Council to hold its last meeting until September - much has been achieved - still a lot left to do and some unfortunate practices have crept in

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council meets at 1:00 pm this afternoon for their last meeting until September.

The agenda for that month is loaded.

There have been very few delegations since the first lockdown in March of 2020 – those that did take place left little impression on those listening.

During the period of time the city was in a State of Emergency with its affairs guided by an Emergency Control Group they met whenever it had to –seldom less than twice a week. The City is still in a State of Emergency, which is where the city manager thinks it should remain for as long as possible.

Provincial funding goes to those who are in a State of Emergency.

Last week Council went through an impressive schedule of Standing Committee meetings that were both controversial on some levels and solid governance on others.

The Mayor’s ill-advised tweet about support she got from some of her colleagues but not others was petty politics at its worst – while the comment from Councillor Sharman on the decision by Human Resources to do away with annual performance reports was excellent governance.

Sharman Jan 2020

Councillor Sharman was not amused.

We will let you know when the annual performance reviews are put back in. Sharman will beaver away at this – expect him to prevail.

Will we see that decision as a Staff Direction? That might be expecting a little too much.

City Council meeting - before COVID

We used to get this: City Council meeting – before COVID

The meeting today will be swift – there is next to nothing on the Agenda page in terms of documents that are going to be approved.

Council with clerk

Now we get this. All the Council members were present – they don’t always all appear on the screen at the same time

The City Manager’s work plan – all the things he is going to get done, was not available to media during the Standing Committee meeting.

Some of the narrative in the City Manager’s report was available but the specifics, what was going to get done and when, was not available and the city communications adviser we dealt with said it would not be available.

Public participation was a feature of the Goldring council – there were opportunities to speak – even though they didn’t listen all that well.

This Council is using the pandemic, and the phrase “an abundance of caution” as a reason to keep the public away – and at this point they have succeeded. We no longer hear from Gary Scobie, Jim Young or Blair Smith to name just a few.

During the last Standing Committee  last week we did see some rumbling on the part of Councillor Stolte about finding a way to involve living, breathing members of the public.

Stolte got jerked around but her point was made. The City Clerk did set out his concerns – there were a lot of them, few with much in the way of merit.

Council will wish us all a fun summer and be away from their posts until September. Some will begin thinking about their re-election plans. Two of the seven are at risk with a third in for a surprise once his constituents get roused.

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 council hears from an Indigenous Elder on the matter of renaming parks and schools.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Standing Committee on Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services met earlier this week and almost swooned as they listened to Stephen Paquette talk about why the Ryerson school and the park adjacent to it should be renamed.

The Councillors and the two school board trustees who took part as delegations were like high school students listening to a rock star.

paquette Stephen

Stephen Paquette.

Paquette on the other hand was sensible and balanced.

Sure he took a strong position on the getting rid of the Ryerson name but he said he could live with statues of Sir John remaining providing there was a plaque beside the statue putting the man’s role in context.

Unfortunately many are not as sensible and balanced as Paquette.

He taught the Councillors some important lessons; one being the way we choose to elevate some people and create a statue and put it in a public place without a full understanding of the person. He seemed to be saying the statues were more adulation than realistic accounting of the person.

The fear I have is that we will rename the park and the school and then move on to something else forgetting what the real issue is – first making amends for the harm we created and then giving the Indigenous people what they deserve. Decent housing and water they can drink.

A number of years ago Gord Downie stood on a stage and implored the Prime Minister who was in the audience to take care of the Indigenous people. And how much has been done for those people since that time?

I look to Paquette being the person who keeps our feet to the flame and helps us get to the point where the members of the First Nation are true equals.

I was impressed with the man – he is an Elder serving as a staff consultant with the Halton District School Board. He is an excellent spokesperson for his people.

Joseph Boyden, wrote a book: The Orenda. It is a hard book to read on the relationship between the Jesuits who came to Canada to civilize the “savages”. There was painful cruelty on both sides. Boyden created significant controversy writing on Indigenous people. Boyden is primarily of Irish and Scottish ancestry. A number of Indigenous writers and researchers came forward to publicly state Boyden did not have the right to speak on behalf of any Indigenous community because he was not a First Nations citizen and ultimately not Indigenous.

We are going to be dogged with controversy on the question of how we atone for some time. Hopefully the plight of the Indigenous people gets improved while we squabble.

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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How do we want to be defined - our time to be both humane and noble is here now

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What do people mean when they say “that is a defining characteristic”?

What defines Burlington?  Is it the geography – the lake and the Escarpment?

At this time in our history what is it that defines Canada?

I want to suggest that the way Canadians respond to the news of yet another place where the bodies of children have been buried  and what we as a people are going to do about it is what will define this country for decades.

unmarked graves

There are several hundred grave sites like this in Canada

In this country people expect the leadership to make the big decisions.  We have given the power we have to the leaders hoping that they will do the right thing for us.

The tragedy brought about by the creation of the Residential Schools is now in front of us with all the ugliness that neglect heaps on us when we treat one group of people as worth less than the rest of us.

Some 150,000 children were trucked off to Residential Schools with no consent from the parents.  People just came and took them.

Those children who did eventually return to their communities years later, were deeply scarred emotionally, some physically abused, and left unable to cope with daily living.

We are learning now that many thousands did not return but were placed in shallow graves that were unmarked.

The Aboriginal community knew about those graves but no one wanted to listen to a “bunch of Indians”.

Now we all know and decisions have to be made about what we are going to do about it.

