The beginning of a change in the way political dialogue takes place began last night at Bateman high school.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 20th, 2018



Two things happened in Burlington last night at the Bateman high school. Both are relevant to the direction the city is taking in the way it elected officials will communicate with the people who do the electing.

Despite the significant efforts to derail the debates by  several of the members of council the event organized by a nascent citizen’s organization took place – it was the first of the seven debates that have been organized.

It was well attended, there were no glitches and the candidates gave a very good accounting of themselves.

Resident at Bateman debatte

As residents poured into the room more and more chairs had to be added.

ECoB has proven to be relevant, important and a much needed part of the process where dialogue can take place. It was a significant step forward for the city.

The creation of this organization was done by citizens, It would have been nice if the candidates had acknowledged the part that ECoB played in the event that allowed them to tell their story.

The second event was the view the several hundred people in the room got of the sitting member of city council for the ward.

Sharman team

Paul Sharman campaign workers preparing literature for distribution at a debate he did not participate in because he did not have any confidence in the organization that organized the event.

Paul Sharman chose not to attend or take part in the debate – but he did have people in the room distributing his literature.

In a statement Sharman made available to Mark Carr the event moderator, which he read out, Sharman said:

I apologize for not joining you at this evening’s debate.

Sharman seat at ward 5

The seat ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman didn’t fill at the community debate.

“Politicians always get to choose who they will or not work with when asked to participate in such an event.

In this case I chose not to because I am only willing to work with a well-established, community organizer, and I was not satisfied with ECOB in that regard. Please check out my website for answers to the questions that ward 5 citizens are asking me. Also, please send me an email with any questions you have.

“Thank you and enjoy your evening.”

Hard to add anything to a statement like that.

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11 comments to The beginning of a change in the way political dialogue takes place began last night at Bateman high school.

  • Stephen White

    I would respectfully suggest that in future if candidates choose not to participate in a debate then, by default, they should also forfeit the opportunity to distribute literature to those in attendance.

  • Penny

    Mr. Steven Craig Gardner. ECoB had no input in any of the questions that are being asked at any of the debates. Here is the link to the video for the entire debate…judge for yourself.

  • Marshall

    The actions by Paul Sharman show very clearly that he deserves NO place in the new Burlington Council. It’s interesting that he and his follower Lancaster are both skipping their debates. Examination of their records in an open forum would show their many deficincies.
    Hopefully the voters of Burlington will dump both of them in favour of new councillors who have some respect for the people of our city.

  • Daphne

    To refuse an invitation in such a negative and public fashion; include a similar follow-up statement which is read at the event and yet use their facilities to get out your message, is ungracious at best. No fault to Mark Carr, but cannot say the same about Sharman.

    I have nothing to do with this group and the member is not in my ward. That being said ECOB is trying to be a voice in the community that desperately feels without one. The rental of that room was presumably at their expense. This is yet another example of rude and unprofessional behaviour by a member of a council. They forget who they work for and appear arrogant.

    Any Code of Conduct at City Hall?

    Thank you ECOB.

  • steven craig gardner

    Dear Concerned citizen if ECoB gets any role in vetting questions or content then Paul Sharman and Blair Lancaster are proven correct. those arranging the debates especially a group like ECoB who had since inception had an agenda MUST NOT get to decide anything impacting the debate that is the independent moderators role as was done correctly in this case by Mark Carr as he said he decided and it should be his decision. As he said people will hear and decide what like like about absentee candidates.
    Well done Mark!

  • Mark Carr

    The reading of Mr. Sharman’s email was exclusively my decision. I felt, and still feel, a short statement from a municipal candidate, who was invited, is fair. It’s the prerogative of the audience to determine the validity of the statement.

  • Phllip Wooster

    I agree with your suggestion. Sharman was able to distribute his propaganda without facing scrutiny. Of course, as the self-styled, “smartest man in the room”(NEWS FLASH FOR MR SHARMAN–you’re not!), Sharman probably believes he is above accountability. The fact that he is supported by Rick Craven tells you as much as you need to know about his character.

    • Tom Muir

      That’s the plan with these people Phil – insulate yourself from face on questions and live scrutiny. That way you can’t be contradicted or criticized in front of all the citizens you told something to.

      Seeing Craven there just reminds of his attempt to cut in half the the only significant time (at Committee) that citizens have to face the Councilors doing the city business. That was just another attempt to insulate these people from scrutiny.

      Sharman supported Craven on this at Committee – only MMW opposed and warned citizens.

      He and Lancaster both spoke in favor at Council, although Dennison to his credit saw the light, and in the end only Craven voted alone for his idea to slash citizen time. Another reason for Craven’s open and deep hostility to MMW.

      This illustrates what a difference there is when citizens are able to address Council members in an open public meeting. Citizen delegations turned the Committee support for the time reduction back to a 6 to 1 rejection at Council.

      Sharman says he will take messages and questions, but no one else sees the questions or the answers, which he can construct any way he wants.

      It’s the same with his newsletters and election messages. He can say what he wants as he is not out there speaking publicly to the masses, or in a message system that allows shared citizen feedback and comment.

      He says he will attend the Mayoral all candidates meeting, but he will be insulated from the open forum debate and can again say anything he wants repeating himself with likely a few individuals with no one else in on it, and then slip away – another success at insulation.

      Watch to see if all the evaders do the same thing and seek the same insulation.

      Watch for Craven and heed the message this adds.

  • Bonnie

    A very worthwhile evening. Many thanks should be given to ECOB for their efforts in organizing this event.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Mr Sharman (in absentia) sent his note to the Moderator directly, as per Mark Carr? How is that allowed, bypassing the organizers if that is what he did. No matter how, his comments should not have been read out or allowed. Either you show up or not. It was insulting to the audience who took their time to show up. The other candidates had to be there for opponents to rebut their comments (of course, all the candidates last night seemed to be on a similar page of being reasonable and unanimously against over-development and the new OP which Mr Sharman wholeheartedly supports) No one could rebut his comments, which yet again provided an unfair advantage to the incumbent. This in addition to having people in the room handing out his propaganda, including the retiring Ward 1 Councillor, Mr Craven and Ted Griffith. What is he doing in our City politics??

    Suggestion to ECoB – disallow any other no-show candidates from doing this going forward. It shows bias, and we know full well that Mr Sharman, Mr Dennison and Ms Lancaster are avidly against that so they shouldn’t mind.