The Hurley Burly of the political arena.

By Staff

July 23rd, 2021



Burlington’s Mayor makes major use of social media and every other form of communications. Her journalism degree from Carleton University put her into the world of media where the worked at newspapers, as a columnist (she has never worked as a reporter), as an editor of a magazine and on television where she was very effective. The camera liked her and she liked the camera.

As a citizen using the Save our Waterfront banner Marianne Meed Ward was effective. When she got elected to Council she was described as divisive but she changed the way that Council did business.

A painful Ward 1 election loss in 2006 against Rick Craven led to her moving into the downtown core and setting herself up to run for that council seat.

She won in 2010, was elected Mayor in 2018 and was seen as the Mayor that would make the big difference – and she did make a difference.

The decision to drop an Interim Control Bylaw on the developers was not popular with that cohort.  What was to be a one year hold on development has stretched into what is pretty close to three years.  The reason for the stretch – there are dozens of appeals which have to be heard before the Interim Control Bylaw can be lifted.

The moving of the Urban Growth Centre north and away from the Downtown Core and getting the ridiculous MTSA designation taken off a bus terminal that couldn’t hold ten people were also wins for this Mayor.  And make no mistake about it – she was the driving force.

Political positioning at its very best.

Unfortunately for the Mayor’s image, something she and her husband cultivate and groom with great care, her goof  with the Rainbow Crosswalks issue has drawn blood.

Many politically informed observers think Marianne Meed Ward threw three of her council colleagues under the bus when they voted against the Mayor to have six additional crosswalks done as soon as possible rather than the more fiscally prudent approach to adding one each year.

The Mayor wanted to again raid reserve funds to pay for the additional six – Kearns, Stolte and Sharman had no problem with the crosswalks – just not all at the same time.

With that as background it was surprising to see the Mayor with Councillor Stolte at the Poacher enjoying a cool one.

In a social media posting with the photograph the Mayors said: “Great to step out with Shawna Stolte last night at The Poacher for food, conversation and supporting local business. Friday + sun = patio weather. So many great Burlington restaurants to choose from! Where are you headed this weekend?”

Mayor Meed Ward with Councillor Shawna Stolte. Is this what damage control mode looks like? Who paid for the beer?

One Gazette reader, who misses the comments section, wrote us to say: “How ignorant does this mayor think the residents of Burlington are?

“Making nice with the Councillors she threw under the bus a few weeks ago.

“First a joint statement with Lisa,

“Now drinks etc. with Shawna.

“Let’s see if Paul Sharman either gets an invite or decides not to play the mayor’s game.”


Related news stories:

Mayor tries to torpedo three of her colleagues.

The three fight back.

Both sides of the story

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4 comments to The Hurley Burly of the political arena.

  • “Burlington’s mayor makes major use of social media” must surely come back to haunt Meed Ward when the facts about how she started her reign are at some point made public. December 4, 2018 the Region issued an opinion (decision) letter on Burlington’s adopted new official plan (BNOP) that Meed Ward posted on her social media page, her first since officially becoming mayor. Meed Ward would have received the December 4, 2018 letter as the new Head of Council. The letter was the mainstay of the modifications to the adopted new official plan (BNOP). It was discussed at the December 11, 2018 P&DC by both Meed Ward and MacDonald. Paul Sharman was the Chair who let the discussion occur when it was not on the agenda and should not have taken Committee time up. He also was part of approval of a set of minutes that failed to document the discussion one would only know about after viewing the committee webcast, as did the Marsdens as part of their audit of the BNOP approval process that never got out of the starting gate.

    One would have expected that Meed Ward would forward the letter to Council to allow her fellow councillors and the public to have their say about the content particularly as it set aside the Halton Council authority to approve, modify etc. BNOP as Curt Benson claimed in the letter he had been delegated the Region Council authority to approve, modify etc. BNOP. (A position that has absolutely no legislative or by-law support.) A search of PDC and Council minutes December 2018 to December 2020 shows the December 4, 2018 letter began its days as a post on Meed Ward’s social media page and ended its days there too,. Spectator Reporter Teviah Moro reported on the letter but his info did not come from city minutes that’s for sure. . A search of the OLT Halton Electronic Municipal Record shows there is no sign of it in that document either – the HEMR is a legislated record that is supposed to contain all the pertinent decision making of the “approval” process”. What an outrageous move on the part of Meed Ward the very first month of being honoured with the victors’ crown in the 2018 election for Mayor. A move that says only Meed Ward’s position counts for anything – December, 2018 the death knell of Burlington democratic decision making at City Hall began ringing and has yet to stop.

  • “Burlington’s Mayor makes major use of social media and every other form of communications.” is a quote that must come back to haunt Mayor Meed Ward. Her first month on the job Meed Ward posted a decision from the Region on the New Burlington Official Plan dated December 4, 2018 on her mayor’s social media page. She addressed the posting at the December 11, Planning and Development Committee meeting regardless of it not being on the agenda and you can only see her addressing this non-agenda item on webcast – it is not minuted – the Clerk is required by the Municipal Act to minute all such discussions! Something Amberley Gavel brought to Council’s attention in 2014. Meed Ward received that Region decision as Head of Burlington Council and chose to deal with it through her social media page and through a Spectator article written by Teviah Moro after announcing at her inauguration a surprise was coming. Check the Council and Committee minutes December 4, 2018 – December, 2020 and you will not find any sign of the December 4, 2018 Region Decision on BNOP. Nor is it part of the OLT Halton Electronic Municipal Record that reputedly includes all relevant decision documents related to BNOP.

    Meed Ward failed to forward that decision to council. She withheld it from six Burlington/Halton elected councillors and the public who should have had the opportunity to delegate and comment on the precurser to the modified version of BNOP that is now before OLT. Her actions denied elected councillors (and those who elected them) the right to have their thoughts on the Region communication on the Burlington New Official Plan properly recorded and a vote taken as to whether the Region’s position that Curt Benson had been delegated the Halton Region Council approval authority for BNOP (first claimed in that document) had any support from the Burlington head of legal Nancy Shea Nicole and thus Council. If the head of legal says there is no statutory authority for such delegation (which is our evidenced position before OLT) then council could not support it – some one needs to ask Meed Ward why she did not forward the December 4, 2018 Region decision to Council. How many other matters that should have been routed to Council by Meed Ward do we not know about?. Hmmmmm

  • Joe Gaetan

    I have no idea what Mayor Maryanne Meed Ward or the 3 Council members had in mind when they issued their respective Rainbow Crosswalk related communications. But I do know that the City of Burlington has a Code of Conduct for Members of Council. The question is, are these and the many other communications that emanate from Mayor Meed Ward and councillors at odds with some sections of the Code of Conduct namely, 4. Respect for Decision-making Process that states “Members shall accurately and adequately communicate the decisions of Council and Local Boards such that respect for the decision and decision-making process is fostered”, and 5. Release of Information to Public and Media, that states “Members of Council will accurately communicate the decisions of Burlington’s Council, even if they disagree with a majority decision of Council so that there is respect for and integrity in the decision making processes of Council”.
    Something is not right at City Hall and the proof is in these wayward communications.

  • Cathy

    When on council, Jackson, MacIssac, Craven, Sharman were nasty and antagonistic. But when a woman is in the top job, the Gazette calls her the divisive one.