The Aboriginal community is pressing the Pope to come to Canada and apologize for the harm that was done and to make restitution as well or at least to live up to the financial contribution all of the religious organizations who operated the Residential Schools agreed to provide.

The federal government has agreed to provide the millions that will be needed to search the grounds of every Residential School to learn if and how many children are laying in shallow graves.

shoes on steps

This just isn’t enough.

How long will the public place pairs of shoes on steps of buildings as a show of support?

Is this just a fad that will pass soon?

The weekly release of yet another grave site will keep this on the public radar for the Aboriginal community who knows they have an issue that has legs.

Downie

Gord Downie did what few of us could so – screamed that the Aboriginal people mattered.

How many remember what Gord Downie had to say to the Prime Minister who was in the audience for that heart rending performance when he asked Justin Trudeau to keep the promise?  That’s been the problem, we Canadians have never kept the promise – we instead jerked them around again and again.

Are we finally at the point where that basic, human fundamental right for water that can be swallowed might be theirs the way it is ours?  Or are we stuck at the placing of shoes in public places to show our support.

There is an opportunity to show the world what we have done.  We have this opportunity to determine how we are defined.

My question to each person reading this is – how do you want to be defined?

 

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Mariam Manaa has been nominated - now the challenge - getting elected

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Manaa Miriam H&S

Mariam Manaa Liberal candidate in the next provincial election

The Liberals have nominated their candidate for the next provincial election scheduled for June of 2022. Mariam Manaa defeated Andrea Grebenc.

The likelihood of the Premier calling a snap election is high – providing he can come up with an angle that lets him look like the hero he needs to be if the public is going to return him to office.

Dealing with the pandemic put Doug Ford well outside his comfort zone.

The messaging was for the most part terrible; the decision to re-open the hospitality sector in February was a serious mistake that his Science table had warned him about.

Doug Ford is a business person. He believes that business large and small drives the economy and that a healthy economy is what it is all about.

He cannot see beyond those blinders.

Doug Ford covid t shirt

A Premier out of his comfort zone.

His government is at risk. When there is blood in the water the sharks come out. Every riding association is evaluating its prospects. The Progressive Conservatives have Jane McKenna in place. Opinion on Jane is divided and she is her own worst enemy.

The New Democrats have not publicly announced their candidate but if it isn’t Andrew Drummond they don’t have a hope.

The problem for their leader is that Andrea Horwath can’t be elected Premier. Whatever the ingredient is that gets one elected Andrea doesn’t have it.

The Greens may put up a candidate.

Manaa with empower sign

Mariam Manaa: an advocate for women even during her high school years.

The Liberals made a bold choice. The chose Mariam Manaa, a young Muslim woman who wears her hijab most of the time and is active and effective within the Muslim community.

She defeated Halton District School Board Chair Andrea Grebenc who we believe was seen as the favourite.

What was it that had the Burlington Liberals choose Manaa? She got the most votes – does that translates into her bringing more people into Liberal Party membership?

The problem with the process the Liberals used for creating membership was that anyone could become a member. All you had to do was prove you lived in Burlington and you were a member.

Membership in the Ontario Liberal Party is open to all residents of Ontario who are 14 years of age or older.

A savvy political wannabe would call every BEST Friend Forever they had and encourage them to join the Liberal Party and vote for them as the candidate.

It becomes a popularity contest – the candidate with the most members (friends) can expect to win the nomination.

Did Manaa do what any smart politician would do, which is to is get out and round up every breathing body you can find and urge them to become a member?

And once a member, ask them to vote for you as the nominee when the election deciding who the candidate is to be takes place.

Anybody who lives in Burlington could become a Liberal. And I mean anybody.

There was no membership fee, no oath or even a pledge to accept and support a set of principles and objectives.

Liberal party logo OntarioThe idea at the time seems to have been: let anyone become a member and once we know who they are they can be nurtured and grown into a campaign worker, perhaps a financial donor and, heck, maybe even become the candidate in a riding that will take anyone as the candidate because they haven’t got a hope in hell of winning the constituency.

Did Manaa dig deeply in the Muslim community and create more members than Grebenc?

We will never know. The Burlington Provincial Liberal party proved to be very poor messengers this time out.

The election results for nominations are never made public.

Nor does the party association say a word about who brought in the most new members. Those that became members don’t declare who they are supporting.

It would be interesting to know just how many new members the Burlington Liberals brought in.

There isn’t much evidence on which to make assumptions.

The issue for the Burlington Liberals is can Mariam Manaa beat Jane McKenna and if she does, on what issue will she win?

Hate-Suspect-2_B-400x320Will the just-below-the-surface racism in Burlington rear its ugly head and fail to look at the merit of each candidate?

Recent elections in Burlington have gotten very dirty and have resulted in Municipals Act, Elections Act and Criminal Code offence charges being laid.

The objective in politics is to win the seat and hope that the party wins enough seats to form a government.

The Gazette knows of one person who is not and never will be a Liberal – but joined the Party nevertheless in order to be able to cast a ballot against a specific candidate.

Another, who is politically svelte, joined to vote for a particular candidate but would never work to get her elected.
With the membership determined it is then up to candidates who seek the party nomination to convince those members to vote for them as the candidate.

We don’t know if a membership was made available to the candidates.

Facebook likesIt’s a little like setting out to see how many likes you can get on your Facebook page. Do they mean anything?

The process strikes me as devoid of any principles or values. At the federal level those values are difficult to find but that is another story.

