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Will she or won't she? Calderbank has days left to file nomination papers

By Pepper Parr

August 16th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is she or isn’t she?

Charismatic, competitive – ready for big time politics locally?

Is Kimberly Calderbank going to run for the office of Mayor?

If she is – and at this point we don’t know – her recent LinkedIn piece could have been read any number of ways.

Calderbank considers herself a strong strategic thinker – is her game plan to wait for the very last minute and then announce giving her some almost immediate momentum ?

The last half of August is always a quiet time; the pace will quicken as soon as the Labour Day holiday is over.

Calderbank was identified as the “developers” candidate in 2018 when she ran for the ward 2 council seat.

She wasn’t trounced but she certainly didn’t win.

The Gazette interviewed Calderbank during the 2018 election; we weren’t all that impressed.

It could easily be taken as a political statement.

We heard a young woman who certainly had career aspirations but not much more than that say she wanted to be Mayor but didn’t appear to have much in the way of a plan or a vision for the city.

She runs a successful private marketing business and has several media related jobs.

She serves as the media point person fo the Halton Region Police Services Board as well as the Ontario Police Services Board.

One of her clients is the Food4Life non-profit organization where we learned a number of months ago that they had contingency plans in place for marketing support in the event that Calderbank filed nomination papers.

We certainly got h impression from that source that Calderbank was going to be a candidate – and it wasn’t going to be for a Council seat.

She has very strong support with several families that could and would put a lot of weight behind a campaign.

She has a very good working relationship with Cogeco.

All the pieces needed to launch an election campaign exist.

It could happen – but it has to happen before 2:00 pm on Friday the 19th – that is when nominations close.

Should Calderbank run for the office of Mayor it will be one heck of a race.

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

Related new content

Kimberly in her own words

 

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Is this what the next city council will look like ?

By Pepper Parr

August 9th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

In ten days we will know who the candidates for city council are going to be and have a pretty good idea what the next council is going to look like as well.

Kelvin Galbraith: Could be in trouble

Ward 1 was a given.  Kelvin Galbraith has a high school teacher campaigning against him thinking that he can continue as a high school teacher and serve as a council member at the same time.

There appears to be a change. Robert Radway now realizes that he can get a leave of absence from the Board of Education but that will not apply to his first year as a Councillor. Radway said he has a plan in place that will allow him to perhaps do some teaching and still serve as a member of Council.

Lisa Kearns: Probably has the finest mind on this council – needs to work on some issues.

Lisa Kearns should prevail in ward 2 – candidates do keep coming out of the wood work but Kearns has earned the right to a second term.  A real race for the seat will test Kearns in a way that will make her very uncomfortable but she will be better for it.

Rory Nisan has proven to be a disappointment for many – apparently not those working with him for re-election and certainly not for the Mayor.  She now has a new lap dog.

Rory Nisan: biggest disappointment

Jennifer Hounslow has a chance but she is pushing a rock up a hill – but Councillors that disappoint consistently do lose.   and on that level Rory Nisan has proven to be a disappointment.  The Gazette supported Nisan in 2018 – mentored him a little, urged him to get a copy of the Procedural bylaw and know it well.  He certainly did that – took a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner that found Stolte had broken a rule.

Shawna Stolte should retain her seat.  There are those who have issues with the Integrity Commissioners reports and the sanctions they handed out – the Gazette will comment on just what that is all about in the near future.

Paul Sharman will be acclaimed in ward 5.

Angelo Bentivegna faces a stiff contender.  His less than 50 seat plurality in 2018 and the serious dissatisfaction on the part of a lot of people in Millcroft over the attempts to build on golf course land have not helped.

Rick Greenspoon has his work cut out for him but he seems more than able to take the seat.

While there are many that don’t like what Mayor Meed Ward has delivered – Anne Marsden just does not have what it takes to be a Mayor.

What she might manage to do is significantly reduce the Meed Ward vote enough to smarten up Marianne.

These are the people you elected in 2018. Time to think about how many you want to serve you again.

So what will that deliver?

Meed Ward as Mayor

Galbraith in ward 1

Kearns in ward 2

Ward 3 could be a surprise

Stolte in Ward 4

Sharman in ward 5

Greenspoon in ward 6

We might want to revise these suggestions after nominations close.

In the weeks ahead we will interview and spend time with each of the candidates.

The options will be clearer on the 19th which is when nominations close.

There is a hope out there that Kimberly Calderbank will take a run at the Office of Mayor.  Calderbank  is a strong strategist and there are some very respectable people who will support her.

The process of filing a nomination is cluttered – you have to make an appointment with the city Clerk.  Should Calderbank file papers the news will have been flashed to the Mayor before the ink is dry on her papers.

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

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Is there another candidate for the Office of Mayor in the wind? Could be

By Pepper Parr

July 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

It is rare, exceedingly rare for a person with little political experience to run for the office of Mayor and win – but it does and has happened.

Will this piece of Burlington bling be placed on a different neck before the end of the year ?

Burlington’s race for the office of Mayor is seen by many as a walk in the park for Marianne Meed Ward.

That could change – there is a potential candidate that could be preparing for a run.

If it takes place it will be well funded – and it will not be a pro-developer candidate.

This individual is young, successful in the commercial world and very well connected in the administrative world.

The Gazette has spoken to a number of people, some of them called us, asking what we knew.

There are some very prominent people who want nothing but the best for the city who have come to the conclusion that Meed Ward is not up to the job that has to be done.

This is not the place to set out where Meed Ward has fallen short – this is the time to look around and ask – can we do better than this. ?

