Sakran is sanguine about his election loss – but he isn`t losing any sleep over it. Back at his law practice.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 21, 2011  He is in really great shape.  Jovial, animated and having fun.  Karmel Sakran didn’t want to lose the provincial election but – lose it he did and while he certainly isn’t saying no to another run – that’s not on today’s agenda.  “I went four months without an income and now I’m glad to be back to work doing what I was trained to do.”  He might have added that his wife and family get to see more of him these days.

For Karmel Sakran this all started back in November of 2010 when he got a call from the late John Boich.  “I was coming out of Cumis with a cheque for $92,000. for the United Way in my pocket and I was feeling great.  I was on Bluetooth and John Boich called and asked me if I would consider being the Liberal candidate in the 2011 election.  It came right out of the blue – I wasn’t even a member of the association.  I was kind of stunned – John had to ask me several times if I was still on the line.   I said that I would have to take some time to think about it – and I found that all I needed was a day.” I called John the next morning and said I would stand for nomination.”

Karmel making his views known to a Spectator reporter

As it turned out Sakran had a competitor for the nomination when Alyssa Brierley put her name forward but she withdrew shortly after when she was asked to run as the federal Liberal candidate against Mike Wallace.  Brierley ran a short vigorous campaign but lost to long time Burlington Conservative whose roots went back to municipal council.

As for Sakran – what’s next?  His time on the Hospital Board has come to end.  “The day I was nominated I was legally required to resign from the Hospital Board”, explained Sakran who was on the Board when that internal bit of hospital governance was passed.

“I’ll be seen more frequently at Rotary where I`ve been a member for a number of years.  I will hold my annual fund raiser – the Wills & Power of Attorney event I put on, so I`ll be busy.

We did our very best as a campaign and I`m proud of the team I was given to work with”, is the explanation Sakran gives for the loss.  A look at the numbers and it was evident that Burlington was not prepared to elect a Liberal provincially.  McKenna took every one of the advance polls – and while those numbers weren`t evident during the last few days of the election – they are an indicator of just how well the Conservative team did.  They got their vote out.

The Liberals also got their vote out – but the New Democrats got more of their vote out – a surprising 19.9% of the Burlington total went to the New Democrats – in the past their numbers were in the 5% (in the 2007 by-election) and 11% in the 2007 election.

No one really knows yet why the NDP did so well.  Walter Mulkewich, former Mayor of Burlington and chair of the NDP Finance Committee for their campaign,  will tell you that the NDP is back to where they have been historically.  Others think there was a distinct Layton factor in play.  The federal New Democrats took a very significant number of seats in Quebec during the federal election and basically wiped out the Parti Quebecois.  Shortly after the federal election Jack Layton died and many felt there was a sympathy vote that brought out NDP types in Burlington that had in the past gone to the Liberals.

The overall poor voter turnout didn’t help.  Because Burlington actually had a bit of a contest going,  the voter turnout was higher here than in the rest of the province.  For many it just wasn`t that exciting an election.  Andrea Horwath, the NDP leader brought some colour to the picture but other than that it had a bit of a boring cast to it.

Quite why elections have to be exciting and a real contest is beyond me.  That poor bugger who died in a mud filled trench in France trying to clear the mustard gas from his lungs didn`t sign up so that we could have exciting ‘elections.  But I digress – this is something that I get a little steamed about.  It`s not about partisan politics – it`s about a democratic process where a community chooses the best person it can find to represent that community in the Legislature.

As for Karmel Sakran – he is sanguine about the whole thing. “It was an amazing experience.  I loved every minute of it and I sure learned a lot.  Would I do it again – maybe.“

If you`re a community based organization and you are looking for some very experienced executive talent – Karmel Sakran is in the phone book – give him a call.


