Affordable housing - the need is great - but real policy direction from council to make it happen isn't on the radar screen yet.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 10th, 2018



Affordable housing – an oxymoron perhaps.

In a market where housing prices have risen as much as 20% year over year, the cost of buying a home has skyrocketed – and that impacts directly the cost of rental accommodation.

Rocca partial listing for 2017

Some of the year over year changes were mind boggling – a market run amok.

The Burlington mind set is married to the idea of owning the home you live in – rental accommodation is not for people who are true Burlingtonians – we are all property owners.

Every development that comes before city council has the words “affordable housing” tucked in the application somewhere and the response from the planners pays lip service to the idea.  Members of council will insist that some affordable housing be included in a development.

Carriage Gate agreed to provide the City with a cash contribution of $300,000 prior to condominium registration that was to go towards an affordable account the city appears to have created.

Reserve Properties, the developers promoting a development on the SE corner of Brant and James, have made mention of their plans to contribute something to the need for affordable housing if  their development is approved.

The developers offer up some cash in lieu of actually including affordable units in the condominium.

Where does that cash the developers give the city go?

That isn’t exactly clear. The Gazette isn’t sure if any funds have actually moved from the developer’s bank account into the coffers of the city. Funds from carriage Gate should be in the city bank account by now.

The issue is not about the need for affordable housing – the issue is who is to provide that housing.

Every member of city council knows that housing is a Regional responsibility.

Co-op on Maple close to lakeshore

This high rise close to Lakeshore sets aside 60% of its space for rent geared to income (RGI) tenants. The building is owned and operated by a co-op that works with the Region.

The Region has policies, they have a reasonably clear idea of what is needed. How close they are to that need could be a little tighter.

The Region operates a number of towers that are totally affordable.

They partner with organizations that make space in buildings they own for rent geared to income space.

They maintain the list of who is looking for affordable housing and they determine who can get into a building and when.  The mix of affordable housing is pretty good.

The problem is the need for a shift from the approach that has language which makes affordable housing options sound like or look like welfare options.

Housing has to be looked at differently.

Search options

The Region has a section on its web site where people can search and see what is available. Waiting times to get a residence is measured in years.

The Region is responsible for the social housing needs of all four municipalities: Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

Gary CarrDuring the 2010 election Regional Chair came close to losing it when people were going on about the need for affordable housing at the municipal level – “it’s a Regional responsibility” he almost shouted out in an exasperating tone..

There are some very good people at the Regional level administering the policies and the properties.

In the event that Burlington sends the money it gets from developers to the Region (and that point isn’t clear) the Region does not appear to be committed to spending what it gets from Burlington in Burlington.

Instead of trying to outdo each other in how committed they are to affordable housing Burlington city council needs to get its act together and set out what it would like to see done and then take the Burlington plan to Regional council and fight for it at that level.

That however would require a council that is cohesive and can actually work together.
Burlington is now seeing a new crop of candidates that are younger, have good intellectual chops and want to see a change.

ECoB Crowd Feb 22

ECoB – engaged Citizens of Burlington held a meeting for people interested in running for office – the came close to packing the room.

The city is close to have good solid candidates in all six wards and clear choices for the next Mayor.

In the 2014 municipal election Mayor Goldring said he was quite comfortable with seeing every member of the council re-elected.  And they were all re-elected.  They really weren’t any tough races with the possible exception of ward 6 where Blair Lancaster faced nine candidates.


There were two problems with the comfort level the Mayor had chosen.

He wasn’t leading council and council wasn’t taking the city anywhere.

That could be about to change.

The next step is for the people who live in the city to think about what they want and then decide who can deliver what they want.

Then get out and actually vote.

We did a piece recently on a woman who taught the city something about milkweed plants and learned that she had run for public office in 2003 – the turnout in that election was 16%.

No wonder we are in a mess.

The complacent people of Burlington did this to themselves.

As for an affordable housing policy that delivers for Burlington – that has to get worked out at the Regional level and Burlington city council members have to make their case at that level.

They’ve known that for the past seven years.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion column reflecting the views, musings, observations and opinions of the Gazette publisher.

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A New Democrat's view of Doug Ford's government - Burlington is getting stiffed.

opinionandcommentBy Andrew Drummond

July 9th, 2018



The past week has given us a clear indication of the direction the new provincial government will take. Most of their decisions have been a follow through on things that Premier Ford said during the election campaign.

The long fight against the federal government regarding cap and trade for example, was something the Ontario PCs seemed to relish having and we will spend months or years on this battle that they seemed to want. Others of their decisions, such as delaying implementation of anti-scalping measures seemed to be less predictable.

But each of the actions taken so far will have a local impact in Burlington either directly or indirectly. So below is an evaluation of some of the actions taken by the new Ontario government and how they will impact our city and community.

The cabinet was announced on June 29, and perhaps expectedly, neither Jane McKenna nor Effie Triantafilopoulos was chosen for cabinet. But after the parliamentary assistants were named, and Effie was given a prominent role while Jane was overlooked, it became clear that Jane is not among the most trusted in the Conservative cabinet.

McKenna + Drummond

Andrew Drummond NDP candidate during the provincial election in conversation with Jane McKenna, now the MPP for Burlington,.

How does this impact Burlington? There are many pieces of government funding that rely on the local MPP to wield influence. The most prominent example of which is funding for Joseph Brant.  Across Jane’s first term in government Jo Brant was the lowest rated emergency room in all of Ontario. Over the last few years that has improved slightly (we are still in the bottom quartile) but the improvement came from funding that our MPP fought for. If the local MPP wields no influence, can we be sure that Jo Brant is going to get the operational funding it needs to continue its improvement? It is critical that we see action from our MPP that shows she has the influence in the government to get Burlington the support it so desperately needs.

Of all the announcements from the incoming government, the one publicized the most was the end of the Cap and Trade system implemented by the previous government. However, in declaring the end of that program, the government gave no notice as to what they intended to do about the Cap and Trade credits already purchased by companies intending to use them on the market. This is a 2.9 billion dollar investment that Ontario businesses that the government to this point has not explained how they will make companies whole.

The details on exactly who has spent how much on credits is not publicly available, so it is difficult to pin an exact figure on how much liability there is to Burlington specifically. And we are lucky that Burlington did not join this program and open us up to risks like other municipalities did (examples: Kingston, Kitchener). But there are undoubtedly local effects. Every negative consequence for province wide industries will effect us locally too.

And of the most concern is the limited impact this will have for Burlington. As was argued during the election campaign, there is sizable evidence that the price of gas is more controlled by market forces and less by costs. With that comes a risk that any reduction in gas taxation will not have any measurable impact on price and rather only increase profits for gas companies. The premier’s quote on the issue “We just have a good heart-to-heart talk with the oil companies and understand that they’re being watched right now,” also does not spark confidence that Burlington will see any meaningful cost savings from this government policy.


The Ford government has made a number of quiet changes since being sworn in that will impact quality of life in Burlington. One of those was a delay in the implementation of the Ticket Sales Act that would have limited the resale price of a ticket to 50% above the printed price on a ticket. The company Stubhub believes that the law is dangerous because it is important to ensure sales “occur on platforms that provide vital consumer protections.” Most consumers would interpret this argument as Stubhub saying: If consumers are going to be gouged we’d like our cut of the gouging fees.

For Burlington residents this means that it will continue to be impossible to find tickets to concerts and key sporting events at reasonable prices. CBC did an analysis of some upcoming concerts in Toronto and noticed some egregious examples on resale ticket sites. Bruno Mars tickets raised from $100 to over $13,000 or Elton John from $221 to $1,878. The average family in Burlington cannot compete at those prices. As long as tickets can be bought in large buckets and then resold at incredible markups, the average Burlington family will be shut out of these events. And the Ford government is apparently ok with that.

Dowdeswell delivering Throne Speech MAr 16-2018

Lieutenant Governor Dowdeswell delivering Throne Speech

So in all, it is difficult to see how anything in the first week of this government has had any positive impact on the day-to-day life of people in Burlington. From questions about how effective our MPP will be at securing critical hospital operating dollars to potentially costing local businesses millions in now useless Cap and Trade credits to blocking legislation to help us afford popular events, most actions to date seem in the best interest of people outside of our community.

However, the government will give its speech from the throne this week. We all remain optimistic that the government will set an agenda that will be better than these first early actions. Time will tell if there is any chance of Burlington being a priority for the next 4 years.

Andrew Drummond HeadshotThe opinions are those of Andrew Drummond, the New Democratic candidate for Burlington.  He placed second, ahead of the Liberal and Green Party candidates.  He is employed in the marketing and sales department of a major internet, cable TV and wireless service provider.

