at all funny. And, of course, 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationalists, as indeed was bin Laden

Rivers LAV-700-icon

We manufacture them in London, Ontario ship them to Saudi Arabia

So this little tempest over a tweet will become a game of ‘who blinks first’. Or like a game of road chicken, American Graffiti style, except the Saudi’s are racing at us with their new Tesla and Canada is driving one of those General Dynamics tanks. And our foreign minister, a woman, is doing the driving.

Background links:

Saudi Arabia –    Tesla Sale –    Saudi Driving Ban

Women Protesters–    Freeland Tweet –    Saudi Medics –    Saudi 9-11 pic


Rivers hand to face

Ray 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.     Tweet @rayzrivers



Return to the Front page

Macbeth as a murderous conspiracy: Copp and his cast make it work.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 16th, 2018



Trevor Copp’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is not the way we heard the play in high school.

It is however a production well worth watching.

2018 audience

Summer outdoor theatre at its best.

There are some exceptionally good performances.

Lady Macbeth and Macbeth

Lady Macbeth arguing with Macbeth

Alma Sarai did a wonderful job as Lady Macbeth – the depth of her “out out” scene and the way in which she carried Macbeth off the stage in her arms was pure poetry and a demonstration of physical strength as well. DeSousa-Coelho who played Macbeth is not a man of small stature.

Copp has a core of experienced cast members that have ben a part of the RBG program for the past three years. My personal preference would have been to see Mika Hannigan as Macbeth – however Shawn DeSouza-Coelho did good work dealing with the mental emotional torment Macbeth was going through.

Kaylyn Valdez-Scott as was very good as Lady Macduff; she was a bright light to keep an eye on.

One could bank on the Banquo performance given by Jesse Horvath.

The murders - offing Duncan

Macbeth dispatches Duncan

Zach Parsons played Macduff and Malcolm very well.

Claudia Spadafora did a nice Ross – what we’ve not experienced with her before was the quality of her singing voice. It was a pleasant surprise .

The murderers reminded one of the way the Sûreté du Québec, that province’s provincial police service, has behaved in the past. It was sometimes hard to tell the difference in Quebec between the criminals and the police.

The choreography was the typical Copps work – he understands movement; the scene in which the murderers formed a chain of people stabbing one of their victims was brilliant.

Copp had a merry band of murders on stage who were very comfortable thrusting knives into almost anyone at hand or putting pistols to the heads of those they had to deal with and pulling the trigger. I lost count of just how many people were “offed” on that outdoor stage.

This second performance of the three week run went well; it was humid.

Outdoor theatre means coping with the weather – which is now climate in a constant state of change.

band of murderers

Some of the murderers having a drink after work.

The closing scene before intermission and the and the opening scene in the second half had everyone on the stage and involved in an operating room that was part Abu Ghraib and what we used to do at summer camp skits. Electric drills, tools that defied ones imagination were all part of a gruesome scene.

Hannigan dryly commented to Lady Macbeth that he was unable to help Macbeth: “he is beyond my practice”; this after he had taken every tool imaginable to “fix” Macbeth.

For those who make room for Shakespeare in their entertainment choices it is the language the draws us back again and again.

“Resolve thyself” … “filty witness” … the “bell that invites me” … “almost at odds with the morning”. There were people in the audience mouthing the words being said on the stage. “Let us make medicine of our revenge.”

Couple reading - flashlight

Reading a script during an intermission.

One patron said after the performance that “it took me a bit to get into it but I soon found myself feeling very emotional.

During the intermission one couple, using a flashlight to read a script they had were debating the wording and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

The play runs again on Friday and then Monday to Friday the week of the 20th and the week of the 27th.

There are no performances on Saturday or Sunday.



Return to the Front page

Ward 2 candidate maintains the inability to defend its own zoning downtown is a creation of the City, not the province.

opinionred 100x100By Roland Tanner

August 14th, 2018



The residents of Ward 2 are now left hoping that one development they don’t want wins out over another they want even less.

