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

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How did this get so screwed up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elections will take place in the not too distant future.

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

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

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

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

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

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

Meed ward looking askance

Some Liberals thought she was too divisive.

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

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

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

Stoltr - Kearns - Nisan at bus money

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

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

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

Bit of cat and mouse going on.

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

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

Doug Ford finger pointing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Woman’s Day 2021

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

Sorry

It is a starting point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

pink-high-heels-men

That is a painful experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What were the individual Councillor contributions to the 2021 budget ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

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

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

Burlington has a seven member Council.

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

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

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

Nisan Lowville Feb 7 BEST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shana H&S Mar 3

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

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

Saying:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is there a provincial election in the wind?

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

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

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

doug-ford-1

Doug Ford – can he be re-elected?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrea finger on cheek

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

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

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

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

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

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

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

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

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

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

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

Justin Trudeau handiing out a coat tp Syrians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goulds in House defending ranked

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Sneader McKinsey

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

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

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

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

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

Chrystia Freeland and PM

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

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

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

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

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

She’s running the country now as it is.

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

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Molotov Cocktail thrown at house fails to explode - Police arrested suspect earlier this week

Crime 100By Staff

February 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

molotive cocktail

They were once a working too for the radical protesters. Always illegal.

Arson is not something that you read about very often; molotov cocktails went out of style in the sixties.

In December of 2020, the Halton Regional Police Service responded to a report of an attempted deployment of an incendiary device targeting an address on Bonney Meadow Road.

The investigation at the scene revealed a suspect attempted to utilize a breakable glass bottle containing a flammable substance, commonly referred to a ‘Molotov Cocktail’, however was unsuccessful and ultimately fled the area.

On February 8, 2021, the suspect, Sem Golov (24) of Brampton, was arrested and charged with the following:

• Arson
• Breach of Weapons Prohibition Order (2 counts)

The investigation revealed this was a targeted incident.

Anyone with information in regards to any of these occurrences is asked to contact Detective Barry Malciw, Oakville Criminal Investigation Bureau, 905-825-4747 extension 2218.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See Something? Hear Something? Know Something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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What if there is a spiteful, vengeful streak?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper

February 9th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A regular eagle eyed reader who follows the Mayor on Twitter brought this to our attention.

MMW tweet re flag

He points out that the flag used in the tweet is not the correct version

He then adds that we cannot use his name saying “I don’t want to be in her bad books.” adding that “errors are errors.”

The unfortunate part of this is that there are people who feel they will be in the “bad books” of an elected official if they call them out on something.  This is really unhealthy for a democratic society.

What, though, if we have a Mayor who is spiteful with a vengeful streak?

What do you do then?

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 Public Health Bylaw - isn't that a Regional issue ? Might it be related to air pollution?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was one of those walk-on items; a piece of city business that wasn’t on the agenda.

It came from the Mayor who did not appear to have consulted with her peers before the meeting.

There was a certain awkward silence, which is hard to pick up on when the meeting is virtual and you can’t always see all the players at the same time.

It was short; set out as a Staff Direction it read:

Direct the Executive Director of Legal Services to undertake a detailed review of the feasibility of enacting a city wide health protection bylaw to be funded from the Contingency Reserve fund and report back by Q2 of 2021.

My first reaction was – what is this all about? Don’t we have a Public Health Unit at the Region that focuses on public Health?

The motion wasn’t actually ready – Council took a few minutes break while the short paragraph was typed up and put up on the screen.

Kelven Gal Jan 14 a

Kelven Galbraith, Chair of a Standing Committee waiting for the Mayor to complete the writing of a Staff Direction

Kelvin Galbraith who was chair of the meeting asked if there were any questions. Rory Nisan, who seems to be the person that automatically supports whatever the mayor puts forward said he was very interested to see where this could go.

Angelo Bentivegna was next with his standard “two quick questions” approach. He wanted to know more especially about the “detailed” part and just how much of the Contingency Reserve fund was going to be used. He asked “how far are we going to get into this” and added that at this point he could not support the Staff Direction.

