Publisher of the Gazette files a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner against Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 8th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 2 of a series

Late in September Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster used the Facebook page Burlington News to explain why she was not going to take part in the debate the was organized by ECoB.

LANCASTER IN PINK FROM HER CAMPAIGN

A former Miss Canada Beauty Queen Ward 3 Councillor Blair Lancaster.

She believed the facilitator of the debate Mark Carr was biased – he ran against Lancaster in 2010.

Lancaster appears to have difficulty with just what bias is.  In another note she posted  on the Facebook page Burlington News she said:

“As you can see in the photo there is clearly a bias when the host of the show ran against me in the past and the co-host ran against me in the past and is now running again against me. I will not be participating in a debate hosted and organized by such an obvious biased group of individuals.”

Blair on The Issue

Ward 3 city Councillor Blair Lancaster refused to take part in a ward level debate because she believed the moderator was biased – for appearing on a cable TV program along with another candidate who had run against her. The TV program took place months before election campaigning began.

She also took exception to two news stories the Gazette published; she said we had threatened her in one of the articles.

The two stories are set out here:

Why is it that incumbents don’t want to defend what they have done?

Lancaster tells ECoB she won’t participate in their debate – blames the Gazette.

We invited readers to look at the article and let us know if you can find any threats. We did not threaten Ms Lancaster.

Councillor Lancaster listens carefully and tends to be cautious; still in a 'learning mode'.

Councillor Lancaster listens carefully and tends to be cautious.

There were two parts to the comment Lancaster made on the Burlington News Facebook page. The second part had to do with my personal relationship with city hall.

Ms Lancaster wrote:

The editor of the Gazette has already been banned from city facilities for other inappropriate actions.

Our first question is: Where did Lancaster get this information? We didn’t give it to her.

There is a problem with my access to city hall – I will elaborate on that and give you full disclosure.

The information Lancaster made public was given to her, and every other member of city council during a closed session of city council sometime between August 25th 2017 and November 16th 2017.

The city is permitted, under the Municipal Act, to go into a closed session to hear matters related to property matters and human resource issues.

Disclosing matters that are discussed in a closed session of city council is a serious matter. Serious enough for a Judge to actually remove a member of a city council from office.

In September of this year the Region of Halton and all four municipalities engaged Integrity Principals as the Integrity Commissioner for the Region and the four municipalities.

Councillor Blair Lancaster gets out to almost every photo op there is and has served as the lead spokesperson at a number of NGTA community events with crowrs of 250+. Her constituents are not happy with how she is handling the Air PArk issue.

Councillor Blair Lancaster at a photo op.

I filed a complaint with the Commissioner on Lancaster’s abuse of the City Code of Good Governance. That complaint will follow a process that is set out. I have been told that there will not be any response from the Integrity Commissioner until after the election.

Lancaster is not incorrect; I have been banned from city hall.

Why? That is complex and I will explain that in detail in the next article in this series.

Part 1 of a series

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher.

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6 comments to Publisher of the Gazette files a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner against Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster

  • joe gaetan

    For those of us who thought a Code of Conduct was a good idea, here are two sections from that document that may apply to the aforementioned allegations:
    1.0 Preamble The Council of the City of Burlington is committed to achieving exemplary standards of conduct in its actions which are essential to maintaining and ensuring public trust and confidence in the City’s decision making and operations. Members of Council of the City of Burlington will act in an accountable and responsible manner with integrity and fairness.

    6.0 Confidential Information By way of their office, Members of Council acquire confidential information from a variety of different sources including confidential personal information related to constituents who have contacted their office. Confidential information includes information in the possession of, or received in confidence by the City, that the City is either prohibited from disclosing, or is required to refuse to disclose under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“MFIPPA”). Members of Council shall not use information that is obtained in his or her capacity as a member and that is not available to the general public to further or seek to further the member’s private interest or improperly to further or seek to further another person’s private interest.

    In accordance with the rules under MFIPPA and the Procedure By-law, Members of Council shall not:
    a. Where a matter has been discussed in camera, and where the matter remains confidential, disclose the content of the matter or the substance of the deliberations of the in camera meeting; and
    b. Disclose or release by any means to any member of the public, any confidential information acquired by virtue of their office, in either oral or written form, except when required by law or authorized by Council to do so.

  • Don Fletcher

    From every interaction I have had with Council/ Planning/ Development Committee, I think that Councillor Lancaster would make an ideal Deputy Mayor. I witnessed no value-add from her as a Councillor. Could defining the Thin Red Line impact a 9-month project to prepare a work plan for the Waterfront Hotel redevelopment. Really Blair? A 10th grade geometry student would know that this could be determined with a protractor and 2-3 hours of effort on site. The problem is how would she perform as a hypothetical, still to be defined/ funded Deputy Mayor, for Mayor Marianne Meed Ward?

  • Marie

    Any public figure who relies on Facebook to get their news or to make “announcements” has no credibility in my book.

  • Lynn Crosby

    Any councillor who would post anything on the Burlington News fb page has some gall calling anything biased. The abundance of nasty and insulting comments and anonymous pages and websites directed at citizens and one mayoral candidate in this election all seems to come from a certain small contingent of individuals, and supported and aided by certain council members. Shameful that this is how low things have sunk in Burlington but it certainly keeps illustrating the points many are making that there is a huge culture problem in and around city hall. A person with integrity would know toxicity when he or she sees it and would rise above it, rather than wallow in it.

    • Blair Smith

      Well said Lynn! Burlington News is a product of our times. Unfortunately, this campaign has been fought extensively on social media and its byproducts. The results, in my opinion, have been anything but satisfactory. True discourse over policy and platform differences have been subsumed by tweets and posts and likes and ad hoc commentary (like mine here). Even traditional forms of candidate engagement, like the various debates, have been largely unsatisfactory with roundtable formats replacing true debate style. Look what happened at the Burlington Green debate where Mr. Goldring in his closing statement was able to fling an unsubstantiated and unchallenged series of remarks against Marianne Meed Ward, simply because he was the last in the sequence. I long for the honest and open exchange of ideas with appropriate response and counter-argument. Social media is such dross, IMO.

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