Rick Craven at his worst ... To sully his own reputation like this is disappointing.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 10th, 2018



So it has come to this.

One had hoped that he might go quietly into the night – but that is obviously not going to happen.
Councillor Rick Craven published a vitriolic screed about why he could not support Marianne Meed Ward as Mayor.


Craven and Meed Ward couldn’t get further apart – bad blood between the two of them.

There was never any doubt that he was not going to support her. The bad blood between the two of them was evident almost before Meed Ward became a council member.

For Craven to come out publicly against Meed Ward at this point in the campaign is very telling – Craven realizes that she has traction and that the incumbent Mayor is in serious trouble.

We have inserted our own editorial comments alongside what Craven wrote. This kind of cheap garbage cannot be left to stand without some comment.

In his Facebook comments Craven said:

Meed Ward for Mayor – I don’t think so.

There’s one fundamental fact about this election that I hope Burlington voters understand.

The mayor of Burlington has no power.

Under the rules set up by the Province we have what is known as a “weak mayor” system. The only power the mayor has is the power to call a meeting and the power to declare an emergency. That’s it! Everything else must negotiated with the other members of Council. This requires skill, diplomacy, care and compromise; traits that Marianne Meed Ward has failed to demonstrate.

Diplomacy, care and compromise are not exactly skill sets that Craven has demonstrated in the eight years the Gazette has watched him

Her inability to pass most of her major proposals is clear evidence that she has no interest in negotiating with her council colleagues. It’s all about her. She thinks she has all the answers and the rest of Council can simply go to hell.

Meed Ward supporters will argue that her routine 6-1 losses result from the fact that the rest of us simply don’t get it and that she is usually right and the rest of us are usually wrong.


The six other members of council are mostly wrong and Meed Ward mostly right? Surely the average Burlington voter knows that this is simply not probable.

Meed Ward supporters will tell you that the 6 to 1 losses are a badge of courage. I think they are a testament to failure. They are a testament to her inability to get along with others in authority.

So, Meed Ward can make all the promises she likes: promises that sound good and appeal to the disappointed, the angry and the worried in our City, but her record would suggest that she simply does not have the skill to get her agenda passed. She is too adversarial.

She is not a consensus builder.

I’m not the only one who believes this.

Columnist and former City Councillor Joan Little wrote “She’s smart, but not well liked by colleagues – a big minus at the mayor level”.

Joan also wrote “Meed Ward has a sharp mind and a lot to offer, but is disliked by many colleagues, and a mayor needs council support. For that reason she’d likely be ineffective.”

The Burlington Gazette wrote “One must admit that Meed Ward does run on – frequently. She has no friends on Council.”

Craven never recognizes the Gazette for what it is: a credentialed newspaper that is published on a web site. However, now that it serves his purpose, Craven quotes us.

Burlington once had a mayor who thought he was smarter than the rest of us and didn’t need to consider Council’s views. During his four years in office Cam Jackson caused a lot of problems at City Hall. Little was accomplished and 17 senior staff left the City taking decades of expertise with them. Today, we call the Cam Jackson term “the lost years”.

I have worked with Marianne Meed Ward for 8 years. I cannot support her for mayor. Today, I have outlined just one of the many reasons. We don’t need another Cam.

Rick Craven did not work with Marianne Meed Ward – he sat beside her and never missed a chance to belittle her, diminish her and disrespect her.

His personal behaviour to the woman was shameful. Much of what we know about that behaviour is confidential – we were asked to keep it confidential and will respect that request. We do want to add that Rick Craven has represented the city on the Police Services Board for the eight years we have been following him. Connect the dots.

Let us just leave it at that.

Craven said he: “Fully expects to be vilified for this in social media by Meed Ward supporters, but it can’t be helped. This election is too important. I cannot remain silent.” Indeed, when it comes to Meed Ward Rick Craven cannot remain silent. It is Craven at his worst which is unfortunate because during his time as the Councillor for Ward 1 he did a lot for the Aldershot community.