Council had just come out of a two hour CLOSED session on the Meridian Aldershot Quarry and were scheduled to do a hard stop at noon – with that hour just minutes away.
They needed to take a lunch break after which City Manager Tim Commisso spoke saying he felt that Bentivegna deserved a more detailed answer to his concerns.

Commisso pointed out that the Legal Services budget was not public. He seemed to be aware of what it was the Mayor wanted to bring forward and pointed out that Council can do whatever it wants to do.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman said he had concerns over the scope of what was before Council. He wanted to know who will do the actual work and noted that there is a Public Health Unit at the Region adding that he was not clear on just what was being done.

Nancy Shea Nicol

Nancy Shea Nicol, Executive Director Legal Services

At that point the Executive Director of Legal Services spoke saying she could put together a Terms of Reference document.

Commisso then said that this was something that was dealt with in the CLOSED session. Which CLOSED session?

Tom Commisso

City Manager Tim Commisso

Commisso was referring to the CLOSED session that had taken place earlier in the day relating to the Meridian Aldershot Quarry where Air Quality issues were part of the discussion.

We were aware that the city had included outside legal counsel with a background in environmental matters.

Commisso said there would be a specific lead role and that “Nancy will provide executive guidance that would provide a “consolidated approach”.

A muddy picture was getting muddier.

Councillor Stolte then spoke saying she wanted more information. She would later vote to move the matter to Council later in the month at which time the City Solicitor would have more information for them.

Councillor Kearns wanted to see a more honed in approach to whatever it was the Mayor wanted done. Reference was made to where this fit into the V2F document (Vision to Focus) by Kearns but not before she could say that she thought the city was lucky to have Nancy Shea Nicol on Staff (she is the Executive Director of Legal Services) because she was “an amazing person.”

Kearns wanted to know if this was an internal look at public health; did it include audio, smells – adding that the wording was obtuse and needed fine tuning and could be the equivalent to opening a Pandora’s box.

She wanted the matter deferred to Council.

mmw Jan 14 a

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Meed Ward then spoke saying that “we are constrained” about what we can say and that the public will not know what we are talking about and what can be shared with the public.

Withholding information is the beginning of a slippery slope that leads to deliberately hiding information from the public.

What the Mayor did not share when she spoke was that previously the Executive Director of Legal Services  had been asked to find lawyers with environmental experience.

Those lawyers are what we at the Gazette believe were speaking to Council in that CLOSED session.

In the fullness of time all the facts will come out. What we don’t want to hear is that the approach the Mayor has taken was what was best for the city.

Weeks before the 2018 election took place we said that of the three candidates running for the Office of Mayor Meed Ward was the only real choice.

And she is certainly in the process of making her mark on the city. She is also creating a profile of being bold and courageous and doing good things.

What is also being left is the view that she always knows best – this is not a view that is shared by most of her colleagues. The collaboration and a collective will of Council is not as evident as the Mayor would like it to be.

A Gazette reader recently made a comment that this Mayor wants everyone to know that She Is in Charge – democracies don’t work that way Your Worship.

What we will learn in the fullness of time is that Council will try and pass a city wide health protection bylaw that will relate to the quality of the air and what corporations will not be able to do when their product or the work they do releases pollutants into the environment.

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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Regional Chair will attend the Police Services Board Closed session meeting on Thursday.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Clarification:

Mayor Burton resigned from the Halton Police Services Board on January 11, 2021. The Police
Services Act,  provides that the Head of Council is to be one of the members of
the Board unless he chooses not to serve. Regional Chair, Gary Carr has decided to assume the
vacant position. This is effective immediately upon swearing- in and does not require confirmation
by Council. The term is for the remainder of this term of Council, to expire November 14, 2022 or
when a successor is appointed.

There is probably going to be a change in the way the police services for the Region are going to be managed and led.

The Police Services Board has held 15 hours of meetings so far to determine what, if anything, they want to do with the current police chief who was out the country with the permission of Oakville Mayor Rob Burton who was the Chair of the Police Services Board.

Burton Rob - glancingf left

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton

Burton resigned as the Chair last week but is still a member of the Board.