Mayor with Reveniue Project developer

President of Reserve Properties chats up the Mayor at a public meeting reviewing the development.

Reserve Properties, the development company behind the proposed 409 Brant Street development, has filed an appeal to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT, formerly the OMB) seeking 24 storeys instead of the 17 storeys Council voted for at their last meeting.

The appeal comes as no surprise. Reserve Properties has repeatedly stated, initially in a response to a question I made on May 1st at the public meeting at the Lions’ Club, their justification for 24 stories is based primarily on the fact the neighbouring development was given 24 stories by vote of Council in the Fall of 2017. They made clear at Council that they did not believe 17 storeys was an ‘optimized’ intensification of the property, based on an argument derived from a single sentence in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GPGGH).

All Council’s attempts at appeasement of developers, in the hope for some moderation and respect for the City’s new (but not yet in force) Official Plan have come to naught.

high profile 421

The city approved this development …

From Civic Square

The proponents of the development on the right want the same height as the development on the left – which the city has already approved. It isn’t quite that simple.

The developers are doing their job. While we can certainly wish for a more respectful dialogue between developers and the community, which would take into account the community’s desires, they are under no obligation to respect the residents of Ward 2. They are within their rights to appeal. It is supposed to be Council’s job, above all others, to defend and represent the interests of residents, but over the last decade they appear to have largely abrogated that responsibility.

The question is now how the newly formed LPAT interprets whether the City is meeting the provincial objectives for intensification under the GPGGH. If it can be successfully argued by the City that 17 storeys meets the objectives of the GPGGH, then the 17 storeys will be upheld.

Site - south of 421

Red square is the location of the approved project – the black one is the development that has been taken to LTAP on appeal.

Residents must now wait to see which of the two wildly unpopular options will be supported by LPAT. In one way the developer’s arguments are correct – the practical difference between a 17 storey tower and a 24 storey tower is not that great. They’re both too big for the site, and run calamitously counter to the clearly expressed desires of residents for development on Brant Street. There is no ‘good’ result to be had for citizens at LPAT with this appeal, just an official judgement on ‘bad’ or ‘worse’.

This crisis in the ability of the City to defend its own zoning downtown is a creation of the City, not the province. This development and the subsequent appeal would not be happening in downtown Oakville. The City chose to designate downtown for intensification, and the City chose to designate downtown as a Transit Hub, placing twice the number of intensification areas in Ward 2 of any other ward, and more than the whole of North Burlington.

Bus roites - 1st design

Those thin red dotted lines represent different bus routes that will transfer passengers at the downtown terminal.

This despite the fact that transit connections in downtown are far from adequate. We are now faced with being unable to control intensification because of the lack of care that was taken to protect downtown zoning within the Official Plan and zoning since the Places to Grow Act. Blaming the Province, the OMB or the LPAT is a smokescreen to hide the calamitous decisions that have been made with regard to downtown at City Hall, and the too-late, likely ineffective, attempts under the new OP to control development by re-zoning downtown in an attempt to appease developers into being more moderate in their demands.

The next Council, even if composed of Councillors far more sympathetic to moderation downtown than the current one, will be faced with a difficult struggle to undo the decisions that have been made.

The battle is just beginning for growth done right in Burlington.

Tanner croppedRoland Tanner is an historian by profession and a candidate for the ward 2 city council seat.  He was a member of the group that produced the Shape Burlington report; a document that council endorsed unanimously then forgot that it existed.

Related news story:

Why the Carriage Gate development opposite city hall was approved.

Return to the Front page

Wallace sets out his platform - some surprises - his 'Let's Talk' approach looks like a one way conversation at this point.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 4th, 2018



It is both a quiet time and a very hectic time for those who are running for public office.

Many of those running for the first time are out on the streets, knocking on doors and asking for support.

Most have their web sites in place and are developing their election teams.

There will be a lot more use of social media this time around.

