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Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward on Travel and Accountability During Province-wide Shutdown

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Please see below the statement I released today publicly on travel and accountability during the province-wide shutdown: Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward – Jan 8 2021.

Burlington, Ont.  – Jan. 8, 2021 — For full transparency and accountability, I have not travelled outside the country or province in more than a year and have not left the City of Burlington since before the Provincial shutdown.

I am just as troubled and frustrated as the community about continued news of travel outside the country or province by elected representatives, health officials or community leaders. This erodes public trust at a time we need to work with the community to defeat COVID-19.

I immediately spoke to Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) Chief Stephen Tanner, when I learned today (from the media) that he had travelled outside the country to attend to a property, with the permission of the Chair of the HRPS Board, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. I expressed my concern about the travel. I appreciate that Chief Tanner has now apologized and said it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets.

I encourage those with properties outside the province to consider local property management companies and continue to avoid non-essential travel. I have heard from constituents who also have properties outside the province who are not travelling to those properties, and they expect the same from their community leaders.

Clearly, as community leaders, we need to hold ourselves not only to the same standards we expect from the public, but a higher standard of accountability, transparency and behaviour. We are in a public health emergency when all non-essential travel is being discouraged by our public health officials and provincial and federal governments.

Accountability starts in our own backyard. My expectations are that no senior City staff or Council members will be travelling outside the province for non-essential trips during the shutdown. I can confirm that no senior staff at Burlington City Hall has travelled outside the province since the province-wide shutdown. I also asked and have received confirmation from all City Council members that none of them have travelled outside of the province since the shutdown.

As a new measure during virtual City of Burlington Committee and Council meetings, and other public meetings, I will be voluntarily disclosing where I am calling in from. I have asked all of my City Council colleagues to do the same.

Additionally, I have put on the agenda of our upcoming Emergency Control Group a discussion of what further measures are warranted to ensure our staff and council walk the talk, lead by example and hold ourselves to the same and higher standard than we expect of the community.

We are in the worst of this pandemic. It is all hands on deck. We need to trust each other and work together. To do that, we all need to make the same commitments and sacrifices to beat this deadly virus.

We need to work to restore trust when it has been broken, as it has recently with many announcements of travel by health, elected and community leaders.

Sincerely,

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

City of Burlington

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A consolidated page for information and updates on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force is available at bit.ly/COVIDVaccineUpdates.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

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2 thoughts on “Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward on Travel and Accountability During Province-wide Shutdown”

  1. Wally P. Woodruff

    Chief Tanner did not show bad judgment, he never ever gave it a thought, let alone a second thought. The fact that the Oakville Mayor, as Police Board Chair, gave him permission is absolutely wrong, because the Mayor has no such authority to give. Tanner went against all efforts that the Ontario government AND health community have made to lessen the risk facing Ontarians.

    Sorry Chief but SORRY does not cut it. Enjoy your isolation pay for the next couple of weeks

    Disgusted.

  2. No excuse for Chief Tanner’s decision to vacation in Florida. I’m sorry and made a poor decision doesn’t cut it. He needs to be held to account for his decision. After all he’s the Chief of Police directing his officers to enforce lockdown violations.

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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