One of those top level medical guys used the word 'precarious' to describe the Covid19 situation in Ontario

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It isn’t the best of news.

Two COVID-19 outbreaks at the Joseph Brant hospital.

Climbing numbers within the city and additional deaths.

PHU Nov 27

Data at the close of November 27th.

Shops, supermarkets and hardware stores are pretty busy. I really wish the supermarket I go to would limit the number of people allowed in the store at the same time. Yes it slows things down but it keeps everyone safer.

The future availability of a vaccine doesn’t look all that promising. The predictions are that in Canada we will not see the bulk of the population completely vaccinated until December of 2021.

You can bet that the politicians at the federal and provincial levels will be deemed to be front line workers.  The people working in the hospitals have to be first.

Can we keep on going the way we have had to for another full year? There are some that can’t keep away from their favourite watering hole for more than a couple of weeks.

Canada doesn’t appear to have the manufacturing capacity to make the stuff and bottle it.

Flu shot line up

We had long line-ups for the annual flu shot. It will be much different with the vaccine is available.

We have manufacturing capacity for run of the mill annual flu shots – the vaccine for COVID-19 is a much more complex product requiring equipment we just don’t have.

Worrying for sure.

While going through the Saturday papers I read that the word “precarious” was used by Dr. David Williams to describe the situation we are in – not very reassuring.

And have you noticed that the top people at the federal level are beginning to equivocate somewhat ? Where are they when you really need them?

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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Very credible citizen points to some sloppy prevention practices at Jo Brant.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

We received a comment recently from a reader that is very disturbing.

We have chosen not to identify the woman but can verify that she is very credible.

Here is what she had to say:

“I had an appointment last week at a nearby medical center. When I arrived, I was told to call the number posted on the door and wait in my car until someone came to find me.

“Once I was escorted inside, my mask was checked, my temperature was taken and I was led to the doctor’s office.  In contrast today, I went to Joseph Brant for a scheduled procedure.

“Entering through the north doors, I found people wandering in and out randomly. The question check was quick, no instructions were given as far as hand sanitizer and I was left to wander the hallways to find the location of the unit I was to visit.

“In my opinion, the hospital must do a better job of screening those who are required to visit this facility in these difficult times.”

The Joseph Brant Hospital has a regrettable history of sloppy prevention practices.  We thought the lesson had been learned.  Time for the hospital Board members to ask some hard and direct questions, and for the Medical Officer of health to visit and underline what this pandemic requires of the medical community.

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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'You would be forgiven if you did not know what was going on'

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

On a CBC radio program earlier today Melissa Lastman, a strategist with Enterprise Canada said:  She added later that many people feel “Nobody is telling us why”.

We are getting a lot in the way of numbers – nothing comforting in any of them.

1487 new cases in Ontario
538 for Toronto
88 active cases in Halton – 16 deaths in the Region.

Tiered Regional approachAnd we are now in a “red” code which the Mayor seems to be comfortable with as she struggles to breath some life into the hospitality sector.

She is pushing a big stone up a hill.

The virus is in the community – that is a fact. How far it gets to go is up to us.

We have a Premier who is loath to shut things down – it isn’t in the way he thinks or acts. He is a business person – the doors don’t get closed.

At a Standing Committee Council was focused on getting a little closer to normal and beginning to open up a little. There were some really good ideas and the mood of council was upbeat.

Then the move into a Red Control Zone.  Council and Staff didn’t seem to be fully aware of just what the numbers were really telling us.

ppe

The province today announced significant changes in the way PPE is sourced.

There is a bigger picture and a bigger responsibility that no one seems to fully understand or prepared to do all that much about.
At Council next week they will decide if the second round of $125,000 funding for PPE is to go forward.

There is now a very vigorous debate within the medical community. The province appears to be prepared with new infections just as long as there aren’t too many.

There is a new group of medical professionals who urge that a 0 growth rate be put in place and that we shut down as much as possible until that level is reached.

We need to do more to get this virus under control is the sentiment that is being heard.

long termcare 29 dead

A reported 29 deaths at this Long Term Care residence

No one at the political level is prepared to say that Christmas will be different – just how much is the big question.

The Canadian Medical Association has said that “we are very close to a tipping point”. This is a voice that needs to be heard.

Something that has to be said as well: We should be ashamed of what we have let happen in the long term care homes.

There is a report of one home in which 80% of the residents are infected.

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How did Council and City Administration miss the Regional Health data?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

City Council has a cycle of meetings for each month.

They hold Standing Committee meetings at which there is usually vigorous debate on Staff Reports.

Then a Council meeting at which the results of the debate get approved (or not approved) which results in a bylaw that governs what we can and can’t do.

Sheila Jones - in group

While supported by good staff – these are the brains and executive capacity that keep the Emergency Coordinating Group ahead of major problems.

We are currently in a mode of government where the real power is in the hands of the Emergency Control Group. (Council is involved, heavily involved, but the ECG does have the power to call the shots.)

The Emergency Control Group was the result of a decision made by the province that required every municipality to create an emergency control group.

Each month Council gets a “Service Re-design” report in which the ECG sets out program changes and modifications.

On Thursday Council heard a report from the Parks and Recreation Department on the Community Winter 2021 Opportunities for Recreation Services.

In the Executive Summary of the report, Staff said “…there is still a degree of uncertainty regarding the spread of COVID-19…”.

Tim-Commisso-finger-up-hard-eyesThere was no comment from the City Manager on just what that “degree of uncertainty” was; there was mention of the costs involved in the proposals that were put forward.

There were ideas and proposals for Outdoor Skating,  Holiday Skates, Holiday Activation, and Winter Activation all with numbers attached setting out what it would cost and require in the way of staffing resources.

The Parks and Recreation people were asked to get more solid numbers on the costs. I suspect the Parks and Recreation people were a little taken aback at just how keen council seemed to be with most of their ideas.

That was Thursday.

On Friday the Province had taken a harder look at the numbers and moved all of Halton into a Red Zone, effective Monday (why the delay?) with a clear threat for a tough lock down later in the week.

