Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: 'leaders do not need to come up with all the great ideas, leaders need to create the environment that lets great ideas come from the community'.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 4th, 2018



There was never any doubt as to who was in charge.

There was never any doubt as to what she was going to do

And there was never any doubt as to how the audience felt about the direction Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor was taking. The applause was close to rapturous. There were at least five, heck make that six standing ovations. This was her night.

Moment she became Mayor

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Justice Barry Quinn.

The moment Justice of the Peace Barry Quinn, a former municipal Councillor himself, slipped the Chain of Office around the neck of the stunning red dress Meed Ward wore she was in the driver’s seat.

Meed Ward gave a hint as to just how well she was going to be able to deliver on her election promises when she told the audience that she would have some good news for them “tomorrow”. Expect some word on the “approved” Official Plan being in the mail from the Region and on its way back to city hall.

There was entertainment for the audience; Hayley Verral sang O’Canada, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry performed, Dan Murray, a Burlington poet read and Dania Thurman sang to close out the evening after which everyone congregated in the family room to munch on cup Kelly’s cupcakes and cheese trays from a local provider.

City council on innauguration Dec 3rd - 2018

The 2018 – 2022 Burlington city council.

The Mayor set out how she was going to run the city when she laid out four themes that she said would define her term of office.

1: Residents first
2: Burlington is everyone’s city
3: Protecting the city
4: Honour the trust and the commitment to serve.

For the most part the Mayor spoke extemporaneously. Marianne did not needs notes or a script, this was an evening she has spent the last ten years preparing for.

Citizens being citizens 2

Citizens being citizens after the Inauguration and the Inaugural address.

Her theme, that respecting the residents was first and foremost, was supported with a commitment to “serve you” by providing more parks and delivering budgets that are not in the 4% annual tax increase range. “We need to do better than that” she said.

“This council is dedicated to your vision, we need to repair the trust” and added that leaders do not need to come up with all the great ideas, leaders need to create the environment that lets great ideas come from the community”.

Statements like that brought people to their feet.

Staff, said the Mayor implement the decisions council makes.

Point number 2. Burlington is an inclusive city. She wants to “fix transit “The meat behind her 3rd point, protecting the city was this: “We will not take on over-development”. The applause was instant. The Mayor added that she was pushing the reset button on the downtown plan.

NGTA No-highway-here1-285x300Point # 3: Meed Ward wants to flood proof the city and protect the green space. She committed to fighting any effort to opening up the green space north of the Hwy 407 – Dundas demarcation line. The same comment was made about any effort to re-open the debate over an NGTA road cutting through Kilbride and Lowville.
Meed Ward gave Mary Munro, a former one term Mayor, a strong nod when she said “Mary committed to saving

Lakeshore Road and not going along with cutting down any trees to widen that road.

Meed Ward was not as successful in her efforts to save prime waterfront land from sliding into private hands.

Throughout her address she was firm in her resolve. “We heard you” said Meed Ward “and we are listening”.

“Stand firm and never back down” she added.

Statements like that make it clear that Meed Ward is firm in her commitment to lead a city council that will be significantly different than the one that was in place from 2010 to 2018.

In expanding on her 4th point Meed Ward told the audience that many felt the province holds all the cards. “Not true” she said and added that “we are going to choose our destiny.

The audience heard a slightly combative Mayor stake out her territory when she said to the audience, quoting Winston Churchill, that you “go from failure to failure without giving up” adding that she lost two elections before she went on to win three.

Wearing chain of office

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward wearing the Chain of Office for the first time.

Before turning the inauguration into a meeting of City Council Meed Ward said “the cause is nothing less than our city. We need you to now go out there and do some good.”

Did Burlington get a look Monday evening at a woman who just might turn out to be a great Mayor? This country hasn’t had all that many great Mayors. Toronto did have David Crombie serve that city as Mayor; Crombie has a soft spot for Burlington and there is certainly a meeting of minds between Meed Ward and Crombie on how the city should protect its waterfront.

Those two should have lunch sometime. Crombie was a strong proponent of a Waterfront Trail – something Meed Ward has some ideas about as well.

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6 comments to Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: ‘leaders do not need to come up with all the great ideas, leaders need to create the environment that lets great ideas come from the community’.

  • Jim Young

    I got a sense that we have moved from an oppositional relationship with a council that deserved our opposition, to a potentially more colaborative relationship with a new council who deserve an opportunity to earn that collaboration.
    So let’s give them that opportunity.
    Of course, having demonstrated the power of the electorate to change council, they have also empowered us to expect more and given us the tools to hold them accountable if they do not live up to that promise.
    We will indeed live in interesting times for the next 4 years in Burlington.
    I’m more optlmistic than I was at this time last year when many of us spent countless nights at city hall in ignored opposition.

  • Susie

    The new Mayor blossomed like a brilliant beautiful rose both on her appearance and presentation. Congratulations! Meed Ward and Crombie’s meeting of minds on the waterfront, and downtown to be specific, needs serious thoughts going forward. Proper market value for the hotel property might be the answer for the City to purchase. She certainly has the majority backing of the people of Burlington on that note.
    The Councillors looked amazing, and have their tedious work planned out for them also.
    United we will stand, and divided we will fall!

  • Don Fletcher

    Our City Council has truly made a 180 degree turn. It is difficult to mentally reconcile where we were prior to October 22nd to where we are standing now, lead by a former Councillor who was often berated & outvoted 6-1. We no longer have a Mayor with just one vote (usually cast when it didn’t count) but a Mayor who is prepared to make promises and committed to do whatever it takes to keep them. Meed Ward’s husband, Pete, is quoted by Marianne as having said one morning, pre-coffee, that “I think you have to save Burlington”, and that this is what convinced her to run for Mayor. There will be missteps and not everyone will be happy with every decision, but on whole, she (along with a fresh council, energized staff & engaged residents) might just “save Burlington”.

  • joe gaetan

    Also worthy of note is the attention MMW paid to the council members she will have to work with to get the job done. She also signaled that we need the 1580 city employees, who at times are not appreciated and worse have been disrespected by some citizens.

  • Phillip Wooster

    A new time and a new focus. I believe Burlington finally has a leader–Marianne has clearly stated the principles that she will govern by and she will follow through. It is going to be tough slogging turning this government and this City around–I wish her well.

  • Stephen White

    The Mayor’s speech was nothing short of brilliant: sincere, open, reflective, inspiring and genuine. She touched on all the right themes, and conveyed the messages the audience wanted to hear. The supportive and complimentary remarks she made regarding her Council colleagues was both unique and very collegial.

    She is off to a great start!