Getting the horses into the gate is taking some time; starting buzzer doesn’t go off until September. Lots of time?

By Pepper Parr


January 11, 2014

Getting the horses into the gate is taking a bit of time.  The Usual Suspects are not rushing to actually commit – other than the Mayor, none of the incumbents has marched down to the Clerk’s office to file nomination papers.

Is this a picture we are going to see frequently> Will there be a change in the name on the name plate at city council?

There is clearly a race in ward 1 where two candidates have filed their papers; they now wait for the incumbent Rick Craven to file his papers.  One total newcomer, Katherine Henshell and a solid Aldershot resident, Jason Boelhouwer, who thinks it is time for a change, have filed their papers.

Often, whenever ward 1 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward appears at events with the Mayor she sounds more “mayoral” than the man who wears the chain of office.

Ward 2 might be very quiet election night – there is every chance that incumbent Marianne Meed Ward will be acclaimed unless the hurt feelings within the developer community are big enough to have them find a name that can be printed on the ballot to run against Meed Ward.

It will be something to see Meed Ward sit out a campaign – she lives for the game, loves the play and the interaction.  A side-lined Marianne Meed Ward is not a pretty picture.  Trust her to find a way to insert herself into the election even if she is acclaimed; she could well use 2014 to begin her 2018 race for the office of Mayor.

That kind of thing happened in ward 1 when Jane McKenna took the bait an unhappy property owner put out and ran against Craven – only to be severely trounced.  However, that did give her a bit of a profile and she took the bait a second time when Keith Strong came calling with the Tory nomination in his hand.  This second run had a well-oiled machine behind McKenna and got her into office.  It will take more than a well-oiled machine to keep her there come the next provincial election.

John Taylor, Dean of city Council clearly doesn’t believe in term limits.

Ward 3 could be a cake walk for John Taylor – his profile is so high that it will take an exceptional candidate to overcome his name recognition.  While Taylor has served the people north of the 407 well, he isn’t one of them and you have to live on one of those side roads to fully understand what rural life is.

For reasons this writer doesn’t understand the rural community has not been able to find one of their own to represent them.  Ward 6, which has a large swath of land within its boundaries, is also represented by someone who lives in the suburban part of the city.  Burlington’s city council, and the Regional Council as well, desperately needs someone who can speak for the rural folk and represent their interest and life style.

Ward 4 will offer the most interesting race.  The incumbent is in trouble but he is redoubtable and is superb at the June to September campaign he runs where he cycles through every street in the ward which runs from Upper Middle Road, Appleby Line, Guelph Line down to the lake,  and pours on his charm and bats the baby blues.  They have worked for Jack Dennison in a number of his initiatives in his life.  Don’t count him out.

Brian Heagle – seen as a candidate for Ward 4. It is not the dog that wants your vote – could it it beat Brian were it to run?

Brian Heagle will run again.  Burlington will not be any better off should he win – and he did get within striking distance last time out.  They were separated by 1184 votes with Dennison getting 5292.  Had he worked a bit harder he could have taken the brass ring – but that’s the problem.  Heagle doesn’t do the hard work – and changing his political stripes hasn’t helped him

AND, there is a dark horse out there, thinking it over and taking his time while he decides if elected office is a next step in An already successful career.  If this horse is in the race don’t be totally surprised if you find him and Jack Dennison at your doorstep.  It is not unusual for an incumbent to decide it is time to leave and do so on the highest note possible.  Giving your blessing to a high quality candidate who could well go on to become Mayor in 2018 would add a little lustre to a damaged image in the ward.  It might even get Dennison into the Roseland Community Organization.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Ward 5 looks as if it is going to produce a flock of candidates.  There will be at least three in the race this time with a couple of other potentials mulling it over.  There were 9 candidates in 2006 and 7 in 2010.  Incumbent Paul Sharman has his work cut out for him.  If he can convince his community he has picked up some people skills and can deliver a bit more than parking spaces on the street and make a sound contribution during the budget debates and not throw everything off track the way he did with his 0% increase in the 2011 debates, he might prevail.  The ward has a history of putting forward a number of candidates that often turns into a crap shoot with the tumbling of the dice rather than a clear decisive vote count determining who wins.