We look forward to how Mariam Manaa positions herself and tells her story.

Seeing someone from the diverse (what a terrible word – is there not a better one?) community seeking our vote is progress for Burlington.

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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Planning for a federal election that isn't needed is well underway

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 26th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If one follows main line media, the big guys in the bigger population centres, there is a federal election in the making with plans to cause one to take place well underway within the Liberal Party who currently serve as a minority government.

That they have been in place for just two years is an inconvenient fact –this is politics – they call it a blood sport for a reason.  Politics is about power – a majority is a thing of beauty for a government.

Justin Trudeau and his merry band have determined that they can serve us all if they can just get a chance to govern the way they want to govern.

Elections Canada, the organization that runs federal elections has issued documents that include suggestions such as campaigners keeping at least two metres from others and avoiding handshakes and the distribution of pamphlets and buttons.  When that level of detail is issued – you know that the election planning is well underway.

It is the view of the Gazette that Justin has turned out to be less than the politician his father was and that his time as a Prime Minister should come to an end.

We hope that Burlington’s MP, Karina Gould, speaks out against an election at this time in caucus meetings.  That is the one place where she can speak her mind.

In public, she is a member of Cabinet and required to support the team.

Should an election take place in the fall and should the Liberals get returned as a minority Justin Trudeau should do the right thing, fall on his sword and find something else to do.

We should wish for at least that.

We should be demanding that this government remain, do the best they can until the pandemic comes to an end and then go to the people asking to be returned based on how well they got the country through the pandemic, how well they have done with the economy and what they have chosen to do with the critical issue we all face with the Aboriginal community.

We have stiffed these people for far too long.  They need and deserve the water in their homes that we all have in ours.  And they deserve homes that have taps and toilets that use the water.

Some think that as a demographic the Aboriginal community is not as productive as it needs to be.  If that is the case, and it is far from proven, it is because we created the conditions that made them that way.

Every Remembrance Day we celebrate, honour and remember those we lost in wars to defend the democracy we have, yet we seem to be having difficulty doing what has to be done to celebrate, honour and remember those who were laid in graves at such an early age.

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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Housing is more than a profit center - it is homes that determine the quality of life reputation of the community

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

It was a solid exchange of views between the Chief Executive Officer of the West End Home Builders Association and members of Burlington’s city council.

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Meed Ward

Lisa Kearns

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

Mike Collins–Williams was opposed to the shifting of the Urban Growth Centre boundaries to well north of the downtown core up to the Burlington GO station where there are plans for significant development.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward had gotten what she wanted and took exception to Collins–Williams suggesting that downtown had been sterilized when the boundary was moved.

Councillor Nisan termed the use of the word sterilize as disgusting, inappropriate and “inflammatory”.

421 Brant

The construction cranes are in place – the building will rise floor by floor in the months ahead.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

Construction is underway.

It didn’t get any better for Collins-Williams when Councillor Kearns asked him to explain what it was that the home builders association wanted that city policies were not giving them.  She followed this up by asking: “What might we be missing that the policies in place do not address?”

The debate was part of a Statutory meeting taking place at Regional Council last Wednesday.

The debate at the Region was never the kind of debate that took place at Burlington city hall between 2010 and 2018.  The stark differences between the interests of the developers and the intentions of the current council was laid bare.  It was the driving issue in the 2018 election and the voters liked what Meed Ward was offering better than what either Rick Goldring or Mike Wallace had put on the table.

Someone paid a third party advertiser to do what they could to influence the views of the voters – it didn’t work.

The debate heard on Wednesday was never heard in Burlington’s Council chambers in previous Statutory meeting occasions.

When the then Golding council approved the Carriage Gate development that would put a 26 storey tower opposite city hall the then city manager is reported to have gotten up to shake hands with the developer.

Football

If the developers get their way there won’t be much park space for the public in that football shaped property.  There are three developments working their way through the planning process.

The development opportunities on Brant Street south of  Caroline are exceptional, as are those in the football between Lakeshore and Old Lakeshore Road where there are a number of developments working their way through the planning process (clogged up at LPAT hearings at the moment) that will result in a significantly different Burlington if they get built.

Development in Burlington is focused on profit, not on the creation of community. The building of high rise condominiums changes the scale, scope and streetscape, which determines how people relate to the community.

There is little in the way of input from the people who are going to live with the buildings. The condominium going up opposite city hall is built right out to the property line and soars straight up for 26 floors.

Some developers do create designs that embrace the street. The Molinaro group has a development that puts two towers on either side of Brant Street at Ghent, that have slight curves,  which leave the impression the buildings are communicating with each other.  If built they will become the gateway out of the downtown core to a different Burlington that will rise beside the Go station.

Appreciation for architecture rests in the eye of the beholder and what the public is seeing now is quite different than what was built along Lakeshore decades ago.

During the required Statutory meetings the developers set out what they want to do and explain that they are meeting all the required rules.

Collins Williams

Mike Collins-Williams represented the interests of the developers during the required Statutory meeting on the changes being made to the Regional Official Plan.

What doesn’t take place is a dialogue between the architect and the public on what the public would like to see built on the streets they will live, work and play on.

Usually the first time a citizen sees a building is when they look at a glossy brochure.

Architects are hired by developers to create a pleasing looking building that meets the aspirations (and at times the egos) of the developer and doesn’t cost a fortune to build.

Developers are not in the housing business, they are in the profit-making business – and in a capitalistic society that is the way the game is played and accepted.

