Our City Councillors seem to have parked themselves on the side lines, letting the Mayor do all the talking Do Something!

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 22, 2020



Premier Doug Ford has said time and again that he will do “Whatever it takes” and for the most part he has lived up to that statement.

As Premier he is looking pretty good. Confident, forthright; no flip flopping. Perhaps a little bragging about the province’s industrial might – but Ontario is the economic engine of the country. I can put up with Doug Ford’s briskness: no forced empathy from this guy.

We are in the midst of a crisis and Ford appears to be doing what needs to be done.

Meghani - Mar 19th

Regional Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Meghani – not a politician in sight as she addresses the public.

The Regional Medical Officer of Health (MoH) is learning to be less bureaucratic and explaining the decisions she has made. She is making the right decisions. She will be a stronger MoH when this crisis ends.

Burlington’s Mayor is doing her best – my own view is that her pleading for the public to be more sensible and responsible isn’t going to do the trick.

The Mayor declared a State of Emergency in the city. It isn’t clear to me just what kind of power she has to force people to do what needs to be done.

Large numbers of people were reported in Spencer Smith Park on Saturday, and at Mt Nemo – people who didn’t seem to know what “social distancing” is – if they did, they ignored the need to social distance.

Our City Councillors seem to have parked themselves on the side lines,  letting the Mayor do all the talking.

During the flood in 2013 then Councillors Sharman and Dennison went door to door asking people if they were all right. Hundreds had flooded basements.

sandwhich board person

Wearing sandwich boards might be a bit much for some of our Councillors – if they care about the people they represent they will get out there with them – at a socially acceptable distance of course

City Councillors can’t knock on doors with this crisis but surely they can summon some of the innovative ideas they used to get elected.

All we are seeing at this point is their repeating what the Mayor is saying – which is good as that keeps the message consistent.

The Mayor speaks for the city and to her credit she is doing a good job.

sandwhich board

How about each Councillor buying half a dozen signs – putting a clear message on them and setting them out in different places in their ward. Real Estate agents do it all the time.

The city Councillors represent the people in their wards and it is incumbent upon those Councillors to get out as much as they can – yes, at an acceptable social distance – and communicate.

They are basically sitting at home, collecting very good pay cheques and waiting this out.

Get out there and communicate. If they are stuck for ideas – try this: Spend some of the expense money you have and buy some sandwich boards – put a message on them and move them around the ward.

Do something!

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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16 comments to Our City Councillors seem to have parked themselves on the side lines, letting the Mayor do all the talking. Do Something!

  • Alfred

    The City employees that are working out of their house are not on vacation. They are working very hard from their homes to make this a seamless transition. The problem is the City has not provided contact info. for the various departments. Eg. Building Dept. Zoning Dept. Engineering Dept.. The City should provide names and phone numbers and e-mails to the public so that business can continue given the circumstances we are in.The phone to City hall is shut down and if you don’t have the e-mail addresses of those you are looking for you are out of luck. Hopefully we can resolve this quickly.

  • Elan

    One point of messaging is essential in a crisis like this. However, I hazard to guess the Mayor is not coming up with all this on her own. I believe Councilors are very much involved in partnering with the Mayor, the City Manager, and his key staff on all aspects of managing the City response to this crisis. I certainly don’t want my Councilor going rogue, treating this like a photo-op and getting ahead or out of sync with the “one voice” approach. I dont believe anyone is on the sidelines at City Hall.

  • Alfred

    Well we can confirm that 6 out of the180 thousand people living in Burlington think the Mayor is doing a good job. Keep up the good work.

    • Lynn Crosby

      And we can confirm that one developer in Burlington continues to be bitter and probably also blames the Mayor for the rain today.

  • Lynn Crosby

    I think that Ford and our Mayor are both doing a great job under intense pressure and are maintaining a tone that is both professional and comforting, while also acknowledging that this is very stressful and upsetting for the public.

    As that continues to escalate, this becomes even more important. When hearing that a neighbour has lost his business or a friend has lost a loved one, or reading the horrific news from Italy and elsewhere, the tone and actions from our elected officials and leaders is especially important. There is a fine line between trying to be positive and lighten the stress, and causing offence by appearing to make light of a situation that is causing real trauma to real people in the community.

  • Stephen White

    The first rule of Disaster Management and Business Continuity is to ensure there is one principal spokesperson. You can’t have multiple people spouting off offering differing interpretations or information. It only confuses things. The Councillors play their part by deferring to the Mayor.

  • Alan Harrington

    Can we ask about garbage pick up?

    I emailed my councillor but have received no reply.

    We are told to NOT put “germy” items (Kleenex) in the blue box – nor the green bin.

    With everyone sheltering at home, garbage is starting to pile up.

    Kids in diapers are home from daycares.

    Days are getting warmer as skunks, raccoons, and coyotes are coming out of hibernation

    We are told to buy stickers for extra garbage at the library at $2 each but libraries are closed.

    Would Halton Region agree to allow an extra bag of garbage to be picked up?

    Or is there somewhere we can dump it?

    • Rob n

      Garbage pickup continues as usual, every other week.
      You can order garbage tags online at halton.ca
      Who puts used Kleenex in the blue box? Not acceptable at any time…

  • Fred Crockett

    I am a Ward 2 resident, and in these challenging times, I am quite satisfied with the communication from my Councillor and my Mayor.

  • Rob Allan

    I agree with Walter, Joe and Claudette. The editor is desperately trying to create a story. Forget it!

  • Claudette Mancini

    The Mayor is the spokesperson for the city. She’s doing a decisive, if forceful, job. Good for her! Stupid people need to be reminded over and over that their negative deeds display a total disregard for others, and says more about them than they’d care to reveal. The sandwich board idea is a lot better than councillors taking to the streets, even though it would be their job to move them around. Adults, like kids, need reminders every now and again.

  • Joe Gaetan

    I am comfortable with one focused voice at this point.

  • M R

    Our Mayor is at the helm of our city.. she is the spokesperson and all communications should come through her to avoid any confusion. We must have a united front at all times and not create any controversy.

  • Walter Mulkewich

    The Mayor is doing what she needs to do – and so are the Councillors – give them all credit and support