Is the race in ward 2 going to turn out to be a squeaker?

By Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2022



The ward 2 race

Tim O’Brien is quietly going door to door in the condominium towers, sometimes taking his wife with him.

Keith Demoe is focusing on the condo towers and preparing to get some literature out.

Lisa Kearns is holding a Campaign Celebration event this evening. One ward 2 resident said she thought that Celebrations come after the election adding that “calling her event a Campaign Celebration was odd. Certainly one has to be elected before it is called a celebration.”

Some people are finding that incumbent Kearns has taken to blocking people from her Twitter account. Why would a candidate do that?

“.. she went and completely blocked me from her facebook and twitter. Wondering if you have to agree with her to see her posts. “

There is a small sigh war in the ward as well with Kearns and O’Brien bickering publicly in front of homes that have both the O’Brien and the Kearns sign on their lawns.

A campaign about principles, ideas and the future of the city don’t seem to be getting much in the way of traction in the ward.

What could have and should have been a ‘walk in the park’ for Kearns might be turning into a squeaker – not something Kearns will deal with very well.

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24 comments to Is the race in ward 2 going to turn out to be a squeaker?

  • It will be interesting to see what happens. Councillor Kearns got 3200 votes out of 8k in 2018. Will she lose support from some of those?? I suspect she will. I know my friend lives down by Central Park and many residents are not happy about the dog park. Will she gain some from the other candidates camps who ran last time?? For that to happen, usually one has to show they did something during their 4 years. It’s hard to tell. I have only met with Tim and he is pleasant but pretty much sells his teaching and volunteer work. I don’t know what position he holds on anything. For me, if choosing a captain to lead troops, I’m not looking for the person that has necessarily done a lot of volunteer work. But Tim is a pleasant man and many voters will base a decision just on that. I voted Kearns last time, but really don’t know why. Demoe seems like he will go against the grain, but maybe we need that for once. I agree with him on the tribunal appeals, although editor suggests Kearns is clear of it. I disagree, Kearns is the Councillor in Ward 2 and should have made sure all checkmarks were in place for appeals. My understanding was many appeals did not go smoothly. I suspect it comes down to this, if you don’t want change, then Kearns or O’Brien will provide that. They will both do as they are told by Mayor Ward. I suspect Mayor Ward is looking to have either one on her council. Demoe, she will end up playing second fiddle to. I don’t know him, but have watched a couple videos. You can just see it happening.

    • Dave Turner

      Interesting perspective.

      As respects the OLT decisions. All those in the downtown were adjudicated against the prior, non-provincially compliant OP passed by the Goldring administration (voted against by MMW). So Kearns and Council and staff were not well positioned to fight the applications. Additionally, the OLT completely ignored the zoning and height restrictions set out in the prior OP. The blame for the super high rises lays with the unelected, politically appointef OLT & the Provincial government that put the OLT in place.

      Many people criticized MMW for there being open disagreements between herself and councilors and between councilors themselves. Yet you seem to feel having Demoe represent Ward 2 and be in a constant fight with MMW would be a good thing. I’m not sure I agree. Whether the representative is Kearns or O’Brien or Demoe tge councilor only has one vote of seven. That makes working to find compromises the way to go. I believe MMW last night said 91% of council votes were unanimous.

      Neither O’Brien nor Demoe have said what over the pastvfour yesrs what they would have done differently to Kearns, and what exactly is their action plan. Neither says what actual actions they might seek to be implemented to get affordable rental housing built. Neither have said what their position is as respects maintaining, cutting, expanding city provided services or maintaining, reducing, increasing property taxes.

      No one seems to have taken Demoe to task for reporting Kearns to the Integrity Commissioner, as they did to Councilors Nisan and Galbraith, calling their action “toxic”.

      Editor’s note: I don’t believe Demoe sent a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner: Kearns turned herself in.

  • David Gore

    Lisa has been, in my opinion, one of the best councillors we have had. She works hard, Is highly knowledgeable on all issues affecting the ward, does a great job of communicating with and listening to residents.
    As a frequent reader of the Gazette I am often baffled whether its purpose is to report news/facts or serve as a vehicle for the authors opinions.