We can

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

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What will Doug do first? Didn't take long to find out. Took care of his people

By Pepper Parr

June 27th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

A few days after the re-election of Doug Ford as Premier of the province we suggested that we would know within 60 to 90 days what kind of a Premier he was going to be this second time around.

It didn’t take anywhere near that long.

On the day he was sworn in by the Lt Governor he then had his Cabinet sworn in – that included his nephew (his sisters son) Michael Ford as Minister of Culture and Tourism.

Doug Ford was a proud man as he shook the hand of Michael Ford, his nephew, the day he was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister

Doug Ford was a very proud man when he shook Michael’s had effusively.

What the public was seeing was a naked act of nepotism.

Family matters and the Ford family has had its share of grief.  Some good news would be welcome and adding to the list of political achievers would be a welcome change.

Rob Ford wasn’t able to handle the job of being Mayor of Toronto – his early death was a blow to the way the family saw itself.

Michael Ford got himself a seat on the Toronto District School Board – we didn’t see much, if anything, in the way of achievement or change in the way schools were administered.

Ok – it takes time to get the hang of public service. The opportunity to take the council seat for the community opened itself up and because the Ford family owned the fealty of that community he was a shoe in.

Nor much in the way of achievement on city council – no one every described the young man as a comer – someone to be watched.

Did anyone ever suggest spending some time in a gym to the young mam?

Michael Ford dismissed any suggestion that nepotism played a role in his appointment, saying he has served on the school board and council in one of the city’s most diverse areas.

His decision to run for the provincial seat was no surprise.  It was an opportunity and the young man took it.

For his uncle to make the decision to put his nephew in Cabinet was a stunner.  Give him a year to find his way and then make him a parliamentary secretary and see how he handles the job would have been acceptable.

But to drop him into Cabinet where the best he can expect is a divisiveness from those Cabinet members who have both the smarts and the cahoneys to perform well in very hard jobs.  That along with the protection of his uncle

Ford has made it clear – he is going to take care of his people – all they have to do is call – and they will be calling.

Learning to defend a government is something Natalie Pierre is going to have to get used to.

What is this going to mean to Burlington?  Think the Escarpment – especially the space between the urban boundary – the Dundas – Hwy 407 line and Side Road 1.

Will the newly elected MPP Natalie Pierre be able to convince the Premier that permitting any development north of the urban boundary is a mistake?

She will be alongside Michael Ford learning the ropes.  What little the public has seen of the woman is just not enough to have an understanding of what she might be capable of.

The days ahead for the city could be dark days indeed.

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

 

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What political future awaits the citizens of Burlington?

By Pepper Parr

June 12th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

If Paul Sharman does not wander down to city hall before August 19th, Marianne Meed Ward will be returned as Mayor in the October election.

Mayoralty candidate Annn Marsden will surprise people with the number of votes she gets but she will not be the Mayor.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Paul Sharman, Councillor

Anne Marsden

Sharman certainly likes the idea of being Mayor and it would be one heck of a way to end a political career. But Paul Sharman is cautious, especially when it relates directly to his personal interests.

He has to decide if he wants to watch Meed Ward whittle away some of the gains that have taken place.

He has a vision for the city but isn’t yet at the point where he can advocate for and speak to that vision. It probably has some rough edges yet.

The challenge for Paul Sharman is deciding what kind of a mark he wants to make before his political career comes to an end.

Will he go for the brass ring and be known as someone who took a risk and made Burlington a different and better place ?

Or will he settle for having been a four term council member and retiring – to what?

There is a lot riding on the decision Sharman makes.

There are three other members of the current council that harbour dreams of becoming Mayor – a lot of growing left to be done for all three – a meeting with a guidance counsellor in the near future for at least one

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

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City manager suggests delegation on fire services not get into operations

By Pepper Parr

June 10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The city manager sits in on every Standing Committee meeting as well as Council meetings.

The City manager is the only person that Council hires.  The city manager runs the administrative side of the city delegating the authority he got from Council to his team.

Members of Council chair the Standing Committees – as Chair they make decisions on how the procedural manual is to be interpreted and remind speakers if they have run out of time or if they are wandering from the subject matter.

Earlier this week, for the first time in the ten years I have been covering city council Tim Commisso, the City Manager caught the eye of the Chair  and said the following.

City manager Tim Commisso at Standing Committee earlier this week.

“I think it’s one of the things we’re very fortunate yo have which is a great relationship with the Chief,  but I would just caution council, I don’t know if it’s fair for the delegation to be talking in depth about operations.

I’d be honest with you, I think certainly perspective on NFPA. You know, and that I just think you’re going to hear from the on the presentation on the master plan in front of the chief.

So I just suggest that the in depth nature of fire operations and I know, Mr. Vanderlelie is more than capable of speaking about it, but I think it’s really questions that are directed, I think in conjunction with the Master Fire Plan.

Finally, the other thing that raises and it’s a very good point is the growth intensification comes with certainly a set of questions is whether we need to be in a position to fund something like a new station downtown in advance or once we see that growth in the tech space so I just I would just suggest it through the chair. The questions really don’t focus on operations so much.

Thank you.”

For the City Manager to suggest that a Fire Service Captain should not delve into operations when he was specifically asked by a Council member to do just that is a bit more than surprising.

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

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Is Mayor Meed Ward considering a run for the office of Regional Chair ?

By Pepper Parr

June 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With the Ontario election over and Doug Ford in place until 2026, running the province with little in the way of an opposition party, our eyes turn to the municipal election in October.