Prime Minister checks out the product at Ecysynthetix. Company CEO John van Leeuwen is on the left

Mike Wallace was part of the Harper government. Former Prime Minister checks out the product at Ecosynthetix. Company CEO John van Leeuwen is on the left

Mike Wallace has decided to hold “Let’s talk” sessions that he broadcast over the internet on how own YouTube channel.

He has done three so far and can be expected to do more.

Burlington's MP Mike Wallace takes questions during the Chamber of Commerce xxxBBQ. Suggests that too much time is being spent on the Mike Duffy matter

Burlington’s MP Mike Wallace takes questions during the Chamber of Commerce BBQ.



The use of videos is a one way conversation but it at least gives the public a chance to learn what the candidate stands for and plans to do.

Wallace makes it very clear that as Mayor he is going to lead and not sit behind a desk.

Part of his focus is on the young people who he calls millennial’s. He wants them to be able to live in homes they can afford in Burlington and work at jobs that exist in Burlington.

One really interesting idea that he put forward was to have those millennials working with the planners. Interesting idea – it will be equally interesting to see how the planners take to that idea.

Wallace is clear on the current phase of building condominiums on every corner that can be found: “Expensive condos are not the answer.”

Wallace also tackles transit. He points out that the city has a $10 million transit system that isn’t working.

He wants to give the Director of Transit the tools she needs to get the job done.

Burlington Transit getting new buses - to deliver less service.

Don’t expect to see a lot of those 40 foot buses joining the fleet.

Wallace wants the buses to be more attractive and cost efficient. He thinks that those 40 foot busses may be a thing of the past.

Wallace feels that the city missed the boat on transit and points to the major changes taking place in getting people from one location to another. Uber and driver less vehicles are in the future adds Wallace.
Wallace is quick to tell people that he doesn’t have the answers but he is committed to the idea of looking for the answers and coming up with a reasonable priced and perhaps an on demand transit service.

Why is he running for Mayor?

The answer to that question has several layers of complexity.

Wallace conceding

The night he lost his seat as a Member of Parliament – he conceded to Karina Gould with dignity and respect.

One – he wants the job. Wallace has been a political creature for most of his adult life. He has served as a member of council and the Member of Parliament for Burlington.

While an MP Mike delivered. It wasn’t something he talked about all that much but the list of things he delivered is impressive.

The Gazette had to ask Wallace for that list several times.

He has a soft spot for history – if you have a project that has an historical angle – Mike Wallace is the guy you want to talk to

He lists the issues that need attention.

Intensification – and not just in the downtown core.

Traffic congestion. He will tell you that private cars are not going to be going away anytime soon.

The demographics of the city bother Wallace – the city cannot be sustainable with just senior citizens –

Mike Wallace has probably never run as hard in his life. Valiant effort but the Overtakers laid the Wallace team to rest.

Mike Wallace running as part of a team in the hospital bed race.

Wallace wants those young people living in the city and working in the city.

Development concerns him. We need it – but where and in what form?

Is Mike Wallace a friend of the developers?

Hard to tell.

His biggest idea so far, the creation of a Liberty Village in Burlington is going to need a large piece of land and there are just a few in the city and they are owned by a developer.

Can Mike Wallace work with developers and not be co-opted by them?

Is he tough enough to set a direction for the city and create a city council that works in unison?

He realizes now that the city needs a bigger city council and suggests that having 8 wards and a Mayor for a city council of nine might be what will serve the city best.

ROTARY Wallace with a bucket

Wallace was at the Rib Fest holding a bucket collecting cash for flood victims in 2014

Wallace isn’t telling the people he wants to vote for him that he has all the answers and this is the direction the city has to go in.

But he is quick to tell you that the direction it is going now isn’t working.

We are still in the early days.

Wallace election car

Part of the Wallace campaign – a car with a wrap – Like Mike.

There will be more for Mike Wallace to say.

Pay attention: he wants the job and he has assembled a team that has the capacity to pull it off.

The people that matter are the people who live in this city.

Wallace will officially open his campaign office on August 18th. It will be on Fairview close to Appleby Line.

Return to the Front page