Selling housing isn’t the same as selling soap.

The homes that are built determine to a large degree the kind of society we have. Human beings need space; the developers refer to that space as amenities.

This isn’t a Burlington problem – it is one that plagues the country. However there is no reason a change cannot at least begin in Ontario. And if Mayor Meed Ward can pull that off – good on her.

 

Related news story

Lobbyist states the case for sticking with old Urban Growth plan

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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There are some very challenging issues right in front of us that will require inspired leadership. We are about to find out if the challenge is going to be met

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During a Standing Committee on Monday City Manager Tim Commisso commented on the concerns that had been brought to the Mayor and members of Council related to the condition of streets and public places and the large gatherings of people who appeared to be ignoring the ask that masks be worn.

Burlington is still in a State of Emergency and is regulated in terms of the day to day business of the city by the Emergency Coordinating Group (ECG) which is made up of the Leadership Team and other senior staff including Fire Chief Karen Roche.

This group often meets several times a week and is able to make changes to practices and procedures quickly as long as they don’t have a negative impact on the budget.

The Mayor is a part of the ECG.

Commisso Apr 17

City Manager Tim Commisso

Commisso acknowledged that there are problems and added that he “had nothing to say” on Monday but expected to have things to say once he has met with staff.

Burlington has become a destination for many people who want to get out of their homes and be in places where they can meet with friends.  There wasn’t very much that was open on the weekend.

This Friday the city opens up, albeit not to the point where there are no limitations.  If past experience is any indicator the city is facing crowds that make demands on the resources and push many people beyond their comfort level when it comes to sharing what Burlington has to offer.

It was people, people, people - for almost as far as the eye could see along the Beachway.

It was people, people, people – for almost as far as the eye could see along the Beachway.

There are some who feel the city parks, especially the Beachway, should be for use by Burlingtonians only.  The fact is that the Beachway is a Regional Park managed by the city.

Burlingtonians are proud of the small town feel of the downtown core and want to retain that identity.

The city’s leadership has a difficult situation ahead of it that will require an ability to respond in a responsible way and at the same time educate the community and bring it to the point where the appreciation for the diversity that the city advocates and encourages becomes real.

During the Standing Committee Monday members of council wanted to know how many of the free parking passes were given to residents of Burlington and how many were given to residents of Oakville, Milton or Halton Hills.

This is not a metric that should matter.

There are some very challenging issues right in front of us that will require inspired leadership.  We are about to find out if the challenge is going to be met.

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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After a bit of kafuffle it comes down to two women seeking the Liberal nomination to be the candidate in the June 2022 provincial election

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 31st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

So – what did happen?

We learn that ward 2  Councillor Lisa Kearns had decided to accept a suggestion that she seek the nomination for the Burlington seat in the Legislature.

We were never able to get that confirmed directly from the Burlington Liberal Association but we were able to get confirmation from a reliable party source.

Manaa Miriam H&S

Mariam Manaa – seeking the Liberal nomination.

We were unaware that there was a already a Miriam Manass, woman who had expressed an interest and was running a personal campaign to seek the nomination.

All we had was Lisa Kearns filling her social media with everything she had. Today it was pairs of children’s shoes at the foot of the flag poles outside city hall in support of the 200+ children who were buried on the grounds of a Residential School used to house Indigenous Children who had been taken from their parents.

Kearns with shoes

Lisa Kearns during a Facebook moment at the foot of the flag poles outside city hall

Kearns informed us that she wrote a university thesis on just that issue. We asked for a copy of the thesis thinking it would be interesting to read what a student had to say about the shameful past that had churches being responsible for the welfare of children and then abusing them. Not all the churches but far too many of them.  “Don’t have the document anymore” advised Kearns. Most people hang on to the work they do at the university level.

Then out of the blue we learn that Andrea Grebenc has decided to seek the nomination for the Burlington seat. We thought that she would be a very good candidate for the ward 3 council seat.  She has credibility.

Grebenc

Andrea Grebenc during a virtual school board meeting.

The faster than you can say “Jack Rabbit” Kearns announces that she likes the look of Grebenc and has decided to drop out of the race and support Grebenc.

What really happened?

And also – what happened to the woman who was being “groomed” to replace Kearns on city Council once she had won the provincial seat?

She appears to have been thrown under the bus.

Kearns and Grebenc were not close to each other. I doubt that they actually met – but could be wrong on that.

Our belief is that Kearns found there was a sudden need for a change of clothing when she learned of the Grebenc announcement and did what she could to give herself political coverage.

No need to take a look at the other candidate – Grebenc would fill the bill.

As much as we admire the work Grebenc has done at the school board she would have been better advised to solicit Kearns’ vote and take a pass on an endorsement.

The joint media release the two woman put out was pretty self-serving – no one came out of that looking very good.

The lingering question is – how much damage has Kearns done to her brand and image? She has made herself vulnerable. The mind of the policy wonk failed her – when there was a personal threat – back away.  There has always been a skittishness to Lisa Kearns.

Kearns said both personal and professional matters brought about the decision to withdraw. She should have said that and moved on

Courage of your convictions wouldn’t apply here.

What then does apply?  That is something the voters will get to decide in 2021. Does Kearns think time will wash this all away?

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 news stories

Lisa Kearns announces

Grebenc announces

Mariam Manaa announcement

Joint media release

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Find the will to vaccinate every student and teacher before September

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The back and forth debate over sending students back to school for the three weeks in June that are the balance of this school term seems to forge what everyone says they want – the best thing for the students.