Look for a move on the part of Councillor Sharman to indicate that he will run for the office of Mayor.

Jane McKenna, MPP when the photo was taken, at a Freeman Station event with a friend.

A comment made, at a Joseph Brant Museum event last week, by someone who would know, that Mayor Meed Ward might consider (is considering) running for the office of Regional Chair where she would be running against Jane McKenna who gave up her seat at Queen’s Park to run for the office that Gary Carr doesn’t appear to want any more.

Carr moved from Milton into downtown Burlington recently.

Meed Ward has let the very strong support she had when she became mayor dwindle away; it will take more than we think this Mayor has to pull that support back.

Meed Ward has changed the way municipal government works in Burlington – too many, the changes were not all that beneficial.

The biggest thing Meed Ward brought was hope – and then she dashed that hope by making herself the focal point.

As a Councillor for ward 2 between 2010 and 2014 Marianne Med Ward made a significant difference – she brought hope to the hearts of those who wanted to keep the Burlington they had.

Politics is both an art and a science. The better politicians have a strong survival instinct – Meed Ward may have figured out that her political life can be extended by moving to the Regional level and then on to the provincial level where she has always wanted to end up.

 

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What will the province look like on Friday June 3rd

By Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What will the province look like on Friday June 3rd?

Put a different way – How bad could it be?

Has Doug Ford changed? And if he has – how much? Building the 413 is not a change – its the same old Doug.

Province wide the polls say that Doug Ford will be returned as Premier.

Who will form the Opposition?

The polls again suggest that the New Democrats will continue to be the Opposition

What the polls are also telling us is that Steve Del Duca may not win his own seat.

Wishful thinking?

The New Democrats will be deeply disappointed about not being able to form a government and will need to think about their leadership.

Leadership for the Liberals will have to come out of whatever they have in the way of members sitting in the Legislature.

There is a better than even chance that Del Duca will lose his seat.

Will this happen?

Polls are never accurate – but they are an indicator.

The challenge for the people of Ontario is to find some way to limit how much damage Doug Ford can do.  A Progressive Conservative government would serve Ontario well.

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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Burlington Chamber of Commerce seems to have forgotten the reason for having democratically elected legislators

By Pepper Parr

May 15th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In an earlier news report we asked: Why did the Burlington Chamber of Commerce decide the Burlington candidate for the New Blue Party would not be permitted to take part in the Chamber’s Question and Answer session on May 19th?

We now know why.

They were told that they did not poll at least 5% of the vote in the last election.  True – they didn’t exist in the last election.

They do not have a member sitting in the Legislature – not completely true.  The New Party is represented in the Legislature by Belinda Karahalios  who was at one point a member of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Belinda Karahalios was elected as the MPP for Cambridge.  In July of 2020 she was expelled from the PC caucus after she voted against Bill 195.

The bill was in its third reading, and would allow the government of Premier Doug Ford to extend or amend some emergency orders a month at a time for up to two years without consulting the legislature.

When she was booted out of the PC party,  Karahalios crossed the floor of the Legislature and declared herself a member representing the New Blue Party.   Crossing the floor is nothing knew – it happens federally and provincially.

The spirit of a democratic  society is to accept a party that is representative of the community; the New Blue party has 124 people nominated and running election campaigns across the province.  To put it more bluntly – the New Blue have a candidate running in every riding in the province as do the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives.  The Liberal Party has 122 candidates.

Allison McKenzie: New Blue candidate for Burlington,

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce needs to take another hard look at the decision they have made and welcome Allison McKenzie, candidate as the candidate for the New Blue Party in Burlington.

Personally, I am not a fan of the party and most of the positions they have taken.

I am a fan and a strong believer in fairness and openness.  The New Blue belong at the table.

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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May 31st - Performing Arts announces its 2022-23 season. Become a member and get to the front of the ticket line

By Pepper Parr

May 10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The 2022-23 Performing Arts season will be announced on May 31st. The demand for tickets hits a peak the week after – everone knows will be on stage and they want tickets.

The stage curtains will open May 31 and the season will begin.

The Performing Arts Centre in Burlington has a unique ticket sales plan.

You can buy a ticket for an event anytime you want – the unique part of their approach is that once a year they hold an event at which they announce their program for the coming season.

In order to attend that event you have to be a member. An opportunity to buy a membership is set out below.

Immediately after the Season announcement people take their programs and head to the ticket booths to place their orders.

It is an approach that works.

On May 31st, they will be holding their Season Launch. A new season of concerts, theatre, dance, comedy, variety, illusion, and family programming will be promoted and explained – you might even get a taste of what is scheduled.

. There is only one way to be invited to the 22/23 season launch May 31 – be a BPAC member. Click HERE

A dark theatre is not what Tammy Fox had in mind – at the end of the month she will announce what we can all look forward to.

BPAC Executive Director Tammy Fox explains what she has planned. “After not being able to host a full, in-person season launch in three years, it is such a thrill to be back hosting our members again in our space.

“Next Season’s lineup has something for everyone, from famous faces to exciting concerts, to one-of-a-kind spectacles and intimate performances.”

“This is the best time to become a member or renew your membership, so you can be here for all the excitement on Season Launch night, May 31.”

“Burlington’s hottest ticket of the season will be hosted by none other than award-winning comedian and BPAC favourite Seán Cullen.
To unveil its newest Season of entertainment.

Sean Cullen – he will take the Season announcements through a lively night of its all about show business.