It seemed as if Burlington City Council and the senior city administration people and the provincial leadership were singing from different hymn books.

City Manager Tim Commisso has some very smart people working with him – he frequently refers to his lead person on just what the province is doing and keeping him up to date on what is coming out of the Regional Public Health office saying that he couldn’t do his job without that person.

So here we were with Burlington sailing ahead with what sounded like good plan for giving the public things to do – the Santa traveling about the city on a fire truck was particularly neat –an innovative way to make up for the cancellation of the Santa Claus parade.

I couldn’t reconcile what Burlington was setting out to do with what the Province did on Friday.

I decided to look at the Regional Public Health data – something I now wish I had done much earlier.

Gazette resources are limited and I just didn’t keep a close eye on the data.

It was a shocker – there is a link below to the piece we published earlier today on what we learned.

The rolling average for the Region is 50 new infections each day with a positivity rate of 5: that is not a sustainable number.  The hospital cannot manage those levels.

The concern is this: Did the city manager not know about the Regional data? Was that information not passed along to him?

Council in memory

No mention of the Regional Health data from this bunch on Thursday

Did members of Council stop looking at the Regional data? Not one of them made any mention of what the Region was telling anyone who took the time to visit their site.

Don’t expect anyone to say much about the eyes being taken off the ball – but hopefully we can expect a different tone at the meeting of City Council on the 23rd.

We could be in a total lock down by then.

Related news story

Regional data

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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Members of Council have found a way to stiff people who want to address them

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We wrote last week asking where have all the good delegators gone – those men and women who pay attention to what is taking place at city council and then make the time to put their thoughts and observations on paper and speak to Council.

We wondered aloud if the issue was the limitations put in place by Covid19 or was there something else?

The something else is a change in the way the Clerk’s office handles requests for delegations.

You have to let the Clerk know that you wish to delegate – which isn’t unreasonable; the Clerk has to know how many delegations there are going to be in order to get a sense as to just how long a meeting might last.

What is new is the requirement that a delegate submit a copy of the delegation before they are told they can actually delegate.

The Chair of the meeting explains that this is done so that members of Council can think about what they are going to hear and be able to ask questions of the delegation.

On those occasions when there are no questions from council, the Chair of the meeting will tell the delegate that there point was so clear there was no reason for any questions.

Jim Young standing

Jim Young

That is so slick as to be just a little sickening.

It is the open sharing of ideas and the willingness to not only listen but to hear what is being said that keep a society stable.

Jim Young, a frequent delegator in the past,  put it so well when he told council during a delegation: “the power they have was given to them by the electorate “in trust” and that they were expected to use the power they were given wisely.”

Council seems to have tired of listening to the people that elected them.

Related article.
When was the last time …

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

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When was the last time you heard a good delegation?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Where have all the good ones gone?

Where are the dozen or so people who could be relied upon to delegate responsibly, to keep the members of Council on their toes?

Where is Gary Scobie, where is Tom Muir, where is Greg Woodruff, Blair Smith, Jim Young, Roland Tanner and Hunter Lawson?

Jim Young 2

Jim Young

Roland Tanner

Roland Tanner

Scobie 3

Gary Scobie

Hunter Lawson

Lawson Hunter

Dee Dee Davies  always spoke in a measured deliberate tone abd had that ability to pause when she felt she wasn’t being listened to.

These are the people who did their homework and had the courage of their convictions to stand before council and speak on behalf of their communities.

Some say that people are going through burn-out.

Some say that the people who were always available to speak no longer believe that they were heard, worse they don’t believe they are being heard now.

Is the awkwardness of delegating under the conditions that the pandemic imposes what is keeping them away from Cit Hall?

Do delegators find they don’t feel there is any real connection with the members of council when they are speaking ?

Council chamber - new look

There is more than enough room for the members of Council to attend in person. Staff would have to take part virtually.

Could this council find a way to have at least some of the Councillors in the Council Chamber? There is more than enough room in the Chamber for at least half of the Council members be in place with the delegator at the podium.

The Halton District School Board has 4 trustees in the room.

What we aren’t seeing is any effort to make the process of citizens speaking to the elected

When a delegator has finished there is, frequently, all too frequently, a statement read by the Chair that there were no questions because the delegator made their point very clear.

Balderdash – the Chair just blew the delegator off.

What City Council is doing now is not healthy for the democracy we are all so proud of – it actually stinks.

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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Will Halton be moved back to Stage 2 this week?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is it time for a painful reality check?

Are we paying attention to the COVID-19 numbers?

1042 new cases identified in Ontario – highest number ever and the colder weather that will keep us inside more often has yet to really start.

Region graph Oct 25

We are in the beginning of a second wave – it was expected. How long will it last?

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna penned a letter to the Chief Medical Officer for the province urging him not to put Halton back into Stage 2. York, Peel and Toronto were moved into Stage 2 earlier in the month when their numbers kept climbing.

With Peel in Stage 2 there are reports of people from those communities driving into Halton for dinner at our local restaurants.

A tough question: Are restaurants essential?

More than 15 schools in Halton have reported infections – not huge numbers but infections nevertheless.

A Burlington MacDonald’s reported an infection; a very popular Oakville supermarket reported an infection.

Is it time to think in terms of mothballing the hospitality sector?

These are tough decisions that have to be made.

McKenna has asked the Provincial Medical Officer to hold off – isn’t that a decision that is made by the Halton Medical Officer of Health?  In her letter McKenna said: “In June, when we began to emerge from the lockdown, the advice given by our medical experts was to wait two weeks (the incubation period), before lifting any restrictions. When taken together with our decreasing case counts, there is no evidence to suggest that moving Halton to a modified Phase 2 will have any meaningful impact on reducing case counts. One thing that is certain, is that many people and businesses can not financially withstand another shutdown.”

Noteworthy is the fact that neither Oakville Mayor Rob Burton nor Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette signed the letter – perhaps they were unavailable?

Burlington is spending very large sums of money to protect the people who work at city hall. The majority are still working from their homes and for the most part doing a good job.

The economy is vitally important – is a healthy population not just as important?