Stuart Miller

While due to retire in August, current Director of education for the Halton District School Board Stuart Miller could lead a drive to get students vaccinated before September.

Students have been jerked around for the past 18 months.

The pandemic that we are now beginning to admit was something we should have been more aware of did throw a monkey wrench into the way we educated students.

Teachers went into shock when they were asked to teach their students by telephone, which is basically what virtual teaching is. There were no programs to help the teachers overcome the problems.

The equipment needed didn’t exist. The Halton District school Board has put more than “2000 pieces of hardware” into the hands of students.

Some teachers had difficulty adapting to teaching virtually.

The public doesn’t yet understand just how big a challenge students faced. The idea of thinking about teaching kindergarten virtually boggles the mind.

Significant damage has been done, much of it unavoidable.

But surely we don’t have to continue damaging these students.

We appear to be on our way out of the pandemic. Vaccinations are taking place and the Ontario government seems too to have learned to communicate with its citizens.

It looks, as well, that the federal government has vaccine supply lines that are holding.

Could we not now commit to having every student and every teacher vaccinated before school classes begin again in September?

There is an organization called CODE – Committee of Directors of Education.  These men and women have clout – have them use that clout and work with the local Medical Officers of Health and get the job done.

It’s possible – what it appears to be missing is the will.

Find it – the students deserve to be back in the classrooms and the teachers have to be able to do what they do 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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We have a Mayor who does not walk her talk - ducks the opportunity to support local news

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Tuesday afternoon, tomorrow,  Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will take her seat in Council Chambers as Chair of a meeting of city council.

Along with her is the City Clerk, the audio visual technician – who should be referred to as the magician given the way he manages to keep the video feed stable. It is no small matter.

Part of getting a Council meeting underway is to read a land acknowledgement and to read out any proclamations that are to be made.

The following are the proclamations that are to apply for this meeting of Council

Proclamations:

Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism: May 10, 2021

Apraxia Awareness Day: May 14, 2021

National Public Works Week: May 16 – 22, 202

National AccessAbility Week: May 30 – June 5, 2021

World Sickle Cell Day: June 19, 2021

Senior Volunteer Appreciation Week: June 1-8, 2021

Hidradenitis Suppurative (HS) Awareness Week: June 7 – 13, 2021

Month of Play: June 2021

National Indigenous History Month: June 2021

National Deaf/blind Awareness Month: June 2021

Pride Month: June 2021

Her Worship speaks frequently about her 22 years as a journalist and when there were people in the council chamber the Mayor would acknowledge the presence of media.

One would have thought that the Mayor would have chosen to recognize the National News Media week and take up the opportunity to support local news media.

A web site organized by a group of senior journalists with the humorous name inkstainedwretches took on the task of asking municipalities across the country to support local news.  The “wretches” are asking Canadian municipalities to pass a journalism-support resolution between May 3, 2021 and Canada Day.

The petition read:

Given that the creation and distribution of reliable information is crucial for our individual and collective well-being, democracy and civil society;

Given the point to which digital platforms have evolved during the past decade has severely damaged an ecosystem that enables news outlets to provide reliable information (the damage is evident from the number of established news media outlets that closed or merged in Canada since 2008, and has become more critical due to the novel coronavirus pandemic).

We encourage our elected leaders to enact legislation to shape an ecosystem that supports one of the crucial foundations of a functioning democracy: reliable, local journalism.

The following is a lost of all the municipalities that passed a resolution of support to date – look as hard as you may – Burlington is not in the list.

    City of Winnipeg, Man. (April 29, 2021)

    City of Kamloops, BC (April 20, 2021)

    City of London, ON (April 13, 2021)

    Chatham-Kent, ON ( April 12, 2021)

    City of St. John’s, NL (April 5, 2021)

    City of Prince George, BC (March 22, 2021)

    City of Toronto, ON (March 10, 2021)

    Town of Saugeen Shores, ON (Nov. 23, 2020)

    District of Tofino, BC (Oct. 27, 2020)

    City of Kitchener, ON (Sept. 14, 2020)

    Town of Essex, ON (Sept. 8, 2020)

    Town of LaSalle, ON (Sept. 8, 2020)

    City of Cambridge, ON (Sept. 8, 2020)

    City of Kingston, ON (Sept. 1, 2020)

    City of Windsor, ON (Aug. 24, 2020)

    City of Hamilton, ON (July 17, 2020)

    Township of Wellesley, ON (June 30, 2020)

    Township of Woolwich, ON (June 23, 2020)

    Township of North Dumfries, ON (June 22, 2020)

    Township of Wilmot, ON (June 22, 2020)

    City of Waterloo, ON (June 22, 2020)

    Region of Waterloo, ON (June 3, 2020)

While quick to talk about the importance of the media Mayor Meed Ward has yet to hold a press conference since donning the Chain of Office.  Requests to her office for a comment on an issue results in someone from the communications department who ask what it is we want to know.  The Mayor has a full time communications operative working for her.

The Gazette has served the city for ten years. Before becoming Mayor there were numerous interviews with Marianne Meed Ward; nothing since taking the Oath of Office.

Her Worship might surprise us all and produce a resolution before Canada Day.

