Councillor Paul Sharman looking for a reason - any reason, to note have to face and debate the four people who want his council seat.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2018



Paul Sharman has once again confused the forest for the trees.

He has said that he is not going to attend the debate for the ward 5 candidates until he knows who the Directors of ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington.

Sharman wants to know:

Who are the directors of the incorporated ECOB entity? I understand the original participants have resigned.

There has been no information about the ECOB “organization” on the website.

In the short history of ECOB there has been a continuous demonstration of divisiveness, disrespect of Council / City management, inflammatory misinformation and partisan posturing.

If the CFUW or any other respectable, objective, well established organization with a properly elected Board of Directors were to sponsor the September event, I would participate.

Otherwise, I will not participate in any event sponsored by ECOB.

I will post this message on all my public communications with respect to this event.

Does an organization that is organizing a debate have to respect the elected members of council when most of the members of this council have very little respect for the citizens who stand before than as a delegation.

ECOB Dec 13 #3

ECoB’s first public meeting attracted more than 100 people. Would that be enough to make them credible?

If Sharman would do his homework he would know that ECoB held an event for anyone interested in becoming a candidate for a seat on city council or serving as a school board trustee.

More than 100 people turned out for the first event ECoB held – they raised a significant amount of money at that event. Some of those funds are being used to organize the debates. Church hall rentals being one of the costs.

ECoB Crowd Feb 22

A room full of people who wanted to know more about running for public office. The event was organized by ECoB who had former council members and school board trustees on the panel. Would this make ECoB credible?

Sharman is using the credentials of the people organizing the event – the people doing the hard work to make the debates happen and to deal with the antics of the sitting members of council who are doing nothing but making the job of volunteers that much harder.

What Sharman is doing is creating a phony reason to not attend a debate where he will have to face candidates that have done their homework.

Wendy M up against Paul 2

Ward 5 candidate Wendy Morghan squaring of with Councillor Paul Sharman

St James outside with bd

Mary Alice St. James talking to people outside a public meeting in the Lakeside Village Plaza where an massive change to the community was being presented.

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16 comments to Councillor Paul Sharman looking for a reason – any reason, to note have to face and debate the four people who want his council seat.

  • Dorothy Reinhardt

    That’s all fine and dandy, Mary-Alice. I’m disappointed that you’re positioning yourself as the only alternative in Ward 5. The arrogance that you’re accusing Sharman of is quite visible in you too, and that’s a shame. There are 3 other candidates in addition to you and Sharman who all make credible cases to be Councillor. All 3 live in Ward 5, and we met you told me you don’t.

    If you had this calling to serve, which you hint at, then why are you running in Ward 5, and not your own ward where decisions you will make will also impact you? Do you feel that none of the 20,000 + residents are able represent yourself?

    Seems like that you want to win no matter what and Ward 5 appeared easiest. Sounds like a power grab to me, and I think we have all had enough of that.

    • Stephen White

      There are numerous examples over the years where candidates have lived in one ward and run in another. Mike Wallace lives in Ward 4 and was Councillor in Ward 5. Ditto Rick Goldring. Hell….we have a candidate who is running in Ward 1 who doesn’t even live in Burlington! That is a far more untenable situation than a candidate who lives in a neighbouring ward and is running to represent one that is proximate.

      Residence shouldn’t be the prevailing criteria in assessing the credibility of a candidate. Factors such as work experience, community involvement, communication skills, willingness to listen and engage, commitment, etc. are far more critical to the decision-making process. This notion that we have to elect a candidate just because they live within a set geographic boundary is archaic. Moreover, candidates, like residents, have been known to move.

      In modern, mobile societies talent and ability transcends boundaries. Successful businesses don’t recruit talent from just within their immediate neighbourhood, and neither should voters.

    • Carl

      I didn’t read MaryAlice say anything disrespectful. Certainly she did not use the term “arrogance” nor did she accuse anyone of being arrogant. I have known her for many many years now, first as a principal, and then as a neighbour. As a Ward 5 resident for the last 5 years, I and many other Ward 5 people I know, encouraged her to come out of retirement and run for Council in Ward 5 because we felt that she could make the biggest change to Burlington by representing us in Ward 5. Anyone who knows MaryAlice knows she never takes the “easy” route. She has always strived to make a positive difference.