Do we really have to get out for a beer and mix with people? Can we not buckle down, find within us the personal discipline and do what is in our best interests and see ourselves through what is a crisis that has the potential to rip us apart as a society?

What will we do if a third of the schools are shut down for a couple of weeks at a time? What happens when the number of classroom teachers who become infected are in the hundreds?

Is this being alarmist?

That 1042 number of infections reported on Sunday by the province was a fact.

The Premier will be sweating this one out when it is the public that needs to do the sweating. The people from Toronto and Mississauga who travel to Burlington and Oakville for an evening out have to learn to stay within their own communities and spend time with the people who are in their immediate circle.

This virus may be very hard to beat and we may have to wait until there is a vaccine – but in the meantime we can limit its growth by limiting what we do.

Do your best to not pick up the infection from someone else and do your best to not pass it along if you do get it.

In the meantime we wait for the numbers from the province Monday morning and wait to hear what the Halton Regional Medical Officer of Health has to say.

Her job just got a lot harder.

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Mayor skirts the offer of quarry land being turned into park land - no political upside in thisfor her or the ward Councillor.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has a regular television show on the Cogeco cable network.

Cogeco provides the free time as one of the conditions attached to their license.

Late in September the Mayor and Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan took part in a virtual conversation with Curt Benson, the Regional planner about the Nelson Aggregate application for new licenses to continue open pit mining for aggregate needed for the concrete used in construction for everything from high rise towers to sidewalks in the city.

MMW + Nisan + Benson on Cogeco

Mayor Meed Ward, Councillor Rory Nisan (lower right) and Regional Planner Curt Benson on the Cogeco cablecast.

There is considerable opposition to the license applications from people who live in the rural part of the city.

The process and level of public involvement is complex and involves five levels of government and agencies.

The Mayor had Benson take her through the process that would be used. It is complex and time consuming and will take at least two years before they are anywhere near a decision. A municipal election will have taken place before the issue is ready for a decision.

Burlington’s city council is one of the bodies that makes a decision but it is the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) that has the clout. If they decide the granting of licenses is not in the public interest and does not meet with the NEC mandate there will be no license.

The provincial Ministry is the body that will actually issue the license.

At this point in time the focus is ongoing through the thousands of pages of documents that were submitted with the application. It will take a couple of years for this to be completed.

Quarry time line

There are a lot of hoops for the application to get through before this gets to a decision point.

During the half hour broadcast Meed Ward and Nisan talked about community involvement, protection of the environment and the interests of the citizens – especially those who live in rural Burlington. Ward 3 covers the North West part of the city and while the population is not all that large – they certainly have clout.

Meed Ward and Nisan want to be able to say that they have done their best to save rural Burlington. They are half way through their first term of office and can be expected to shift the shape of the way they see things and move into election mode.

As elected officials they are not in place to focus on just the immediate and short term interests but the longer term interests of the city.

And that is where Meed Ward and Nisan failed miserably.

Neither made any mention of the offer to turn the mined out properties over to the city to be used as a public park.

Meed Ward did say that the area did have a park – she was referring to the Cedar Springs Golf Club – private and expensive.

Much mention was made of the community group that is opposed to future development of the open pit mines – little mention of the citizen’s group that would like to see a park created out of the land once the aggregate is mined out.

Spencer Smith Park and the Beachway are packed on the weekends when the weather is good.

The Conservation Authority is now charging a fee to enter their parks and limiting the amount of time you can spend there.

Lowville Park, a destination for large family gatherings, now meters the number of vehicles that can be in the park and limits the amount of time people can stay – which puts a real damper on family groups that often spend the best part of a day in what is a very nice park.

If there are limits now on where people can enjoy the outdoors what will Burlington do when they have added 15,000 to 20,000 people to its population by the time the quarry is ready to be closed?

The long range look is part of a city Councillor’s job – a Mayor is expected to take a long term view and to prepare the public for what is coming and to make the best of an opportunity.

The public didn’t see much of that when the Mayor dragged the Regional Planner into the fray.

Benson was pretty good at keeping his distance by being the professional he is – he was not about to be co-opted by a Mayor.

Nelson Aggregates may be talking to the wrong level of government. The Conservation Authority operates the Mt Nemo property which is a couple of football field lengths away from the quarry. They would be more suited to operating any park that might be developed in the future.

More on this in the weeks ahead.

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

Related new stories:

Citizens organize to oppose quarry expansion

Nelson Aggregates releases plan to turn quarry into parkland

 

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Halfway through this term of office Council may want to reflect on what they have managed to get done and if this is really the job for those new to the job.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

 October 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For most of us it’s a Friday, another weekend where there are more restrictions than things to do.

But for most of the members of city council Friday matters. Marianne Meed Ward was elected Mayor, Angelo Bentivegna, Kelvin Galbraith, Rory Nisan, Lisa Kearns and Shawna Stolte were elected to council for the first time.

Full council

Paul Sharman was re-elected – he wasn’t certain that he was going to pull it off – but he did.

Mayor Meed Ward

Minutes before the Chain of Office was placed on her shoulders in December of 2018

Meed Ward has certainly made her mark during this first two years as Mayor. She has and is moving the needle.

The Gazette will report in depth on how each of the newly elected have done now that they are at the half way point and their minds get turned to re-election or deciding that being a council member isn’t everything they thought it was going to be.

It is certainly a harder job than any of the five new members thought it was going to be.

Some have grown into the job, for others it’s clear they shouldn’t be there.

There have been some surprises – the job is clearly a calling for them.

COVID-19 hasn’t helped these people adjust to the job.  There is still a little trying to figure out just what they can do and what they can’t do as members of Council when a lot of the decision making is in the hands of the City Manager and senior staff.

This Friday the five newbies deserve congratulations – they have worked hard; they have struggled and they are learning.
Mayor Meed Ward is, for the most part, doing what she said she would do. There are parts of her promise she may not be able to keep but it won’t be for lack of trying.

Like the five newbies she is adjusting to a role she has thirsted for, fought for and won.

Much to her chagrin she has found that some of her colleagues are not looking to her for the leadership she would like to provide. In the municipal world the Mayor is just one vote with a bully pulpit along with some bling.