Return to the Front page

Burlington PC candidate did exceptionally well – was very close to Cam Jackson 2003 percentage levels

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 7, 2011  –  It was another provincial election campaign that never seemed to develop any energy or drive.  That was on the surface.  There was a hopeful feeling amongst the Liberals that this time they had it.  They felt they had a stellar candidate and the Premier had come to the riding and things looked great on the organizational side of things as well.

But that isn`t the way the numbers turned out at all.

Jane McKenna the Progressive Conservative Candidate took the riding with 40.4% of the vote – with 20,048 ballots having her name on them.  Karmel Sakran the Liberal candidate  got 36.1 % and 17,903 votes.  Peggy Russell, the NDP candidate got 18.8 % with 9347 votes.

McKenna got 2,165 more votes than Sakran.  When Joan Lougheed ran against Joyce Savoline in the 2007

She had the most signs, she got the most votes - and now she is your MPP.

by -election Savoline won by 1,778 votes and when Marianne Meed Ward, now a member of municipal  council ran against Savoline in the full 2007 election Savoline got just 1824 more votes than Meed Ward.

McKenna, the candidate that was acclaimed  at close to the last minute (I think she was the second to last candidate to get nominated in the province) and who many felt she really wasn`t qualified and certainly didn`t have the support of everyone in the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association – turns out to have done better numerically than any other Progressive Conservative in the last three provincial elections.

Talk about her inadequacies all you like – the lady can win elections.  The people who go looking for candidates for the other two parties, especially the Liberals will want to look at the numbers very closely.

Peggy Russell`s campaign was managed by Cory Judson – who had been the candidate in the 2007 by election where he got 5% of the vote and again in the 2007 full election where he got 11%.  Peggy Russell pulled in a solid 18.8% – nothing shabby about the Russell numbers.

Were they good enough for Burlington to grow to the point where the city will pick up whatever is in the air from the other side of the Bay and make our air orange  Not likely.

The voter turnout numbers were apparently very poor for Ontario this time out – we heard just 45% of the voters entitled to cast a ballot bothered to do so.

For McKenna to get the numbers she did – and make no mistake about her numbers – they are better than previous Tory candidates did in  the 2007 elections.  They were in fact as good as those that Cam Jackson posted in the 2003 election.

Peggy Russell did better than previous NDP candidates. Solid campaign as well.

So the city just might have a candidate that has traction.

The Progressive Conservatives who have almost always owned the Burlington seat in the provincial legislature got their leader Tim Hudak to make at least a pit stop in Burlington the last full day of the campaign – and the turnout wasn`t all that great.  didn’t matter, McKenna is doing something that connects with the people who put the X on the ballot.

A city that has elected Liberals federally but hasn`t elected a Liberal provincially since 1943 has  decided it will remain blue.   It looked like it was going to be an exciting election and it was – the province may find itself with a minority government – but in Burlington there is a new Progressive Conservative member going to the provincial legislture.  She may have more surprises for us.

One of the small pieces of election trivia – A source that has precious little validity, Community Media Burlington,  published the result of a straw poll from people that follow its tweets. had For the Burlington riding, by party, the votes were … NDP 23%, PC 32%, Liberal 43%

This same poll had Dave Bedini beating Marianne Meed Ward in the last municipal election.

The results for this were released just before 8:30 pm and must have had the Liberals ecstatic –

Sakran expected to win this election - it will take some time to figure out where and why he lost. Was it the blue machine? Sakran ran the better campaign and was the better candidate but Burlington was not ready for whatever it was Sakran had to offer.

the NDP numbers were probably close to the mark.

The advance poll in Burlington was up 38 percent over the last provincial election.  Just over 52% of the eligible voters came out in 2007.  The voter turn out numbers, not official yet, were said to be a very poor 45% this election.

Members of the different political parties gathered at different locations in the city; the Liberals at the Burlington Hotel and Convention Centre, the New Democrats at the Black Bull and the Progressive Conservatives at their campaign office on Fairview.

