This is absolutely disgusting.
When the amalgamated City of Ottawa was created, the mantra repeatedly spoken by stakeholders, politicians and staff was “open, caring and inclusive”.
Where is that now?
Residents know of at least two confirmed instances where city staff and politicians deliberately withheld important and necessary information from the public. First, the Mooney’s Bay playground plan was not released to taxpayers and residents until there was no backing down from the project. That was an undemocratic and dictated act. Astonishingly even Ken “Good News” Hughes, the city auditor general, raised an eyebrow at that one.
Second, city staff and politicians called on the Salvation Army not to release its plans for a homeless centre relocation to Vanier until the deal was done … thereby shutting down participatory democracy in an important area of Ottawa public policy.
If you believe that the bad information you get is just the tip of the iceberg of bigger problems, the implications of these two acts are frightening. City staffers and politicians are withholding important public information because it works most times, not because it doesn’t. In how many instances have Ottawans been denied public information they should have seen? From the outside, it appears it has happened often.
What has gone on at Ottawa City Hall that residents should have known, but don’t?
Issues of importance must be debated in a public forum. That is critical to a free society. Democracy doesn’t just occur every four years. Election-day-only democracy is Putin-style.
Councillors Riley Brockington and Mathieu Fleury have rightly carried the can on these two odious mistakes in their wards.
But the responsibility is not all theirs.
Ultimately the buck stops at the desks of Mayor Jim Watson and city manager Steve Kanellakos.
Stop it. Ottawans deserve open, caring and inclusive government. We’re not getting it.
The 2018 municipal election is just around the corner. It’s time for voters to take charge and bring a culture of democracy and openness to Ottawa City Hall.
That means a reform mayor and a reform council … new people who will pledge to restore open, caring and inclusive government at city hall and replace individuals who stand in its way.
Video above: Russian leader Vladimir Putin on U.S. democracy.
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