The money is decent, more than most of the members of this council have ever earned in their lives.

The newbies have power; they can make things happen.

Power often does funny things to people; it tends to eat into whatever humility they had before they took the oath.

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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Protestors are going to face new 'tools' to keep them away from demonstrating

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Last June Regan Russell was walking in front of a transport truck that was loaded with hogs that were being taken into the Fearmans slaughter house.  The truck had stopped until protesters finished walking front of it; Regan Russell wasn’t able to get out of the way in time and was run over by the truck.  She died at the scene.

Pig protester killed

Regan Russell

The slaughter house is part of a group of slaughter houses across the country that are owned by Sofina Foods.

Regan was one of a number of demonstrators who gather regularly at the Harvester Road/Appleby Line intersection to, as they put it, “bear witness to what is taking place” and to attempt to water the hogs.

They see what they are doing as a peaceful demonstration. They are indeed slowing down the entry of the truck into the meat processing plant.

Regan was run over by the truck that apparently didn’t see her. She was slight in stature and the front of the truck was very high.

The Regional Police investigated and came to the conclusion that a 28-year-old male from the Municipality of North Perth was to be charged with Careless Driving Causing Death under the Highway Traffic Act. The police reported that ‘there were no grounds to indicate this was an intentional act, or that a criminal offence had been committed.”

pigs - watered - girls

The protesters usually arrive as a group waiting for the transport truck to enter the slaughterhouse.

Animal Rights protesters have been demonstrating at that location for a number of years.

The meat processing plant, in operation since the 1960’s, has no intention of moving and currently employs 1000 people.

The provincial government recently passed legislation that would give the municipalities that have demonstrator problems “tools” to handle these situations.

The argument is that the issue is really one of public safety – they want the demonstrators out of the way.

Strong legislation certainly helps do that.

pigs being watered

Protestors water hogs when the transport has to stop for a traffic light at the entrance to the slaughterhouse.

At the Monday City Council meeting a resolution was put forward and passed unanimously.

The Resolution reads:

Whereas the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 recognizes the unique risks that can result from interfering with livestock transport including creating unsafe work conditions as well as causing stress to animals and introducing diseases or contaminating our food supply; and

Whereas Sections 6(1), 7, 14(1) 3 and 15(1) of the Act came into effect on September 2, 2020 and prohibit the stopping, hindering, obstructing or otherwise interfering with a motor vehicle transporting farm animals; and

Whereas protest groups, including minor children, present outside the Sofina pork plant in Burlington continue to reach inside livestock trailers to touch, film and give water to the pigs creating an unsafe situation where they may be injured by the animals or trailer; and

Whereas the recent tragic loss of the life of a protester in Burlington underscores the urgent need to ensure the safety of all involved; and

Whereas Section 6(2) of the Act states that no person shall interfere or interact with a farm animal being transported by a motor vehicle without the prior consent of the driver of the motor vehicle;

Therefore be it resolved that the City of Burlington pass a resolution urging the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to immediately proclaim Section 6(2) of the Act in order to provide a legal basis to prevent the unsafe practice of protestors having contact with livestock trailers and animals; and

That this resolution be forwarded to Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Region of Halton.

Those in favour of the motion didn’t have a word to say about the right of people to protest.

pigs - single

Hog suffering from heat while being transported.

Councillor Sharman sounded more like a shill for Sofina Foods (they are in his ward) rather than a person responsible for the wider community. The puffball questions he asked the three delegations were embarrassing.

Which begs the question: Why not find a way to allow the Animal Rights people to demonstrate, maybe even water the hogs while the trucks wait at the gate for 10 minutes.

After which the demonstrators would be required to move on.

The Conservation Authority closes off a portion of Kind Road for weeks in the spring so that the Jefferson Salamander can cross the road and mate in the wetlands.

He isn't exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

He isn’t exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment.

In 2008 a provincial tribunal found that the loss of a habitat for the Jefferson Salamander in north Burlington was reason enough not to give the Nelson Aggregate an extension to their license.

We have a proud history of protecting endangered species.  Admittedly hogs are not endangered but the right of people to voice their views in a public place is as important as making huge allowances for an endangered species.

That history was sullied this morning by city council.

Related news story:

Protester run over by truck transporting pigs to slaughter.

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

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The provincial government is going to have to take very strong measures to lower the rate of new infection. Another lock-down will be very painful

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

‘Did someone at Queen’s Park teach the Premier and his colleagues that song about “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”?

Money is flying out of the government coffers.

A million here; ten million there – yesterday it was $1 billion.

All for good reasons – this time it was to Expand COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing.

That we have to test so much is really the problem. We now know what we have to do to keep COVID-19 under control – create a safe bubble and stay in it.

The Prime Minister put it in language we could all understand. “There will be no Thanksgiving Dinners with extended family – but if we do the right things we have a shot at Christmas”.

No mask 2

A Canadian city with a diverse population.

The Ontario government is building on the largest provincial testing initiative in Canada by providing $1.07 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and case and contact management.

The government is also immediately investing $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province’s long-term care homes, retirement homes, and schools. These investments are part of the province’s comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19.

To date, Ontario has maintained adherence to public health measures and established a strong foundation for testing and case and contact management by:

covid virus

Smaller than microscopic – this virus needs you to become its home so that it can replicate itself.

• Establishing a provincial COVID-19 lab network with capacity for more than 40,000 daily tests;
• Establishing over 150 assessment centres;
• Testing long-term care home residents and staff in addition to the ongoing testing of staff and homes in outbreak;
• Providing up to 1,700 more contact tracers to support public health units in contact follow-ups through an agreement with the federal government;
• Launching a new, custom-built case and contact management digital system to improve data quality and timeliness and eliminate the use of the multiple tools being used across the province and the integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) for COVID-19;
• Launching COVID Alert, the country’s made-in-Ontario exposure notification app; and
• Launching a robust public awareness campaign to educate the public on how to keep them and their families safe, including targeted campaigns to young Ontarians.

Many people have heard all this before – it is the ones who haven’t heard, or don’t want to hear, that are the problem.