There has been considerable public reaction to the decision the Chief made in asking for permission and then actually leaving the jurisdiction when the province was under a lock down.

Burton realized he was in a difficult position and had to resign as Chair.  His political future is something that we will look at later.

What to do with the Chief.  There are clearly some differences within the Board –  fire him? – how, when he had permission.

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner talks with Sgt Davies, the man who heads up the accident reconstruction unit. The two of them would really like to see fewer accidents.

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner talks with Sgt Davies, the man who heads up the accident reconstruction unit.

One of the options is to find a way to settle with the Chief – that will turn out to be an expensive option and one that will be hidden from the public.  There will be a statement about thanking the Chief for his service and wishing him well in the future.

If the Board decides to fire the Chief he will most certainly sue for wrongful dismissal.  That law suit will be public and that’s something the Region does not want.

The rank and file police are not happy people.  Their Chief was not there for them when they needed him.

Clayton Gillis, the president of the Halton Regional Police Association, said Saturday he has heard claims made by a whistle blower on Twitter. He said he doesn’t engage in the social media platform.

“From my conversation with the Chief and the statement he released yesterday, I know that he has described his travels as ‘personal business matters’ and a ‘property matter.’ I don’t know any other details or if the rumours … are accurate,” he said.

“We will be seeking a more transparent, fulsome answer to why he travelled beyond what’s been given as an answer thus far,” Gillis added.

The Police Services Board will be holding another meeting on Thursday (January 21st) that will like the previous two, in a CLOSED session.

What will be different is that Halton Region Chair Gary Carr will be attending.  His decision to become involved suggests that a decision will be made.

Don’t expect whatever decision is made to be made public on Thursday.

The decision made will be released to the public at a meeting that is open to the public on January 28th.  There will be a Special meeting on Thursday the 21st.  It will have one item on the agenda – electing a Chair and a Vice Chair for the 2101 term.  There may be other items discussed but they will be done in a Closed session.

There are two options before the Police Services Board.  Fire the chief or accept his resignation.  If the Board fires Tanner it will result in a legal claim for a lot of money.  Any claim would be made public and be messy  – the optics will not be good.

The best in the way of optics is to carve out a deal with Tanner to pay him to just go away.  The Board will not make whatever payment there might be public.  It will get buried somewhere in the Regional Budget.

Tanner was a good police Chief; he was one of the police officers who earned a degree in psychology at the University of Guelph.  He was a strong supporter of promoting women and putting them in positions where they could gain the experience to become leaders.

When he returned to Halton from Kingston where he was Chief it was a homecoming event.  He was given his old police badge, returning to a community that was both fond of and proud of the man,

He made the wrong decision and a series of circumstances may result in a career coming to an end.  This is the hard part of being transparent and accountable.

As for Burton – his future prospects are cloudy at best.  The result of the 2018 election for the office of Mayor are set out below.

The people who run election campaigns will tell you that Burton can be beaten.

The first column is the election day vote, the second is the advance vote, the third is the total and the fourth is the percentage

Rob Burton 19,236 3,682 22,918 49.64 %
Julia Hanna 16,565 2,866 19,431 42.09 %
John McLaughlin 3,345 471 3,816 8.27 %

Rob Burton could be toast as Mayor of Oakville as 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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Political reputations and police careers badly damaged: resignations are required but be polite and call them retirements

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Police Services Board will meet on Friday in a closed session.

The former Chair of the Board, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, gave up the Chair but is thought to still be a member of the Board.

Jeff Knoll, an Oakville Councillor and a member of the Police Services Board will serve as acting Chair during a meeting that will have legal counsel on hand to advise.

On December 21st, Premier Ford announced a lock-down to take effect Dec 26.

On December 22nd, Police Chief Stephen Tanner asked the then Chair Rob Burton for permission to leave the jurisdiction to travel to Florida on a private matter.

Burton gave permission and said at the time that he didn’t have a problem with the Chief being away.

On December 26th, Chief Tanner left for the United States.

On December 26th, the province invoked a shut down for 28 days.

There has been considerable demand for the Chief to be fired.

