Thursday, July 7, 2016

Checking in with M.P. Hamilton East-Stoney Creek , Bob Bratina

Enjoy our chat with friend of The Hamiltonian, M.P. Hamilton East-Stoney Creek and former Mayor of Hamilton, Bob Bratina. 

1. As evidenced by the reaction to Clr. Sam Merulla’s idea of having council hold a vote to re-affirm its commitment to LRT, Hamilton city council appears to be less than steady in its commitment to LRT with some councillors going as far as calling for a referendum on the matter. Does any of this surprise you and do you continue to have doubts about the viability of LRT in Hamilton? Please explain.

I am not anti-LRT, and I do not doubt the viability of LRT in Hamilton. The current B line proposal would not serve Hamilton's needs as outlined in the Rapid Ready Report. I support light rail transit, but would like to see it service the growth areas defined in the GRIDS final report. Improving Hamilton’s bus transit system along with a LRT system that provides transit options to underserviced suburban areas would be the best approach in my opinion.

2. It must have been very rewarding being elected as MP for Hamilton East, Stoney Creek. What is your focus as MP and how will you continue to be of service to Hamiltonians?

 Being elected as Member of Parliament for Hamilton East – Stoney Creek was a very rewarding experience, and I am honoured to represent our diverse and wonderful riding at the federal level. My focus as MP is to assist constituents with any and all federal matters, and to carry out the mandate of our federal government. I am currently working to ensure Hamilton East – Stoney Creek receives its fair share of funding for priority infrastructure projects in the riding. As Co-chair of the Parliamentary Steel Caucus, I am working on present and future steel issues related to production, workers, pensions and industry viability to provide federal attention and assistance where possible. I am also a member of two Parliamentary Committees, which include Veterans Affairs and Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. My committee members and I are conducting a study on service delivery to veterans, and studies on reforming the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act to be relevant in our digital age. When I am not in Ottawa for parliamentary business, I am in the riding meeting with constituents about federal and local matters, or attending events throughout the riding. Anyone wishing to book a meeting or pass along an event invitation is always welcome to contact our Hamilton office at 905-662-4763.

3. What advice might you have for Mayor Eisenberger going forward, as he continues to navigate through the LRT matter and other issues?

My main piece of advice for any Mayor is to continue listening to the people. As Mayor of Hamilton, I constantly walked around various areas of Hamilton, met with residents, and attended events to listen to what people were saying about issues.

4. Is there anything else you would like Hamiltonians to know about your work as MP, or is there any other advice you would like to impart.

My work as a City Councillor, Mayor, and now a Member of Parliament is busy, at times exhausting, but always rewarding. I would encourage Hamiltonians of all ages who want to see change and progress to get involved in the political process, because it is through politics that change is created and things get done.

Thanks M.P. Bratina for engaging with Hamiltonians via The Hamiltonian. 


  1. Fred is nice, likes to talk, wants to lead.

    Bob is honest, prefers to listen, wants to serve. Thanks Bob

  2. "Improving Hamilton’s bus transit system along with a LRT system that provides transit options to underserviced suburban areas would be the best approach in my opinion."

    I think Bratina is on to something here. Although i question whether laying tracks is the best way to achieve it.

    1. AnonymousJuly 09, 2016

      "Improving Hamilton’s bus transit system along with a LRT system that provides transit options to underserviced suburban areas would be the best approach in my opinion." both sorce and mp bratina will e happy to know that once the lrt is complete, we will be able to build a better transit system. this includes better bus service in the burbs and rural areas as well as much needed east - west cross mountain service. lrt also means fewer inner city people driving, freeing up road space for suburbanites. and lrt brings improved public transit option connections for suburbanites to two existing go stations and a soon to be built third. all told, the lrt does what sorce and mr bratina say they want from future public transit initiatives. glad thats clarified.

  3. Its better than sticking it downtown. Some other folks don;t have much service at all.

    Mr. Sarc

    1. AnonymousJuly 08, 2016

      thats cause they dont want it and refuse to pay for it. time and time again. google "ancaster/glanbrook/stoneycreek rejects transit improvements over small tax increase" or google "ancaster residents dont use hsr, they dont want to pay lloyd ferguson" or google "hamilton mountain residents want bus stops removed from neighbourhood" we arent going to waste our tax dollars on useless transit to nowhere and empty buses to the next power centre.