    • David Barker

      In my opinion one third news/facts and two thirds Publisher’s opinion

      I agree with your thoughts on Councilor Kearns and her first term on council. I’m a huge supporter of the Councilor.

      I would say however one improvement she could make if (when) re-elected is to reconfigure or lengthen the monthly community meetings.

      (1) do away with the Councilor’ up-date which is a run through of what has happened at Council or with regards to development applications.

      Residents generally are well self-informed and so come prepared with questions. If unaware of the status of a matter, a resident is likely to ask for a general up-date.

      (2) lengthen the meeting in its present format to three hours from the present two. That time would be split first hour Councilor’s up-date, and then the second and third hours a Residents/Councilor Q&A session.

      In the past discussion of matters raised by residents has often been cut short and/or the Q&A session itself has been curtailed due to the two hour meeting time limit. My view is the Q&A interaction with constituents is the most important element of the monthly meeting.

    • Keith Demoe

      Councilor Kearns has done nothing of substance in the four years in office other than lose 7 OLT appeals and cost tax payers millions in legal bills. 500k just on the 2020 Lakeshore Rd location alone.

      • David Barker

        Mr Demoe. The $500,000 is a budget in respect of the 2020 Lakeshore Road. It has not been fully spent.

        As to the 7 appeals you reference, what would you have done differently?

      • David Barker

        What, Mr. Demoe, no answer to my question?

        “As to the 7 appeals you reference, what would you have done differently?”

  • Sheila Gore

    Lisa is an excellent councillor and keeps her constituents well informed. She definitely has my vote

    • Keith Demoe

      She’s done nothing of substance in four years as councilor other than lose 7 OLT appeals. All councilor Kearns wants to do is coast as a councilor until she gets into the Ontario Liberal party as MPP.

      Editor’s note: Me Demoe has chosen to be combative and uninformed. Lisa Kearns did not lose any OLT appeals. She was a member of Council that directed the City Solicitor to defend an appeal that was made. The Chair of the OLT found against the city. None of the Kearns finger prints are on this one. One the breach of council confidentiality – she owns that one.

      • David Barker

        Mr Demoe. You handed me your election flyer as I stood on my porch. Yes I was with a contractor but you showed no sign of wanting to engage in a conversation about your campaign. It’s difficult to get voter feedback without engaging. Something Councilor Kearns does exceptionally well.

        Anyway, I’ve read your flyer. Your stated policy positions raise some questions in my mind.

        1) the prevention of any further high rises in the downtown by working with the Province on new housing plans for the Region.

        So your main focus is not on Burlington but on the Region as a whole where if elected you’d be one of 24 regional council members. The present City council and the Regional Council have been engaging with the Provincial government on the entire development subject. Would you be loan wolfing or working in concert with other Regional Councilors.

        2) affordable housing initiatives including rent geared to income

        How would you anticipating the initiatives being funded?

        3) extend weekend transit hours

        How would you anticipate funding this.

        4) downtown noise control initiatives – use available technologies to combat vehicle noise levels.

        What technologies? How would your plan dovetail with Halton Police’s programs.

      • David Barker

        Silence again, Mr Demoe?

        Why no answer to my questions about your platform?

        I guess you don’t have any answers.

  • perryb

    Tempest in a teapot. You cannot believe Kearns blocked this individual just to be spiteful. Based based on many other situations across the world, one can reasonably expect the individual was being consistently obscene, threatening, abusive, whatever. Too many people think Twitter is a public service which they have the right to use, often anonymously, to harass others. Wrong. A person sets up a Twitter account for whatever reason and is fully entitled to manage who gets to play. So to whomever got blocked, try writing what you have been blocked for saying to another public forum – like the Gazette, maybe – and see how that works.

  • When Lisa Kearns sees the beauty of a crosswalk as a subject for an election video when the Civic Square in her and our Ward is going to rot due to the rejuvenation project being canned early in her term her prioritizing skills earn her an F.