Ward 6 – another part of the city with significant rural geography but not all that much in the way of population north of 407, has an incumbent who needs to change the image that has emerged.  The former Beauty Queen image doesn’t track anymore outside the die-hard Tory base.

Is north Burlington ever going to get the kind of representation it needs and deserves? It is going to be up to that community to find a local candidate that can draw support from the people south of 407 down to Upper Middle Road. Sarah Harmer – where are you when we really need you?

If a solid candidate emerges Blair Lancaster could be in serious trouble.  There is however an opportunity for her to show that she is indeed much more than a pretty face with a pleasant smile.  Serving as chair of the Development and Infrastructure Standing Committee  gives Lancaster an opportunity to show she does have “cajones” and can deliver on the level ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven does as a committee chair.  Only time will tell if she can pull it off.  She does have the city’s best General Manager in place to guide and support her. If she does make it happen – there will be no stopping her.  A strong performance as chair is essential for her to stay alive politically.

The race for the Chain of Office worn by Mayors is totally unknown.  Mayor Goldring has filed his papers but other than that there is no sign or sense that he has done anything which kind of reflects his first term as Mayor.  We would really like to see a better Mayor Goldring and believe it is in there – somewhere – it’s just not visible – yet.


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3 comments to Getting the horses into the gate is taking some time; starting buzzer doesn’t go off until September. Lots of time?

  • “Last month, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin released a scathing report highlighting the lack of accountability in the local governments of cities and towns across the province.”

    Globe & Mail Jan. 13 2014, 2:36 AM EST


    Mayor gives his city a B+ on its financial score card.
    By Pepper Parr—BURLINGTON, ON January 22, 2011—
    It was the “be at event” for the week and more than 400 business people bought tickets for the State of the City address by the Mayor and hosted by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. Those who attended described the room as “a happy place.” Mayor Rick Goldring told the audience who he was and what he was going to do.

    The event, usually held in October of each year, was moved permanently to January. The theme the Mayor chose for this his first address at a Chamber event was “Building an affordable, inclusive and complete City that works together.”

    Mayor Goldring will be a appearing again before the C of C on Thursday, January 23, 2014

    Burlington Chamber of Commerce—2010 Municipal Election Issues—187 Respondents

    Er, umm, I certainly wish Mayor Goldring the very best in ALL his pursuits. I can’t help feeling the Mayor and Council have missed the boat on getting ‘a round to-it-ive-ness’ in terms of City priorities with CITIZENS—along with planning timelines.

    As it currently stands, I think most of us are feeling the information exchange is NOT inclusive—but more like picking fly dung out of pepper while wearing boxing gloves—and not being paid the piece-work rate.

  • Tony Pullin

    The article states that Burlington shall not be better off should Brian Heagle win. When the comment by Roman appears to take exception, the editor notes: “Facts are just part of the story. Observations are just as critical. Then of course there are facts that don’t get told-aren’t there?”
    I’m unable to read between the lines, but it seems almost cryptic. Could the writer/editor offer a better explaination of what that means?
    Editor’s note: The editor has no additional comment.

  • Roman Talkowski

    Re: Brian Heagle

    I worked for Brian during his 2010 campaign and I can attest to how hard he worked.

    Running for public office for the first time involves a steep learning curve. Brian learned quickly, working harder and smarter as the weeks went by. He was perceived as a real alternative to the staid status quo and put up a strong challenge. He gave the incumbent real cause to be concerned.

    Brian Heagle is a very successful lawyer, business owner and 2009 Citizen of the Year. He is a forward thinker, looks at the whole picture, not parts of it and is very active in the Burlington community. Brian is more than qualified to sit on Council.

    Please remember that only facts validate opinions, and facts in turn, make for responsible journalism.
    Editor’s note: Facts are just a part of the story. Observations are just as critical. Then of course there are facts that don’t get told – aren’t there?