To sully his own reputation like this is disappointing.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher.


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28 comments to Rick Craven at his worst … To sully his own reputation like this is disappointing.

  • Michael Hribljan

    Has Mayor Goldring shown any leadership and addressed Councilor Craven’s outburst in anyway?

    Councilor Craven is still conducting business on behalf of the city specifically as the Chair of Planning and Development. Councilor Meed Ward is on the same committee. After such an outburst and obviously harboring a deep seeded resentment for Councilor Meed Ward, how can Councilor Craven possibly execute his duty and a fair, professional and unbiased way as committee chair? If he worked for any large corporation, he would be immediately removed from that position.

    On February 5th, 2018 Committee of the Whole approved the creation of a Anti Bullying Harassment Task Force, are they looking into this situation? Is this not bullying and harassment under the thin vail of “importance of an election”.

    It seems the city is policing everything for certain people but not at all for others, for example car magnets, why is this not yet addressed?

  • Jason B

    For what its worth, MR Craven has a Judy Worsley sign on his lawn…..hmm…
    Editor’s note: And if Rick Craven is seen in the same store as Judy Worsley does that mean she is his clone. Get a grip – please.

  • Bob Wilson

    Craven hating on MMW only HELPS her. Craven is despised in his own Ward and is a lame duck politician collecting a paycheque and doing nothing.

  • ITK

    Excellent article Pepper!

    Nice to see Rick leaving politics consistent with the way that he has conducted it over the years – with disregard for logic and with the petty nastiness. As far as I am concerned his retirement has just done the city a HUGE favor and is DEFINITELY a step in the right direction.

    We, as residents, must make sure that we do not elect any more Cravens or like-minded Cravens onto the council but rather elect someone with integrity and vision who TRULY represents the electorate and is NOT afraid to make the HARD decisions even they do result in a 1 : 6 losing vote

  • I believe it is called calumny (a misrepresentation intended to harm another’s reputation) and it has been in the best interest of a minority of both elected and un-elected individuals to create the impression Marianne can’t work with others, because they know that creating this impression serves their own best interests.
    Over the past 5 years, which started when I moved from Ward 1 into Ward 2, I have had many opportunties to interface with M.M.W., as my councilor and as a member of an advisory committee. Because of where I live, there have also been a few times when I felt It necessary to also involve the member from ward 1. The responses were as different as night is from day.
    I have been consistently impressed with the speed of Marianne’s responses and how she quickly referred me or my issue to a member of staff for resolution, as was necessary for the issue at hand. In terms of timeliness and quality of response, in my humble estimation MMW is the gold standard.
    I have also delegated to council and was impressed with the quality and quantity of questions that were asked by my councilor. Rick Craven’s parting comments, even though he is welcome to express them in a free and democratic society, reflect more so on himself and are a disservice to himself and his reputation as a retiring council member.
    I also happen to sit on a condo board and the code we operate under is, we can disagree as much as we want in the board room, but once a decision is democratically made, we stand in unison as a board.

  • Daphne

    Odious man. There are legions of people who hold MMW in the highest respect. The same cannot be said for this man. He emits nothing but nastiness when he speaks. Shamefully unprofessional in any event.

  • D Walker

    I think it’s funny that he’s assuming she is unable to be a “team player” and that this is a trend that will continue even when we get a new City Council elected. With Craven and others gone, perhaps MMW will be better able to find consensus among the group.

    As others have stated, MMW was always respectful of delegations through active listening and asking meaningful questions. The same cannot be said for RC. The fact that he now thinks we should listen when he has something to say – despite rarely (never?) extending the same courtesy to his constituents – is laughable.