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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Having police in place when they are really needed

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 11, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a comment in the Gazette from a former police officer who served for 30 years – it deserves some comment.  The police officer wrote:

“My point is …. pay duty officers are requested and paid for by a private company (ie construction, movie shoots) NOT Halton Region, so the suggestion that the City of Burlington request and pay for pay duty officers (out of our tax dollars) is ridiculous. It’s sad to see how the media has contributed to the rise in tension and hate towards the police, of late. AND yes I am proud of my honourable career as a police officer. I worked for HRPS for 30 years!”

Our purpose is not to identify the officer but to respond to her assertion that the Gazette has contributed to the rise in” tension and hate towards the police”.

Rattlesnake 1 police car

Most of the time the police are where they need to be.

The intention is to hold the police accountable and ensure that they be transparent and protect the public that hires them to do just that.

The word hate was introduced by the police officer – not the Burlington Gazette.

Police are often seen on the street, riding bicycles and keeping an eye on things – a basic part of good police work; getting out of the cruiser and seeing what is going on.

In the ten years we have covered Burlington the Gazette has reported on a lot of outstanding police work. There are a lot of smart, dedicated men and women serving the public.

The only thing ridiculous about paying for pay duty police officers is that the taxpayer would be paying twice.

Police officer told us he was on "bikini patrol" and that he loved his job.

Police officer told us he was on “bikini patrol” and that he loved his job.

Times are tough for many people. Coping with the financial damage being done to the hospitality sector is seriously hurting families and some of that pain gets expressed publicly.

People are fearful, they expect, want, and need support.

Most people recognize that is why we have a police service.

Related news

Backbone

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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Time to Put Some Backbone Behind the Motto the Regional Police Have.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The weather is getting warmer; the desire to get outside and enjoy the weather gets stronger every day.

The wearing of masks is getting better – but it’s not as good as it is going to have to be.

Brown and Williams

Dr. Adelstein Brown, head of the Science Table that advises the government, on the left and Dr. David Walker who takes the advice to the Premier.

The science that determines, to a large degree, the decisions the province makes about what we will be able to do and what we will not be permitted to do reacts to the data collected.

The numbers are not really all that much better. Poor enough to have the advisers suggesting that the current Stay at Home be extended two more weeks into June.

The Victoria Day holiday will stress the social cohesion we have even more seriously than it is now.  The Emergency Control Group (ECG) that currently does the thinking, risk measuring, looking for options and doing their best to determine what they will take to Council.

Chief Tanner hard look

Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner during a virtual meeting with city council.

The comment from the Chief of Police that he did not see Halton Regional Police Service patrolling those locations where crowds tend to converge was much more than a disappointment.

The Mayor is surely thinking through the options as she meets with the ECG.

Something is going to be needed to deter people.   And police can do that.

Meed Ward style

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: Not amused.

The Mayor has an option; Hire what is referred to as paid duty police service, and have them patrol the parks and the streets on bicycles. These are sworn police officers who do part time work during their off duty hours.

From the Regional Police web site: “The Paid Duty Program will allow clients to hire off-duty officers on a contract basis to provide a police presence at their events. Officers will not be assigned to any function that requires that they act outside the normal scope of police duties.   Terms to be considered when applying for Pay Duty Officers: Events must be within the Region of Halton.”

Then meet with the Police Services Board and let them hear some of her indignation. The Board cannot involve itself in operational matters but they can make their views known directly to the Chief.

The Regional Police use bicycles on a regular basis as part of the way they do their work. Are there any other civic employees using bicycles?

The Regional Police use bicycles on a regular basis as part of the way they do their work. No reason why they can’t be used now. These officers were patrolling Brant Street while a festival was taking place.

The seven members of Burlington City Council are also Regional Councillors. There are all kinds of opportunity to bring pressure on the Region to perhaps allocate additional funds to the HRPS if that is what it needed.

Something has to be done – and whatever is decided upon has to be put in place soon so that city staff are assured that they are safe when they are out meeting with the public.

Mayor Meed Ward has never been shy about picking up the phone and calling the Chief. She may have his number on speed dial.

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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Kearns now needs to be transparent and accountable and keep her constituents informed

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The demand that Lisa Kearns resign immediately is foolish.

Were she to do that there would then be the need for a by-election which this city can do without.

Lisa Kearns

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

What Ms Kearns should be doing in issuing a Newsletter to her constituents announcing her plans (a tweet is what high school girls do – time to grow up) explaining why she will be running as a Liberal in the next provincial election which will be on June 4th, 2022 unless the Premier feels he needs to return to the people for a new mandate. Not something he is likely to do.

Choosing to drop bits and pieces of her situation here and there or have long chats with her female friends who then pass along the evolving story is a poor way to communicate with a public that elected her in the first place.

Ms Kearns is an intelligent young woman with a first rate mind who has served the city well in a relatively short period of time.

There is now a nomination meeting that has to take place; given that the provincial Liberal’s approached Ms Kearns she may well face nomination uncontested.

The party needs to now focus on putting together a team and raising the dollars to run a strong campaign.  There are many that want the compliant MPP to hold the seat.

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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Does Doug Ford still have the moral authority to continue as Premier ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 27th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The Science Table released their recommendations to Doug Ford and his Cabinet on Wednesday of last week and made them public on Thursday of last week.

Most people fully expected the Cabinet decisions would fairly reflect the recommendations.

Science table logoThey didn’t.

That was the moment when everything just flipped. Police forces across the province said they would not follow the provincial directions that would permit them to stop people and ask where they were going .

Municipalities across the province said they could not see how they could close the public parks.

Several very prominent people on the Science Table were prepared to resign.

