Official City of Brantford Mayoral Website

2014 Inaugural Speech


December 1, 2014
Council Chambers, City Hall

Your Honour Justice Edward, Lord Mayor Walter Gretzky, CAO Ted Salisbury, Chief of Police Nelson, Fire Chief McCormick, President of the Chamber of Commerce Jim Dinovo, I would like to welcome you and all of our family, friends and colleagues who have joined us this evening for the Inaugural meeting for the 2014-2018 Brantford City Council. This election we said goodbye to five members of the previous Council. This indicates an incredible amount of change, and represents a unique opportunity.

Welcome to Councillors Rick Weaver, John Sless, Greg Martin, Cheryl Antoski, and Brian Van Tilborg. Welcome back to Councillors Larry Kings, John Utley, Dan McCreary, Richard Carpenter and Dave Neumann. This is an exciting time for all of us, we have been entrusted with the greatest honour; the faith of the citizens of the community we call home.

I encourage you to attend every meeting. I encourage you to be involved. We will build a team, but it takes each individual to want to be on that team, to accept the opportunities, and work to build up our teammates.

You know that you are elected in a ward, and your focus during the next four years will be on that ward. At the same time you serve all of Brantford, and your mind should never stray from that fact. We are here to build a community.

Brantford is a truly exceptional place, I believe it and I know it in my heart. Knocking on doors and listening to our citizens during the last four years, it is clear to me that the public supports the vision that we set back in 2010, and are excited about the opportunities that are before our community.

Brantford's motto is Industria et Perseverantia; By Industry and Perseverance. Industry - in the sense of hard work and creativity, and perseverance - in the sense that no matter how hard things get, you keep going forward. But perseverance without vision is futility.

Perseverance without vision is just surviving.

Brantford has persevered, and through our industry - hard work and creativity - we are now prospering. We are one of the truly exceptional municipal stories in Canada. We are now sought out as leaders, as innovators, as an example of what to do right.

We have laid the foundation for exceptional success, but we must never relax - we can never be lazy in anything that we do.

There is more to do, there are challenges to face, but we have shown we are not afraid to meet challenges and that we are more than talented enough to overcome and to prosper.

Let us set our vision on being exceptional in all words and deeds. Let us be exceptional every day, and when we have met our challenges, let's celebrate and prepare to be that much more exceptional the next day. We must not allow ourselves to be defined by the negative, to think of ourselves as anything less than exceptional. Brantford defines what Brantford is - and Brantford is exceptional. The citizens of this community have chosen to live here. They have chosen to make this their home. We have people from all walks of life, from all over the world who live with us as neighbours. It is our job to be as welcoming as possible, to help create opportunity and support one another in everything that we do. Brantford must strive to be the most inclusive community possible.

The people who live here, or who have moved here, want to live in an exceptional city, they want to feel the exceptional, they want to be part of the exceptional.

The exceptional has to be our guide, and it has to be so much a part of what we do that it is just background. I want to highlight for you just a few things that we have to look forward to in the next couple years. The $54,000,000 YMCA-Laurier Athletic Complex on the south side of Colborne Street will begin construction next year, and it will serve multiple positive processes.

The building will be iconic in the city and the downtown; every day it will attract hundreds of citizens from all over the city; it will enhance the student experience for post-secondary and set the stage for dramatic growth; and the "Y" will be able to enhance its programming.

This is also an act of confidence for investment in our downtown, and particularly along the south side of Colborne Street.

At the same time, the Market Square Mall; which has been maligned and criticized since it was built, will now see new life under the leadership of Laurier Brantford. A hangover from another era, a left over from the days when things were not exceptional in Brantford, now will have a new beginning.

We have affected exceptional societal and cultural change in our community over the last 20 years. Look no farther than post-secondary in the downtown to see the real and tangible changes that we can make happen.

But we are not done...

Cultural and societal change should be designed to deal with an obvious public policy issue. In these cases we can build on what is positive and good to move toward a vision for the future. In some cases it can be to address an obvious negative; we can directly get to the symptoms of the problems - get to the causes. We can take the negative and build it into a real positive, we can advance the immediate situation that people or neighbourhoods are dealing with, and redirect to a vision for prosperity. It isn't managing the problem; it is identifying and addressing the underlying societal or cultural causes.

