Mike Wallace wants the Mayor's Chain of Office - tapping people on the shoulder all over the city.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 6th, 2017



Ken, an intelligent citizen who comments in the Gazette from time to time, made an interesting comment earlier this week.

Burlington Citizens are in charge of their future, he said. “If the people of Burlington want to build to accommodate more people then let’s see how the voting goes in 2018.”

That election is more than a year away but some of the ducks are already being lined up.

Goldring tweet

Cute – why doesn’t the man just come out and say that on May 1, 2018 he expect to file nomination papers.

There are three who covet the Mayor’s chain of office: The current occupant who has said in a very coy way that he is in the race.

Mike Wallace has been telling anyone who will give him 15 seconds of their time that he too is in the race.

And we assume the ward 2 council member Marianne Meed Ward is still in the race. She was running for Mayor when she ran in 2010. Meed Ward had run previously in Ward 1 against Councillor Craven.

Mike Wallace was a member of council for a number of years and expected to be the Mayoral candidate but found himself in a federal election where he won and was off to Ottawa.

Greg Woodruff, an Aldershot resident, has run some numbers based on the votes he got when he ran against Regional Chair Gary Carr and figured out that he has a chance of winning. Will he toss his hat in the ring? Who knows?


Meed Ward loves her job; she revels in pulling people together. During her first term of office she spent her annual postage allotment in a couple of months – she was mailing everything to almost everyone.

At the Mayoral level there is an interesting situation. Meed Ward has her tribe’ they will stand by her – the question is – does she have enough people in the other five wards that will be with her?. If she has – and she seems to believe she does – then the question becomes this – is her vote bigger than what Wallace and the Mayor have to split?

The Meed Ward vote is not going to go to either Wallace or the Mayor. Those two will have to share what Meed Ward doesn’t get.

Mayor at Wallace election HQ Oct 2015

The Mayor spent the night of the federal election watching he vote come in at Mike Wallace’s headquarters.

Mike must feel that he can pull in more of the vote that Meed Ward doesn’t get than the Mayor can.

Wallace and Gould

Wallace congratulating Gould on her defeating him for the Burlington federal seat – it will be interesting if Wallace becomes Mayor and has to deal regularly with the woman that beat him.

Mike has profile, he has been around a long time and he wants the job – close to desperately.

The Mayor chose to go the photo op route – he couldn’t sustain the approach his Chief of Staff Frank McKeough developed for him during his first term.

The Mayor has gone through four Staff Chief’s. He hasn’t delivered on any of his environmental issues – still no private tree bylaw – and he hasn’t been identified with an issue that the public is fully in support of. And he seems to have to cling to the New Street Road diet.

Meed Ward is described as “divisive” – she is focused. She knows where she stands and sticks by her decisions. There isn’t the understanding of the economics of land values that the job needs.

Often, whenever ward 1 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward appears at events with the Mayor she sounds more "mayoral" than the man who wears the chain of office.

Often, whenever ward 1 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward appears at events with the Mayor she sounds more “mayoral” than the man who wears the chain of office.

Should she win her first two years will be hectic – she will want to do everything at the same time. Meed Ward believes she will be a great Mayor. Whether she is not will become evident in the third and fourth year of her first term.

At the council level – no one is going to beat Craven in Ward 1; Leah Reynolds was being primed for the ward 2 seat by Meed Ward but the fiasco with the texts sent between the two during the school closing debate might put a wrinkle in those plans

There is a credible candidate for ward 3 – the issue there is whether or not John Taylor is ready to retire. He has deep deep support in the community but 30 years is a long time. At some point the harness has to be put away – and if Taylor likes the look of the candidate he might decide to support the person and mentor him during the first term.

The potential candidate was raised in the ward and currently holds a very important job at another level of government.

Dennison announcing

Jack Dennison the day he announced the sale of Cedar Spring. his health club operation.

Ward 4? Can Dennison be beaten – Of course he can but not by a candidate who comes into the race late in the game and doesn’t have a team or the funding. Dennison has name recognition – some think the recognition is past its best before date.

Ward 5 – Sharman holds sway there and there doesn’t appear to be any one in the trenches prepared to do the work to take him on.

There is hope for a change in ward 6 – there is at least one very credible candidate who would do a superb job of representing the residents. Career options are a family issue there.

Do a head count at the council level: Craven, Dennison and Sharman are close to a given. If the right people are elected in wards 2, 3 and 6 – and Meed Ward is Mayor – Burlington will be a much different city.

We thought we saw it that way in 2014 and we were dead wrong. No predictions at this point – but the possibilities are intriguing.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion column written by the publisher.

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9 comments to Mike Wallace wants the Mayor’s Chain of Office – tapping people on the shoulder all over the city.

  • steve

    One of the most incredibly stupid things to happen in Burlington, lately, has been the “road diet” at a time when “intensification/overcrowding” is latest, social engineering, cause du jour. It won’t take much to find a candidate I will support over Goldring.

    • Hans

      Politicians can use jargon for it, but taking away capacity from busy roads is still incredibly stupid no matter what it’s called. Let’s give the councilors desks that are 20% smaller and see if they get the message?

