Ontario Introduces Pension Plan

This is a release from the Ontario Premier’s Office:

The province is taking an important step to strengthen its retirement income system and ensure Ontarians are better able to enjoy their retirement years, with the introduction of legislation that would, if passed, help people save for retirement.

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Harder Gets Website Right: Worth Repeating

Harder

Harder

Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder last week certainly got the City of Ottawa website correct.

The website is a nightmare for search. That search engine screams futility when it comes to the most basic requests for information.

Mayor Jim Watson defends audio/visual records because he says they are the cutting edge of information technology … that is if you can find them on the web and you install some arcane bit of software to make these presentations work.

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Winterlude Schedule Unveiled

This is a release from Canadian Heritage. It features the program for 2015 Winterlude:

The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today unveiled the official program for Winterlude 2015.
Winterlude will run from January 30 to February 16, 2015, with festivities taking place at three official sites: Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau and the Rideau Canal Skateway and Confederation Park in Ottawa. A wide range of activities will also be presented by partners at other venues around Canada’s Capital Region.

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Snow Sculptures Back At Lansdowne

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

Snow sculptures are returning to Winterlude in 2015.

Ottawa residents are invited to compete for cash prizes in the City Snowscapes Community Snow Sculpture Competition at Lansdowne Park, part of the City’s Winter Design Festival taking place during Winterlude, January 30 to February 16. The festival marks the first celebration of Winterlude at the new Lansdowne Park.

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Ramp Closures Continue On Hwy. 417

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

Construction of the Highway 417 Expansion project will continue over the winter months, however motorists and transit users can expect reduced traffic impacts.

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Newbies Perform Well At Council

cityhallsmallJonathan Mark takes a critical look at the first day of Ottawa City Council.

First day of our new Council, and I was on hand at Ottawa City Hall.

Not a great start. Trying to get into the underground parking lot, the line of cars sat still for 10-15 minutes causing some problems on Laurier Avenue. I guess the attendant ran out of paper for the ticket dispenser.

I was encouraged by the new blood on council. 

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Province To Start Ont. High-Speed Rail

This is a release from the Ontario Premier’s Office:

Ontario is taking the next step to build a high-speed rail line that will connect Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Toronto, which will improve travel options, reduce travel time and create jobs by getting people moving.

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Council, Media Need New Priorities

Watson

Watson

Where did political priorities go and what happened to mature news judgment in this city?

Does anyone really care if councillors accept $30 or $100 of trinkets from residents? Do we care if councillors exceed their trinket limit by, say, $20?

But what should bother councillors, residents and opinion leaders in this community is the independence of the auditor general. Taxpayers fork out a great deal of money for the AG and his staff so they can be assured that waste will be rooted out at the City of Ottawa. In return, the AG finds millions of dollars of waste.

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Jian Ghomeshi In Perspective

The Toronto Star’s Rosie DiManno puts the whole Jian Ghomeshi situation in perspective.

­

Jian Ghomeshi has been a rock musician. He’s been a media celebrity in the admittedly low wattage firmament occupied by Canadian entertainment luminaries.

Now he knows how it feels to be a megastar — fallen.

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Watson Welcomes Home Alfie

alfie

 

Mayor Jim Watson took an opportunity to thank former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson for all his good work in the community.

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Harassment Cited In Museum Dismissal

This is a release from the Canadian Museum of History:

Following the CBC’s As It Happens broadcast this evening featuring Dr. Pat Sutherland, the Canadian Museum of History has no choice but to inform Canadians that Dr. Sutherland was terminated for harassment following an 18-month investigation done by an independent 3rd party which was initiated by the former President and CEO Dr. Victor Rabinovitch.

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Council 1, Mayor 0

Chiarelli

Chiarelli

So what have we learned from the first three days of Ottawa’s new council?

Mayor Jim Watson continues to be Jim Watson. That is: image is everything, utility places second to what’s right, he loves power (even to the detriment of the welfare of the city) and he’s got charm oozing out of every pour. But underneath resides a very tough politician. Some might say scheming.

Watson’s governance report gave off such an odour you could smell it in Vars.

One of the most important positions at Ottawa City Hall is that of auditor general. He is the best friend of the taxpayer … exposing and embarrassing sloppy administration on Laurier Avenue.

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Hintonburg Tower Gets OMB Approval

omb

Hintonburg will be getting another giant tower.

The Ontario Municipal Board has approved the controversial 18-storey development surrounding the Carleton Tavern fronting Hamilton Avenue North, Armstrong Street, Parkdale Avenue and Spencer Street.

Here is an excerpt from the decision. A PDF of the entire decision is at the end of this post:

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PM Praises Beliveau

This is a release from the Prime Minister’s Office:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement after learning of the death of hockey legend Jean Béliveau: 

“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and many fans of Jean Béliveau, who passed away at the age of 83.

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Important News For Bulldog Email Subscribers

We are using a new email subscription service for The Bulldog.

You do not need to resubscribe unless you are not receiving your usual post emails.

However some of the new emails might revert to your spam folder. Please check your spam folder to see if your Bulldog subscription emails are landing there.

