Political Tricksters? What’s New? Pierre Pagé


Having worked for more than 30 years in the municipal political environment, I am not surprised at all by dirty political tricks being inflicted on The Bulldog.

When I look back at what I witnessed, the words “dysfunctional environment” or “dysfunctional elected people” often came to mind. There is something about politics that brings out the worst in some. I find it unfortunate that the public doesn’t see some of these councillors for what they really are. What you see is certainly not what you always get.

Fortunately there are some on Ottawa City Council who genuinely want to help their communities and put in a full day’s work but I’m not so sure it is a majority. The best the public can do is to keep them to their promises, ensure they are not abusing their office budgets with the purchase of hockey tickets, energy drinks that few residents consume and over-the-top advertising that only serves to promote themselves prior to elections.

Pierre Pagé

I also think our democracy is in terrible need of term limits. Some councillors remain for years and end up short on imaginative approaches or only appear to show interest in the salary and benefits provided. Many have little or no management or financial skills.

Residents absolutely need to look at their backgrounds and educational experience. Many over the years leave these details vague particularly as it relates to their educational background or lack thereof or embellish what they did prior to elections.

Finally, council members often enable those politician who have little ability to do the job and have very limited skills because their vote on particular issues takes precedence over what should be important to their respective communities. Some are given titles to shore them up but it doesn’t change the fact they are poor performers. Their vote is the ultimate purpose for enabling them. Historically politicians can only point to themselves for how they are viewed, for the cheap shots directed their way and the general disdain and contempt directed at them.

The very low election turnout points to how they have turned off the public for so many years. I rarely vote for the same politician going for a third term because it does not serve the public. Residents are deserving of new visions and fresh approaches. The city will be better served if voters wipe out a good 50 per cent of those on council in 2018.

In addition, residents need to pay very close attention to who are behind campaign contributions. I call it the in-breeders of finances with the same players contributing to the same group of politicians election after election.

There are also other means of donating funds to particular causes outside elections which potentially influence politicians during the lobbying process. Perhaps the media should have a closer look at this very informal donation process.

Pierre Pagé is the former City of Ottawa clerk.


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6 thoughts on “Political Tricksters? What’s New? Pierre Pagé

  1. Mr. Pagé,

    You have summarized it all very well. The point about the informal donation process is something that really needs some attention.

    After a stint in the environment of municipal administration, I have often wondered why. Why do we rely on a system wherein only a few of the eligible voters cast a vote and in turn elect people who are, in too many cases, inept at decision-making? Why do we allow politicians to make election promises that they can not keep? Why, oh why, do we have a system of party and dynasty politics?

    We allow juries to decide legal matters and yet we do not pick juries by holding a general election.
    If we selected our ruling politicians from a pool of eligible citizens and made political service a mandatory obligation of citizenship, we’d stand a chance of getting a better set of people in councils and parliaments.



  2. Pierre, as usual I appreciate your perspective on matters municipal. Your view from the inside is invaluable.

    Your statement about the setting and the individuals who populate that setting as being dysfunctional resonates. I could not imagine a less appealing work environment for someone who, as they wake up in the morning, starts the day wondering what levels of skulduggery, manipulation and outright lies awaits when them as they walk through the front door of city hall.

    People wonder why I speak so often about the dearth of leadership on Laurier Avenue. Leaders must walk the walk, not just talk the talk, and in city hall these days, and precious few are capable, let alone willing to walk the walk.


    1. Ron:

      I couldn’t agree more.

      There was a time during the Chiarelli years when people came there to do good things.

      Not it’s petty empires, hobby horses and covering your posterior.




  3. I expect elected officials to be looking at the big picture – identifying the issues that are problematic in the city, seeking out other cities that have dealt successfully with the same issues, and applying solutions that are long lasting. A good example is the problem we have with our roads. The roads are re-paved but within a few years they begin to deteriorate again. Someone (scientists?) should be consulted to find out what is required to change the compounds used to make ur roadways more pliable hence more resistant to the variations we have in the temperatures in Ottawa. I doubt if this being done because all I hear about which roads are being “re-paved”. It does not take someone with vision to do what I want, just someone who can identify a problem and determine how to “fix” it. I’d also like our representatives at city hall to do an honest day’s work. These people make a lot of money and I don’t think it’s too much to ask them to work for their salary like everyone else has to.


    1. Sisco:

      I believe the city’s response to fixing multitudinous potholes was to put substandard asphalt in those holes.

      Wonder who did the research there? And I wonder if the police should be involved in that one.




      1. Ken,
        The first thing I look for when substandard material shows up and yet ends up being used is for evidence of collusion between the suppler and the purchaser.
        Just saying, but – then again, I have never been shy about calling the police or issuing pink-slips.


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