Burlington’s Mayor called an Emergency Council meeting for the Saturday.

The Premier reversed his position on a number of items on the Monday but by then the damage was done.

Ford tired April 21

A weary, tired Premier – battered by media, pummeled by public opinion.

During a brutal media event that followed, CTV News reporter Colin D’Mello said to Ford: “… you say the buck stops with you, but I think people across this province are wondering, what does that actually mean? Columnists have recently said there is no effective leadership at Queens Park. Another one said you are showing raging ineptitude, and some are calling for your resignation.”  D’Mello then asked:  “Premier, do you still have the moral authority to lead this province as Premier?

The penny had just dropped.  The public has not seen the Premier since.

John Doyle in his Globe and Mail column on entertainment was just as brutal. On Monday of this week he said: “If you live in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford has been ubiquitous on TV for more than a year. Almost every weekday – rarely on weekends – he’s been part of the local newscasts.

“During this pandemic period, his TV appearances and news conferences have had a strange trajectory. It’s been an up-and-down, zigzagging media strategy that was always going to lead to his recent blubbering, blustering mea culpa-filled news conference from a backyard in northwestern Toronto.

“Ford is not a natural on TV. But, watching him, you suspect he thinks he is. His natural mode is combative, dismissive and inflexible. And that has led him and his handlers down a disastrous road. Only media strategists who are themselves right-wing populists with a pro-business, anti-union agenda could possibly think it was ever going to work long-term through a human catastrophe.

“There was a time, at the start of all this, when Ford’s angry inflexibility fit the occasion. Then it didn’t, mainly because Ford and his communications team ceased to focus on the broad public good and began spinning a narrow political agenda that confounded the public and was aimed at a political base only. Inflexible became insincere and then deceitful.”

Ford gregarious

In his first year he couldn’t be stopped – he was everything to everyone. Then the penny dropped

March of last year Ford was on TV, enraged by price-gouging when a high-end grocery chain began selling hand wipes, usually costing about $8.49, for $30. “Nothing gets me more furious than someone taking advantage and price-gouging the public that are in desperate need of these items,” Ford thundered. He announced he would enact legislation to outlaw the gouging. The grocery chain backed off and apologized.

Ford’s media strategy went awry precisely when he began to ignore medical experts – that’s an example of media-savvy strength vaporizing – and made explicitly political and ideological decisions.

We’ve seen many things in Ontario this past year and among the most bizarre has been the unraveling of a communications plan that, as soon as Ford’s angry inflexibility became a liability, was always going to end in tears.

And so where are we now? The news Monday reporting the death of a 13 year old girl who died at home of a Covid19 infection while her Mother was in the hospital recovering from a Covid19 infection.

The child’s father, the family breadwinner, had to work if the family was to be fed.

The public fully expected the Premier to announce something that reflected the Science Table recommendations. Sick days pay was front and centre along with target vaccinations programs aimed the “hot spots”.

On Friday of last week  – nothing

Saturday, Sunday nothing. Premier Ford does not work weekends.

Surely there would be something on Monday.

Nothing.

Ford - editorial cartoon

Editorial cartoonists had found there mark – they were merciless.

While the provincial leadership appeared to be frozen,  Medical Officers of Health in Brampton and Toronto were inspecting work places where there were large numbers of employees working in crowed conditions.  The different Medical Officers of Health shut plants down for for periods of time.

Not a word from the Chief Medical Officer of Heath for the province reporting on what was happening.

Each day the number of new infections and deaths were reported – positivity rates were above the 10% level.

There had been no action on the desperate need for paying people who should not be reporting for work.

Yesterday and today the public learns that the federal government and the provincial government were bickering over a plan that would put $1000 a week into the pockets of those who  had to stay home from work.

The sticking point was who would run the program.  The federal government has their CERB program – all a person had to do was apply and then wait for the money to appear in their bank account..  The federal program was limited to $500 a week – Ontario said they would top it up to $1000 if the federal government ran it.  The federal government said the computer application wasn’t flexible enough to be revised.

What the public was seeing was the equivalent of a bunch of chickens running around with their heads chopped off – blood all over the place.

Factory and assembly line workers in the Brampton area were, in the words of one scientist, “being left to burn”.

The province was reported to be anxious about how their stakeholders would react to being forced to pay people who did not report for work because they were ill.

Meanwhile Amazon, Sobeys, Loblaws and others were reporting massive revenue gains.

There is a simple solution – have the province order the corporations to pay people if they are not well enough to work and then let the corporations turn to the federal and provincial governments for reimbursement.

Those companies have payroll procedures in place – they can move money into bank accounts in literally minutes.

All we have to do is coax the Premier out of hiding and do another media event where he tells his Minister of Finance and Minister of Labour to get into a conference room (wear your masks – keep six feet apart) and figure this out and have a solution they could take to Cabinet.

The provincial bureaucracy would arrange for pizza and some of that buck a beer to sustain them while they figure it out

We are facing a disaster – we know what has to be done – other jurisdictions have solved this problem.

Ontario, the economic engine of the country, is now relying on medical people from the Maritime provinces and the armed forces to fly in and help us through this.  The last time that happened was when Mel Lastman called in the army to clear snow from the streets.

Andrea_Horwath 2

Could Andrea form a government?

Doug Ford has has shown that he is not up to the job that has to be done.  There isn’t all that much in the way of leadership on the opposition benches to replace the current government and one can’t see any of the Cabinet members itching to be Premier.