There are three major initiatives for the next four years I want to highlight: Smart Brantford, Safe Brantford, and Healthy Brantford.

Smart Brantford

Smart Brantford is about cultural change in our community; it proposes a fundamental shift in the economic development philosophy of our community. In the last term of Council, Smart Brantford was approved, and it was identified that resources would be sought and committed to ensure its success.

"SMART BRANTFORD is a community-wide initiative to shift the way we live, work, do business, educate and work together to grow our economy, our people and our environment to improve the quality of life for our citizens."

In essence, we are focusing on where governance is going to be, where municipalities are going to be - focusing our economic development on where the jobs are going to be, not where they were in a romantic ideal.

Smart Connections, Smart Economy, Smart People, Smart Living, Smart Governance, and Smart Environment.

Citizens might be surprised by how much of what we consider "Smart" to be already happening in Brantford; businesses, non-profits, governance - our own innovative and cutting-edge library.

But...there are a number of issues where we show a dramatic deficit in how we fit into the future of job growth. The most obvious is the education deficit. This should not be construed as a criticism of our education system but rather, that we have a historical or cultural issue which is unique to our old industrialized community - a community that has gone through a dramatic process of deindustrialization.

Our education attainment levels are below the provincial average, and in most cases well below our municipal comparators.

The job environment is changing, even those positions we considered to be "shop floor" are now requiring a higher level of training and education. Brantford isn't considered by companies that require an employment base with a higher level of educational attainment. The future of employment is education; the ability for people to find high paying, full time, long term jobs - quality jobs - is education.

Concerned about temporary agencies - the best way to eliminate this concern is to create quality jobs - and increase education at the same time.

Graduate Brantford

Graduate Brantford is a concept of social engineering that would have the municipality act as an honest broker, bringing together all relevant partners in education, post-secondary education, skills and training, business and social advocates.

Graduate Brantford would see us create every possible opportunity to allow all citizens of Brantford to achieve higher levels of education. Don't have your grade twelve because of life circumstances that stalled your education, and your current situation doesn't allow for you to find the time to return to school? Graduate Brantford is meant to recognize the situations, circumstances, desires and resources necessary to increase our education attainment levels.

Safe Brantford

Safe Brantford is a community-wide initiative that contributes to crime reduction and increased community safety through fostering community-based partnerships that will focus on the crime prevention through social development - in new and creative ways.

The numbers for the Crime Severity Index for our CMA has traditionally been high, the highest in Ontario and high nationally. Yet surveys that are done demonstrate the average citizen in Brantford views our community as a safe community in which to live.

Where does this dichotomy come from? Simply - and I am serious, this is a simplification of a complex issue - there are certain indicators within the Index that are abnormally high.

The last five years in Brantford have demonstrated a clear decrease in the crime rate in almost every category, but at the same time a decrease also happened at the national and provincial level - so our success goes unnoticed.

For example Thefts and Attempted Thefts of Motor Vehicles (Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Statistics) in 2009 was 721, in 2013 it was 465, viewed against a 5 year average of 550.

This is a substantial decrease, and under normal circumstances would be hailed as an incredible success however, although we have seen a decrease of roughly 35%, we still remain well above the provincial average. This is because all other communities have experienced decreases, or their numbers were so low to begin with that they are an impossible comparison.

The decrease is the result of a multi-jurisdiction initiative, one that demonstrates that concentrated efforts are very successful in decreasing crime. Should we just accept being listed as a high crime rate community in Ontario, or do we address the issue in real and tangible ways?

Safe Brantford is a real and tangible force to reduce crime and increase community safety.

The previous Council approved the funding to create a Crime Prevention Office, and hire an Executive Director. It is up to this Council to implement this community based initiative in cooperation with our many partners and concerned and active citizens.

Healthy Brantford

Healthy Brantford is an initiative that was in its infancy at the end of the last Council. It began because of the involvement of Councillor Neumann and myself on the Ambulance Committee run through Brant. Discussions regarding the need for a walk-in clinic led to a task force being struck by Council.

Key partners were identified and brought together, the discussion about accessibility to urgent care was augmented by the need to increase education and prevention. Health care is not one of the traditional areas of involvement for municipalities, but health care impacts so much of what a 21st Century city is involved with.

Not being a traditional player, but one with great influence and facilitation ability, we can serve as the honest broker in the process.

