Prime Minister visits Burlington; goes big time with photo-ops. Everyone gets their picture taken.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  December 3, 2011  –  History was made in Burlington Friday afternoon.  For the first time ever, since Confederation, if MP Mike Wallace is to be believed, a Prime Minister of Canada visited Burlington.  And what do you think he did?  He met with the Burlington Teen Tour Band for quite a while and then stood before the sterling citizens of the city and lied to them, not once, but twice.  Then had his picture taken with anyone who could stand.

Then he had his picture taken with anyone who chose to stand beside him and smile.  It was a scene that had the security people wanting to pull out their hair.

Getting the Prime Minister to Burlington is probably the biggest thing MP Mike Wallace has done for the city. Wallace on the left with Mayor Goldring on the right - all wearing their best smiles.

Everyone was crowded around the PM with five at my count, young RCMP officers with their suit jackets slightly open revealing the Glock revolvers on their hips and the identification badges in the belts, just like on television.  They formed a totally porous barrier around the Prime Minister while the man in charge of security for the visit prowled the gallery around the Community Studio Theatre of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.  While few people knew it, there were not less than ten very powerful guns on the hips of people in that room.  Security for people like Prime Minister Harper is very serious business and for a short period of time Friday afternoon it was just a little on the shabby side.

The big money donours to the Performing Arts Centre had front row seats reserved for them.

The national news media had their cameras arrayed at the back of the room where reporters from CTV, CBC, the Sun News organization and the Globe and Mail asked their questions.  This was big time stuff.

This was BIG TIME stuff for Burlington - national media were on hand to record the event.

The first question came from a CTV reporter who wanted to know what the Prime Minster had to say about the helicopter flight defence minister Peter Mackay arranged for himself to get back to work from a vacation trip he was on at a remote fishing set up on the Gander River in Newfoundland.  “He was on legitimate government business” replied the Prime Minister.  Wait a minute, I thought – that’s not true.

Prime Minister counts the votes as he poses with Burlington residents during his visit to the city to formally open the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Little white lie there Mr. Prime Minister?  These things happen – but once wasn’t enough.  The last reporter to ask a question was from CBC and she started by saying she wanted to go back to the McKay use of that helicopter – she got basically the same answer.  There is however email out there from armed forces Colonels indicating that the helicopter ride the Minister of Defence got wasn’t really taking care of business.  The public isn’t stupid – so when the Prime Minister tells a little white lie twice – they get the picture, these guys are not to be trusted.  But, what the heck, he’s a celebrity so you get your picture taken with the guy.

I thought the Prime Minister stood for all that was great in us.  Did I miss something?

Ward 5 Councillor has his picture taken with the Prime Minister. Will it show up on his campaign literature in the next election. Sharman's literature - not the PM's.

City General Manager Kim Phillips cozied up to the PM, smiled her best smile and click, click – picture taken.  Chair of the Waterfront Advisory Committee Nick Leblovik was made “whole and complete” when he had his picture taken with the PM.  Nick is a lifelong Tory and for the Tories having your picture taken with the PM is on a par (no pun intended) with dying and going to heaven.  It’s no different with the Liberals – you can remember the way people fawned over Pierre Trudeau when he was alive.  We treat these people as if they are celebrities instead of seeing them as stewards who have taken on the responsibility of running public affairs.

It is the way we the public handle the politicians that gets us all in trouble – bit I digress.  The Prime Minister was in town and that was history for Burlington.  He arrived earlier in the day to take a tour of the EcoSynthetix plant on Mainway.  This is a company that chose to move its head office operations from Michigan to Burlington where they now have their research and product development offices and have production facilities in Holland.

EcoSynthetix Inc., a renewable chemicals company that produces a family of commercially proven bio-based products, commissioned a new 80 million pound production line within their existing facility in Oosterhout, The Netherlands, bringing the Company’s current annualized capacity to 155 million pounds. It is the first of two new 80 million pound lines that the Company expects to bring on line by the end of the year. The new Oosterhout line was completed on time and on budget.

Prime Minister listens intently to a guest at the "official" opening of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre while security hovers.

“Having additional capacity in our Netherlands facility puts us in a stronger position as we build our customer base globally,” said John van Leeuwen, Chairman and CEO of EcoSynthetix. “The strength of our mill trial activity gives us the confidence to continue to build capacity to ensure that we have the capability to meet customer needs. With performance parity relative to competitive products, a significant price advantage and an extremely cost-pressured end market, we believe it is a matter of “when” rather than “if” large-scale adoption of our ECOSPHERE® BIOLATEX® binder takes place within the coated paper and paperboard market.”

Hospital CEO Eric Vandewall gets into the picture and gets snapped with the PM. He was one of more than 50 people who did Burlington's equivalent to a Red Carpet.

The new line employs the latest state-of-the-art emulsifier technology, providing EcoSynthetix with higher throughput and improved margins relative to its original two lines. The Company’s fourth line is expected to be installed later this year in Tennessee, bringing the total annualized production capacity to 235 million pounds.

The installation of the Oosterhout line follows on the heels of EcoSynthetix commissioning its BIOLATEX® binder pilot plant located at the Company’s Centre of Innovation in Burlington, Ontario. The pilot plant is being used for research and development purposes to support new product development. It supports the Company’s plans to further penetrate the paper and paperboard industry and expand into new markets, as it continues to displace petrochemical polymers with a low cost, bio-based alternative.

This is the type of industry Burlington has been itching to get for some time and their being able to attract the Prime Minister to their plant puts them in a different league than any other company on Mainway.


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