Having Cullen on the stage will be an improvement over some of the really dismal and disappointing season launch events in the past. None of the Tammy Fox events were bummers – her decision to call in Cullen was a smart move.

Membership Benefits
Only BPAC Members are invited to our amazing 22/23 Season Launch. Members also enjoy other benefits such as advance notice and front-of-line ticket access, discounts on all ‘BPAC Presents’ tickets, exclusive access to our Members’ Lounge, free ticket offers to select performances, recognition in our playbill, discounts from local business partners in downtown Burlington, and more!

Two Performing Arts members going through the catalogue for a season and deciding what they want to attend. Sales are brisk Announcement night.

With four membership levels to choose from, there is a BPAC membership for every budget.

Become a BPAC Member or renew your Membership today to receive an invitation to the 22/23 Season Launch and exclusive front-of-the-line ticketing access to the 22/23 Season!

Join as a Platinum or Gold Member and reserve your preferred tickets before the Launch to ensure you are enjoying each show from your favourite seat in the House!

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The public person and the real person - which version of Rory Nisan do you like?

By Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The one thing a politician cannot and should not even try to do is position themselves as an open, honest person and then do things that do not measure up to the image they set out.

Rory Nisan described himself as a diplomat during his campaign. He was not a diplomat. He was around diplomatic events and worked with very senior members of the government setting up meetings that involved senior people from other counties.

He had a good blue suit, took order and was polite.

The blue suit might still exist but the rest of the traits aren’t being seen these days.

Nisan decided that the health of his new child was at some risk if he attended council meetings.

He has chosen to work from home.

I personally disagree with the position he took – the Council Chamber is probably the safest place in town to be – but – if Rory Nisan thinks his child might be at risk he has the right to work from home – and to be fair, as a responsible parent he is doing the right thing.

What wasn’t so right however was an event that took place on May 2nd.

Nisan used some of the time to meet with his campaign team in an outdoor setting

Rory Nisan with his campaign team on May 2nd, 2022  The optics don’t fit the image.

Most of his team is unmasked, as is Nisan.

That picture just does not jibe with the way Nisan has worked to portray himself.

Going to be interesting to hear what he has to say on some of the positions he has taken on matter of city business.

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

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Who should lead the province? A minority Progressive Conservative government looks like the best choice

By Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The players in the provincial election that will begin on Wednesday are moving into the campaign offices during the weekend.

Burlington is caught up in the mini scandal over a Council member giving away information discussed in a Closed Session of Council and being sanctioned for her behaviour.

The attention being given the Integrity Commission report is going to have to be directed to the election of the next provincial government – where there are very real and very critical decisions to be made.

The manner in which the province has handled the pandemic and the approach they are taking to climate change are troubling.  In the past, Conservative parties have hidden their candidates and relied on their membership base to keep them in office.

Natalie Pierre – appointed not nominated but the Progressive Conservative candidate nevertheless.

This time around Natalie Pierre will be seen and heard today as the Progressive Conservatives open their campaign office.  How much the public sees and hears from her after that is questionable.

The same gang that managed the campaign of Emily Brown, is running the Natalie Pierre campaign.

In Brown they had a candidate who could have given Karina Gould a much more serious run – but the campaign directors wouldn’t let the public see or hear her – other than at political party events and the Chamber of Commerce debate.

Mariam Manaa – the Liberal candidate who won the nomination race to be the candidate.

However, there is a change taking place in Burlington that may well put Mariam Manaa, the Liberal candidate into a seat in the Legislature.

What is not yet clear is just how many Muslims there are in Burlington.

Manaa defeated Andrea Grebenc for the nomination to the surprise of many.  The number of votes the winner of a nomination receives is never made public so we don’t know just how many more votes Manaa got.

Statistics Canada has released new population numbers.  I expect that they will show a significant increase in the number of Muslims – those will all be Manaa votes.

Burlington has for a long time been a Conservative and a conservative city.  That day may be gone.  Karina Gould showed that Liberals can win and get re-elected as well.

Putting a Liberal in at Queen’s Park is the first step to getting Ontario the government it needs.

Don’t take that to mean that the province needs a Liberal government.  My view is that Stephen Del Duca would have difficulty putting together a government – is he going to win his own seat? and Andrea Horwath would not know how to lead a government.

Andrew Drummond – NDP candidate running for the third time.

Andrew Drummond, the NDP candidate in Burlington would be a fine MPP.

The choice for Ontario in my view is a minority Progressive Conservative government.  Doug Ford is his own worst enemy.  With a hobble on his ankle his government will get the province through two to three years during which the New Democrats can find the leader they need and the public can get a look at what kind of talent the Liberals were able to get elected.

It is going to be a short campaign, probably pretty rough as well.  Power is not easily taken away from those who hold it and there are a lot of wealthy vested interests that will do whatever they think is necessary to keep what they have.

We are in a time when huge changes are taking place.  Covid has whacked our economy; the hospitality sector came close to being wiped out.  The way organizations and corporations manage their employees is going through a change and the most recent climate change prediction talked in terms of years not decades.

How different Ontario looks on the morning of June 3rd is something that will get decided by the people in the province who think about what we are up against and then get out and vote.

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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It's a matter of trust and competency - not much of it around this past couple of weeks

By Pepper Parr

April 26th 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Reports that are going to Council meeting as a Standing Committee are always published about 10 days before the meeting.

The report on the comments from a Closed Meeting Investigation were put on the city web site sometime after 7:00 pm on Friday.  Bad optics but optics are no longer a concern for this council or this administration.

