First nomination for the municipal election filed at city hall; Henshell puts her hat in the ring for the Ward 1 seat.

January 2, 2014, Burlington, ON. 

By Pepper Parr

Maybe it was the weather.  Parking spots for members of city council were empty except for the one used by the Mayor on the first working day of the New Year..

With every member of Council (except for Councillor Dennison who traditionally waits until June to announce) declaring they would be running for office again in 2014 one might have thought they would be in filing their nomination papers.

The first person to hand over nomination papers was Katherine Henshell who plans to go up against Councillor Rick Craven in Ward 1 – where he hasn’t had much in the way of competition the last couple of runs.

Katherine Henshell, first candidate to file nomination papers tries out a seat in the Council Chamber and thinks she likes the look of her name on the name plate.

It will be quite a bit different this time for the three term Council member.  Henshell spent a couple of minutes trying out the seat in the Council Chamber usually used by the member for Ward 1; she looked as if she was measuring the place for new drapes and wondering how her name would fit on the name plate.

A media colleague remarked that “there’s a one issue candidate if I ever saw one” when she heard that Henshell was going to run against Craven.  Henshell, who live a couple of doors over from Craven in Aldershot, also has a property in the Beachway where she used to run her law practice.

During the Beachway debates she delegated to Council on two occasions to explain the serious flaw in the “willing seller/willing buyer” policy the city had settled on for people who had homes in the Beachway.  Henshell argued that there wasn’t much in the way of willingness on the part of the owners of property who were experiencing no rise in the selling prices of their homes when everyone else in Burlington was seeing a 5% to 7% annual increase.  “This city council is toying with the property values.”

Henshell left the Council chamber after her delegation feeling that she had not been listened to and hadn’t been treated with the courtesy a taxpayer deserves.  She soon learned that a lot of other people feel the same way and when an acquaintance emailed her and said: “If you ever decide to run for office – you have my vote.”

“I’d never thought of running for office “ explained Henshell but then realized that “I had been talking about the Beachway issue as if I was a politician.”  Henshell who plays defence on a community hockey team bounced  the idea of running for office on  some of her team mates and got a very positive response.  She talked to her husband and between the two of them figured they could run their household, which includes a child less than two years old and that she could run her law practice and continue wither Seminary studies as well and also serve as a city Councillor.

Katherine Irene Henshell is one of those A type personalities that just does it all.  Having decided to enter municipal politics she then got herself a copy of the Municipal Act and read it – she may well be one of the few council members who have actually read the Act.  She then plunged into the city’s procedural bylaw as well.

Having decided to take the plunge Henshell dug and began asking people what their issues were.  “I was somewhat surprised with the responses I was getting both in terms of ideas and issues as well as the financial support that came forward.  There are a lot of angry people in Aldershot”, said Katherine Henshell.

Councillor Rick Craven, centre, with a copy of the 2013 budget on a memory stick. Craven did a superb job of chairing the budget committee last year. He will have no argument with candidate Henshell over the need for additional shopping facilities in Aldershot – getting them there has been the challenge.

Biggest want in the community – a place where people can buy food. “The only outlet is the Fortinos location in the east end of the ward and that doesn’t do much for the people in the center and west end of Aldershot” said Henshell.  She won’t get any argument from Councillor Craven on that issue: he has been battling for years to get an additional supermarket in the ward.  Craven says he keeps getting told the market just isn’t big enough for an additional supermarket.

Henshell says she drives up to Waterdown or over to Dundas to do her family food shopping. “It’s just easier” but I drive and there are a lot of people in Aldershot who don’t drive and would like to be able to walk to where they shop.  Craven will be right with her on that approach as well.

Not a lot of nonsense to Katherine Henshell candidate for the ward 1 seat on city council.

What kind of a city Councillor would Katherine Henshell turn out to be were she to best Rick Craven in October?  Is she a populist or a lawyer who can speak legalese but not much more?  Two comments suggest Henshell is more of a people person than a lawyer and that she is a Conservative politically but a parent before anything else.  Add to that an understanding for the needs of different groups in the community – and for Henshell that includes seniors.  “We need to align the services the city offers to the needs of the people in the community – and seniors have very different needs”, she said.

“Mothers pushing strollers have one set of needs, parents with children heavily involved in sports activities and seniors with their needs calls for a council member able to both understand and have empathy for each group and then also able to balance everything.”

Where will her campaign funds come from?  Henshell will accept contributions from developers in the ward.  “The limits are public and I will publish where my campaign money came from”, she said.

While Henshell`s focus will be Aldershot, she realizes that she has to be aware of and up to date on what is happening elsewhere in the city.  The tussle over the running of the Chilly Half Marathon along Lakeshore in the east end was one Henshell couldn’t understand.  “It is a an inconvenience for some people, that`s for sure”, she said “but it is just one day of the year.  When the Race around the Bay takes place I just make other plans.”   Henshell is very quick to point out that she won`t be running in the next Half Chilly Half Marathon – her sports are played on the ice where she keeps her head up and her eye on the competition.

Councillor Craven will find he has a much more formidable opponent than he had when he ran against Jane McKenna or Mary Dilly.  He might want to instead run against Jane McKenna again and spend his time at Queen`s Park.

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26 comments to First nomination for the municipal election filed at city hall; Henshell puts her hat in the ring for the Ward 1 seat.

  • 57Chevy

    G. Stevenson – you couldn’t have said it better!!!!!

  • G. Stevenson

    Rick Craven used to be an effective municipal leader. He listened to ideas, asked questions, worked hard to make a mark for Burlington. All under the great leadership and mentorship of Mayor MacIssac and a fantastic City Manager, Mr. Tim Dobbie. Then came the Cam Jackson era. Craven turned from an effective leader, and a team player, to a one man “lets battle the bully” show. He became a bully himself. He forgot how to be an effective leader, he lost the will to listen, all he wanted to do was fight.

