First of three parts:
Jan Harder is what you get when you don’t give a damn about municipal politics.
Ottawans pay thousands of dollars of property taxes and we expect to be treated with respect, dignity, attention, honesty and that those combined hundreds of millions of tax dollars are used for the benefit of the community, not for the benefit of the denizens of city hall.
Here is the dignity and respect for the public that the Barrhaven councillor and planning committee chairwoman has shown the residents of Ottawa who pay those great amounts of money for the benefit of this community.
Let’s start a few years ago.
When vandalism and petty crime was first running amok in Barrhaven, an angry Harder told the public the cause was “non-whites coming into our community looking to cause trouble.” Not that this matters much above and beyond the disgusting comment above, but the vandals turned out to be white and from Barrhaven.
Such poisonous rhetoric did not go unnoticed.
Harder is, or at least was, politically ambitious. But the Liberal and Conservative parties are not stupid when it comes to statements like that. Both parties had wanted the then-popular civic politician to run provincially or federally. However they couldn’t take her on because the “non-whites” comment would be rightfully used against her in the real campaigns that occur in Ontario and federal political spheres. Both parties would have to distance themselves from the candidate when the memorable quote was raised by opponents.
So suddenly Harder found herself having to be satisfied with municipal politics when her ambitions resided elsewhere. Instead, her former assistant Lisa MacLeod has the rising career. MacLeod has a spot in the provincial cabinet. Harder has risen to her political zenith as the city’s planning committee chairwoman.
Harder does this with such bluster, ego and arrogance that the doors of the committee’s Champlain Room have to be greased to shoe-horn her in.
She has told her colleagues that she is smarter than them. That she understands development while other councillors don’t. This from a woman who was hawking wholesale food before she rose to the illustrious heights of the former municipality of Nepean city councillor.
As for her dealing with social problems in Barrhaven by whites or non-whites or whomever, this Canada Day Barrhaven’s celebrations were marred by rowdyism and inappropriate behaviour. Harder’s response based on her long history of deep sociological thought and community building? She called the rowdies “losers” and said there’ll be more cops at the party next year. Obviously Harder knows nothing about dealing with social problems and only seems to care when her hard-assed comments might get her a headline, if she cares at all. The proof is in the fact that youth problems continue in her neighbourhood and she has failed to alleviate the situation since the long-ago days of her “non-white” comment. The reason Harder hasn’t made progress in this area is because she doesn’t know how to do it and she’s too full of herself to ask. Anyway Harder appears to feel that those are other people’s problems. Just hire more cops. Let them deal with it. That’s their job. Harder’s too busy dealing with much more important issues … such as how to suck up to the development community.
Harsh you say? Yes, but true.
For months city staff, Harder and the development community have been working on the zoning and height report, the most significant planning document in a decade. At the committee meeting in which the report was rubber-stamped, Harder arrogantly bellowed that she wondered why there were not presentations from community groups … inferring they don’t care. They were all given notice, she maintained.
Continued on next post.
To go to Part 2, click here.
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