He asked for and was given permission to travel.

Can he be fired?

In order to lead a leader has to have the confidence and respect of the people  being led.

The rank and file of the Halton Police Service are said to be “outraged”.

Driving their feelings is the fact that the Chief was not on hand to meet with the family of a Detective Constable who died while on an observation assignment in Burlington.

One of the Deputy Chiefs met with the officer’s family.

Burton Rob - glancingf left

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton

Chief of Police Steve Tanner explains that Social Media is not the same as a 911 call

Chief of Police Steve Tanner

It is a messy situation created when a foolish decision was made by Burton.

Can the mess be cleaned up?

The retirement of the Chief and the former Chair will resolve the problems.

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 is our core values that will get us through 2021 - do we know what those values are?

opinionred 100x100By Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

graphic 2021

It is going to be a tough year.

It will be a long haul.

There is of course much hope but there is also a lot to think about.

The way we have failed to take care of those seniors who live in long term care facilities is shameful. The lady in my life said this morning that it must be terrible for an older person who “has all their marbles” to sit in their room realizing that there aren’t enough people to really take care of them.

Lurking behind this is the fact that demographically there is a huge wave of people who will find themselves in long term care facilities who should be asking if they are going to be taken care of.

The look of their “sunset years” has been painted out for them – it is not a pretty picture.

The vaccines are now being produced and people are being vaccinated – why there isn’t more assurance as to when the needle will be put in their arm is disturbing.

The eve of the New Year has traditionally been a time to celebrate and look forward to great things ahead.

This year our thoughts may well be asking how we are going to get through what we are experiencing and perhaps looking more closely at our core values.

Reading that the Ontario Minister of Finance slipped out of the country to enjoy a vacation and basically lied to the public about where he was, and the Premier seems to have covered for him, points out just how big the divide is between the haves and the have-nots.

Rod Phillips is the Minister who is responsible for the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee – the one that is going to get the provincial economy back on track; his ‘follows his own rules’ attitude doesn’t leave us with a surge of confidence.

There are more questions than answers at this point. The challenge for us is to find the core values that make us the people we are and then to ensure that they prevail.

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Framework will guide vaccine prioritization - THIS is not what the public needs to hear

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 31st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

I am sure the ethical frame work, released by the province yesterday,  within which the distribution of vaccines will be distributed is important.

Did the public not expect that there would be one in place? This is not what the public wanted  to know.  People want to know when they will be getting their vaccinations.

long term care - meal

Are the long term care residents first?

People understand that the people working the front lines in the hospitals and those in long term care facilities are high, very high on the list.

I would not want to be the one who had to choose which came first.

It is after those two groups that the vast majority of the public fall into.

When does the 90 year old in good heath get vaccinated?

And where will she go for that vaccination?

We read that there is a shortage of nurses who will do the inoculation and that the people making the decisions are calling in retired nurses and students.

We are just doing that NOW?  That is work that should have been done months ago.

There is no rocket science in this.  We have population data and we know how many people can be vaccinated in an hour.  Do the math.

Halton has a very good student immunization rate - 93% of students are immunized.

Where are the young people on the schedule ?

The public understands that it takes time to set things up – the bureaucrats and the medical community have had the time to get this work  – March, April, May, June and July – when they knew there was going to be a second wave, and when it was becoming clear that a vaccine was going to be available.

Being told that the Ontario government has released an Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution which was developed in partnership with the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force to guide further vaccine prioritization and distribution across the province doesn’t quite cut it in terms of keeping a public informed.

long term care workers

Where are the front line workers on the inoculation schedule; the people at risk working for not much more than the minimum wage.

“This ethical framework is a clear demonstration of our commitment to Ontarians to be transparent,” said General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. “We know that people are eager to get vaccinated and this framework helps ensure that we do it in an ethical, effective and compassionate way.”

“Phase One of Ontario’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan began on December 15, 2020 at two hospital sites, and increased to 17 additional sites the following week, with the delivery of 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses. With Health Canada’s recent approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the province can expect about 50,000 additional doses before the end of the month.”