The respected law firm, Aird and Berlis were brought in because someone filed a request with the city Clerk asking for an investigation – basically to determine if the city was following the rules about going into a Closes session.

The four dates that were investigated related to those occasions when the Integrity Commissioner was asked by Councillors Nisan and Galbraith to determine of Councillor has breached the Code of Conduct.

Few would argue that she did not – she certainly did and has accepted the consequences of her decision.

What the public wants to know is – did the city tell its citizens enough about why they went into CLosed and what they talked about during the meetings.

The Integrity commented that the could improve on what it tells the public.

The public will get an answer to that question; it may not be as fulsome as they expected and would like to see.

In their report Air & Berlus conclude that on each of the four occasions complaints were based on the city met the rules as set out in the Municipal Act – and they site chapter and verse to back up their conclusions.

It goes before Council on May 4th as a Receive and File Report .  All Aird and Berlis were asked to do is advise on whether or not they had the right to go into Closed.

Getting that answer, which we already know has cost the taxpayers $15,000.

Marianne Meed Ward in September of 2018 asking the public to trust her

During the discussion on the Integrity Commissions report Councillor Galbraith made this statement.  He said Staff can submit a report and ask that it be discussed in a Closed session of Council.  He added that it is Council that determines whether or not they actually go into Closed.  They have to vote on that – each time.

Burlington’s city council is beginning to look foolish, incompetent and lacking a clear sense of direction.

Mayor Meed Ward said in a lengthy Statement she released on her tweet account that trust in this council has to be maintained.  She could not have been more right.

In the 2014 election Marianne Meed Ward asked citizens not for their vote – but for their trust.  And they gave it to her and were impressed enough to make her Mayor.

She has lost that trust – the skills. the integrity and the spunk to win it back do not appear to exist.

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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Buying or renting a house in Burlington - the numbers will not work for a lot of people.

By Pepper Parr

April 18th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is a sticky situation.

The cost of a house has sky rocketed.

The inventory of houses for sale is low.

Two groups are currently looking into the housing problem.

And a Housing Working group that was brought into being due to the persistent efforts of ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte.

And she is about to get a public spanking on Tuesday for telling the public about some of the things being said in Closed sessions of Council about property that is being redeveloped by public agencies to benefit the public.

Go figure.

Having said that, the city planners are doing some solid work; gathering the information on which to base the strategy that is needed to find a way to provide housing for the thousands of people who are going to move to Burlington in the next two decades.

Expect the work that City Council has approved on the housing file to become a major election issue. Will it get the Mayor re-elected? The people who will benefit have yet to move to the city.

There is the common ground established that housing is a basic human right, and there is a collective civic responsibility to ensure that the supply of housing available within a community can accommodate the varying needs of residents throughout their lifetime, including financial needs.

Working Group on Housing, made up of both volunteers and people steeped in the business of housing has met virtually for a number of months.

Burlington has initiated a project to develop an Innovative Housing Strategy that sets out policies, tools, identifies partnerships, and actions to address residents’ current and future housing needs. The consulting team of Dillon Consulting Limited (Dillon) and SHS Consulting (SHS) were retained by the City to carry out this work, in partnership with the City’s Housing Strategy Project team, Housing Strategy Working Group, and Housing Strategy Steering Committee.

Housing: what can Burlington do and how do they go about doing it.

While there has been a lot of effort and emphasis on improving housing opportunities in the City, this Housing Strategy project provides an opportunity for a focused approach. The principal objective is to develop an innovative Housing Strategy for the City of Burlington that sets out policies, tools, and actions to address residents’ housing needs, identifies opportunities for partnerships, and redefines Burlington’s role in meeting local housing needs, now and in the future.

What is the biggest issue?  Affordability or inventory?

There are many different ways of defining affordable housing. Definitions that exist in provincial laws, may differ from definitions used in federal housing programs. For many people, there is also a very personal definition of affordability based on their own income.

Affordable Housing

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) defines affordable housing as housing with a price for purchase or rent where households spend no more than 30 percent of their gross household income on housing.

In the case of ownership housing, the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) defines affordable housing as, the least expensive of:

  1. Housing for which the purchase price results in annual accommodation costs which do not exceed 30 percent of gross annual housing income for low and moderate income households; or
  2. Housing for which the purchase price is at least 10 percent below the average purchase price of a resale unit in the regional market area;

In the case of rental housing, the PPS defines affordable housing as, the least expensive of:

  1. A unit for which the rent does not exceed 30 percent of grow annual housing income for low and moderate income households; or
  2. A unit for which the rent is at or below the average market rent of a unit in the regional market area.

In Halton Region’s Official Plan, affordable housing is defined as:

“housing with a market price (or rent that is affordable to households of low and moderate income, spending no more than 30 percent of their gross income.

      1. a) Affordable rental housing should meet the demand of households at the low end, as described in Halton’s annual State of Housing Report, pursuant to Section 86(7). Such households would be able to afford at least three out of ten rental units on the market.
      2. b) Affordable ownership housing should meet the demand of households at the high end, as identified in Halton’s annual State of Housing Report. Such households would have sufficient income left, after housing expenses, to sustain the basic standard of living.”

Attainable Housing

While there is no universal definition of attainable housing, it is often used to refer to rental or ownership housing without any subsidies which is affordable to workforce households or households with moderate incomes. In the US, it is defined as non-subsidized, for-sale housing that is affordable to households with incomes between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income.

Using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), to bring the 2016 incomes to 2021 values, the estimated average household income in Burlington for 2021 is $159,083 and the estimated median household income is $124,154.

