OC Transpo Goes On Offensive Charm Offensive

For an organization that covers-up, lies, lies by omission, sends two-sentence answers to complicated questions by email, refuses interviews with its officers and makes mistakes in the billions of dollars, one would think the City of Ottawa could get a dog-and-pony show called the transit advisory board correct.

You know, just to break the monotony of errors.

But it can’t.

This is a public body, supposedly, So why does it allow public members to keep their identities private. If you belong to a public body, surely one of the prerequisites would be to have your name published. And if you don’t want your name published on a public board, why would you want to be on a public board?

In something approaching the real world, candidates for a public board would be disqualified from being on a public board if they wanted their names private.

Now, one can understand why the participants might want their names private. And no doubt most of the reasons are valid. That’s fine. Then they should continue being private by not being on the board.


Actually anonymous members should note be on a public board. You can’t have your cake and privacy, too.

Open, caring and inclusive government matters. Not “on-time and on-budget” when that statement in reference to LRT was one of the biggest whoppers in the history of world politics.

Furthermore of the named people (and unnamed ones for that matter), who are these members? Former transit chief John Manconi’s relatives? Who chose them? Former transit commission chairman Allan Hubley and former mayor Jim Watson?

Are they cheerleaders? Will they enthusiastically support measures that transit staff (of whatever nomenclature) suggests unequivocally? Will they be issued red-and-white pom-poms? “Give us an O, give us a C, give us a T …”

Or will, in this public relations exercise, their suggestions be added to pile of ignored citizen input that now exceeds the height of the Tower of Babel and deserves much better treatment than the fate of the noted tower (note to swarm of senior editors at Bulldog World Headquarters … consider changing name of Happy Town News (media relations) to the Tower of Babble … in true city style seek public input and then ignore it)?

And wait a second, don’t we already have a transit commission, a transportation committee and a light-rail subcommittee. Doesn’t every citizen of the whole city of Ottawa already have the right to five minutes to express their opinions to the mighty members of those esteemed committees? Can you say overkill? (note to mayor. Next session of the Ottawa Police Services Board suggest that the tight-knit and tight-lipped board use the same rules as standing committees so that each member of the municipality’s public can address the lordly members of the board for five minutes. But then democracy is so messy isn’t it? Why not do it voluntarily before the courts make the board do it. Good PR.)

But here is an idea from the feeble minds at The Bulldog. Don’t create a smarm committee to send nice messages to the public about the glorious OC Transpo after you’ve just slashed routes and can’t get the train on-time. The public isn’t quite as stupid as you might think.

And rather than focusing time and money and maybe even effort on a smarm committee, why not try to finish the light rail on time, not have it derail now and then, work hard to produce a good bus service, not close streets when the only effective mode of transportation in Ottawa is cars and audit the stinky Trillium Line procurement which the public has been patiently waiting for to the tune of 510 days, nine hours, 40 minutes and seven seconds, give or take a second or two.

Ottawa wants a good transit system not a load of PR.

Ken Gray

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