  • Ron brazil

    Craven must use the same mirror that Trump does. Marianne Meed Ward…who has a good head on her shoulders and a soul will make Burlington great again!!
    Now retired, Craven can join the other boys club…maybe some a card game in the afternoons.
    He is just bitter because he will never have the chance to be mayor.
    Well Rick…you know the old saying…sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt.

  • Kevin

    Well said Perry Bowker!!!

    In my delegations to council I, like many others, have been disrespected by Rick Craven. In my first delegation I spent the time to identify my credentials to highlight that I was an informed citizen and professional and after my delegation he still felt it necessary to dismiss my concerns as a professional in the industry and refer to me and others as NIMBY’s or entitled 1 percenters. He makes a lot of assumptions and seems more interested in photo-bombing Marianne during council meetings than doing his job. Very happy he is not running again and very much hoping for some significant changes to council members this year.

  • vfiorito

    My name is Vince Fiorito and I’m a candidate to replace Councillor Rick Craven as Ward 1 City Councillor. ( http://www.vince4ward1.ca )

    This reply is not an endorsement of any mayoralty candidate. It is a rebuttal to Councillor Rick Craven’s comments. My opinion is that we have four great choices for mayor and deciding among them will be difficult.

    Mayoralty candidate Mike Wallace has literally volunteered for hundreds of worthy causes including my own Friends of Sheldon Creek stewardship group. Mike is an experienced well connected politician who has served this city well in the past both as MP and City Councillor.

    Greg Woodruff is a bright, energetic personality, full of great ideas and he would change the dynamics of city council in a positive way that would engage Burlington constituents.

    My comments below explain why I believe Mayor Rick Goldring and Marianne Meed Ward are also good choices for Mayor and why I feel compelled to respectfully disagree with Councillor Rick Craven.

    The role of elected “representatives” is to represent the will and best interests of all their constituents, not themselves, not just the people who voted for them or the people who finance their election campaigns or special interest groups like developers. Discussion and debate among council members to achieve consensus is healthy, but unless elected representatives have a formal process (as I do) for determining the will of their constituents, then their vote is a judgement call based on what they believe serves the best interests of their constituents. Based on Councillor Marianne Meed Ward’s and Mayor Rick Goldring’s words and actions, I believe they both sincerely seek to represent the will and interests of their constituents. It would be wonderfully if we all agreed, but that’s not realistic or to be expected.

    Its OK for City Councillors to disagree. Its not OK for them to be disagreeable towards each other (As Councillor Rick Craven just did on social media).

    Regarding disagreeableness, I feel obliged to share one of my experiences I had delegating before City Council, last fall (see link to video below) in support of managing our urban ravines as ecological systems so they will purify our drinking water and to encourage community wide volunteer stewardship with Green Belt land designations for Burlington’s urban wetlands.

    I did not feel all city councillors welcomed my delegation, starting with the chair deliberately mispronouncing my name. I understand that my last name is difficult to pronounce and normally I don’t mind people mispronouncing it. Its just that this Councillor and I have shared many conversations and he has never had a problem pronouncing my name previously or since. (Watch the video and the councillor’s body language at the beginning and then decide for yourself if his error was a mistake or deliberate)

    People who take the time and effort to prepare and present a delegation before city council should feel welcomed and respected. Both Mayor Rick Goldring, Councillor Marianne Meed Ward and “some” of the other city councillors obviously share my opinion regarding decorum. Both Mayor Rick Goldring and Councillor Marianne Meed Ward acted to help me communicate my message which was cut short by the chair. Mayor Rick Goldring gave me a chance to summarize my points (4:24:15). Councillor Marianne Meed Ward’s asked me to finish my presentation (4:31:35).

    IMO, these two elected representatives both demonstrated real class. Their many selfless acts of kindness and services they’ve both given for the benefit of our community, demonstrate why they both deserve to be on city council. Its unfortunate that they are competing against each other in an electoral system that encourages adversarial behavior and personal attacks. If elected I will work towards taking the hate and mean spiritedness out of city politics by reforming Burlington’s electoral system with “ranked” ballots. If I can’t be your first choice then I will say nice things about other candidates so I will be your second choice.

