Archive for the ‘Ottawa’ Category

For those Canadians who think that the election of Trump is of no matter to us…

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

… wake up. I have literally no patience for those people anymore. Zero.

He has emboldened racists everywhere. Even in my own backyard.

A Synagogue not far from where I live and even closer to my kid’s school was defiled with anti-Jewish and racist slop the other night. This Synagogue is a special place for many people who I know and call friends or colleagues.

I have set up tables for school events alongside these people, served with them on Parent Council. I respect them and they are part of my community.

And their children are my children’s’ friends. They play sports together… go to each others’ birthday parties.

I am angry. Really, really pissed off. And I am more determined than ever to do whatever I can to stop the spread of this filth perpetrated by beings that are lower than pond scum. It is the least I can do for my friends, colleagues and their families.

And if you care at all about our inclusive, tolerant and open communities, you too will speak out against this.

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Let’s call this a Thursday rant…

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

(… well, technically I am writing this on Wednesday night but it won’t pop up till tomorrow..)

Rant # 1 – People on social media who make a fulltime job of bitching and complaining about everything.

Like, EVERYTHING!

A sampling from a scan of my City of Ottawa feeds this evening:

  • There aren’t enough bike lanes. Vehicles block bike lanes. Bike lanes aren`t maintained well enough. Cars don`t respect cyclists. (Ottawa cyclists are REALLY good at complaining)
  • Taxes/user fees are too high and I refuse to pay that extra $25 on my annual tax bill (prolly said by folks with 500K + incomes and who live in 4000 square foot mansions).
  • Building a (fill in the blank) is a waste of tax dollars. I would prefer that you waste those tax dollars on something that I want! Like more bike lanes!
  • There hasn`t been enough public consultation on (fill in the blank) and someone is trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes.
  • The process is too slow (because of public consultation).
  • Politicians are all in developers` pockets. Every last one of them, dammit.

And most of these “experts on everything” hide behind fake user names (at least on Twitter) so have a lot of courage when at a keyboard.

I am not saying that peeps shouldn`t be critical and maybe their aren’t enough bike lanes, etc., but when it is all that you write about, then I have to question their general level of happiness with life for these negative natties. I guess I should pity them.

And yes, I see the irony in posting a note complaining about people who complain. Carry on.

Rant # 2 – OC Transpo buses that cut in front of you.

Yeah, yeah, I know they have a right-of-way, but they really need to train the drivers better to use a signal IN ADVANCE of cutting into traffic and not just cut into it forcing folks to slam on their brakes, like I had to do this morning.

Rant #3 – People who don`t have their money or card at the ready to complete a transaction at the cash.

Seriously? You didn’t think you`d have to pay this time? You stood in line for 5 minutes and you couldn`t find the time to reach into your purse or pocket to get ready to pay??? Instead you dig into your purse or pocket and rummage around before finally finding your card or cash?

Sheesh.

Rant #4 – Sinkholes.

Oh, wait. I actually kind of like them. Good conversation starters. Never mind.

Rant # 5 – The High Squirrel or Sparrow or whatever he is called on Game of Thrones

His feet. They are gross. Will someone please kill this guy off? Please?

 

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Much ado about almost nothing…

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

So here I am sitting wide-awake at 2 am because I couldn`t sleep last night, woke up with a blinding headache and spent most of the daylight hours slumbering away…

In an attempt to find the peace that is sleepy-land, I thought I`d throw some words down about the latest local (non)-issue of the day; namely, the construction of a new playground at Mooney`s Bay here in O Town.

The local burghers have their knickers in quite a twist over a proposal (more of a done deal, actually) to construct a one acre children

The upshot is that a private film production company from Toronto (all things from The Big Smoke are evil in Ottawa unless otherwise designated, ya know) wants to build this facility and kick in $1 million to make it happen. The City (who leases the land from the NCC) would kick in a million (without going to Council – staff decision) and the thing would get done, and the company would film it as part of a series on TVO.  The knicker-twisting part is that the whole process has happened behind closed doors at the request of the private company and not even the local Councillor, Riley Brockington, has been able to say a peep about this as per instructions from the City parks and Rec. senior staff.

Of course, the local NIMBY apparatchiks scream foul because the usual public consultations sort of didn`t happen. Trees were being cut down, the traffic would be horrendous, what about the water quality… etc. What about the Hope Volleyball Tournament? What about the boaters? What about the ducks?

And I get that. Wherever possible with any large scale plan that may impact a community, there should be extensive public consultations as soon as possible and the advice from the community should be taken into account in the final design plans.

Now, bowing to local pressure the Councillor did propose a walk-on motion to Council yesterday asking that the project be delayed until the anti-tree-killers and water quality worriers could have their say. This motion was defeated and the project will go ahead.