    2. the point is the good people of Ancaster, Glanbrook, Stoney Creek and Hamilton Mountain have all already contributed to the 1 Billion dollar pot, and now they are exercising their right to determine how their money is spent. I realize this is difficult for you to appreciate and accept given the years you have spent crusading on our behalf. Maybe next time.

    3. AnonymousJuly 08, 2016

      since the "1 billion dollar pot" is provincial tax money, by your reasoning the good people of sudbury and cayuga have equal say in where the hamilton lrt is built as the people in hamilton. the lrt is being built in hamilton.

    4. AnonymousJuly 08, 2016

      "Its better than sticking it downtown. Some other folks don;t have much service at all." dont worry mr sarc, the fine people of waterdown or binbrook or ancaster can ride our lrt anytime. we will even charge them same fare as people from hamilton. sound fair?

    5. by my reasoning, anyone you wish to exclude should be given "priority status" in the discussion.

    6. AnonymousJuly 08, 2016

      i advocate excluding no one. the citizens of the areas you say are under serviced by the hsr have rejected extra hsr services over and over again. they have excluded themselves because they dont use hsr and/or they dont want to pay more for hsr. since you dont live in the service areas you mention and since you dont pay the hsr tax levy in the areas mentioned how are you relevant?

    7. wrong again, I am your neighbor, current in my obligations and as relevant as you could ever hope to be

    8. AnonymousJuly 11, 2016

      fine. you are my neighbour. ward two right? you do not live in the areas you mentioned like binbrook or stoney creek or ancaster that you say are under serviced by the hsr. the one billion dollars is provincial tax money so you or me or a resident of flamborough or sault st marie has as much claim on it as you or anyone else. regarding your relevancy on the issue of public transit in general, on june 26th you posted on this forum that people that dont use public transit are irrelevant to the public transit discussion. as you have stated on this forum that you do not use public transit, i took you at your word and considered you irrelevant. if you wish to become relevant to the discussion do so as a rate payer in whatever ward you live in and we will compare what you contribute tax wise to public transit to what i pay. if you want to be relevant keep your posts relevant.

    9. Perhaps if you identified yourself we could verify that Mr Graham, what,wait, you already have. I too am current and relevant and am even in the service area. Look it up,

    10. AnonymousJuly 11, 2016

      you have posted that you dont use public transit. then on june 26 on the hamiltonian you posted that the tiger cats public support of lrt is irrelevant because they dont use public transit. when asked to clarify, do you think people that dont use public transit are irrelevant to the discussion on public transit you answered "correct, completely irrelevant" by your stated line of reasoning, you would seem to have voluntarily made yourself irrelevant to the conversation on public transit. so please help us move the conversation forward by clarifying your contradictory posts.

    11. again, untrue, I have never posted that I do not use public transit (that would be untrue, and I wouldn't want to stoop to your level) We recently took the bus-then walked-to Sarcoa! (parking wasn't a problem there!) So just more of you arbitrarily and unilaterally making stuff up in order to make "your case" I do believe an endorsement from anyone unfamiliar is irrelevant and meaningless, as stated. I doubt this clears up your thinking, but give it a go.

    12. AnonymousJuly 11, 2016

      now you say you are a public transit user. fine. thanks for the clarification. please try and keep things consistent in the future to avoid confusion.

    13. no one else appears confused, no one else seems interested in my transit activities. You are welcome

  4. AnonymousJuly 10, 2016

    "the correlation between projections of an ongoing and sustained successful air traffic business, should not serve as the foundation by which the whole business case for Aerotropolis should sit. In other words, we ought not to over emphasize and thus rely on the airport as a driver of economic activity." But now the growth of suburbs made possible only by obeisance to the car is somehow a rationale for investing in LRT from downtown to Caledona or Carlisle. Why? Because Mr. Bratina will apparently say whatever serves his political reality. And he counts on the goldfish memory of the electorate and an obsequious media to keep his alternate history afloat. He has a history of pandering to whatever audience he needed votes from. He was elected mayor thanks to a three-way split and an anti-amalgamation bent that excited older suburban voters. Now that he is a Liberal backbencher, he is utterly beholden to the whims of his constituents. HESC flips more than any other riding in the city. He wants to hold on, and will insist that the moon is made of buffalo mozzarella if that's what it takes. As to Mr. Bratina’s "open mind," a reminder:

    "In 2011, Hamilton’s LRT project was put into suspended animation by then-Mayor Bob Bratina, elected in the fall of 2010. Bratina represented to the Province that the city’s priority was all-day two-way GO train service, not LRT, with the Province responding by moving Hamilton’s LRT down in the Metrolinx priority list."