Couple of questions:  How many phases are there going to be and what are the dimensions of each phase ?

The people leading the program to get us all vaccinated as quickly as possible are not generating much in the way of public confidence.

We can do better than this. And we should be doing better than this.

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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One nut case and one provincial cabinet minister who seem to think that the rules don't apply to them - great notes to end the year on

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

An Ontario politician who has already been charged once for disobeying COVID-19 rules is blatantly breaking them again.

MPP Randy Hillier posted a photo on Twitter Sunday showing himself and 14 other people at what appears to be a holiday celebration. He used the hashtag “#nomorelockdowns” to accompany the photo, which shows disregard for Ontario’s public health guidelines.

In another tweet, he confirmed the photo was taken Dec. 27.

Ontario has been in a province wide lockdown since Dec. 26, put in place to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and ease the strain on the province’s health-care system.

Announcing the lockdown last week, Premier Doug Ford said it was a necessary measure to save hospitals from becoming overwhelmed in upcoming weeks. Currently, no indoor social gatherings are allowed, except for those with members of the same household.

Hillier Randy MPP

Randy Hillier, MPP for an Eastern Ontario riding had been expelled from the Tory Caucus, is still pushing back over the Covid rules.

Ontarians found guilty of hosting illegal private gatherings can face a fine ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, according to the Reopening Ontario Act.

In November, Hillier said on Twitter he was charged for his role organizing a large gathering at Queen’s Park in Toronto. He has opposed lockdowns and masks and has promoted a debunked pandemic conspiracy theory in the Ontario legislature.

Ford previously called the MPP “totally irresponsible” for the protest. The premier said he’s “never figured out” anti-maskers who believe COVID-19 is a hoax, saying, “this is a very serious virus we’re seeing … around the world, around our country.”

People on Twitter have called for Hillier to resign.

This comes after more than 40 local physicians signed an open letter to Hillier in December, fact-checking his incorrect claims about COVID-19.

“You are spreading misinformation that minimizes the seriousness of COVID-19 to support your personal anti- lockdown and anti-mask beliefs,” Dr. Jeanette Dietrich wrote.

“I urge the public to ignore you and heed the advice of trained health care professionals. Continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, and keep everyone safe.”

The above was picked up from Huffington Post Canada.

St Barts

Described as The Island for Billionaires St. Barts was the holiday destination for the province’s Minister of Finance while the rest of Ontario is under a month long lock down.

It gets worse. We learned today that the Ontario Minister of Finance, Rob Phillips,  had slipped out of the country early in December to the Caribbean island of St. Barts to celebrate the holidays in the sunny, sunny south.

Premier Ford, said he was not aware the Minister had left the county and ordered him to return immediately.

ROD pHILLIPS

Rod Phillips, was once the Minister of the Environment and moved into Finance. He was at one time the Chair of Post Media. His is going to have to get some media help to get out the mess he is in now.

The Minister did leave for his holiday, which had been planned sometime before the lock down was put in place.

While out of the country his staff was sending out tweets which implied that he was still in the country serving the public.

An example of really sick hypocrisy.

Durham Region, where Phillips’ constituency is located, entered into the “control” phase of Ontario’s tiered lockdown system in late November. Public health guidance for this phase says trips outside of the home “should only be for essential reasons.”

Tweets from Phillips’ official Twitter account reminded Ontarians on Christmas Eve to thank the “special heroes” making sacrifices during the pandemic.

“As we all make sacrifices this #Christmas, remember that some of our fellow citizens won’t even be home for Christmas dinner over Zoom,” the tweet reads.

“Thousands of front line heroes will be at work, looking out for us.”

stocks -

There was a time when Stocks were set up in public places where offenders against public morality formerly sat imprisoned, with their legs held fast beneath a heavy wooden yoke. It was never outlawed – just fell out of favour. Might be time to bring it back

Several photos of Phillips on public visits to small businesses and fundraisers were taken before his trip and were tweeted while he was abroad.

The only thing we haven’t heard from the Minister are the words “Let them eat cake”.

The Premier should think in terms of firing Phillips.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds of young people have had to cancel wedding plans because of the 10 person limit lock down requirement for gatherings of people.

