Town Hall is a Place Where Everyone Should Be Heard and Treated with Respect
I am committed to collaboration with community groups and with Council. At a meeting with members of the Bronte Outer Harbour Boater’s Marina Association, the Chair, David Chalmers, had the courage to speak openly about intimidating behaviour from our Mayor. Unfortunately David’s story is one we’ve been hearing from many Oakville community groups and residents.
I have personally been on the receiving end of attempts by Burton to intimidate me, first as the Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce (an experience other Chairs of the Chamber experienced) as well as a member of the Board of the Downtown Business Improvement Area.
Grandmother of a Canadian Soldier Berated by Mayor Burton at Remembrance Day Ceremony
“Your actions clearly were an inappropriate attempt to use your powers beyond the purposes they were intended…after berating my staff member and upon her refusal to leave, you attempted to have her removed from the ceremony…”
“You will understand that I am obliged to act to protect my staff from public humiliation and intimidation, and to defend their right and the right of all women to carry out their duties without fear or intimidation from anyone in our town, especially the Mayor.”
“What is Remembrance Day truly about? It’s about remembering our veterans who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. And that includes, I am sure, the freedom for the grandmother of a Canadian soldier to place a wreath at our Oakville cenotaph as a part of her duties in her job.”
Member of Parliament
The Mayor Sets the Tone of Welcome and Inclusion for Oakville
I believe it’s the Mayor’s job to set the “tone at the top” and create a culture of welcome and inclusiveness as a priority in every aspect of Town operations, from Town cultural and recreational facilities, to the planning department and Oakville Hydro, and to the working environment for Town employees.
Oakville should be an inclusive collaborative community where people can speak freely without fear of retribution/reprisal. Domineering and disrespectful behavior is unacceptable from anyone in political office or public service. As Mayor I will propose that the rules overseeing the decorum of public meetings are strengthened and enforced.
Invite Residents Back to the Table and Decentralize Government Control
Leadership isn’t JUST about the Mayor or Council, its about inviting everyone to the table to learn from each other and share expertise. It is about seeking input, acknowledging other perspectives and decentralizing control. The current Mayor has a record of centralizing control and dominating committees. My approach is different. I recognize the value of our residents’ input and will invite residents back to the Town’s table through citizen advisory committees and meaningful boards.
- Oakville Performing Arts Council
- Greater Engagement at Community and Cultural Centres
- Enabling BIAs to Bring People Back
Tapping into Oakville’s Tech Experts
Technology innovation is transforming our lives. Governments are typically slow to embrace the many benefits that can save our Town money, improve the way we work and enhance our quality of life. Oakville is fortunate to be home to many of Canada’s smartest technology experts and companies – our Town government can benefit in many ways from their advice and thinking. As Mayor, I will harness our local talent and entrepreneurs to form a Technology Advisory Committee to help Oakville jump into the forefront of the adoption of smart technology that will benefit our community.
Age-Friendly Seniors Council
Unlike Burlington, Oakville does not have its own Age-Friendly Council. With a growing population of seniors with changing physical needs, the input of seniors will be vital to build a better community. As Mayor, I will seek the advice of an Age-Friendly council to make sure Oakville is supportive and welcoming to our seniors.
Town Services Must Be More Responsive to Residents
We must address the long delays and difficulty many residents report having when dealing with the Planning Department. As Mayor, I will work with Council and the Planning Department leadership to put an end to long delays. We will set and monitor key performance timelines for planning activities and ensure residents do not incur substantive costs from delayed decisions.
As Mayor, I will also work with the Board and Management of Oakville Hydro to set and improve customer service responses.
Town Culture Must Create a Positive Work Environment
From my experience of managing hundreds of people over a 35-year career, I know that you cannot provide great customer service unless your employees feel well treated. Employees must feel that they have the skills and resources to complete their tasks in a respectful atmosphere. As Mayor, I will work with Town executive to implement and monitor relevant employee engagement and satisfaction surveys to ensure that we set our employees up for success.
See Julia’s Better Together Action Plan for Oakville here.