Joseph Brant Hospital at 94% capacity - CEO asks for public support in staying safe

News 100 redBy Eric Vandewall, President and CEO Joseph Brant Hospital

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A short walk from Joseph Brant Hospital is Spencer Smith Park, a beautiful green space by the waterfront where, in past years, friends and families would gather in large numbers to enjoy the warm weather, music and food festivals and open-air movie nights.

We know how difficult this year has been for everyone – we feel it too. We all want to return to a time when we could enjoy the simple pleasures of pre-pandemic life. But we urge you to be patient, stay home and follow all public health measures. We need your help to avert a crisis.

Eric andewall TITLE

Eric Vandewall

Across Ontario, we are seeing enormous strain on our hospitals, and JBH is no exception. The new Variants of Concern have quickly taken hold and are fueling this third wave, causing a rapid surge in cases and hospitalization of patients with more severe symptoms.

At JBH, we are currently at 94% capacity and reached full capacity this past weekend. In just two weeks, the number of COVID-19 patients in our care has more than doubled and continues to increase daily.

We are doing everything we can to make beds available to the rising number of patients – both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 – who require urgent, life-saving care. We have put all non- urgent surgeries and procedures on hold. We have added four intensive care beds and will be adding three more by the end of this week – 31 beds in total. But resources are limited, and may not be enough if the demand continues.

Hospital modular

Pandemic Response Unit

We have been working with our regional and provincial partners in managing COVID-19 care, so that no one hospital is overwhelmed. We have the capability to transition our Pandemic Response Unit – which is currently serving as a Halton Region Vaccination Clinic – back to providing COVID-19 care within 24 hours. We would continue to run the clinic, which has already administered more than 10,000 vaccinations, in another part of the hospital.

Like many of you, our JBH staff and physicians have made enormous sacrifices during the pandemic, and your unwavering support has meant so much. You helped us get through it, and we need your support once again.

Please follow public health guidance. Stay home unless it’s essential, such as buying food or picking up medication. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, physically distance from others and do not gather with anyone outside of your household.

There are skeptics who will try to convince you that this is all unnecessary. I can assure you, they are wrong. If this upward trend continues hospitals will be overwhelmed.

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School Superintendent supports Harvard author - computers will never take over education

opinionred 100x100By Julie Hunt Gibbons

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Many of the challenges of this pandemic have been solved through the use of technology. The tools of technology have allowed the world of work to continue from a safe distance. Education in Canada has been no different.

Last year’s March – June shut down in elementary, secondary, and post secondary in Ontario was facilitated by the use of online learning, both synchronous and asynchronous, through a host of different learning management systems and educational platforms and applications. This year our provincial public health challenges have varied by population and demographic and we have used technology to respond accordingly.

FAILURE TO DISRUPT

Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education

Here in Halton, and the surrounding GTHA, students have experienced a variety of synchronous and asynchronous fully online and hybrid learning models in response to the need for student cohorting and swells in Covid-19 numbers. The recent pandemic response, coupled with decades of technological innovation and growing use, have led many people to cite technology as the panacea for educational change in this province and around the globe. They would do well to read Justin Reich’s latest book, Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education” (2020).

Reich does not base his claims on recent pandemic events. In fact, he wrote this book prior to the onslaught of COVID-19 and points out that the supposedly transformative educational technology of the past decade has done little to revolutionize learning. He debunks claims such as:

Harvard Business School’s 2009 claim by Clay Christensen that predicted that half of all American secondary school courses would be online by 2019,

Sal Khan’s claim that Khan Academy videos would reinvent education,

Sebastian Thrun of Udacity’s claim that in 50 years we’d have only 10 institutions of higher education in the world as a result of the success of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Sugata Mitra’s claim that students no longer need schools or teachers as groups of children with access to the internet could teach themselves anything.

students at computer screens

Computers will be part of classrooms – but they will not replace classroom teachers.

Reich addresses MOOCs, autograders, computerized “intelligent tutors,” and widely adopted popular educational software in-depth and traces their hype, their potential,and their ultimate shortcomings. According to Reich, despite their economic success in making their creators wealthy, their benefit has been to primarily wealthy students and they have done little, if anything, to combat growing inequalities in education. Thus this has not been “true innovation” and has not radically changed the educational system in any way. Rather these tools have been adapted, tested, used or not used by educators within the system.

Technology does, and  will, continue to play a crucial role in the future of education but as nothing more than a tool for classroom experimentation and the expansion of educators’ pedagogical toolkits.

None of this should come as a surprise; the pandemic has evidenced extreme growth in the use of educational technology, but the key lesson of our online learning experiments in a pandemic have been that there is a want and need for human interaction. Educators have the uniquely human skills to engage (or not engage) students.  Education is at its essence a human skill and human pursuit.  Change and improvement to education must come from human iterations. There is no magic technological wand.

I join Reich in his confidence that when we take stock of the education our schools provided in our schools during the pandemic, we will see evidence of many new technological classroom and teaching strategies reflective of staff learning and the practicing of technological skills. These are valuable skills and our schools can and should build on them, continuing the process of learning how to teach, learn, and use our digital tools more effectively.   Educational improvement is a journey, not a destination and technology can shape and accelerate this journey but technology alone cannot transform education.

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HDSB Superintendent Julie Hunt Gibbons

 

Julie Hunt Gibbons Halton District School Board Superintendent of Secondary Program & Student Success, North West Oakville Family of Schools was a part of the team that created the iStem courses that began at the Aldershot High school. 

Julie was born in Ottawa, graduated  from TA Blakelock in Oakville then attended: University of Western Ontario |  B.A. Hon. |   Sociology and Political Science; University of Windsor | MA. | Sociology (Socio-legal Studies) and University of Toronto  |B.Ed. |Intermediate and Senior qualifications

Julie didn’t  intend to be a teacher. She did a Masters in Sociology (Socio-legal studies) thinking it would be a good stepping stone to Law School. It was while working as a Teaching Assistant that she fell in love with teaching.


 

 

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NDP Convention produces some strong election platform positions

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

April 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This past weekend, over 2000 NDP delegates from across the country met at a virtual convention to discuss what direction the party should take moving forward and what policies are important for the NDP to push in the next federal election. The convention was not without its hiccups, and technical difficulties dominated the event in its first 24 hours. Delegates with a disability in particular were frustrated as captioning for the proceedings was not immediately available.

jAGMEET

Jagmeet Singh – a resounding 87% endorsement

The most publicly notable part of any political convention in Canada is the vote to endorse the Party Leader. NDPers gave Jagmeet Singh a resounding 87% endorsement which was higher than expectations. Jagmeet also gave a keynote address on the Sunday of the convention where he compellingly argued that without the NDP’s influence the country’s vulnerable would have been for worse off than they were. He quoted a line from a popular meme online: “I’ve heard it said that in this pandemic, we’re all in the same boat. I disagree. We’re not actually in the same boat. We’re certainly in the same storm, but some of us are in leaky lifeboats.” Singh also called out that the Liberal proposal for the CERB program had been $1,000 per month with a 3-month maximum. Only through the pressure tactics of the NDP caucus was the amount and duration increased.

But the core of any convention is the passing of policy the NDP grassroots wants the party to fight the next election on. More than 800 policy resolutions were submitted by riding associations across the country, and delegates prioritized those and then debated over the three days of the convention. The most notable new policies passed are below:

millionaire

He’s just an old fashioned millionaire.

Make the Wealthy Pay Their Share (80% marginal tax on incomes over $1,000,000)
Delegates in favour of this resolution argued passionately that Canadians earning this amount of income should be more responsible for ensuring a more equitable distribution of wealth across Canada. While exact figures aren’t available, the 99th percentile income in Canada is less than $300,000 per year. The number of Canadians making over $1,000,000 is incredibly small and yet a tax on those individuals would secure considerable funding for programs to help all Canadians.

Re-Establish a federal minimum wage at $20/hour
Delegates on this resolution were focused on the relationship between a minimum wage and a living wage. And after some discussion, delegates were aligned to the idea of $20/hour being necessary because of the incredibly high cost of living in many areas.

Halton was given as an example where the living wage here was $20.38/hour the last time it was calculated in 2019. The wage would only impact federally regulated companies but would hopefully have a significant impact on local economies as well.

Add Long Term Care standards to the Canada Health Act
The experience of Ontario has been noticed by people across the country. Delegates have been outraged at the poor conditions LTC residents have been forced to live in while the private companies managing the sites have been giving out huge dividends to their shareholders. With this policy, the NDP takes a stand that across the country LTC homes will no longer be allowed to be run as for-profit enterprises. It would also enshrine in the Canada Health Act a commitment that any federally funded LTC facility be required to provide a minimum of 4 hours of daily care.