With hundreds dying from Covid there are literally thousands who will not be able to attend funerals for the departed.

What I am looking for is a word stronger than ‘hypocrisy’. Putting Phillips in stocks on the lawn outside the Legislature might be an appropriate punishment.

The bigger damage is to the concept of public service which used to be something that was seen as noble. The giving of one’s self to serve the public, which is certainly what those thousands of hospital workers who care for those with COVID-19 are doing, gets trashed by people like Phillips.

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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Gazette reader claims governments no longer have the moral authority to tax

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

We are all in this together.

Is there a member of council who hasn’t used this phrase?

Perhaps Councillor Sharman.

A Gazette reader sent in a comment which we have edited for length and clarity.

His concern was what a tax increase next budget might look like. His view was that a 0% increase was necessary because there are hundreds, perhaps thousands who are not working because their jobs disappeared or because they have been infected with the Covid19 virus.

“ I think we have entered a new reality. The costs of this pandemic have overwhelmingly and been shouldered by the private sector–layoffs, reduced wages, business closures and bankruptcies, increased private debt.
Governments and their employees have largely been sheltered from the worst economic impacts of this pandemic; even before the pandemic, public sector workers were enjoying higher wages, benefits, and pensions than their private sector counterparts. In this environment, governments have no moral authority to go to workers in the private sector and raise their taxes further depressing their standard of living in order to maintain the incomes and benefits of workers in the public sector.

“It is clearly time for governments of all stripes, including the current free spenders on Brant Street, to start reducing their spending …”.

What about a 10% pay cut for the members of Council – the savings would be put into a fund that would be available to those retailers in the city who are taking it in the ear,

The 10% would apply to just the salary – not the gold plated pension or the benefits.

When compared to the council members in the other three Halton municipalities Burlington Councillors have a very sweet deal.

A 10% piece of the base salary would amount to $5000 each.  We are talking about just the city salary – our Councillor are also Regional Councillors and the source of the other half of their $100,000 a year pay cheque.

Such a gesture might restore some of the moral authority our reader thinks this council no longer has.

Can this be done – it wouldn’t be easy but it could be done.  There was a time when Marianne Meed Ward didn’t think free parking was a benefit she could accept and said she would return the value of that benefit to the city.

Not certain if the Meed Ward followed through on that every year she was a Council member.

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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Mayor works with police on a personal security plan

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor said ” she has been in close contact with police and has a security plan.”

A little over-reaction perhaps?

The Gazette published an article yesterday about a group that announced it plans to do a citizen’s arrest as their way of protesting over the wearing of facial masks.

The group, Stand4THEE, created a web site, a Face Book page and an Instagram page.  Any nutcases can do the same thing.

The group did say in a note to the Gazette that a citizen arrest does not necessarily mean taking a person into custody. Their comment read: “It also should be noted that in order to exercise a citizen’s arrest, as per Bill C-26, the person being arrested does not need to be present.”

They might want to let the police know that.

Misguided? Most certainly. Perhaps we should have ignored them.

Was this important enough to call in the police? Does the Mayor think she is really at personal risk? Will we see a police officer in full SWAT level gear walking beside the Mayor for the next few days?

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

Mayor Meed Ward can usually be found at City Hall.

The mayor of Burlington says “she, and police, are taking precautions prior to a protest planned for Friday”, in which members of an anti-mask group claim they are attempting to place her under citizen’s arrest.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said she has been in close contact with police and has a security plan.

The CBC reports that the Mayor said: “I’ve taken appropriate measures to make sure that my safety is protected.”

She said police have told her there is “no reasonable grounds” for what the group is trying to do.

She said she supports people’s right to protest, and believes the group members will not attempt to use physical force based on their social media statements.

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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Majority of Canadians support a total shut down

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The leading edge of the second wave of Covid19 infections has hit.

2275 new cases in Ontario yesterday.

Hospitals advised to set aside 15% of their beds for Covid cases and we are still not in a total lock-down phase.

Doug Ford covid t shirt

Premier Doug Ford at one of his many media events.

