“I know you’re looking for us to give you all kinds of dates and so forth. The fact of the matter is this — the train will go into revenue service when the train is ready to go into revenue service.”
Transit chief John Manconi
Your agent has been involved in journalism in one way or another for about four decades. He has been covering municipal affairs in some form since 1998.
But never in that time has your agent run across an institution that is more tight-lipped, more uncooperative with the media, more willing to obfuscate or cover up, more obstructionist and more aloof from the public and reporters than the City of Ottawa.
Former mayor Bob Chiarelli, the last competent mayor of Ottawa, would fight to get information into the open. Mayor Jim Watson does exactly the opposite … to the point of blacklisting The Bulldog because he is so thin-skinned about criticism. Watson should be the champion of open government, not its worst enemy. The only reason your agent got from city communications about the blacklisting was “because it’s just a f—— blog.” Nice.
So the CBC’s Joanne Chianello is right to take out Manconi and transit commission chairman Stephen Blais about their haziness on the completion Phase 1 of the light-rail project. Blais keeps just saying that the project is on-target for completion in 2018. In fact as Chianello indicates, the city set a target of May 2018. The city set the bar for accuracy but now chooses to obfuscate because it suits its purposes. Because it has a big problem with LRT.
Blais and Manconi are paid and responsible to the public and the media asks them questions that they reasonably believe the public would ask. In treating the media like dust, the city is treating the public like dust. Show contempt for the media, you’re showing contempt for the public. In fact that’s not new. Chianello is a responsible and reasonable person. Show respect to her by answering as fully and cooperatively as possible. That is a public servants’ duty.
The media and the public have reasonable doubts about the light-rail project given its outrageous cost and three sinkholes during construction.
Watson should man up and not just tell his minions to give the best information possible but do the same rather than just saying that he is open, caring and inclusive.
He’s not and the City of Ottawa is not.
Answer the question.
And the principals to this stupidity should be damn glad I’m not down there asking questions. In my seven years at city hall, I had a reputation of collecting a large number of pelts of those who did wrong or covered up.
I can think of a few pelts I’d like to get right now.
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