It is interesting how the political strategy has evolved with the safety issue on the light-rail project.
Mayor Jim Watson has focused on areas of plausible deniability inside the tunnel. As in, the workers say this, the city says that. There are no objective witnesses to what is going down there and the record with the Ministry of Labour is not bad. See, plausible deniability.
But it’s also a strategy that makes you ill.
Video above: The Rideau Street sinkhole.
It ignores the hundreds of people who were put in danger by two major sinkholes and one small one. It ignores the flooding of the tunnel which again is very dangerous anywhere but especially in a confined space. And it ignores the fact that a giant crane toppled on the construction site.
Watson focuses the media on the little, deniable questions in the tunnel but conveniently ignores the many ways that this project has put the lives of residents and workers in jeopardy.
Watson also says this is a big project so sure there are likely going to be some rare safety breaches. But aforementioned problems are enormous and transparent. Pretty hard to deny the danger of the sinkholes. And you can see them.
So the mayor conveniently ignores them.
Yes it is a big project. It costs more than twice as much as the previous cancelled project and gives the community less. One would think that with $3.2 billion in extra cash that the project could be kept safe … but it hasn’t been. You would think it would be on-time and on-budget but it hasn’t been and won’t be.
And while we are talking of flooding, the city is swimming in debt. The offshoot of all this is that your children will be paying for this far into the future. The city has had the largest operating debt in its history and the largest accumulated debt in its history.
But then Watson has always had difficulty with addition and subtraction.
He left the former city of Ottawa, where he was mayor at its dissolution, with so much debt that it put municipal amalgamation in jeopardy. Nepean, which had been fiscally responsible, didn’t want to pick up the debt of spend-thrift Watson. The Mike Harris government had to go over the heads of the municipalities to create amalgamation.
Harris also went over the heads of the Ottawa Hospital board in appointing an administrator when the hospital’s debt went amok.
Another Progressive Conservative government could be coming in Ontario. If the City of Ottawa accumulates much more debt, will a PC premier appoint an administrator to run the municipality?
The Tories owe Liberal Watson no favours. They still remember when Watson decided to join the Grits provincially rather than the PCs. That wound hasn’t healed.
Back to The Bulldog’s home page, click here.
To comment on this post, use the reply box at the bottom of this page.
Report a typo to email@example.com