Letter to the editor - unparalleled examples of nastiness in Burlington’s municipal election campaign.

Letter to the editorBy Carol Victor

October 14th, 2018



These past few weeks have seen unparalleled examples of nastiness in Burlington’s municipal election campaign.

As a citizen I am disgusted by the lack of respect shown particularly to mayoral candidate Marianne Meed Ward.

People in Burlington are very engaged in this election for good reason. Unprecedented over-development has been the focus of discussion and this issue has materialized in every candidate debate. Many depositions were heard at City Hall to no avail.

In two recent debates, candidates were asked to provide a summary of their platforms. In both instances, the current mayor used his time to personally attack and denigrate Meed Ward who has been his chief opponent re-development.

After the debate, I was shocked to see that the candidate in Ward 3, Peter Rusin had uploaded a disgusting article where he compares Meed Ward with the incumbent Goldring and accuses Meed Ward of being a liar.

Rusin 2

This leaflet was published electronically and delivered to mailboxes in the city. Peter Rusin has been negative about Marianne Meed Ward since 2010. At one point the GAzette had to ask that he refrain from using the comment section of the Gazette. In 2014 Rusin ran for the Office of Mayor challenging Rick Goldring.

A printed version of this article was mailed to households across Burlington this week.

Rusin 1

A better understanding about Peter Rusin and his beleifs can be seen in the ECoB video of the Ward 3 debate.

This style of politics has no place in Canadian society. There is enough of that elsewhere. We must insist as voters that our leaders have integrity and demonstrate respect during the democratic process.

Carol Victor is a Burlington resident who contributes to the Comments section of the Gazette frequently.

Ward 3 debate.


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8 comments to Letter to the editor – unparalleled examples of nastiness in Burlington’s municipal election campaign.

  • Gary Scobie

    I won’t comment on the “Don’t be Fooled” hit job perpetrated by Mr. Rusin beyond this. In my opinion it exposes characteristics not desired in our Council chamber. Enough said.

    What I will address is the myth he has attempted to create on the sale of waterfront lands to private homeowners, by using only part of the information he knows. As the expert he claims to be on the subject, he would indeed know all of the details. He is correct that the homeowners at the time in the last century did get permission from the Ministry of Natural Resources (the owner of the shoreline) to build a seawall to protect the shore from eroding. The Ministry owns lots of shoreline on the Great Lakes. It cannot and will not put up seawalls for private individuals to protect shoreline. It simply doesn’t have the money or the capability to do so. It would rather not have the responsibility for all of its shoreline because it can’t protect it all from storms, rising water levels etc.

    The myth begins with the way Mr. Rusin’s piece is crafted. As Co-Chair of the Burlington Waterfront at the time this issue came to Council, I delegated numerous times against this sale of public waterfront to private interests. I know enough about the issue to make the following comments.

    The sale of the public land involved two public organizations, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the City of Burlington. The whole section of property sold to the private homeowners was not a perfect rectangle; it was a straight line along the three homeowners’ southeasterly facing property lines, near the shore and it was pretty much straight lines going southeasterly from the end points of the property lines out into the water. It got a little irregular on the seabed side as it matched the historical shoreline shape projected out into the water a certain distance before the seawall was installed.

    The Ministry lands were on the most southeasterly portion of the section sold, starting out in the water and progressing northwest to encompass the seawall and a portion of the grassed land beside it, but differing in extent to how far it went inland approaching the City’s portion of the land. The separation line between the Ministry’s land and the City’s land was sort of a wavy diagonal crossing the whole section of property sold, closest to the most westerly private lot line and farthest from the two easterly private lot lines.

    The end result of the sale of Ministry and City lands was that the two easterly private homeowners basically got ownership of land underwater out from the seawall for a certain distance and the seawall itself from the Ministry. The most westerly private homeowner got the same, plus a fair amount of grassed land between the seawall and the property line. The two easterly private homeowners got the grassed area northwest of the seawall to their respective property lines from the City. The most westerly private homeowner got the rest of the grassed land remaining to the property line from the City. This large grassed area (mostly from the City in the eastern portion and mostly from the Ministry in the western portion) was where The Waterfront Trail could have created a pathway with benches for the public, joining St Paul Street and Market Street ends along the lake. It would have formed a much better link of the Trail rather than the lonely, mostly unknown Windows to the Lake that were created at the foot of St Paul and Market Streets eventually.

