For those who wanted someone other than Marianne Meed Ward as Mayor - come back in four years. She will be sworn in later this year..

By Pepper Parr

October 17th, 2022



There they were – all five of them – even the elusive Walter Tuck.

They were taking part in the Burlington Chamber of Commerce Meet the Candidate event during which they were given the opportunity to respond to questions that reflected the interests of the Chamber of Commerce members.

Not a debate but a chance to hear what they had to say on a number of issues that ranged from getting rid of the Red Tape, making the city a better place, helping people, making better use of the unused commercial space in the city. There was nothing really new or exciting

In the second event featuring the candidates for Mayor for: Anne Marsden on the left, Jim Kerr, Marianne Meed Ward and Steve Reike

Jim Kerr said he would like to see the parking lot spaces in some of the malls used for housing. “We’re already doing that at the Appleby Mall” explained Meed Ward.

Everyone had comments on the appeals that were being made to the Ontario Land Tribunal – we learned that Meed Ward met with the provincial Attorney General to talk through some options that would lessen the impact of what Meed Ward called an unelected body that is preventing municipalities from doing the responsible planning she said they are quite capable of doing if given the opportunity.

Frequently the other candidates would say “as Marianne said” – she had become the source for the information they needed to make a case for electing them to office.

Marianne Meed Ward owned the room during the Chamber of Commerce Mayoralty candidate event. No one got anywhere near her in terms of setting out what was going to get done.

The Mayor knew what she wanted:  “Send me back to city hall” and when she gets there she will continue with the plans for Affordable Housing, admitting that the city cannot do this on their own – federal and provincial support will be needed.  She wants to see inclusionary zoning, easier said than done, and pointed out that there are applications in the pipeline that amount to 27,000 housing units.

Getting them through the pipeline is the challenge and then getting shovels in the ground when the building permits have been issued will not happen overnight..

The economy we are in and the tight money policies that surround everything these days does not mean that housing will sudden;y appear.

The developers control the rate at which housing is built – the risk is all theirs and they tend to be cautious people.

Well before the event was over it was clear that Marianne Meed Ward was the only candidate with the experience and sense of vision the city needs,

Don’t take that to mean that we would support Meed Ward were there a candidate who could do the job. Unfortunately – the next Mayor that will be sworn in sometime in December is going to be the Mayor we have now. That is not necessarily good news.

We will return to Meed Ward’s strengths and weaknesses at another time.

The purpose with this article is to look at what the other choices were: Steve Reike, a visionary, a big picture man, an idea person and an entrepreneur. And also a climate action man. He offered bromides. There was no plan.  His hope seemed to be that maybe Meed Ward will listen to him and aid him in his quest.

Walter Tuck took part in the Chamber of Commerce event but did not show up for the Roseland Community Organization event,

Walter Tuck, no signs, no literature to speak of, no web site. He does have a family pedigree that has his great grandfather, his grandfather and his father Serving the community; Tuck feels it was his turn to show up – reminding people that Tuck Public School was named after the family.

Anne Marsden has earned the right to present herself as a candidate; she has been a vigorous, direct, and at times too detailed a delegator for the comfort of many – but she is often right.

Unfortunately she is not listened to very often.

What we think can be expected of Marsden in this election is that she will put a dent in the plurality Meed Ward earned in 2018.

If Marsden lowers the Meed Ward plurality by more than 15% – she can say that she won the election.

Would a big dent in the Meed Ward plurality result in the setting of a new course for Meed Ward – only time will tell

Jim Kerr, the man who appeared out of nowhere, was for a short period of time, a bit of a hope for those who do not want to see Meed Ward returned to office.

If what we heard from Kerr at the Chamber of Commerce event is any indication what he would do as Mayor – it was a major disappointment.

There is no campaign phone number, there is a web site,  and there is a business card with a QR code on it.

Jim Kerr looked good on paper.

Jim Kerr is a candidate who isn’t all that interested in actually campaigning.

There is a campaign manager who kept saying they have yet to ramp up the campaign and that they can still win – with the election 20 days away.

When the Roseland Community Organization held a Q&A for the Mayoralty candidates it wasn’t much different – Walter Tuck didn’t show up and Jim Kerr added nothing to the very little he had said in the past.

Why he bothered to file nomination papers is something we will never know.

As the event was coming to a close I turned to the person on my right and said:” You’ve just heard from the next Mayor of Burlington.”

The other four candidates didn’t lay a glove on the lady.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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