We need to talk about mental health, addiction, access to health care, walk-in clinics, prevention and education, food security, health for new Canadians, Aboriginal health, and the shortage of family doctors.

This is not an anomaly for Brantford, in recent years we have been involved in funding physician recruitment programs, and recently funded the capital for the creation of McMaster's Family Practitioner Residency Program at BGH.

We led the charge to get provincial funding for the Detox and Rehabilitation Centre, and have initiated a mental health initiative this past year.

We can affect significant change in Brantford within the overall health care of all our citizens.

Smart Brantford, Safe Brantford and Healthy Brantford are all an intertwined.

The three together are about significant cultural and societal change. Individually they will create immediate change for our community, refocus economic development, decrease crime, and improve access to health care.

In the long-term, the three together will forever change Brantford; help enhance Brantford as the exceptional place in which we live.

They will fundamentally change the very nature of our community, and will achieve a future for our Brantford that will be the foundation for 100 years of success. Each of these initiatives will identify other deeper problems that cross all three - the most obvious being housing.


The Province of Ontario is in a housing crisis; every municipality is struggling to manage housing and the various elements associated or contributing to housing issues. Addiction, mental health, poverty, aging...are only a couple of the issues that have a bearing on how we manage housing in our community. 

We helped develop the detox and rehabilitation centre, funded by the province, new beds in our community to assist people dealing with addiction issues. Addiction issues impact mental health issues and invariably addiction and mental health are two of the key drivers of crime in most municipalities.

But what happens to those who come out of the Detox Rehabilitation Centre? What if they were homeless before they went in? Or, if their housing wasn't secure? Where do they go if they come out onto the streets without safe and affordable housing? How easy will it be to fall right back into old patterns, old relationships - which can have a negative impact on recovery? 

Our seniors have a right to know that there will be a safe and affordable roof above their heads to the end of their days. Where do they go? How easy is it for them to navigate the system? 

 For seniors in our community, particularly those who do not have the financial where-with-all to guarantee themselves safe housing, what can we do to eliminate that stress? Lorne Towers can become a seniors only building. People of like-mind, like-needs, and who should feel safe and comfortable in independent living. A seniors only Lorne Towers will allow us to focus services, and meet immediate and real needs. 

Brant Towers (behind Lorne Towers), can also adjust its focus and perhaps a view to seniors and the disabled would work best. Between the two buildings we can develop community space, develop food services in a cafeteria that can allow those living in the buildings to have a real sense of independent living.

There are obvious concerns, and don't think that they haven't been considered, first: there are those, not senior, living in these apartments. They cannot, and they will not, be thrown out of their homes, we can transition this space over time. This will also mean that there needs to be alternate housing spaces made available for those who might have transitioned into those apartments.

There is also an obvious cost associated with new space being built. We need to focus our housing strategy through lobbying with other large urban municipalities to begin to secure funds for housing.

There must be a National Housing Strategy, and the federal government must accept responsibility to provide safe and affordable housing. The Province is proposing to invest billions into transportation infrastructure in the province - predominantly for Toronto - why would they not consider investing at least hundreds of millions of dollars into the safety of our people? Make no mistake, I absolutely understand the need to improve the transportation infrastructure and we whole-heartedly support the expansion of GO to Brantford, but why is safe housing not on the Provincial agenda in a real and properly funded manner?

Working Effectively for Boundary Adjustment

Recent history has demonstrated that we need a new way of speaking with our neighbours. Brantford, Brant, and Six Nations share a common history - we also share a common future. Our relationship is symbiotic; you can't affect one without impacting the others. Brantford is, and has always been, the large urban centre, the urban industrial and commercial core of our three communities.

Brantford has the resources and infrastructure to be the large urban centre - it is a natural and logical progression. 

Both Brant and Six Nations desire growth, jobs, and development. This only makes sense, but it makes no sense at all to hem in, and intentionally limit the growth of Brantford. 

Limit Brantford's growth and our ability to function as the large urban centre, and the growth of both Brant and Six Nations will also be limited.

Unfortunately, Brantford has been forced into the role of always reacting to the political and economic machinations of our partners. 

