Differences of opinion and attempts to manipulate the way an event is portrayed are all part of the election process

By Pepper Parr

October 27th, 2022



After an election there are often hurts to be dealt with.

In order to run as a candidate you have to put everything you have into the contest – you can never waver.

Believe as you might that you are going to win – someone has to lose.

Media play a part in this. At times opinion pieces are written – and given that it is an opinion someone is going to disagree with you.

On the matter of the Integrity Commissioner and the decision they made before the elections – the following has come our way from Kwab Ako-Adjei, the Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement

In response to the Burlington Gazette article issued Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, titled “Shawna Stolte and the Integrity Commissioner” there is an inaccuracy in the article that requires correction.

The Integrity Commissioner (IC) conducted an independent and thorough investigation of a Code of Good Governance complaint made by a City employee against a member of City Council.

With regard to the question of whether a public apology was warranted, the Integrity Commissioner in their written report on the complaint stated the following:

In the circumstances of all of the facts in this case, we believe that a public acknowledgement and apology by the Councillor at Council would reflect a reasonable and proportionate resolution.

An apology serves to publicly confirm to Council and staff that over-sharing of the private conversation, which may have unfairly been seen as a slight to your (Georgie Gartside) dedication and commitment, is a matter that should be acknowledged.

In our view, a public apology would place appropriate focus on the Councillor’s acknowledgement and remorse and it would serve as a remedy proportionate to the transgression”
The above excerpt from the IC report is shared with permission by the employee to set the record straight and correct your reporting on this matter.

While I acknowledge you are entitled to you opinions as publisher of the Burlington Gazette, your comments about a long-serving and highly respected City employee, Georgie Gartside, are misinformed and totally unwarranted. Ms. Gartside accepted the public apology provided by Councilor Stolte and I am satisfied this matter has been dealt with fully in keeping with our Procedural By-law related to reporting on Code of Good Governance complaints.

I appreciate your attention to this matter. Feel free to post this exact message, you have permission.

My response to the note from Kwab was as follows:

My view of Ms Gartside is the result of conversations that go back ten years when she was an assistant to Rick Goldring before he was elected Mayor and when she was assigned to Marianne Meed Ward as an assistant.  The full story about how that came about was interesting

There have been many many conversations with Ms Gartside over that period of time, many of them very pleasant

What I believe I am seeing is an attempt to manipulate the public perception of what actually happened.

That is part of the communications mandate.

I will publish the comments you sent – quite what the context will be is something I need a bit of time to think through.

Kwab got back to me with the following:

This has nothing to do with an ‘attempt’ to manipulate the public perception of what actually happened,’ this is about setting the record straight and responding to you article.
In the article you say, “When Stolte learned of Gartside’s concern she immediately offered to apologize. Quite why she would apologize is beyond me,” and “They did say that there was no breach of the Code of Good Conduct and they should have left it at that.” Again, as we indicated below the Integrity Commissioner in their written report on the complaint stated that an apology was appropriate. So, the record needs to be corrected and facts reported, no manipulation at all. This is straight from the Integrity Commissioner.

That is true – what is also true is that the Integrity Commissioner decided that there was not a breach of the Code, which Kwab fails to mention.

My thought was:  Is saying an apology was appropriate mean it is required?

The Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement for the city has the right to ask that we set the record straight.

The opinion still stands – we will add this article to the opinion and draw the attention of readers.

I find myself wondering why the manner in which the Mayor attempted to coerce Councillor Stolte to read out her apology at a point in the meeting where it could become a debatable event is not being made part of the record?

The Mayor’s behaviour was disturbing – which is putting it mildly.

Related news:

Stolte and the Integrity Commissioner.

The interview that started it all

The changes Stolte brought about and interviews she gave.

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2 comments to Differences of opinion and attempts to manipulate the way an event is portrayed are all part of the election process

  • R Velocci

    On contrary; Media should be 100% involved in the democratic election.
    The one we just had was undemocratic.

  • Hans Jacobs

    The Gazette’s obsession with an issue that is by now ancient history does itself a disservice. The Public has had ample opportunity to become informed and there is no further purpose in regurgitating a link to a council meeting. IMO, if anyone has attempted “to manipulate the way an event is portrayed”, it is the Gazette.
    Furthermore, it is clear that the voting Public has had the last word and preferred the incumbent mayor over the other candidates for mayor.