The City Of Ottawa Gone Rogue


Just as an aside.

Are you as tired as your agent about decisions made at Ottawa City Hall between bureaucratic mandarins, politicians and special interest groups where the public’s view is not even remotely considered?

It is the same old tired story from issue to issue.

Where deals are done and public consultations are but a nuisance to be handled rather than an integral part of the process?

Where politicians are tight with special interest groups and deals are completed behind closed doors? Where city staff reports deal with the concerns of special interest groups and the public is ignored? Where decisions, even when wrong, are stuck to by bureaucrats because it’s their decision and that’s it?

Or where mandarins make decisions that are for the good of their little empire but not the public? Or where mandarins decide to please their so-called political masters rather than what’s best for the community?

It’s the same old tired story on issue after issue. The worst example was on the Transitway bus detour where the detour was buried in the original approval of the gigantic light-rail project and so that the issue could not be discussed again according to the rules. So the public and the transportation committee couldn’t legally discuss an issue of great importance to them. The public and politicians were purposefully shut out of the process rather than just the usual ignored.

The reason that staff, politicians and special interest groups get away with this kind of trickery is that, for the most part, the public doesn’t care. Accordingly politicians and staff get closer to special interest groups than to the public. Those groups get what they want because the city is detached from an apathetic public. Nature abhors a vacuum so special interest groups fill the place where the public should participate.

So we have a municipal government out of control. Officials are so detached from the public that the city operates for the people who really do care … the special interest groups (some of whom make huge amounts of money if city council’s decision favours them). That’s why interest groups are interested. The citizenry doesn’t play enough of a role in the creation of public policy. Public policy becomes private policy.

City hall officials wouldn’t get away with this if it had an active and engaged voting and participating public.

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