Out of this, I do wonder about the staff having the authority to spend $1 million without Council approval and maybe this should be re-visited. However, I really don`t see the issue with the lack of advance public consultations in this instance. This was a situation where the City was being offered a $1 million in times of budget shortfalls. It looked to be a solid, viable and valuable project for the community with little negative impact. After all, it is just a playground, not a PCB incinerator!!! The public will be consulted, I imagine, as the project proceeds and this should suffice.

Should it have come to Council? Maybe. But all City and NCC requirements going forward will have to be met about traffic, environmental protection and the lot, so it isn`t as though the film company can go off willy-nilly and do what they want.

Should the lure of private dollars allow for the bypassing of agreed-upon public processes? Not usually, but there are sometimes exceptions. And this is one of them.

I look forward to seeing the new park!

 

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The anti Uber argument…

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

… reminds me of the old story of the electric light and the candlestick makers…

NO! The candlestick makers said. We invested. We thought our industry would last forever! The electric light makers don’t have to go by the same rules!

IT ISN’T FAIR!!!

It is sad and unfortunate that the candlestick makers are going to have to change their business models and that some will suffer.

It truly is.

But the world has changed. Consumers want light at the flick of a switch and for-hire rides when they want one and on their terms.

Should the free for all that Uber has enjoyed so far carry on?

Nope.

Should cities like Ottawa find a way to accept times have changed and consumers demand a level of service above what the taxi industry has been offering?

Absolutely.

Ottawa City Council must accept reality and create the environment where Uber can compete with the taxis. And if the taxis don’t like it, they should find something else to do aside from the candlestick business.

 

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Harper is pandering to the victims of communism…

Friday, May 29th, 2015

… in fighting tooth and nail to have it located in one of the most iconic spaces in the Parliamentary Precinct.

That is obvious and typical Harper.

And City Council thought they should have at least been consulted about this. After all, the proposed redevelopment of Tunney’s Pasture and the old Rockcliffe air base have been through a very thorough consultation with Council and with local residents. So why not this memorial?

So I say kudos to Councillor Nussbaum and those others who supported his motion to ask the feds to move it somewhere else. Yes, Ottawa is a weird jurisdictional arrangement where so many levels of government have jurisdiction over so many aspects of our built and natural spaces. And yes, the City is risking pissing off the Cons and perhaps risking retribution down the line (hopefully, there will a new government this fall who will take another look at the location of this ugly behemoth). But it was the right thing to at least symbolically opposes this heavy-handed move by the CPC.

Too bad that the vote wasn’t unanimous and 6 Councillors (Councillors S. Moffatt, M. Qaqish, R. Chiarelli, A. Hubley, J. Mitic and G. Darouze) perhaps chose to put their political allegiances ahead of what would be best for the City. That’s too bad since a united voice may have been noticed a bit more.

Wait. What am I saying?

This government doesn’t listen to advice from anyone unless it serves their political ends. So I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised, right?

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Ottawa City Council candidates worth voting for!

Friday, October 24th, 2014

I have already endorsed some of these candidates in past posts, but being that it is only a few days till E Day, I thought I’d go over some of them again.

Jean Cloutier will be a fine representative for Alta Vista on Council. Jean and I have worked together at the Canterbury Community Association for about 4 years. He and the rest of the Board has made this particular volunteer experience a positive one. He is extremely hard-working and he knows our community inside and out. Other candidates in the Ward have run good, strong and clean campaigns, notably Clinton Cowan and Hussein Mahmoud. I thank them for sticking their necks out there. Running for a political office is a very humbling experience but they have stood up for their community and should be thanked.

But Jean has demonstrated that he is a leader. He has taken the reins in the community and has guided good policies, initiatives and programs. He has set an example in the community through his leadership and have inspired others (like yours truly) to do likewise. I look forward to working with him in his new capacity as City Councillor.

Riley Brockington is a colleague and a former OCDSB Trustee who gave me lots of advice and motivation when I ran for OCDSB Trustee in 2010. He knows his community well and was a leader on the Board. His involvement on the Board speaks well to his ability to build bridges. Anyone who knows anything about the School Board knows that a variety of personalities and agendas are at work around that table, and he knows how to make them speak as one voice. He will do likewise at the Council table.  He will serve well in River Ward.

In Somerset Ward, Martin Canning is your best choice. He is the former City Environmental Advisory Committee Chair and has been involved deeply in his community and the City in a myriad of ways.  He is running a uniquely enviro and community-focussed campaign in Somerset. Martin is well-grounded and will work hard for the people of the Ward. He has a great team and he’s also a top shelf guy. If you’re in the candidate-rich Somerset Ward, You can’t go wrong by ticking the box beside his name.

