Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison ducks the only debate being held for city council candidates

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 4th, 2018



Getting public attention in Burlington for the election of the people who will serve on city council and the Board of Education is not an easy task.

There have been elections in this city where the turnout has been as low as 13%.

It doesn’t look as if that is going to be the case for the October 22 civic election. With a record 63 candidates filing nomination papers, a small but very effective group of citizens have organized debates in each ward of the city.

Getting this done has not been easy.

ECOB logoECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington – set out to organize debates in each ward for the candidates running in that ward and then a debate for the four people running for the Office of Mayor.

There are not that many venues that these events can be held in – churches, schools, library, service clubs – wherever there is a large room that will hold those interested in hearing the debates.

ECoB has not been able to convince the city that they should be allowed to use public property. The Clerk’s office, which oversees the election process, has told ECoB that city property could not be used because candidates might choose to solicit votes while the debates are taking place,

Heaven forbid that such a thing should happen in Burlington.


Mark Carr will moderate most of the ward level debates.

The ward level debates are being moderated by Mark Carr – with the exception of the Ward 6 debate where Councillor Lancaster took issue with Carr, saying she didn’t feel he was as unbiased as she would like him to be.

The biggest headache for the people organizing the event was the refusal on the part of Councillor Dennison to take part. The original date chosen happened to be the date city council was meeting.

Dennison never had any problem missing a council meeting when the Committee of Adjustment was hearing his application to sever his Lakeshore Road property.  He sat in the room next door to the Council Chamber defending his right to sever his property but forgetting that as an elected member of council he was sworn to defend the city’s bylaws.

The ECoB people understood and arranged for the ward 4 debate to take place on another date. Dennison would not commit to attending – so the debate for ward 4 citizens will be just Shawna Stolte, the only other candidate on the ballot, on the stage by herself.

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Ward 4 candidate for city council Shawna Stolte

Stolte had some choice words for Dennison and his decision. “Is it from a fear of being faced with questions he can’t answer? Or a fear of a strong challenger who may demonstrate the skills and experience to be a better option for voters in Ward 4?”

The dates and locations for the seven debates are:


Ward 5
Wednesday, September 19th
5151 New Street, Burlington

Ward 6
Thursday, September 20th
3040 Tim Dobbie Drive, Burlington

Ward 4
Monday, September 24th
4181 New Street, Burlington –

Ward 3
Wednesday, September 26th
2425 Upper Middle, Burlington

Ward 2
Monday, October 1st
2225 New Street, Burlington –

Ward 1
Thursday, October 4th
375 Plains Road E. Burlington –

Tuesday, October 9th
1433 Baldwin Street, Burlington

Make a note of the date for the debate in your ward.

All the debates start at 7:00 pm

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