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January, 2009:

Return of the buses

The phasing in – according to the Citizen:

No word on dates… but I’m guessing we’ll see the O-Train and the 80 & 90 series routes back as early as late next week. Here’s hopin’!

OC Transpo has a tentative plan for restoring transit service as quickly as possible, but a return to full service will take some time. Mechanics are working to bring all the buses back, but vehicles that haven’t had significant maintenance in more than 50 days can’t all be put on the roads immediately.

This is OC Transpo’s tentative plan for which routes will be back first.

Weekdays

Will operate during their regularly scheduled day, including rush hours:

• O-Train

• All school routes, numbered in the 600s

• Rapid transit routes 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 101, 102 and 106

• Major routes 2, 7, 12, 14, 85, 86 and 118

• Peak employment route 105

• Van route 123

• Early morning routes 824, 825, 830, 835, 837, and 873

Will operate evenings and mid-day only, outside of rush hours:

• Routes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 16, 18, 87, 111, 112, 114, 115, 116 and 117

• Local black routes numbered 121 through 178

Will not operate immediately:

• Green express and rural express routes

• Red rush hour routes other than 102 and 105

Saturday & Sunday

All routes that normally run on weekends will operate at full service.

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The strike is OVER

Both sides have agreed to binding arbitration with everything on the table!

This is GREAT news – however, I will blog a bit later about how pissed I am that it took this long!

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A letter to Jack Layton

I encourage everyone to send a copy of this (or modified if you don’t really admire the guy or the NDP) to : layton.j@parl.gc.ca

Hi Mr. Layton:

As much as I admire much of what you and what your party has done for all Canadians in challenging the current Government on a number of issues, I do hope that you will put partisanship aside and support the Government (yes, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth) in supporting back to work legislation to end the Ottawa transit strike.
This disruption has reached a point where intransigence is prevailing over cooperation and ego over conciliation.
I know it is generally not the policy of the NDP to support this type of  legislation, but it is my hope that you and your party will think about how the public transit users in this community have suffered over the past 50+ days.

Thank you and good luck this year!

John Marshall

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Back to work legislation is possible

So, the strike is finally going to be addressed by the House.  Rona Ambrose has stated that she is ready to introduce back-to-work legislation.

The surprising turn of events came after a flurry of activity beginning at Queen’s Park yesterday when Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty called on the federal government to intervene and end the strike.

“I think it’s gone on for too long,” Mr. McGuinty told reporters.

“It affects our most vulnerable citizens. It’s dramatically affecting our economy at a time when we can’t afford to have these kind of things get in the way. So my advice to the federal government is you’re going to have to come to grips with this.”

Yes, but it is not only the most vulnerable citizens who have been hit by this. My family and I are by no means “vulnerable”, but our stress levels are at all-time highs due to the stoppage. Life can, at times, be stressful and we deal with that. But adding the strike to the usual cocktail of kids, work, et al has truly pushed both Colleen and I toward the brink. Our work hours are out of whack due to the necessity of taking carpools. When the carpools aren’t available (as is the case for the next week for Colleen since her driver has gone on a vacation), then there is the added stress of dropping the kids off AND picking them up as well as fighting the traffic and paying $15/day to park reasonably close to her building.

We are ALL vulnerable… it’s just that some are more so than others.

(1207)

Hoop snakes – update!

Those damned Aussies just don’t get it!

The hoop snake is one of the most dangerous critters on the planet – but Downunder, there are those who want to preserve this deadly evolutionary freak!

http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=hoop+snakes&init=quick#!/group.php?gid=13958243734&ref=search&sid=559540430.4234265237..1

For example, there are unconfirmed reports that the coyote problem outside of Ottawa is being exacerbated by winter hoops driving out the coyotes from their natural habitats. The hoop snakes – especially the young ones – roll into a tight hoop and invade the coyotes dens… and devour the young coyotes!

Even more disturbing is his photo sent to me this morning by a hoop watcher in Westboro… they are getting close! Watch out for them – especially around storm grates partially covered by snow!