Permanent Paid Sick Days for federally regulated companies
The research in the lead up to this policy shows that 58% of Canadians do not have any paid sick leave. Beyond that, the much touted CRSB program is not suited to day-to-day needs. When a worker starts getting sick, they need that first day off to prevent others from getting infected. The NDP passed a policy demanding 7 permanent sick days per year for all federally regulated companies. It is a very big step towards normalizing paid sick days as required in all businesses.

Canada’s Place in the World

refugee camp

Refugee camp support has always been a large part of Canadian foreign aid.

Historically, the NDP convention has shied away from taking stands on foreign policy. Resolutions calling for international action rarely get prioritized and debated. However, at this convention, the NDP delegates prioritized 2 powerful resolutions calling for action from Canada. First was to unequivocally support farmers in India against the repressive corporate takeover being funded by the Modi government. The second was calling for a boycott of all products made in the Israeli occupied territories as well as an embargo on arms sales to Israel until a fair peace is established with the Palestinian people. This was a landmark policy choice that puts the NDP clearly on the side of those being oppressed and demands Canada take action on the world stage.

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Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party

NDP convention 2021 was not perfect. The technical glitches marred what could have been a bigger unifying experience for delegates (Amends were made by refunding delegate fees to all members with a disability). But policies were passed that will drive the NDP platform for the imminent federal election expected later this spring. They are bold, progressive policies that will brand the NDP clearly as the most progressive platform between the major parties. They also give a clear strategy to escaping the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

The 2021 NDP Convention made clear that the NDP members have a vision for what Canada should be and how it should take care of its people so no one is left behind. Protecting LTC homes, and fighting for a federal minimum wage will make real, material difference in the lives of Canadians. The biggest message from convention 2021 was that the NDP members share a common vision with Jagmeet Singh and are passionate about fighting for that vision in the next election.

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

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Liberals put their election platform in place - expect to vote in the not too distant future

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

April 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A record breaking 4000 Canadians participated in the Liberals’ fully virtual 3 day, 60 hour, biennial policy convention this past weekend. And 26 policy resolutions were adopted including; a national pharmacare program, a universal basic income (by a vote of 491-85), and national standards for long term care, as the top three priorities. These now become party policy.

trudeau Justin

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Mr. Trudeau delivered a blistering closing address which looked every bit like a pre-election stump speech. Trudeau claims he has no interest in an election at this time. But the polls are good for the Liberals, Canadians are finally seeing vaccines arrive, and the opposition is divided.

Erin O’Toole is battling his own party of climate change deniers, and a-woman’s-right-to-choose is the ghost still haunting the party. Then Mr. O’Toole has some suicidal issues of his own making; namely, bringing back assault weapons and killing the CBC.

The new Green Party leader finds herself in a tussle with the party’s old guard amid accusations of racism. The NDP is struggling to find an issue on which it can out-left the Liberals, and their leader has faded into the background and become the de facto silent partner in the Liberal minority government. And Trudeau must know that every single election during COVID has returned the incumbents, and even propelled a few into a majority position.

Mr. O’Toole is calling for a public inquiry into Canada’s response to the pandemic. That piece of theatre could spell trouble for Mr. Trudeau, given his government’s failings in border control, as recently reported by the Auditor General. Still the Liberals claim they’d welcome such an inquiry. Perhaps they figure it would allow them to focus on the failures of the provinces.

At the outset the provinces rejected Trudeau’s offer of invoking the federal emergency measures act and claimed jurisdiction over administering public health measures to keep the epidemic in check. And they have largely failed, repeatedly, except in Atlantic Canada, allowing this country to recently surpass the US in new COVID infection rates.

Given that most of the provincial premiers are political allies of Mr. O’Toole – one could ask where his voice was in any of this. And in an election Trudeau would claim credit for the economic measures he introduced: workers sick pay, wage subsidies and CERB; which just about everyone supported.

Trudeau has been pretty consistent at following through on his party’s resolutions. Cannabis legalization is a case in point. And he even tried to implement electoral reform before giving up and breaking his promise of change. But he has expressed dislike for the universal basic income policy which almost everyone else in his party wants. So people may be wondering whether Mr. Trudeau is really as liberal as one would expect given his record of financial deficits.

Carny

Mark Carney comes out of the closet – he’s a Liberal

The keynote address by former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney got the Liberal chattering class excited. Would he make a suitable replacement for Mr. Trudeau were the Liberals to lose the next election? Carney, who has finally come out of the closet to announce his liberalism, would bring a huge amount of financial credibility to a government now running up massive debt. Perhaps this could be another Paul Martin moment – someone loved by both liberals and fiscal conservatives.

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Chrystia Freeland,, Minister of Finance preparing a budget that will set new deficit records ?

And speaking of money, Canada’s current finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, talked about a window of political opportunity for her pet initiative, a universal child care program. Among the other resolutions were a couple demanding a Canadian ‘green new deal’ and a post pandemic ‘green’ recovery. And, interestingly, the fourth priority item called for a high speed rail network.

All of these progressive measures will involve some new spending and Canada is already heavily into the red just from all the pandemic security blanket measures. So it was discouraging that relatively pocket-book painless resolutions to increase capital gains taxation and introduce an inheritance tax for estates valued over 2 million were defeated.

Perhaps the delegates think we can grow our way out of debt, or that we should wait for inflation to shrink the relative size of what we owe ourselves.

Chart April 10 0 covid

There wasn’t a lot of media coverage of either this event or the NDP convention on the same weekend. The front pages are mostly full of the passing of Prince Philip and the ongoing misery of COVID infections and deaths and the race against time to vaccinate our people. But, whether right or left or in the middle, media coverage of COVID has become more united and has coalesced around a common theme. Our governments have let us all down.

Still 4000 Canadians had enough faith in the future of the Liberal party to make their voices heard at this policy convention, even if it has to be conducted over the internet. And sadly even that number was smaller than the number of people who contracted viral infections in Ontario the day after the convention concluded.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

 

 

 

Background links:

Liberal Convention –    Priority Resolutions –    Basic Annual Income

Green New Deal –   Mark Carney Coming Out –    Mark Carney

Our Governments Fail Us –    Ontario Failures –   Why Does Tam Still

Lockdowns Meaningless –   Public Health Canada Meltdown

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Securing delivery of the vaccines and finding people who can actually govern are the biggest challenges we face

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Is there anyone saying the provincial government is doing a good job in managing the pandemic – the only people who are saying anything positive are the politicians. Their advisors have been pressing for stronger measures to stop the spread of  Covid19

Ontario is caught between a rock and a hard place. We don’t have any facilities where we can manufacture the virus and we are having problems getting the vaccines the federal government has ordered.

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Managing the supply of the vaccines under contract isn’t working very well.

The federal government has contracts with just about every vaccine company but none of them are delivering on time.

There are delays upon delays. The supply was so short that the rate at which second doses of the vaccines was increased. Difficult to understand how the scientists can invent something and issue instruction saying the product should be applied four weeks apart and then, when the province finds they don’t have enough to deliver on that prescription – they make the second dose months later – and that seems to be OK.

It has to be because the supply just isn’t there.

Doug Ford covid t shirt

Listening to the advice of people who put the public ahead of politics is proving to be a challenge for the Premier.

The politicians are playing political games – Prime Minister says I sent you 2 million doses – and the Premier replies – sure you did – yesterday.

This is beginning to look and sound  like a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera.

We failed the seniors’ community, because the most of the long term care homes are run by the private sector where profits come before service.

We can of course vote the politicians out of office – any assurance that the next lot that get elected will be any better?

The public service is a good place to work. That sector however, seems to have forgotten what serving actually means.

There have been some upsides. The science community has performed, for the most part, superbly. They were able to come up a vaccine in a very short period of time. And the leadership from the science community has pressed the governments to listen.

Finding men and women who bring courage, tenacity and a belief that public service is a calling is the challenge for the rest of us. Hoping for the best isn’t going to be enough.

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

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Rivers on: The Politics of Taxing Carbon

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

March 30th, 2021

BURLINGTON,, ON

OPINION

Erin O’Toole gave up a huge opportunity to advance the theory that he is a new kind of conservative. He says he wants to move his Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) into the more electable political centre of Canadian politics.  That would allow him to challenge the centre-left Liberals for that block of voters who can make the difference between forming government or lingering in opposition.

Erin Otoole

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole

But then his response following the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of federal carbon pricing disappointed a growing number of Canadians who have come to accept the carbon tax as a necessary treatment for our fossil fuel addiction.  And it took only a few hours after the court announcement for two of his biggest provincial allies on the tax, Scott Moe and Jason Kenny, to desert him, concluding they would now surrender and likely develop their own provincial carbon taxes.
Ontario has not yet said what it is planning to do, except that it will respect the court decision. Presumably that means doing nothing but watching the feds collect the money and redistribute it as they have been doing.  Ford, who came to power after the political assassination of former leader Patrick Brown, killed Brown’s plans for a provincial carbon pricing scheme with great aplomb.

gas pump carnon label

A label that just wouldn’t stay in place.