Later this week there will be a funeral for a 13 year old girl who died despite her father using CPR to get oxygen into her young lungs.

Nothing in the way of condolences from the Office of the Premier.

These tragedies have to stop.

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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A new approach to budget setting gets revealed at Councillor's ward meeting

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The week was a media bonanza for ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns.

Lisa Kearns

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

On Wednesday she handled a two hour webcast on what is known now as Fairview LP, the gigantic development that will rise on the 8.5 acre property to the east of the Burlington GO station; on Thursday she held a ward meeting in which she jammed in everything she could possibly tell you about what she is achieving at city hall.

There was one item of significant interest in the city hall recap – that was what appears to be a new and very welcome approach to creating budgets.

Kearns first explained that the 4.14% increase on the city portion of your tax bill was really necessary – that can be argued at some future date.

Kearns also explained how hard council had worked to get a budget in place before the end of March.

The Finance department prefers to get a budget in place before the end of a calendar year but Covid19 has screwed up everything everyone is trying to get done.

wervbg

The practice in the past was to invite the public to “review” the budget that had already been decided upon. It was community engagement at its worst – getting public input before city departments did their work would be classic community engagement.

The plan, if we heard to ward Councillor correctly, was to start budget thinking in June and ask the public what they would like to see before having the various departments submit their first cut on a budget.

The Gazette has been advocating this for years – maybe, just maybe, they will ask the public how they would like to see their money spent.

Done properly this could be very effective.

Time will tell.

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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A health crisis and a confidence issue - how much can the public handle ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are a lot of people very unhappy with the Premier.

Brown and Williams

Dr. Adelstein Brown, Chair of the Science Table , keeps a safe distance from Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Members of the Science table who advise the Chief Medical Officer of the province who then advises the Premier are talking about resigning.

They don’t think the Premier understands the gravity of the Covid19 situation and how close we are to being out of control.

Leader of the provincial Liberals want the Premier to resign – Stephen Del Duca said: ““Doug Ford is the worst Premier in Ontario history at a time when leadership matters the most. He should resign now before he makes things any worse. If he does, I will be the first to commend him, because it takes real guts to get out of the way when he’s screwed up this badly. But he won’t. Because he only cares about himself and his special friends.”

That’s just politics – Del Duca has yet to win a seat to even sit in the Legislature.k

It is becoming very clear that this government cannot seem to get ahead of the crisis. Paid sick leave for those people who have the crummy jobs, live with large families, often in congested space, work for a bit more than the minimum wage and having to use public transit doesn’t seem to be something the province is prepared to do.

Ford Doug with graph Apr 16

Premier Ford uses data provided by the Science Table as a prop during a media event – but doesn’t follow the recommendations that came with the data.

Money can’t be the issue – the Premier keeps saying “whatever it takes”. It takes taking care of the people who work in the hospitals who are approaching burn out, the single parent who works in the supermarket and now has to figure out how she is going to care for her children with schools closed.

The decision to give police the authority to stop people at random and have them justify why they are out of their homes was a stretch when the public was informed – then at least 30 police forces in the province declare they aren’t going to use the authority – the province backs off.

There is a health crisis that is barely under control.

There is a confidence problem as well.

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Ontario Now Accepting Public Feedback to Strengthen Municipal Codes of Conduct

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario government has launched a 90-day consultation to obtain feedback on how to strengthen municipal codes of conduct. With the support of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the province is working to better ensure that municipalities, councillors and heads of council maintain a safe and respectful workplace.

Link to the survey is HERE

Jill Dunlop, the Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues is holding round tables with a variety of municipal stakeholders on how to strengthen accountability measures for members.

“Our government has been absolutely clear that we will not tolerate workplace harassment or discrimination of any kind,” said Associate Minister Dunlop. “It’s critical that everyone knows there are accountability measures in place for members who violate municipal codes of conduct. Our consultation will help determine what changes, if any, are required to ensure everyone can feel safe and respected in the workplace.”

The government is also collecting feedback on AMO’s recommendations for holding municipal councillors accountable, including increased financial penalties, suspension for certain violations, removal from office in certain circumstances, and better training and standards for integrity commissioners. This feedback is critical to ensuring effective accountability measures are put in place for members of council who violate their municipal code of conduct.

City council on innauguration Dec 3rd - 2018

It’s critical that everyone knows there are accountability measures in place for members who violate municipal codes of conduct.

“Municipal councils are looking for new tools and new measures to address modern challenges in local government,” said AMO President Graydon Smith. “Where there are serious code of conduct violations, municipal councils need the authority to take actions that are measured, appropriate and effective.”

Comments for the consultation are welcome through the online survey by July 15, 2021. Anyone can participate in the online survey to provide feedback. Municipalities are also encouraged to provide official feedback through the online survey. This is another step the Ontario government is taking to hold members who violate codes of conduct accountable for creating unsafe work environments.

“I encourage every Ontarian to participate in this process and share their thoughts and comments on how to bring effective accountability to municipal governments,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We must ensure that the right tools are available and that above all people feel safe and supported.”

The role of the Integrity Commissioners municipalities hire will be given a close look with the potential for much needed training.

Burlington had difficulty getting strong relevant codes of conduct in place.  The two Goldring Council’s were at times content with what they add or were quarreling amongst each other on what they could live with in terms of a Code of Conduct.

There came a point where the then city manager had to get council to adopt the model the province had created and was prepared to impose on Councils that did have a code in place.

 

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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.

covid-19-vaccination-1500-991-2

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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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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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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