Based on research conducted as part of this report, findings indicate the following 2021 average ownership prices in Burlington:

This development at 2100 Brant sold out before the sales office was opened.

Single-detached: $1,398,357

Semi-detached: $901,963

Townhouse: $894,997

Condominium townhouse: $575,299

Condominium apartments: $575,299

This means that, within the context of Burlington, ownership options are only affordable to households earning $164,016 or more on an annual basis, unless they had a down payment greater than 5% or spent more than 30% of their income on housing costs.

With respect to rental tenure, the research conducted as part of this report indicates the following average monthly rents in the primary rental market in Burlington9:

    • Some of these units at the Burlington GO station will be rentals.

      Bachelor: $1,229

    • One bedroom: $1,577
    • Two bedroom: $1,641
    • Three+ bedroom: $1,658

This means that, within the context of Burlington, rental options within the primary rental market are only affordable to households earning $60,072 or more on an annual basis.  This is further complicated by the low vacancy rates for rental housing in the City, which has remained below 3% since 2010.

Within the Burlington Context, where the cost of all tenures of housing is high, there are very few “affordable” housing options for households within low and moderate income deciles when applying the Federal and Provincial government’s definition of “affordable”.

Given the City’s stated objective for the Housing Strategy to provide a toolkit with options to address housing needs across the entire housing continuum, the strategy will need to provide tools to address both housing “affordability” and “attainability” throughout Burlington to best position itself as an inclusive and complete community that provides housing options for all.

When “affordable housing” is used within the context of this report it is meant to encapsulate the definition of affordable as set out in the Halton Region Official Plan and does not mean government- assisted housing or subsidized housing.

These two developments; one at the Burlington GO station and the other in the east end are part of the inventory that will come on line at some point. The GO station development has most of the approvals it needs. What isn’t know – how much will the rents be?

Burlington’s role in housing.

Through the work completed to date, it was determined that the biggest impact the City of Burlington can make, as a lower-tier municipality, is to provide innovative solutions to address housing affordability and attainability for middle-income earners. Increasingly, middle-income households are struggling to find housing that is appropriate for their needs and income level in Burlington with the high cost of housing posing significant challenges for middle-income working households.

Providing support to these households insures that they can remain housed in Burlington.

It is in addressing the middle income needs where the City can make the biggest moves.

 

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There are a lot of questions to be asked: are there going to be any answers from either Council or the Administration?

By Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

A matter of major significance is now going to be discussed in public at city council on Tuesday the 19th.

Getting it on the table has not been easy – there were far too many people at both the Council level and the administration level who wanted the Integrity Commissioner’s report discussed in a Closed Session of Council.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Councillor Stolte, the subject of the Integrity report, has to be recognized for taking the high road and setting out her position and the why of what she did. There are numerous concerns.

How will Council handle the report? The Integrity Commissioner will present the document and be on hand to answer questions.

Will the Councillors ask any questions?

And there are a lot of questions to be asked.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan above and ward 1 Councillor Kelven Galbraith

Of the two council members who filed the report: who approached who? Did Nisan call Galbraith or was it vice versa? Realize that Councillor Nisan doesn’t want to leave his home – Covid19 fears.

Councillors are seldom at their office in city hall this past year – so there is no opportunity for the kind of casual conversation and the open exchange of views and collaboration that Stolte sees as vital.

There is concern over an email that Stolte sent to a constituent – how did Nisan and Galbraith get their hands on that email?

Who influenced who at City Hall? What role did the City Manager play?

What role did the City Clerk play? What was the level of collusion between the Mayor and the City manager ?

Will there be public delegations?

Who is going to ask the hard questions?

There is an investigation underway by the Investigator of Closed meetings about the practices used in Burlington.

Does that report not have a bearing on what has taken place?

The meeting on the 19th is scheduled as a virtual meeting – which is unfortunate.

The calendar doesn’t’ work and permit genuine public participation. City Hall is closed Friday and Monday. The public saw the report for the first time at 6:00 am this morning.

It will take time to digest and understand what the issue is – and there is an issue.

People don’t gather as much as they used to – the current Covid19 wave is impacting a lot of people. Councillor Sharman is reported to have become infected.

The concern that many have is that the Integrity report will be read into the record and no one will ask any questions – hoping that is Council and the administration go mute and that this will then all just go away.

Democracy doesn’t work that way.

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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Interview with Councillor reveals significant differences of opinion on just how they work to get things done

By Pepper Parr

April 11th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We published a three part interview with ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte.

The earning curve was the steepest Stolte had ever experienced.

This has not been an easy council to interview. It has been difficult to get a clear sense as to how well they work together and the kind of leadership that has been available to the newcomers.

One said to us early in the term of office that he had been told “not to talk to you” – this one has always been easily swayed.

The five newcomers are certainly a mixed bag – each of them has struggled with the size of the job they got elected to – every one of them will tell you – if they are honest with themselves, that they are way in over their heads – but they work hard and do their best.

A situation has arisen that has the potential to tear this council apart. It should break in a few days; it is expected to be on the city council agenda for April 19th. It might be on the agenda as a Closed session item because it relates to the behavior of a person that we are choosing not to name at this point.

Councillors Stolte and Kearns tend to work together and support the positions each takes.

The collegiality that Councillor Stolte thought existed does not exist. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has turned out to be a very divisive Mayor – who has not been able to create a council, made up of people new to the game, and turn them into independent operators who buy into the big picture and work as a team to end up with a city that is going to see massive population growth requiring literally hundreds of high rise towers.