Ford then dismantled the in-place efficient Ontario’s cap and trade carbon pricing system at a cost of at least $5 million .  That move is costing the province an additional $2 billion annually in revenues.  Then Ford allocated $30 million in his losing effort to fight the federal carbon tax, and spent another $4 million advertising against the tax.
Then there was the cost of producing sticky labels mandated to go on to gas pumps across the province….and promptly fall off again.  Fortunately the court decision against the stickies saved Ford, a former label company executive, the embarrassment of presiding over a law and a label that just wouldn’t stay in place.  All in all, not bad for a government promising to cut waste.

The Supreme Court ruling has left everyone trying to figure out where O’Toole really stands.  On the one hand he has to be admired for entering the lion’s den of his party’s last convention, to declare that climate change is real.  Unfortunately the lions disagreed and, behaving like the dinosaurs they are, sent a red-faced O’Toole home, mumbling something about killing the carbon tax anyway.

But the paradox of promising to develop a Trudeau-beating climate plan and promising to kill any kind of carbon pricing scheme at the same time has never dawned on him.  He has continued to push the big lie that the tax hurts the poor and the disadvantaged which – thanks to the rebate – it doesn’t.  But then why should a little truth get in the way of well-established anti-tax ideology?

He is right, though, that the carbon tax would eventually kill jobs – oil industry jobs in an industry on its way to irrelevance.  Recall how politicians in Quebec used to worry about the loss of asbestos industry jobs, even as the workers were dying from asbestosis.  That debate ended and despite all the fears, the world did not.

Once all of the provinces introduce their own carbon taxes, the federal tax might almost be moot. Except to be effective a carbon tax has to keep increasing.  So that means that the feds will still be setting the rules.   And that is why the court decision is so important; to keep carbon pricing advancing and on a level playing field across the country.

It’s clear that O’Toole hasn’t thought this all out.   But he is still apparently working on his own climate change plan, which will be handicapped without the incentives offered by higher carbon prices. What might he include then?  He could be expected to offer even more subsidies to the oil companies as they try to bury their emissions, something called sequestration.  And he might commit to more nuclear power?  But don’t expect him to mention carbon pricing.

emmissions exhaust

Emissions: They are killing the planet

Quebec recently committed to ban the sale of gasoline powered cars by 2035.  Mr. O’Toole could hitch onto that as a national policy.  There is also speculation that the USA under the Biden administration may be looking at a gas guzzler ban as well.  Banning the sale of appliances which use fossil fuels, like gas water heaters, would be an even more effective way of curbing the demand for carbon based fuels.  Though one can only imagine how those dinosaurs that compose O’Toole’s base would react to that idea.

But no matter what final policy package Mr. O’Toole selects as his plan, to be effective it will have to involve the eventual closure of much of Canada’s fossil fuel industry.  And those jobs and all that oil income for the western provinces, where his political power lies, is why he rejected the carbon tax in the first place.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

 

 

Background links

O’Toole on Carbon Taxes –    Supreme Court –   Conservative Dinosaurs –  

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Is a new, very young man in the process of creating a political profile and looking at the ward 2 council seat that will soon be in play?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Political leadership is something that has to be grown.

They don’t just fall off a tree like a ripe apple.

Public service is seen as honourable with good salaries and wonderful benefits.

The current city council has a very young group of people. They had an exceptionally steep learning curve and at least two have yet to get to the point where they are competent. They may never get there.

Kearns Lisa side view Mar 2019

If Lisa Kearns jumps to Queen’s Park – that opens up the ward 2 seat.

The ward 2 council seat is now in play – that will become official when Lisa Kearns comes out of her political closet and confirms that she will carry a Liberal flag come the 2022 provincial election. She will do so when it is to her advantage.

Question then is – who will replace Kearns? Kimberly Calderbank has said she will run again.

Roland Tanner has realized that he would have been a terrible Councillor and has decided to stick to his information technical pursuits. His 905er podcast does not appear to be any better than his description of how he would do as a politician.

The word abstemious might apply.

There is a young man in the city who appears to be grooming himself for a shot at the ward 2 council seat.

David Vandenberg, studied political science at McMaster, served as campaign manager for Rick Goldring in 2018 – that didn’t turn out very well – more the candidate than the campaign manager.

Vandenberg giving back

Name a charity group that needs help – and David Vandenberg will be there.

Vandenberg gets involved in organizations focused on helping other people. He is currently part of the Wellington United Church Meals Ministry that prepares take-out meals. It grew out of the Friday Night Community Dinners that were cancelled due to Covid19 issues.

The giveaway sign that David Vandenberg was going to throw his hat into the ring was the Burlington Dave podcast that Vandenberg hosts four times a year.

Vandenberg explains his podcast pursuit this way:

Vandenberg data

The Vandenberg score card

“Burlington is full of folks of all ages who strive every single day to create a virtuous, equitable and compassionate community. Reflecting on over a decade of local engagement, I have had the privilege of learning about our community, the heroes within it and the landscape in which we live – here in Burlington, Ontario.

“I hope to highlight some of our local heroes, business champions, and heritage and community issues through this blog.

Vandenberg introduces himself to people who visit his Facebook page this way:

“If we have not met before, thanks for popping by! If we know each other, welcome back! My name is David Vandenberg. I am a passionate community leader and speaker in the Halton Region. My deep commitment to innovative community and city-building inspired me to work in the advocacy space for local organizations.

Vandenberg on zoom call

Vandenberg on a Zoom call

“I am a recent McMaster Grad who now works as the Operations Manager of the Meal Bag Program at Wellington Square United Church. Outside of work, I love to capitalize on our proximity to hiking and biking trails, sit on boards of local charities and advocate for issues and people that are close to my heart.

“Building bridges is what I do. I truly believe that when we work together in our community, we can drive a bigger social impact. I hope you enjoy hearing about some of the incredible people, businesses and stories I have to share with you here in Burlington.”

That is about as political as a profile can be.

Vandenberg and Mother

David Vandenberg with his Mother

Our first reaction to young Vandenberg is – Good Luck to you, young man. Your heart appears to be in the right place.
And then we ask: Have you ever had a full time job at which you were more than a volunteer. We are aware of some internships you’ve done – all good.

We would like to see situations where you worked hard, got promotions and added responsibility. Were placed in situations where you gained what the soft liberal set call “lived experiences”.

There was a quote you put up on the Facebook that impressed me.

Vandenberg graphic

If that is the way you think, if you really have that level if realpolitik you just well might grow into a credible and effective politician.

Goodness know the city could use more of those.

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

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The Race is On and We’re Losing

 

“You have a variant (B.1.1.7) that’s 50 per cent more transmissible and you’re using the same tool box and control efforts that barely worked against the previous variant…So of course the prevalence will increase. It might be a bit more or a bit less but if you’re reopening and you have a more transmissible variant, cases will increase. It’s not even really rocket science.” (Chris Bauch, University Research Chair in the Department of Applied Mathematics,  University of Waterloo).

Rivers 100x100

By Ray Rivers

March 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

That vaccines are rolling out across the province is comforting, except that we’ve hardly made a dent in getting to herd immunity. About a million doses have been administered and we need more like 20 times that amount to allow us to get back to some kind of normal. And now we hear that there is a third wave of infections on our doorstep, driven by the variants which are as much as 50% more contagious, demand more hospitalization and are more deadly. So, we are in trouble.

sunnybrook field hospital

A field hospital set up by the Army in a parking lot at Sunnybook hospital

For over a year now we’ve been in some kind of tiresome on-again-off-again series of restrictions against interpersonal contact. But Ontario’s premier has an itchy trigger finger and can’t break the habit of jumping the gun. He’s done this before. Despite predictions of a second wave last autumn, Ford relaxed public health restrictions resulting in record breaking infection numbers, nearly full hospitals and about 1000 more fatalities. And then Ford refused to re-impose further restrictions until the end of the year, again despite medical advice, and after the virus had firmly embedded itself in our community.

And now, even as Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has told him that we are headed for an ever greater third wave of infections, Mr. Ford is threatening to lessen restrictions on congregate activity rather than tighten them. Having rescinded the stay at home order he has just recently authorized more establishments to reopen. Despite all the impressive compassion he delivers at his media briefings, he clearly doesn’t get it – doesn’t understand the dynamics in play – or it’s all just an act.

Covid variants

The image on the right is what scientists think the spike portion of a variant virus looks like.

Right now we are in the midst of a race between the new virus variants galloping at full speed to infect and kill more people versus protecting enough folks from the virus through vaccination. And the virus is winning. We know this virus continuously mutates, and it’s pure math that the more virus present, the greater the probability of mutation. Just look at the UK, South Africa, Brazil and more recently California. Who knows, there may be an even more powerful variant around the corner?