I’d also like to nod my head to Donna Blackburn, who is running for re-election as OCDSB Trustee in Zone 3, Barrhaven-Knoxdale Merivale. Because my own Trustee in Zone 6 was more or less invisible for the past several years, I have turned to Trustees like Donna, (or John Shea or Mark Fisher) when I have had Board-related questions. She clearly cares and works hard for the schools in her Zone. I wish she was running in my Zone!

Plus, I wish Jim Marshall, all the best in his quest for a seat at the Council table in my old home town of Parry Sound. He is a man who exemplifies integrity and hard work… The folks in P Dot will be well-served.

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Leadership – it’s vital

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

After watching the municipal campaigns in Ottawa unfold thus far, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the defining issue is leadership.

Pro green bin or not (I pity the fools!), love Phase 2 of the LRT or scrap it, raise taxes, lower them or keep them the same, what really sets out one candidate from another are the leadership skills that each one brings to the table.

To give a glimpse of what we will see tonight in the already-recorded Alta Vista debate, the Citizen summed up the highlights. A piece of the text caught my eye:

That is not leadership,” he (Jean Cloutier) said. “I have been working in the community for 20 years.”

Bingo. Game, set and match. Candidates like Mr. Cloutier have taken the leadership reins in the community and have guided good policies, initiatives and programs. They have set an example in the community by leading and have inspired others (like yours truly) to do likewise.

Other candidates, as sincere as they are, as knowledgable as they may be, simply cannot wear the leadership mantle that candidates like Mr. Cloutier can lay claim to.

There are other candidates in other Wards – incumbents and newbies – who have demonstrated the same commitment to be leaders. Riley Brockington in River Ward, Martin Canning in Somerset, Fleury in Rideau-Vanier and Hobbs in Kitchissippi are all leaders in their own right.

For Alta Vista to continue to have strong leadership in the community and at the Council table, Mr. Cloutier can be the only choice.

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Alta Vista will be left in good hands at the Council table…

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

… if my friend and colleague, Jean Cloutier, is elected on October 27.

Jean has been the President of the Canterbury Community Association for quite some time – this is the same group that I have been involved with for the past 4 years. I have seen first-hand the sweat and commitment that Jean has put into this organisation that serves hundreds of community members through its athletic and arts programs, its after-school childcare centre and the various events that the CCA hosts or co-hosts throughout the year.

The Board is comprised of a group of volunteers who are driven and committed as well – spurred on in a large part by the example that Jean has set over the years.

The CCA Board had our monthly meeting last night, at which Jean and his equally amazing and inspiring wife, Sandra, left the meeting at the onset after telling the Board that they are both taking a leave of absence from Board activities (which I did as well at the end of the meeting as I’m directly involved in the campaign). It was a funny feeling for, I suspect, all around the table, knowing that this was likely the last meeting he would be attending as President.

I was chatting with a couple of the other Board members in the parking lot afterward and, while there was much happiness about the decision that Jean and Sandra have made, there was also a great deal of sadness. We will all miss your leadership of this very important community organisation, Jean. But we also know that if you are elected, we will gain a smart, engaged and prudent Councillor.

Alta Vista voters – choose this guy. Councillor Peter Hume has been a great representative for our community for 23 years and he leaves some huge shoes to fill. I have an enormous amount of respect for him and am sorry to see him take his leave from local politics. But if there is one person who I’d choose to replace him, it would be Jean Cloutier. He’s the guy to vote for to ensure that our community continues to receive that fine level of representation.cloutierbanner

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The Cons are already lining up their hate campaign in Ottawa South…

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

…in advance of next year’s Federal election.

I was just cruising through Twitter and found this:

20140726-102611-37571075.jpg

Looking through the followers of this anonymous account, there is a veritable who’s-who of the Ottawa conservative Twitter attack dawg crew.

Same ol’, same ol’….

David is and has been a very effective and responsive MP. And as the next year unfolds, you can be sure that I’ll be doing what I can to return him to the Hill for another term.

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Ottawa suburbs? NO LRT for YOU!

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Voters in the ridings of Ottawa-Orleans, Ottawa West-Nepean and Ottawa South?

Yeah, you guys. Pay attention to who you vote for next week.

You know that LRT thingy that would be extended to your neck of the woods in Phase 2 of the project?

Ain’t going to happen if Timmie is Premier.

For the first time since this provincial election began, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak was clear about whether a PC government would fund the second phase of light rail in Ottawa — and the answer was a resounding “No.”

“No, we can’t afford it,” Hudak said simply when asked about the project at a campaign stop in Ottawa South on Thursday morning.

While Hudak has said that he wouldn’t yank back the $600 million already approved for the 12.5-kilometre section of LRT currently under construction — it will run from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Station — the PC leader said he won’t support the $1 billion of funding needed from the province to extend rail to Orléans in the east, Bayshore in the west, and Riverside South (with a possible airport link).

And his minions like Matt Young  are falling dutifully in line… though they must be cringing at the timing of this…

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