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Why did a building on the NW corner of Brant and James get approval for 24 storeys while the one on the SW corner is limited to 18 storeys?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2018



City council will be debating a staff recommendation for the proposed development on Brant street, opposite city that starts on the SW corner of James and will run south to Kellys Bake Shop and include the full block.
The developer is asking for 27 stories – the city planners are recommending 18.

high profile 421


The development on the NW corner of Brant and James has been approved at 23 storeys – why are the planners recommending 18 storeys for the second building when the one across the street has been approved for 23 – seems like a reasonable question – and for the developer it is a difference of six floors of condominium units

The 421 – 431 Brant Street development – it hasn’t been given a name yet – has been approved and will consist of:

• Twenty-three (23) storey building, which includes a 1-storey rooftop amenity area;
• Four-storey podium;
• 760 square metres of ground floor retail / commercial space;
• 365 square metres of 2nd floor office space;
• 169 residential units (maximum);
• A parking ratio of 1.2 parking spaces per residential unit in the below-grade parking structure, in addition to 8 dedicated visitor parking spaces and 1 car share space;
• Appropriate building setbacks from Brant Street (2.95 metres), James Street (2.6 metres) and John Street (1.8 metres);
• A 128 square metre (16 metre x 16 metre) visibility triangle (publicly accessible open space) at the corner of Brant Street and James Street;
• Appropriate building stepbacks and terracing above the 4th floor and above the 18th floor

The planners point out that the site is located within the Downtown Urban Centre and within the Downtown Core designation. They add that it “is important to note that the existing OP (that is the one in place before the Grow Bold OP – which was approved and sent to the Regional government for approval at that level), included a site specific exception for a portion of the site (421 – 427 Brant Street) which recognized the site as appropriate for increased height and density.”

What that means is that part of the land assembled for the development had an exception attached to it for height above the permitted heights for neighbouring properties. The way these things work is that the highest height is frequently applied to all the properties when they are assembled.

“The exception set an increased maximum height for the site of seven storeys with taller buildings up to a maximum height of twelve storeys permitted where they provide a sense of compatibility with surrounding land uses and a sense of pedestrian scale by the use of terracing above the second floor. The exception for 421 – 427 Brant Street also set out an increased maximum floor area ratio of 4.5:1, except that higher floor area ratios were permitted subject to community benefits provisions.”

“It is also important to note that the timing of the 421 Brant Street application preceded emerging policy directions for the Downtown Urban Growth Centre, which are now incorporated as a part of the Council Adopted Official Plan: Grow Bold.

From Civic Square

The view from Civic Square looking east at the two “landmark” towers. The one on the left (shown as a shadow) has been approved. The one on the right is before Committee of the whole today – planners want this one cut back to 18 storeys.

“On Sept. 28 2017, the draft new Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan was presented to Council for the first time for discussion and feedback at a Council Workshop at the Committee of the Whole. No decisions were made.

“On November 13, the 421 Brant Street applications were approved in principle.

“On November 30, 2017 a staff report on the Draft Downtown Precinct Plan and proposed Official Plan policies contemplated modifying the building height permissions at Brant Street and James to recognize that node as an area appropriate for landmark buildings and to reduce the building height permissions in the Cannery Precinct for the property located at Brant Street and Lakeshore Road in light of the 421 Brant Street application.”

What the city did was decide to live with height across from city hall and limit height along Lakeshore Road. Councillor Taylor was very specific when he said that he went along with the 23 storeys for 421 Brant on the understanding that Lakeshore heights would be limited to 17 storeys. That’s planning on the fly!


There is a lot of detail in this map- you can identify the precincts that planners use to describe parts of the city and the kind of development permitted.

The Revenue Properties application (409 Brant) now has to find a way to work through and around a thicket of precinct plans, mobility hubs, the Urban Growth Centre and transit issues.

Bus roites - 1st design

Those red lines are the buses that come down Brant and loop along James into the bus terminal that got an upgrade and is now called a Mobility hub anchor. Traffic nightmare!

And, speaking of transit issues – there is a drawing that was part of one of the staff reports on the 409 project that showed the number of bus routes that flow into John Street, which is the street the garages for both 409 and 421 will exit onto – there is a nightmare of a continual traffic jam waiting to happen.
“No Staff/Council motion was made to increase height permissions in the Special Planning Area at Brant and James Streets as a result of the approval of the 421 Brant application on November 13th, 2017.”

What that seems to say is that the height 421 was given isn’t going to be available to 409. It is going to be interesting to see how that works out.

The Revenue Properties proposal is before Planning and Development Committee on Tuesday -July 10th in the afternoon and in the evening.

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Rivers: Requiem for the Environment ?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

July 5th, 2018



Shouldn’t a conservative by definition be one who practices conservation? Despite any word association, today’s popular conservatism is more akin to reactionary-ism – the impossible dream of winding the clock back to those good old days. But none of us is going to be able to recreate the glaciers and ice packs lost to global warming, nor roll back the oceans to levels where they were when the post war generation was coming of age.

Bill Davis - pipe cloud

Bill Davis: saved farm land with Ontario’s first experiment in green belting, and was a major force behind stopping acid rain.

Bill Davis was a conservative but he was determined to restore the Great Lakes, to save farm land with Ontario’s first experiment in green belting, and to stop acid rain. And Brian Mulroney won accolades from environmental organizations for promoting sustainable development and raising concerns about climate change. These were the last real progressive conservatives.

When the US government set out to eliminate lead in gasoline back in the seventies they adopted cap and trade. Cap and trade was  invented by a U of Toronto economist in the sixties. The technique is  considered business friendly and the single most efficient (least costly) way to achieve an environmental regulation.

The phaseout of lead exceeded everyone’s expectations, taking the lead out ahead of schedule and at far less cost than anticipated. The same kind of results were achieved when cap and trade was applied to the US acid rain program in the 90’s, reducing sulphur emissions from power plants faster and at less cost than  imagined. These programs had been developed by Republican administrations in the USA.  Generally, conservatives favour market instruments over intrusive regulatory ‘command and control’ approaches when it comes to the environment.


He just didn’t like taxes of any kind and suggested using regulations – command and control

The Harris conservative government had implemented a cap and trade program for smog pollutants from the electricity sector back in the early 2000’s, though it suffered from a number of design issues, and became redundant once the province phased out coal as an energy source. Cap and trade works best when there are a large number of entities involved in trading, which is why Quebec and California had been chosen to partner in Ontario’s program.

Economists are used to saying: bygones are bygones, and so cap and trade is now history in Ontario. Nevertheless killing the program, and doing so mid-year, is problematic. For one thing the province will surely be obligated to return the almost $3 billion Ontario businesses paid for their carbon allowances this year. And, since this was a multi-year program, we might be on the hook to return the previous year’s money as well.


Few fully understand how cap and trade programs work. The idea was created bu a Canadian economist at the University of Toronto. They are effective ad have been around for a long time.

It is unclear whether the abrupt and unilateral cancellation of our emissions trading arrangements with trade partners in Quebec and California will result in breach of faith and possible law suits. Clearly any trades of Ontario allowances or credits to businesses in those jurisdictions are now worthless, so we’ll see.

And Ontario will end up with a new carbon tax imposed by the federal government, which will be far more expensive than the previous estimated 4.3 cents per litre cost of cap and trade. The good news for Ontario residents is that while we’ll have to pay a carbon tax, all that money will be returned to us in some form. The bad news for Ontario’s new premier is that his government is not likely to have any access or control over it.

Doug Ford finger pointing

Don’t expect the federal government to be stupid enough to give the proceeds from a carbon tax to a premier who is unwilling to do anything to help the country meet its global climate commitments.

The BC government returns most of its provincial carbon tax back to its residents through lower income taxes, making it a sort of revenue neutral tax. Although the feds have not disclosed how they will return Ontario’s carbon taxes, nobody expects them to be stupid enough to give it to a premier who is unwilling to do anything to help the country meet its global climate commitments, and somebody who is actually suing the feds about the tax.

And the only savings we might see from cancelling the cap and trade program would be Mr. Ford’s promised 4.3 cents at the pump. I wouldn’t count on it though because the oil companies have not yet confirmed they will reduce gas prices.  Call that ten cent gas reduction the first casualty of Ford’s ‘chicken-in-every-pot’ election promise. Everyone knows you should not promise something you don’t control.

And he’ll have to break another election promise, about not firing anyone. Otherwise he’ll be paying salaries for those bureaucrats who used to manage cap and trade and those who administered the Green ON and other conservation programs funded by the revenues from cap and trade, to sit on their butts. No wonder nobody believes all the promises politicians make in an election campaign.

I saw former premier Mike Harris being interviewed during the recent PC leadership convention. He just didn’t like taxes of any kind and suggested using regulations – command and control – rather than a carbon tax. Well that made my soon-to-be buck-a-bottle beer start to curdle – just to hear Mr. Anti-Red-Tape proposing more… red tape.

But I’m not betting on Mr. Ford bringing in any regulations to curtail GHG emissions, let alone anything as bold as banning coal or as imaginative as cap and trade. You see, that would be progressive, and Mr.Ford is more the reactionary type of conservative. So don’t be surprised when he starts shutting down the EV charging stations, cancelling solar and wind electricity generating projects, and maybe even bringing back coal-fired electric power back to Ontario.

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.     Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Ford Cancels Cap and Trade –    Ontario Trading Partnerships –    US Acid Rain Program

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Campaigns for Burlington's next mayor begin to take shape - some early surprises.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 1st, 2018



The election that takes place October 22nd for a new city council and school board representatives is not going to be the snoozer that the 2014 election was.

That year every member of city council was returned. In the four years that seven member Council sat they made two major decisions.