    There was never any misrepresentation that the lands in question for sale were not all owned by the Ministry or by the City. It was public information, shared in Burlington Gazette articles at the time, along with pictures and diagrams of ownership lines. Mr. Rusin seems to imply that all that was at stake was underwater lands and a seawall, but doesn’t mention at all that the greatest prize, the part that could have formed most of a Waterfront Trail public pathway, was the large grassed area between the seawall and the private homeowner property lines. The City owned most of it in the eastern portion and about a quarter of it in the western portion. We lost a great opportunity for a unique section of Waterfront Trail here. It would have required the City keeping its land and buying the Ministry’s grassed land, seawall and water rights, with compensation to the homeowners for their noble (and self-preservation) efforts in funding the seawall some decades ago. The City (in camera and therefore away from public eyes) decided not to protect its assets for the public good. It was not a unanimous decision. But then Mr. Rusin knows that.

    Mr. Rusin’s piece makes no mention of what the City sold to the homeowners. Instead he talks only of what the Ministry of Natural Resources sold, largely land underwater and the seawall. It was never the intention of trying to put a pathway in the water nor on the seawall. The public knew that the seawall was built and paid for by the homeowners. So you can see why I’m mystified as to accusations of misrepresentation and lies. The Waterfront Trail opportunity was indeed created by the seawall construction. I am grateful that the homeowners took this on to protect the City’s, MNR’s and their own properties. But years later it could have ended with a different outcome for the public.

  • George

    I live in Ward 4 and received one of Peter Rusin’s scandalous flyers in our mailbox. Grahame you have written a brilliant rebuttal to Peter Rusin. Thank you.

  • Kyle Hutton

    Gareth Williams has taken no direct stances on mayoral candidates, Susan, and won’t – he’s worked alongside Marianne and Rick in the past and has no interest in pages or movements that denigrate either.

    Your link isn’t even showing what you claim, it’s blank or protected. Maybe you mean Peter Rusin?

  • Collin

    Susan L.: How do you tell who’s following the Can’t-Afford-Meed-Ward page? I couldn’t find a way to see that. I know Gareth quite well. He would have nothing to do with this cowardly trash.

    Did anyone notice that “Burlington” is spelled wrong on the big bold headline of their graphic? (“Burlignton”) Looks like whoever posted this needed more “liberal spending” on our education system!

  • Grahame

    Mr Rusin was a mayoral candidate in 2014, running against Rick Goldring.

    During his campaign he was quoted as saying :

    “The Mayor has a lot of explaining to do” said Rusin “and I am looking forward to asking questions on behalf of the people of this city.”

    Rusin criticized the mayor over leadership and transparency issues surrounding the pier situation.

    “This leader hid behind a group of lawyers” he said.

    Rusin questioned the mayor’s leadership skills and said bad decisions have been made.

    “Do you want a mayor who will avoid problems or a mayor who will work tirelessly to solve them?”

    “This council and leadership hasn’t been doing it, aren’t doing it and they are incapable of doing what needs to be done,”

    There you have it, according to Mr Rusin, Rick Goldrings time as mayor he has shown that he is Not a Leader, Avoids Problems, Is Incapable, and Lacks transparency.

    Thank you Mr Rusin for educating the citizens of Burlington, lets hope we don’t make the same mistakes again.

  • Susan L.

    I live in Ward 3 and I haven’t received any ads from Peter Rusin yet.

    Rory Nisan came to my door a second time but I told him I couldn’t talk because I was getting ready to call a taxi to take me to the vets. My cat was so sick. Rory offered to give me a ride there. Wow!

    I did have a chat with Darcy Hutzel when he came to my door. He seems like a capable man but we’re just not on the same page.

    Someone dropped off an ad for Lisa Cooper and someone else dropped off an ad for Gareth Williams in my mailbox. But nothing from Peter Rusin so far.

  • AM Jones

    Carol, I just came across (or rather it showed up in my face) this while I was watching Youtube just now. Utterly, utterly….pathetic. Here is the link: https://leaveabuse.ca/ It feels as though “trump” style campaigning has even hit our small patch of earth. SMH. BTW, recognize who paid for it? 2657391 Ontario Limited.

  • Susan L.

    A new Facebook page appeared yesterday morning.

    At the moment it has 1 follower, Gareth Williams, who is running for Councillor in Ward 3. https://www.facebook.com/pg/Cant-Afford-Meed-Ward-253000708741518/community/?ref=page_internal

    Many people have already voted so why now?