Council members all a twitter over the tweets - the Red Queen is under fire

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 24th, 2021



The bubble burst yesterday.

The anger and resentment that has been building up for more than a year is finally very very public.

Three members of Council released a Joint statement on Wednesday setting out their displeasure with Mayor Meed Ward. A copy of that document (page 1) is set out below.

Page two of the Joint Statement

While the specific issue was the way the Mayor was over-riding the process and procedure she wanted to use to allow the painting of six Rainbow Cross walks across the city, it was also the straw that broke the camel’s back.

MMW infront of Rainbow at Lakeshore and Burlington

Has the Mayor made the Rainbow Crosswalks the hill she is prepared to die on?

The Mayor chose to send out a tweet early on Wednesday thanking three Councillors for their support and being less than collegial to the other three.

Councillors Bentivegna, Nisan and Galbraith were thanked for their support while Councillors Kearns, Stolte and Sharman were ignored leaving the impression that they were not true supporters of the LGBTQQIP2S+ community.

Support for the LGBTQQIP2S+ community is divided in Burlington.

The Halton District Catholic School Board decided not to permit the flying of the Pride flag outside their schools while the public school board permitted the flying of the flag.

While the issue of support for the  LGBTQQIP2S+ is important, very important, the Joint Statement isn’t really about the flags or Rainbow Crosswalks – it is some Councillors saying they have had enough of the mayor’s antics.

On the surface the Mayor is all kissy kissy, nice nice. Referred to as the Red Queen by her detractors Mayor Meed Ward has yet to find a way to build community without body checking the other members of Council.

For the most part she doesn’t treat the five new Council members as equals – they haven’t earned their spurs yet in the Mayor’s eyes; they haven’t gone through the eight hard years Marianne went through as she battled to bring about changes in the kind of growth that was taking place.

Many felt the small village feel that many loved about the downtown core was being lost. Meed Ward positioned herself at the person who could change that; the voters believed her and elected her as Mayor.

The five newer council members see things differently, while Councillor Sharman, who once filed nomination papers to run for Mayor, sits on the sidelines waiting for Meed Ward to slip to take a run for the Chain of Office.

Feelings are running high, ambitions are coming to the surface. There are at least two of the five newcomers who are harbouring and nurturing plans to seek the office of Mayor.

However it is not just political ambition behind the very public squabble. The newcomers have found their footing and no longer want to be treated as people going through a process of on-the-job training.

They resent the way the Mayor feels she can dip into the reserve funds at will; they are troubled with the need the Mayor seems to have to hog all the limelight.

They are fiscally conservative and realize they are staring at a possible 5% tax increase in an election year.

Many of those who follow local politics closely are beginning to realize that the Red Queen is not a team player, that there is a streak of revenge within the woman and a tendency to alienate people for all the wrong reasons.

Meed ward looking askance

Was the way the Mayor treated three members of her council a political misstep?

Is there a reckoning awaiting the Mayor? Time will tell; the summer is a lighter period of time for city hall.

Much more to think about on this matter. Stay tuned.

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.


Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

21 comments to Council members all a twitter over the Tweets – the Red Queen is under fire

  • EC

    When we were asked to vote where the next rainbow crossing should be located, I had no idea that six crossing would be eventually approved. $100K is a lot if money. Misleading to be sure, which will not be forgotten.

    • david barker

      EC, Maybe the popularity of the idea of rainbow crossings, evidenced by the huge response to a not widely publicized survey, changed the thought process from one to six crossings. Did that cross your mind ?

      Look, the Mayor simply recognized the three councilors who supported her position. Why would she, or anyone for that matter, thank someone who had opposed and voted against one’s position?

      Can anyone please point out where the Mayor put down or critized any of the three dissenting councilors?

      As the usual suspects here are looking for negatives where none exist, desparate to attack this Mayor at every turn. A mayor who to date has delivered on her election pledges.

      • Howard

        When you have 3 council members not supporting the LGBTQ rainbow crosswalks that suggests they are against PRIDE and all that comes with it. These 3 members had to put out a statement clarifying their position because the mayor did not communicate properly to its citizens. This is a highly charged time surrounding marginalized communities. Her statement can be seen as misleading and potentially cause backlash against these “non conforming” councilors. Having to peel back the onion further to see the true measure why they said no should not have been necessary. It was a poorly written communication by her and she has to own it. A clarification was warranted for all the reasons stated. As a “journalist” she should know better.

        • david barker

          Howard. The Mayor’s statement was very clear and concise. She thanked and named the three councilors who supported her motion. The Mayor did not name, mention or comment in any way on the other three councilors. Nor should she have done so.