We have been told that by September everyone in the country should have been administered the vaccine. In as little as six months, then, we might be in a position where the viral contagion no longer will keep our businesses shut and our families and friends distant from their loved ones. It’s a long time but not as long as what the Premier’s failed public health policy has put us through so far. We either choke the virus by locking down or we face the potential consequences of a viral epidemic largely left unchecked.

So Mr. Premier. It’s time to stop gambling with our health and declare a proper lockdown. This province needs a new game plan to check the virus while we get the rest of our population protected with vaccines.

We need a complete province-wide shut down of all congregate activities which are not completely essential, and some kind of compensation for those people whose incomes will be lost in the process. We need another stay at home order and possibly a Quebec styled curfew. We need to close the Ontario border to interprovincial travel, as Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces have done. And we need to keep it that way for at least three weeks, from what the experts are telling us.

It’s not an impossible task. China, where the virus originated, did this last year. The country has had an occasional outbreak since, imported from outside the country, but has been able to trace and isolate all contacts. And life is pretty much back to normal there now. It is the same story with Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. There are no Chinese or New Zealand variants being created. And their communities have not had to experience second, let alone third waves of infection.

We only need to look at the Atlantic provinces which are Canada’s star performers in fighting the epidemic. History will show that those jurisdictions which dealt effectively with the epidemic have come out of it relatively unscathed. Meanwhile those which failed, like Ontario, have seen their small businesses devastated by the on-again-off-again restrictions; witnessed increases in inequality, mental illness, government debt; and, sadly, unforgivable loss of human lives.

New Zealanders went back to normal last year after only a few weeks in total lockdown. Today, the only way the virus enters there, as it did everywhere else, is by international travel. But even a single new case warrants a total lockdown there, including area roadblocks and severe penalties for those flaunting the rules. Had Mr. Trudeau followed the lead of his friend, Jacinda Ardern, we would have had an effective quarantine system in place over a year ago, holding those foreign variants in check.

New Zealand Jacinda

New Zealand Premier Jacinda Ardern, won re-election based on her leadership during the Covid 19 crisis in her country. Will Ontario re-election Doug Ford based on his performance.

Prime Minster Ardern is a hero in her country for leading the people in their fight to eliminate the epidemic. She won an overwhelming parliamentary majority in her last election, something rare for any country with a proportional representative electoral system, and the first such win in New Zealand’s history. She is so well regarded that NZ scientists recently named a newly discovered subspecies of the weta, a giant flightless cricket after her – the Hemiandrus jacinda.

We also recently uncovered a new species here in Canada, identified first in the west end of Toronto. It has been tentatively named the the Etobicoke slug. Still, I doubt anyone would suggest renaming it after our premier, despite the sluggish way he has been dealing with the epidemic. And besides wasn’t there a 70’s Canadian pop group with that moniker?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

 

Background links”

Third Wave –    Variants      The COVID Story –      Australians –     Atlantic Success

Jacinda –    The Etobicoke Slug –   Doug and the Slugs

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Missing is any sense of grace or civility.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Set out below is a statement the Mayor posted on her Facebook page.

What disturbs me is what a colleague described as “… so much “me too, me too” that it’s embarrassing – like something out of High School.”

Meed Ward style

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Missing is any sense of grace or civility. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward knows that her Council colleague Lisa Kearns earned the identical professional designation but our Mayor was not able to congratulate the ward 2 Councillor for her accomplishment.

Missed was an opportunity to tell people that Burlington is probably the only municipality in Ontario (perhaps the whole country) to have two people on council who have earned the designation and both are female.

What is wrong with this woman – it isn’t just all about her.

Where are her oft used phases: collaboration, working together as part of a team. Meed Ward says frequently that Burlington has a “giddy up” city council.

The statement explains why several of the Councillors don’t want to put up with the way the Mayor interacts with them. Not a good sign as Council moves into the final term of their mandate.

Time for a reset if she expects to get re-elected.

This is such a disappointment after the success of getting a new Official Plan in place and changing where high rise developments will appear.

She can be better than this.

mmw on desigbation

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Burlington gets yet another award - this one is a little dubious

opinionred 100x100By Blair Smith

March 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A press release received today from PSD CITYWIDE announced “North America’ Top 20 Open Cities”.

PSD is a corporation with offices in Burlington that serves the municipal sector as consultants, advisors and software providers.

PSD graphic

The organization that gave the city the award published a lot of background material for the municipal sector.

Their award sounded  like something worth knowing about and certainly something worth celebrating. The ‘presser’ begins with “Today, PSD announces North America’s Most Open Cities with the City of Edmonton, Alberta maintaining their number one spot for the fifth consecutive time. Next, Ottawa, Ontario moves into the second place spot, with Winnipeg, Manitoba coming in third. All top 3 organizations achieved excellent scores and made great strides this year in all three competency categories.” According to the ranking, the City of Burlington is tied with the City of Coral Gables as the 9th Most Open city in North America.

On its face this appears to be a remarkable achievement and one certainly worthy of having a temporary primacy of place on the COB and/or Mayor’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and various other social media accounts. However, appearances (and awards) can be deceptive. First, just how many jurisdictions were included in the ‘competition’ and analysis? Remember there are over 400 municipalities in Ontario alone. How many more (or comparable governance bodies) across Canada; how many state and county organizations? The number must be well into the thousands. But, according to the press release, only 41 organizations across North America participated. Is the response then even statistically relevant?

Secondly, to implicitly associate Open Government with the survey’s three evaluation contexts for “open data” is perhaps both misleading and inaccurate.

Open data does not automatically equate with open information and most certainly does not, in itself, constitute open government – not even close. So, the sampling is statistically insignificant, the association perhaps misleading and the ranking virtually meaningless when you consider the sample size. Even so, how did the responding organizations do? How shining is their example? Well, the average score of the 41 was a completely miserable 34.9%. Burlington in the exalted 9th position was barely above 50%.

Really, this is hardly something worthy of a press release; if it does perhaps the banner should read “North America’s Top 20 Most Open Cities Are Still Closed Shops To Their Citizens”.

Blair Smith is a retired provincial civil servant who delegates frequently at city hall and has very strong views on both open data and open, transparent municipal government.

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How did the guys who know how to communicate when they are running for office - fail to communicate when their public is frightened

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How did this get so screwed up?

The province had months to create a web site that people would use to register for a Covid19 vaccination.

They day they opened it up – it failed.  They appear to have fixed it.

HillierOn the same day the retired Army General who was overseeing the distribution of the vaccines in the province quits.  Maybe the $20,000 a month he was being paid (this on top of an Armed Forces pension) wasn’t enough.  Or maybe he stood back and saw nothing but a disaster on its way and chose to step aside.  Question – did he get vaccinated before he quit?

There are very legitimate concerns about one of the vaccines; the AstraZeneca vaccine is reported to have resulted in blood clots in some people.

The Prime Minister assures us that the batch that had the problems is not the batch of vaccines that we are using in Canada.  Do you feel assured?  I don’t.

Remember the thalidomide tragedy; those poor souls only recently got acceptable support and compensation.

For those who don’t recognize the word thalidomide it was a pharmaceutical that was prescribed for pregnant women. Far too many gave birth to children with no arms – just stubs instead of a fully formed arm.

Tragedies like this happen when governments fail to do the job the public expects.  There is good reason to ask if the same kind of incompetence, let’s be candid and call it what it is – stupidity, is happening to us now.

We have failed terribly to ensure that we would have access to the vaccines the government should have known would be needed.

The buck on situations like this rests at the very top.

Instead all we are getting from the leadership at the federal and provincial levels are bromides – people are beginning to become frightened; the last thing we need is a public that no longer trusts and begins to do what human beings do – look out for their own interests.

The best source of the news and information people need in Burlington comes from the Regional level – The Public Health Unit for Halton struggled like everyone else at the beginning to get organized.

When this is all over hopefully there will be an opportunity to tell the full story about the job these people have done.

In the meantime, we wait.  There is more that can be done.  Governments react to protest – if you are worried,  scream blue murder and let the leadership at the federal and provincial levels know that what they are doing is just not good enough.

There have been a few examples of superb leadership – try naming one.

Elections will take place in the not too distant future.

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

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When do I get vaccinated?

opiniongreen 100x100By Jan Mowbray

March 16th, 2021

MILTON, ON

 

I have a real problem regarding the dearth of information available with regard to vaccinations.

Living in Halton, specifically Milton, my friends and I are exhorted to visit the Halton Region website for vaccination information, which I have done several times now.  It’s been time wasted so far.  The only information there pertains to the 80+ crowd and while I would never wish to deny the group early dibs at the vaccine – God and everyone else knows how hard this pandemic has been on seniors – where am I in the picture?

covid needle 2But what about the 70 plus group, which is where I am?  Why is there no reference at all on the Region’s website for the rest of us – the +70s, the 60’s etc.?  Even a vague mention that you have our backs would be encouraging, that you know we’re here and waiting, with increasing impatience.

