Proudly But With Humility: Mayor Bratina's Inauguration Speech

Prepared notes from Mayor Bob Bratina's inauguration speech, provided by the mayor's office.

By RTH Staff
Published December 03, 2010

Editor's note: these are the prepared notes for Mayor Bratina's inauguration speech, not a transcript of the speech itself. You can listen to a full audio recording provided by Joey Coleman.

Today is about Hamilton, and the confirmation of the Mayor and Council that will lead the City over the next four critical years.

Today's ceremony, is the formal and legal recognition of the collective will of Hamiltonians who on October 25th 2010 chose the leaders of their wards and their municipality. I am personally proud to have received the trust and confidence of voters in strong measure from every part of Hamilton, from inner-city neighbourhoods to the surrounding rural areas.

I also want to express my sincere thanks to members of our many ethno-cultural communities who placed their trust in me to represent them as the Mayor of one of Canada's most diverse Cities.

Having worked with all of the people elected to Council I can safely say that our group brings together outstanding and proven individual qualities. Our newly elected colleagues would not have had the success they did without having earned it, as did the incumbent Council veterans.

Councillor Brenda Johnson has been a tireless worker on environmental and social issues.

Councillor Judy Partridge brings her years of community involvement and professionalism to City Hall.

Councillor Jason Farr has built his reputation through his work as a radio and television broadcaster and journalist, and all three with energy and zest and a positive attitude.

Councillors Tom Jackson, Chad Collins, Bernie Morelli and Sam Merulla have won re-election over and over through their unrelenting effort on behalf of their constituents.

Councillor Whitehead has had fewer years on Council but is a veteran of the Hamilton political scene, a relentless champion for his Ward and tireless in his efforts to bring a National Hockey League team to the City.

Councillor Scott Duvall brings us profound insight into labour relations from his years of Union activisim, and Councillor Lloyd Ferguson's decades of experience as an executive in the Construction industry helps us with management perspectives.

Councillor Rob Pasuta as a working farmer helps direct us with issues related to Hamilton's significant agricultural sector.

Councillor Powers has unique insights gained from his broad and lengthy political experience, as does Councillor Brad Clark whom I will count on for direction and advice thanks to his years as a Cabinet Minister in the Province of Ontario.

Councillor Maria Pearson combines private and public sector experience and has been particularly helpful to me on planning issues and matters of importance to Stoney Creek.

And Councillor McHattie's environmental consciousness and vision for a cleaner, greener City, along with his planning background are among his many attributes as an elected representative.

I consider it an honour and privilege to sit as Mayor before this dedicated group of individuals and count on their advice and direction as we chart our course for the next four years.

No city in Canada is as well situated as Hamilton to grow and prosper over the next decade, indeed through to the end of the Century. We are an industrial City with an environmental conscience.

There are many examples I can cite, but let me highlight just one.

The CANMET building on Longwood Road will open soon, housing the Canadian government's Materials Technology Laboratory, which is part of a $60 million commitment to McMaster Innovation Park from the federal government. The centre is dedicated to metals and materials fabrication, and will bring new opportunities for established industries and developing enterprises to our City.

Here we will have some of the top metal researchers in the world whose work will be translated into steel production and the accompanying jobs and wealth creation just a couple of miles away in the Burlington Street industrial corridor.

I am very proud that the man who made this possible has chosen to be here with us tonight, and whose legacy will also include the clean-up of Randle Reef thanks to a $30 million dollar federal grant, who like so many great Hamiltonians, grew up in the Barton Sherman neighbourhood - Former Minister of Transport the Honourable Tony Valeri.

The wonder of our city is that not far from our heavy industries, we have some of the most fertile agricultural lands in Canada, and an almost unlimited supply of fresh water. These things are not to be squandered and our Council decisions must take into account our responsibility for stewardship of these resources.

The "New" city of Hamilton was proclaimed almost ten years ago, but difficulties remain as a result of the municipal restructuring that occurred in 2001.

I stated during the campaign that we needed to heal the rifts that divide our City.

What this means is the respectful consideration of problems many feel were created by the restructuring. We need to identify the problems and find solutions, and I am dedicated to that process.

In fact many challenges will confront our Council, and residents are entitled to bold responses to long-standing problems such as the renewal of our Downtown and the alleviation of poverty. Citizens, I believe, also want to feel that they have a say in the decision making process, and I call on Council, staff and the media to facilitate this to a greater extent in the term ahead.

But tonight is a time for celebration, and consideration of the beautiful City in which we live called Hamilton. So many great things take place such as the miracles that occur every day at our Children's Hospital, the leading-edge research at McMaster University, the dedicated work of teachers in the classrooms of the City and the achievements of their students.

Council should inspire those students by helping to provide them with opportunities to work and play, and engage them to the extent that they will want to participate in their local democracy.

We saw an increase in voting this year of almost 3 per cent, and by the next election, several thousand young people will have reached the age of majority, in law becoming adults.

How many of them can we inspire by our words and deeds to cast ballots on election day, 2014?

Throughout our history newcomers to Hamilton and Canada helped create and brand us as the "ambitious" City. Whether from other parts of Canada or distant lands, they came to Hamilton for something this City had, and still has: opportunity.