Meed Ward has chosen the photo op and social media route. A woman who consistently talks up her background as a journalist has yet to hold an open press conference.

She favours situations, such as her perch at CHML where she is never pressed on serious issues or Cogeco where she has a program of her own.

Posing as a journalist is just plain phony – she knows better but up until recently Meed Ward has had a tribe of supporters who believe she can do no wrong.

Marianne Meed Ward didn’t do all that much to mentor the new members to Council

I was once a fan; she was a strong council member who really knew how to go for the juggler. She taught former Councillor and former Mayor Rick Goldring a tough lesson during the last meeting of that council.  She was the best choice for the city in 2018

There is a lot in what Shawna Stolte said during our interview – she was always careful to ensure that she didn’t talk about natters that were debated in Closed sessions – she did say that she has very strong views on the way the city chooses to slip into a Closed session.

Teaching the members of this council that they have an obligation to communicate with their constituents has not been easy. Most feel that their Newsletter is how they can speak to their constituents – the obligation is to open themselves up to media that can ask informed questions.

Stole has taken a first bold step. Her Father would be proud.

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 there a change coming to the way Council handles CLOSED sessions ?

By Pepper Parr

March 24th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Getting any information about what takes place in a CLOSED session of Council is  a little like squeezing that last little bit of toothpaste out of the tube.

You run your fingers along the sides and squeeze to get the toothpaste to the top of the tube and onto the tooth brush.

City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol

That was the image that came to mind as I listened to Nancy Shea Nicol, City Solicitor, as she  explained to Council that she would have a report to them on what came out of the closes session on Tuesday.

Someone somewhere in city hall has decided that this going into CLOSED session on almost any matter had to come to an end – the public had a right to know what was taking up so much time in the legal department.

Nancy Shea Nicol is an old  school lawyer – say nothing or at least as little as possible.

There are occasions  when a CLOSED session is required for a property matter.

Ward 4 Councillor Lisa Kearns – wants a more transparent approach to CLOSED sessions of Council

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns wanted to know why the public could not at least have the address of the property that was being discussed.

There appear to be changes in the wind.  It would really be nice if the Mayor made a statement explaining that a change was necessary and setting out what the public had a right to know what the business of the city was about.

The city is in the process of buying the old Bateman High School property.

The School Board has said they want to sell because they have no use for the space.  They do however want to rent some of the space from the purchaser.

Brock University has been talking to the city about renting some of the space to set up a teacher training program.

The city wants to put some of the space to use as well; library and something for the seniors in the east end of the city.

These are all public organizations – why all the secrecy?

Old habits? It was just the way things were done?

A fresh wind appears to be blowing through the legal department.

About time.

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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Director of Education panel: Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms.

By Staff

March 23rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The next Halton District School Board (HDSB)  Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion & Human Rights will take place on March 29th at 6:00 pm

The working title for the event is Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms.

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board

HDSB families, staff and community members are invited to the Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion & Human Rights to raise awareness on historical and contemporary issues of identity, inclusion and human rights. The next session in the panel series will be:

Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms
Tuesday, March 29 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.
This will be a virtual event, with the livestream linked on the HDSB website (www.hdsb.ca).
Registration is not required.

Panel speakers include:

• Dani Araya, Coordinator, Trans Youth Mentor Program, The 519
• Andie Davis, HDSB Grade 11 student
• Lyndon George, Indigenous Justice Coordinator, Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
• Eliot Newton, Education Program Coordinator, Comprehensive Sexuality Education, at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity
• Stella, HDSB Grade 8 student
• Phi Trân Trinh, Program Coordinator, Positive Space Network
• Dinaly Tran, Nonbinary BIPOC Program Coordinator, Planned Parenthood Toronto

Those interested in attending the event can submit a question to the panel before or during the panel discussion through this Google Form: https://forms.gle/L5AxQvpErhR9wpkG9

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board explains:    “Each session in the series will explore how issues of identity and inclusion intersect with education,”

“This provides an opportunity to create awareness of multiple perspectives of insight and analysis on how individual identities can be reflected and engaged in the broader HDSB community. This panel series aligns with the Board’s commitment to raise awareness of diverse community perspectives and the need to broaden resources to support inclusion and student achievement, as reflected in the HDSB’s Multi-Year Plan 2020-2024 and the Human Rights Equity Action & Accountability Plan – The Way Forward.”

Future sessions in the series include:
• Indigenous Perspectives on Decolonizing Education and Land (Tuesday, April 26 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.)
• Perspectives on Islam and Islamophobia (Tuesday, May 31 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.)

Previous panel sessions include Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (Feb. 7) and Black Excellence: Today and Every Day (Feb. 28). Full recordings of these panel discussions are available to view on the Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion and Human Rights webpage.

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Some very tough decisions to be made by the people of Ontario

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Ontario’s fixed-date election law sets voting day as June 2, 2022, and the formal start of the campaign period as next May 4.

Burlington now has nominated candidates for the three mainline political parties.

NDP candidate Andrew Drummond get a visit from Liberal candidate Mariam Manaa while she was doing her door to door thing.

The New Democrats nominated Andrew Drummond, the Liberals actually made a contest of their nomination and chose Mariam Manaa as their candidate.

The Progressive Conservatives appointed Natalie Pierre as their candidate.

The Greens nominated Kyle Hutton.

There may be others.

While there is all kinds of political maneuvering taking place at the party leadership level, the fight at the ground level will become fierce starting May 4th.

