No Trillium Line Probe In Our Best Interests

Today is a special day for us here at Bulldog World Headquarters.

That said, it probably doesn’t wax quite so lovable and nostalgic for auditor general Nathalie Gougeon, audit committee chairwoman Cathy Curry and Mayor Mark Sutcliffe.

Because tomorrow on the last day of November, we celebrate a year since the auditor general could have kept her commitment to conduct an audit of the mega-stinky Trillium Line procurement.

Your Bulldog will remind you of the circumstances surrounding this celebration. An SNC Lavalin subsidiary bid for the massive contract to build the Trillium Line commuter rail link. And at that time we had an opportunity to get a sampling of the good work of SNC because it was one of the partners building the interesting, world-class and internationally famous Confederation Line.

That said, the SNC company failed the technical qualifications for the Trillium Line not once but twice. Who gets a second chance on procurements? But then, surprisingly and in the face of a city committee recommendation that the SNC firm shouldn’t get the contract, it got the contract. Wonder what the odds of that happening were at Bet365? An astute wager could have resulted in a fair whack of dough for a brave punter.

So Gougeon, just to check that everything that occurred had been perfect, put the procurement on her to-do list. But it just never got done. In fact, it fell from expected audit to we-will-see-if-we-have-time audit. Then Monday, and just after we poor souls at The Bulldog had bought fireworks to celebrate non-starter festivities on Thursday, the Trillium Line procurement fell off the AG’s work plan for the next two years. Interesting that for the first time, the auditor general chose to schedule a work plan for two years, not one, meaning that the Trillium Line procurement need not be reconsidered until late 2025. We hope the public and the AG don’t forget that Trillium audit by then. But if they do, we’re here to remind them.

Yes two failed technical specs and a recommendation against getting the contract and out of the blue, the SNC company got the contract. Quelle surprise. The line was expected to be completed by August 2022 but now that date could extend into 2024 or even 2025 because safety is the first priority of OC Transpo (notwithstanding the LRT derailments or two deadly bus crashes). That’s why so many checks on the hub assembly and related parts which don’t work but must last until Alstom builds a fix (maybe) for those parts of the train.

When the audit fell off the AG’s workplan for two years, it was then the management and staff of The Bulldog decided it was time to call for a provincial commissioner and a board (like was done during the amalgamation process) to run the municipality to see that the obviously over-worked staff at city hall would have time to pursue the procurement audit. You know we at The Bulldog … always here to help. Such talk that the board and commissioner would be brought in the clean up the mess on Laurier Avenue was sheer poppycock, it would be said at city hall. Not at all. They would be there to help.

Of course, we gerbils here at world headquarters would never doubt that anything had gone wrong with the procurement … the failed tech specs notwithstanding. And in reality, maybe nothing did go wrong because we know the integrity of city hall is foremost in people’s minds. You know, such as during the workup to the Jock River development.

So maybe the audit was dropped because there wasn’t any real evidence to go forward. That could really happen.

Oh yes, there are malcontents who spread the nastiest of rumours. Such as there are so many ex-Watsonites at city hall that they might not want a thorough audit of that particular incident. You know, save the old boss from some embarrassment. Or that the federal government might have had special interest in getting the contract to unfold as it did to protect Canadian jobs across the country. A noble sentiment. Or some other nasty rumour that’s not worth dispelling because it would be expensive to do so and could cause taxpayers stress. It always nice to know that our governments are far ahead of the curve when it comes to looking out for the little people’s interests. God bless ’em.

We don’t know about you here at the global hub of The Bulldog, but we’re guessing that audits in the AG’s office are “on-time and on-budget.” Yes that very important audit of the outbreak of chapped lips at city hall will get a comprehensive examination that the Trillium Line procurement doesn’t need. Chapped lips are very dangerous. They can lead to more chapped lips, thereby paralyzing vital city services. What’s a Trillium Line procurement audit compared to a horrible pandemic of chapped lips? Let’s get our priorities in order here, people.

So we will keep the Trillium Line procurement ticker running on each page of The Bulldog showing how long the AG has had to hold an investigation. It will be a tribute to the politicians, staff and AG’s department noble pursuit of open, honest, caring and inclusive government. Because Ottawans know from the provincial LRT inquiry that the politicians and staff at the City of Ottawa would never stand for lies, incompetence and covering-up in government. The Bulldog trusts these people implicitly and wishes them all the best.

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Furthermore, we know that the people remaining from the Watson administration would never stand in the way of good governance. Their pursuit of lofty goals is always on-time and on-budget.

And such is the high esteem that we hold these servants of society that we will tell a commissioner and board brought in to run the city, should that happen, that the work of the Watsonites and those beholden to rulers past are beyond reproach.

We hold them in the highest regard.

Happy anniversary and may all your future audits be sweetness and light.

Ken Gray



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