  • William

    Goldring had a lacklustre second term; I can’t imagine why he’d run for a third. He talks a good talk on all manner of issues, but rarely sees anything through.

    With Wallace we know what we’re getting. A 22 year career politician with 10 years as a backbench MP, never able to rise through the ranks like our current MP has. I recall the Post editorial, before the last federal election, summing up their disappointment with his “unspectacular” performance.

    With echoes of our previous Conservative mayor, he remains quite partisan, actively involved in Jane McKenna’s election campaign. He’ll get his votes from a portion of the conservative base and the chamber of commerce types, but his partisanship will prevent him from building widespread community support.

    He represents the past. God help us if we’re counting on him to lead Burlington into the future.

  • Stephen White

    Mike Wallace is a formidable candidate and will get my vote. We really need someone in the Mayor’s office who possesses previous political experience, street smarts, people skills and above all, common sense and pragmatism. Rick Goldring’s tenure has been an endless litany of unctuous pronouncements, grandiose plans and photo ops. He has left a trail of broken promises and mistrust from one end of the City to the other. Four Chiefs of Staff in seven years is ridiculous and is indicative of serious leadership problems. As for Marianne Meed Ward she can pretty much kiss Ward 3 and 5 votes goodbye given her performance on PARC and the closure of Bateman and Pearson high schools.

    Burlington voters are tired, angry, and are generally in a sullen mood. Everywhere I go people are talking about traffic congestion, bike lanes, intensification, road diets, lousy public transit, etc. I have lived in Burlington for 42 years and I have never seen this much voter dissatisfaction and rage. With the exception of Paul Sharman I don’t think there is Council or HDSB incumbent who is safe in 2018. Hell hath no fury like an disgruntled electorate.

    • Hans

      I agree with most of Stephen White’s comments, especially those on Rick Goldring’s tenure and traffic congestion/bike lanes/intensification, and I will never forgive Rick for unnecessarily giving up lakefront land. Rick has not done what was best for Burlington and doesn’t deserve another term.

      It is unfortunate that MMW became ensnared in the school board’s accommodation fiasco; it was a no-win situation and may have cost our brightest and hardest working politician a chance to be mayor.

    • Bernstein

      Everywhere I go, people are talking about their kid’s new teacher, how hockey practices have started already, the high value of their home, the good time they had at ribfest, and the cool end to the summer. They sometimes complain about the traffic on the QEW, parking at the GO lot, or the time it took for the contractor to finish the reno. When asked if they would rather be living here in Burlington or another neighboring municipality (Brantford, Hamilton, Oakville, Milton, Mississauga), they all say they Burlington is great for their family and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. A few even point out that the City is one of or the best mid sized cities in all of Canada, one of the best places in the world to live.

      I disagree that the voters of Burlington are historically dissatisfied and full of rage. The VAST majority of people in this City are quite happy and love living here. Their focus is on their own lives, not whether a building downtown should be 12 stories or 25 stories, or whether road sharing on New Street is a good idea or not. For some, the issues just don’t resonate with them. For others, they are happy that the city is planning for the future and not clinging to a vision of 1955-1990 Burlington.

      I think that a lot of the general unhappiness with every single thing the city does can be pinpointed (generally) to a certain demographic and geographic area. Politicians and pundits would be well served to remember that a lot of people are very happy in their wonderful forward looking city.

      • Mike Ettlewood


        A very interesting comment indeed! Could you please be more specific around your comment – “I think that a lot of the general unhappiness with every single thing the city does can be pinpointed (generally) to a certain demographic and geographic area”. I can guess the “demographic” but would appreciate your clarification/confirmation. However, I must admit that I’m at a loss with your belief that there’s a “geographic” centre of discontent. Again, if you could elaborate, I would be most appreciative.

      • Steve

        Bernstien, you’re right that most people aren’t focused on those issues but as traffic builds within Burlington in the next few years they definitely will be. Once the affect of the cities plan of trying to force people onto bikes and a transit system they chronically under fund start become obvious and traffic grinds to a halt people will start to ask questions and those questions will prove very difficult for our elected officials to answer.

        The only reason people aren’t upset now is that peoples lives haven’t been impacted that much, yet. But once people see their daily lives affected they most definitely will take an interest. Traffic is already building and will only grow worse over time. The city tells you that there is no room to add more lanes on major roads. Halton Region’s official plan, the easements and all the bridges over the 407 that are 6 lanes wide tell you that’s a lie.

        I am all for balanced transit options and strongly believe in both public transit and a solid system of bike trails, just not these cynical attempts to dictate to people how they lead their lives and try and lie to them to impose their own vision. I believe biking and a properly funded transit system should be in addition to a strong road network, not a substitute for it and I think most other people in Burlington would agree. Once they realize that the City has the opposite vision I think they will be if not unhappy at least less happy.

        Burlington is looking forward to a vision of the future that the average citizen doesn’t share and that disconnect has become slowly more obvious over time, like with the New Street road diet for example or the cuts to Burlington Transit. I have already heard a couple people who never take transit remark on how ridiculous that the city could call the recent cuts to Burlington Transit “service improvements”. It’s that kind of thing that slowly builds to a desire for change.