The voices of reason and stability have gone silent in this city.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 15th, 2018



We got a comment from a citizen who had this to say:

“Disrespectful behaviour creates division in our city – whether it’s the mayor taking a cheap shot using the school issue to save his own political skin; or Sean Baird and whoever he’s fronting, hiding behind anonymous 3rd party advertisers.

“We need our civic leaders – whether it’s the politicians (where’s John Taylor?), former politicians ( Walter Mulkewich), the media, business people, community group leaders, church leaders speaking up against disrespectful behaviour to say “Not in our city”.

“If we don’t have community consensus on acceptable public discourse and a willingness to speak out, then Burlington is big trouble.”

Hear no evil monkeys

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. It is time for civic leaders to stand up and say what the city really stands for.

That citizen just might be right – we could be in for some really big trouble.

Another question: How is this city going to heal once this is all over?

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

7 comments to The voices of reason and stability have gone silent in this city.

  • fj

    I find it very interesting that Mr Rusin’s flyer was delivered to my house in Ward 1 yesterday, which I promptly recycled in my blue box where it belongs.

  • Candidates for public office are often unfairly subjected to behaviour that is well outside the bounds of fairness and common decency one would otherwise be exposed to in daily life. The severity and frequency of personal attacks only increases if you are not part of the establishment and/or threaten the existence of it, and increases further still the higher the office you seek.

    This largely explains the level of vitriol directed at Marianne Meed Ward this election. Whatever legitimate policy differences anyone may have with her, it’s just not decent or acceptable to publicly attack anyone, let alone someone running for political office, based on personal opinions about their behaviour that aren’t based on undisputable facts. Keeping this in mind, we must also be very careful not to automatically assume that anyone (candidate or otherwise) who did not immediately take to social media to condemn this behaviour to mean that they therefore condone it. Doing so runs the risk of encouraging and perpetuating the same sort of character assassination that is being rightfully condemned here in the first place.

    We all need to take a collective deep breath before this discussion starts going places we might regret later. Let’s give the good people of Burlington the credit they deserve and allow for them to make up their own minds as to the acceptability of this sort of behaviour. The attack ad has been in the public domain for almost two weeks now, and has been delivered to almost every home in Ward 3. As such, these statements aren’t a secret shared amongst a select few. Without exception, everyone I have personally discussed this ad with feels either bewildered, disappointed or disgusted by it. We all see it for what it is, and those that don’t are unlikely to have their mind swayed by anyone wagging a proverbial finger at them over the internet.

    I for one am grateful that Peter Rusin attached his name to this ad, rather than to publish it anonymously as others have chosen to do this campaign. Whether its for the position of Trustee, Councillor, Mayor or Regional Chair, I encourage every individual or organization that is or has at one time backed candidates that are now running in this election – anonymously or otherwise – to publicly disclose the precise nature of their involvement in supporting their campaigns, so that every voter can make a fully informed choice as to who (or who not) to vote for on October 22nd.

  • Lisa Cooper

    To the residents of Ward 3

    Concerning the recent flyer’s going out by the candidate Peter Rusin.
    I do not condone such disparate treatment of a mayoral candidate. This is not how we as candidates should be presenting ourselves.
    I realize that during an election emotions are high, patience is stretched and tempers can run. That is part of the passion of caring and putting yourself and your beliefs out there on the line.
    This is no way gives anyone the right to be judge and jury over any of the people running for office. Stick to the rules laid down for everyone, take the high road and hopefully, the electorate will vote in the right people as their representatives.
    We need to build people up not tear their reputations down because we don’t agree with their views. You are not only hurting the people you are vilifying but their families also.
    This is not reflective of any of the other candidates. Nor is it reflective of the Burlington I grew up in.
    I urge Mr. Rusin to cease these personal attacks on the mayoral candidate and offer an apology to her and the voters.

    Lisa Cooper

  • Penny

    I have to ask – Where is the outcry from all the candidates running for election?