They approved a new Strategic Plan and they passed a new Official Plan.

Strategic Plan Workbook

Traditionally Strategic Plans were for the term of a city council – four years.


The current Strategic Plan is for a 25 year period. An incoming council is not bound to a plan created by a previous council.

Up until the 2012 a Strategic Plan was put in place Burlington created a Strategic Plan for the term of office. The understanding was that a current city council could not bind future councils to an objective they might not agree with.

There was never a public debate on lengthening the time frame of the Strategic Plan. The current council decided that it was better municipal governance to create a 25 year plan and tweak it as the years rolled by,

Four “pillars” were defined WHA ARE THESE and they became the base on which the plan was to rest. The city brought in KPMG as consultants who guided council and city staff through the process.
There were numerous delegations done but there was never a OPEN THIS UP

The four pillars for 2015 strat plan

The four pillars on which the 25 year Strategic Plant was built. How are we doing so far?

During the years leading up to the creation of a new Official Plan there were several speeches given by the Mayor on intensification and what it was going to mean to the city.

Rick Goldring chose what he believed was the safe political route to take – assure people that there will be changes but they aren’t really going to change very much. About 5% of the city would experience change.
The document that set out what intensification was really all about was a provincial policy statement – Places to Grow. It set out where the growth was going to take place and just how much growth there was going to be.

That process for Burlington had the decision made at the provincial level and the deciding of specifically where the growth was to take place made at the Regional level.

Downtown precincts - all

The Downtown part of Burlington is broken into precincts. There are development rues for each precinct. A precinct is not always one contiguous area. Confusing at times

Burlington had all kinds of input in that process but very little of it was as public as it could have been and there was certainly no public debate or information sessions on where the residential growth was going to take place and where the jobs would be located. That was done by the Planning department.

Mobility hubs

There are four mobility hubs -n Burlington these are centered around the four GO stations. Significant development, of both commercial and residential is planned for these locations. The development around Burlington and Aldershot GO stations is well underway.

Included in all this change was the mobility hubs; a concept that was never explained to the public in the early stages. The two words made sense – what wasn’t clear to the public, and to some of the members of council as well, as to what it did mean.

During some of the Strategic Plan meetings it looked as if the mobility hub at the Aldershot GO station was where the first stage of growth would take place. At the time the Paradigm project had broken ground and it soon became clear that the Burlington GO station was where all the early action was going to take place. Land on the north side of Fairview between Brant and Guelph Line became the real estate hot spot. Deals were being done weekly with several property owners holding out to get a better sense as to which direction the wind was blowing.

Downtown core precinct

This is the downtoen precinct – it is within the downtown core. Many felt that the high rise development should have been clustered further north. It may be too late for that – most of the property has already been assembled.

The public attention however was focused on the downtown core. The first of the high rise condo’s was before the planners. The developer came in with a 27 storey proposal on the NE corner of Brant and James that got whittled down to 23 which city council approved on a 5-2 vote.

Prior to this the ADI Group development at Lakeshore and Martha that had gone to the OMB where everyone was certain it would be scaled back. Didn’t happen – the city didn’t make its case and the OMB said the xx storeys were just fine.

Many felt the die was cast and that Burlington’s downtown core was to become a forest of 23+ storey condominiums.

high profile 421

The beginning of the change for the downtown – this one will go up opposite city hall.

Many of the citizens were aghast – how could this happen?

Members of city council knew how it happened – they let it happen.

All this led to people wanting to stop this level of change from taking place.

The election scheduled for October was going to be their chance to elect a new city council that would create a new direction.

Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward became the spokesperson for those who said they were not opposed to development – they just wanted responsible and properly phased in development. The developers saw a blazing hot market and they were not of a mind to wait. The current city council seemed quite prepared to go along with them.

The Mayor is on the ropes, Meed Ward has her loyal following – and then Mike Wallace makes it known that he will run for the office of Mayor.

Wallace and Gould

Mike Wallace congratulating Karina Gould on her win of the federal seat in Burlington.

Mike Wallace lost the federal seat as the Burlington Member of Parliament to Karina Gould. Mike loves being in power.

He was never seen as a big thinker but he brought millions of federal dollars to the city and he decided he could knock off Goldring and beat Meed Ward.

The Tory machine that didn’t deliver for him in the xx federal election still existed and Mike was going to take a shot at making it work for him at the municipal level. To be fair to Mike – he was facing a very popular Liberal leader whose coat tails Gould rode into office.

Each of the three major contenders, Goldring, Meed Ward and Wallace made early announcements, then each held their campaign kick-off events.

Rock at Kick Off - crowd

Mayor Rick Goldring at his campaign Kick Off

Goldring’s was tepid at best – he just didn’t say very much.

Meed Ward made her event a kick-off and a fund raiser – it cost $25 to get in the door.

Wallace held his event in the same room at Emmas Back Porch where he had conceded the federal election to Karina Gould.

This time Wallace had something to say – he spoke of two planks of his election platform.

He would ask council to approve an increase in the size of council – he thought going from a seven member council was now necessary and felt that nine was a good number.

Bronte MeAdows - BurlOak side

Bronte Meadows – owned by the Paletta interests, zoned as Employment land and included in the package of GTA properties that were in the offering to Amazon who were looking for an eastern headquarters – dubbed HQ2

He also said he wanted to create a community that would attract the young people back to Burlington where they could live and work and proposed the development of a large community. He didn’t say where he thought this development should take place and he didn’t say how large it should be.

There is only so much land that residential housing can be built on. The size of the land needed to do what Wallace has in mind is owned by Paletta’s.

The large property at Upper Middle Road and Bronte – known as Bronte Meadows – is zoned as Employment land. The Paletta’s have been trying for years to get that changed to residential or at least mixed use.
Wallace said that he was the kind of politician who could get things done; that he knew how to pick up the phone and talk to people.

The province now has a government that looks at development a lot differently hat the previous Liberal government.

Can one assume that Mike Wallace has talked to Angelo Paletta. I’d bet on that.

If, and this is just an if, those conversations have taken place does that mean the developers are still in control. Many people feel they have controlled the current council for some time.

MeSalt with Pepper are the opinions, musings and observations of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette

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Letter to the Editor: Resident frustrated by the self-righteous rhetoric of Deputy city manager.

opinionandcommentBy Carol Victor

June 29th, 2018




Mary Lou Tanner – former Director if Planning – now Deputy city manager.

Many of us are frustrated by the self-righteous rhetoric of (Deputy city manager) Marylou Tanner and the decisions made by the planning department in Burlington. Stop telling us what you want us to want, start listening to what we do want.

The planning department and Councillors who supported the decisions to “protect what residents value” better known as the “department that is destroying our beautiful city” have failed to listen to what engaged citizens have been saying for the better part of a year. They ploughed ahead with numerous presentations, emails, meetings, and brochures while failing to hear what the citizens don’t want. I attended many of the council meetings and was dismayed that so many delegations were heard and nothing was done.

mmw with supporters

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward with some of her supporters.

One of the developers at a February meeting printed and had available for the public copies of a letter where he expressed his disdain for the one Councillor (Marianne Meed Ward) who had voted against this extensive development. This was a disgusting prank . Ms. Meed Ward deserves much credit for truly expressing what many of us feel. She was joined by one other person on council who voted against revising the official plan.

However in the case of the other individual, this was purely a case of optics as he clearly knew that the motion would pass despite the two dissenting votes. A lack of leadership is clearly missing when so many citizens take the time and energy to thoughtfully express their visions for the city they love.

Burlington aerial

The Burlington Carol Victor loves; she moved here nine years ago after 40 years in Toronto.

I moved here nine years ago after living in Toronto for 40 years. It was a breath of fresh air with an unencumbered and accessible waterfront, quaint shops downtown, no traffic gridlock, lots of green space and wonderful amenities. How things have changed!!!! There emerged this spring a great shadow over Lakeshore between Elizabeth and Pearl Streets. Lower Brant Street as we know it will soon disappear.

high profile 421

What family will move into a 23 storey tower with 1 and 2 bedroom condos.

As for meeting the demands of intensification, this is nonsense, what family will move into a 23 storey tower in what will be 1 and 2 bedroom condos, with one spot for parking, no nearby schools, grocery shopping that will soon be gone and traffic gridlock. If you don’t live near the downtown, I would suggest that you visit soon as you won’t recognize it in the near future. We will look like every other suburban off-shoot of Toronto; a western Mississauga with no character, a myriad of shopping malls with chain stores and a series of concrete towers without a real downtown. Why are we giving this away?



The only power we have now is at the ballot box. The function of our Municipal Government is to serve the citizens of the city. Going forward we need to elect people who listen to its citizens and truly respect the democratic process.

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Rivers: Would we be better off on our own - Oh Canada 2018

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 30th, 2018


“Overall, NAFTA was neither devastating nor transformational for Canada’s economy. Opponents of the 1988 free trade agreement had warned that Canada would become a glorified 51st state. While that didn’t happen, Canada didn’t close the productivity gap with the US either…” (NAFTA’s Winners and Losers by David Floyd Jan 30, 2018 – Investopedia)

And that is perhaps because NAFTA has always been a free trade agreement in name only. You see that every time you cross the border and some official asks you if you have something to declare. Try ordering something on-line from a US supplier and you’ll find yourself waiting a long time until the customs have been cleared and after you’ve paid the duty.

