Tuesday 26 October 2010

Play time for the rich

So here we are - the day after the election that saw a new mayor, six incumbents defeated and four new councillors elected as a result of retirements. A total of 11 new faces around a table of 24.

Most encouraging for Labour, a number of other organizations and the majority of residents is the defeat of Larry O'Brien. To be sure this election was more about those who believe Larry did a terrible job while in office.

With accuracy it can be stated that most don't know the half of it. The emails, the phone calls, the visits to councillors offices, the one on one conversations with several staff and discussions with others that transcended everything a mayor ought not to say, ought not to be.

I'm not a politician and although I can play the game I'm reluctant to sugar coat what was - and what was, was that Larry O'Brien in my opinion and I suggest in the opinion of many others, was Ottawa's worst mayor.

He had absolutely no clue how to govern and quite frankly if Larry O'Brien or anyone else ran a company the way he attempted to run city hall the bankruptcies in this city would skyrocket.

There was nothing positive accomplished by Larry during his tenure despite his claims to the contrary. We do not have a new transit system. We do not have a new Lansdowne Park and any of the heavy lifting on this file was done by Rick Chiarelli and Peter Hume. Larry was certainly not responsible for any attempts at cleaning up the Ottawa River - that was both Peter Hume and Jim Watson and if not for people like Bob Chiarelli and Jim Durrell there would be no convention centre.

It became clear during this election that residents and riders alike put the blame for the transit strike squarely and directly on Larry's shoulders and rightfully so. His admitted alpha personality became all too important during the strike and any consideration for the riders, residents, businesses or the workers here became secondary.

His attempt at placing blame on his trial for his ineffectiveness is nonsense. Other people - public figures - have endured much greater stressors. If so innocent why worry so much?

He claimed he was an ideas man. Ideas are a dime a dozen - the implementation of ideas priceless. Something Larry was never able to comprehend.

This was a game for Larry - play time for the rich. As a result our city paid the price and will continue to pay the price for many years to come.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Communications 101

On October 8th, 2010 the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 503 hosted a mini conference on Public Private Partnerships (P3's) at the Sheraton Hotel in Ottawa. The event included breakfast and a few guest speakers who highlighted the significant data compiled worldwide, clearly detailing the negative consequences of P3's to communities in Canada and around the world.

Guests invited to the event included candidates in the upcoming city of Ottawa municipal election. Over 85 candidates registered to attend including several incumbents. Mayor Larry O'Brien and Mayor hopeful Jim Watson were also in attendance.

Some may suggest that private companies who profit from P3's have been better communicators in pushing forward their projects to a particular city council. Others may suggest that Labour has been somewhat ineffective in communicating the mountains and mountains of data gathered. Still others may suggest that many city councillors who oppose P3's in principal adopt projects because they feel there is no alternative to providing a specific recreation centre, library or other public project for residents.

The CUPE 503 P3 mini conference was an incredibly effective communication vehicle rolled out with precision. The bulk of those attending were new to the political arena and as aspiring councillors and mayors any information on city wide issues is absorbed like a sponge. P3's have never been about ideals or the planks of a political party but rather about orgainzed labour and others attempting to convey to the naiive that a P3 benefits only the private company where profit is the priority and any benefit to a community becomes secondary or is nonexistent. All of this supported with fact.

Like many of Labour's concerns - we're not wrong when it comes to P3's. CUPE 503 showed us an effective way to message.

Thursday 7 October 2010

It's a big job - maybe some aren't quite ready

Took in the Bay Ward debate last night at Woodroffe Public, well at least half of it. It was a packed house with standing room only. (The Labour Council has chosen not to endorse a candidate in Bay for a number of reasons. Perhaps in a later blog we'll get into that in more depth.) Overall the debate was uneventful and the crowd very polite with a gentle applause after each of the candidates had commented. Only five of the eight candidates chose to participate with Erik Olesen, Peter Heyck and George Guirguis (Guess George was too busy counting those hits on You Tube) deciding they had other more pressing responsibilities. Now aside from the typical and expected opinions on issues made by Kilrea and Cullen maybe even Little and Taylor I had not seen or heard candidate Oni Joseph before and was somewhat surprised by her performance.

People I know and whose opinions I mostly respect have a great deal of good and kind things to say about Oni and I acknowledge I know very little about her. However if the opinions she expressed and the lack of knowledge she possessed on key issues at least that I witnessed last night was any indication of her overall abilities she is in for a difficult finish as we zero in on October 25th. It was clear that most of the audience was uncomfortable as she responded to a number of questions. When asked what project she would first take on if elected she spoke of a monument to Olymic medalist Glenroy Gilbert (a Bay Ward resident). Not homelessness, not job creation, not the environment, not property taxes, not transit - just a monument to Glenroy. When asked her opinion of a "ring road" she asked "What's a ring road?"

Debates are difficult for candidates even at the best of times and everyone participating deserves full marks. A seat on our city council is a big job and a huge responsibility. Those elected have little time to learn and the decsions they make can have a significant impact on the lives of residents here. In fairness, everyone has those days where they're a little off and in fairness I attended only half the debate. What last night's debate in Bay may have shown is that perhaps some are not yet ready to sit around the Council table.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Take two

It's a time thing but we'll try it again. Maybe this time we can be somewhat more consistent.

Thursday 11 February 2010

Off and running

Well, we're off and running. Our first post. Here we'll try and provide up-to-date information and opinion that you may find interesting or useful. Maybe both.

Our focus is our community, our city, and all those who live and work here. Municipal government, provincial government and being Canada's capital how could we forget about or leave off our blog mention of the Federal government.

We'll blog about our campaigns and what's happening in Ottawa's Labour community. We'll blog about elections like the current Ottawa West Nepean by-election and the upcoming city of Ottawa municipal election. We'll poke others when they need to be poked and heap praise when it's warranted.

At times we may wander, but that's kind of the way it goes. The comments will be open, so if you get the urge to comment, we encourage you. Keep it clean or... well...you know the drill.