  • The upshot of all of the negativity is that I am going to redouble my efforts to support candidates (inside and outside my ward) as well as the ECoB/CFUW organizations that understand the true meaning of democracy and have offered to help at the sponsored debates.

  • Lynn Crosby

    It is stunning that Councillor Sharman would be calling anyone disrespectful and divisive. Every single council meeting I have attended I’ve come away feeling appalled by his treatment of delegates and citizens and his fellow council colleague. Perhaps he should watch the videos of prior council meetings, or re-read emails he sends to constituents if he wants to see what disrespect looks like. And the irony of him suggesting ECoB is not being transparent, that they are somehow hiding their true identity, is really beyond the pale.

  • Jim Young

    I no longerger speak for ECoB and assume ECoB will respond for itself. But as one of the former directors maligned by Clr Sharman let me assure you that both myself and Lisa Kearns, another former director, both of whom represented ECoB and delegated at council meetings went to great lengths to ensure that, while highly critical of council, utmost respect was always our objective. I challenge Clr Sharman to cite a single instance of a disrespect delegation. It seems he has caught himself up in some Trumpian fantasy that all criticism of his ideas is worthy of insult instead of welcomed as part of engaged, democratic debate. I sincerely hope this kind of mean and vindictive politics earns the rejections it deserves on Oct. 22.

  • steven craig gardner

    Easy solution ECOB name names. What are they hiding. Given their mandate appeared to be anti-everything done at city hall accept that by MMW I would want to know who is who before appearing too. Nice they set up the debates of course one would believe it is to help the cause of all non-incumbents as reason they did it. So answer the question of who is who on ECoB now many have left or are running for office. Seems a no brainer solution to me unless they don’t want to be identified as ECoB?

    • Stu Parr

      Well coming from your stream of commentary, Mr. Gardner, it would have to be a “no brainer solution”. Just my opinion, of course.

  • Marshall

    Mr. Sharman’s actions with regard to the debate or all candidates’s meeting is the best reason why he should no longer be representing Ward 5. He is simply illustrating his usual pomposity. On October 22nd I hope that the voters in Ward 5 select a new and more suitable representative.

  • Daphne

    It is the arrogance of some of these incumbents that is the issue. Thanks to ECOB for organizing these debates. The candidates are not debating with ECOB so his concerns are irrelevant. Residents need to take back their City and it would appear, are anxious to do so. Only one is worthy of re-election in my view.

  • Roger

    Councilor Sharman seems to be even challenging the CFUW who is co-working with ECOB – I am at a loss to understand regardless of organization why a candidate who wants to be re-elected would want all and any activity to meet and speak to the public – just because one is not agreeable to a citizen group – the elected councilor cannot pick and choose who to engage – if it is Ward 5 the councilor is to represent the ward – all perspectives – given that he is choosing not to engage in an all candidates debate – I strongly encourage that Ward 5 voters look actively at the other worthy 4 other candidates for Ward 5 that truly want to engage – my own perspective – if a candidate or an elected represented will not defend, debate or engage – regardless if they are in agreement of the people they represent – they do not deserve the job

  • Stephen White

    Take one look at the photographs in this article and you can see this isn’t exactly a collection of iconoclastic radicals or a gathering of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Burlington. The people who attended the ECoB meetings, and I was one of them, represent sincere, concerned citizens who are deeply disturbed and upset by a number of initiatives actively promoted by our Mayor and this Council, not the least of which was the seriously flawed OP and Mobility Hubs. Ditto all those many citizens such as Tom Muir, Greg Woodruff, Gary Scobie, Roland Tanner, Joe Gaeten, etc. who passionately delegated before Council.

    To suggest that a publicly funded group is somehow unworthy or incapable of sponsoring a public debate, and ergo, must provide prior documented evidence to demonstrate its authenticity, impartiality and goodwill, is both unreasonable and illogical. As for the comment around “divisiveness, disrespect of Council / City management, inflammatory misinformation and partisan posturing”….I don’t ever recall attending any ECoB event where anyone was belittled the way I saw countless citizens demeaned while delegating before Council last year.

