Gang of four strip Meed Ward of most of her boards and committee assignments. Council heading for more 4-3 votes.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 20, 2014



It was a blood bath.

It was a rude, crude attempt to strip ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward of all her committee and Board responsibilities. And for the most part what Councillor Taylor called the “gang of four” succeeded.

It didn’t start out that way – but there was a hint that something hard was coming at the Community Services Committee earlier in the week when the chair for the next year was selected. Meed Ward was elected as vice-chair and Taylor made chair.  Meed Ward had expected to serve as chair.  This is the committee that handles the budget and the work load is little taxing for Taylor.


Last Thursday was not the Mayor’s best day – his council trashed some of his key recommendations and there was nothing he could do to stop.

At the Council meeting Thursday evening the Mayor put forward his recommendations on who would serve where.  This is usually a quickly approved report given that the Mayor has already canvassed the members of Council.

The recommendation was that the following members of Council be appointed as representatives of Burlington’s Council to the identified local boards and committees, for a term to begin effective immediately.  Those shown in red are the ones that his Councillors didn’t go along with.


Burlington Public Library
Rick Craven
Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC)
Jack Dennison, Rick Goldring and Paul Sharman

Art Gallery of Burlington
John Taylor (2015/2016), Blair Lancaster (2017/2018)

Burlington Museums
Blair Lancaster

Joseph Brant Hospital
Marianne Meed Ward

Tourism Burlington
Jack Dennison

Burlington Hydro Board
Rick Goldring

Burlington Downtown BIA
Marianne Meed Ward


Councillor John Taylor was not a happy camper at the end of last Thursday’s Council meeting. Burlington took a number of hits that damaged the way the city will be run in 2015

Aldershot Village BIA
Rick Craven

Greater Bay Area Sub- Committee
Rick Craven & John Taylor

Burlington Performing Arts Centre Board
Rick Goldring & Paul Sharman

Downtown Parking Committee
Marianne Meed Ward

Licensing Committee
Rick Craven, John Taylor & Marianne Meed Ward

Conservation Halton
John Taylor & Marianne Meed Ward

Burlington Seniors Centre Board Liaison
Paul Sharman


Heritage Burlington (HB)
Marianne Meed Ward

Sustainable Development Committee (SDC)
Paul Sharman

Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee (BAAC)
John Taylor

Burlington Cycling Committee
Jack Dennison

Burlington Mundalization Committee
Blair Lancaster

Burlington Seniors Advisory Committee (BSAC)
Marianne Meed Ward

Burlington Inclusivity Advisory Committee (BIAC)
Blair Lancaster


Councillor Meed Ward is passionate about her Boards and Committee work: having two of her favorites taken away from her hurt – and that was what Councillors Craven, Sharman and Lancaster wanted to do. Quite why Councillor Dennison went along with them isn’t all that clear.

Meed Ward got taken off two boards that were dear to her heart.  Councillor Taylor has asked that the city representation at Conservation HAlton be revised to two Council members with Meed Ward being the second.  Councillors Craven, Sharman, Lancaster and Dennison voted against that idea.  Taylor then withdrew his name which gave that position to Meed Ward.

Councillor Sharman is now on the hospital board and Meed Ward is on the seniors board.  The Seniors has asked for Meed Ward to be on their board.

Meed Ward was replaced as the council representative on the Burlington Downtown Business Association by Councillor Lancaster who had complained to the Mayor that she wanted to serve on boards where she could grow.

At the beginning of each term of a new Council the members of Council decide who will represent the city on the various local boards and committees. The established process includes the completion of a form indicating individual council members’ interests in specific boards and committees. Based on each member’s input, the Mayor presents recommendations to the Community and Corporate Services Committee appointing Council members to local boards and committees.

The Procedure By-law describes appointments and includes, in part, the following information:”The Member of Council appointed as a liaison for each citizen advisory committee is not required to attend meetings or to take part in sub- committee meetings. Their role is to be available as a liaison to the citizen advisory committee.