No masks - less than 8 days ago.

Less than 8 days ago in a Canadian city – near a university campus

Massive minimum fines is a start – something to catch their attention.

The rest of us can remind those who choose not to wear masks to start now.

The Regional Police have a program that allows the driver of a car who spots someone driving erratically to dial 911.

Amazing how many of these dangerous drivers get pulled over very quickly and charged with a Highway Traffic Offence.

The Provincial Medical Officer of Health has the power to take action along those lines.

Do it – use the billion dollars to swear in constables with the power to take people into custody if they are not wearing a mask.

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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Did the federal and provincial funding kill the hope for an electric transit fleet ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 10th 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When funding is given to a municipality it rarely comes as a surprise.

More often than not the city and the funding body work with the municipality work out what is available and what it can be used on.

The Member or in Burlington’s case the Members of Parliament are heavily involved.

MMW at transit funding Sept 8

Mayor Meed Ward leading the announcement of new transit equipment. She had them dancing about the funding before they all went home.

Thus the decision to lay millions of dollars on the city is something that was worked out between the federal government, the province and the city. The Region had nothing to do with this one.

The question that popped into my mind was: What does this mean to any electrification of the Burlington Transit fleet.

Every bit of professional advice Director of Transit Sue Connor got was that it was not possible to operate a fleet that was electric AND diesel. Not with the money that is available to Burlington transit. Everything about electric is different.

You have to go all in if you are going electric.

The charging stations needed to ensure that the bus batteries don’t fail are a million dollars each. It looked as if Burlington was going to need two of them.

Also on the table was the use of nitrogen as the propellant. There is a very strong argument for nitrogen over electricity.

Sue Connor at mike

Director of Transit Sue Connor

Sue Connor brought in a speaker who took council through the nitrogen argument explaining that Canada was at that time a bit of a leader in applying the use of nitrogen to transit.

Adding 12 diesel buses to the fleet does help Connor in meeting the demand that she hopes will come back.

Just before the covid shutdown took place transit was reporting double digit rider increases.

How quickly that ridership returns is an unknown at this point.

The 12 new 40 foot buses and the five conventional buses to replace vehicles in the fleet now are to be acquired over a three year period.

Perhaps Connors can hold getting those buses and make them electric when she does purchase.

Connor, AVK and Gould - bus money

Director of Transit Sue Connor looks on while the political set announce that she is going to get 17 new buses over a three year time frame. None were to be electric – does this kill her dream of an all electric transit fleet?

When Sue Connor was brought on board she made big changes at transit. There are people on staff there now who moved from other city departments to work at transit.

Connors has made the necessary changes; prior to her arrival there was some pretty incompetent leadership.

At one point a former Director of Transit had suggested that the terminal on John Street be closed and that bus tickets be bought at city hall (which closed at 4:30) or at local convenience stores around the city.

Problem was none of the convenience stores wanted to be bothered.

A lot of really stupid decisions were made before Connors took the wheel. Let’s hope that the senior levels of government that made the funds available have not killed the idea of an electric fleet for Burlington Transit.

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.

What makes politicians dance: a funding announcement.  Watch them do it.

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Mayor does have Registry of who she meets with but there isn't the kind of transparency expected from Meed Ward.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council ended a long work day on Thursday – starting at 9:30 am and adjourning at just after 10 pm that night.

They started out as a Standing Committee, rolled it over into a Meeting of Council and passed a number of significant bylaws.

There was an interesting debate on plans to create a Registry within which members of Council would let the public know who they have been meeting with.

Politicians at every level don’t particularly like Registry’s. Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns has had one in place for some time.  She brought forward a Motion asking that there be a Registry that included every member of Council

During the debate Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said she has had a Register since the day she became Mayor.

Meed Ward as a delegation

Transparency was Meed Ward’s operative word before she was even elected to office.

That was a surprise to me – it was something I had never heard of before. With Mayor Meed Ward everything she does that is new and different is mentioned often. She sees and positions herself as a politician who is going to do things differently. She used the words accountability and transparency every time she delegated at Council as a citizen.

The Gazette reached out to the Mayor’s Communication staffer. Got a message that he was working from home.  Our message to the Communications Staffer was:

At the Standing Committee last night the Mayor said that she keeps a record of everyone she meets with along with minutes of the meeting and that that information is publicly available.

Can you tell me where that information is located?

Thank you

Shortly after we got an email from Suzanne Vukosavljevic, Manager of Communications, City Manager’s Office.  We did not reach out to Vukosavljevic – she appears to have been advised by the Mayor’s Communications Staffer that the Gazette was asking questions.

She responded:

Wearing chain of office

Marianne Meed Ward after being sworn in as Mayor of Burlington

The Mayor’s Office maintains a record of meetings with developers, with minutes. They are not online but, as stated, available to the public upon request and can forward.

We responded asking for a link to the information.

Vukosavljevic replied:

Good afternoon Pepper,

The Mayor’s Office maintains a record of meetings with developers, with minutes. If there is interest in a particular meeting, we can forward those minutes. The only meetings that have taken place this year have been:

  • Clearview – Adam Peaker, June 29
  • Millcroft Golf Course – Frank Bon, Feb 6

Thanks, Suzanne

That is not quite good enough.  Where are the records?  Written up in a little black book?   Are they in a place where they can be accessed by people in the Mayor’s Office and changed?

During the debate the Mayor said the information was public and that it was online.

That isn’t the case.  It certainly isn’t transparent.

Politicians are judged by what they do – not what they say.

We applaud the Mayor recording her meetings and keeping minutes.

We would like to see the complete record of every meeting along with the minutes.  The public has a right to see everything not just what City Hall functionaries decide to make available.

In a conversation with a former Mayor of the City he said that anyone who wants to do something in the City meets with the Mayor.  “It all comes through the Mayor’s office” he said.

Of course it does and the Gazette wants a mayor who preaches accountability and transparency to practice what she preaches.

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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Joseph Brant hospital has strengths and weaknesses - solid financial management - some slippage on the patient care culture

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Hospitals – vital and expensive.