 Brantford is criticized because we want to be what we already are, and always have been. Brantford is not a bully for pushing boundary adjustment; we are not a bully because we seek what is best for our citizens, rate-payers, business-leaders, workers, and social organizations. Throughout the entire process of Boundary Adjustment discussions Brantford has presented options - not one of our proposals (even to initiate negotiations) was accepted. We reacted to what Brant wanted, even mirroring exactly the last resolution to initiate Boundary Adjustment. That isn't the action of a bully. 

Brantford articulated clearly, often, and openly, that the Boundary Adjustment would be designed so that all of our neighbours would share in the growth and prosperity. To this end we offered the most generous compensation package in Ontario’s history. 

Brantford has been the victim of wildly inaccurate accusations that we did not conduct public consultations. We did, and they were well attended, and the minutes and responses from the public consultation were open and made public.

Even in this, even in pointing out the obvious and what has been widely reported, I will be criticized for pointing out the facts - as if it is provocative. 

How can it be that Brantford is the only body that is not allowed to speak freely and openly, and assert an open and logical position? How is it that Branford is required to react to wants and desires of our neighbours, without even the slightest consideration given to our position? Let me address a couple key points here in regards to justifying the request for the land. First, the land that we have proposed was chosen after a massive growth management study, which measured the value of all the land that surrounds the City. The land that was chosen was chosen because it had the lowest value as farm land, it did not have impact on aquifers, it was contiguous with existing city services and maintained the density of urban form that is necessary. 

In the numbers calculated for the land, EVERY bit of available building space was identified and accounted for - yes, the brownfields were calculated and accounted for; yes, every possible infill location was accounted for; yes, the concepts for density intensification were accounted for. Each of these areas have been the subject of extensive and open reports approved by Council. 

Just take into account intensification: in the intensification corridors that were identified, like King George Road, we would have to tear down existing commercial structures and then rebuild that commercial space with eight story apartment buildings on top. 

Now, if someone can find for us the property owners or developers that are prepared to embark on this type of endeavour, and make it financially feasible, please let us know. To understand the numbers a little better, Empire Communities in the Southwest, when built out, will have a population of roughly 17,000 people (there are about 8,100 people living there now). To achieve our numbers in the Places to Grow legislation, we have to develop the land for roughly 63,000 people. 17,000 in a full build out of the southwest - consider the size in acres or hectares of that development currently, now consider the amount of land to accommodate 63,000 people. 

 When it comes to managing environmental considerations Brantford's regulations are much stricter than our negotiating partner. One of the sticking points in negotiations for the land is referred to as take outs; some of the take outs include buffers to protect environmentally significant lands. Brant and its consultant refused to accept our broader and larger environmental buffers. These buffers were clearly supported in the OMB decision that came down for the Sifton and Grandview proposals, and have been accepted, and even enhanced, in the TCA proposal. 

Make no mistake, Boundary Adjustment is vital for the future of Brantford. It is the difference between thriving and just surviving. To make the point even more clear, during the course of this mandate of Council, we will experience the first budgets that will see either tax increases or service cuts because of a lack of assessment growth. 

Assessment is, in essence, the taxes collected to pay for the services offered. Brantford has virtually no land left for commercial or industrial development - there is no refuting this fact, and every building, every nook and cranny of land has been accounted for. If there is no assessment growth, there is no increase in the money coming into the municipality. With no increase in assessment, but an increase in the cost of providing services, ultimately we will have to raise taxes to account for the short fall, or begin the process of eliminating services. 

 I know people would like to believe that we can find...say...$10,000,000 in fat in our budget, but the fat, if it exists at all, certainly doesn't exist to that amount. One percentage point on the budget is roughly $1.1 million. 

If we see no Boundary Adjustment, we see no increase in assessment, and the assessment won't magically appear some day in the future. Stop growth now with no hope of future assessment, then we stagnate as a community. And at the end of the day, once you take that money out, and begin eliminating services it is a one-time decision, and ultimately all you can do is just keep making those decisions to eliminate services or raise taxes to off-set the continued loss of future assessment. 

Brantford raised taxes 8.31% in the last term of Council, the lowest taxing Council in 15 years - while still improving services. Brant raised taxes by 15.29% to pay for all the investments that it made during that time - the industrial park, the twin pad, the pool. 

 Knocking on doors and listening to people during the last years, it is obvious that there is no tolerance for increasing taxes in either community. I have proposed a 7% increase for the term of Council through multi-year budgeting; even this can be a strain. 