    We may well have unnecessarily beautiful “crosswalks” given the Pride Flag has always been seen as a symbol of inclusivity. BUT our Civic Square in her Ward is full of weeds, dead trees and fall hazards which paints a not too beautiful picture of how this Council cares for our city infrastructure. It has been a huge loss to Burlington.that she got lucky in the last election by beating out a great candidate like Roland Tanner. This time her performance review will hopefully establish her votes and she will get what she has earned.

  • Tom Muir

    We drove to Oakville and back yesterday on Lakeshore with a jog coming back through west Downtown west off Brant, and Kearns won the sign wars hand down.
    Frankly, I don’t remember any other signs, but there were so few where we went I could have missed.

    In any case, in my opinion Kearns did a good job of keeping her residents in the loop, despite Covid.

    Nether she nor the Mayor could stop the Ford Growth Plan and OLT, but they did try. I heard them make repeated voices against what was going on.

    I would give her my vote but I live in Ward 1. That is my misfortune. We had no voice at all.

    • Keith Demoe

      Do signs win elections??

      • Tom Muir

        In my world, signs equal support and support means votes and votes win elections. Ever heard of this?

        Not to judge you based on this, but your combativeness as Pepper said, is clouding your judgment and making you appear uninformed about an obvious everyone knows fact of elections.

        I will not go further in these type of examples, but just in this story alone, this combativeness in criticizing Kearns is taking you into much deeper aspects of development, planning, and the provincial rule book, where you are evidently uninformed.

        Do more homework before you lash out some more. It’s not a credible picture.

        • Keith Demoe

          For starters…Lisa Kearns has people calling anyone to put up signs. yes, it’s a strategy to make out like everyone supports you. However, that is not close to being the case. I go into regional housing for example and see a Lisa Kearns sign…the resident living there tells me, someone called and asked if they could put the sign there…Lisa never visited the place. Also, I was told by a resident at a specific corner, they had Lisa signs removed, since after the resident allowed O’Brien to put his signs up, Lisa came back and was combative with the resident. All these signs are really about Kearns insecurity and trying win election…that I get, because she won’t win on her own merit. Regarding my comments on the OLT, I am very informed, the editor is getting more granular into the process, but from the 1000 ft view, if I were in charge, I would make sure all data/research and legal was inline…but with me, I would not have let it get to the point of an appeal. It is on Kearns and Ward by making Burlington planning part of the application phase. Why do you think developers are going to OLT…because they know they will get their way.

  • David Barker

    ““.. she went and completely blocked me from her facebook and twitter. Wondering if you have to agree with her to see her posts. “ why has the Gazette not attributed this quotation to anyone ? Perhaps it is fictional ?

    The Gazette itself said “Some people are finding that incumbent Kearns has taken to blocking people from her Twitter account. Why would a candidate do that?” A good question. Somewhat similar to a newspaper banning from commenting individuals who voice opposing views to the paper’s or its tame supporters.

    It’s become obvious the Gazette is actively not supporting Councilor Kearns.

    I don’t believe either Mr. O’Brien or Mr Demoe have put forward any action plans as to how they will deal with issues such as development, property taxes, city services, traffic congestion. It’s easy to offer broad statements. But specifics of what credible actions will be taken are tougher to offer.

    At the recent Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Candidates’Q&A meeting Candidate Marsden suggested the City should give small businesses a property tax holiday along with a financial support program. In almost the same breath Candidate Marsden seemed to say property taxes should not increase. She did not say how these two initiatives would be funded.

    • Keith Demoe

      You clearly have not gone to my website or seen my videos. I know you won’t…because you will only talk well about councilor Kearns. You must be related, since councilor Kearns has done nothing of substance in the past four years.

      • David Barker

        I have visited you website on a couple of occasions. I have not viewed the videos, but I have read the text.


        The City has said with completed, in progress, and applied for developments taken into account, the City has already met its required housing targets. Are you saying the City is lying?

