Rainbow Crosswalk Survey written by the Mayor comes up short on demographic data - just who was responding?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 10th, 2021



We now know a little bit more about the survey that pulled in more than 4000 responses to the question: where would you like to see the next Rainbow Crosswalk.

The overwhelming response said put the Rainbow in front of the Catholic School Board.

The Gazette saw that as a little on the dicey side politically.


Director of Communications for the city Kwab Ako-Adjei

he survey was posted to the City’s Get Involved page and “promoted  via our social accounts” said Director of Communications for the city Kwab Ako-Adjei who added that “Our office works with the department responsible for the survey to make changes or edits if needed.  The survey ran from May 7-23.”

What Kwab Ako-Adjei does not say is the “department responsible” for the survey was the Office of the Mayor.

The Staff report said the “online public survey was prepared to expedite community consultation and respond to the community’s requests for additional locations…”

The intention appears to have been to catch the attention of the high school student cohort.

Mayor Meed Ward said during a Standing Committee meeting on Tuesday that she had written the survey.

All of the respondents were identified as anonymous.

None were identified by age or gender nor level of education

The vast majority of the respondents checked in the first two days the survey was online.

There were a few that responded to the survey on more than one occasion – but not enough to make much of a difference.

survey aware-engaged

The Get Involved web page on the city web site is a place where ideas and projects are posted and where people go for updates. The city tracks who takes part in the surveys and which issues they are following. Those that responded to the Rainbow Crosswalk survey were not part of the group that tends to follow the Get Involved web page.

None of the 4295 aware and engaged respondents had ever interacted with the Get Involved web page before leading to the conclusion that they may never have heard of the page and were directed to it by their peers.

None of the Council members took issue with the Mayor preparing the survey; their concern was with the number of Rainbow Benches that were going to be placed in individual wards and wondering when a Rainbow Crosswalk could be painted in their ward.

Kelvin Galbraith said that painting a Crosswalk at the RBG would be a good way to tell people entering from Hamilton that Burlington was a  2SLGBTQIA+ community.

Councillor Nisan wanted one in his ward and thought in front of he Art Centre would be a fine place.

Councillor Bentivegna didn’t appear to have a preference and Councilor Sharman knew there would be one in his ward in the fullness of time.

mmw May 5

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward taking part in a Standing Committee virtually

What became evident as the debate progressed was that the Mayor put together a survey, the Communications people put it up on the Get Involved web page and then, sort of out of the blue 4000 + people responded.

With that moment the Mayor pressed for a decision to get Rainbow Crosswalks across the city saying speed is of the essence” and to “get it done quickly”

Councillor Sharman said it “strikes me as a bunch of folks got caught up” and that the information is not as objective as it might have been.”

Mayor Meed Ward described what was being done as a “made in Burlington” solution and then added that she could see “a Pride Parade”  in the city’s future.

Just like Toronto?



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13 comments to Rainbow Crosswalk Survey written by the Mayor comes up short on demographic data – just who was responding?

  • Mozelle Cole

    Someone please help me with this… Do councillors in other cities set up surveys for this kind of stuff? Should they not be concentrating on running a business and making a profit?
    Politics and religion don’t go together. Yes, everyone has a right to their opinion, but it’s not a city’s job to go after or bully any organization that chooses to not fly a flag. Because of this, our tax paying dollars are going to pay for 6 crosswalks, one of which is VERY QUICKLY, being installed outside the building that does not wish to fly the flag. We have approximately two hundred thousand people in Burlington, but because councillors have obtained 4000 votes on a website, this is going ahead. Added to that 6 benches are proposed at $5000 a piece. Why are we paying for these items? If a real estate agent wants a crosswalk or bench, they pay for it. Revenue for us. This is an organization that has money… May I add, on pride day Spencer Smith Park was decorated with lawn signs and hundreds of flags to take (in a pandemic). We paid for that as well. I asked the Mayor if we could have the same for Canada Day and we could not.

  • agencia posicionamiento seo

    Sea cual sea el objetivo final, es cierto que al aumentar la visibilidad y el tráfico, aumentarán las conversiones. Pero no todo es tan fácil, para que los usuarios permanezcan en la web y realicen una conversión es importante que la página sea atractiva para los usuarios.

  • Lisa Cooper

    Dave Turner question to the response to the survey. Did any other religious designations be put forward? A mosque, synagogue, Jehovahs witness, places of any other worship than Catholic? Yes we are a Country of many different beliefs and religions. Does that mean one should be targeted because it stands beside it’s doctrine? I believe in be true to one’s self no matter what sexual orientation, political or religious views you have. When you call out one religion who’s to say that your belief will not be called out next. This should not have been approved. There are many business’s in Burlington that I am sure would love to have the Rainbow sidewalk on their street. As far as history is concerned, it was put into the constitution because of the religious persecution of Catholic’s. If we erase history we have no future.