Burlington has had an, at times, awkward relationship to the Joseph Brant Hospital.

It took a long time to get the provincial funding for the upgrade of the older parts of the building and the construction of the new wing.

Former Mayor Rick Goldring got a bit of a shock when he was told by the province that the city was going to have to come up with a large part of the construction cost.

brant-hospital-rendering-aerial

A special tax levy was required to pay for the city’s portion of the hospital – which taxpayers willingly paid.

The amount was so big that the city had to impose a special tax levy to raise the funds – and the public willingly paid that additional tax levy.

The city then found a way to roll that tax levy over into a source of funds for other needed service. The public wasn’t as happy with that little tax trick.

One would have thought the city council at the time would have at least asked – truth be told they really didn’t even come out and tell the taxpayers what they were doing – they just did it.

The Gazette was also the news source that dug out many of the facts relating to the c-dificile tragedy at the hospital that resulted in the deaths of at least 80 people.

Yesterday we published a piece on the experience of two people at different area hospitals: The Joseph Brant, where a woman had an appointment and how she was treated. Then in the same piece, about a male who had an appointment at the St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton.

Two very different experiences.

We expect a strong reaction to that article and be accused of picking on the Joseph Brant Hospital. What we were doing was pointing out the different cultural base from which each hospital works.

St. Joseph’s was formed by the Sisters of St. Joseph: nuns who brought a different touch to patient needs.

Burlington’s  Joseph Brant doesn’t have that deep historical cultural commitment that is needed. That culture can be grown – the leadership at the hospital has to show by example how patient care can be done differently.

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital CEO is about to tell us what he gets paid annually. He didn't volunteer this information.

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital CEO Eric Vandewall.

The Joseph Brant has done some very fine medicine. Eric Vandewall ensured that the renovation and new build was done close to perfect.

Hospital modular

It was a high end field hospital that went up very quickly – hasn’t been used – yet.

He made the brave decision to spend $2 million on a facility that could be used for any over flow of COVID-19 patients.

The space has not had to be used – yet.

Some will suggest that was $2 million wasted. It wasn’t wasted. Vandewall did what he believed was a prudent decision and we don’t think he was wrong.

Hospital support sign

Telling us how they feel about their hospital.

Burlington has thousands of people who willingly put up a sign on their lawn declaring how much they love their hospital. Nothing wrong with solid civic pride.

What we would like to see is the evolution of a different culture that has people experiencing the care and concern that one person experienced at St. Joseph’s in Hamilton and not the experience a woman had at Joseph Brant.

It can be done but it won’t be done until someone at a very senior level makes the change a personal mission.

Related news stories:

The cute tax trick with the hospital tax levy.

Two different patient experiences

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Stage 3 does open things up - it also calls for more in the way of individual responsibility.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward residing at a virtual meeting of city council.

As part of a media release Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “I know the Stage 3 reopening is welcomed news to many of our businesses and I encourage you to open only when you’re ready and have taken measures to protect the health and safety of staff and customers.

I urge both residents and businesses to be cautious and diligent, and do everything possible to safeguard each other and especially members of our community with more vulnerable immune systems, as more services reopen.

I urge residents to continue following all health directives, including physical distancing, wearing masks if you can inside public spaces, using hand-sanitizer and frequently washing hands, as well as staying home when sick. These measures will be especially critical in larger gatherings.”

Drewlo complex

Large apartment complexes like this require a little extra vigilance to stop the spread of infections.

The Mayor has reached out to the organizations that represent apartment building owners and condominium corporations asking them to adhere to the mandatory mask bylaw,

Those buildings with a large number of occupants could become “pinch points” for infections.

The move to Stage 3 does open things up – it also puts more of the responsibility on the individual to ensure that the really simple preventative measures are followed.

It is your health and safety that is at risk and you are the person that can put it at risk.

This is not over yet.

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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Senior Liberal Party officials should begin planning for a leadership convention - Justin's time is up

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Margaret Trudeau

Margaret Trudeau at a WE Charity event.

The Prime Minister’s mother, Margaret Trudeau, gets paid $250,000 to speak at WE Charity; his brother is also paid, much less, to speak at WE events.

The federal government awarded a contract to the WE Charity to distribute federal funds to students who perform volunteer work during the current pandemic crisis.

They were to distribute $900 million of federal money and earn a fee of $19.5 million to manage the program.

The organization had no experience in distributing funds nor did they have the staff in place to administer a program of that size.
And the Prime Minister does not recuse himself from the Cabinet meeting that approved the contract and votes for it as well.

And a day later the Globe and Mail cannot get any comment from a single Cabinet Minister or their spokes people?

And this is Ok?

Trudeau Sophie and K brothers

Brothers Marc and Craig Kielburger on the extreme left and right with Sophie Gregoire and Prime Minister Trudeau at a WE event.

This is not the time to dump the current Prime Minister but this is the time for leaders within the Liberal Party to begin thinking when a leadership convention can take place to find someone who know what a conflict of interest is.

Karina Gould - fingers apart

Is the Prime Minister just this much offside on the WE Charity mess? Karina Gould, Burlington MP and member of the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister said that he did not recuse himself and he voted for the contract to WE.   Traditionally Cabinet votes are secret – but the Prime Minister did break that rule.  Perhaps Burlington MP Karina Gould will reveal how she voted at Cabinet.

We fully expect Burlington MP and member of the Trudeau Cabinet Karina Gould to be wearing a face mask when she is out and about the city. She should see it as a mask to cover the shame she should be experiencing.

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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To mask or not to mask - Mayor isn't going to lead on this issue. The downside on this one is something we will all pay for.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On the matter of face masks that many commercial establishments require you to wear when you enter the premises; that you are now required to wear if you are using public transit in Burlington – the Mayor is being disingenuous.

“Many of you have reached out to ask about a mandatory mask order” she explains in her Newsletter.

The Mayor does not do press conferences where she can be asked questions by media. She instead uses social media and Newsletters plus Statements she makes as Mayor – all of which she controls – no accountability – just what she wants to say.

