Councillor Sharman continues to embarrass himself - there is still time for him to do a course correction.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Staff

September 14th, 2018



It is silly and embarrassing.

The pettiness and rancor that have become part of the process of determining who is going to represent the people of ward 5 at city council next on December 3rd when the new council is sown in.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington have worked hard to organize debates at the ward level. This is something Burlington has not had for well over more than a decade.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Paul Sharman, the incumbent who was first elected in 2010, re-elected in 2014 rather easily is in a tough battle this time around.

He has decided not to take part in the ward debate that has been organized.

His reason? “My very presence at your event will provide the opportunity for you to load the questions and to create the kind disrespectful behaviour we have experienced over the last 10 months.

“Therefore it will be better for everyone that I will not be present.”

Mr. Sharman, an accountant by training, knows full well that ECoB was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. He also knows that ECoB will not have anything to do with the questions that are asked by the moderator other than to collect the questions written out by the public when they are in the auditorium.

To suggest that ECoB has an opportunity to load the questions is just plain sleazy.

Wendy up against Paul 1

Ward 5 candidate Wendy Moraghan in conversation with incumbent Paul Sharman

Sharman has a battle in front of him; the chatter on social media is pretty vicious and Sharman is adding to it.

Why he doesn’t talk about his accomplishments, and there are some, is beyond this observer.

In 2011 Sharman literally pushed through a 0% tax increase – something that has not been seen since then.
With that notch in his belt he went on to be close to abusive with delegators. It was a path he chose to take – it has not served him or his constituents well.

Sharman claims ECoB avoided the question of whether or not ECOB is a) actually an organization and b) whether you are simply organizing a public forum or one that will be characterized by the regular ECoB tactics of divisiveness and c) who is funding these activities.

As to the ECoB funding – they are donations made by citizens who attended the public meetings. There were more than 50 people who were dropping $20 bills into a box and several that wrote healthy cheques.

At the first ECoB organizational meeting a citizen said he was in the room representing people from his community and that he had a signed cheque in his pocket – he wanted to know who to make it out to.

There is still time for Paul Sharman to do a course correction. The ward 5 debate is on Wednesday, September 19th at the Bateman high school. You will get to see Paul Sharman or an empty chair with his name on it.


Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher

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8 comments to Councillor Sharman continues to embarrass himself – there is still time for him to do a course correction.

  • Penny

    Jeremy, below is one of the statements in your comment.

    The motivation behind the sponsorship of any Municipal Candidate Debate should be validated to be inclusive of at least some, if not most, of the above-outlined criteria. Also, the moderator must be known to be fair and impartial to all of the participating candidates during the debate.

    You failed to mention that you are working with Mr. Sharman on his campaign team.

    • Jeremy Skinner

      And ECoB set up these Municipal debates to assist which mayoral candidate?

      I thought that one of the stated goals of ECoB was to inform. This seems to have been forgotten and replaced by the mantra of “Listen, because we are ECoB”.

      I am aware of only one ECoB hosted public meeting on the topic of development of which I attended last December. While the presentation used at the meeting was posted on the ECoB website, no decisions were ratified, such as via majority vote amongst the membership at the meeting or documented in the form of meeting minutes and posted on the ECoB website The best information we have of that meeting is described in Burlington Gazette article entitled “Newly formed citizens group draws 150 + people to a public meeting – they have a message for city council – We won’t be voting for you next time.” by Pepper Parr December 14th, 2017 of whom I can confirm did attend the same meeting.

      Who is running ECoB?

      While the composition of ECoB was previously described in the Burlington Gazette article entitled “ECoB – a group of people who want to create an umbrella organization that will support the numerous community groups in the city that don’t feel they are being heard at city hall.” by Pepper Parr December 13th, 2017, I don’t recall any mention of the organizational structure being presented or how these key members of the organization were ratified as part oft the December ECoB meeting. Perhaps I was late on arrival to hear these items discussed. Regardless, these are important to items to have been documented in the presentation which can be found on the ECoB website and in the meeting minutes which are nowhere to be found on the ECoB website.

      Since that time we have seen the departure of several key ECoB organization members and still no public meeting with which to ratify their replacements. This begs the question as to who you really represent and whether you are the last person standing?

      What is the relationship between the Province, the City of Burlington and that of the developer seeking to develop her/his property?.

      Were members of ECoB who attended the meeting hosted by the City Planning & Development last December provided with this information? The meeting was identified in the Burlington Gazette Article “ECoB and city hall meet – will citizens support this new group that wants a much more collaborative relationship with the city. Shades of Shape Burlington perhaps?” By Pepper Parr December 2, 2017. However, there appears to be no statement of understanding of what was discussed, what was settled and what remained open and thus yet to be resolved. This may have been presented at the public meeting last December, but it was not made clear as to what was discussed and again was not minuted so that the membership and the general public would be able to understand what had transpired.

      It appears that there is an advantage to keeping the membership and the residents of Burlington in the dark.

      The risk to the candidates, especially those with no prior Municipal Government experience, is that they may suffer entrapment by making commitments on development issues with which they may discover that they will be unable to keep, if elected. The risk to the general public is that once again their expectations do not match reality after voting for someone who appeared as would be able to fulfill.