        The Region has voted not to devour more farmland or greenbelt land to build more houses. So that is off the table. It is beyond the City’s control. With that in mind and understanding developers have no interest in building either “affordable housing” or rental housing how do you propose to meet housing needs of the less affluent, those who cannot contemplate buying or renting a $700,000 one bedroom condo? I don’t see anything in your website that addresses how to solve the “affordable housing” issue. You (like every candidate in every ward) certainly identify the issue, but you offer no solutions.

        City Services and Property Taxes

        The provision of city services and the level of property taxes levied and completely linked. Over the past decade or more City Council has come under pressure to not increase taxes, even though the cost to provide services to residents has increased year upon year. The tax rate has been suppressed by use of a combination of staff reductions, hiring freezes, reduced service levels. We all want a Rolls Royce for the price of a Ford Focus. But that is unrealistic. What is your position on maintaining, enhancing, reducing service levels and maintaining, reducing, increasing property taxes? I see nothing in your website that addresses this.

        Councilor Kearns

        The Councilor has done an excellent job over the past almost 4 years. I have criticized her and had my disagreements with her but overall I think she has been good. She along with all other council members has finally put the City o a firm basis with the new Provincally compliant official plan, under which 2020 Lakeshore will be adjudicated. All previous OLT downtown development adjudications were adjudicated under the previous non-complient OP.. As for Ward 2 specifically, she got the sidewalks on all the side streets along the Centennial Path put in. I have seen her take on and champion the issues of individual residents and get results. She has ensured all Ward 2 residents are well informed as to the status of each development application and the business conducted at Council or in Committee. Your crass comment suggesting she and I must be related looks very bad on you. I was in private business for almost 50 years. One rule that seemed to be held by all in my profession was “never knock the opposition; only play up your own virtues”. You should take heed of that

        • Tom Muir

          I agree that the province seems to have approved the shifted boundaries of the Downtown that Mayor and Lisa worked for and Council approved, but there are two obstacles that I think are still in place.

          First, the 2020 proponent asked for an appeal at OLT against the City not accepting the date that 2020 submitted a complete application as before the Provincial date of the Downtown Growth Area boundary change. City rejected that claim. However, I am not sure if this specific appeal to OLT has been rejected or withdrawn. Can you look to see if this is the case?

          Second, the entire Adopted but not inforce and effect OP is tied up at OLT with 45 or so appellants. This will take years at the present pace. So unless City has managed to get 2020 into the staus of OP and Zoning rukes that are in force and effect under the NBOP, we are still working with the old OP for general things, but the new boundary. I don’t know this for sure, but needs attention in your perspective, which also prompts me to find out for myself.

          I would like to add an important fact. Developers appealing to OLT are styming City legal and planning with a double whammy.

          Not only do the appeal the site specific proposal to OLT, with unusually extreme asks designed for OLT, which has approved 97% of all appeals they have adjudicated, but collectively they have en masse appealed the entire adopted new OP, that is held in abeyance by all these appeals.

          We need to know what the staus of this situation is. 2020 looks to me to be adjudicated under the old OP, but hopefully the new Downtown boundary. Can you look into this and report what you find?

          That’s a fact that is not well known I think, and not really mentioned in discussions of appeals and OLT, and what is Burlington doing about it and how are doing, often targetted at Lisa and the Mayor with uninformed comment blaming them for everything.

          The implication is that the City is basically crippled all over the City, to bring to bear the new adopted OP. And, developers are using OLT to do this to City and showing no mercy, just putting this in the City planning and legal face.

          They want to write their own OP and Zoning for what they want and get OLT to approve it.

          Some planning system this is. There is no collaboration in this. Just limitless greed.

          • David Barker


            I have not checked fir myself, but at her last community, residents meeting i asked Councilor Kearns about the UGC part of the appeal to the OLT. She said the proponent had withdrawn that aspect of their appeal. I have no reason to believe her response to be fictional. LOL

            As respects the new OP my understanding it is in force and of effect except as respects those parts of it under appeal at the OLT. How much or how little of the new OP is or is not under appeal I do not know.

