Views on the petition asking Mayor to relinquish Strong Mayor powers are both robust and direct

By Staff

April 2nd, 2024



The following comment posted by Blair Smith is one side of the issue brought to the surface by three members of Council and strongly supported by a fourth.

If the petition cannot generate 1000 signatures by April 16th, then the citizens of Burlington (and Ontario) may not care enough about our fundamental freedoms and the principle of majority rule.

Our Mayor, in my view and that of many, is now (perhaps with Ms. Horwath) the poster child of what is wrong with the Strong Mayor Powers. It matters not whether these powers are benevolently applied or with Council consultation, as Mr. Sharman contends. The fact that they exist and under the sole control of a single individual is just fundamentally wrong.

The citizens of Burlington can certainly be motivated and engaged. But the issues that move them tend to be those of the wallet. The general dissatisfaction with the Mayor’s budget proves that.

Issues of democratic freedoms and principles seem to be far less compelling and have much, much less news coverage and social media presence. The very successful petition against the Mayor’s unprecedented tax increase for 2024 was, in part, the result of an existential threat to peoples’ standard of living. It was a meat and potatoes issue and had Council ‘in toto’ conducting a defensive campaign to which the petition could directly respond.

The issue of democratic freedoms is unfortunately less direct and less visceral for a largely affluent society. Pity because the long term impacts on all citizens are probably much more severe.

I applaud the four members of Council for their courage and integrity in bringing the issue of Strong Mayor powers in Burlington into the open. They have forced the Mayor to respond and to demonstrate how horribly conceived and ill placed these powers are.

Glenda Dodd asked, in her comment:  Maybe some people actually agree with the mayor?

For those who want to sign the petition – click HERE

Links to related news stories:

It was not the Mayor’s finest hour


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4 comments to Views on the petition asking Mayor to relinquish Strong Mayor powers are both robust and direct

  • Anne and Dave Marsden

    If there were any residents agreeing with the mayor they did not appear at the lectern as did those supporting the “the fab four” nor did anybody appear at the lectern to express Glenda Dodds position. Those who were able to delegate, not everybody can at day time meetings, opposed the Mayor’s position and reasoning for the past 8 months not to delegate any of ths pkwers she claims she does not want…

    The time for the mayor to see support for her position not to delegate the powers she could have done has long past. Anything we see in that regard, from the public after the last Special meeting is simply not credible. Neither is the Mayor’s latest Spectator rant of misinformatjon and Mayor is accountable. Pity we the public do not get equal time in the Spec as the Hamilton public seems to on their issues, same goes for CHCH news. Have yet to see a Blair Smith, Lynn Crosby or any other of those well versed in the public position interviewed on CHCH – why not?

    • Lynn Crosby

      Thank you for the kind shout-out, Anne and Dave. Just before the latest MMW Soectator rant, I wrote to the Spec editor asking why there had been nothing at all on the major news story that the majority of our council was trying to take away the mayor’s strong mayor powers. That is news. I then lamented the lack of critical coverage of our mayor in the Spec and noted the ridiculous and embarrassing pattern of them printing a diatribe of complaints and spin written by MMW whenever any criticism does make its way into the Spec.

      I noted a disturbing pattern: less and less commentary on details about our council and mayor compared with Scott Radley’s excellent coverage of Hamilton city council and Mayor Horwath in the same paper – he doesn’t hold back if he feels criticism is warranted. I also noted that I haven’t seen Mayor Horwath write in complaining – and asked surely this isn’t the reason for the difference? Perhaps there are phone calls made to the editors by MMW as well? I’d like the Spec to tell us.

      After this latest ridiculous piece by MMW, my previous thoughts came back: they didn’t cover the existence of the motion, or fact of either the first nor second council meeting on this unprecedented motion by three council members until after the second meeting. Joan Little then wrote a bit of critical – and factual – commentary on the whole sordid mess – and of course, MMW had to then write a long protest spin thing AGAIN, which didn’t address the crux of the issue: autocracy vs democracy and the mass exodus of senior staff. Presumably this is why she wanted the delay and more time to think? She was writing this thing? That’s what we all figured was going on. Why the Spec goes along with it is a question worth asking.

      Mayor: can you just spend your time actually working on something besides your own image management and can you answer this: can you work well with *anyone*?? Also, clearly you have used the strong mayor powers in numerous ways and council and all delegates who wrote in or spoke in person want to ensure you don’t use them in the future. So do the 157 and counting who know about the signed the petition so far. What does that tell you? (Cue hands over ears, lalalalalala and projection ad nauseum.)

  • Joe Gaetan

    With respect to truth, facts and transparency. A Mayor is required to post all written decisions. Prior to the Special Meeting the COB website contained 10 mayoral decisions. During the meeting it was revealed there had been 17 and as of today there are 18. If you would like to know more about a particular Mayoral Decision you are on your own and will have to dig deeper to figure out if all the fuss is justified (See Example).
    If the Strong Mayor Powers are a “NOTHING-BURGER”, let’s move on as we are cutting down trees to make red-tape decisions that are not worth the paper they are written on.
    If the 18 decisions are a “SOMETHING-BURGER” then SIGN THE PETITION to support the 3 councillors who at great risk brought this forward as they must know something we don’t.
    Speaking truth-to-power takes a lot of intestinal fortitude. Just ask Jody Wilson-Raybould (Puglaas).

    See Example:
    Decision Number: 2024-05
    Mayoral decision Under Bill 3, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, which amended the
    Municipal Act, 2001, I Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of the City of Burlington, hereby approve the following by-laws passed at the Burlington City Special Council meeting of March 26, 2024, in accordance with subsection 284.11(4)(a)(i) of the Municipal Act, 2001:
    • Confirmation By-law Council Agenda Item #8
    Dated at Burlington, this 26th day of March 2024.

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