      The opinions described above are my own, as a citizen of Burlington living in Ward 5. They are from someone who read several drafts and contributed suggestions (some were adopted) for improvements of what has become the City ratified Official Plan (which unfortunately is still pending Regional and then Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (replaced the OMB as of 12th December 2017) approvals after all (mainly developer) appeals have been resolved. In the meantime the City must continue to rely on the current Official Plan which has been proven to be defensible upon developer appeal. ECoB sought to delay the Official Plan because they felt that anything stated in the plan was cast in stone not realizing that the Official Plan was meant to be a living document and one which could be amended as required through order of Council.

      In answer to your statement, yes I am the second set of eyes to vet Paul Sharman’s campaign finances.

      I have yet to see any candidate tackle the three elephants in the room associated with this election. Hint, they are bigger than the distraction associated with development intensification of which the City can do little about and they impact a larger proportion of the population of the City of Burlington.

  • Jeremy Skinner

    While the issue of building heights and land development intensification appear to have garnered a significant amount of attention of late, we should not forget the importance of the other categories with which we entrust to our elected officials to manage on our behalf including:

    1 ) Taxes, Finances & Budgets – City
    2 ) Economic Development (includes applications for amendments re. building heights & land development intensification etc.) – City
    3 ) Infrastructure – City & Region
    4 ) Transportation – City & Province
    5 ) Innovation & Technology – City
    6 ) Diversity, Inclusion & Civic Engagement – City
    7 ) Public Safety & Crime – Region
    8 ) Environmental Resilience – Region
    9 ) Public Health Care – Region
    10) Social Services – Region
    11) Education & Job Training – Province via School Trustees
    12) Community-specific issues
    13) (… no doubt there are more categories that I have failed to mention)

    The roles of Mayor and that of Ward Councillor are dual in terms of providing representation at Burlington City Council and at Halton Region Council.

    New Municipal initiatives (including any funding requirements) require the approval by majority vote amongst the predefined quorum consisting of the Mayor and the six Ward Councillors. In a similar fashion new Regional initiatives (including any funding requirements) require the approval by majority vote amongst the predefined quorum consisting of the Regional Chair, the 4 Mayors (Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton & Oakville) and their respective Ward Councillors.

    As such the ability to collaborate with Ward constituents, City and Region Staff and between Elected Officials at all levels of government will be key for any elected candidate’s success during the term of office.

    The motivation behind the sponsorship of any Municipal Candidate Debate should be validated to be inclusive of at least some, if not most, of the above-outlined criteria. Also, the moderator must be known to be fair and impartial to all of the participating candidates during the debate.

    We must never forget that we are accountable for the health and welfare of our community, our Ward, our City, and our Region. We delegate the governance responsibilities to our elected officials who oversee service delivery by hired City and Region Staff. In a similar fashion, we delegate the governance responsibility to our elected School Board Trustee who oversees service delivery by hired School Board Staff.

    It all starts with your vote!

  • Bonnie

    Does anyone know if Councillors Dennison and Lancaster are attending the debates in wards 4 and 6?
    Councillor Sharman appears to be the spokesman for the three who are reluctant to attend and support their platforms.
    Editor’s note: Lancaster, Sharman and Dennison are on record as saying they will not take part. There is still time for each of them to change their minds.

  • Stephen White

    If I were an incumbent, particularly in the highly contentious and emotionally charged environment that is now our municipal election scene, I would probably welcome the opportunity to explain my perspective and defend my views without hindrance, editing or censure. However, if an incumbent deliberately avoids a public forum it raises the spectre that: (a) they aren’t firmly confident in their opinions; (b) their positions are indefensible; (c) they aren’t really interested in meeting or engaging with members of the public or people with alternate views; (d) they have something to hide; (e) they are only interested in connecting with their supporters…and no on else.

    The forum or sponsoring organization is not the issue here. If incumbents are concerned they will be outnumbered then there is nothing preventing their supporters from attending too. It is highly unlikely that everyone coming to these meetings will be ECoB supporters, just as not everyone attending events sponsored by other organizations (e.g. Burlington Chamber of Commerce, University Womens’ Club) will be members of those organizations. These sponsoring organizations are providing a community service, and their sponsorship and contribution to public discourse should be viewed in that light. Not everyone reads the Burlington Gazette or understands the range of public issues the way contributors on this website do.

    So…if an incumbent ducks an opportunity to meet with members of the public does that mean they don’t give a damn? By inference, does that also mean they aren’t worth a damn…or a confirmatory vote? Just saying….

  • Tom Muir

    What does Sharman want – softball questions for dummies?

    The present Council, including him of course, and except MMW, for sure played hardball with the citizen delegates and in general.

    I received your election newsletter, and you appeared so proud at the great reception you said you were receiving from residents at the door.

    You also provided your platform.

    So the debate is your chance to tell everyone what your platform is, what great things you have done and how you propose to proceed if reelected.

    It’s your chance at transparency and accountability – tell us about it and explain yourself.

    If you are a genuine person that we can trust, you would jump at this chance.

    So show up and be counted as a man not a chicken.

  • Marnie Mellish

    I live in Ward 5 and ran for councilor many years ago. I have read the platforms and policy statements of four of the candidates. I am looking forward to the All Candidates Meeting with or without Paul.

  • steven craig gardner

    i do find it very repulsive that ECoB are arranging the debates a group thta has been againts 6 of current 7 on council from day one hard to believe they are unbiased even if they can not influence questions it makes for an overall sleazy series of debates. Do we not have any neutral organizations that could have organized these debates. as I say ECoB past behaviour ensures no one will view them as unbiased and that is what is wrong with the debates.