Ward six debate may not have all the candidates on the stage. Stage fright perhaps?

saltlogo1By Pepper Parr

September 18, 2014



Politics is about power – even at the municipal level. Politicians have access to information the rest of us don’t have. They make decisions that determine how much of our money is paid in taxes; they decide when the swimming pools will be open and they decide when the snow gets cleared off your street.

There are thousands of municipal politicians who serve the public and there are some who serve themselves. They fight hard to become politicians and fight just as hard to stay there.

Politicians work at creating the image they believe their constituents want. Not all of them but the vast majority for sure. Some have agendas – others just want to make their community a good place to live in.
In Ontario municipal politicians have to go before the voters and seek re-election. They have to either spend their own money or raise money to pay for their campaigns.

Those who do the job well – work long hours, very long hours. We have one Councillor in Burlington who thinks being a city Councillor and a Regional Councillor is a part time job. It isn’t.

Burlington has had poor media this past eight to ten years. Poor media means an uninformed electorate. Uninformed voters cannot make informed choices. When voters don’t have enough information – they tend not to vote. Burlington has a poor voter turnout.


Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster thinking through the answer to a question.  Tends to be cautious.

Blair Lancaster, first term member of council seeking re-election.

The Burlington Gazette has organized a debate for the people running in ward six – where nine people want to replace first term Councillor Blair Lancaster. That is a clear sign that a lot of people are unhappy and that a number of people think they can win the Ward six council seat.

We were able to get the use of the theatre at the Hayden High school and have had positive responses from all but two of the candidates.

Jennifer Hlusko has advised us that she has an important board of Education meeting on Wednesday September 24th. Ms Hlusko has served as a school board trustee for 11 years –however she ends that job in November. She is now a candidate for a municipal council seat and her obligation is to the people, who are voting for municipal representation.

Ms Hlusko appears to want to get permission from the Director of Education to miss the school board meeting. She advised us that she would “speak with the Chair, trustees and Director about the September 24th conflict.”

The director of Education reports to the trustees. Ms Hlusko is currently a trustee; quite why she feels she has to seek permission or approval from the Director of Education suggest she doesn’t fully understand the relationship between trustees and the Director of Education.

Blair Lancaster has not yet replied to our invitation to take part in the debate.

The Gazette got a call from a Brenda McKinley who said she was calling on behalf of a ward six candidate but would not identify who she was representing.

Hlusko H&S

Jennifer Hlusko, currently a school board trustee running as a candidate for the ward six seat on city council.

Ms McKinley wanted a moderator from the Chamber of Commerce and she wanted questions from the panelists to be asked of all ten candidates. We declined to change our format and we did not want the Chamber of Commerce moderating this event. They have in the past held their own debates.

Our format was to have the panelists ask a candidate a question, after which any other candidate could make a comment – with one minute to do so. The candidate the question was put to would have a minute to respond to the comments from the others.

Ward six is clearly a contested seat and there are some powerful interests who want to see the “right” person win. We hope that the wines of the debate are the people of ward six.

The event will start with each candidate being given two minutes to put their case before the audience and two minutes at the end of the debate. The order in which the candidates speak will be drawn by lot.

We learned later that Ms McKinley has been in touch with at least one other candidate to get allocated seating for their supporters. The debate is for the public and we will do what we can to ensure that the candidates do not flood the room with their supporters.

We are trying to work within the framework of a democracy and giving everyone an equal opportunity.
There will be questions from the audience when the debate concludes.

At this point we do not have a commitment from either Ms Hlusko or Ms Lancaster. There will be a seat for them with their name on it – it is up to them if they choose to speak to the voters

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8 comments to Ward six debate may not have all the candidates on the stage. Stage fright perhaps?

  • Amish

    Thanks for the update, but there is a tape!!! Do we know which candidate it is.
    Lets keep the public informed about our prospective candidates, we don’t need people you call last minute meetings, or candidates helping developers, or people accepting donations from developers or candidates with videos.

  • Amish

    Which candidate has a video, who is lying. Please follow up Martin. Mr. Parr do you or the Gazette know anything about this video or tape.

    Editor’s note: We appear to have someone abusing the comments section. We were told there was a tape but found that the email the notice came from was not a valid address.

  • Martin

    It is shame candidates lie and have skeletons in closets. I will be providing more about a tape and a candidate in wasaga. If he stays in I will publish then see if his wife defends him. He should stop these lies about being liberal and leaving last week even though association made 9 months ago. But this tape video will become headlines in ward 6. More to come

  • Henri de Beaujolais

    Ms. Hlusko needs to be at this meeting. A vast majority of the voters have never heard of her, or know anything about how she presents and what her ideas are. For her to skip this debate would be a major faux pas.

    I don’t think it matters if counselor Lancaster shows up or not in terms of her getting reelected.
    Her days as a counselor are over at the end of this year.

    This should be a very interesting evening.

    I am looking forward to getting new blood into city Council. Someone who has a interesting viewpoint, can build a coalition and not just warm the bench.

  • Frank Galano

    Ward six debate….. Will it be free or manipulated.

    Editor’ note:
    Free and wide open and not manipulated by any of the candidates

  • As a candidate in this ward, I’m truly looking forward to hearing the ideas of the other people running. I was called by Brenda and was asked to support the change request. My response was that the debate was being hosted by the gazette and to that effect we should go off the gazette’s structure. Thanks.

  • JQ Public

    I’m afraid this excuse is not good enough for Ms. Hlusko to not attend. She is leaving her one job and trying for a new one. She’s history in the old one, so time to forge ahead, not use it as an excuse to avoid an important debate.

    As for Ms. Lancaster, the only excuse she could have for not showing up is her record. She’ll be called on it by all the other candidates. Part of being an incumbent politician, I’m afraid. Avoiding debates will not be appreciated by the voters.

  • Dave Trumpet

    You have “received responses from all but two candidates”.
    In those responses – did they indicate that they ‘were’ or ‘were not’ attending?

    Editor’s note: All but two candidates have said they will participate