So - who did it? It wasn't the Rotarians.

council 100x100By Staff

August 29th, 2018



Somebody did it and it wasn’t the Rotarians.

Someone decided to commission an election survey that was focused on residents of ward 2

Organizing a survey done by telephone is both expensive and time consuming.

The objective has to be determined – is the survey intended to gather real information or is it being done to sow discord and confusion.?

News anal REDOne the objective is determined the strategy has to be determined and then put in place.

The questions that will be asked have to be written and re-written,

Telephone callers then have to be trained.

And then the last minute decision to proceed made.

This took at least two weeks to complete.

The public may never know who commissioned the survey and we will probably never know who paid for it. Short of a Judge ordering Campaign Research to divulge the name of the client we are never going to know. Unless of course a disgruntled employee decides to give the Gazette a call we will never know.

The two stark questions are who – and why?

It was certainly politically motivated.

Ward 2 residents were targeted.

Whoever made the decision to do the telephone survey certainly didn’t understand the people in ward 2 who are Mayoralty candidate Marianne Meed Ward supporters.

Meet the candidate sign

The Med Ward campaign has people who are holding private Meet the Candidate events throughout the city.

This is a very tight group of people. A tribe for certain and passionate about their candidate who they believe can get the city and its planning goals on a different track which they believe is the right track.

The motivating forces behind Meed Ward are very intense.

Campaign office

Rick Goldring announced his campaign office location with some falir – being next to a Tim Hortons seemed like a good idea. The FRank’s Magic Crop across the street is closed – so that won’t influence the campaign. As soon as it is legal the Goldring campaign will add the words For Mayor to the sign which is at the plaza on Guelph Line just north of New Street..

The driving force behind Mayor Goldring is his wanting a chance to complete the job he started. Part of his campaign statement is: Clean Up, which he believes he did in his first term of office; Set Up which Goldring believes he did in his second term of office. He wants a third term to implement what he got done in his first two terms.

Goldring brought his former Chief of Staff into the campaign as a strategic advisor.  Frank McKeown is understood to be the person who write the several good petition papers in Goldring’s first campaign in 2010

There are a lot of people in the city who don’t want the Goldring Set Up implemented.

Mike-Caroline on announce date

Mike Wallace announcing his plans to run for Mayor.

Mike Wallace believes that he can do the job that has to be done better. Wallace describes himself as a pragmatist. He has a well organized campaign that is drawing upon the solid Tory community that held power in Burlington for decades.

Greg Woodruff, the fourth candidate for Mayor  is on the sidelines telling people that they all have it wrong and that he has an approach that will solve all the problems.

So – who commissioned the election survey?

You can be pretty sure that none of the candidates did anything directly. If, and this is a big if, a candidate for Mayor did this they had someone else acting on their behalf.

Would Goldring benefit from this really stupid political tactic?

Does Mike Wallace want the job so badly that he will go to any lengths to get it.

Did Meed Ward commission the survey knowing that it would create major dissension in the downtown core and within her tribe and motivate them to work even harder?

There are financial interests that stand to benefit significantly if Meed Ward is kept out of office.

The $50,000 such an election survey would cost is peanuts to the development interests.

It would take a developer who doesn’t really know the city and its people all that well to do something like this.

Or it would take a developer that is a bit of a rogue who wants to disrupt – that has happened before.

The blow-back to the survey has been so intense that anyone trying something like this again is perhaps remote.

Someone ordered that the survey be done and someone paid the invoice.

And it wasn’t the Rotarians.

What we know for certain is that an organization that has staff who have done work like this before took on the assignment.  No shame in that office.

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12 comments to So – who did it? It wasn’t the Rotarians.

  • So here is the deal, someone out there has a lot to lose when M.M.W becomes Mayor and that someone is willing to spend serious dough and is willing to get nasty in the hope that she does not become our next mayor. All the more reason for us to get behind Marianne. Burlington is at a crossroads and some of the damage inflicted by the not yet approved OP cannot be undone. The upside is we can stop the bleeding by voting in a new and improved council.

  • Susan L.

    I received a call from Campaign Research tonight. They seem to have toned down their approach considerably.

    The man did ask questions about how I would vote if I heard a that a candidate said something conceited in regards to closing Bateman school, or if someone gave silly advice to abused women, gave ridiculous advice to someone losing their job, a question about downtown development and a few other questions. He didn’t imply these things were said by Marianne Meed Ward.

    It looks like all the press attention they’ve had has made them back off somewhat. I guess since they were paid to do this survey, they will continue to make the calls.

  • Gil

    Sorry, but I’m a little confused. The title of your article is “So – who did it? It wasn’t the Rotarians.”

    Rotary is a service club with 4 clubs in the city of Burlington that do nothing but great work supporting local charities and are involved in international charitable projects.

    Ribfest, Lobsterfest, Amazing Bed Race, Sgambati Golf Tournament, Lakeside a La Carte are only but a few of the fundraising events held in our community by Rotary.

    Why in the world was an article written suggesting that Rotary would be involved in this disgraceful survey. I can’t even conceive of what would cause someone to ask such a question.

    I am a Rotarian here in Burlington and it offends me that something like this is even being suggested or that the question even needed to be asked.

