Politics

Whitehead, Bratina Spar Over Ethics of Party Endorsement

By RTH Staff
Published October 05, 2011

this blog entry has been updated

At 3:17 PM today, after Mayor Bob Bratina officially endorsed the Ontario Liberal Party, Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead sent the following email to local media:

The mayor today endorsed the Provincial Liberal government and has entrenched himself into partisan politics. I respect his personal choice; however, since the Mayor mistakenly accused me of partisanship politics and stated it had no place on the Fairness to Hamilton Committee, I would ask the Mayor to do the honourable thing and resign from the committee.

Three hours later, Mayor Bratina sent out the following reply:

Councillor Whitehead has failed to grasp the issue that confronted the "Fairness to Hamilton" committee when I asked for clarification of his situation regarding support of a candidate who was running against Minister Aggelonitis.

Several people had stated that Councillor Whitehead was managing the campaign of Monique Taylor, who was the announced NDP candidate in Minister Aggelonitis' riding. If that were the case, he would be in a conflict in terms of deciding on issues being brought forward to the minister. In such an event, my advice to the Committee was that the Councillor should step down until after the election. Councillor Whitehead subsequently stated that he was not managing or otherwise assisting Ms Taylor's campaign so no conflict existed.

That matter does not relate to my position on the Provincial election. The committee will not be meeting until after the election. This is the second inaccurate and unfortunate public statement made by Councillor Whitehead on this matter. The first one used the phrase "speaking out of both sides of his mouth" in a comment to Emma Reilly of the Spectator for which he privately apologized. However he did not correct himself publicly to that reporter or anyone else.

I'm asking Councillor Whitehead to apologize publicly for the dishonourable statement he made and commit to working in an open and positive way with the Mayor and Council in the best interests of the City.

Twenty minutes later, Whitehead replied:

The Mayor made his comments without attempting to contact me by phone or e-mail before the Fairness committee convened. He chose to raise the issue without talking to Monique Taylor to determine any validity to his concerns. The Mayor chose to raise the issue as a matter of public record in my absence. I asked him to apologize for his irresponsible assertions and to correct the public record. He said he would do both; however, an apology was never offered.

Further, the Mayor stated personally to me that the committee should be a non-partisan committee. I agreed. At no time did he suggest his position would expire at the end of the election.

I respect the role of Mayor and suggest that if he truly wants to work in a positive fashion with his council, the Mayor should talk to them first before issuing erroneous statements. Good Mayors recognize when they make mistakes and apologize for it. I am still waiting!


Update: this blog entry originally stated that Terry Whitehead is the Councillor for Ward 7. He is actually the Councillor for Ward 8. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

20 Comments

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2011 at 22:32:17

I see one other mistake...Terry Whitehead is not the Ward 7 Councillor (Scott Duvall is)...maybe ward 8?

Interesting dynamic that is going on here between the Mayor and others...

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By former terry supporter (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2011 at 00:38:14 in reply to Comment 70349

heres why you the hammer in the economic doldrums... really shows how weak and self centered both bratina and whitebread are.. both should resign... terry is a joke

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted October 05, 2011 at 22:44:13

Bratina is just doing what Bratina does best, and that's flip flopping. Oh, endorsing political parties is wrong, except when it isn't...which is usually when my guy is getting endorsed. Taken a look at de-amalgamation yet Bobby? No, well how about that West Harbor stadium shirt? No? LRT? No?

Are we noticing a trend yet?

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2011-10-05 22:45:11

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted October 06, 2011 at 01:55:08

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Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2011-10-06 02:23:52

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By maheshedout (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 08:43:29

Seriously Mahesh - get your own website to put your essays on. Or find a hobby - I hear model trains are fun. Heck - imagine putting all that time to volunteering around the city or something else just as useful.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 06, 2011 at 13:57:43 in reply to Comment 70357

I'd just be happier to see some brevity.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 08:45:36

"I really don't see anything wrong in a Mayor endorsing a provincial party - especially given the facts mentioned by him in support of his position, and its resulting positive impact on Hamilton - if the on-going financial commitments are continued in the coming years."

http://www.900chml.com/Channels/Reg/NewsLocalGeneral/story.aspx?ID=1551072

The NDP made the additional promise of LRT, which might have made them seem untrustworthy. I mean, what kind of party would make that sort of pledge during an election campaign? ;)

Also: If.

A cynic might see this endorsement as passive aggressive alpha dog behaviour directed at council colleagues, specifically those who’ve shown past NDP sympathies (Merulla, 2007 bid for NDP candidacy for HESC) or Conservative bias (Clark, MPP 1999-2003) and, coincidentally, been openly critical of the mayor.

But Pasuta, Powers, Partridge, Ferguson and McHattie had already publicly supported incumbent Liberal incumbent McMeekin a few weeks back as part of the Fairness to Hamilton campaign.

