Saturday, March 03, 2007


Joan Little does an excellent job covering municipal politics in the Hamilton Spectator.

Joan is thorough in her analysis, thoughtful and fair - traits that were put to good use when she served as a Burlington alderman and Halton Councillor.

Unfortunately the Spectator limits her to only a couple of columns per month.

Columnists are supposed to put forward a point of view. Joan has waded in with her assessment of Burlington’s new mayor opining in a previous piece that his “Camship” was not a team player.

A recent column called him a one man-band; accused him of mismanagement on the McMaster file; noted that he craves adulation; claimed he is creating morale problems amongst staff; and more.

Far be it from me to stand up for Cam Jackson, a man I ran against once. On most days his views are 180 degrees from mine. And his personal style rubs me like fingernails on a blackboard but....

Cam is the Mayor

He ran city wide capturing 14,941 votes. By comparison the next biggest vote getter on Council, Ward One’s Rick Craven, received 4,826 votes in a two-candidate race. Clearly, Jackson has the mandate to speak for all of Burlington. Yet those pusillanimous practitioners of parochial ward politics - two of them anyway - have the nerve to criticize the mayor while hiding behind the anonymity offered through speaking without attribution.

The Great Burlington Tradition

Ms. Little paints a rosy picture of a local government of “seamless team transitions,” “mutual respect” for staff, stability and “solid decision making.” But other mayors have shown a lack of respect for staff and, while this behaviour should not be condoned, it must be said Jackson is not unique.

What is needed in Burlington is a well-articulated code of conduct for politicians like the one that exists for staff. Such a code would go some way to ensuring staff are treated fairly.

A Honeymoon Period

Typically, newly elected mayors are given some time to get use to office. After all it is a tough job. In fact, it may be the toughest one Cam has had. Let’s give him some time. Perhaps he’ll learn from these early missteps.