And while NAFTA is supposed to include services as well as goods, there is no free trade in labour services – you can’t just waltz across the border and get a job there. NAFTA and its Can-US ‘free trade’ predecessor were implemented to assist large corporations enhance their profitability, particularly in the auto sector which needed to update the 1960’s auto-pact.

And over the last twenty five years NAFTA has benefited consumers with lower prices on a good number of items and some services. But like every good economic idea, NAFTA has had consequences on Canada.

Trucks at the border

Rivers does make a strong point about how much damage those trucks do as they move parts and produce across the border.

One we almost never hear about is transportation and the environment. The auto industry likes to brag about how often an automobile crosses the border before its final assembly and sale. That crossing is accomplished mostly by trucks rushing to fulfil their just-in-time assembly line orders, zig-zagging half way across the continent.

So there is all this truck congestion at the borders and all around us on our highways. Transportation is inherent in the definition of freer trade. Trucks, trains and ships move goods and components across even greater distances. And these vessels all use fossil fuels to operate. So the biggest casualty of free trade is the environment and how we are accelerating global climate change.

More congestion translates into gridlock – more time for the daily commute and the immeasurable costs of lost family play time. Then there is the added noise and that smog inducing pollution. There is danger in sharing road space with those massive speeding trucks. And of course there is the cost of road bed maintenance and highway reconstruction – and the inconvenience of it all.

trump-signing exec order

President Trump seems to have to show off his signing of Executive Orders. Raw political power on display.

It’s not that Canada wants to tear up NAFTA but Mr. Trump does, and he’s going to do it. In any case, there won’t be much left after softwood, aircraft, metals and autos – his next target. When the Canada-US free trade deal first got off the ground there was a huge sucking sound as manufacturing jobs and incomes headed down to the US. Companies decided they could still sell to Canadian customers duty-free while being better located for the much greater US market.

Ontario and Quebec were particularly hard hit, but we adjusted and we’ll adjust again once Trump has rendered NAFTA into the dust bin of history. And that could be as soon as he announces his upcoming tariffs on autos.

Toyota estimates a 25% auto tariff will push up the cost of a Camry – currently the most popular car in the US, and built there – by $1800 for its US customers. And as Toyota goes so goes the rest of the industry. But that simple reality hasn’t deterred Mr. Wreck-it Ralph in the White House from his path of destruction.

And autos? They’re changing. The electric vehicle is simpler to manufacture, not needing the complication of the myriad of devices used with gas engines to help detoxify car emissions. And batteries which last a minimum of eight years have eliminated the need for a dealer network to service the vehicles once they leave the showroom – no more oil changes.

That means it should be a lot easier for new entrants to get into the auto industry – who needs the big three anymore and their integrated vehicle assembly plants anyway. Those corporations are yesterday’s business model. They need to move over for a new breed of smaller auto manufacturers who sell the products on-line or in shopping malls and Costco. Is there a Canadian entrepreneur, our own Tesla inventor, up to the challenge?


The factory that manufactured the first Rivers family freezer.

My parents bought their first food freezer from the Guelph appliance company W.C. Wood Co. Ltd.. It lasted for over forty years without a breakdown. Mr. Wood recounts that…“In 1964 37 Canadian companies manufactured washing machines, stoves and refrigerators. Today, there are four. Workers in the industry used to total 10,000. Now, there are 2,500… By next year, Mr. Wood said, he’ll be looking at just three manufacturers (here).” Try to get 40 years out of one of the US built models today.

And what is Trump talking about. Canada has an overall trade deficit in the billions with the US, although we have a surplus on goods. But that is mostly our export of crude oil, and we all know where that will be going as fractured drilling is making America more oil independent every year. Sure manufacturing and manufacturing jobs are declining in the US for a number of reasons, including automation. But they are declining even faster in Canada – we’re not gaining at America’s expense.

And why didn’t someone tell the Donald that Canada actually buys more steel from the US than it sells – $2.1 billion more. And we buy more military hardware from the US than anywhere else in the world – over a billion a year on average. We pay more for our pharmaceuticals and intellectual goods because we have conformed to US rules on patents and copyrights.

Sir Jogn - old flag

Is this the direction Canada is going in? Is t the direction we have to go in?

We’ll survive as we did for over a century before NAFTA or the Mulroney deal. And Trudeau is right – we’re not going to be pushed around. Canadians have got the message – we love our American neighbours but there is a trade war and we need to defend ourselves. So a lot of us are responding the best way we can. We have stopped buying US gods and services, even if that means buying Chinese.

I noticed the last few times shopping in the liquor store that people were asking more and more about alternatives to US wines. That should be our next target in this ever growing trade dispute with the US. I’d rather drink Ontario or B.C. fine wines anyway.

But I rarely see the B.C. wines in the LCBO. Perhaps that is where we need to make sure free trade is really working – right here across Canada. After all we are on the eve of Canada Day – more important for us now than ever.



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.     Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

NA Free Trade –    Manufacturing Decline –    Tariffs Hurt

Appliance Makers –    Toyota

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Two thirds of workers don’t have a workplace pension; teachers,federal, provincial & municipal employees have a defined benefit with a fixed payout. Some corporate pension plans get misused. Not much fairness.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 25th, 2018


“When people think whatever they happen to believe constitutes a fact, there goes a reasonable chance at having a meaningful discourse.” (Kevin Mathews, Care2)

Even if, true to his election promise, Mr. Ford doesn’t fire a single civil servant, they will all be retiring one day.  And that will cost the government a whack of money in pension payouts, right?  We know public pensions come from the government so they must be paid for with tax payer money.


Burlington has a senior citizen population that is growing faster than neighbouring communities.

That is gospel because we hear that opinion all the time – reading the National Post, The Sun and Globe and Mail; or just listening to some of my readers of this column.  So I thought I’d try a back-of-the-envelope calculation, using the federal pension system as an example, just to get a handle on the facts around pensions.  Most defined-benefit pension plans operate in a similar fashion.

Federal employees each contribute about 10% of their annual salary into their pension fund.  And like most other employers, the government matches that amount, thereby doubling the contribution.  For employees starting out at age 20 and assuming an average $50,000 salary over their working career, they would contribute about $5000 annually.  After 30 years of service the employees would be eligible for retirement (85 formula) having added some $300,000 in total to the pension fund.

At retirement, when the employees are 55, they would receive 2% of their average last five years’ salaries multiplied by their years of service.   In this highly simplified case that would amount to an annual pension of $30,000 per year (2% X 30 yrs. X $50,000).   Of course pension plans are a platform for investment which can earn capital gains, dividends and interest.

So even at a modest 3-5% return over the initial thirty years of paying into the fund, the retirees’ initial endowment would double or more over all that time.  That would give the pensioner over twenty years of getting back their own money – taking them well beyond their 75th year before their pension contributions finally run out.

Indexing the pension for inflation, which has been insignificant over the last two decades, would affect that calculation in the other direction.   And while those pensioners who live a long life will be a drain on the plan, those who die prematurely will allow the pension fund to accelerate.

pension benefits +There are competing types of pension funds.  Though under attack by right-wing think tanks, the defined benefit, with a fixed payout, is still the modus operandi for pension plans for teachers, hospital workers, provincial and municipal employees, crown corporations, financial institutions (banks and insurance companies) as well as a number of larger private sector organizations.

The defined benefit is also the formula used by our highly successful Canada Pension Plan.  However the current favourite of the chattering classes and the investment industry is something called a defined contribution plan, where the payout will depend strictly on how well the money had been invested.  This is akin to hiring a financial advisor, giving him/her your money and accepting the vagaries of the markets and the whims and/or skill of the advisor – the Casino Rama pension plan.

Still two thirds of Canadian workers don’t even have a workplace pension plan at all, let alone a defined benefit plan.  Former premier Wynne understood the frustration of those who had been excluded from the security provided by a registered pension plan.  She had proposed to ensure that all Ontario workers were covered by a plan comparable to the one government employees receive.  But the premier was forced to compromise in the face of opposition by other provinces, though not before forcing the federal government to increase CPP payouts for all Canadians.

Sears scoreboard

The failure of Sears as a corporation impacted pension benefits – Why?

There are a mess of private pension plans out there and why not?  What better way to get your corporate hands on a whole bunch of cash in a hurry, to pursue some risky investment or bail the corporation out in an economic downturn, than dipping into a find you control.   And because pension plans are tax-deductible, dipping into those assets is like getting money for nothing – at least the taxable amount.

Nortel pension

Nortel pensioners have had to take on a protracted court case to get some of their benefits.

And then there are the consequences of bankruptcy.  Look at Nortel, Stelco and now Sears – just the latest private plans to abuse the trust of their pensioners.  When it comes to collecting pensioners fall behind secured creditors, banks and bondholders in getting compensation after bankruptcy.

