The silence has been deafening: Nothing from the Mayor or the hospital on issues that have been made public

By Pepper Parr

March 20th, 2023



The silence has been deafening.

The Saturday issue of the Hamilton Spectator published a four page feature on problems at the Joseph Brant Hospital. It was not a pretty picture and it isn’t the first time that the hospital has been the object of seriously negative news.

There was no comment that I am aware of from the hospital; there was no comment from the Mayor; we did ask for one early this morning.

Mayor doing a photo-op a three minute walk from the hospital – not a word on the problems at JBH

The Mayor spent part of the day viewing the Indigenous art that was on display at Spencer Smith Park. She later took part in a photo-op in front of the Joseph Brant Museum; all she had to do was look over her shoulder to see the hospital.

Angelo Bentivegna: Fresh cut lawn and displaying my favourite lawn sign from Joseph Brant Hospital . Order yours lawn sign Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation!

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna places a Support the Hospital sign on his lawn. Good. But a lawn sign doesn’t cut it when there is a serious concern within the community about the Spectator news feature.

I don’t expect the Mayor, or ward Councillor Bentivegna, who is the city’s representative on the hospital Board, to solve the problem.

But could we not expect the Mayor to make a statement that she has asked Bentivegna to report to Council on what the hospital response has been to the news feature in the Spectator ?

Council meets on Tuesday. Perhaps the Mayor will make a statement

The public expects its political leadership to be aware and respond to citizen concerns

Related news story:

Spectator publishes a four page feature on hospital problems

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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7 comments to The silence has been deafening: Nothing from the Mayor or the hospital on issues that have been made public

  • Grahame

    After the hospital killed 99 people via uncontrolled C-diff the board should haveimmediately fired the then CEO.What did they do?They let him stay on till he reached retirement date to get full pension.Other than a new CEO what has been done to continuously strive to be a highly rated institution?

  • Perryb

    What is the Mayor supposed to be doing about this? No one seems to feel that our invisible MPP should be heard from. After all, the Province jealously proclaims its sole authority on health matters. It continues to shuffle the executive deck chairs in LHINs, health teams, whatever. It controls the money. It allows each hospital, or ‘health network’, to do its own thing, and most are good, some are not,

  • Jim Thomson

    They are taking it away by Ian Robb

    If it’s ever your misfortune in a hospital to stay,
    You’d best not be impatient for a bed on which to lay,
    For your health ain’t worth the taxes that the healthy have to pay,
    And the beds were too expensive, so they’ve taken them away

    Oh, they’re takin’ it away; they’re takin’ it away.
    They are takin’ all the good things, you can hear the people say,
    And they’ll take it all tomorrow if they don’t take it today.
    From the poor and sick and helpless, they are takin’ it away.

  • Penny Hersh

    The “silence is deafening” approach has been a common recurrence for this council and has been going on for years. The approach seems to be if we say and do nothing it too shall pass and with the apathy in Burlington it works.

    I for one am sick of seeing all the current photo ops of late. Our major wins the award of most photos taken in a single day/week. Perhaps it is time for less ribbon cutting photos etc. and more important issues to be made public. Burlington is no longer the sleepy little town where ice cream socials made the front page of newspapers.

    Burlington has real problems that need to be dealt with and residents need to be included in the solutions. The “keep the residents in the dark” approach needs to end.

    I have to question if Councillor Bentivegna even has had the time to attend any board meetings at JBH? I can only imagine the time conflicts in being able to juggle ward issues, council and regional meetings and deputy mayor. responsibilities.

    The current council is too small to do all these jobs effectively.

    For years I have said that the ward councillors work in silos. The system is set up this way. Many years ago I remember asking councillor John Taylor to help the residents with saving the waterfront from overdevelopment, His response at the time was “this is not my ward”. Nothing has changed.

    I have been told (correctly if I am wrong) that presently councillors are not permitted to meet together to discuss their ward issues prior to any council meetings? Would not members of council benefit from listening to their colleague’s thoughts and suggestions. I think it is called collaboration, what a novel approach.

    While some are hailing the deputy mayor initiative I question if this will result in a failed experiment that will impact the community.

    We have all heard the term “ to big to fail”. In our case will we be “too small and failed”?

  • Hans Jacobs

    It’s not clear what the mayor has to do with it, other than trying to effect improvement as a representative of the citizens of Burlington.
    As I recall, JBH belonged to the Hamilton-Wentworth-Brantford-etc. LHIN, until that was restructured in 2021, and Ontario Health is now responsible for hospital funding and planning. In addition, the hospital has some kind of CEO responsible for operations doesn’t it? It seems logical to hold Ontario Health and the JBH CEO accountable for any failures – not the City council or the mayor.

    • The Mayor and councillors are members of Halton Health Board with a Medical Officer of Heath to support the best health interests of all Halton residents. IT certainly is her job to address failures in the hospital located in the city where she is Mayor and is there to provide healing and comfort when healing not possible. We remember her leading a shout out for the hospital during the pandemic now it is time to demand answers and commit to leading whatever needs to be done to change this health care horror story that will not change if we sit back and accept what we have. The Wed. CHCH interview is a good place to start and make it clear where she stands, with the community who elected her to act in our best interests
      or with those who have created these health horror stories and refuse to work to make things as they should be. The health of the community she serves has to be her #1 priority and a hospital that we have confidence in is clearly our no. 1 need.

  • Lynn Crosby

    The mayor did yet more smiling photo ops – steps from the hospital! – days after this article is published and when people have been calling for a response. This says it all, folks.

    Tomorrow is far too late. The article first appeared online last Wednesday, then was the prominent front-page story in Saturday’s hard copy. Is she working with Communications on a typical long defensive comment now that the heat is on? Is Angelo waiting for permission to speak? Are they waiting for scripts?

    And if Vandewall had any integrity, he’d resign.