            Additionally those appeals made to the OLT prior to the passing of the new OP will be adjudicated under the previous OP..

            If I have an incorrect understanding I’m sure someone with a correct one will speak up.

            Editor’s note:

            An OP is either in force and effect or it is not. If there is a part of a new OP that the city wants to have they would have to revise the In force and effect OP.

            No half measure. It either is or it isn’t

            Do your homework people.

        • Keith Demoe

          David, regarding the regional decision not to build past certain boundaries can be changed with a new council. The farmland is owned by developers and any farming done on it, is strictly to avoid taxes. This is one of the reasons, why ward 2 is targeted for high rises. Pick one…build up or build out. This council has not met any development targets like you are suggesting…keep in mind, there are new mandates that came out 3 months ago…1.5 million new homes over next 10 years. There will be 1.1 million people living in this region over next 25 years…where is everyone going to live? If you watched one of my videos, Mayor Ward is happy to tell people ‘we did it’ stopping any new development in Burlington and no boundary expansion. What this does, it creates exclusivity for people to live here and many don’t want to see home values decrease…however, the challenge is no one can now buy a home unless they are making 250k/year. Regarding Councilor Kearns and OLT…aside from the actual process which the editor made comment on, the background is what is important. Did these appeals need to happen if council was doing their job properly?? For the appeals, was the data/research collection managed well and was the presentation properly prepared. There are many variables involved. All council has done, is made Burlington planning part of the application phase before the OLT appeal. They have not been responsible, and Councilor Kearns is the ward 2 representative who has not stepped up. If I recall an article in Gazette, Councilor Kearns joined city meeting while in car with kids…seriously?? You mention the 2020 Lakeshore Rd is not going to happen…I keep hearing this, but why then is the legal budget up to 500k now??…If it was so certain nothing will move forward, then there should be no challenges. If Councilor Kearns had been doing her job, we would not have all these appeals.

          • Tom Muir

            Regarding homework, I always do mine, but a problem is things are always changing and it’s really hard to keep up with the latest facts. What I have learned is that you can’t appeal the entire OP as a whole, just specific things, parts of the OP and Zoning, that you raise as issues regarding your application in your appeal statement.
            I’m a Participant in several appeals including the mass appeal with many hundreds of issues by many developers of so many parts of the OP, with an appeal broken into 6 plus sections of Phases, that the OP has in effect been stuck entirely, and so held in abeyance at OLT and by the tactics of the 40 plus developers.
            It is not considered in force and effect at present at the appeal, and as I said above, this is being used to stymie the City in bringing to bear the best planning OP they have to argue at appeal. They can’t use it yet, and are stuck with the zombie old OP.
            This has worked so far because the appeal is deliberately complex in issues, and the question the City asks about what parts of the OP are actually subject to appeal and what parts are in force and effect has not been answered by OLT despite a long time it has been asked.
            An item on the OLT agenda has for months been some determination of what aspects of the OP are actually being appealed in all these appeals separately and/or together.
            In the meantime, since there has been no OLT Decision issued for the last CMC on this mass appeal file, as far as I know.
            And the OLT decision for the last CMC for the 2020 appeal file regarding the date of the complete application compared to the change in provincial UGC boundaries for Downtown, which the owner disputes, I just learned that the CMC on this was postponed due to an illness. I was told a new CMC is scheduled for Nov. 1.
            I am not sure how this issue will be decided, but in the meantime we are still stuck undecided how 2020 will be planned in terms of the Growth Plan criteria. regarding boundaries
            David raised a few questions in his comment about these matters, and I asked him to confirm or research some things he said. He said that Lisa Kearns said this 2020 appeal on the complete application date versus Provincial date of approval of the change in the UGC had been withdrawn, but this appears to be still in contention. The postponement of the CMC on this matter as above, indicates an OLC decision on it has not been made.
            Keeping up to date is hard, so homework needs to be so.