  • Mozelle Cole

    I have to admit that when I saw these results, I thought it strange. I completed the survey, as I usually do, for Get Involved. However, This decision appears rushed. Most of Burlington is not signed up with GIB. This should be put out to all folk via other means… The Post, social media, etc. Why would the Mayor prepare any survey?
    Is it a co-incidence that, of all the choices for a rainbow crosswalk location, the Catholic School was selected. Would this be simply because it did not wish to fly the flag? What happened to democracy and freedom of expression, opinion, rights, etc. Come to think of it, I did not see any other religious areas on the survey, such as Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, as discussed above. May I suggest, this survey be put out to the whole of Burlington and let the people decide their own areas for a crosswalk. I am so disappointed with Get Involved Burlington. Please take me off your mailing list.

  • Dave Turner

    My sister-in-law saw mention of the survey on the Mayor’s Inatagram page and told her two twenty something daughters. My nieces both completed the survey and spread the word to their friends.

    BOTS? Conspiracy theories ?

    Maybe just a topic that is dear to the heart of many, many Burlingtonians, and especially the younger generations. In speaking to one of my nieces I’m told there is alot upset at what she calls the hypocracy of the Catholic Church.

    Luke M, the BNA was enacted in 1867. Much has changed in 150 years ! Just because it was so then, does not make it right today.

    Back in 1867 and for a long period thereafter catholicism and protestantism were the predominant religions of this country. Now those two share the stage with so many other major religions, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism,Hinduism etc. So the question that must be asked and answered if public funding is provided to one religious grouping, Catholicism, should it not be provided to all other major religions, or to none at?

    • Joe Gaetan

      At issue here is whether the Mayors’ well intentioned engagement survey went astray, not whether Catholic schools should be publicly funded. That is a topic for another day. The facts are the Halton Catholic Boards democratically elected majority voted against raising the flag. We can all agree or disagree with that in our country. Suggesting the Pride Sidewalk be located in front of the School Board would be a disservice to Pride Flag supporters and the 2SLGBTQ+ community and only serves to foment anti-Catholic rhetoric. Catholics boards that will fly the flag are Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington and Thunder Bay.
      https://www.catholicregister.org/features/catholic-education/item/33087-pride-flag-to-fly-at-schools ht

      • Dave Turner

        Joe, it was Luke M who raised the funding issue here.

        As to the placement of the crosswalk at Fairview and Drury being a disservice to the rainbow community that is your opinion, to which you are entitled. Obviously it’s not the opinion of my nieces and their friends who see it as a well deserved rebuke to the Catholic School Board.

        The Board, as you say, democratically took a position. Those who responded to the survey have equally, democratically taked their positions. Those who voted for Fairview and Drury clearly expressed their view of the Board’s position.

    • joe gaetan

      Surveys when properly executed provide a snapshot of attitudes, behaviors – (including thoughts, opinions, and comments). The assertion made by BG is that the results of the survey appear to be circumspect. The HCDSB board is duly elected, big difference. Bottom line, the City needs to get its act together where surveys are concerned.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Canada Today: “Especially in a time of crisis, unscrupulous leaders and politicians can cynically exploit the ancient and deep-rooted impulse to scapegoat to deflect and distract from their own inadequacies and evade, or seek to evade, their legitimate burden of blame and responsibility”. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201312/the-psychology-scapegoating

  • Howard

    When I saw the total number of responses the first thing that came to my mind was “how many???” People love Burlington but public engagement on this scale seems suspicious. I suspect as the respondents were typically anonymous that it smells of manufactured results. BOTS BOTS BOTS.
    Surprised this was manufactured by the mayor, these are usually staff directions to construct. I am not happy that this has become an attack against the HCD school board as all religions have their own take on inclusion and acceptance or lack of. Give the decision to each ward councilor and get on with it.

  • Luke M

    Quelle surprise.
    The mayor has a strong record of being against Separate Schools going back to when she was a “Faith Columnist” for the Toronto Sun.
    If memory serves she openly advocated for the dissolution of the Separate School board.
    A rather typical jingoist “American” position of separation of church and state which entirely ignored the fact that the BNA act constitutionally protected them.
    You could always ask her or go check the stacks.
    It was around the time she ran for Council against Rick Craven and got trounced.
    I think it only ran on Sundays.

  • Kevin Rutherford

    There is nothing requiring your to login to complete a survey, why would they automatically dismiss the votes as “people being caught up”. Both my wife and I completed the survey on our phones as a guest but we both regularly check in and read/contribute on the site. Their tracking based on that image above seems to be flawed.