    He’s never regained his better persona of a good leader, instead Craven enjoys continuing to be the bully. You see it at meetings of Council, in the media….. he just loves to bully delegates, others who have different opinions, and the member of council sitting to his left in Council Chambers. If its not a fight for him its not worth his time. His “my way or the highway” style has become totally ineffective.

    Yes, Ms. Henshell, and many who will put their names forward to run in the 2014 election, may not have the political experience at the starting gate. You do have to learn to crawl, then walk, then run. However I’ll vote for emotional intelligence, a team player, and on the job training any day rather than 4 more years of watching a sarcastic, ineffective bully trying to make his, and “his only”, mark.

    Mr. Craven has lost the personality it takes to be a good leader. He needs to learn to crawl again, and walk again before he should ever “run” again. It’s a seven member city council, not a one man show. He needs to be re-taught just that instead of continuing on with the selfish traits he once despised.

    A break from Council Chambers would be in the best interest for Mr. Craven if he has any bigger political aspirations. Is he a politician…. yes. A great political leader… I beg to differ.

    • Ley

      G.I totally agree with your comment…it has been nothing but a horse and pony show with Ricky wanting to be the ring leader!! It’s time for him to take his circus elsewhere!!

      • Ken Colombo

        Welcome Ward 1 Candidate Henshell. Now, MAYBE, we will have NO MORE attempts to vote the Ward 2 councillor “off the island.” Five Councillors and Mayor + city clerk attempting a coercive move to suppress meaningful dialogue and discourage Ward 2 Councillor MM Ward.

        Be it resolved; In an effort to move closer to unanimity on an important issue, Thirty Helens Agree … You CANNOT pay TOO MUCH for a GOOD pair of shoes!

  • donald

    I’ll be supporting Craven, he’s a great political leader

    • 57Chevy

      Donald, SERIOUSLY!!!! it’s just about being a POLITICAL leader – it’s about the people. Listening, caring and respecting! Rick Craven does not do this!!!

    • 57Chevy

      also want to add – LEADER!! Rick Craven is not a leader – he is a follower who hides behind staff reports. Do your homework and you will know who not to vote for.

      • donald

        I’m sticking with Craven – experienced, compassionate and VERY knowledgeable. A smart individual for sure. These others are only focused on one issue, NIMBY approach, unlike Craven who is strategic and does what’s best for the entire Burl community

  • donald

    How did she get into Council Chambers to take this picture? Is this allowed?

    Editors note: I took her into the Council chamber and took the pictures.

  • Shannon Gillies

    Will you be giving this much publicity to all candidates the day they file their nomination papers? I’m sure many could use it!

  • JIm & Marie Milner

    Katherine is a people person. When you talk to her, she not only listens to you, she hears and understands what you are saying. As Ward 1 residents and 75yr resident of Burlington, she has our vote. Good luck Katherine.

  • Pat

    Oh great, another person who has no experience in land use planning and development and economics. Does Henshell think she is going to wish a supermarket into existence? She will also be conflicted if she thinks being on council will help her beachway property issue.

    Her sense of seriousness and political skills came out loud and clear with her bird park idea against Craven, and her inability to grasp the solution to the Regional beachway property purchase policies.

    No clue; no thank-you; go run your law practice, and keep going to seminary school to better yourself on your own dime.

    This city demands councilors who are qualified and experienced in dealing with issues that matter, and not treat the position as some sort of continuing self-improvement program on the taxpayers’ funding.

    • marie

      and who is the other person??

    • In my view, the most effective member of the current council is Marion Mead Ward, and she had none of the experience you (Pat) seem to believe is essential. I encourage more folks to run for office, not fewer. And we can sure do with fresh new faces, voices and ideas at city hall.

      • 57Chevy

        Yes – Marianne Meed Ward is one of the most effective councillors. She’s not afraid to ask questions and dig into the matter and to support the people!

    • mary B

      Pat you MUST be a die-hard craven cool-aid drinker.
      Councillors with experience? What did Ricky boy do before he was elected? what EXPERIENCE did he have?

      • 57Chevy

        Maybe Pat is a Ricky family member

        • 57Chevy

          Ricky’s background – WSIB (enough said)

          • mary B

            WSIB qualifies one for municipal office?
            That’s a stretch.
            Editor’s note:
            I would ask Mary B what she thinks does qualify a person to run for municipal office. And I challenge the rest of the responders on civic election candidates to ask yourselves: Are you encouraging people to come forward to serve or are you just getting “slap happy” and banging away at everyone? Burlington can do better than this.

  • marie


    Ward 1 needs and can’t wait for a friendly face and someone who cares about the people not only his own agenda and legacy! Time for some new faces that will have a lot to learn but won’t be afraid to ask questions. Someone who has witnessed first hand the delegation process and knows what’s it like to be treated unfairly as a tax payer. We need a human with good people skills. Thanks for registering – we WILL vote for you!!!

  • Laura durrant

    Katherine is not only extremely intelligent , she is a caring and compassionate woman! I have had the opportunity to speak with her on several occasions and she not only takes the time to listen, she is actually interested in what you are saying…. Something Craven needs to work on!
    I will be sure to help Katherine win! It is time Mr. Craven retire!!

  • 57Chevy

    Go Katherine Go!!!! You have my vote!!! Can’t wait to have you on council!!!!

  • Mary Dilly


  • Ley

    Katherine has my vote!! The election can’t come soon enough!! Good Luck Katherine!!!