          It is only you and others here who are reading inferences into her statement that may or may not have been in her mind. You, nor I, nor anyone else here can possibly know what was or was not in her mind when she made her statement. All we have is her statement. If she had thrown shade on the three councilors by explicitly commenting on them, then you and others could and likely might be right to attack her for that. But she did not.

          So please all stop taking inferences for which there is no factual support so as to suit your own particular bias.

        • Thank you Howard for bringing common sense to this debate. We suspect the majority of Burlingtonians do not want tax dollares at this time to be used for luxury rainbow crosswalks. Not because they are anti-LGBTQ but si mply because they do not think the evidence is in with regard to their value. If we have that much spare cash we all know there are much more demanding issues to spend them on.

          • david barker

            And what survey did you undertake to bring you to a position that you “suspect” the majority of Burlingtonians don’t want dollars spent on rainbow crossings. Personally, I don’t want the money spent that way. But I like you have no ability to judge the view of the majority. We do not the Mayor’s survey garnered a great response when taking into account how little promotion of the survey was conducted. Please do speak for your own views but not suggest that you speak for the majority. I fear on this we are in a very small minority.

  • Penny Hersh

    Sharon, we are in total agreement. If you notice this particular comment was made by Mr. Barker, I was simply quoting it.

  • Sharon

    Penny Hersh I think you should reword your comment that MMW is the elected leader of all of Burlington. I for one did not vote for her and I know many others that did not, I believe a Mayor should be care for all citizens in their city. MMW has shown many times while she was a Councillor and Mayor she does not, She is a BULLY and uses her past and present titles for her own benefit.

    • david barker

      Bunkum & Balderdash !

      For those not familiar with those terms – senseless writing & nonsense

  • You are right on Mike in every one of your statements, Barker being TRQ spin doctor if ever there was one.

  • James

    Finally. Finally she’s been called out for being what she is, a bully. She bully’s staff and weaker Councillors to get her way. And when she doesn’t get her way, look out! Why do you think so many municipal staff have left during her reign, only to be replaced by the weak-minded and easily moldable who don’t dare challenge the queen? Burlington today is all about what the Mayor wants, not what Council wants. It’s all about her, and always has been. She has a Trump-like mind-meld on her most devoted followers who can’t bring themselves to see the truth. A master manipulator and spin doctor. Meaningless virtue signaling and slanted press releases are no way to run a city. With both Stolte and Kearns coming into their own as Councillors (Sharman was already there), she’s feeling her grasp on control slipping. She’s no longer the mama bird. Sure she still has her lapdog Rory, but even Bentivegna and Galbraith are slowly starting to gain their stride. I’m pleased that others are finally starting to acknowledge what many have said right from the start. She is not good for Burlington.

    • Unfortunately the one who could have and should have stopped MMW December 9, 2018 chose not to and has become a major part of the major problem Burlingtoon now has which most including the Halton, Ontario and Fed govs are failing to acknowledge. Paul Sharman as chairman of the P&DC should have immediately stopped TRQ and Heather MacDonald (a great example of weak staff doing MMW will) were allowed to discuss a Halton Decision letter Dec 4, 2018 that was required by Planning Act to go to Council (56.7-60.0 webcast) knowing it was not on the agenda and then approved the minutes without any record of the discussion. That clearly implicates Sharman in TRQ’s plan to destroy the New Burlington OP any way she could. Instead of working to accomplish the modifications that needed to be made through legal channels. There is no record of Council discussing the Dec 4, 2018 document that is the first of three Crim. Code of Canada false documents and an approval process by Halton that never got out of the starting block which Burlington, Halton Legal reps fully understand but are hoping to continue to bluff there way through and thus avoid a huge class action suit the likes of which have never been seen.

  • Basil Birdie

    I’d like to know who the “Red Queen” is and I’d also like to know why Pepper chose to write this “opinion” in the first place. Unfortunately, I’ll never know because only a tragically illiterate artist could find any value in this writing, perhaps by drawing a caricature with all the strange and poorly formed lines Pepper might call a sentence. Not thanking the other councillors does not give any impression other than the factual one which is that they didn’t vote for the sidewalks. Pepper also makes it clear that he is a detractor of the Mayor Meed-Ward, something which I’m sure we will see seep into his purportedly “fact-based” pieces given his penchant for editorializing even the most mundane of subject matter. Hopefully the only reckoning the city sees in the near future is one on Pepper.

  • bonnie

    One only needs to read the posted comments, to realize how divided the support for our current mayor has become in the past year. We can only hope, that a strong challenger will emerge in 2022 and residents will decide the type of leader our city deserves to have in the future.