And if/when the companies eventually go into receivership it falls to governments to bailout the pension fund, as the Ontario government has done a couple times with Stelco.  But bailouts are never what the pension should have been – usually compensate to a fraction of entitlements.  And, of course, bailouts are undertaken with taxpayer dollars.  That is a fact and not an opinion.

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.     Tweet @rayzrivers



Background links:

Fact Vs Opinion –    Pension Facts –    Federal Pension Rules

Sears –     Stelco –    Nortel

Conversion of Plans –    More on Pensions – 

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Rivers isn't betting on NAFTA being in place for much longer.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 16th, 2018



A trade war between Canada and the USA is already here but according to at least one columnist help could be on the way. Apparently Kim Jung Un has offered his good offices to host peace talks between Canadian PM Trudeau and the US president. Kim was considered the evilest of evil until US president Donald Trump announced that he is a good guy after all, funny and strong, and someone who loves his starving oppressed people and is loved in turn.


Kim Jung Un with Donald Trump

Donald Trump wants to be known as a man of his word and true to his election promises. So he’s tearing up NAFTA through a series of small injuries – the ‘worst treaty yet’ along with the Paris Climate agreement and the Iran Nuclear deal. And Canada and Mexico are just chump change, small game in the foreground of his grander gun sights. Because America First is going to change the world – burying the notion of freer global trade big league, and bringing an end to globalization.

Trump and the latest incarnation of his inner cabinet are convinced that trade is only good when America exports more than it imports – the emperor’s new clothes. They’ve seen the equation used in standard economics text books and know that gross domestic product equals domestic consumption plus investment plus net exports. So all exports are good and all imports are bad. The Donald would know this too because he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in economics back in the ’60’s.

Of course the economics of trade is far more complicated than that, since, for example imported investment capital is far more valuable to an economy than imported consumer products. But complexities like that and philosophical theories like comparative advantage are the kinds of details that the bloody ‘elites’ like to toss around to show how smart they are. And by elites the Trumpeters mean anyone with more than a passing knowledge of anything besides… real estate deals. After all, it was the anti-elite crowd who elected him.


American President is known to chow down on junk food – McDonalds being a favourite.

Trump probably sees Canadian prime minster Trudeau as one of those elites. Though Trudeau, like Trump, hadn’t made it to Harvard his father did briefly. But Justin has that aura anyway, the stuff that elites are supposed to be made of – civility and culture, politeness and courtesy, and political diplomacy. He is so unlike the in-your-face, tweet-prone, American Big Mac – the US president. They do have drama in common – Trudeau as a teacher and Trump playing his best real life Willy Loman character from Arthur Miller’s classic, The Death of a Salesman.

Canada will not forfeit supply management for its dairy industry because Canadians know it is more sustainable than the American alternative of market distorting subsidies. The evidence is clear. We have stability and they have over-production and market chaos. Then they expect us to absorb their excess dairy products. Supply management is something which all Canadian political parties fully endorse, a policy initiated by Justin’s father almost half a century ago.


Canada has supply management in place which gives us price stability; the Americans have over-production and market chaos.

And it’s not like Trump cares a drop about the mainline dairy industry. He doesn’t even drink the stuff – he’s a raw milk guy. So why would he care about the conventional dairy folks wanting to dump their millions of gallons of subsidized milk in Canada, instead of their plowed fields? No, dairy is just a pretext for battle, and another nail in the NAFTA coffin.

If I were a betting man I’d put my money on NAFTA being relegated to the history books at least for rest of this generation. The new and substantial tariffs Trump is planning for the auto industry will be the coup de gras. Of course Canada’s foreign minister is hoping to seduce the US congressional types with her charm offensive, but the odds are not in her favour. The Republican Party is the party of Trump now, and he won’t be charmed.

This is a job for our own big guy, the PM. Some might think the emerging problem between the two men is lack of respect. Trump had said nice things about Trudeau in their earlier days, but then he also slobbered all over China’s leader Mr. Xi before slapping him with $50 billion dollars of tariffs. Despite their names both beginning with the letter T, they are different, One is old and messy the other young and fit, one opens the door for women to get catch up, the other just lusts over them.

And one is a true liberal while the other is neither that nor conservative – just a thug. Canada is a smaller economy and nation, and heavily dependent on the US for its trade and arguably its defence. So Trump’s ‘weak’ and ‘meek’ and ‘mild’ comments are likely more about the nation and not just its leader. One believes in climate change, the other believes in coal.

Justin as a boxer

Trudeau showing some real strength.

Maybe it’s time for Mr. Trudeau to take a lesson from North Korea’s Kim and show some real strength. Perhaps he should bring in the TV camera’s and show off a newly installed big red button on his office desk. Justin should then brag about how much bigger it is than the one in the oval office, and that pressing it would release a barrage of nuclear missiles aimed at the White House, Mar-a-Lago and Trump Towers everywhere. But he’d be happy to meet in Singapore for a nuclear summit.

Of course none of that would be true. Canada hasn’t had a nuclear missile on its soil since former PM Diefenbaker sent the Bomarc’s back stateside in the sixties. But then when has telling the truth ever been important to America’s liar-in-chief, Mr. Fake News south of the border?

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.     Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Kim’s Offer –   Trump and Trade –   Drama –  

Freeland goes to Washington –   Emperor’s New Clothes –  

Raw Milk

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Jane McKenna returns to Queen's Park - this time as a member of a government.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 9th, 2018



It was a resounding win.

Given the chaos that Doug Ford faced when he was made leader of the party his win can only be described as incredible.

The people who voted wanted a change and this has certainly been a change.

The voter turnout is reported to have been 58%, the highest the province has seen in 20 years.  One canno argue with results like that.

The voters made decisions and the joy in the various halls where the celebrations took place echoed what people wanted.


Jane McKenna will become the MPP for Burlington, this time as the member of a government.

Burlington is now back to being a blue city. Jane McKenna is once again a member of the provincial legislature and this time she is a member of the government. Whatever Ms McKenna has in the way of ideas and aspirations can now come to the surface.

Time will tell what kind of a contribution she is going to make.

Today, she is to be congratulated for her win.

Eleanor McMahon now ends her career as a politician.

The city did see two very good new candidates: Alvin Tedjo brought a fresh approach for the Liberals and Andrew Drummond was a welcome surprise for the New Democrats. One hopes they stick around.

Time to move on and get on with the business of creating a new government and getting used to the idea that the change the voters wanted has begun.

Will the change we saw take place last night be repeated in October at city hall?  And if they are will they be as resounding?

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

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Mike Wallace - running for Mayor, has a thick hide and wants to referee high school football when he retires.


News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 9th, 2018



Today it is Mike Wallace’s turn to take the drive for a cup of coffee with James Burchill in his Smart Car.

These 15 minute or so drives and the conversation that takes place or so revealing. Run side by side with the conversation that Burchill did with Rick Goldring a number of weeks ago the differences in style and approach to issues are telling.

The beauty of having these on line is that you can go back and listen to what is said again and again. In the Mike Wallace we learn that his most favourite past time is watching football – any kind of football; pro levels, college and even high school. Wallace revealed that he would like to referee high school football when he retires.

All 15 minutes are viewable here.

The drive Burchill took with Rick Goldring can be seen HERE

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Doug Ford: How he performs in this new job affects us all.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 8th, 2018



It was never in doubt. Actually the PCs started winning the Ontario election two years ago when Ontario got bored with the Liberals and their leader and turned to the PC’s as their preferred agent of change. So this was probably the most predictable election in the province’s history. And around 40% of the 59% of eligible voters who turned up to vote gave Doug Ford the leash, allowing him to lead Ontario into a new direction. ‘Help is here’ and ‘a new day has dawned’, the province has voted to be ‘turned around’ and become ‘prosperous’ as the slogans go.

Ford wicked smileBut beyond the slogans there is little sign of how we get to that bright new day being promised. As the campaign evolved I became more negative about Mr. Ford, worried about his lack of experience in government and his knowledge of the issues as well as his ability to work with others and provide leadership. But the people have spoken and I hope my fears will prove unfounded and Mr. Ford will do the job so many Ontario voters trusted him to do.

Ontario has a special place in Canada. As the most populous province, we have a particular leadership role, one Ontario has always played, particularly in keeping the country together given its historical relationship with Quebec. It would be helpful in that regard if Mr. Ford would become competent enough to utter at least a few phrases of Canada’s other official language.

We watch the friction between B.C. and Alberta, as each jurisdiction focuses on it’s own needs/wants at the expense of the other, and see how communication has broken down even when they both speak the same language. Parochialism is a destructive force for a union when the greater good is sacrificed for political interest.

Mr. Ford’s first task after assembling a cabinet, which should not be hard given the number of experienced and talented people newly (re)elected, is to bring in a budget. As we recall he had made the most expensive promises of all on the campaign trail, but was alone in not having presented a fully costed platform. That will give him a perfect opportunity to be virtually unconstrained in drafting his first budget, arguably the most important of his electoral term and the one which will ultimately define him.

Ford with documents

Doug Ford – now he needs to come up with a budget.

The Tories had promised to do little on the environmental file except clean up litter. In fact they have committed to dismantle climate change measures put in place by the previous government, including the cap and trade carbon tax, the green Ontario incentives and the renewable energy contracts. One can only hope that this there are enough progressives in Mr. Ford’s caucus to move him beyond this kind of regressive positioning. It is of some small comfort in that light that Ontario has elected its first Green Party MMP – from the once Royal City of Guelph.