The Council Representative is not counted when considering quorum and does not have a vote at citizen committee meetings”.

Mayor Goldring canvassed the members of Council and put forward a set of recommendations set out above.

Three of his Council members did not like what they saw in the report and actually conspired to ensure that Meed Ward was removed from every possible committee.


Councillor Rick Taylor “owns” Aldershot; he rules that roost. Were his actions and machinations at council last Thursday a moved to expand his clout? He has said that he hasn’t ruled out a run for the office of Mayor.

Councillors Craven and Sharman appeared to lead what Councillor Taylor called “the gang of four”; Councillor Lancaster went along for the ride; a ride it might be added being one she benefited from.  Councillor Dennison joined in at the end.

In his report to Council Mayor Goldring said: “I am confident that the unique interests and talents of members of council are reflected in the recommended slate of council representatives to Boards and Committees. These representatives will ensure effective communication between the local boards and committees and council over the next four years.

That one blew up in the Mayors face. There were three amendments to the report that took everything away from Meed Ward.  A surprise and somewhat intemperate move by Councillor Taylor had him withdrawing as the representative for city council on the Conservation Halton board which allowed Meed Ward to then take that appointment.  Councillor Taylor then withdrew from the Art Gallery Board as well.

What does it all boil down to?

Sharman Lancaster - Council April 7-14

Councillor Lancaster, on the right, relies on her fellow Council members for guidance and direction. Has she been foolishly led by Councillors Craven and Sharman who is seen here on the left.

Mayor Goldring had said he was happy with the Council he had prior to the election – and they were all re-elected.  His Worship is clearly not fully aware as to just how dysfunctional his Council is – there is now a very clear divide between the Mayor, Councillors Taylor and Meed and what Councillor Taylor called the “gang of four”; made up of Councillors Craven, Sharman, Dennison and Lancaster.  They meant to cut Meed Ward down a peg or two and on the surface it sure looks like they succeeded.

The Seniors are going to love Meed Ward; they didn’t take to Councillor Sharman all that well.  It will be interesting to see how Sharman fits into the hospital board – watch for some ego clashes over there.

Getting Meed Ward onto Conservation was a surprise move on the part of Councillor Taylor.  She will have er work cut out for her.

Booting Meed Ward off the Downtown BIA puts a dent in the Meed Ward ego – but it won’t make any difference to what happens at that Board: Meed Ward can and will participate fully.  The city representative is not needed to make quorum and doesn’t have a vote – and that board will deeply resent Lancaster pushing herself in the way she has.  Look for fire works between the two female members of city Council at the BDBA.

Taylor’s intemperate decision to withdraw from the Art Galley is unfortunate.

There weren’t any winners last Thursday evening.  what there is however is a very clear divide on city council that is not in the best interests of the city.

Only time will tell if this is what the residents of the city really want.  There are going to be reverberations coming out of this for sometime.  Getting a budget passed will be great fun!




Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

11 comments to Gang of four strip Meed Ward of most of her boards and committee assignments. Council heading for more 4-3 votes.

  • Enid

    Councillor Sharman has extensive experience in the private sector as a professional accountant and businessman. His presence on the Hospital Board will add immediate value and substance. This will not be “on the job training”.
    Councillor Lancaster will bring an insightful business owner’s perspective to the BIA. This will include a refreshing approach with meaningful relevance to a needy downtown commercial core.
    Both appointments have outstanding merit.

  • Dee Gee

    It’s interesting that Burlington Council is entering its ninth year (at least) of dysfunction. The common denominator is not former mayor, Cam Jackson, as The Gazette espoused for several years, but rather current Mayor (and former councillor) Rick Goldring and Councillors Craven, Dennison and Taylor, all of whom have been around for those nine years (and more). Councillors Sharman, Lancaster and Meed-Ward have just added fuel to the fire.

    Punishing Councillor Meed-Ward, arguably the most effective Councillor, seems to be a politically motivated attempt to diminish the influence of a potential competitor for the Mayorship in four years. Furthermore, not respecting the Mayor’s appointment recommendations is a clear indication that he doesn’t have the support of his council.

