It's a matter of trust and competency - not much of it around this past couple of weeks

By Pepper Parr

April 26th 2022



Reports that are going to Council meeting as a Standing Committee are always published about 10 days before the meeting.

The report on the comments from a Closed Meeting Investigation were put on the city web site sometime after 7:00 pm on Friday.  Bad optics but optics are no longer a concern for this council or this administration.

The respected law firm, Aird and Berlis were brought in because someone filed a request with the city Clerk asking for an investigation – basically to determine if the city was following the rules about going into a Closes session.

The four dates that were investigated related to those occasions when the Integrity Commissioner was asked by Councillors Nisan and Galbraith to determine of Councillor has breached the Code of Conduct.

Few would argue that she did not – she certainly did and has accepted the consequences of her decision.

What the public wants to know is – did the city tell its citizens enough about why they went into CLosed and what they talked about during the meetings.

The Integrity commented that the could improve on what it tells the public.

The public will get an answer to that question; it may not be as fulsome as they expected and would like to see.

In their report Air & Berlus conclude that on each of the four occasions complaints were based on the city met the rules as set out in the Municipal Act – and they site chapter and verse to back up their conclusions.

It goes before Council on May 4th as a Receive and File Report .  All Aird and Berlis were asked to do is advise on whether or not they had the right to go into Closed.

Getting that answer, which we already know has cost the taxpayers $15,000.

Marianne Meed Ward in September of 2018 asking the public to trust her

During the discussion on the Integrity Commissions report Councillor Galbraith made this statement.  He said Staff can submit a report and ask that it be discussed in a Closed session of Council.  He added that it is Council that determines whether or not they actually go into Closed.  They have to vote on that – each time.

Burlington’s city council is beginning to look foolish, incompetent and lacking a clear sense of direction.

Mayor Meed Ward said in a lengthy Statement she released on her tweet account that trust in this council has to be maintained.  She could not have been more right.

In the 2014 election Marianne Meed Ward asked citizens not for their vote – but for their trust.  And they gave it to her and were impressed enough to make her Mayor.

She has lost that trust – the skills. the integrity and the spunk to win it back do not appear to exist.

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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5 comments to It’s a matter of trust and competency – not much of it around this past couple of weeks

  • Elan

    The Municipal Act provides minimum guidelines for closed door session, but it is each City Council that establishes their own closed door protocol. Burlington has the most minumum standard possible in this regard in southern Ontario. The ‘rules’ are baked in to limit public information, like the address associated with a critical citizen issue. This City Manager and MMW bang their chest about following the ‘rules’. The rules designed to allow politically sensitive issues to be hidden from public view, even in the case of what appears on the agendas. Hide it all. If you sit in those meetings, hear the delibrations, and complain they should be in plain site of the public, you get the MMW hammer. For the City-retained and paid ‘integrity Commissioner’ to say Burlington can “do better”, that is damning.

  • James

    Just my opinion so take it for what it’s worth.

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Here’s where we’re at.

    Meed Ward – Social media Mayor. Majority of Burlington doesn’t actually follow what’s happening at city hall, they only read whatever statements she puts out and that’s a big problem. Self centred, master spin doctor. Interprets facts however they suit her best. Highly skilled at spewing misinformation and tilted opinions that promote her political aspirations. The fact it’s taken this long for people to finally see the cracks in her facade is credit to how good she is at manipulating the news.

    Nisan – Meed Ward’s puppet. The biggest snake on Council. Even worse than I thought. How anyone could respect this guy is beyond me.

    Galbraith – Poke a stick at him to see if he moves. Wakes up long enough to vote however the Mayor wants then disappears again.

    Kearns – Originally Meed Ward’s biggest fan but gradually developed a spine and thoughts of her own. I don’t agree with much of what she says, but at least she’s developed into a strong voice on Council.

    Stolte – Most improved Councillor. She has/had potential to really help this city. Shame to lose her.

    Sharman – Strongest and most business minded on Council. Extremely valuable to this group of newbies. Tells it like it is. Would make a great Mayor, perhaps the Mayor we need, sadly he’s not popular enough to make a serious run. Often the only voice of reason on this decidedly Liberal-minded Council.

    Bentivegna – Bless his heart, he tries real hard.

    Let’s hope we get some serious contenders to run for Mayor and Council. While the Mayor goes to great effort to make us believe otherwise, this past term has not been good for Burlington.

    • Elan

      James, I believe it is like you are a fly on the wall with these assessments, except one. Paul Sharman. You know, he is a part-time Councillor, right? He has another job. As well, all his allegience is with Developers. He is very clear that exploring any other alternative to paving over the green-belt is not possible. And 90% of is election funding comes from those developers. He is Ford. There are some that say he wants to run for Mayor against MMW. Given her behaviour, I would welcome that, but I truly think, if we want an honest and balanced approach to our City’s realities, maybe Councillor Stolte should run for Mayor. Obviously she doesnt want it, but those are the leaders that usually prove to be the best. Beyond all of my hope, MMW has proven to be a massively divisive personality on Council. Burlington needs a leader whose objective is truth for citizens, Even if sometimes that truth means the answer to them is no, not just more MMW closed-door silence (——-).

  • Wayne Brown

    Mr. Parr

    Please proofread your columns before they are published.

  • Jim Thomson


    Did you actually read the Report? They were asked if they were following the rules about going into closed session and in reporting out of closed session.

    You cut and pasted correctly in your News report about what the Closed Meeting Investigator was asked to do.

    “Were Council and the Committee entitled to discuss those matters identified in the Request in closed session pursuant to a closed meeting exception in subsection 239(2) of the Municipal Act, 2001; and

    Did Council and the Committee’s “report out” resolution passed following each closed session comply with the Procedure By-law?”

    The Report confirms that all the rules were followed.