In Toronto, they’ve gone from vaccination information for the 80+ group, front line workers, and many others.  No mention of the 70+ cohort but I’ve seen quite a bit of information for the 60+ to get their shots.

All very good for those living in Toronto but meanwhile, back here in Halton, how about information for vaccinations for those below 80?

I got a Tweet today from one of our regional councilors telling me to visit the Halton website for vaccination information.  Thanks, Mike, been there, done that. I’m no more aware than I was before your Tweet.  Not happy. I just want some, ANY, information.

werv

Jan Mowbray was a member of the Town of Milton council for two terms

 

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Have the provincial Liberals found the candidate that can take the seat back from Jane McKenna ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you are a true democrat there is nothing nicer than an election.

If you’re a candidate – the push for power and a chance to get things done that you believe need to be done can be quite a rush.

2022 is an election year for both city hall and the provincial legislature. And this time around we just might see people holding a seat at city hall thinking they rather like the seats in the Legislature.

The Liberals are out looking for a candidate – a number of people have been approached – two and maybe three council members.

Meed ward looking askance

Some Liberals thought she was too divisive.

Not, surprisingly, the Mayor, who we thought had her eyes on the seat that Jane McKenna currently holds, would be in the running.

Meed Ward could not walk away from the work she has set out for herself, and the city of course, after just one term as Mayor.

We were surprised to hear Liberals saying, not suggesting, that Meed Ward was too divisive. I didn’t see that one coming.

Stoltr - Kearns - Nisan at bus money

Councillors Stolte, Kearns and Nisan: were all three invited to look at Queen’s Park.  Two of them were.

The Liberals we are hearing from – no one is talking for attribution and the current President of the Burlington Provincial Liberal Association isn’t returning our calls, suggests to us that Lisa Kearns has indicated she could get used to travelling to Toronto for work.

I have been working on a sit down meeting with Kearns (she knows what I want to talk about)  for the best part of this week – we haven’t managed to line up dates that work for both of us.

Bit of cat and mouse going on.

While 2022 is well over a year away, in the world of politics you begin organizing and putting out the feelers to the financial people.

The day of the big big dollar donations is over – takes a lot of work to bring in those hundreds of $50 and $100 dollar donations.
In 2022 things will get a little rushed as well – the province will send us to the polls on October 3rd and the municipalities will do the same thing on the 24th of October.

Doug Ford finger pointing

Doug Ford – He just might have a deal for you.

Covid19 has messed up everything taking place – it will probably do the same with the provincial date.

If Doug Ford can get a bit of a break and get enough of us vaccinated before those variant strains of Covid19 begin to run rampant he would be smart to call a snap election.

Problem with that is we really haven’t seen very much in the way of smart thinking so far have we?

The scientist’s world-wide have gotten us to where we are and for that we should all be grateful.

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

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Men are going to have to begin to listen and learn to hear what is being said

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Woman’s Day 2021

Is it going to be different this year? If it is, I suspect we will not be aware of it right away – social change works that way.

Sorry

It is a starting point.

Is the #meToo movement behind us? It shouldn’t be. It’s work is not done yet.

The shift is taking place, more women are now serving on the boards of major corporations. Women are now heading up some of those corporations.

Sexual harassment, which is not always that well defined, but that is no reason for not tackling the issue head on.

It isn’t enough for woman to be standing up and telling about how they were mis-treated – some of the behaviour they experienced WAS criminal. Some was misunderstood – that however does not let men off the hook.

Changes are taking place within the world of both men and woman. I can’t speak for the woman in this world – they are quite capable of speaking for themselves.

My thoughts today are – how do men adapt. Awkward question – but it too has to be addressed.

pink-high-heels-men

That is a painful experience

Wearing pink high heels one day a year isn’t going to do it. Mouthing a couple of words when you think you might be quoted isn’t going to work either.

Men are going to have to begin to listen and learn to hear what is being said.

Women are equal – truth be told they really are more equal than men. They actually get it and are forgiving enough to understand that many men don’t get it.

Being forgiven doesn’t mean you continue with the old habits. Those habits came out of the society we men were raised in and while that doesn’t excuse the behaviour it is enough to allow us to reflect on what did take place and to resolve that we have to change.

Start with simple honest respect and learning to say you are sorry.

Most of us have experiences in our past that we are not proud of; today could be the day we think about what we did and resolve to be different.

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

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Rivers: My Conversation with the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

 

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

March 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

“I’ll slash funding for English TV and CBC News Network, and end funding for digital news.”

(Erin O’Toole – Feb 14, 2020)

He said it plain – no love wasted for the national broadcaster, even on Valentine’s Day.

Otoole hands out

Erin O’Toole – Defeated Andrew Scheer in the leadership contest – now he wants to form a government.

There were issues which I really wanted Erin O’Toole to clarify for me when I set out to request our interview. First, O’Toole has promised that his climate change plan would deliver faster carbon emission reductions than Mr. Trudeau’s plan. And he would do it without the provision of a carbon tax, which would be relegated to the dustbin in an O’Toole government. And he’d do all this while pushing for more oil pipelines and oil.

So what and where is it – this magic plan? Well it’s still a secret. It’s still being developed. It probably has to stay that way, until he becomes PM, so the NDP don’t take credit for inventing it should the Liberals implement it. The mind boggles.

Another issue is Mr. O’Toole’s preoccupation with firearms. It’s true he spent a good part of his life in the military, but he ended up as a flight navigator. You’d think he’d know more about a compass than a gun, so perhaps this is just pistol envy. Still he has made this a major plank in his platform.

He points out that the biggest trouble with today’s gun control is the lack of public education about guns. And then in one breath he declares that Canada’s firearms control system actually works really well, and efficiently.

And then in the next breath says that his top priority would be to scrap the existing Firearms Act. And he’d cancel the requirement for vendors to keep a record of who purchased guns. And while he was at it he’d also kill the legislation the Liberals recently introduced banning assault rifles, high capacity ammunition magazines and silencers.

otoole scratching head

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole figuring it out

That would mean potentially allowing powerful military-type weapons systems including the M16, AR-10, AR-15 and M4 firearms, onto our streets, or at least our gun cupboards. He has received an A grading by the lobbyist outfit CCFR (Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights).

O’Toole has gone after the Trudeau government for not doing more to stop the smuggling of firearms across the US border. And he may have the answer. Just make these weapons legal here as well, and smuggling would be unnecessary.

A third of his Tory membership are COVID action deniers. Or at least they want the governments to stop restricting economic activity and get back to normal, whatever that can be when this epidemic is killing our senior citizens and threatening to spread like wildfire. For example, Flamborough Glanbrook MP David Sweet, having himself come back, quilt-free, from a foreign vacation, says let it rip.

O”Toole himself is ignoring this growing chorus of voices around him who are telling him to be like Texas. You have to die from something anyway, right? But it does take a lot of courage to go after Trudeau for not doing enough to keep the virus out, when a sizeable chunk of his membership is saying let it be.

R B Bennett

It was the R. B. Bennet, a Conservative government that formed the CBC

Finally what is it with O’Toole’s promise to defund the CBC? It is a little difficult to appreciate why the federal Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has such a long standing animosity against Canada’s national broadcaster. After all, the CBC was a service originally initiated back in 1932 by R.B. Bennet, a conservative PM.

One might think the Tories object to the cost of the annual subsidy paid to the CBC, some $1.2 billion a year. But a sizeable subsidy is annually paid out to the other Canadian broadcasters, private though they are. And if it’s about the cost, why squash the English television and digital news services, ironically the only part of the corporation which brings in advertising dollars? It may actually cost more to kill the CBC than to keep it intact.

cbc The National

CBC – the country’s most trusted news source.

No question the other networks wouldn’t mind seeing the CBC gone. It’s still competition, even though they already have a much greater audience. But the CBC/Radio Canada is the most trusted news media in the country. And we are in the midst of a brave new world of fake news. One only needs to look south of the border and the role fake news played in the assault on the US Capitol.

In fact over 80% of Canadians support our national broadcaster and want to see the CBC continue and even expand its broadcasting agenda. So why would someone running for prime minister want to unstick the glue that in many ways keeps us all together, including our remote indigenous population and Francophone Canada.

otoole attacking

Erin O’Toole – knows how to fight back.

We do know that this contempt the Tories harbour for the national broadcaster goes back to the troubled relationship Mr Harper had with the media, and the CBC in particular. He even tried to set up his own news system and in the end the party turned to the right wing extremist paper, The Rebel. In fact a former director of the Rebel ended up running Andrew Scheer’s campaign.