    Every candidate running in this election has indicated that there needs to be a change in the culture at City Hall, that residents need to be engaged. As one of the residents who has been slandered why should I believe that anything will change when those running for election won’t stand up not only for the residents but also a candidate running for mayor that are being targeted.

    Doing nothing is definitely not the answer, and speaks volumes.

  • Gil

    These are all great points Penny. There should be the ability to have healthy dialogue and residents should speak up and not remain silent.

    From my perspective, many of the comments that I read here by readers give the impression that the negativity is all one way. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. I left a comment on another article (that for some reason is awaiting moderation) to that effect.
    The point was, that candidates are posting things on social media and making assertions that are negative. Meaning that while our mayor has made some negative (and what many are deeming inappropriate) remarks at debates, there is a lot of mud being slung in all directions on other platforms. So, before we criticize Mike, Marianne, or Rick, let’s make sure our own preferred candidate isn’t doing much of the same.

    It’s sad that candidates can’t spend more time focusing on the positives of their track record (as councilor or mayor), or better yet, what their vision is for the city moving forward.

    I guess it’s easier to “build oneself up by tearing someone else down” versus taking the high road and focusing on what good things the candidate intends to do once elected/re-elected.

    Then again, is that what sells to voters? I ask the question because voter turnout isn’t usually high (mid 30% the last few elections and 16.5% in 2003….eek…)

  • Stephen White

    As Penny has alluded to, many of the civic leaders and the business establishment are a major part of the problem. They sat in stony, cold silence as voices across the city were challenging the status quo, and asking why, in the face of overwhelming public opposition, the municipal leadership and civic administration were driving through an Official Plan that clearly didn’t reflect the needs of citizens. By their silence, particularly during the sham consultation process that masqueraded as an exercise in community engagement, they were and are complicit in the widening chasm that exists in this city around the issue of intensification, and that is being played out in this municipal election. Actions such as third party advertisers, and bogus public opinion surveys intended to discredit opposing points of view, add neither credibility nor trust.

    Prior to this election there were multiple opportunities for the Mayor and this Council to hit the re-set button. There were several ideas proposed on how to do this which have demonstrated awareness, moderation and goodwill and allowed people on all sides of this discussion to “save face” (e.g. plebiscite on the OP; appointing a mediator; extending the consultation and approval process; etc.). All were summarily ignored.

    The last question in the article is particularly poignant. Whoever gets elected next week, both for Mayor and Councillors, had better learn the art of conciliation quickly, and recognize there is much that needs to be done to restore public confidence and trust. Frankly, I for one gave up long ago believing that former politicians or business leaders have the capacity to provide moral leadership.

  • Penny

    This disrespectful behaviour has been happening for at least 6 years. Every time I attended a council meeting and witnessed the behaviour between some councillors and the residents that delegated or the rude manner that existed among some of the councillors to each other I questioned why no one said anything.

    At one particularly brutal attack on a resident that delegated it took everything in my power not to stand up and say ” enough, how would you like to be spoken to in this manner”, but I didn’t.

    Our current mayor let this go by, he never once intervened, yet this same mayor was quick to come to someone who had delegated and told him that “he would not tolerate this rude type of behaviour again and if he delegated again like that he would be asked to leave”.

    Remember delegates and residents attending council are told that they are not “to clap, or make any comments of any kind, and be respectful of others”.

    A code of conduct was asked for – not to protect the residents that delegate but for the councillors. I have to question if the councillors go back and listen to the way some of them treat the public when they stand up to delegate. The code of conduct should work both ways.

    This election has been extremely vitriolic with some councillors going after citizen groups, candidates as well as residents. We as a society seem to sit back and say “thank goodness it isn’t me they are going after”. Silence speaks volumes.

    I hope the residents of Burlington remember that this is their time to stand up to this type of behaviour by voting. Encourage your neighbours, friends, family to have their say. This is not the time to be apathetic.