There were two occasions when the CBC computers had a clear 54 seat majority for the Liberals; once at 9:37 pm and again at 10 pm – but on neither occasion were they able to maintain the number.  And on neither occasion did the Liberals gathered at their location let out anything in the way of a cheer.  The Liberals had the largest crowd,  the Mayor plus Councillors Taylor and Craven put in an appearance.  Didn`t see any municipal people at the Tory chow down.  Mike Wallace, the Conservative MP was in attendance along with all the other Tory usual suspects.

It is traditional in Burlington politics for the defeated candidates to call on the winner and congratulate them.  Alyssa Brierley, the federal Liberal candidate paid a call on winner Mike Harris and hung around for some time.  Karmel Sakran is reported to have popped in and popped out of the McKenna campaign offices.

Return to the Front page

For Burlington, Liberals choose hospitals, not highways.

By Karmel Sakran, Liberal candidate, Burlington.

We asked each of the candidates to tell you, our readers, what they thought was wrong with the election platforms of the opposing candidates. We asked that they write about “the other guy”. In a future feature each candidate will write about their party platform. We wanted to attempt to create a bit of a debate between the candidates. The Progressive Conservatives advised that they “will not be participating in the first half of our request. “We will get back to you ” they advised “with the 2nd half of the request regarding the PC Party Platform and what it will do for Ontario and for Burlington.” Here is what the Liberals had to say. The New Democratic comments appeared earlier.

BURLINGTON, ON September 12, 2011 – For weeks now, on doorsteps and events all over Burlington, I’ve been working hard to bring the message about our party’s positive approach to health care, our world-beating education system and the green jobs of tomorrow.

But here’s my main message for Burlington: it’s hospitals – not highways.

Jo Brant Hospital – not the mid-Peninsula highway

True to form, the Ontario Liberal government has approved the redevelopment plan for Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, while clearly stating that the mid-Peninsula highway that PC leader Tim Hudak wants so badly, will not pave over north Burlington’s valuable agricultural and sensitive environmental lands.

Karmel Sakran in front of his campaign office, which is located north of the QEW – a change from the usual campaign office locations on Fairview.  Sakran says the decision to be north of the QEW was strategic.

Karmel Sakran in front of his campaign office, which is located north of the QEW – a change from the usual campaign office locations on Fairview. Sakran says the decision to be north of the QEW was strategic.

The recent Jo Brant Hospital announcement was a long-awaited one that will benefit all Burlington residents. It came after two years of hard work by hospital officials, the City of Burlington, citizens and a group of private donors.

Rather than celebrate this decision as a good for Burlington, the opposition PCs and NDP chose to attack the efforts made by their fellow citizens, calling the announcement’s timing pure politics. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As someone who sat as a Hospital board member for five years, I know the province requires a “state of readiness” before providing capital funding for a project of this nature. As a community, we rose to the challenge and did just that – and within the all-important five year funding window.

That we now have a commitment for provincial funding is a huge step forward for Burlington, one that I’d hate to see disrupted or revoked by a Hudak-led Tory government, a regime that favours highways over hospitals.

We build hospitals – not close them like the PCs

This Liberal government builds – not closes – hospitals. In its first two terms, this government has built or launched 18 hospital projects. Compare that to the previous Mike Harris Tory government, when Mr. Hudak was a minister, which closed 28 hospitals.

As a founding board member of Burlington’s Carpenter Hospice, whose 10 bedrooms provide end-of-life care to about 110 residents annually in a home-like setting, I was delighted when our government increased its funding, August 31. The additional $320,000 added to base funding will strengthen Carpenter’s nursing and personal support services and enhance its ability to deliver palliative care in Burlington.

We strongly focus on education

The government’s relentless focus on education is paying off in our schools and the economy. Test scores are up: 69 per cent of grades 3 and 6 students are mastering reading, writing and math – a 15 point increase since 2003. We’re expanding online math tutoring for students from grade 7 to 10 and doubling teacher education to two years to give student teachers more practical classroom experience. Ontario Liberals are the only party with a plan to keep students on track, from full-day kindergarten right through post-secondary and into a good job.