  • Howard

    “Many of those who follow local politics closely are beginning to realize that the Red Queen is not a team player, that there is a streak of revenge within the woman and a tendency to alienate people for all the wrong reasons.”

    Pepper that is some of the most eloquent words you have ever used as they are based on fact. Keep at it !

  • Penny Hersh

    Mr. Barker,

    I disagree with your statement'”I would suggest those 3 councilors are being “wet and soppy”, and realize that MMW is the leader elected by the residents of all of Burlington, not just those of a specific ward.”

    MMW was elected because unfortunately there was no other credible candidate running at the time.

    I have to agree with Mr. Ettlewod’s comments -“. Her tweet represents the true Marianne – showy, self-centred, spiteful and divisive. No leader who wished to build their team and find a way to constructive solutions would ever be so thoughtless, imo.”

    The mayor jumps on anything and everything that will provide a “great photo-op”. I still remember her on one knee when the mural for Black Lives Matter was painted in front of City Hall. Let’s not forget the” Call to Prayer” during a pandemic when people were told not to meet.

    All talk, no action, no change, but great publicity.

    I applaud the 3 Councillors who stepped up and issued a joint statement. I am certain this is not the first time councillors have been pushed aside and silenced by this mayor.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Power allows a pre-exisiting condition to manifest itself in a more obvious way. It was Lord Acton who once said, ” Power tends to corrupt men and absolute power corrupts absoluteley” That is why we should be thankful we can live,enjoy and participate in the democratic processes of our nation, province and muncipality.

  • david barker

    I would suggest those 3 councilors are being “wet and soppy”, and realize that MMW is the leader elected by the residents of all of Burlington, not just those of a specific ward.

    Some leaders are all softly, softly, huggy, huggy others are more “Thatcherish” and “this is how it’s going to be done” type.

    Both can work. Neither is right nor wrong. They are just different styles.

    As the author of the article points out the three councilors it seems have their own personal political agendas. Kearns has been very obvious about that through her failed bid to obtain an MPP nomination. Sharman is clearly the crocodile lurking in the weeds waiting to pounce.

    I suggest the three are more upset that MMW continues to score brownie points with the electorate by way of delivering on issues that resonate with residents.

    It seems to me a tipping point has been reached where residents are expressing a strong desire to retain valued services understanding that costs are associated with that position. Costvtgat they will have to pay. Service and the provision of services is important to residents of the best whatever city in Canada. Residents understand all too well that property tax rates must increase to cover costs incurred to maintains service levels. If lower property tax increases are to be achieved cuts will have to be made. No one wants service cuts. You can only find to a finite amount of cost reductions through realization and implementation of efficiencies found. After that service cuts must be made.

    We all have to pay more for the services and products we purchase on a daily basis. Why should it be any different for the services we buy via the city?

    The article’s author says “Many of those who follow local politics closely are beginning to realize that the Red Queen is not a team player”. Maybe the author should question whether the three councilors are the ones who are not team players as it seems they are more concerned about how MMW’s continuing and growing popularity might negatively affect their personal ambitions.

    “Maggie” Meed Ward has cajoled and headed this council to a position where it has placed the City in the best possible position to save our downtown from the ravages of profit driven developers. She has shown strong leadership through the pandemic crisis. She has shown a great ability to work constructively and successfully with our MPP and the Provincial government, notwithstanding being of a very different political persuasion.

    MMW is fighting for Burlington and its residents, not for her immediate political ambitions like others.

    • Mike Ettlewood

      Mr. Barker – our positions could not differ more – both on the motivation for the Mayor’s tweet and on her “growing popularity” and service to the community. I firmly believe that what motivates her and has always motivated her is her ‘political ambition’ and it is raw and unseemly at times. I know that you do not share this view and I respect that. I also know, from experience and observation, that you tend to like to have the final word. So, in anticipation of a spirited debate from others, I will leave the final comment to you.

  • Mike Ettlewood

    No amount of rainbow crosswalks, benches, banners and/or parades make a community inclusive. Arguably, all they do is make it a bit more colourful. I doubt very much that any member of the LGBTQQIP2S+ community looks at a rainbow bench and thinks “wonderful, now I can live my life on my own terms”. The money is better spent on supportive programs and initiatives. However, this focus on ’the trappings’ rather than on the true issues is where our Mayor lives and why she does such a great deal of harm. Her tweet represents the true Marianne – showy, self-centred, spiteful and divisive. No leader who wished to build their team and find a way to constructive solutions would ever be so thoughtless, imo.