Drummond is well known, he has run before and has acquitted himself quite well.  Were he to be elected he would be a creditable legislator once he has learned the basics of being an MPP.

Andrea Horwath on the campaign trail

The problem with the Ontario New Democrats is their leader – Andrea Horwath isn’t seen as a leader; there isn’t all that much bench strength in the party – she would have difficulty forming a government and the even more difficulty governing.

Bob Rae who brought tonnes of credibility to the job of party leader had difficulty find the talent he needed to appoint solid members to his Cabinet.

Burlington does have a small but solid community of followers – enough to win?  There was a real chance last time out – not sure that chance exists this time around,

Manaa has no experience in government but some knowledge of the way politicians serve their communities having worked as an intern with two federal MP’s.

No one is sure just where her support came from.  If the Muslim community is large enough she could take the seat.; what is not clear is just how many Muslim’s in the riding there are.   The most recent Stats Canada data is not yet available.  The Muslim community will vote for their candidate.

The team teaching Mariam how to campaign is solid.  If she has the capacity to develop into a credible candidate she could surprise a lot of people.

Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff, right,  talking to Stephen Del Duca, provincial Liberal party leader, while he was in Burlington as the then Minister of Transport for the province.

The Liberals have not been blessed with a gifted party leader.  Steve Del Duca comes across as flailing about looking for an issue that he can use to get the foothold he desperately needs.  Not having a seat in the Legislature doesn’t help. .

The Progressive Conservatives in Burlington have struggled to develop really solid candidates. Cam Jackson served as the MPP for years.  One would be challenged to point to anything significant he achieved while in office.

Jane McKenna was nominated at a meeting where she was the only candidate; zip in the way of political experience and a one of the thinnest public profiles ever seen for a person running for public office.  She was fortunate in having some very savvy political players guiding and directing her.  It was one of Keith Strong’s better initiatives.

There has always been something suspect with PC nomination meetings.

McKenna decided there was an even greener pasture for her at the Regional level and she announced she would not run again as the MPP fr Burlington.

There was no immediate identifiable replacement candidate; we would get notes from people asking if we knew who the PC candidate was going to be.

Natalie Pierre, PC appointed candidate for Burlington

It is not known yet how, when or where the appointed candidate Natalie Pierre was found.

No experience other than having lived in Burlington for 30 years.

The PC party made the appointment on March 4th and informed the public on We were copied on an email in which McKenna appeared to be taking all the credit for finding Pierre.

Since that announcement – not a word.

Burlington has solid deep Conservative roots. As a society it tends to be conservative.

The federal candidate the Conservatives put forward was wrapped in a bubble, said next to nothing and was the poster girl for the gun club lobby.

The challenge for every political party and its candidate is to create profile – get the candidate out in front of people.

To date we have seen nothing on Natalie Pierre.

Are the PC’s going to rely on the strength thay have always has in Burlington. A sort of “she is one of us – vote for her” campaign?

Doug Ford casting a ballot

The problem the PC’s have is with their leader.  He has not exactly proven to be a rock star for the way he handled the pandemic; Ontario has yet to formalize an agreement with the federal government on the new child care program.

It is hard to fathom the PC position on climate change but very easy to grasp what they want to do in terms of building new roads rather that focus on and look for different ways to move people from place to place.

The Bradford Bypass and the Hwy 413 extension are really not needed.

Doug Ford has a small business mentality – he genuinely feels the pain of the small business person who had to close their doors during the lock-downs,

Ford understand the small business community – he genuinely cares about the problems they have had to face.

He is prepared to put at risk the health and welfare on students who would be well served with a masking policy for another two weeks until we learn what WORD are going to be as a result of the Spring Break.

What is proving to be very interesting is the number of parents who have decided they will stay with a masking protocol for the immediate future and wait for new virus infection results.

Doug Ford wants to hope that the reports are minimal and that we may have cleared the mist recent wave.  Let us hope as well that the numbers that do exists don’t get fudged.

Kyle Hutton Green Part candidate

What the province needs at this point in its growth is a well thought out vision – something a bit more than Doug Ford’s Open for Business position.

Burlington now has three candidates; two who are credible – the third too unknown at this point to be able to make a comment.

The Greens have a candidate – thin on real experience but quite a bite of on the ground electing candidates which he learned while working to get Karina Gould elected.

There are tough choices to be made.  A minority Progressive Conservative government would serve the province best,

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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Government shuffling the deck; dealing themselves a better hand

By Pepper Parr

March 2, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Three months from now we will be marking our ballots and choosing who we want to lead us in Ontario going forward.

The Ford government is sitting at Queen’s Park passing legislation.  Yesterday we learned that there was a section in a piece of legislation that forgave a significant fine the Premier was required to pay for not getting a budget before the public by a specific date.

The government has delayed publishing the budget which was due March 31st.  The new date is sometime in late April

We learn today that the government announced an advertising program that will focus on how well the economy is doing.

While important, critically important the province is slowly coming out of pandemic driven restrictions that has ticket sales of Raptors games at the Scotiabank Arena  close to sold out.

People need some relief.

World news is horrific; we are in the middle of something that doesn’t impact on most of us – but the news we read about what is happening in Ukraine is going to impact every one of us in the very near future.

Premier Ford in the Legislature

Inflation is beginning to play havoc on what happens to us daily.   Have you been to the supermarket; have you looked at the price of a good steak ?

Supply chain issues are still not resolved

With all this going on we have a provincial government shuffling the cards and dealing themselves a stronger hand.

Keep an eye on the rascals.

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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