That raffle ticket kerfuffle - it was telling and no one came out of it smelling like roses.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 14th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There was a time in Burlington when people behaved quite a bit differently than they do today.

It was a more genteel community. People knew each other and the city’s rural roots were still part of the way people looked at things. One of the most influential organizations in the community was the Horticulture Society. Burlington was a produce community that send apples, pepper, pears, cantaloupe around the world.

There was a spur railway line that the engineers backed their train into to load on barrels of produce that got rushed to Montreal where it was loaded on ships.

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There was a time when Burlington shipped its produce around the world; the railways did great business hauling fruit and vegetables from area farms. It was a more polite society as well

The Grant Trunk Railway had two tracks coming into Burlington property that is now a walking path along the edge of the lake.

City council was there to help and for the most part it did. Roly Bird and Walter Mulkewich and were Mayors that saw things a little differently than the current crop.

There was a small incident earlier in the week that highlighted the kind of Burlington we have become.

Gareth Williams who is running for the ward 3 city council seat became aware that Rory Nisan, who is also running for the seat, had planned a community BBQ at which raffle tickets were going to be sold.

Gareth Williams

Ward 3 candidate Gareth Williams

Gareth talked to people at the Clerk’s Office – the city Clerk is the election Returning office.

He asked if the sale of raffle tickets was permitted and was told what the rules are.

If you want to sell raffle tickets you need a permit to do so from the city.

In an older more genteel Burlington Gareth Williams would have called Rory Nisan and advised him as to what the rules were; instead he waited, arranged for one of his team to attend the event and take pictures of the table with the raffle tickets on it and made them available to media.

rory shot

Ward 3 candidate Rory Nisan

When the Gazette got the media release from Gareth we called Rory Nisan and asked some questions. Nisan admitted they had screwed up and were doing everything to repair the damage. We asked Nisan if he was going to issue a statement. At first he wasn’t sure but thought about it and said he would issue a statement – which he did.

It was less than a fulsome statement. Nisan referred to documents that were not crystal clear on just what the rules were.

Nisan’s response was not a fulsome, unequivocal apology for not ensuring that what his campaign was doing was onside. It fell a little short of what was expected from a Canadian diplomat.

The Clerk’s Office didn’t cover itself in glory on this disappointing situation. They were aware that someone was offside. It didn’t take a rocket scientists to figure out if questions were coming from a ward 3 candidate that the concern was in ward 3.

City Clerk Angela Morgan fails to ensure media alerted to Special Council meeting. Her communications people dropped the ball as well.

City Clerk Angela Morgan serving as Returning Officer in the 2010 election.

Would it have been too much to ask the Returning Officer to issue a bulletin to all candidate explaining the rules? Something along the lines of – it has come to our attention that etc. etc.

When this election is over there are some very hard questions to be put to the Returning Officer: Which part of the democratic process are you having difficulty with?

The city administration adds a tag line to every media release they send out.

“Burlington is one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive.”

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

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13 comments to That raffle ticket kerfuffle – it was telling and no one came out of it smelling like roses.

  • Frank Gibson

    Yikes, already issues with both of these guys, seems like some kinda shady work. I think I’ll be looking at the other Candidates

  • Harry Williams

    This is an unbelievable turn that this is taking. People condemming Gareth for reporting a blatant offense. I would have never known that this happened if it was not sent to the media. If you are planning a fundraising activity you should probably do your homework before hand. Seems like a pretty major oversight for somebody that is running for a seat on city council.

    This is information, as a voter, I would like to know about my candidates.

    PS. To whomever manages this website. It may be time for an upgrade. It is tremendously difficult to interact with on a mobile device.

  • Ben Tuinman

    In response to Kyle Hutton : “…instead he waited, arranged for one of his team to attend the event and take pictures of the table with the raffle tickets on it and made them available to media…”

    Editor’s note: Gareth Williams made the photographs available to the Gazette.

  • Just to note everyone: Gareth did not send anyone there to take pictures, the pictures of the raffle table are from Rory Nisan’s own Facebook posts.

    Editor’s note: The fact is – the pictures were sent to the Gazette by Gareth Williams.

  • Alysha Bayes

    All of the pictures that I’ve seen of the raffle table were postedby Nisan’s team. Mr Parr may wish to ensure his facts are straight.

    Editor’s note: The fact is that the photographs were sent to the Gazette by Williams. He did not say where they came from.

  • Charisse Henning

    How disappointing it is that Gareth and Rory are playing politics as usual. We need a mature, responsible leadership team on council. It’s time we give the other candidates like Darcy Hutzel a serious look. If a BBQ at a local park doesn’t go as planned imagine how bigger and more important things may be handled.

  • Susan L.

    I am so glad you wrote about this. I was thinking exactly the same thing.

  • Bonnie

    ‘He arranged for one of his team to attend the event and take pictures’…..is this the type of person we want on city council?

    • Gareth did not send anyone there to take pictures, the pictures of the raffle table are from Rory Nisan’s own Facebook posts.

      Editor’s note: True enough – but Williams did make the photographs available to the Gazette.

  • Owen

    Why should Williams have contacted Nisan? According to your commentary, he contacted the city’s Returning office ahead of the raffle. The was the correct thing to do. That gave *them* plenty of time to investigate, it was advertised widely, and contact Nisan to warn him that he was breaking the rules. That’s *their* job, to oversee elections!

  • Ben Tuinman

    Of course, Gareth Williams could have called Rory Nisan (like in the “old” days ! )….but decided to make some political points by sending somebody there, take pictures etc and report it to the media. If your point is that Burlington is not anymore like it used to be in the “old” days, well Gareth Williams did nothing to get us back there!

    • Gareth did not send anyone there to take pictures, the pictures of the raffle table are from Rory Nisan’s own Facebook posts.

      Editor’s note: The pictures the Gazette published were provided to the Gazette by Gareth Williams.

  • It’s a cruel joke that we have Rory and Gareth running in the same ward. They are both the type of person we all would really like to see on the council.

    The real problem here is that people in Burlington (and I’m sure most of Canada) for whatever reason do not make micro-contributions to campaigns. If everyone interested in a candidate just donated $20 I think the fundraising problem would be largely reduced.

    As is – lack of cash is a big problem. Most campaigns will get out yelled by better-funded opponents.

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