    The Burlington electorate missed an opportunity to strengthen council in this year’s election in deciding to return all of the incumbents for another for years. Shame on us! Hopefully, the 2018 election will see a more organized and focused campaign to oust the incumbents. Maybe then, the dysfunction will finally be remedied.

  • Shannon Gillies

    This really isn’t a big deal. In previous council terms councillors from wards outside Ward 2 served as the council representative on the Downtown BIA board–Mike Wallace (from Ward 5) and Rick Craven (from Ward 1) for example. I think it’s a great idea to bring in councillors from other wards. The downtown doesn’t just belong to those who live in the downtown; it belongs to the whole city, and depends on residents from throughout the city to make it work. Councillor Lancaster ran a business in our downtown for decades, and will do a great job I’m sure.

  • Peter Rusin

    Lancaster is a natural fit for her new downtown business role. She will do well. Having been a long time business owner herself, she will bring some credibility to the table. Good appointment.

  • Helene

    Well said Hans – I was just about to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard)- my thoughts are the same as yours.

  • Hans Jacobs

    Marianne Meed Ward won her council seat with a greater percentage of votes than any other councillor (except for the mayor), which is a strong indication of how her performance is perceived by her constituents. Maybe the small-minded people on council are envious?
    I applaud Councillor Taylor’s actions.
    The pathetic “Gang of Four” should be ashamed of themselves; they are not acting as they should; i.e., in the best interests of Burlington.

  • JQ Public

    Was this payback time for Meed Ward and Taylor for getting involved in the Beachway Community and Burlington Airpark issues, in wards other than their own? When your own councillor won’t listen, who ya gonna call?

    The Mayor’s unsubtle comment during the election that he would be OK with the same council returning helped lead to only one-third of citizens voting, to leave the same folks in, and encouraging the other two-thirds to sit on their duffs and let it happen.

    If we thought we had dysfunctional last term, we’ve got it in spades for the next four years. Better learn how to spell it folks; we’re going to be saying it a lot. Check out the video of the Dec. 18th Council meeting. It’s a must view for the new Personal Vendetta 101 Course.

  • D.Duck

    Children who can’t play fairly in the sand-box. What a spiteful dysfunctional lot. You see what happens to a councillor who wants recorded votes, transparency and accountability!! I think it is time that we, the voting citizens of this city, showed up to more council meetings to keep the children in check. The next vote will hopefully see many of this ilk removed from office. Thank you Councillor Taylor for showing integrity.

  • penny Hersh

    The board members of the Seniors’ Centre did ask for Marianne Meed-Ward to sit on their board. We are looking forward to working with her. Marianne is the perfect fit for our board and members.

    It is unfortunate that her fellow councillors chose to act they way they did. I personally feel that it is to her credit that she is not “part of the gang”.

  • Still this is generally negative. Unless the “Downtown BIA” and / or the “Aldershot BIA” can figure out a comprehensive commercial narrative. E.G. “Why any one is shopping there?” Then hold some sway over the permitting / development process – the whole BIA exercise is moot. Business areas are not made by slamming in endless apartment blocks – slums are.

  • Chris Ariens

    “Three of his Council members did not like what they saw in the report and actually conspired to ensure that Meed Ward was removed from every possible committee.”

    Yet when I look at the number of board & committee chair posts each councillor received, is there really evidence of a conspiracy? Is it really possible to give every council member everything they want?

    Craven – 4
    Meed Ward – 5
    Taylor – 5 (2 withdrawn)
    Dennison – 3
    Sharman – 5
    Lancaster – 5
    Goldring – 3

    Can’t help but admire Meed Ward’s passion and dedication and willingness to lead the city on a number of initiatives, but let’s give the other members of Council opportunities to take on additional responsibilities as well. Ms. Lancaster won’t get anywhere without working together with the Ward 2 councillor with respect to the BIA anyhow. Lets give her a chance to show what she’s made of.