Municipal Election 2014

Bratina Raises Amalgamation Issue Again

At today's State of the City talk, Mayor Bob Bratina brought up the forced amalgamation of Hamilton with its suburbs.

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 08, 2014

this article has been updated

Mayor Bob Bratina raised the issue of amalgamation in his 2014 State of the City address this morning. You can watch a video recording of the address courtesy of Joey Coleman (who you should support if you haven't already):

Right after the meeting, the Mayor's office issued an email to media to announce a presentation by Professor Tim Cobban of Western University "on his work regarding amalgamation in Ontario."

The presentation will take place today, January 8, 2014, at 3:00 PM in the MacNab Room, Sheraton Hotel, 116 King Street West.

In 2010, Bratina campaigned for election as Mayor in part on a promise to revisit the amalgamation of Hamilton with its suburban communities, a decision that was implemented in 2001 against extensive local opposition.

Specifically, his campaign website (offline but archived here) pledged to "Confront the fact that forced amalgamation has created deep divisions in our community and has not worked effectively to improve the lives of our citizens ... through a full review of municipal structure".

It is not clear what, if anything, Bratina has done in the three-plus years since becoming mayor to follow up on this promise. However, the next municipal election is coming up this October.

Bratina has not yet registered his candidacy, but in response to a recent question by The Hamiltonian, he wrote, "I have no reason not to seek re-election and a formal statement will come down at the right time."

Other promises from Bratina's 2010 campaign page include: "Work with all levels of government to bring light rail transit to Hamilton"; "Provide strong leadership characterized by consultation, consensus-building and decision-making that will benefit the greatest number of residents"; and "Provide real and effective leadership to city council".

Update: You can watch Joey Coleman's video recording of the 3:00 PM presentation:

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2014 at 12:30:55

Bonus: during the Q&A session after today's talk, Bratina said, "Probably our biggest problem, however, is tweets and negativity. There's nothing wrong with our city. And who gets the credit for it? Go ahead, take the credit everybody [waves hand]. It doesn't matter."

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2014-01-08 12:31:16

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 08, 2014 at 15:17:52 in reply to Comment 96503

No doubt he presumed the chamber was a safe, old boys bubble where he could harrumph about the kids and their twitter. Little did he know he was probably dissing 3/4 of the people in the room. It's kinda sad actually.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2014 at 13:23:15 in reply to Comment 96503

I find the #HamOnt twitter community full of people who love this city and want to make it great and more livable.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2014 at 12:38:03 in reply to Comment 96503

Yeah. I mean, listen to all the negativity on Twitter about proposed LRT lines. Or lobbying the province to stop subsidizing parking lots.

Oh, wait.

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By Flimflamborough (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2014 at 13:01:16

Does he really think Flamborough is gonna fall for that cheap ploy again? I can't believe they fell for it the first time, but one bitten twice shy etc.

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By JVRudnick (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2014 at 14:55:09

Most of the suburbs as I remember got and bought that same 'de-amalgamation' Campaign pledge from the Mayor, not just us Flamborough folks. Thing is...soon as he stated that at the Candidates Debate - the whole room got silent....and I could tell he'd just won the suburban vote....and yes, the election too.

That said, I do wonder what wil happen on that issue...as many others do too!

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2014 at 21:05:55

A funny tweet I saw

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By not again (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 00:09:38

Hamiltonians need to deamalgamate Bob Bratina from the Mayor's Office in the 2014 election.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 11:11:36

Watching this video, I get the sense that the prevailing mood was, "What the heck is the point of this presentation?"

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 11:21:36 in reply to Comment 96565

From 8am on, yesterday was Bob's unofficial campaign launch. Nice to be an incumbent with a Mayor's office budget, eh? Even Bobby Ford in TO got caught when he launched with his mayor's email account, and then in a rare show of remorse, removed it.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 09, 2014 at 15:45:11

It looked to me like he dusted off his "platform-schmatform" checklist and panicked. "Peggy! Are there any unsuspecting experts that can help me beat this dead horse... again?" It was painful to watch. Data in search of local political meaning.

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2014-01-09 15:58:11

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted January 10, 2014 at 21:52:04 in reply to Comment 96598

This is the "safe" issue for him. Nobody else wants to touch it, and maybe he thinks it will resonate with some of the voters again (though anyone who believed it the first time should be smarter than that this election). Also, it's probably easier for him to stay on message compared to the multitude of other city issues that will be under intense discussion, where his waffling and fumbling will be very evident.

Perhaps he's even going to try and take a page from a certain city east of here, where the incumbent mayor won the last election on promises to save taxpayer money. The amalgamation study is something he can point to and build on in that regard.

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