Boundary Adjustment would directly benefit the tax-payers in both Brantford and Brant. 

Going forward with negotiation, I am going to recommend that Brantford and Brant agree to an independent local facilitator; the negotiations be conducted in intensive sessions with clear time lines; that a target of one year for negotiation and conclusion of the deal be achieved; and that the sessions be open and transparent.

Brantford will undertake a separate consultation process with Six Nations that will reflect the transfer of the governance of land, and a sharing in the growth and prosperity. This will require the active involvement of the Province of Ontario through its ministries, because we will be breaking new ground with this relationship and the legislation for our municipality will have to be altered.

Going forward, our three communities need to find a new way to talk to each other and a new way to work with each other. 

The Tri-Council meetings we undertook last term benefited us all in understanding our communities much better. Tangible results also came out of the regular meetings of our CAOs and development of joint leadership programming for staff.

However, once we went through the information sharing, and without being able to agree on any tangible joint effort, the participants lost interest and the meetings faltered. To the point, the last session hosted by the City had to be cancelled because we could not get quorum from one Council.

Brantford needs a communications protocol with Six Nations that would have both a technical (staff driven) process, and a political process that works on the dialogue. 

We must continue in our efforts in joint lobbying to the federal and provincial governments, and always strive to seek change for our communities. 

With Brant we need to start looking at joint land use planning, joint economic development (Brant cancelled their involvement in a previous joint economic development initiative with the development of their industrial park), joint servicing opportunities, and transportation issues. Working together on these projects will benefit all of our citizens. 

Whether it is a "senate" concept, or even a return to the old County system; things have to change. The constant bickering and lack of common vision, hurts everyone in all our communities. Maybe the politicians in all our communities need to get out of the way of progress, and seek new ways of working together, instead of expending energy to find new ways to keep us apart. 

In developing this speech I have spoken with the Ward Councillors, the MP, the MPP, the Brant Mayor, Six Nations Chief, staff, heads of various organizations and dozens upon dozens of citizens. 

Improving Our City

There is a pervasively positive mood in the community. People have bought into the vision of a 21st Century city and are actively working now to affect change. New concepts, new partnerships, new resources, are all coming together to improve the lives of all of our citizens. In speaking with the Ward Councillors, a number of key issues came to the fore, some ward specific and some benefitting the community as a whole. There were significant changes in the ward boundaries, and none greater than in wards one and two. 

Ward One Councillors are driven to see the completion of the recreation complex in the southwest, improving transportation connections to the rest of the city, and trying new and creative ways of engaging the thousands of people who have moved to our community. 

Ward Two has been increased by massive new population and industrial areas. Within these areas there are proposals for the opening of new industrial and residential areas, with this development will come increased pressures on existing neighbourhoods. The Ward Two Councillors want to ensure there is a smooth integration of growth. They are also looking at developing new open space areas in older neighbourhoods, and improving access to the river. 

Ward Three Councillors are advocating for a new trail for Powerline Road, recognizing that any future development is tied to Boundary Adjustment. They also identified many areas in older neighbourhoods that are now within their ward boundaries that need special attention. 

Ward Four Councillors are concerned with issues related to speed and safety, and the better integration of neighbourhoods with a mix of industrial and residential development. 

Ward Five is an older area of the community, and as such, there are a variety of enhancements needed for infrastructure development. The future of the Mohawk Greenwich brownfield property is a top priority, as are the increasing pressures for growth in the downtown. As an aside, (and I am sure this is supported by the Ward Five Councillors), I would like to engage the community to talk about a splash pad in Tutela Park. The redevelopment of the play space in Tutela Park, is the near perfect example of a neighbourhood identifying and implementing change that has real and tangible results. 

There is a growing understanding in Brantford that if we lay out a vision, develop the partnerships, and commit the resources, we can affect real and lasting change. Look no farther than the development of Post-Secondary in our downtown. 


There are three projects proposed right now that I would like to highlight as community building, necessary, and in need of our full community support. 

Mohawk Lake 

Mohawk Lake is a project that has generated a great deal of interest in the last months of the previous council. Our MP Phil McColeman has established a Working Group that will be involved in seeking funding, and assisting with the technical needs for the regeneration of the canal, lake and locks areas of our community. It is achievable, it is cost-effective, and it is exactly the type of project that our community should be taking on. We are proposing a system of changing our advisory boards to task forces of citizens working on items specific to strategic planning items identified by Council. This is the perfect type of project to become a task force and to allow us to move forward with the backing of all levels of government. 