    1. AnonymousJuly 11, 2016

      “The most important finding of the report is the identification of the risk of using overly optimistic air traffic projections in the development of forecasts for employment land need, employment type and employment area location. Since the AEGD is supposed to accommodate up to half all employment growth in Hamilton over the next 25 years, there is a significant risk should the projections not be met. The risk would extend to the general economic health of the city a s well as the substantial expenditure of public funds needed to make the area ready for development. The airport employment growth district over-emphasizes the airport as a driver of economic activity.”


      As anyone who follows the news would know, the same can be said for overstating improbable suburban population growth trends in the face of a provincial development strategies that emphasize urban growth for population and employment. May 2016:

      "The Ontario government is proposing to expand the greenbelt and force more infill development with new draft planning rules that will shape growth in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.…

      The panel also recommends increasing intensification rates from 40 per cent to 60 per cent, meaning most new residential building will occur in urban areas with infrastructure.

      Cities currently are allowed to plan for 50 residents and jobs per hectare, but the panel proposes this increase to 80 residents and jobs per hectare."


      As for the "city priority" of all-day two-way GO service, GO Transit's own projections provide evidence that this "growth potential" is also easy to overstate, with three train stations netting 800 additional passengers a day by 2031. The "Confederation GO Station" (aka Centennial Parkway) is forecast to contribute just 150 of those passengers. Cost to unlock that potential? $150 million.



    2. AnonymousJuly 12, 2016

      Compare & contrast: West Harbour GO Station cost $50 million to build, and is imagined to serve a total of 450 passengers a day by 2031 — roughly $111K per 2031 passenger.

      March 2016 estimates placed West Harbour ridership at an average of 100 outgoing passengers per day — about 1/10 the level of HSR boardings at the Eastgate Square terminal alone.

      Projected ridership at the Centennial GO station would be roughly on par with rush hour boardings of the 58 Stoney Creek Local.

  5. AnonymousJuly 10, 2016

    More HESC hilarity.


    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." - H. L. Mencken

  6. AnonymousJuly 11, 2016

    "I advocate excluding no one,...they have excluded themselves" according to "the authority"

  7. AnonymousJuly 11, 2016

    October 2015:

    "Bratina, who wrested Hamilton East-Stoney Creek away from NDP veteran Wayne Marston Monday night, said "every mayor in the country" will be prepping a wish list. "They know (the Liberal's) plan is a godsend for municipalities," he said.

    Bratina called fixing failing roads and sewers a priority for Hamilton, noting the city spends less than half of what it should each year on road repairs alone. He said he expected federal spending to be focused on economic merit and need, rather than "photo op projects."


    It's true. PM Trudeau despises photo-ops. ;)

    MP Bratina best be delivering the promised bacon or he will find his hamhocks in a frying pan.

  8. AnonymousJuly 13, 2016

    truth is Mr. Bratina has accomplished far more in his lifetime than I could ever hope to, and has the kind of support I fantasize about. I resent his success and his opposition to my vision. One of these days I will show him who is really in charge around here. One of these days

    1. AnonymousJuly 15, 2016

      Truth is, Mr. Bratina is a familiar voice.

      His political accomplishments come down to brand recognition and triangulation, nothing more. He won a by-election on the strength of his status as a talk-radio morning man and Ticats colour commentator, but his Ward 2 vote share eroded steadily thereafter, to the point that he came within 100 votes of losing his home seat in his 2010 mayoral run.

      In the 2010 election, he triumphed thanks to his status as a talk-radio morning man and Ticats colour commentator, an anti-amalgamation stand that he had no intention of following through on, and a wote split where he was matched against two opponents of comparable heft.