Erin O’Toole, after being criticized for his party’s association with The Rebel, swore off giving any more interviews to that right wing rag. He must have sworn off the Burlington Gazette as well, because he and his office ignored my requests for an interview. I got an immediate automatic email thanking me for contacting him, both times, but then it was crickets. So we didn’t really have a discussion, but I’m still waiting for that phone to ring.

Rivers hand to face

 

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

 

Background links:

Let the Pandemic Roll –    David Sweet –     Recovery Plans

Trust in the Media –     Polling –     Anti-Choice –

The Rebel –    Climate Plan –     CCFR

O’Toole on Guns –     CBC –     CBC Public Support

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What were the individual Councillor contributions to the 2021 budget ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Once the decision is made to settle on just what the tax rate for a year is going to be the politicians get to justify it.

Each brings their own perspective and point of view to the decision that has been made and want to ensure that their constituents are aware of the work they did and why they deserve their vote at the next election.

Burlington has a seven member Council.

In this article I want to focus on the role Councillors Stolte, Nisan and Mayor Meed Ward played in producing the tax rate.

The 4.14% increase is the city’s portion of the taxes collected and used to pay the bills and ensure that there are reserves in place to protect when there is a financial failure. That number is what matters to the people who pay the taxes.

The tax payment you send the city happens to include the tax rate set by the Region for their expenses and the tax rate the Boards of education set to keep the schools operating. The city collects all the money and sends the Regional levy to the Region and the school board levies to the school boards.

Nisan Lowville Feb 7 BEST

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan – served as Chair of the Committee that debated the city budget

The debating and bickering that takes place to arrive at a tax rate takes place at a Standing Committee. This year that committee was chaired by ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan. Mr. Nisan did not cover himself with glory while doing the task; he was difficult, less than fair to some of the Council members and tended to be authoritarian while doing the work.

He was acrimonious, discourteous and rude at times when the job of chair calls for a deft, mature understanding of the wishes of each Council member, drawing them out and letting a consensus come out of it all.

On far too many occasions it was clear that Nisan did not understand the numbers – he would say “that is nice to know” when it was actually essential that the Chair have a solid grip on what each number meant.

Director of Finance Joan Ford does a great job of providing the data ad her department does a good job of collecting the taxes as well. It's the spending side that is causing the long term financial stress. Ms Ford doesn't do the spending.

Chief Financial Officer Joan Ford; always ready willing and able to mentor members of Council

Burlington has a Chief Financial Officer, Joan Ford, who bends over backwards to explain what can at times be arcane and difficult to understand. She is always ready, willing and able to mentor the Chair – Nisan didn’t appreciate or take advantage of what was available to him.

Mr. Nisan has shown a preference for aligning himself with the Mayor and championing her wishes and aspirations rather than creating a path of his own.  It is hard to be certain just what Rory Nisan does stand for.

Like every other member of Council he will have to stand for re-election in 2022.  He doesn’t have a lot of time to let his constituents know and see who he really is and what he wants to get done.  Other than wanting to be the Mayor’s choice for Deputy Mayor – it is hard to point to something that has made a difference.  There was a splash pad set up in his ward – but that idea was put in motion by his predecessor.

The Mayor said at the beginning of the budget proceedings that the 4.99% increase budget Staff brought in was not going to fly – her target was 3.99% and she fought hard to get that number.

She didn’t have the support of enough of her council members to make it happen – some found the drive for that 3.99% was misplaced and that the purpose of the budget was to serve the needs of the citizens and not the aspirations of a politician.

Meed Ward, to her credit, realized the 3.99% was not going to happen. “The goal is not going to be met,” she said; “let it go” and she did, adding that there is no shame in aiming high.

The Mayor said on numerous occasions that her objective was to “leave more money in the pockets of the tax payers”. The words had a populist tinge.

Shana H&S Mar 3

Took positions that challenged what others were advocating; kept pushing for more transparency.

Councillor Stolte was the star of the budget debates – she consistently, but respectfully, challenged the views of her colleagues and questioned the Clerk on several of the decisions he made.

Saying:

“My comments in regard to whether or not to endorse the 2021 Operating Budget will be highlighted in two components today.

“In regard to the tax rate that we have landed on, I believe it is the result of a great deal of hard work by our Finance Department and this Council, and a great deal of effort to balance the needs of the community with solid financial stewardship and protection of City assets.

“There is still a great deal of work to be done within the City of Burlington to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and the financial inefficiencies that are inherent in an overly bureaucratic organization, but we have begun to see some positive changes in this regard and I look forward to the citizens of Burlington reaping the financial savings from these improvements in the future.

“The second component of my comments is in regard to the PROCESS involved when staff and Council are tasked to determine the priorities, sacrifices and compromises necessary to manage a city budget.

“It was mentioned earlier today that I had brought forward a Staff direction in March of 2020 that was unanimously supported by Council.  It stated to:

“Direct the Chief Financial Officer to plan a Council Workshop in June of 2020 with the subject matter of “Vision to Focus – Budget 2021”. The purpose being to allow staff and Council the opportunity to collaborate on high level priorities, values and vision leading into the 2021 budget process in an effort to concentrate the focus and priorities of Council.”

“Comments may be made that this plan was impacted due to COVID-19 but in hindsight, the 2021 budget still needed to be dealt with and the need to collaborate with Council on focus and priorities, at the start of that process, still should have happened.

“I am disappointed that another Budget cycle was completed without the benefit of a more collaborative Staff/Council process at the outset and I appeal to our City Manager to commit to ensuring that this process improvement is implemented for the next Budget cycle for 2022.

“Curiously, as we endeavored to land this Budget, further process and best practice challenges came to light.

“When we began this term of Council in early 2019 we were oriented to understand that we would receive recommendations from staff in regard to agenda items that needed to be discussed in private, behind closed doors.

“Over the last two years the regular practice has been for Council to receive advice that we “need” to move into Closed Session and this recommendation is always accepted by Council without debate, as merely a point of procedure.

“During the 2021 Operating Budget process I presented an amendment which became the topic of much debate with the City Clerk and City Manager’s Office.

“It was recommended by staff that this amendment be discussed in private, behind closed doors.

“I challenged this recommendation and it quickly came to light that this was a very rare occurrence for a Closed Meeting recommendation to be questioned by Council and I was informed that it was inappropriate for a Councillor to question a staff recommendation of this nature.

This is not how the municipal democratic process works … Staff’s role is to make their best professional recommendation and our role on Council is to assess this recommendation and concur or contest based on whether or not we believe the recommendation represents the best interests of the residents of Burlington.

“Ultimately, the decision on the Budget item was in the hands of Council, where it should be…but the process involved in this discussion was what was of concern.”

Stolte’s comments have the potential to bring about a change in the way council meetings are managed.  The doors need to be open as much as possible.

This Council worked very hard to produce a budget that met the needs of the tax payers and at the same time underlined the goals they had when they sought election to city Council.

There are lessons in the budget experience for every member of Council; hopefully they will take the time to reflect on what took place and learn from both the mistakes and the successes.

This council was supported by a well-tuned finance department who met every challenge put to them and then some.

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

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What would a provincial election produce if it took place late summer when most of the vaccinations are done? Is the government preparing for such a day?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is there a provincial election in the wind?

The province released a media background piece on some forthcoming legislation called Ontario Taking Steps to Make it Easier and Safer to Participate in Provincial Elections.

The media release explains that new legislation would help modernize the voting process in a COVID-19 environment by taking steps to make it easier and safer for people to vote, become a candidate, and protect provincial elections against outside influence and interference.

The Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021, would, if passed, help guard against threats such as the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, under-regulated third-party advertising, irregular campaign spending, and collusion.

doug-ford-1

Doug Ford – can he be re-elected?

“We strongly believe that Ontario voters should determine the outcome of elections, not big corporations or unions, American-style political action groups or other outside influences,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “That’s why we are proposing legislative action to protect Ontarians’ essential voice in campaigns and to make it easier to cast a vote safely in an advance poll or on election day. These amendments would help modernize Ontario’s electoral process and ensure it is updated to meet urgent challenges, including COVID-19.”

The proposed reforms build on the Ontario legislature’s 2016 decision to ban corporate and union donations to political parties and help ensure individuals remain at the centre of the electoral process.

To protect Ontario elections, 19 legislative amendments have been proposed to:

• Make it more convenient and safer for people to vote in a COVID-19 environment by increasing advance polling days from five to ten, changes first proposed by Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer;

• Double the amount individuals can donate to a candidate, constituency association, leadership contestant or party from $1,650 to $3,300 per year, protecting the essential voice of Ontarians in campaigns;

• Extend third-party advertising spending limits from six to 12 months before an election period and introduce a definition of collusion to help protect Ontario’s elections from outside influence and interference; and

• Clarify the rules that allow Members of Provincial Parliament to maintain individual social media accounts before, during and after a writ period, as well as pave the way for the legislature to set other social media rules.

