First of the incumbent council members files nomination papers: just what is Meed Ward running for?

By Pepper Parr

March 19, 2014


Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward made it official yesterday –she is running for re-election in Ward 2; that she would run again was never in doubt – what she would run for was the question on many minds.

When City Clerk Angela Morgan, who was accepting the nomination forms and filling in the document, asked: “I will just fill in Councillor here” suggesting that there may have been some doubt in the Clerk’s mind as to just what the most first term council was planning on running for this time.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward signs her nomination papers

With the forms filled in Meed Ward then walked across to the cashier counter and paid her $100 fee, holding hands with her husband and looking like a couple off to get their marriage license.

It is a saucy, direct, covering all the bases re-election website

Meed Ward has wanted to be Mayor from the day she first ran for the ward 2 seat.  Back in 2010 the objective was to get elected so that in 2014 she could run against then Mayor Cam Jackson, who managed to lose the 2010 election.

Meed Ward then turned her sights on Rick Goldring who she does not think provides the city with the leadership it deserves.  She has been acting like a Mayor at every possible occasion and frequently sounding more like a Mayor than Rick Goldring.

It is unusual for a council member to alert the media on their plans to file nomination papers; Meed Ward is an unusual council member who has in the past called for a recorded vote on an issue and had her colleagues stand up and be counted on four individual motions knowing before she started that she would be the only member of Council who was going to vote against the question.

During her first few months in office she had the administration side of city council scrambling frequently.  She over spent her postal allocation in the first few months; her view was that those people who did not have internet access had a right to get city hall reports which she printed up and was prepared to mail them out.  Her email box was getting so much traffic that the techies had to give her more space.

The Clerk’s office assigns a staff member as an administrative assistant to each council member; there were no volunteers for the Meed Ward assignment. The former assistant to Rick Goldring, when he was the council member for ward 5, agreed to take on the task and work with Meed Ward – they get along famously.

Meed Ward had decided from the day she was sworn in that she was going to do things differently and says today that people in Burlington now know there is “hope.  She has, without a doubt, the most active community association of any other council member, and sees herself as accountable to those people and has had her chain pulled by them on more than one occasion.

Meed Ward contends that people see her as a voice and that they expect her to speak for them.  As a first term council member Meed Ward believes she has changed the dialogue at a number of levels.  She points to the way the city has handled Section 37 of the Planning Act (a process that allows the city to accept a cash payment for additional height and density given to a developer) and she goes to the core of what she believes the waterfront is all about when she explains on her re-election web site that the legal issues relating to the pier were handled very poorly and the decision to sell waterfront land to property owners on Lakeshore Road was a serious mistake.

The web site comes out swinging on almost every issue imaginable.  This is no ward centric web site – this is city-wide covering:

Residents first

Re-inventing government

Integrity and leadership

Fund raising

Free parking for council members and city staff

Recorded votes



Jobs and economic development

Waterfront Access

Spending and taxes

Heritage and Culture

A vibrant downtown.

For Meed Ward Community engagement must mean more than collecting input; she wants her citizens at the table being part of the decision.  And she sets out her position on every issue imaginable on her website.

Husband Pete is very much a part of the campaign to re-elect Marianne Meed Ward to her city council seat.  He designed the web site and is the principal adviser to the candidate

Of the incumbent council members Meed Ward is the first to file nomination papers.  Mayor Rick Goldring filed his papers in January, quietly entering the race and said at the time that he didn’t make a big deal out of registering for the fall municipal election because he thought everyone knew he was going to run again and wanted to get his registration out of the way. He added at that time that he will be running on a platform of economic development.

In n 2010 Paul Sharman filed nomination papers to run as Mayor against then Mayor Cam Jackson.  When Rick Goldring filed his papers to run as Mayor, Sharman withdrew his papers to run as Mayor and opted to run for the ward 5 seat that Goldring was prepared to vacate.

When asked what it would take for her to withdraw as the council member candidate in ward 2 and run for Mayor Meed Ward responded: If the community wanted me to run for the office of Mayor I would accept that call.

The 4400 names on the Meed Ward mailing list might decide they want to send an email suggesting she do just that – accept a call.  2014 has the potential to be an interesting election year.

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12 comments to First of the incumbent council members files nomination papers: just what is Meed Ward running for?