The Premier of the province has just not been able to fully understand what it is he has to deal with.

His focus is on the pain the private sector will have to cope with were he to shut everything down.

He understands how the world of business works, the Tories see the world that way.

This is no longer about business – this is about survival and being responsible.

The Premier has said again and again he doesn’t want the damage from the virus to land on the backs of the hard working Canadians who have put everything they have into the businesses they operate.

There are thousands of people who have not survived the virus. They died.

There will be many commercial organizations that will not survive.

Those are hard facts we have to accept

A public opinion survey done by the Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies reports that majority of Canadians support a lock down; 65% of the respondents would like to see everything shut down except for the essentials – drinking a beer in a public place is not essential – if it is there are support groups that can help you.

The vaccine that everyone has been waiting for is now available. It will take some time to get it into the arms of everyone. We each have to wait until it is our turn to roll up our sleeves.

We will get through this.

In order to actually get through this – everything has to be shut down.

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 the students bring home with them - and what will they take back to school?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a couple of weeks the kids will be coming home for the holidays.

I know of at least one student who expects to be on the plane on the 21st arriving from the Maritimes where the virus spread has been pretty limited relative to the rest of the country.

Her brother will be coming home from an Ontario university west of Burlington.

Christmas breakGiven the rules these students will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Count them – December 21st + 14 days gets them to January 2nd or third.

What are the chances of that actually happening ? These are decent people in the process of becoming adults.

They come from good families with parents who are going to want them to do the right thing.

Checking in with friends, getting together for coffee because there is nowhere they are able to scoot off to for a drink is what you do when you are home from school.

This kind of getting caught up doesn’t get done on the telephone but it does get done.

Expecting the rules to be rigidly adhered to is a huge stretch; the outcome will be a rises in the number of infections both in every town in the province and in the communities to which these students return.

Something to think about.

virus data Dec 9

How much higher will that blue line go once the students return to the universities and colleges?

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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Netflix sends a notice to it's Canadian subscribers

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 2, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

OPINION

I got the notice and if you are a Netflix subscriber, I assume you got one as well.

netflix logoJust what did it mean? They were telling us that they have created a new corporate structure to deal with their Canadian clients. Would that be a defensive move to protect them from the Canadian tax system.

That’s my take – what do you think?

Here is what the Netflix notice said:

We wanted to let you know about some updates to Netflix. These won’t affect your experience—continue watching your shows and movies as usual.

On January 1, 2021, your Netflix contracting company will change to Netflix, Inc.‎. This update will be made automatically, with no interruption to your current membership.

We periodically update our legal terms. Please take a moment to read the current Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.

The notice raised my eyebrows but perhaps that is just  my core suspicion showing.

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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Have we reached the 'enough is enough' on the cannabis stores in the city?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

There are seven LCBO stores in Burlington.

An application for the 17th cannabis retail location has been received; 10 of the applications are operational, five are under review, two, plus the most recent, are out for community comment.

Municipalities were given the option to permit the setting up of retail cannabis stores or to take a pass and not permit cannabis retail locations.

Burlington chose to permit them: it was a 5-2 vote permitting, with Councillors Stolte and Bentivegna against.

The Mayor was a very strong supporter, at times sounding like an advocate.

The other four were inclined to go along.

The Town of  Oakville decided not to permit  cannabis stores.

Many take the view that the commercial locations will fail if there isn’t a customer base creating a demand.

There is certainly a demand for the product – but it isn’t from the people of Burlington.  The folks from Oakville drive over to patronize the Burlington locations.

I am not opposed to the sale of the product – it’s legal – let people buy it.  My concern is why does Burlington have to become the destination for people in communities that don’t have cannabis shops where they live?

We keep hearing the argument that there are those who need the product for medicinal purposes.

Is this what the people of Burlington believe reflects the values of their community?

Is there a point the city might not want to go beyond?

And can city council do anything to perhaps cap the number of locations?

We think it is a question that can and should be asked of City Council.

Are we at that enough is enough point?

Related news story:

Application for 17th cannabis store received by the provincial government.

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

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