MMW new post - masks

Mayor Meed Ward’s A Better Burlington Newsletter

“I understand the concerns people have raised and the desire for a mandatory order. We are all committed to doing everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“In all our decisions, we are guided by the advice of our Medical Officer of Health (MOH).

“The communities around us who have issued a municipal or regional bylaw (Toronto and Peel) did so on the advice of their Medical Officer of Health (MOH) , or by direction of their MOH under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (Wellington/Dufferin/Guelph and Kingston).

“Our Halton MOH has not, to date, used her authority under Sect. 22 to issue a mandatory mask order. However, there are ongoing discussions with her, including in the last few days, about using the bylaw tool. With her support we could consider that as an added measure.

This is all just poppycock – the Mayor does not need a blessing from the MOH to issue an order that masks are required when the science is very clear.  Burlington is indeed fortunate in that we don’t have that many infections.  That isn’t because we are behaving so well – we are a bit of a social backwater in that the people who do go into Toronto aren’t taking public transit – they are driving.

We don’t have that many long term care homes which is where most of the infections are taking place

It is clear that the COVID19 disease is spread from person to person by a virus that enters the body through the nose and the mouth. And the virus that is entering your body comes from another person – not the grass we walk on.

Meed ward looking askance

Marianne Meed Ward – listening.

But the Mayor knows all this.

She just doesn’t want to issue the necessary order. Is she waiting for the MOH to do so – so that she, the Mayor, doesn’t have to do something that is going to annoy people?

Great leadership!

The Mayor adds

“The good news is the voluntary actions of our citizens have, to date, led to the lowest infection rates in our Region and beyond. This has remained true, even as there has been travel to and from other communities for work or other reasons since the beginning of the pandemic, and even after we moved into Stage 2 reopening two weeks ago. Our infection rates have remained among the lowest in the province — that is something to be proud of.

“We have been able to achieve through voluntary compliance what others around us are trying to achieve with a mandatory mask order.

Speaking of that voluntary compliance – does that explain the scores of people wading and swimming in Lake Ontario on Canada Day?

Beach with canal bride

Not much evidence of six feet of social distancing. These people either do not know we are in the midst of a pandemic or they don’t believe what they are being told.

“Of course, we must remain vigilant, especially as we contemplate moving into Stage 3 reopening. I remain open to further dialogue with our community, elected leaders and our MOH about the potential for a bylaw mandating masks as an added tool to keep our community safe.”

Sophistry Your Worship – pure sophistry and you know better.

Leadership is hard sometimes. The job of Mayor is not to strive to be continually liked – it is to be continually responsible and to do the right thing.

Note that we have never seen the Mayor wear a faced mask. Because she doesn’t believe in the science? President Trump doesn’t believe in the science either.  “Please continue to share your thoughts with me, as we consider this potential tool.adds the MAyor

Now here is the funny part in the Newsletter:

“In the meantime, we will lead by example. We have required masks on public transit as of today (July 2), and are discussing whether masks will be required in our city facilities once they reopen. We will continue to encourage people to wear masks in indoor spaces where physical distancing is a challenge. Halton Region is embarking on a public education campaign to encourage mask wearing.”

Shawna and daughter

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte, on the right with one of her daughters,  wears a mask and carries several in her purse to hand out to others.

This isn’t the woman we saw stand before Council as a citizen demanding transparency and accountability.

This isn’t the woman who forced her colleagues to stand six times at one Council meeting forcing them to put their votes on the record.

Something happens to people when they have power and are in a position to make decision that may not be popular.  Do you make the tough decision and lose some of the admiration or do you make the tough decisions and stand by what you know is best for the community.

Masks are best for the community Your Worship: get one, wear one and ask your citizens to do what is best for all of us.

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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Police Chief issued strong statements when he learned of unacceptable police behaviour - his job is to now ensure that the reputation of the police force is upheld.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 22nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

wef

Halton Regional Chief of Police Stephen Tanner

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner is to be commended for his immediate and strong statement over some police behaviour that was captured on video by a citizen and shown on social media networks.

The video, show here, is disturbing

In his statement Chief Tanner said: “I can assure you that this matter will be dealt with appropriately and as swiftly as possible, and individual(s) disciplined accordingly.

“I am extremely concerned with what I have seen in this particular video, particularly the actions of all four officers who were present at the time of the incident.

Chief Tanner adds that a “criminal process is the presumption of innocence until there is a finding of guilt. This fact is the same for all citizens including members of a police service.”

Rightly so.

Police-HQ-flgs-flying-1-400x647

The reputation of the police force is in play. Is it a collection of thugs or a barrel with some bad apples?

Hopefully the police will announce that the three police officers who looked on and took no action are taken out of active police work and put behind desks where they can shuffle paper or assigned to police escort work transmitting people being held in custody and transported to court houses.

Chief Tanner’s strong statement will hopefully be followed by swift action.

The leadership of the Oakville detachment might be worth looking at more closely – good commanding officers know the men and women they lead.

The Police Services Act of Ontario is a complex document that allows for long delays if that is what is wanted while investigations take place.  Covid19 precautions can also be brought into play if that is the wish of the police administration.

At play here is the reputation of the hundreds of police officers who serve the public daily; they deserve to be supported by a Chief of Police who is steadfast in how he carries out the mandate he swore to uphold when he was sworn in.

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“Done properly and with true commitment, they (demonstrations) can conjure broad public support for long overdue change.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At what point do people being “politically correct” become the problem – getting in the way of what the issue is really all about ?

Black Lives Matter is not a new phrase. It was used by a Toronto Group a number of years ago when they sat down and closed a busy street to make a point.

Had they not done that they would have been ignored.

Canada has been a racist country since its founding.

Our treatment of the Aboriginal Community has been shameful. What we did during WW II to Japanese people who were born in this country was criminal.

Our Jewish friends were not spared either; a passenger ship was turned away from an Canadian port and ended up returning to Europe where many of the passengers were pushed into Nazi gas chambers.

We talk about how terrible all this is – but we don’t do much.

Can you imagine a community in this country not having potable water?

Can you imagine children in this country not being able to get the education they deserve?