Of course we all wish Mr. Ford success and offer our support. How he performs this new job affects us all and may very well impact his ambition to one day become the prime minister of this wonderful nation, or at least be re-elected. Despite all the campaign misinformation, he inherits a province with a near full employment economy, an impressive environmental record and the most progressive slate of social support programs in our history. Mr. Ford also inherits the ‘largest subnational debt’ in the world – one he has promised to do something about.

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.     Tweet @rayzrivers

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The government we have this morning is not the government we are going to have tomorrow morning. That is a decision you are going to make today.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 7th, 2018



Now it is all in your hands.

Remembrance Day wreaths - dozens at cenotaph

We paid for this right with the lives of many of our sons and fathers – and some of our sisters and mothers as well.

The right we have to choose who governs us has been expensive. We paid for this right with the lives of many of our sons and fathers – and some of our sisters and mothers as well.

They are depending on us to make wise choices; to not let our emotions or ideologies get in the way of important decisions.

The government we have this morning is not the government we are going to have tomorrow morning. The government we had lost the right to govern because they failed to listen and to understand what it is we wanted.

We may not have been all that clear on letting them know just what it is we do want.

The people who put a mark on a ballot are never wrong.

Just make sure that you are one of the people putting a mark on a ballot. Think hard and go with what you believe is best for the society you are the most important part of.

Going forward you get to decide what you think is best for all of us.

Salt with Pepper is the opinions, thoughts and reflections of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

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Doug Ford: He lacks the education, experience, integrity and acumen to lead this province into better days. And he has the track record to prove it.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 5th, 2018



I have a friend who claims that he learned everything he knows from watching cops and robbers on the big screen and his giant home TV. He was raised on Al Capone, Billy the Kid, and Bonnie and Clyde. And later he fell in love with the Sopranos. There was something about drugs and labour unions and waste management that were compelling and telling. So what about the politicians wanting your vote come June 7?


Former US president Richard Nixon – forgot to turn the tape recorder off.

My friend’s political heroes are the anti-christ, the ones with the chutzpah to pretend they’re there for the every person but are really there for themselves. They’ve never seen a law they weren’t afraid to break or ignore. Richard Nixon is a favourite, and of course Donald Trump, our own Brian Mulroney with his Karl Heinz dealings… and Rob Ford of course. So how, I asked, do the candidates for Ontario’s highest office rate?

Andrea thumb up

Horwath: she doesn’t look like she’d ever use a bat except to play ball.

Andrea Horwath gets D minus. Running neck-in-neck for first place in the upcoming election she hails direct from Ontario’s crime capital, Hamilton. She was a student of labour policy before becoming a Hamilton councillor and chairing a city solid waste management committee, which sounds kind of suspicious, though nobody has seen a baseball bat in her locker. Perhaps that’s because she leads a pro-union labour party, or perhaps because she doesn’t look like she’d ever use a bat except to play ball.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the hearings into the gas plant cancellations at Queen's Park in Toronto on December 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the hearings into the gas plant cancellations at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

Kathleen Wynne gets a D. She is more of a historical character at this point having announced that she is giving up the race to lead the province. But even though she is the fifth longest serving premier she has failed in all that time to have engaged in any notable criminal wrong-doing. There must have been an opportunity when she saved the horse racing industry from her predecessor’s knife – but nothing.

Oh sure she has a book-keeping disagreement with the provincial auditor general on a couple of issues, and one of her staff had been falsely accused of political bribery in a by-election – proven to be sour grapes. And she must have been at the Cabinet table when Dalton McGuinty decided to play politics with electricity file. But there is no smoking gun of corruption, no payola, nor any blood on her hands.

Her biggest crime is in the debt load she leaves future generations, two thirds of which represents investment in new transportation – an investment they will also inherit. And of course this is money we largely owe ourselves. It would be a more serious issue were the economy, the strongest it’s been in thirty years, unable to accommodate financing this investment and not spooking the bond raters.

Doug Ford gets an A +. His drug dealing days as reported by the Globe and Mail go pretty far back. And who didn’t do something stupid, criminal, dangerous and mind blowing when they were young? And who wouldn’t break the municipal code of conduct once elected to city council, according to the city’s integrity commissioner. Is it really a conflict of interest to help your friends to the taxpayers money just because they‘re also your clients.

Ford Doug

Has a close family member who was a mayor of a big city until he had to go into rehab for addiction to crack cocaine and booze.

I mean who among us doesn’t have a close family member who was a mayor of a big city until he had to go into rehab for addiction to crack cocaine and booze. And why should Doug take the blame for being his brother’s keeper? Except he was in so many ways. They were close, coaching him, occupying the mayor’s office when Rob was off on a binge, and being there in times of family crisis, which usually involved illegal drugs and sometimes even a hand gun.

The Fords were a close family so it’s all a bit of shock that Doug is being sued by Rob’s widow. She claims that Doug effectively stole her inheritance and that of her children – Rob’s 20% share in Deco labels, the company his father had started. Doug and his brother Randy had taken the shares in trust, breached that trust, and squandered the money on losing business ventures and fat salaries and bonuses for themselves – or something like that.

But the bottom line is the bottom line according to Rob Ford’s widow in her claim against Doug and his brother Randy. “Breach of trust, conspiracy and “negligent mismanagement” of the family business, Deco Labels, in the Superior Court statement of claim that seeks damages of more than $16 million” (Toronto Sun).

“Neither Doug Ford nor Randy Ford have the education and business ability to justify their employment as senior officers of Deco,” she (Renata Ford) alleges, adding that they carried out numerous “ill-advised acquisitions” of businesses and assets in New Jersey, Chicago and Ohio.” (Toronto Star).

Doug Ford says help is on the way – he claims he is going to turn this province around. But with a near full employment economy the question is whether Ontario’s economic progress can be sustained under a premier with such an unfortunate business record. Kathleen Wynne may not connect well with Ontario voters but she has helped us live in good times and perhaps at the end of the day we’ll judge that she may have been premature taking herself out of the race.

Doug Ford finger pointing

And he has the record to prove it.

My dystopia-loving friend may be cheering for Doug Ford, but we voters in this province need to have a sober second thought before we head into the ballot booth. Mr. Ford is ill equipped for the job of premier. He lacks the education, experience, integrity and acumen to lead this province into better days. And he has the track record to prove it.

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.     Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Doug At Deco –   Councillor Doug –   Wiki on Deco

More Deco –   Law Suit –   More Law Suit

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McKenna: She wants back in; the allure of public office is something she just cannot resist.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 4th, 2018



Will Burlington send Jane McKenna back to Queen’s Park or will she get there because a majority of the people who vote on Thursday want Doug Ford to lead the province?

MPP Jane McKenna with the best job she has ever had will have to seek re-election when the expected provincial election is called in the Spring.

Jane McKenna once told the Gazette hat her Father told her to have one really good suit and wear it often – that will get you the best job you will ever have.

In the event that Jane McKenna gets sworn in as a Member of the Legislature for a second time what might she do on a second occasion that she was not able to do during her first trip – she did tell the Canadian Federation of University Woman (CFUW) audience at Central High School that she was sitting as an Opposition member and wasn’t able to do very much.

Does that mean that if she sits in the Legislature as a member of an opposition the citizens of Burlington can expect another lack lustre performance?

Watching Ms McKenna for four years as a Member of the opposition we are hard pressed to recall anything she did.


McKenna speaking to the Burlington Progressive Association.

Our recollection is that she chose to become what can be best described as a Progressive Conservative power groupy. Being attached to or near people elected to office seemed to be an end in itself for Mc McKenna. We never had the impression that Ms McKenna actually knew what she was doing.

She was given different roles by then Leader of the Opposition Tim Hudak who, in the fullness of time, came to the conclusion that he could better serve in the private sector and left government to be was replaced by Patrick Brown which required Ms McKenna to re-align and attach herself to the new leader.

During the four year hiatus that Ms Mc McKenna spent outside government our understanding is that she served as a lobbyist for the nuclear power industry. It isn’t possible to confirm whether or not Mc McKenna served in that capacity – she made no mention of that work during the CFUW debate.

What we did hear from Ms McKenna was a regurgitation of the Doug Ford plan for the province. In this capacity Ms McKenna did the same sterling job she did when she explained the Tim Hudak platform promising to create a million jobs and to reduce the public service by 100,000 jobs through attrition – resulting in his math being challenged by the other parties and various analysts.


McKenna at the Central High school fund raiser.

In September of 2012, after listening to McKenna address the Chamber of Commerce, the Gazette said:
“Jane McKenna is growing as a politician. A little less stridency, more reflection and over time she could become a Charlotte Whitton – all the Tories that matter in this town will remember her – and nod approvingly. Can McKenna make that transition?. It will be a challenge.”

It proved to be a challenge she was unable to overcome – but she is back. The allure of public office is something she just cannot resist.

In her first election McKenna defeated Karmel Sakran.   She was then defeated by Eleanor McMahon who she now faces in 2018 – along with a much stronger NDP candidate.


