Mayor explains rules at the start of every Council meeting - the rules do not appear to apply to her behaviour.

By Pepper Parr

March 21st, 2023



At the beginning of each Council meeting the Chair reads out a Land Acknowledgement and explains what to do if a fire alarm goes off and how people are expected to behave.

In the last couple of months the language and tone that the Chair uses has changed.

Delegates are told they have a choice to delegate in person or remotely.  “Delegates who are participating remotely are listening to the meeting from a separate room and will be joining us virtually as I call upon them to delegate. As with in person delegations in council chambers delegates will have five minutes to provide comments. We will use the time clock in council chambers to keep track of your time which is also available on the screen so you can see when you have when you’re winding down your last minute. Once you are done, please remain as there may be questions that members may have for you.

Jim Thomson delegating on his concerns over the soccer pitch at the former Bateman High school site. Would that T shirt be defined as a placard and therefore unacceptable at a Council meeting ?

“And as a reminder to all the delegates, they are required to adhere to the procedure bylaw, to speak only to the report and item on the agenda. And also be mindful of the procedure bylaw provisions regarding public conduct at committee and council meetings to which only members and authorized city staff are can proceed beyond the speaker’s podium.

“Public attendees must maintain order and will not display signs placards applaud heckle or engage in telephone or other conversation or any behaviour that may be considered disruptive.

“No person will use indecent offensive or insulting language or speak disrespectfully to anyone in council chambers.”

These instructions were read out by the Mayor during the Council meeting today.  At a June Council meeting Mayor Meed Ward  had this to say about Councillor Shawna Stolte

She  closed with the following: “And we ask electronic devices to be switched off. Any person who contravenes any provision of this bylaws section may be expelled from the meeting by the chair.

“I know we won’t have to do that today. But always good to let folks know the expectations as outlined in our bylaw.”

The Gazette has heard from two people who individually made mention of the Mayor’s behaviour to City Manager Tim Commisso who is reported to have said it wasn’t the Mayor’s best day.


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6 comments to Mayor explains rules at the start of every Council meeting – the rules do not appear to apply to her behaviour.

  • Jim Thomson

    The council meeting was supposed to reconvene at 10 past one.
    It was probably about 20 past when it actually started. The mayor and council were there at 10 past but the mayor stepped out to take a phone call. There may have been some technical issues with the live stream, but there was no information forthcoming about the cause of the delay.

    This was after they went 10 minutes past 12 during the morning session.
    Time management is not a strength of this council.
    Council take too much time because they don’t know how to follow the Procedures Bylaw.
    A high school student council probably runs a better meeting than the highly paid Burlington City Council.

  • Lynn

    Yeah, that’s rich. Definitely the rules didn’t seem to apply during the treatment of Stolte in your clip, nor in the 3 hour meeting when Nisan was, in the opinion of everyone I know who watched it, completely disrespectful towards Stolte. And it just went on and on, him – noticeably angry – accusing her of “not being sorry”, looking to increase her “punishment,” talking about jail sentences (!?) and speaking down to her as if she were a petulant child. And the Mayor, as Chair, let it go on. . It was far worse than anything I’ve ever seen a delegate do. Why do they act like delegates routinely show up and act like jerks?

    Do as I say, not as I do? And not as the little favourites do? Is that the mantra?

  • Jim Thomson

    Pepper don’t give them ideas.

    • Dave Turner

      Jim. 10 minutes really? Have you never had to step out if a meeting to take an important call or to deal with a problem that needed immediate attention. Look at it from the other side. Maybe if she had not taken the call a bad outcome might have resulted somewhere else, and then she likely would have been criticized for not having attended to it. Lighten up a bit please.

      Lynn. I am not condoning the Mayor’s behaviour, but for the sake of balance, I’m sure you will recall during the exchange the Clerk warned that Stolte’s use of rude and demeaning language towards the Mayor likely was in breach of the City’s Code of Conduct. It was definitely a two way exchange. Both were at fault.

      I’d like to think both the Mayor and Councilor are acting like adults and have moved on from that incident and are working cooperatively in the best interests of residents.

      It’s about time all here moved on.

      • Jim Thomson

        It’s a pattern. Time management and following the Rules of Order are essential to keep meetings moving. None of the Council has displayed a sound grasp of the rules. They need remedial training in how to run meetings. They shouldn’t be allowed to amend the Procedures Bylaw until they understand how it is supposed to work.

        Your final comment is telling “It’s about time all here moved on” I believe Kelvin, Rory, Paul and Angelo all said variations of that rather than just getting on with it and passing the motion.

      • Lynn

        Dave, perhaps the Mayor should issue one of those apologies and then we could move on. Though maybe not, because I think it’s a much bigger issue. I think the entire thing began long before that meeting, that was one very public low point, but the ramifications continue and are widespread.

        But hey, that’s just my opinion, from watching meetings and reading their posts and media statements, etc. I understand why to some it seems like a one-off, not that big a deal. But in my opinion, knowing what they ran on (twice) and knowing some of the members personally, I think it’s much worse. In my opinion, there are obvious differences in how certain members are treated and how they get along, what seems to be allowed for some at meetings, but not others. We used to complain about the pre-2018 council being toxic. I take that back now.