Elections Ontario has reported that the scale of third-party advertising in Ontario is greater than at the federal level, and Ontario is the only province in Canada where third-party spending is counted in the millions of dollars, rather than in the thousands. In 2018, third parties spent over $5 million during the election period and the six months prior to the election.

“Each and every Ontarian is a driving force of our democracy – from casting their votes to volunteering on campaigns or putting one’s name on a ballot,” said Attorney General Downey. “We want to ensure that the electoral system continues to evolve to protect their central role as individuals and promote fairness in the electoral process for everyone.”

Andrea finger on cheek

She can draw the crows but hasn’t been able to translate those faces into voters.

Nice to know that they are keeping themselves busy at Queen’s Park.  One wonders how the current Progressive Conservative  government would fare if they had to face the electorate.  Lots to complain about  – but have you looked at the other two choices.  Andrea Horwath does not seem to be able to win an election.  A new leader could make a difference – is there anyone with real strength and profile on the NDP benches?  Look hard and let me know what you find.

As for the Liberals – their leader has yet to run for a seat in the Legislature.  Other taking a few cheap shots at the province for goofs on the Covid19 file, Del Duca hasn’t made much of a mark.

There is a group planning a policy convention – something the Liberals badly need if they are going to learn anything from the Kathryn Wynne disaster.  A good stiff broom is needed if the Liberals are going to be competitive.  If they can find a way to tap into and reflect what the people of Ontario really want they could form a government.

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

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Is it time to at least think about looking for a different Prime Minister ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

We are for the most part proud of the country we live in. Most of us were born here, many chose to come and many were invited to be here.

Think about the War Brides, or the Syrians who arrived at the airport to be greeted by the Prime Minister who was handing out winter coats.

We do not show our pride the way our friends to the South do. We seldom choose to wear a flag but we enjoy the feeling we get when we see those Olympians walking into a stadium bearing that flag.

We are for the most part a tolerant people. We respect the government that leads us and are quick to boot them out when they don’t live up to what we expect of them.

Justin Trudeau handiing out a coat tp Syrians

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau handing out winter coats to families arriving as refugees from Syria

So what to make of the Prime Minister we have? His lineage excited most of us – another Trudeau – that would be nice. Yes, there were and still are many who did not share my view of what Justin Trudeau was going to be able to do.

There are now reasons, too many of them, to ask – what happened.

We are going to get the vaccines we need – the when is the question and where they are going to come from is a huge concern.

It sounded as if every pharmaceutical country in the world had a contract with the government of Canada. We had so much in the way of vaccines in the pipe line that we were deciding who we were going to let have some of the vaccine we wouldn’t need.

COVAX, an organization Canada was part of putting in place a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and others. (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX.)

It was in place as a distributor of the vaccines that would be made available to the third world countries.

Goulds in House defending ranked

Karina Gould as a newly minted Minister for Democratic Institutions defending a decision not to go forward with a different approach to federal elections.

Karina Gould, a Member of Cabinet and currently serving as the International Development Minister was left carrying the ball again as she did her best to explain what COVAX was, the role Canada played in its creation and assuring Canadians that what Canada draws down at this point would be returned when we had a surplus.

Recall that Minister Gould once had to defend not going forward with something other than First Past the Post in future elections.  She had been Minister of Democratic Institutions for less than a month when she has handed that ball.

Now we learn that Canada is going to have to draw down some of the vaccines we need from COVAX. That is so embarrassing.

This gets added to the list of embarrassments that is getting pretty long.

There was that unfortunate trip to India, there was the shameful way MP Jody Wilson Raybould and Jane Phillpot were treated when they showed the courage to stand up for what they believed to be right and got tossed out of Cabinet for it. Turned out they were right as well.

Add to that the need now to find another Governor General because a mistake was made in the failure to fully vet the one we had.

Kevin Sneader McKinsey

Former McKinsey Consulting, Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader now the Ambassador to China. Another example of poor vetting.

And, the latest, learning that our Ambassador to China was the top man at McKinsey Consulting, Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader.  The firm that agreed to pay a $6 million fine for advising on how to best sell prescriptions of OxyCodone , the addictive drug that has been the responsible for the death of hundreds of young men and women from over dosing.

What is so galling is that we get told almost every time he speaks that we are going to have all the drugs we need and that everyone will be vaccinated by September.

Are we absolutely certain those vaccines are going to be in the hands of the provinces so that they can pass everything along to the provinces who will in turn get it into the hands of the Public Health Units who will oversee that actual vaccinations.

Did the people in Ottawa who were overseeing the purchasing of the vaccine take the steps needed to ensure that we had the supply we needed. Did they not realize that the vaccines being manufactured less than a half day drive way – in Detroit – were going to go to Americans. Goodness knows that country really really needs all the help it can get to dig themselves out of the hole their then President put them in.

Chrystia Freeland and PM

Chrystia Freeland, currently the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister.

Did someone not ask if there would be problems with the European Union that determines what goes where in Europe?

Was there not a risk analysis done – looking really hard at just what we were up against?

There is going to be a federal election soon. Justin Trudeau will look for a time when his image is going to be as good as he can make it and then we will be asked to re-elect him.

The choice for the Liberals is to hold a leadership convention very soon and choose Chrystia Freeland as Prime Minister and have her face the public.

She’s running the country now as it is.

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

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Should Canada take a pass on the 2022 Chinese Olympic Winter Games ?

“The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”  (Article 2 of the Olympic Charter)

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

There is an open letter signed by parliamentarians from all of Canada’s political parties, indigenous leaders and human rights organizations demanding that, given China’s record of human rights abuses, the 2022 Olympic Winter Games must be relocated away from China.

Those abuses are so significant that the former and current US governments have labelled China’s actions with its minority Uighur population as genocide.

Hitler

Hitler hijacked the 1936 Olympic Games – would China do the same in 2022

Not relocating the games would be an unfortunate case of history repeating itself.  The 1936 Olympics were hijacked by Adolf Hitler.  Opponents of the Berlin games argued that allowing the Nazi regime to host the games would just embolden Hitler and allow him a propaganda victory.  Showcasing the international games would demonstrate to the German people that the rest of the world was OK with his policies of second class citizenship, ethnic cleansing and ultimately genocide (eventually) for Germany’s Jewish population.

In addition to the Canadian effort, there is group of 180 international human rights associations calling for a complete boycott of the games.  Boycotts are problematic, as history has shown, and they rarely work.   For example, after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan most western nations boycotted the 1980 Olympics which were being held in Moscow.  The games still went ahead; the Soviets continued to occupy Afghanistan for a decade thereafter; and the western athletes, whose careers were on the line, suffered the most.

coal China

Coal being shoveled off rail cars in China for use in generating plants

There is a long list of grievances which China’s president for life, Xi Jinping, has been ramping up over recent years.  Of course China has a terrible human rights record with respect to its treatment of the Uighur, Falun Gong, Hong Kong and Tibetan populations.   China has also replaced the US as the leading source of climate change emissions, and despite participating in the Paris climate agreement, the country is building more new coal burning power plants than the rest of the world combined.

The nation has been developing its military at break neck speed.  And with its now powerful navy has claimed sovereignty over the South China Sea which puts it on a collision course with any number of it neighbours and the USA.   And of course there is a long simmering cold war with India over their mountainous shared border.

China has threatened war and forced occupation of Taiwan, an island of 24 million people with a democratic government, and which has been independent since 1949.  And its history before that, except for a brief period post WWII, had been as a colony of Japan.  The USA may have no formal security treaty with Taiwan but has 30,000 troops stationed there.   So it is doubtful that the US would stand by and allow the Chinese to invade without a fight.

China wet market

Patrons at a wet market in Wuhan, China

It has been a year since we first heard of COVID, but World Health Organization (WHO) inspectors have finally been allowed to visit the birthplace of the virus which caused COVID 19.  Though, nobody really expects them to discover how this pandemic actually got started.  Chinese officials have sanitized the wet (seafood) market which they claim have been location zero.  And all of the Chinese citizens or officials who could have shed light on the situation have either been kept out of sight or been velcro-lipped.

The theories propagated by Chinese authorities are that the virus arrived in Wuhan aboard a load of American frozen food or that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a bat virus which transited through an infected pangolin to complete a zoonotic leap into the respiratory tract of an unsuspecting shopper in Wuhan’s extensive wet market.

But neither theory holds water.  For one thing neither bats nor pangolins were on sale at the Wuhan wet market at the time.  The closest candidate bat would have been a 7 hour train ride away but was probably too busy hanging upside down in its bat cave to make the journey.

Another theory, once advanced by former president Donald Trump, and largely dismissed because of that, is that there was an accidental leakage of the virus from the Wuhan Virology Laboratory.  Located just up the street from the wet market, this is China’s only Level 4 bio-safety laboratory with a mandate to study and experiment with these kinds of viruses.   And located behind its walls is the greatest collection of dangerous bat viruses ever assembled in one place.

