WHAT OTTAWA IS TALKING ABOUT
🚊 The O Train Inquiry
Oh boy, Bay Ward resident former Mayor Jim Watson and former City Manager Steve Kanellakos are in hot water.
The Inquiry found that Kanellakos kept information from City council over the problems in the launch of the O Train and held back information that the City lowered its standards in order for the system to pass its safety checks. The Inquiry also said that the Mayor was aware and did not inform council.
This is directly from the report:
‘Most troubling was the deliberate effort by Steve Kanellakos, the
City Manager, to mislead Council on the decision to lower the testing criteria and on the testing results.’
‘The Mayor had accurate information about trial running and the decision to change the testing criteria, but failed to provide that information to Council. Thus, the conduct of senior City staff and the Mayor irreparably compromised the statutory oversight function of Council.’
‘This evidence from Mayor Watson, [former transit head John] Manconi, and Kanellakos does not withstand scrutiny, and the Commission does not accept it as a truthful explanation of what motivated the failure to communicate with Council.’
The Inquiry also found that the City and the builders had lost focus in being responsible to the public. So much so that the Inquiry recommends that oversight be taken from City staff and given to a new body. The Inquiry suggests that the US company that was hired this year to oversee safety and maintenance could be acceptable as that oversight body.
▪️Former Transit Commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert points out that City staff has recommended that civilians should be removed from the Transit Commission, resulting in a councillor-only board.
City Council will vote on that proposal at its Dec 7 meeting.
▪️Horizon Ottawa reminds everyone that councillors Laura Dudas, Tim Tierney, Glen Gower, Catherine Kitts, Matthew Luloff, George Darouze, and Allan Hubley all voted against having an O Train inquiry. The Inquiry was eventually imposed upon the City by the Province.
▪️Before the report was released, Kanata South ward councillor Allan Hubley said he liked dealing with Kanellakos ‘because you knew you were getting the straight goods from him’. Kanata North ward councillor Cathy Curry said ‘They don’t make men like Steve Kanellakos anymore. He is a man of the highest integrity and he’s thoughtful and he’s smart.’
Read the full report here.
🚨 The Emergency Act Inquiry
▪️On the second day of experts week, two former directors of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service testified that what the service deems as a national security threat is not relevent to the Federal government’s decision making in invoking the Emergency Act. The two directors said that the definition of an emergency in the act should be rewritten to include economic threats and climate change.
▪️Two minor hockey coaches in Gatineau have been suspended for life due to a violent altercation. The event, at Gatineau’s Slush Puppie Centre occurred on Nov 20, where the two coaches were accused of fighting with a third coach during an under-15 A game between Jets 1 La Lièvre and Remparts Gatineau. [CBC]
▪️The University of Ottawa has been denounced for banning cameras at an event with the Ambassador from China. Ambassador Cong Peiwu spoke at China and the World: Development, Trade and Governance in the 21st Century Monday where he demanded that cameras be banned. TV camera people were removed from the room. New Edinburgh resident Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Bloq Québecois leader Yves-François Blanchet, and New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh all condemned the move. University president Jacques Frémont later tweeted an apology to the media. [CBC]
▪️The City has introduced its new registration system for recreation programmes. The old one had been subject to constant complaints of being unreliable and creaky. The new one promises to have better search features and allow residents to put programmes on a wish list. The City advises residents to register their account in advance which will make it easier to sign up for programmes later. [CityNews] [Register]
▪️If you are looking for a future project, the Province has asked for proposals to build the new Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital. You’ll have $2 billion to build the 641 bed hospital and 50 acres of former farmland to do it on. If you do take it on, may we suggest that you figure out a way to connect it with the O Train station nearby. [CityNews] [Request for Proposals]