My father came as a six year old in 1928 from a Croatian village and spoke no English. He left a small cottage with a thatched roof surrounded by a barnyard and a meadow where sheep and chickens grazed. He came to a boarding house on Getrude Street, next to a railway track and a steel mill. He went to Lloyd George School, and then Central Tech. By the time I was in high school he was the superintendent of Electricians in the Dofasco Foundry.

Times are not the easiest today, but they were far worse in the 1930s and '40s as my parents and grandparents were growing up and raising families. All of us found our way and have lived fulfilling lives in and around Hamilton. My mother lives in one of the finest seniors residences anywhere - Macassa Lodge - here in Hamilton. We tried our best to find work, live within our means and take life as it comes.

Our friends are of every race, creed and colour, and although I've had the good fortune to travel through much of the world, the place I love the most is Hamilton - the place and the people.

I now wear the chain of office of the Mayor of the City of Hamilton. I wear this chain proudly, but with humility, because the power of the chain does not belong to me, it belongs to the people.

Our business will be conducted by me on your behalf with courtesy in language and deportment, and respectful of all.

If we do our work with the effort and honesty residents expect and deserve, setting personal motives aside, I believe the outcome for Hamilton can exceed even our own high expectations. Because available to us are the tremendous human resources of our staff, led by City Manager Chris Murray.

Their knowledge, experience and commitment to public service is not often fully understood or appreciated by the public. Six years on Council has shown me their immense capabilities.

No elected official anywhere can be prouder than I am tonight. An east-ender, son of a steel-worker, who live a block away from Mayor Copps, who worked with the Mayor of the Morning Paul Hanover, who played ball with Pat Quinn, who broadcast the Hamilton Tiger Cat games on radio, Husband and father of McMaster grads, and blessed with the finest friends and supporters anyone could want.

For this I commit to you four years of hard work and dedication to the City of Hamilton.

In closing I have chosen the words of St. Augustine, which I believe can guide us as Councillors. In his words, "In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas."

In necessary things unity; in uncertain things freedom; in everything compassion.


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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2010 at 09:29:00

Hmmm... After a painful transcription, I have to note it's different from the audio...


I missed that first line on Joey Coleman's audio, and still can't tell what that was.

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By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2010 at 10:09:00

Actually, the fault lies with me. I did not include the audio of the first few paragraphs. I will correct this by uploading a longer version.

When I was splicing the hour plus of audio, I listened to the first part and made the editorial decision that the first portion was focused on introducing others and the applauds for Valeri ended the introductions marking the start of the speech itself.

  • Joey

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By Skeptic (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2010 at 11:54:32

There has never been anything resembling humility in anything Bob has ever done. His ego is as big as you can imagine. Now he is puffed about winning against two wannabes. We will see, but I don't hold out much hope.

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By Wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2010 at 13:05:32


Unless you were recording someone else, I don't think you can take full responsibility for going that far off a script.

Not that the message changed... Just interesting to see how close he sticks to the prepared notes. All those years as a Broadcaster may seem great for public speaking, but its not a disciplined, consistent message.

ie... Anyone catch him on Bill Kelly yesterday (by phone, not today's "logside chat")? It was on Toronto and LRT, and we get something like "...Maybe Ford is right, we should look at subways too." A few minutes later, Mayor Bratina back peddles it to a "I'm not suggesting a subway in Hamilton, I'm just sayin'..."

And, IMHO, that's just the problem... On the stadium, LRT, de-amalgamation-- I don't know what "just sayin'" means if not talk-radio legal for "I'm not saying I'm saying, but I am."

Comment edited by Wentworthst on 2010-12-03 12:08:34

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2010 at 15:21:13

ie... Anyone catch him on Bill Kelly yesterday (by phone, not today's "logside chat")? It was on Toronto and LRT, and we get something like "...Maybe Ford is right, we should look at subways too." A few minutes later, Mayor Bratina back peddles it to a "I'm not suggesting a subway in Hamilton, I'm just sayin'..."

We are so screwed.

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By KnowHim (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2010 at 17:00:30

He lies all the time...we are in for a rough ride.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 03, 2010 at 18:18:46

A subway would be awesome, but obviously totally unaffordable for our city. What about sections (not downtown) of raised LRT though? I wonder how much more expensive it is to build a raised section compared to on the ground. It probably depends on a lot of factors, but in sections where land expropriation would be needed for on ground tracks, maybe it would make sense to go raised in those areas?

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By z jones (registered) | Posted December 03, 2010 at 19:21:13

What about sections (not downtown) of raised LRT though?

Downtown is the only place where space is at a premium, outside the downtown there's plenty of room at street level. Any city I've been to with raised LRT, it's really ugly and sketchy down beneath.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 03, 2010 at 21:26:11


What you say is opposite to that of the truth/facts. One of the areas where space is at a high premium is between Ottawa and Fairfield (traffic circle). That's not just me saying it. I expressed my concern to representatives of LRT at city hall and they said that this stretch is one of the areas where it's going to be tricky and at that time they didn't have a solution. I haven't scouted the area or given it much thought so there may be massive flaws I'm not thinking of, but one idea I've thought of is going from Main, up Ottawa,then across Barton and back down Nash to Queenston/Main. This would make for a longer travel time from Eastgate to downtown, would require more track distance, but would serve more people, in a larger area and might help to further Ottawa St in it's progress to become a destination to be proud of. Again, there might be (probably is) some stuff I'm not thinking of, but it's a thought.

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