      He won his HESC seat thanks to his visibility as an ex-mayor and his status as a talk-radio morning man and Ticats colour commentator and the fact that he was swept up in Trudeaumania 2, which itself was made possible by fear-driven ABC vote-splitting.

      Respectfully, he's not a breath of fresh air. He speaks without thinking and changes his belief systems to serve political circumstance. He was for the West Harbour stadium until he was against it. He was for LRT until he was against it. He was against unsustainable suburban infrastructure until he was for it. It's just 20th century politics as usual..

  9. AnonymousJuly 15, 2016

    he was against them until he realized you were in favour, your influence is powerful

  10. "The Harper government never met a climate of fear it couldn't use. Take the aftermath of the murders of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in the fall of 2014, national tragedies that brought home the spectre of terror. The Tories exploited the opportunity to railroad through Parliament constitutionally dubious changes to Canada's security law they had long sought to enact.

    A month later, two civil liberties groups launched the inevitable court challenge to the Anti-Terrorism Act, formerly Bill C-51. But in November, as the Trudeau government came to power, the challenge seemed to teeter on the verge of irrelevance. Though the Liberals had supported the bill in opposition, they promised once in office to undertake a broad public consultation and rewrite the act to comply with both the will of Canadians and the Charter.

    Eight months later, however, C-51 remains entirely unchanged and the public consultation is still not yet underway. The court challenge is in abeyance, awaiting government response. Meanwhile, our security establishment continues to wield its problematic new powers largely unscrutinized."


  11. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was put on the defensive Thursday after being grilled by Thomas Mulcair over Canada’s intention to sign a controversial trade deal inherited from the previous Conservative government.

    “The Liberals still haven’t released an economic impact study on the deal,” Mulcair said in question period. The NDP leader followed up by asking why the prime minister would sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement amid reports that its ratification risks tens of thousands of Canadian jobs.

    Trudeau responded by saying trade creates middle-class jobs and economic growth. “And that is why we are a pro-trade party,” he said.



  12. "Stoney Crap"


  13. HESC FTW!

    "An upper Stoney Creek resident is accusing Terrapure Environmental of purposely burying unfavourable facts about its bid to expand the Taro industrial dump to avoid riling up the community.... the plan will add 3.62 million cubic metres of waste, or about seven million tonnes, and raise the site’s height by up to four metres....“They don’t want community input,” he said. “They say they do, but they really don’t, and the way to not get it is not to tell the full truth.”
    The flyer, which only refers to the site as the Stoney Creek Regional Facility, states the company wants to reinstate the dump’s original footprint and replace industrial soil or fill with “residual materials.” “The reconfiguration would allow Terrapure to use the existing space more efficiently while retaining the same overall geographic size of the site,” it states. Left out is that previous owner Newalta Inc. got approval in 2013 to pile waste 4.5 metres higher than the 14 metres allowed under the dump’s 1996 approvals in return for shrinking the footprint by 18 hectares — an area where it promised to put clean fill."


  14. Terrapure Environmental Inc.’s bid to return the Taro dump to its original footprint is raising questions about the implications for the third phase of a housing survey to the north that would once again fall within a previous no-build zone.

    City council lifted a holding-zone restriction on 90 planned maisonette townhomes last fall after the dump’s previous owner, Newalta Corp., got provincial permission to shrink the site’s footprint in return for piling waste 4.5 metres higher.

    The smaller footprint meant the townhomes were no longer within a 160-metre buffer recommended in a peer-reviewed report prepared for the Lush at Victory subdivision’s owner, Empire Communities (Stoney Creek) Inc.

    The same report also prompted the city to require Empire to put a layer of clay beneath all homes within 500 metres of the dump’s waste limits.

    Stoney Creek Councillor Doug Conley, who represents the area, said Terrapure shouldn’t be able to go back to the dump’s original limits because it will once again put homes in the 160-metre buffer.

    The company is also seeking to raise Taro’s height another three to four metres and add an additional seven million tonnes of waste, an increase of nearly 60 per cent to its existing capacity.

    Conley said the city put the dump buffer there for a reason and he’s concerned the expansion will also affect the value of other properties north of Green Mountain Road, including cell-tower business Juch-Tech Inc.