Different times – different look. The 2018 campaign.

The two McKenna nominations had a tinge of discord about the.  The first in 2011was a 15 minute affair; the second in 2017  was mired by controversy and doubt that led a number of people to walk away from the association.

There was a time when Ontario had sound stable government led by John Robarts and Bill Davis, who might have been bland but the province prospered and there was stable government without the histrionics.

What have we done to deserve the current Progressive offering?


Background links:

The first nomination for Jane McKenna

The second nomination for Jane McKenna

Search boxFor a deeper look at how McKenna has served the community use the search box at the top right of the front page.

Salt with Pepper is the views, opinions and observations of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

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One of the best political campaigners in the city may go down to defeat on Thursday.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 4th, 2018



She was chosen as the candidate for Burlington by the Premier.

McMahon - First public as Minister

Eleanor McMahon at her first public event after being appointed to Cabinet

She was made a Cabinet member in June of 2016 and served on the Treasury Board and went on to serve as the President of the Treasury Board.

She is one of the best political campaigners in the city.

She is loquacious, tries hard to be open and accessible; doesn’t always succeed.

There are many that are unhappy with the way she served; parents with children at Lester B. Pearson and Bateman high school felt she could have done much more to help them keep their schools open.

The Tyandaga Environmental Coalition felt she never fully understand what was being done to them.

On the plus side McMahon delivered in spades to the arts community and she came through for the transformation of the Brant Museum.

McMahon had an ability to connect almost immediately with the seniors’ community.

McMahon GO bilevel announcement

As a Cabinet Minister McMahon spent a lot of time delivering announcements. Building a strong base within the community got a bit lost in the photo ops.

Early in her political career she was one of those who took the Burlington case for financial support for the August 2014 flood victims to Cabinet – she wasn’t a Cabinet member at the time. The province initially said no – funding was not going to be available. McMahon, with huge gobs of support from then Minister of Housing, Ted McMeekin, Burlington got a matching funds deal with the province.

The city needed access to a computer platform that could be used to collect donations – McMahon worked the phones and leaned on her United Way contacts to convince them to let the Burlington Foundation use the United Way computer platform to collect funds. The donations were vital if the provincial matching funds were going to be available.

That kind of back channel contact is priceless in the world of local politics. McMahon usually knew who to call and when she was confident – she would pick up the telephone.

She wasn’t always as confident as she could have been.

McMahon is fluently bilingual and had a command of indigenous languages. She was a quick study when it came to policy- but tended to get lost when it came to the mechanics of problems.


The city doesn’t have anyone near her equal as a campaigner. People took to her and believed she understood them.

When elections get tight those who have strong community support can overcome a sweep that overturns a government.  McMahon wasn’t able to get to that point during her first term – which may prove to be her only term. Politicians get returned to office when they deliver for their constituents.

Did McMahon fail to deliver? Did she have enough time to create a depth of support that was strong enough to withstand waves of discontent of a government she was part of ?

It doesn’t look as if her on the ground support is going to be there for her.

One seldom, if ever, heard McMahon take her party and the government she was part of to task. She may have done that inside Cabinet meetings – we will never know.

McMahon at BMO wondering when the provincial money is going to arrive

Few are fully aware of how big a role McMahon played in getting Burlington the funding it needed after the August 2014 flood. McMahon doing a photo op at a bank that came through with a big cheque.

To be a responsible critic one has to be both seen and heard

She was a very strong supporter of the women’s issues and inclusivity. She fully understood how the wheels of government and the arm’s length organizations worked.

She wasn’t seen as a risk taker and seldom spent the limited political capital she had fighting an unpopular issue.

She had one of those plus plus personalities but didn’t seem to be able to stretch it to cover those situations where she was in awkward or uncomfortable situations.

Single when she was elected – she lost her husband in a tragic road accident involving a driver who should never have been behind the wheel of a vehicle, McMahon had a large strong supportive family that got her through the harder days. She was the last of a seven children.  The loss of her husband marked McMahon for life and became a focal point for much of her community service.

McMahon had the capacity to meet with groups and almost instantly recognize what the need was and then pick up the phone and get something going.

Politics is often referred to as a blood sport – having ones hands on the levers of power has always been the objective. With those levers much could be achieved.

That opportunity going forward may be lost.

Salt with Pepper is the opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

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Preparing for what will be a defining provincial election; what the candidates are saying.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 3rd, 2018



It is an election that is going to define the province for at least a decade.

How is it playing out in Burlington where there are three constituencies. Some north Burlington residents, particularly those in Lowville and Kilbride, are in the Milton provincial electoral district, while some living in the northeastern area of the city will be in the new Oakville North-Burlington riding.

In Burlington there are 5 candidates; Liberal Eleanor McMahon, PC Jane McKenna, NDP Andrew Drummond, Green Party Vince Fiorito, and Libertarian Jim Gilchrist

In Oakville Burlington North there are six candidates: Frank DeLuca, Trillium Party; Charles Zach, Libertarian Party; Marianne Workman, Green Party; Saima Zaidi, NDP and Alvin Tedjo, Liberal. The riding was created by the province in 2015

In Milton, which covers the northern part of the city there are  four candidates: Brendan Smyth -NDP, Indira Naidoo-Harris -Liberal, Eleanor Hayward -Green and Parm Gill- PC

The NDP are in a place they have never been in before in Burlington – 2nd

They sent the following out to their supporters and media.

E-5. FIVE DAYS LEFT. So many contacts made, so many people who have expressed support for us. I have been working on NDP campaigns since 1999, and I have never felt like this. We were joking on Wednesday as we canvassed the area around Longmoor that this must be what it feels like to canvass in Hamilton. You can really feel that the people of this city are behind us and believe that we can win.

Drummon in campagn office

NDP candidate Andrew Drummond

And then beyond that, the Liberals essentially conceding the election here gives us an unprecedented opportunity. We were already in at least second place because of the work that we have done, but this really gives us a chance to get over the hump and win this riding.

I again want to thank everyone for everything that they have done for this campaign. I have had a ton of people support me at the doors. I have had so many of you show up to help make phone calls. So many people who generously donated to the campaign. So many of you who helped put up signs. So many of you who came and knocked on doors with me. It has all been very appreciated, and it is because of all of you that we are as close as we are in Burlington.

We are so close to an NDP win in Burlington. Please join me for any time that you can in the next 3 days of the campaign. Even a single hour is appreciated tremendously. We have to do everything we can to get out our message.
Sincerely, Andrew Drummond

The Liberals see the campaign a little bit differently.

Eleanor McMahon sent the following to her supporters and the media:

Courage comes in all shapes and sizes, and we need the greatest courage when things aren’t going how we hoped. Today Premier Kathleen Wynne showed us the courage, character and fundamental decency that Ontario Liberals know make her such a wonderful leader for our province and party.

McMahon with Wynne

Eleanor McMahon with Premier Kathleen Wynne

Today our leader acknowledged that, sadly, after 15 years of incredible progress by Liberal governments and thousands of achievements of which we can be justly proud, she will not be leading us as Ontario’s premier after Thursday’s election.

That’s democracy, and we shall respect and honour the decision of Ontarians, whatever it may be.

What does this mean in Burlington? We can still stop Doug Ford in Burlington
The battle for Burlington is far from over.
1. We know that most Burlingtonians always vote against the Conservative choice.
2. We know the NDP can’t win here.
3. We know only the Ontario Liberals can beat the PCs in Burlington.
4. We know most Burlingtonians don’t want Doug.

We must do everything we can locally to stop a Doug Ford majority.

Eleanor McMahon

Effie signWhere are the Progressive Conservatives in all this? Nothing from the Jane McKenna campaign. But we did get a short video clip on the Oakville Burlington North campaign where Progressive Conservative candidate Effie Triantafilopoulos made an astonishing statement.

In her own words in a public setting Triantafilopoulos said.


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Canada buys a pipe line - Rivers buys his first EV - thinks the feds paid too much for the pipe line while he is saving a bundle on gas.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 1, 2018



I got an EV (electric vehicle) earlier this year. It is really quiet and really fast. No more oil spills on the driveway, no more stinking exhaust fumes nor visits to drive clean, and no more oil change stickers plastered on my windshield. And best of all I now just smile when I pass gas stations with their pixel boards displaying those ever escalating pump prices. I feed my EV on a diet of electrons from the comfort of my garage every evening. So I can say thanks but no thanks to Doug Ford and his maybe ten cent gas price cut.

There are thousands of small solar panel installations like this across the province - they work very well and in many cases provide revenue for the owners.

There are thousands of small solar panel installations like this across the province – they work very well and in many cases provide revenue for the owners.

The oil industry is dirty and toxic and otherwise environmentally destructive. And the oil sands are arguably the worst example of all that. So I’m one of those who has always been in favour of ending the subsidies for that sector – or at least offering the same level of subsidy for greener energy sources, like wind and solar – to level the playing field and encourage the transition to green. Canada is the fifth or sixth largest oil and gas producer in the world but we’re also the seventh biggest in wind power.