Home care strengthened

The government continues to strengthen health care by bringing back house calls – a boon for some Ontarians with ongoing medical issues that make it hard for them to arrange office visits. Seniors especially will benefit because it will be easier to stay in their own home and remain independent while enjoying better health through regular check-ups and medical attention.

Tuition grants for university & college students

By creating a tuition grant that takes 30% off the average undergraduate tuition in Ontario, the Liberal government is moving Ontario forward by keeping the cost of post-secondary education within everyone’s reach. Annually, the grant will save families $1,600 per student in university and $730 in college.

Contrast this with the Harris-Hudak PCs, who cut post-secondary education by $435 million, slashed student aid by 41%, allowed fees to skyrocket by 67% and provided no help to middle-income families.

Karmel Sakran is a lawyer by profession and so it wasn’t all that difficult to convince the provincial attorney general to pay the city a visit.  It was apparently a relaxing day for all.

Karmel Sakran is a lawyer by profession and so it wasn’t all that difficult to convince the provincial attorney general to pay the city a visit. It was apparently a relaxing day for all.

The Hudak PCs’ $14 billion hole in their platform means they won’t help middle-class families afford post-secondary education, and will make deep cuts that send tuition through the roof, again. The current NDP platform barely mentions education but their legacy is clear; they were the party that eliminated up-front student grants, before we brought them back.

Let’s build on our progress & continue to strengthen Ontario

No question: Ontario needs the strong, steady hand of the McGuinty Liberal government to keep moving forward.

Over the past two terms, this government has hired thousands of doctors and nurses, built 18 new hospitals and improved access to primary care. Our health investments helped us go from having the longest to the shortest surgical wait times in Canada and 1.3 million more Ontarians now have a family doctor.

We lowered early-year class sizes, improved school buildings and introduced the continent’s first full-day kindergarten program. We’re also increasing post-secondary attainment by adding 60,000 new spaces – including three new undergraduate satellite campuses.

And to further help seniors remain in their own homes – in safety and dignity – we’re introducing a Healthy Home Renovation Tax Credit for things like ramps and walk-in baths.

Our platform also promises to create 50,000 new clean-energy jobs through Ontario’s world-leading FIT program. And we’re reducing electricity bills by ten per cent through the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit.

Liberal platform fully audited. PC & NDP platforms: hundreds of uncosted promises

The Hudak PCs’ platform – with its $14 billion hole – has 229 uncosted promises. And that will mean deep cuts to health care and education. The NDP has 119 uncosted promises in their platform and a crushing $9 billion tax increase.

Our platform features just 45 new, fully costed commitments to help Ontario families stay on track.

We’re the only party with a platform that has been audited by an economist – Scotiabank Chief Economist Warren Jestin – who confirmed that our numbers add up.

McGuinty Liberals support Burlington commuters

I also don’t hear any positive emanations from the PCs or NDP about the major transit and highway programs that have helped Burlington commuters go to and from their jobs. What we do know is that between 1999 and 2003, the PC government contributed nothing to GO transit leaving municipalities to carry the load. During the NDP time in office, they invested less than a third of what our government has invested and were the first to privatize highways.

Since 2003, the City of Burlington has received more than $48.8 million to support public transit plus nearly $13 million in gas tax funding. As well, the government added 600 new parking spaces at the Burlington GO Station, new weekday bus trips from McMaster to the Burlington GO, and a seasonal weekend and holiday Toronto-Niagara Falls train service with one of the stops in Burlington.

We’ve committed to $434.1 million to Halton Region for highway improvements since 2003. All this with a dedicated gas tax to municipalities. Not only are we improving transportation in Burlington and Halton Region, we’ve brought in tougher penalties for drinking and driving, speed limiters on most large trucks and banned the use of hand held devices while driving.

Powerful reasons to vote Liberal on October 6th.




Return to the Front page