Mark them as not spam and regular email notices will begin again in your inbox.

Thank you for your help.

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Watson Frugal? Sure: Whopper Watch

timbitsSo Mayor Jim Watson wants to be frugal.

Actually he just wants to appear frugal. Image is everything with His Worship.

At Monday’s swearing-in ceremony for the new Ottawa City Council, Watson brought out the old saw that because Tim Horton’s was catering the refreshments, it showed the mayor was concerned about the bottom line.

“I think it serves the right signal that we’re here to serve the people and try to be as frugal as we can but put on a good show at the same time.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Watson keeps the facade of being frugal by bringing in budgets with two-per-cent increases (twice the rate of inflation).

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Top Chefs Cook For Charity

This is a press release:

Ottawa’s top chefs invite Ottawa food lovers to gather on Dec. 16 for Chef Bites, a fundraiser to create an emergency fund to support Ottawa restaurant industry staff in need.

Two Ottawa women with a passion for the local restaurant community created the Ottawa Restaurant Fund and the Chef Bites event from a strong desire to provide financial and service support and a safety net for the city’s restaurant industry. Donna Holtom, owner of Santé restaurant and Holtz Spa, is a well-known leader in the community, and Caroline Ishii is the creator and award-winning chef of ZenKitchen.

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Policing Grows In Complexity: Report

This is a release from Carleton University:

Carleton University’s Linda Duxbury, a professor in the Sprott School of Business, contributed to a report released by the Council of Canadian Academies entitled Policing Canada in the 21st Century: New Policing for New Challenges. The report details the complexity and global nature of policing in the modern age.

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Fight Power Grab, Rick Chiarelli: Reader

This is an email from community activist and Bulldog reader Ron Benn to College Councillor Rick Chiarelli:

Councillor Chiarelli,
I am extremely disappointed in the mayor, and you know that I do not hold him in high esteem, for introducing the omnibus governance report.  There are two major problems in this report, and one relatively minor one.
The budget process is flawed.  As you stated in one of our discussions earlier this year, there is no requirement for the city to review programs to see if they have achieved their objectives, let alone a review of programs to see if they are making any progress towards achieving their objectives.  If councillors accept this report, then the mayor can continue to dictate what the tax increase must be, and those same councillors will have de facto accepted that they have no input, except for trading dollar for dollar on pet programs or projects.  This is an abdication of their responsibility to the residents of this city.

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Stand Up For The City Auditor General

Watson

Watson

Now is the time for councillors of good conscience to strike down the imposition of the 2014-2018 Council Governance Review at the City of Ottawa.

Some of the major reforms do not better governance at the municipality but undermine the independence of the auditor general and puts the city manager and the AG under the thumb of the mayor.

The auditor general and the mayor should be at opposite ends of the flow chart. Under the new governance legislation the mayor has authority to conduct performance reviews, adjust wages and control vacation and sick leave functions of the city manager, but even more ominous, of the auditor general. Does that mean that in this hypothetical situation that if the mayor were found to be wasting money in his office, the auditor general could face a performance review by that same mayor? Yes.

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The Badly Flawed Governance Report

This is an email from avid Bulldog reader Andrew Zenner.

Zenner has gone over the governance report with a fine-tooth comb:

There are a number of issues in the massive 289-page Omnibus governance bill that is being brought to council on Wednesday.  Hopefully councillors will raise some of these key issues.  

Scope – This is a massive Omnibus bylaw which covers such topics as committee structures, budget process, operation of the LRT, S.37, handling of lobbyists, purchasing bylaw, etc. Why do so many people make such a fuss when the Conservative government does this sort of thing, but here we have the City doing the same thing and there is almost silence.   Hopefully this thing can be voted on section by section.

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Food Drive Celebrates 30 Years

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

An Ottawa holiday tradition continues this weekend when our community’s spirit of giving and sharing hops on board for the 2014 OC Transpo/Loblaw Annual Christmas Food Drive. This annual event is now in its 30th year.

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Canadian Media Concentration Increasing

This is a release from Carleton University:

Carleton University’s Dwayne Winseck, professor in the School of Journalism and Communication, directed the Canadian Media Concentration Research project which recently its results.

The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and is focused on developing a comprehensive, systematic and long-term analysis of the media, Internet and telecom industries in Canada.

The report examines competition and concentration trends from 1984 until 2013 in 15 different sectors of the network media economy. The study assesses which media markets are competitive, moderately concentrated or highly concentrated.

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Bulldog Ads

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Don’t Ram Through Governance Legislation (1)

ottawa logoThis is bad. This is really bad.

If you thought the consultation on consultations would never amount to a more cooperative city government, well unlikely as that was, it’s a lock now.

As of  Sunday at 10 a.m., the city had not released the 2014-2018 Council Governance Review. That said, a special meeting of council has been called by Mayor Jim Watson to discuss the report on Wednesday. Yes Wednesday. The report is 288 pages long and full of legalese. And now three days before the special meeting is to be held, the public doesn’t have it in its hands.

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