  • Greg Fabian

    Gary, I could not have written it any better.

    (although I did have to look up the word intransigence)

    I hope Marianne Mead-Ward does run for mayor.

    • marie

      Thank you Gary for supporting Marianne. She is intelligent unlike Blair Lancaster and has taken on this role to serve the people – not the big developers unlike Mr. Craven. Marianne will no doubt win her seat – but let’s hope for some well deserved change around the table next election.

  • Frankie V. Kerr

    Every time I witness city council meetings, I get indigestion.

    The new 6-storey residential apartment development highlighted Meed Ward’s competence, understanding of economic and development dynamics, market value principals, and generally her rigid stance against any change to status quo.

    This Councillor is is dangerous to the well being of this city. She is scaring away business, confidence in government, and the development community.

    Her management of the S.37 issue affecting the John Street development was an excellent example of how she knows little about the benefits of how development can be used to leverage her left wing agenda and make for better planning and living accommodations for the greater community.

    Her arbitrary stance against a 6-storey development on New Street is now becoming a defined trend of her modus operandi.

    The word on the street, both, locally as well as now regionally, is quickly spreading and you will see resistance by investors, developers, business seekers, to run to other municipalities because one cannot do anything in this city for the time being, especially with Meed Ward running around mad in the downtown.

    One thing that was somewhat disturbing about Meed Ward during the last council session, was watching her state her opinions on something in the form of facts (in particular speaking about developer profits, market value impacts, city mandates, etc.).

    Meed Ward is generally misleading in her presentations and debates, in that she does not qualify what is opinion and what is factual, and that is something that unfairly manipulates and tends to influence the blind support behind her.

    She should stick to chairing community improvement resistance committee meetings. She is not mayor calibre, neither is Goldring; even if simply from the ability to conduct business effectively skill set perspective; Meed Ward brings little in terms of relevant real estate development experience and business development credibility; other than for her resistance support group, nobody wants to deal with her.

    • Gary Scobie

      Your comments are quite interesting. They convey your own intransigence. You know, the same intransigence you accuse Councillor Meed Ward of, but from a very different direction.

      It is also clear that you responded without actually having visited her election website and viewing her opinions on suitable development. You say she wants the status quo – nothing changing. Her website says otherwise. She states we have an Official Plan and Zoning that already takes intensification into account. She just wants it adhered to, instead of every development that is zoned for six stories having an built in entitlement expectation by a developer of “oh, that means I should ask for 16 stories and settle for 12”. Because that is what is happening in Burlington. An official Plan, for all the time and effort that goes into it, should be treated with some respect, as a law would be, not as a simple inconvenience that can obviously and easily disregarded either by the city or the OMB. Why have an Official Plan if no one will defend it?

      No, Councillor Meed Ward is not anti-development. She is pro suitable development. Big difference that you choose to ignore. I have to finish by saying that if a developer can’t abide the rules we have, then maybe that’s not a developer we want to build our buildings. If you say that this means there will be no developer willing to subjugate him or herself to these “constraints”, then I think it would be a sad commentary to the whole development community. And I just don’t think it’s true.

      • Frankie V. Kerr

        The OP; sorry, let me spell it out for you; the Official Plan is a living guiding land use governing policy document. One of the reasons it lives versus being intransigent like your beloved Meed Ward is because it recognizes that the world is a place of fluidity and evolvement, constantly subject to economic adaptation and market dynamics, and political maturation.

        The support for the issue dealing with the OP, in part, is an application called an Application for an OPA amendment. The OP is not set in stone. The OP inherently has respect, unlike Meed Ward who does not understand the importance of putting the full extent of the governing laws of the OP and the Planning Act to work – for the benefit of the people in general; not some specific NIMBY group in her neighbourhood.

        In addition, the reason there is an OMB; let me spell it out – Ontario Municipal Board, is because of the Meed Wards of this world, and followers that employ the same MO (modus operandi)as her.

        Her website is propaganda packed nonsense. Her colours are vividly expressed by her live presentations in a public forum called the Council Chambers. Her statements are misleading, her knowledge and ability to effect good planning and development and increase the much needed tax base of this city are lacking, and her time as local politician is up; she hasn’t advanced in her ability to be effective; she is scaring people away.