    “We’re impacting a lot of houses and developments and everything else. It’s just nuts. From my point of view as the councillor, it’s not fair,” he said.

    “The other thing, they want to build another four metres higher. It’s just absolutely incredible to think we’re going to have that kind of mountain there.”


  15. Six months after slamming the previous government's handling of the U.S. Steel file on the campaign trail, the federal Liberal government won't open up the "secret deal" struck between the previous federal administration and U.S. Steel.…

    Now, the Liberal government says it won't unilaterally open that settlement, but would support U.S. Steel, or the judge overseeing the company's bankruptcy protection proceeding, deciding to do so.

    One Hamilton Liberal MP said he's moved on...

    [Bob Bratina, MP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek] said on election night one of his first orders of business as the newly elected Liberal MP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek would be to explore how to "open up the so-called secret deal".

    "It's only fair to the pensioners and people in crisis right now to understand first of all what happened, and second to understand what remedies we can take to mitigate the hardships that have been created," he said then.

    But once he got in to office, he said, he had conversations with officials in the ministry formerly known as Industry Canada. "I talked to the guy who helps write the deals," he said on Tuesday.

    "Before I was in government I was thinking along those lines, too," he said.

    But he said he was told there's no "smoking gun" in the secret deal. He's satisfied with that answer.


  16. Potential impacts from the closed Taro west quarry industrial dump – not the active one to the east – prompted the city to require a clay cap underneath the basement of homes in the Lush at Victory survey north of Green Mountain Road.

    A 2010 consultant’s report prepared for developer Empire Communities (Stoney Creek) Inc. recommended the layer of “clayey silt soil” between the highest groundwater elevation and basement foundations to prevent ammonia vapour from getting into homes.

    MTE Consultants Inc. noted ammonia was one of 11 elements with elevated levels in leachate from the west dump, controlled by pumping wells because, unlike the new Taro dump, it has no liner system.

    While the leachate is sent into the sewer under an agreement with the city, monitoring showed some either was or may have been, depending on the groundwater level, flowing north of Green Mountain Road, states the report, which wasn't made public at the time.

    “Ammonia is soluble in water, but will volatize readily, and could, at high enough concentrations pose a problem to indoor air quality of residents in the proposed development,” MTE states.

    “In the case of vapour concentrations to outdoor air, the pathway is considered minimal compared to the confined conditions of a residence; therefore, only the assessment of ammonia from groundwater to a residential building was completed.”

    The ammonia concerns led MTE to recommend – and the city to require – the clay protection beneath homes within 500 metres of both dumps’ boundaries.

    The area’s zoning bylaw also put a no-build holding zone on the third phase of the survey – affecting 90 maisonette townhomes – because they fell within 160 metres of the active dump’s waste boundary.

    But that was before former owner Newalta Corp. got provincial permission in 2013 to shrink the dump’s footprint, moving away from Green Mountain Road, in return for being able pile waste 4.5 metres higher.


  17. Terrapure Environmental Inc. says it’s trying to figure out what caused the Taro industrial dump to catch fire last Friday evening – the third blaze there since 2010.

    Hamilton firefighters were called to the First Road West site just before 9 p.m. and remained on scene until just after 11 p.m.

    Terrapure communications director Greg Jones said the company responded immediately by dispatching an operations manager who lives within five kilometres of the upper Stoney Creek dump.

    He said the “small fire” took less than 10 minutes to put out and was already extinguished by the time the manager arrived.

    The manager then used an excavator to spread out the waste in question to ensure the fire was completely out, he said in a written statement.

    Fire department spokesperson Claudio Mostacci told the Stoney Creek News paper recycling residue caught fire, but Jones said that isn’t the case.

    “At this time, we believe the material that burned was miscellaneous wood and plastic debris. We have never had an issue with this type of material previously and it is extremely rare for any material at the site to have issues with combustion,” Jones said.

    “In fact, this (is) only the third such incident in the site’s 20 years in operation. We will work with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to determine any corrective actions required moving forward.”


    The biggest story in Stoney Creek's history continues at a low boil, the pot all but unwatched by local politicians and media.

    All that is needed for evil to triumph…


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