Mayor and Councilor Lancaster in Holland representing the city during the celebration of the Canadian liberation of Holland - seventy years ago.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 4, 2015


The Mayor is not in his office this week.

He is out of the country along with Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster taking part in the celebration of Canadian troops liberating Holland seventy years ago.

Liberation of HollandWhen the announcement was made at a council meeting it was done very quietly. They Mayor wasn’t sneaky about it – he was just unusually quiet. Municipal politicians in Ontario were once infamous for the junkets they took at taxpayer expense.

Ever since those glory days politicians have been very, very quiet about their trips out of the country.

There was no media release about the trip. For a Mayor who rarely gives up a photo opportunity there was no picture of the group that left for Apeldoorn heading for the airport.

Nothing in City talk magazine about the trip – but there was a notation of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding that led to the twinning of Burlington and Apeldoorn.

Canadian tanks in Holland

The citizens of Holland crowded the streets of the cities and town when the Canadian army came through seventy years ago. Some of those people immigrated to Burlington and made us a bigger and better city.

Burlington has a very engaged Dutch community that has served the city well. Our twinning with Apeldoorn is something to be proud of as is our twinning with Itabashi in Japan.

It would be just be nice if the Mayor’s office would be consistent in his understanding of what transparency actually means.

There was no mention of who from the Dutch community took part in the trip nor was there any mention of the senior staff members who are along for the ride.

Nothing wrong with the trip – Canadians are amongst the most welcome people in Holland – they have never forgotten what our troops did for them. It is fitting that a city that has been twinned is there to be part of the celebration – just be open about it.

And publish the expenses soon after you return.

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6 comments to Mayor and Councilor Lancaster in Holland representing the city during the celebration of the Canadian liberation of Holland – seventy years ago.

  • Frank Rance

    There has been a lot of planning in Burlington to organize this very special trip to Apeldoorn, Burlington’s twin city, for our citizens, including students, soldiers, and politicians who will be there. The residents of Apeldoorn and all across Holland are so appreciative of what Canadians did for them 70 years ago. They have not, and will not ever forget. There will be much to see and do for all those who will make the trip. It cannot be done in a couple of hours, or days as the very ignorant Helmut Denninger suggests. It’s quite insulting to read a question from this man when he says, “what is really the purpose?” Have you been living under a rock? You sir, are a pathetic small minded man.

    I was in Apeldoorn for the 50th anniversary, and can recall quite vividly all of the fantastic celebrations that we attended. We were busy every day for a week. Most of the living and travel expenses were paid for by the Dutch Government.

    The Mayor and Councillor will be kept very busy the whole time. Thank you for representing the City of Burlington.

    I found this story that appeared on December 13, 2014.

    In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the City of Burlington’s twinning relationship with the City of Apeldoorn, the Burlington Mundialization Committee is organizing a citizen delegation visit / cultural exchange to Apeldoorn, the Netherlands from April 30 to May 13, 2015.
    •2015 is also the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, which will be celebrated throughout the country.
    •The delegation visit will highlight the best the City of Apeldoorn has to offer, including a visit to the Royal Summer Palace – Paleis Het Loo (now a museum) and tours in and around the city.
    •The tour will also include other destinations in the Netherlands including a visit to the city of Amsterdam and the historic city of Delft.
    •While in Apeldoorn, citizens participating in the delegation visit will stay at the homes of local residents, other city tours will include hotel stays.

    If you are interested, contact us today!

    Arnold Koopman Burlington Mundialization Committee Telephone: 905-335-3588


    Lisa Palermo, Committee Clerk City of Burlington Telephone: 905-335-7600 ext. 7492


    Editor’s note: The Gazette could not agree more with Mr. Koopman – he is one of those Dutch immigrants who came to Canada, settled in Burlington and made the city a better place.
    Our concern has been with the lack of information from the city and those participating in the event. It was almost as if they didn’t want the public to know that some tax payer money was being spent. As long as the spending was reasonable – it will be money well spent. Just let the public know how much it amounted to.
    Those 90 year old veterans fought that war to give us honest, open and transparent government. we owe it to them to deliver on what they fought for.

    • Helmut Denninger

      Thank you Mr. Rance for the added information about your attendance at a function twenty years ago. Not everybody knows about the details about such events. Some people like myself do not know everything about history and about the purpose of going to such events. I would suspect if you asked regular people on the street what all this means, the majority probably would also like to know. It sounds very interesting. Maybe we can have next year’s celebration in Burlington.

  • Rob

    According to the Toronto City website, one of the roles of the Mayor as the head of council is to represent the City at official functions. I would think this trip would fit that criteria.

    • Helmut Denninger

      Yes one would think so, but, this is City of Burlington and the official function is in Holland not Burlington. And I doubt it lasts more than a couple of hours on one specific day, so why go for one week. The Mayor should share the itinerary so people can educate themselves about what a mayor does and why a mayor does something like this. It is good education for students interested in politics and international studies.

  • Cathy Lamb

    In light of Councillor Lancaster’ s apparent disinterest in being a local municapal leader, as evidenced by her interest in being elected as an MP in the upcoming federal election, she should have shown some integrity by NOT going to Holland. What do you want to bet that this trip, as our expense, as taxpayers, becomes a photo op for her upcoming campaign.
    Shame on you Blair!!!

  • Helmut Denninger

    Why a whole week, why not just a couple days? It took less time for the liberation effort. Why not send a couple of soldiers instead, or, some students. How much is this costing and what is really the purpose? Not criticizing, just asking. Transparency would be welcome to educate and engage others who may have an interest in such important historical events, and to give people an understanding why a mayor and soon to be ex-councillor would go to this type of celebration for an extended period of time.