The Chinese obviously deny this lab leak theory.  And the team of visiting WHO inspectors say it’s a long shot.  But this would not be the first time that WHO has been pressured by the Chinese.  And given the lack of transparency and all the secrecy, can one be sure all the inspectors have seen is a really thorough cover-up of the evidence?

For Canada there is another reason to avoid the games in China. Just ask our two Michaels who have been held in miserable captivity for over two years.  Their crimes were that they were valuable hostages which China’s strongman thought would make good trading fare for their Huawei executive whom we, in turn, continue to detain.   Australia has recently updated its travel advice for China to warn that authorities have detained foreigners on alleged national security grounds and that Australians may be at risk of arbitrary detention.

Olympics - Canada

The Canadian Olympic Team at Winter Olympic Games

The choice for Canada is pretty clear.  We need to work with other nations to convince the international Olympic committee to either cancel the games or shift the location to a more appropriate venue in keeping with the mandate, goals and the spirit of the Olympics.  Unless that happens Canada should boycott the games in Beijing and seek alternate venues and exhibitions for our athletes.

The last thing Canadians need to see on their television sets next February are our proud athletes marching through Beijing sporting a large maple leaf flag as they pass by prison cell holding one of our Michaels.

As a postscript China is now claiming it will sanction any nation which boycotts the games.  Seriously?

What would they do if the games are moved to a more acceptable location?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers, born in Ontario earned an economics degree at the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Ottawa.  His 25 year stint with the federal government included time with Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and the Post office.  Rivers is active in his community; has run for municipal and provincial office.

 

Background links:

About the Olympics –    Olympic Charter –     Wuhan Lab

A Lab Leak –     Was it the Lab –     More Lab Leaks

US and Wuhan Lab –     A Leak? –    Move the Games – 

Human Rights Groups –     All Parties Call for Moving Olympics – 

 

 

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With $250,000 in Hand and a Terms of Reference Document Waiting for the Nod from the City Solicitor - City Hall is Off and Running. Watch this one carefully

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

February 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 3 of a four part series

What is the Burlington Lands Partnership?

The Burlington Lands Partnership (“BLP”) is a flexible, multi-dimensional and integrated approach that seeks to address multiple areas of municipal strategic land management including acquisition and development.

For the City, the BLP will initially focus on achieving tangible and measurable community benefits and returns in three areas: supporting economic growth and direct job creation, completing “city building” projects and delivering much needed affordable housing.

Oversight and strategic direction will be provided by a new steering committee that is ultimately accountable to Burlington City Council. The committee is proposed to consist of the Mayor, the City Manager, the Council member serving as current Chair of the Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Committee, key senior municipal staff, and representation from Burlington Economic Development (both the Board and staff).

Additional partner-based stakeholders such as community leaders, the heads of community organizations, and representatives of private corporations are proposed be part of smaller project specific task forces that are accountable and report out to the BLP Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee, which is the group that will look for partnership opportunities they can research, determine the risk and decide if there is enough in the way of benefits to the city to proceed.  If they come to consensus, they take their decision/recommendation to city Council where the decision to proceed will be made.

There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of public participation or opportunities for people to delegate.  The Steering Committee meetings will not be public.

Why is the Burlington Lands Partnership Needed?
• There are several strategically positioned and emerging municipal land development opportunities within Burlington, but there is no single entity that has the mandate and resources to realize the opportunities for the long-term benefit of the City.

• There is widespread support for the City to take a greater strategic role in targeting municipal land development in Burlington.

• Burlington has many active community organizations and not-for-profits which could engage in mutually beneficial partnerships to aid in developing communities within Burlington.

• A partnership in this form allows for the City, Burlington Economic Development (Burlington EcDev), and a coalition of public and private sector partners to pursue additional funding and strategic partnerships including but not limited to the Halton Region, Province of Ontario and Government of Canada.

The widespread support is not something that Gazette has heard of or become aware of and this council does not have a mandate to undertake something as large as what is being proposed..

Mandate of BLP

Throughout 2020, urbanMetrics was engaged by the City of Burlington to assess the viability, function and structure of a municipal corporation or other strategic land entity to facilitate the development of City owned lands with a focus on economic development and city building initiatives.

Parking lot CArolina and John June 2019

There was once a house on the corner of this property that was owned by the city. It was torn down to increase parking in the Caroline – John Street intersection. Little thought was given to creating a parking lot with a permeable surface to aid in rain water run off. City bureaucrats seldom have their ear to the ground and are rarely aware of what the public wants.

The study was undertaken in conjunction with a governance study conducted by MDB Insight to examine the role of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation. The recommended approach to a strategic land development entity, which was subsequently brought forward and recommended by the City Manager as the Burlington Land Partnership (BLP).

• The internal strategic real estate structure would involve Burlington EcDev, as well as other, potential partners, such as Halton Region, other public agencies, private industry and private and public institutions including not-for-profit community groups, as required.

• Oversite and strategic direction would be provided by a steering committee that would ultimately be accountable to Council. The City Manager, as staff lead, would be responsible for strategic managerial leadership and would serve as chair of the steering committee. Outside consulting expertise would be engaged as needed.

The mandate of the organization or partnership would be on leveraging real estate to:

o Maximise opportunities for economic growth and job creation;
o Develop and implement city building projects; and
o Create opportunities for the development of affordable housing.

Ultimately the BLP should have access to City staff and other resources to seek, identify and develop strategic land opportunities into viable projects; to direct the acquisition and disposition of related City lands; to undertake land and facility development visioning and design; to obtain necessary planning approvals; and to fully engage with outside partners.

• Initially, the BLP should be tasked with seeking, identifying and developing opportunities into viable strategic land projects. A number of opportunities have been presented through the urbanMetrics and Cresa studies. These, as well as others that may be identified in the future, need to be more formally prioritized and envisioned complete with detailed project plans, recommended by the BLP Steering Committee and approved by City Council.

• The BLP would be the first step towards the creation of a municipal development corporation, however this would not occur until 2023 (at the earliest) following a reporting to Council on the activities and accomplishments of the BLP in 2021/22.

• Establishing the BLP as a first step, achieves a good balance among the opportunities, the desire for augmented internal strategic land capabilities, the current resource capacity limitations and the need for due diligence and caution.

The longer term goal is to have the city getting into the the development business.  Is there a supportable collection of data that identifies the public buy in on an idea of this magnitude?  The is not a small potatoes idea.

After an initial start-up period of two years, the organization should be evaluated on an annual basis, with respect to achieving measurable results related to:

o Supporting job creation, business creation and economic expansion;
o Developing and implementation of community-wide “City building” projects;
o Realizing tangible affordable housing opportunities and increased housing supply;
o Fiscal impact (increased assessment base/taxes, development charges, other fees);
o Enhancing the profile of the City and contributing to the public identity of Best City to Live in Canada;
o Supporting the City’s 25-year Strategic Plan, Council’s Vision to Focus 4-year work plan and community planning and other land related policies; and
o Delivering value for money and cost effectiveness to Burlington taxpayers.

Bare bones Pier from high with trestle

The city basically built the Pier twice.

Seeing a set of benchmarks that would be used would certainly help the public decide if the idea has merit and serves the public and not the career aspirations of the bureaucratic cohort at city hall.

Remember the Pier.

BLP Working Groups

To be determined by the Steering Committee with approval by Council on a project- by-project basis as part of a separate project brief/plan.

Duration and Transition
The Burlington Land Partnership will function during an initial “pilot period” of two years including 2021 and 2022. A report on the strategic activities and outcomes of the BLP will be presented to Council prior to the end of their 2018-2022 terms and will include recommendations for consideration for the 2023-2026 term of Council.

The BLP represents a transitional approach that allows for the expansion of organizational capacity and a build-up of expertise that will in turn enable further consideration by Council of a formalized municipal development corporation (MDC) in line with other municipalities in Ontario and utilizing the powers allowed under the Municipal Act related to municipal corporations.

Overall, the Steering Committee will make recommendations to Council and decisions (where applicable) in the best interest of the City as a whole.

BLP steering terms 1

BLP steeriing terms 2

Agendas and Meeting Notes:
Agendas (including confidential materials as it related to property and legal matters) will be published ahead of meeting date, including attached documents required for discussion and decision making. Deadlines for attachments need to be respected to provide adequate time to read all required material to allow for comprehensive participation. If required, agenda items may be deferred at request of BLP member if materials are not distributed by deadlines.

BLP agendas and meeting notes will managed/prepared by the City Manager’s Office (CMO) and shared confidentially with Steering Committee members, City Clerk and Council Members.
blp steering terms 3

blp steering terms 4

The only thing left to do is order the new business cards.

Part 1 of a 4 part series.

Part 2 of a 4 part series

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