This is the first Bulldog endorsement of Ottawa-area candidates for the provincial election.
Once your agent had a casual conversation with an associate of then-Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli.
“He was always the smartest person in the room.”
Chiarelli still is. His period as mayor seems like a lost time of politicians and staff actually listening to the public and reacting to residents’ opinions. City hall was open and transparent rather than simply saying it is and doing something else. Public servants were actually leaving the federal government to work at the newly amalgamated City of Ottawa where it looked as though that was the progressive government in town. And it was … until Chiarelli left.
It was also a period where smart legislation came down the pipe. Chiarelli’s anti-indoor-smoking bylaws were hard-fought and successful. The measures done in conjunction with then-medical officer of health Robert Cushman and Kanata councillor Alex Munter probably saved more lives than any other bylaw in modern Ottawa history.
His light-rail plan was a model of efficacy and efficiency. That it was destroyed by dirty politics is a stain that will mark this city, and its tax bills, for decades.
The infrastructure minister has always been good at bringing projects and money into the city. Witness the recent $50 million he secured for extending his ground-breaking O-Train … still the only working light rail in Ottawa.
That’s not to say that Ottawa West-Nepean MPP is not facing problems. His handling of the energy file has resulted in high electricity costs and The Bulldog would have preferring hydro-at-cost to attract industry to the province. When Niagara Falls was being harnessed for power, the province promised energy-at-cost. It would be a good practice today.
Chiarelli, like all Liberal candidates, is also burdened with the premiership of Kathleen Wynne. She has promised the world to voters and her actions look desperate. Perhaps they are. She is spending when the economy has taken flight. Always best for governments to spend in bad times and pay down debt in good. Wynne is missing an opportunity to cut the deficit. That flaw might cost her Ontario’s top job and those of many of her Queen’s Park colleagues.
It would take an absolutely outstanding candidate to gain The Bulldog’s endorsement over Chiarelli in Ottawa West-Nepean. That candidate is not there.
Chandra Pasma is the NDP candidate in Ottawa West-Nepean. She is a union researcher and former policy adviser to the leader of the federal NDP. She’s local and has been a long-time anti-poverty advocate.
Pasma is a perfectly good local candidate except that she has not been a two-time Ontario cabinet minister, former mayor of Ottawa and a successful lawyer as is her opponent. Furthermore she is burdened by her party’s huge spending promises as are the Liberals. However, if you are concerned about gender inequality in the political world, Pasma might be a good choice. She seems to be capable of being a very good local representative but she has drawn Bob Chiarelli as an opponent. Bad luck.
Progressive Conservative candidate Jeremy Roberts studied political science at Carleton University and has a masters of public policy from the University of Oxford. A smart young man and has done good work in the field of autism. He has been an adviser to a number of senior Tories.
The Conservative party prior to this election has been a gong show of infighting and nomination problems. Ottawa West-Nepean saw its share of such difficulties with Roberts being acclaimed.
Furthermore, Roberts’ leader Doug Ford was a force in one of the worst municipal administrations in Canadian history. The problems there embarrassed Toronto and Canada all over the world. Ford’s pronouncements are inconsistent and scattershot. Witness his position on Phase 2 Ottawa light rail.
In terms of leadership, both Wynne and Ford are problematic making voting in Ontario this time out very difficult … maybe the most difficult in modern Ontario history.
Had either the Tories or Grits had Chiarelli as leader, the choice of premier would be easy.
The Bulldog endorses Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli for MPP in Ottawa West-Nepean riding.