    People who live in glass houses and ivory towers shouldn’t throw stones…and if they can’t stand accountable for their past decisions maybe they shouldn’t be running for office.

  • Tom Muir

    I can’t believe this arrogant and disrespectful display of fabricated excuse-making by Sharman to avoid facing the voters.

    Facing the voters is the issue Mr. Sharman, not ECoB, which has done the citizens of Burlington a great service by organizing these debates.

    Whatever happened to the engagement and accountability that is what elections are about Mr. Sharman.

    Facing the voters and other candidates is what this is about and you have a responsibility of duty to honor this obligation. What are you afraid of?

    This shows a very dismal view of your true colors I’m afraid – why would anyone vote for an invisible man?

    Very sad indeed that you don’t seem able to see this.

  • Tom Muir

    This is an arrogant and disrespectful show of fabricated excuse-making by Sharman, and I am disappointed that he would stoop so low in an elitist posture as this to get out of facing the voters.

    Facing the voters is the issue, not ECoB, which has done the citizens of Burlington a great service by organizing these debates.

    Whatever happened to engagement and accountability Mr. Sharman?.

    This posture of yours to avoid the voters and other candidates is as phony as it gets.

    A sad display.indeed.

  • Mary Alice St. James

    Ward 5 Candidate Mary AliceSt.James
    I am proud of the courage, time, energy, skills and the monetary commitment that every Candidate across the City of Burlington has put into running in the only non-partisan election, a Municipal Election. It is a comprehensive and full time endeavour to run an effective Campaign. Incumbents though have a huge advantage which makes the playing field unequal even before they each declined participation in their only Ward Designated All Candidates Meetings.
    I put my name forward as a Candidate for Councillor in Ward 5 knowing that this and likely much more can happen during this campaign. I could not sleep at night though without giving voters an alternative, without being a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. My extensive experiences with City Council over the past six years where I delegated on behalf of myself and other community members in the areas of: development and infrastructure (what many are now aware of as over-intensification or “my gosh, when was it decided that building could happen?”), congested corridors of traffic, transit challenges, affordability and environmental protections and solutions.
    Research shows that incumbents have an advantage due to their paid years of service and their work with various staffs within the City of Burlington and the Halton Region. Nonetheless and despite research statistics, I pulled together an amazing group of volunteers to assist me in running my personally funded campaign. I have received a few donations … thank you! A reason though that I put my unique skillsets (25 years as a local principal) and respectful teamwork into the foray of public scrutiny is because I could not sleep at night thinking about what Burlington will look like in four years if this continues. The current course of non-action, discourse and disrespectful treatment of citizens and citizens groups such as the Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) are but a few samplings of why citizens I have spoken with this summer are disillusioned and feel betrayed by their Municipal Councillor. Burlington’s citizens are exceptionally smart. I know this. People I talk with know this. It is an extremely important election. I will continue and my team will continue with our campaign as we always have intended. Every day we enter unchartered territory but for me, this is exactly why I am running a competitive campaign. I am saddened by political inaction by incumbents

    I will be at the September 19th Ward 5 All Candidates Meeting because I know that Burlington citizens are smart and they do care about the next four years.

    Remember to vote on October 22nd or better yet, vote early or even on line this year.

    Municipal Elections are after all about our daily livability.

    Let’s continue to demonstrate “BURLINGTON at OUR BEST now and moving forward!!”

  • Mike Ettlewood

    Mr. Sharman has never had great regard for the opinions of those whom he represents and has repeatedly demonstrated an arrogant disrespect for citizens who delegate and offer contrary opinions. He doesn’t accept criticism or different views from “the small folk” very well. These debates must almost seem like insubordination; a pedestrian infringement on his natural right to rule. I think it best for all involved, most certainly the voters of Ward 5, to give Mr. Sharman some extra time to devote to his consulting interests where his sage ‘world view’ might be more properly appreciated. Give Paul the freedom to operate elsewhere on October 22nd!