    Regarding acting in the best interests of the community, I invite you to judge Councillor Rick Craven by his questions near the end of my delegation (4:28:24) and consider if he was acting to defend the best interests of our community?

    To watch the video, click on the link below to get to the city web page and then on the image of Councillor Paul Sharman on the upper right to start it. ( 4:13:08 to 4:35:30)

  • Elaine O'Brien

    Anyone who has been to a City Council Meeting or who has otherwise had dealings with Marianne can attest to the fact that she is always a respectful listener who is willing to consider others’ points of view. Unfortunately Mr Craven has been dismissive of delegations with whom he does not agree. Stephen White’s list of characteristics is badly needed at Council – tolerance, respect, discourse, engagement, and negotiation. Marianne displays these qualities. Let’s hope the rest of the newly elected Council will do that too.

  • LoverofLiberty

    I agree 100% with you Pepper and the 8 comments so far. She is NOT part of the old boys club. Thats why we need her. And as far as the other female on council, she follows her male counterparts, so I consider her part of the club. We need all new faces on council. We need people to serve all of Burlington not just friends or developers. Let’s clean house. MMW will do great things with a new council members that check their ego at the door.

  • Ley

    I never liked this man!!!! He might of done some things for the Aldershot community but did nothing to help the people who/s homes were at risk of expropriation in the beach area. He did nothing but try real hard to get rid of the familys in this area which are in his ward. Ward Meed was the one who put up a fight for the people in this area. This are is in Cravern’s ward. Pretty sad when a Councillor from another ward has to step up to help people save their homes from Craven. Pretty sad when your councillor fights for a strip joint to not lose their place of business. Craven stated that they were not breaking any bylaws and they pay their taxes so they should be left alone. Family s in the beach area are not breaking any laws and pay their taxes. I said yes to Craven leaving the Gold alone for if he takes homes from people on the beach they won’t be able to afford to live anywhere in Burlington and will have to work at the Gold to survive!! Eventually Solid Gold lost.
    I wonder why he fought so hard for the Gold?? Maybe he frequented the place!!!!??? He has shown his true colours now!!!!


  • Perry Bowker

    Ex-councillor Craven, of course, dissembles in his remarks, especially when noting that the Mayor can only ‘ call a meeting’. The Mayor has the power to assign Committee Chair positions, such as appointing Rick Craven to run the Planning and Development Committee. In that position he has presided over the dismantling of the Strategic Vision the Mayor so proudly took around town a few years ago, and lulled citizens into believing that smart growth was the objective, when in fact the game plan led to the surrender of the City to developers. Meanwhile, Ms. Meed-Ward has been assigned no committee positions except Vice-Chair of the ‘Workshop’ (apparently an opportunity for looking at minor matters the other Committees don’t have time for). Deprived of any position of influence she has gotten to where she is by visibly standing up for the citizens of her ward and calling out problems. To the annoyance of her colleagues who dislike being shown up as indifferent.

  • Philip Waggett

    This article is so Rick Craven and Pepper’s criticisms are so spot-on! As Craven tries desperately to maintain his own sense of self-importance, he merely confirms what the rest of us have known for a long time–he is a small, vindictive individual and Burlington is better off without him. Rick, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

  • Leslie B

    Actually, Mr Craven, what we don’t need is another you. Your Facebook post proves why. You are not running in this election, so as you exit municipal politics, how about doing it with a bit of grace?

  • Michael Jones

    A shame you even shared his views. Now is the time for Burlington to vote for a collaborative council it is too bad we had to do it on his terms. I would of loved to see him voted out years ago. Will be exciting having fresh faces in the Council chambers. Faces that are listening to each and every delegation before them.. I hope to be one if the newest members to join many respected past members of Burlington Council. Craven isn’t one of of them.