        She does not possess the ability, nor the credibility to deal with developers and the larger business community. Her performance at Monday’s council meeting had a sent of being rancorous – not reflective of her glamorous website of left wing deceit.

        • Gary Scobie

          Sir, I have to end this with my congratulations to you on one of the most honestly transparent examples of pure hatred I have seen. If this is representative of whatever group you aspire to represent, I can only give them my utmost condolences.

          • Shannon Gillies

            Gary, how does arguing against Marianne Meed Ward’s opinions and ineffectiveness constitute hatred? (although I am curious if that middle initial “V” stands for Venom–RIP Frankie Venom).

            Mr/Ms Kerr has made some excellent points. Burlington’s Official Plan is not set in stone. It’s simply a fact that the Ontario Municipal has the final say in these types of planning decisions. Councillor Meed Ward has indeed built a solid political career being the voice of the angry NIMBY crowd. It’s worked out well for her. Not every proposed development is bad just because it deviates from the OP. Look at the Molinaro building at Brock and Elgin. Yes, it’s higher than what was in the Plan for that area, but it’s going to fit in just fine and now we’ll have that many more people shopping and dining at downtown businesses. It is not “unsuitable development” in the least. That fight (led by Meed Ward) was about fighting height and density for the sake of fighting height and density. Ridiculous! Are we afraid of height, or are we afraid of density? Are we afraid of losing greenspace? If that’s the case, we can’t always be fighting height.

            Look at the new Tim Hortons in the No Frill plaza on Brant Street. That didn’t even deviate from the OP yet Councillor Meed Ward gave them the most difficult time! Heaven forbid we bring business to the city that will actually be successful.

            Councillor Dennison actually did a great job at this week’s council meeting addressing the SPECIFIC concerns his constituents brought to him regarding the New Street seniors building (traffic, etc). He challenged the Roseland Heights community group delegation. When he asked if they realized a 4-storey building would mean a loss of greenspace for the project to be viable, and would they prefer that, the representatives of the group struggled to answer the question.

          • Frankie V. Kerr

            Frantic City

        • Roger

          The OP is not a living breathing document – it is a static document that is managed by a regional plan – the OMB can be the developers best friend and excluding Councillor Meed Ward – the rest of our elected officials in Burlington – roll over and play dead when a develper waves the OMB flag. If more councillors including the mayor were like the councillor – maybe we would really be the great city Moneysense talks about. The councillor for Ward 5 says we are becoming a destination for the wealthy – I guess defending an afforable, livable city the is open for business – not for sale – there is a a diffence. As for the left or right agenda – we are a city with out a homeless shelter or a growing population of lower income that are not included – if thinking and including them is left thinking – then I am proudly left. If you want to talk of right wing misdirecion – see a Burlington Performing Arts Center that cost a subsidy of 1 million dollars for year that even when planned services only 4% of the population with an average ticket price of 60 dollars – facts are facts – no agenda – no right or left wing – I am not in the councillor’s ward but thinks she represents her ward and our city well as well as sitting on regional council – other councillors could take lessons and notes

        • Tony Pullin

          The OP (hope I spelled it right) is a plan. An Official Plan to be precise. The purpose of a plan is to provide guidance. Plans may be altered from time to time. It is not necessary to deviate from them to “the full extent of the governing laws” to maximize their potential just because that opportunity may exist. Imagine if we took that approach with everything else in life.

  • Gary Scobie

    Bravo Marianne! THE Councillor who looks at issues from a city-wide perspective rather than just a ward only perspective. Not afraid to challenge her colleagues to become city focused. Takes ethical stands that often see her isolated, but takes the abuse that comes with it. I hopes she runs for mayor – this time!

    • Rob Narejko

      Can you cite an example of her city wide perspective?

      I appreciate Marianne’s viewpoints. Many of her positions come from a perspective that I certainly lack. But to say she is the only councillor with a City wide view and she isn’t calculating with regards to votes by keeping the status quo (ie Lakeshore Road bike lanes) is coming off a bit intransigent. 😉

      Editor’s note:
      Our point was that Meed Ward has consistently inserted herself into issues in almost every ward. She doesn’t see herself as a ward Councillor – but as a Councillor for the city – which doesn’t sit well with many of her colleagues. At least one council member has told Meed Ward she had no business getting involved in a ward she was not elected to represent. We are not suggesting for a second that Meed Ward has it right; far from it.