And these political biases are, on a certain level, bone-deep. Let’s not forget the council members who have considered provincial runs for the Liberals (Morelli in 2004, Collins in 2011) or the federal Liberals (Powers as MP 2004-2006, Bratina courted in 2009). (FWIW, Jackson ran as a provincial Conservative the Hamilton Mountain riding in 2004.) You'd be forgiven for thinking that Hamilton’s councillors perpetually have one foot in their mouth and the other out the door. The uploading arrangement is (more than the GO pledge) the icing on the cake, but it's ironic that the legacy of Mike Harris would be Hamilton's slavery to the Liberal vote. ;)

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 08:48:52

Anyone else get the feeling that Bratina's mayoral run was intended as a federal/provincial warm up - that in fact he had not expected to win? I am more concerned about the mantra that people have that the Liberals "have the experience", "can weather the storm", and the fear mongering about how all promises will be broken if the Liberals lose... how quickly people forget all the broken promises from McGinty. I don't care which way people vote, but people need to be honest with themselves and consider how many of the current promises are likely to be broken within 6 months.

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-10-06 08:50:55

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted October 06, 2011 at 11:00:29 in reply to Comment 70359

Anyone else get the feeling that Bratina's mayoral run was intended as a federal/provincial warm up - that in fact he had not expected to win?

This notion was suggested to me last year. And some of its validity could perhaps be seen in the Mayor's reaction to his win.

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By BeulahAve (registered) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 10:57:45

I had been thinking of voting Liberal, but Bratina's endorsement has convinced me I should stick with the NDP.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 13:11:02 in reply to Comment 70363

There seem to be more Liberals operating on council than elected by the people to represent Hamilton in the two most recent elections.

2007 Provincial Election: 2 NDP, 2 Liberal, 1 Conservative
http://www.hamilton.ca/YourElectedOfficials/ProvincialPoliticians.htm

2010 Federal Election: 3 NDP, 2 PC
http://www.hamilton.ca/YourElectedOfficials/FederalPolicitians.htm

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 14:08:26 in reply to Comment 70367

Digging deeper...

Provincial
2007: 2 Liberal, 2 NDP, 1 Conservative
2003: 4 Liberal, 1 NDP
1999: 2 Conservative, 2 Liberal, 1 NDP
1995: 2 Conservative, 1 Liberal, 1 NDP

Trivia: Ontario has had Conservative premiers for most of the last 65 years. More than 3/4 of elections post-WWII have painted Queen's Park blue.

Federal:
2010: 3 NDP, 2 Conservative
2008: 3 NDP, 2 Conservative
2006: 3 NDP, 2 Conservative
2004: 3 Liberal, 1 NDP, 1 PC

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted October 06, 2011 at 11:50:08

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By GO Platform Schmatform (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 12:34:42 in reply to Comment 70365

... and since promised initiatives like LRT, HST rollback and all-day GO are all 4-5 years from earliest implementation, with a little creative bureaucracy I'm confident that we can just re-run this campaign in 2015. And politicians can continue buying votes with taxpayers' money. Democracy, as Mencken said, is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 06, 2011 at 13:45:57

Am I the only one pretty much convinced that Bratina's anti-LRT policy is just because of some backroom deal with the provincial liberals to get them off the hook for paying for it?

I mean, I feel like I should be wearing a tinfoil hat for even suggesting it, but really - it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

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By George (registered) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 14:01:48 in reply to Comment 70368

Like extra provincial money for IWS2 and a photo op with Bob Young during a media conference, all without council's knowledge??

Comment edited by George on 2011-10-06 14:03:37

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 13:59:03 in reply to Comment 70368

I've heard lots of people voicing that sentiment so you're not alone. Lots of knowledgeable, well-respected people who aren't prone to conspiracy theories, I might add.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 16:35:36

Pxtl, I think you're right. I can lend you a tinfoil hat, if you'd like. I got plenty.

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By bob lee (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2011 at 16:37:25

there are conspiracies and there are deals. I could see Bratina making a deal to stump for all-day Go in exchange for other favours to come Hamilton's way. If that's the case it's pretty shrewd in a way, as it might lead to more provincial favours. That would also clear up the nonsense conspiracy theories that say Bratina's hoping for a seat somewhere in the future - I'd say the mayoral chair is worth more than the chance at running in contentious provincial ridings in 2015. But the timing is messed up. Why right in the middle of a campaign? Was there any pressure on the province to guarantee their Metrolinx commitments at the time Bratina took his stand? And also why characterize it as either GO or LRT? You'd think if he'd made a deal for GO he could have just said 'we're getting Go!' and then kept his mouth shut and let LRT die a budgetary death. It's confusing, the only thing I can pin down is that Bratina is clumsy and speaks before he thinks.

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By Balance (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2011 at 20:50:14

All I can say is Dumb and Dumber! You decide which. These two clowns should ride off into the sunset together. Get a new rug Terry;.

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