———————————————————————————————————————————–

UPDATE! UPDATE!

While on a walk down the street this morning, I saw a very, very rare WINTER hoop snake!

While both I and my 6 year old were a little freaked out by this, we were in no imminent danger since the winterhoops cannot move quickly in slushy conditions and we were able to avoid the danger with little trouble.

Nonetheless, if in Canada at this time of the year, beware! And wear high boots and long pants!

____________________________________________________________________

The squid-dude recently posted some scribblings about how, as a child growing up in B.C., he had to be wary of the tree octopus.

It reminded me of the times I was was warned to not tarry to long at the bottom of grassy hills for fear of being attacked by a hoop snake.

Never actually saw one, but my Dad swore that they were common enough to be feared.

whsshp4

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Iggy comes clean – sorta

The Grit leader says that he will support the budget only if the neocons agree to provide clear budget updates in order to track fiscal progress.

Stevie should be able to live with this.

I hope.

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2009 Federal Budget

The neocons have done the impossible and have managed to largely exclude their normal partisanship and opportunism from this budget.

What does this tell me:

  • Harper is under extreme pressure form the caucus and the party executives to tone it down a little since the ramrod approach clearly isn’t working with the vast majority of Canadians.
  • They accept that their government is a minority and any budget items that would have pushed the limits of their situation would not be accepted by the House. In other words, they are trying to at least give the semblance of governing like a minority government.
  • They are a bit scared about the outcome of another general election should the Grits push them that far.

What should Iggy do?

  • Pump out his chest and say that dang-nab-it, we cannot support this thing in its current form but here are a few minor amendments that would make it more palatable… then, yeah, we’ll grudgingly support it.
  • Build up the profile of his party and himself over the next 16-18 months. This will buy some time to sell the Liberals as a real alternative to the neocons and will also buy some time to build up the Grit treasury.

This budget should pass. The coalition idea, although appealing on many fronts does not have broad base support and, while it would stand for the short term, would harm the Grits for many years to come in the long term.

Plus, the country really does not need another election right now.

Do the right thing Iggy. It really ain’t so bad. And this is one long-time Grit who will support you on it.

In other news… talks broke down between the City and the ATU… yet again.

Bastards.

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Fathers of daughters…

This was sent to me quite a few years ago before my eldest spawn was anywhere close to “dating” age.

Fellow blogoverse resident XUP recently posted his concerns about his 16 year-old’s first date.  He has a very comprehensive checklist in place. Kudos.

Yet, I prefer this:

WANNA DATE MY DAUGHTER?

When I was in high school I used to be terrified of my girlfriend’s father, who I believe suspected me of wanting to place my hands on his daughter’s chest.  He would open the door and immediately affect a good-naturedly murderous expression, holding out a handshake that, when gripped, felt like it could squeeze carbon into diamonds.

Now, years later, it is my turn to be the dad.  Remembering how unfairly persecuted I felt when I would pick up my dates, I do my best to make my daughter’s suitors feel even worse.

My motto:  wilt them in the living room and they’ll stay wilted all night.

‘So,’ I’ll call out jovially.  ‘I see you have your nose pierced. Is that because you’re stupid, or did you merely want to APPEAR stupid’’

As a dad, I have some basic rules, which I have carved into two stone tablets that I have on display in my living room.

Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure as hell not picking anything up. (more…)

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Welcome to The Year of the Ox!

Gung Hey Fat Choy!!!

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Optimism all ’round

Just saw this comment on the cbc.ca story about the City changing its bargaining position (whatever that may mean).

Go Larry Go – The city is behind you all the way (although you may not know it) and we support you and the city in not letting the OC transpo workers and their union enslave us to their demands. Spring is coming, commuting will be a bit easier, and we can keep them (the union sheep) on KD as long as necessary.

Eh? Spring is coming? In Ottawa? Isn’t it the 25th of January?

ot-081210-picketers-city-hall-top

I think the poster is either the most optimistic soul in the NCR, or he or she has spent way too many hours in the -30 weather sans chapeau.

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