Mayor crosses an ethical line in his bid to get re-elected.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 19th, 2018



How does the Mayor get to use his Report to the citizens as part of his campaign to get re-elected as Mayor?

Mayors Update heading

The Mayor is given space on the city web site to report to the citizens of the city on decisions he makes and why he made them. Mayor Goldring’s practice has been to produce a report at least once a a month.


The Mayor is expected to use various media to speak to the public about decisions he has made and why he voted the way he did.

Nothing wrong with that – it is part of the job of being Mayor.

However, when his Updates are used to advance his electoral campaign he is stepping outside the lines.

In the most recent Update the Mayor chose to highlight part of his remarks in yellow in which he set out what one of his competitors for the Office of Mayor had said she wanted to see accepted in terms of height for a controversial downtown development.

The Mayor can and will campaign for re-election.  He will discuss what he has done and what his competitors are doing on the campaign trail and in debates.

It is not appropriate for him to use media space given to him by the city to take a swipe at another candidate.

Highlighted comment RG

The Mayor highlighted the views of a council member in yellow marker.



What makes this particularly tacky is that the Mayor published his update on Tuesday at 4:37 pm in which the words about Meed Ward were not highlighted in yellow.

Unhighlighted comment

He republished his Update on Wednesday at 6:03 pm – that is the version that has the highlighting.

It is actions like this that make election campaigns dirty.

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10 comments to Mayor crosses an ethical line in his bid to get re-elected.

  • Chery

    Sorry and Marianne Meed- Ward has not done the same?????? Why not look at all of her Ward 2 news letters during the PARC to reach her Central Community. She certainly had crossed the line many times she is only it for the downtown core not all the citizens in Burlington not a Mayor for all of the people for sure. That was very apparent during the PARC

  • Blair Smith


    Of course a Twitter account does not cost money – although a case could be made for the staff cost in setting up and testing the account (but I won’t). The issue is one of appropriate use; employing a communications vehicle created for the Mayor of Burlington pre-populated with thousands of followers and using it for campaign purposes. I think that this is outside the rules and it was brought to the attention of the Clerk’s Office – they disagreed.

    As for the event promotions, such as Canada Day, in The Post I think that there is a substantive and qualitative difference between photos of candidates at events and published promotions incorporating a candidate’s picture – adding nothing to either the reporting or the functional message. This too was brought to the attention of the Clerk’s Office and, again, they found no infraction.

    I like a level playing field and I sense that this one is slightly tilted. Again, in my opinion.

    • Gil

      Hi Blair, do councilors not have the same platform to use for campaigning purposes? I guess I’m a little confused over what the concern is. I think incumbents have an edge over new citizens that choose to run for office, but in the case of the mayor’s race, I don’t see one candidate being at a disadvantage (my opinion).

  • LoverofLiberty

    In response to Blair Smith. No he is not the first, however, he actually has real competition this time around. I personally will be glad to see him go. The City Clerk is very biased towards the mayor that is why no very vigilant. I personally want to see a complete change at council. This club has mismanaged and played too many games. Its time to clean house and start over.

    Go Meed Ward! Go Ken White!

    Maybe with these two Ward 6 may actually get some representation~!

    • Blair Smith

      Just to clarify – I didn’t say ‘he’s not the first to cross the line’. I said ‘this is not the first time he’s crossed the line’. And yes, it’s definitely time for a change.

  • Elizabeth Hamidbasha

    I would prefer 3 stories, although I am aware the developers wouldn’t get rich with such a restriction. That given the case, maybe they’d go away and find some other beautiful small city to pick on. As i see it, the developers see Burlington as: “You’re beautiful, now let me change you into another Mississauga which is anything but a beautiful city.”

  • Hans

    It – among other things, like his “easily defensible” development comment – makes Goldring unworthy of re-election.

  • D.Duck

    Actually, this highlighted passage does little for the Mayor but does a lot for Councillor Meed Ward.

  • Blair Smith

    Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the current Mayor has crossed that same ethical line, using City resources for campaign purposes. How about his City built and developed Twitter account? How about all those ‘event’ ads in ‘The Post’ with the Mayor’s shining visage directly above or below? Some would say that this is just the inherent advantage of the incumbent but some incumbents seem more willing to use these ‘advantages’ than others. I just question why our City Clerk isn’t a little more vigilant. Isn’t it supposed to be a level playing field? In my humble opinion.

    • Gil

      So having a Twitter account costs money?

      As for the events that you see in the Post, a lot of businesses, (especially new ones) send an invite to the Mayor and councillors to invite them to things like grand openings, etc. Not sure how that’s seen as an advantage. They are doing their job. That won’t change whether our next mayor is Rick, Mike or Marianne.
      A lot of people who choose to run start going to events around the city are find themselves in pictures on social media, Snapd, the Post, etc.

      I personally didn’t see anything wrong with the comment. I think people that do are reading a bit much into it. I don’t think negatively of Jack for wanting 14 or Marianne for wanting 3-11. It’s a statement of fact.