The previous Council committed land and dollars to assist in the redevelopment of the SPCA. Going forward now will require the entire community to come together to make this a reality. They will need volunteers, expertise and resources - money - to make this a reality. To this end, I will be moving a resolution on December 8th that will recommend the proceeds from the Mayor's Gala in 2015 go to assist the SPCA in the planning costs of this incredibly worthwhile project. 

Lansdowne Children's Centre 

The resolution will also recommend that the 2016 and 2017 proceeds from the Mayor's Gala go to the Lansdowne Children's Centre. It is time for our community, and Brant, and Six Nations, to come together and assist us in finding a space that is appropriate for this worthwhile organization. 

The services that are provided are regional in nature, and they have assisted thousands and thousands of children with special needs, and their families. It is said over and over again by parents that without Lansdowne they are have no idea what they would have done - how they would have coped. 

But Lansdowne is busting at the seams, programming space competes with offices and administration, and I doubt very much that all the employees can even be in the building at the same time because there is no space for them. Just drive by the building during business hours and see all the vehicles parked on the road - there just isn't enough space. And these special children and their loving families deserve better, and as a community we can make that a reality.

Additional Projects 

Let's also remember that the Kiwanis Field of Dreams will be a reality in 2015; the Bison's Alumni Field at the Gretzky Centre in 2016; and the field in the new southwest recreation area is proposed for 2017. There are sponsorship opportunities, and community fundraising is still on-going. 

The Waterfront Master Plan is still waiting as we worked through the recent OMB decision, but we have a better sense of what will happen, and now is the time to confirm our commitment to funding the Master Plan and discussing the implementation. We all love the trails, and our trail network rivals any in this province. We are a hub for all of Southern Ontario, but we can't rest on our laurels, and continued reinvestment is necessary. We can look to new and creative ways to engage our volunteers and users, and a task force to that end, tied to a specific strategic planning action, is a good start. 

GO Transit will require a determination and a perseverance that will test all of our resources. We are in competition with many other communities, and a provincial government that is Toronto-centric. If you want GO, get ready to get involved. 

Proud Heritage

As you know, I am a lover of history and whenever and wherever we can showcase our history we should. One area that we should embrace in this mandate of council is our connection to Alexander Graham Bell and the first long distance telephone call. 

We are "The Telephone City" but for the most part, people don't know the story, and they don't know our involvement. We have the Bell Homestead, the Bell Memorial, the Bell Statue, and I know we have citizens with huge collections of old equipment. 

Our connections are strong, but we haven't really capitalized on the role that Brantford played. Brantford is on our way to becoming a Smart City, and this is where all that technology we live with today started. Brantford is where is all began. 

Listen to the words of the great man himself and his father. "I may confidently feel that my son's sojourn in Brantford will outlive my existence, because under yon roof of mine the telephone was born," said Melville Bell. 

"I have often been asked if Brantford is the home of the telephone. All I know is that the telephone was born where I was. Half my time I was in Boston and half of the time in Brantford. This I will say: The telephone was invented here," said Alexander Graham Bell. "I invented the telephone in Brantford in the year 1874." 

Bell also stated, "I am very grateful for the assistance that was rendered to me in my initial effort on behalf of the telephone, both in Brantford and in Boston. A great deal has been said, and very truly, connecting Boston with the appearance of the telephone. Too little has been said in the States concerning the connection of Brantford."

"You have two things that you can claim -- the invention of the telephone here and the first transmission of the human voice over real live wires," said Alexander Graham Bell 

I took these quotes from a favourite book of mine about Brantford, The Chord of Steel


And I will finish the Speech from the Mayor at the 2014 Inaugural Meeting of Brantford City Council with a quote by Thomas Costain, "My pencil almost slipped into the error of saying it was on a lazy afternoon in August 1870... It could not have been a lazy afternoon. There was no indolence of pace about the city and the air was always as brisk as the habits of the people." 

There is nothing lazy about Brantford, and we must continue the brisk habits of those who went before us, to ensure Brantford is the exceptional living experience of the 21st Century. 

Thank you all for being with us tonight.