  • SteveW

    Agree with you 100% Pepper … Mr Craven has embarrassed himself here. Sad

  • Penny Hersh

    I guess Mr. Craven is not going to go “quietly into the night”.

    Not only did he disparage Marianne Meed Ward he also demeaned the office of the Mayor, by indicating that the rules set up by the province result in a “weak mayor system”.

    It is my opinion that a good leader works with their board or in this case council to encourage co-operation to ensure that the residents of all wards work together to make Burlington the best it can be.

    An effective mayor can make a huge difference.

  • Stephen White

    Yes…sadly, Marianne Meed Ward isn’t part of the “old boys club” on Council. She has different opinions, listens respectfully to delegators, proposes unique ideas, communicates effectively, engages naturally, and doesn’t treat those with divergent opinions in a dismissive manner. Moreover, she isn’t a fawning sycophant to real estate developers, and doesn’t pay homage to every developer seeking to impose ugly urban designs upon Burlington reminiscent of those found in an indentured labour camp in North Korea.

    And these same criticisms come from a man whose reputation for treating delegators at Council so dismissively that he has been upbraided repeatedly by the current Mayor.

    Forgive me and, I daresay, several others, if I put little stock in anything Councillor Craven thinks, says or does. My hope is that Ward 1 voters will finally elect a Councillor who understands that being a local representative requires skills in tolerance, respect, discourse, engagement and negotiation. Blind obedience, the kind that was on display this past year by Councillor Craven and others during the OP and Mobility Hubs consultations, is a commendable trait in a family pet, but not so appealing in a public official. In fact, it’s downright pathetic!

  • D.Duck

    For too many years, politicians (at every level) have become the poster-children for narcissistic, egotistic demigods.

    They perpetuate like viagra fed rats in-heat, with their sole motive to remain in power in order to satisfy their insatiable self-esteem while ironically scurrying and genuflecting to the more affluent developers who allow them a taste of the curds.

    I don’t doubt that it has been an up-hill battle for MMW. The many 6:1 votes were well worth the battle. They have shown this community who on council has some ‘Common Sense’ with a vision for this city that enhances environmental green zones, transit, bike lanes and housing density. An individual who will listen and hopefully hear, instead of the disrespectful and condescending badgering spewed forth by some of the scourge in their appointed positions of power.

    As my wife always says, ‘You can’t fix Stupid’ (I still think she means me) but we can fix this council by voting and having at least three of the demigods removed while Craven chases his own tail. A new council of enlightened individuals who place constituents and Burlington above big developers will be an interesting and pleasant change. MMW has her issues and there will still be strong council debates but hopefully not the destructive and senseless battles that infested the prior like minded politicians.

  • Hans

    RC makes only himself look bad.

  • Stu Parr

    Excellent summary Pepper – agree in total. This particular campaign seems to have bought out the worst in many people. Emotions run high, judgement and common respect at an all time low. I would like to note that Marianne is running a ‘high road’ campaign and hasn’t stooped to the level of her detractors, although she has had more than enough opportunity. I hope that as October 22nd nears that we can regain our composure and our principles.

  • Allan S

    It has been obvious for quite awhile that there is no love lost between the editor and Rick Craven. However, it is the love affair between the editor and MMW that real gets tiresome. I thought reporting was meant to be balanced.

  • steven craig gardner

    While it maybe inappropriate to say what Rick Craven has said I can not seen any untruths in what he said. Having said that will it matter if the city elects a majority to council of Marianne Meed Ward like minded people. She will not need to be a team player or negotiator it will be a slam dunk. You only need those skills if there are folks on council with differing views on things.
    A number of folks believe it seems we will elect a council that in the majority are on the same page as Marianne.
    If true Mr. Craven’s comments while true maybe irrelevant. I would assume based on some of Marianne Meed Ward’s comments to city staff there likely will be departures. That may be a bad thing or not only time will tell.