The Tragically Hips’ Gord Downie publicly called out the Prime Minister at his last concert to extract a promise that the Aboriginal people would be taken care of –  hasn’t happened yet has it?.

BLM 3 JAmes and Brant

A large, well behaved crowd made their point – Black Lives Matter

Five thousand people marched on city hall earlier this month; when they got there they lay down in the street shouting the slogans that are now very “au courant”

A second protest demonstration was announced for last Saturday – it didn’t take place. There was no word from the people behind the planned event that it would not take place.

When a protect group or a group advocating for a change in policy is created and begins to have a public profile transparency and accountability applies to them. There is a level of responsibility that has to be met.

The Gazette reported on that “non-event” in Civic Square last Saturday.

Many took exception to the headline we used and let their politically correct sensitives get bruised.

No offence was intended – anyone who reads the Gazette knows where we stand on these issues.

One writer took issue with the spelling errors – he was correct on that one and we appreciate being called to task.

He was also bothered by the few words that were used explain an inflammatory situation. There were links to three previous articles as part of the story.

BLM march June

They marched along New Street to the Civic Square

Social media buzzed for almost half a day on the coverage we gave.

Gary Mason, a regular columnist for the Globe and Mail wrote recently saying “…media, generally, have helped train a light on on issues   – systemic racism and police brutality.” In the same column he comments on the nature of the relationship between media and those doing the demonstrating. He speaks to protest movements saying: “If you decide to close a major traffic corridor to draw attention to your issue, whatever it may be,  you’d better be prepared to be covered and and asked questions by the media.  It’s only fair that you spend some time explaining and justifying your actions.  Under no circumstances should demonstrators think they can stage events that effect the broader public and be exempt from scrutiny.

“It doesn’t work that way.

“Done properly and with true commitment, they can conjure broad public support for long overdue change. They can prompt some of us to look deeper within ourselves and see the world in a new way.

“The media have been, and will continue to be, an important conduit between those demanding change and those who need to be educated about it.”

Amen!

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 story.

One Burlington stand with BLM

 

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Emergency Order extended for another 13 days.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is getting a little confusing.

Emergency Orders are being extended for very short periods of time.

The most recent date is June 9th – a mere 12 days away.

We don’t seem to be getting clear reasons other than the “government continuing to protect the health and safety of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak.” And that “Public health and safety remain top priorities.”

We got that – we know that.

Could we have more in the way of detailed information on the why of it all ?  Why are an additional 13 days needed?  What difference will it make ?   The people of Ontario are law abiding people – they are also capable of asking sensible, responsible questions.

Trinity Bellwoods PArk

The six foot rule didn’t seem to mean anything to this crowd. will we see a spike in infection 10 days from now. And if we don’t – what does that tell us?

Have we got testing under control?  Is the province looking for specific details to come out of the testing that will guide their next decision?

Premier with deputy May 19th

Day after day the Premier and a few of his Ministers parade before the TV cameras. Good communications practice – the message has not become more focused. The public has trusted the Premier – the Premier now needs to trust the public.

The Premier put himself and a couple of his Ministers before the television cameras every day.  He will do a rant on the “greedy landlords”; he will rant about the irresponsible behaviour of those who gathered in Trinity Bellwoods Park last weekend.

He broke the rules on Mother’s Day and made that trip to his cottage.

There is a bit of discomfort building up – the public isn’t buying it all they way they were two weeks ago.

The provincial government is “extending all emergency orders in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.”

That is a very power piece of legislation and so far, for the most part, the public has gone along with their political leadership.

I have this sense that their grip on things isn’t as firm as I’d like it to be.

“Current emergency orders include the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery.

“Additionally, there continues to be restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules remain in place for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters.

“We are extending these emergency orders to protect the health and safety of all individuals and families as we begin to gradually and safely reopen our province,” said Premier Doug Ford. “To build on the progress we have made to contain COVID-19, people should continue to follow these simple public health guidelines, practice physical distancing, wear a mask when it is a challenge to physical distance, and wash their hands regularly.

The following emergency orders have been extended until June 9, 2020:

• Closure of Establishments
• Prohibiting Organized Public Events, Certain Gatherings
• Work Deployment Measures for Health Care Workers
• Drinking Water Systems and Sewage Works
• Electronic Service
• Work Deployment Measures in Long -Term Care Homes
• Closure of Places of Non-Essential Businesses
• Traffic Management
• Streamlining Requirements for Long-Term Care Homes
• Prohibition on Certain Persons Charging Unconscionable Prices for Necessary Goods
• Closure of Outdoor Recreational Amenities
• Enforcement of Orders
• Work Deployment Measures for Boards of Health
• Work Deployment Measures in Retirement Homes
• Access to COVID-19 Status Information by Specified Persons
• Service Agencies Providing Services and Supports to Adults with Developmental Disabilities
• Pickup and Delivery of Cannabis
• Signatures in Wills and Powers of Attorney
• Use of Force and Firearms in Policing Services
• Child Care Fees
• Agreements Between Health Service Providers and Retirement Homes
• Temporary Health or Residential Facilities
• Closure of Public Lands for Recreational Camping
• Work Deployment Measures for Service Agencies Providing Violence Against Women Residential Services and Crisis Line Services
• Limiting Work to a Single Long-Term Care Home
• Work Deployment Measures for District Social Services Administration Boards
• Deployment of Employees of Service Provider Organizations
• Work Deployment Measures for Municipalities
• Limiting Work to a Single Retirement Home
• Work Deployment Measures for Mental Health and Addictions Agencies
• Congregate Care Settings
• Access to Personal Health Information by Means of the Electronic Health Record
• Certain Persons Enabled to Issue Medical Certificates of Death
• Hospital Credentialing Processes
• Education Sector
• Management of Long-term Care Homes in Outbreak

Doug Ford - habd to head

The strain on the Premier is becoming evident.

The following orders have also been extended:

• Electricity Price for RPP Consumers (until May 31, 2020)
• Global Adjustment for Market Participants and Consumers (until June 1, 2020)

That’s a lot of orders.

We are all partners in this – help us feel more confident about what you are doing Premier.

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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