With last week’s stunning news that the province intended to take away municipalities right to consider ranked ballots, we reached out to multiple politicians who had been at the forefront of adopting ranked ballots, or, in Burlington’s case, beginning the process of public consultation.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward generously made herself available for a long interview on the importance of municipalities being able to make their own decisions on subjects like local democracy, and discusses some of the wider context of the need for municipalities to be allowed to be responsible to their voters.
Mayor Meed Ward also answered our questions on a major story which arose after we invited her onto the podcast: the letter written to Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, requesting that Halton not be returned to modified Stage 2 lockdown, and claiming that evidence did not support any such move. The letter (extract below) appears to directly criticize an alleged preference of the Halton Health Officer, Dr Hamidah Meghani to put such a lockdown in place.
The letter was signed by two Halton region PC MPPs, Jane McKenna (Burlington) and Parm Gill (Milton), and also signed by Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr, Marianne Meed Ward, mayor of Burlington and Gord Krantz, mayor of Milton.
It should be noted that several Halton Region politicians did not sign this letter, including PC MPP for Oakville-North Burlington Effie Triantifilopoulos, PC MPP for Oakville Stephen Crawford, Mayor Rob Burton of Oakville and Mayor Rick Bonnette of Halton Hills.
However, all the Halton Region Mayors signed a separate letter directed to Premier Doug Ford. This separate letter was worded quite differently, was addressed to a politician rather than an independent health officer, and excluded the criticism which appears to be explicit in the letter signed by the MPPs.
Mayor Meed Ward answers these questions and many more. At the end of the episode Joel and Roland give their takes on what they feel might be the backstory to this letter, consider if it amounts to political interference, and ask what the tells us about how the province is handling the second wave. They also do a little bit of fact checking on some of the statements coming out of different levels of government with regard to this letter.
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