    I look forward to more information that would help enlighten readers on where that even came from.

  • Jim Young

    No matter who did it, the fact is it was done and the other three candidates are, rightly or otherwise, under suspicion. It is not enough for them now to say “Not my campaign” or as one is reported, “Not my style”.
    In order to restore their own reputations and restore faith in the process, they need to now reaffirm the years of good work of integrity they have experienced with Marianne Meed Ward. She deserves it, we deserve it and our city deserves it.
    It is time for our three gentlemen candidates to step up and do the decent thing.
    Time to be more John McCain and less Donald Trump.

  • No, we did not commission this. Ask first. Get the answer – before making public statements. It’s what responsible people & websites do. Making or repeating wild speculations without first verifying them is spreading gossip, rumours and false statements. We are better than that. Burlington deserves better than that. Pepper, you must do better than that.

    Editor’s note: we didn’t suggest that Meed Ward had anything to do with the survey. What we did do is ask the questions everyone is asking. Who did it? It didn’t fall off the back of a truck.

    We didn’t make a statement – we asked a question.

    • Hans

      The only way a reasonable person would interpret “Did Meed Ward commission the survey, etc….?” is that the writer was considering that possibility; i.e., it was an irresponsible “question”.
      Surely there must be a way for a good investigative reporter to find out who the sleazy people are behind this?

      Editor’s note: You give the Gazette far too much credit and you assume resources that only a national newspaper with a significant advertising base can afford – and one that has subscribers who pay for the news they get. Sadly the Gazette doesn’t have any of this. what we do have is the ability to ask questions. Anyone who describes themselves an investigative reporter asks EVERY question – and that s all we did. We asked similar questions of Wallace as well.

  • Lynn Crosby

    To me, this illustrates perfectly exactly what a growing number of people have been saying here in Burlington. There are some very odious people, involved in some downright toxic activities, and we need to clean it up. After all, someone hired this Toronto group, who has been involved in similar activities in the past in Toronto, and whose principal Nick Kouvalis has been involved in several questionable activities, to say the least. “Push polling” has been denounced widely by major polling stations and has no place in Burlington or anywhere. Who benefits from stopping Marianne from being mayor? Who has disparaged her in the past, lied about her, attacked her?

    And the stunning silence from our Sideline Mayor, while not surprising, still shocks me. Here is a major stain on our city, an attack on a City Councillor, and neither the mayor nor any council members have spoken out to denounce it. Speaks volumes. And we’ve seen it before with this group, time and again.

    So, people of Burlington, here we are. We can choose what kind of city we want, what sort of people we would want leading it and talk about the issues that matter to us, or we can choose to go into the gutter with those who want to destroy it for their own personal gain, satisfaction or hatred.

    I’m so proud to know and work with Marianne Meed Ward, one of the absolutely best, most ethical, principled and kind people I have ever had the pleasure to meet, and appalled that people think it is acceptable to bully/harrass/target/malign a fellow human being. I look forward to the dawn of a new day on October 23 when we vote and say Burlington is better than this.

  • Marshall

    Mike Wallace has stated that he has nothing to do with it. but I don’t see any statements from Goldring or Woodruff.
    I suggest that ALL candidates have to distance themselves from this and follow the money to see who has the deep pockets to pay for this sleazy and probably illegal “survey”.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Not only Ward 2 citizens were receiving these calls, some are from other Wards. It seems the focus is more on seniors. Just like many other phone scams? Despicable behavior indeed.

  • August 28 at 8:18 PM

    I wonder if it’s the Developers behind all this. They would certainly have the budget for it. I can imagine they’re thinking anyone but Marianne Meed Ward for Mayor.

  • Stephen White

    Let’s be clear. These actions against Marianne Meed Ward go far beyond some juvenile stunt orchestrated by an overly zealous, energetic campaign worker. It amounts to more than some idiot’s infantile Twitter ramblings. It is clearly a well-organized, concerted campaign to defame a candidate running for public office. It is one thing to criticize a candidate based on his/her policies. It is entirely something else to conduct a smear campaign.

    I know Greg Woodruff and Mike Wallace very well. Both are gentlemen of high integrity, character and honesty. They clearly didn’t sanction this. Also, one does not pay for these type of services without significant connections and deep pockets. Follow the money trail and you eventually connect to who financed this crap.

    This is clearly beyond the scope and purview of Burlington’s Election Officer to investigate. We aren’t talking about someone putting up election signs prematurely, or ripping down an opponent’s signs. This borders on criminal behaviour, and frankly, it is time to call in the OPP to conduct a thorough investigation with a view to laying charges.

    • Thank you Steve. I posted that I had nothing to do with it on twitter once it came to light.

      As to:
      “OPP to conduct a thorough investigation with a view to laying charges.”

      Get ready for some version of:

      “Negative or disturbing information about a candidate does not automatically make a survey a push poll. Message testing, when campaigns test the effectiveness of possible messages about opponents and even themselves, is very different; and it is a legitimate form of surveying.”
      -American Association for Public Opinion Research

      I suspect we will find the find “significant connections and deep pockets” know exactly where the line is for this “crap” as you correctly call it.

      Just don’t accept when one candidate tries to demonize of paint another in some negative light. What we care about is the direction of the city and what policies will get us to a future we want.