Despite government promises to the contrary, the oil industry still feeds at the public trough to the tune of over $3 billion dollars a year. So I wasn’t really surprised when the federal government announced it was buying up the Trans Mountain pipeline from Texas based Kinder Morgan (KM). KM is the son of Enron, the notorious and scandal plagued energy trading company which was once the fifth largest corporation in the US, and which became the largest bankruptcy in US history ($74 B) sending its CEO to prison for fraud.

Critics of the Finance Minster abound on this topic, as on everything else. Those opposed to oil sands and pipelines, like the Green Party, Neil Young, Al Gore and just about every environmental group, could be heard screaming out ‘climate change’ so loudly I could hear them even in the quiet of my EV. And many of those who support the pipeline, as does the opposition federal conservative leader, still found fault, complaining that the feds had paid too much, or they shouldn’t have had to pay at all.

SLUG: ph-cyclists DATE: April 15, 2010 NEG NUMBER: 213218 LOCATION: Constitution Avenue, NW at New Jersey and 6th streets intersections. PHOTOGRAPHER: GERALD MARTINEAU, for TWP CAPTION: We photograph morning rush hour bicycle commuters amidst traffic on Constitution Avenue, NW. Photo shot at Constutution Ave, NW. and 6th Street. StaffPhoto imported to Merlin on Thu Apr 15 11:19:04 2010

There is this huge inventory of gasoline and diesel powered cars that are going to need fuel.

$4.5 billion is a lot of money. And then there will be at least another seven or eight billion more to complete the twinning and actually get the diluted bitumen moving. But finance minister Morneau is confident that the project is economically viable – after all the global demand for oil has been increasing almost every year and is likely to continue to do so into the near future. There is this huge inventory of gasoline and diesel powered cars which we’ve acquired over the years, and still more being sold as we speak.

Too bad Mr. Harper isn’t in the House to quell the ranks of his party by explaining why he bought into the Hibernia offshore oil project when it was failing, or why he decided to invest heavily into GM and Chrysler when they were heading for receivership. And what about Bill Davis and Pierre Trudeau buying into Suncor and saving Peter Lougheed’s sorry butt after Atlantic Richfield pulled out of the oil sands? And didn’t Pierre also create PetroCan? And none of this bankrupted the nation. Besides, it’s only right that Justin should try to save the industry his father helped build.

Like the railways and Trans Canada highways It is what Canadian governments since confederation have always done. And while many Albertans will always hate the Liberals because of something in the 80’s called the National Energy Program, at least the the political leader with the most at stake right now, Alberta premier Notley, doesn’t. She praised the move and offered to back up the deal with a couple billion dollars from her own treasury.

Pipeline -Transmountain

Close to 100,000 people work in the oil and gas extraction business

There are almost a hundred thousand Canadians involved in the oil and gas extraction business and most of those are in Alberta. But while this is a very important sector for Alberta, it is also essential today for the country as a whole. And without pipelines to convey the disgusting black gold to foreign markets offshore we are left with the railways and selling to and through the Americans, who are becoming more self-sufficient in petroleum products every year. Without the pipelines we are told that leaves about $15 billion off the table for us.

The Trudeau government’s intervention is a lifeline for the Alberta leader. And why not? For one thing she isn’t a Tory so she won’t be insulting him the way Alberta’s opposition leader Jason Kenny recently did. For another Notley gets climate change and wants to do something about it. Kenny doesn’t, much as Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe and Ontario’s Doug Ford don’t.

Notley, like the PM understands that while she must serve today’s market demands with her provinces petroleum products she needs to be thinking ahead to tomorrows markets. Which is why she introduced a carbon tax, and is diversifying Alberta’s economy, and moving the province’s electricity system off coal, as Ontario has done. For that is the future that we all should look to – the day when we will be driving electric cars and breathing cleaner air.

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

 Background links:

Crude Oil Demand –    Fossil Fuel Subsidies –     Renewables

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Burlington resident asks provincial premier candidates : How do you plan to pay for the plans you have?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 28th, 2018



How many people in Burlington watched the last debate before the provincial election on June 7th? Who knows?

The election result is certainly going to be pivotal for the province. The choice is not an easy one. The Liberals have more than worn out their welcome.

debate audience May 27

Small audience – significant debate, which no one actually won. Burlington resident puts the question to the candidates.

Doug Ford doesn’t appear to be holding on to the massive support he had when the race started. It was hard to see anything new in his message Sunday evening – he stuck to a script that was a combination of being simplistic and fear mongering.

Andrea Horwath was strong and stood up well to both Kathleen Wynne and Doug Ford.

There is a risk with voting in a New Democratic government – we have been down that road before as Ford put it. However, it would appear that not as many people want to go down the road Ford is urging us to do with his simplistic statements. He seems to have become as good as Wynne became with the spending.

Martin Badger

Martin Badger – Burlington resident.

The bright spot – the first question asked by members of the public who made up the debate audience came from Martin Badger, a 19 year old Burlington resident voting for the first time who asked: How do you plan to pay for the plans you have?

He got good answers. Was he satisfied with the answers?

That’s the question people across the province are going to ask themselves – which of the three political parties do you think can solve the problems?

Tough question!

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A first anniversary for the Arts and Cultural Council of Burlington

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2018



A request – it was actually more like a plea, from Trevor Copp more than five years ago for changes in the way culture is seen as part of the fabric of the city and the way it was funded, has developed some roots.

ACCOB, – Arts & Culture Council of Burlington, was formed, studies were done on what the public wanted in the way of culture and how that public was interacting with the cultural offerings.

Teresa Seaton, organizer of the Art in Action Tour, thinks through a response at one of the Cultural Action Plan sessions. She is one of 250 people organized as an Arts and Culture Collective in Burlington.

Teresa Seaton, organizer of the Art in Action Tour, thinks through a response at one of the Cultural Action Plan sessions. She is one of 250 people organized as an Arts and Culture Collective in Burlington.

Money was put into surveys and the development of a Cultural Action Plan.

The manager of cultural services was taken out of the Parks and Recreation department and tucked under the wing of one of the General Managers the city had at the time.

The city's cultural planner is all the arts community has at this point. There is some cultural mapping being done - which is useful in itself but won't do all that much to build the tremendous potential culture has in this city. Angela Papariza will use her well developed culture background and training to work with people like Trevor Copp - not likely to see much more in 2014.

Angela Paparizo in conversation with Trevor Copp during the unveiling of the Spiral Stella outside the Performing Arts Centre.

When a new Director of Planning was brought in – Culture got put into her job description.

The Arts were getting attention and a little bit of money and there were some interesting initiatives that had been in place for some time. The Art Studio Tour done each fall continues, they give a scholarship each year.

The AGB offers solid programs for children; the school board has hundreds of students in music classes, the art that we see from the elementary schools shows some promise.

But Burlington as an arts destination – not yet.

Sound of Music draws thousands as does Rib Fest.

The Performing Arts Centre has become a stop along the way for many of the touring shows.

Showtime AGB with people

Everyone wanted their picture taken with the Walt Rickli sculpture – then it was taken out of the Courtyard, put n storage where it appears to remain.

The Art Gallery took possession of a fine piece of sculpture that came out of the Walt Rickli Studio then was quickly put it in storage with a comment that a suitable location had yet to be determined. The funds that brought the Rickli sculpture to the AGB resulted in the Courtyard being named the Dan Lawrie Family Courtyard.

The Lowville Festival was created – they are now in their fourth year. It is an idea that has yet to find is place.
Trevor Copp put together a very successful and popular outdoor Shakespearian Festival at the RGB Rock Garden that has a following but has yet to achieve consistent success.

ACCOB was able to get the city to put real dollars on the table and to convince the city that ACCOB would play a significant role in how some of the public money was used.

There is now a BPAC / ACCOB Community Studio Theatre Initiative – a new funding opportunity for community artists and arts & culture organizations to help offset the costs associated with renting The Centre’s Community Studio Theatre.

Funds for this new initiative are raised through the Burlington Performing Arts Centre’s Annual Festival of Trees, the first of which took place in November and December 2017. Funds raised will be used to cover the base rent of the BPAC Community Studio Theatre for 4 days in 2018.

Burlington has a number of artists who work quietly and as effectively as they can on their own – looking for opportunities to promote themselves and from time to time sell a piece of their work.

The city does have groups that found their footing and have gone on to fame: The Spoons and Walk off the Earth are two examples. There are others.

Somewhere out there the leadership that is needed to galvanize a community, influence both a city administration and those elected to office that the arts are more than a nice to have, has yet to surface. A vibrant arts community is an economic force – the arts draw traffic.

Right now the city has a collection of silos – each with their own plan and agenda

The Tourism people have not yet found an effective way to promote the arts effectively.


Rendering of the Transformed Joseph Brant Museum site.

What impact the transformation of the Joseph Brant Museum is going to have is an unknown at this point in time. The museum board has said little – not even a “great things are to come” statement. The confidence needed to believe that great things are possible is not part of the way the city sees itself at this point in time. It will need direction that the Museums of Burlington have yet to experience. Could the transformed museum be the catalyst that is needed?

Only time will tell us that.

For the time being – celebrate that ACCOB can celebrate a first anniversary.

Salt with Pepper is the opinion, musing and reflections of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

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