Stop Putting Lipstick On The LRT Pig: WHOPPER WATCH .12.26


“What I can say today is things are evolving positively.”

Transpo general manager Renee Amilcar on continuing delays on the Trillium Line opening


Are you sure about that?

Call me a nagging nabob of negativism if you like, but the Trillium Line is two years late. Not only that but Amilcar won’t put a target on completion. That just screams positivism. It sounds like an episode of the Brady Bunch but with the Bunch in poor form. It also screams things are not unfolding as they should … which is a very charitable description.

If your $1.2-billion line is running late big-time, you can’t give taxpayers (you remember us don’t you?) a deadline for completing the project and you need more testing hours for drivers and the system itself, well to we under-paid (at least compared to our city staff and police-service betters) and apparently unknowledgeable (compared to our brilliant hot-house tomatoes at city hall who screw up most things they touch like our $1-billion natural-gas charged e-buses) peasants are getting restless. All this council needs is some prominent person to get up on his or her hind legs and scream that they can do better than the clowns in there now (and city hall hasn’t exactly been screaming competence) and these guys around the platinum horseshoe are toast. Someone of the ilk of Larry O’Brien or a Pierre Poilievre-type. Maybe not the right people but they’ll be people with an axe to grind.

Some might remember a person by the name of Bob Chiarelli, the last good mayor of Ottawa, who built a heavy-rail passenger line on roughly the same path at the current Trillium fiasco, not for $1.2 billion but for $33 million (that’s million not billion). And it worked. It moved people up and down the line. It came in on-time and on-budget because it was simple and effective and not seeking obscure awards for the higher-ups. God knows what the current Trillium Line is except not working and not working into some point in the near or far-away future.

Strangely, city hall won’t discuss the timing under the premise that if you don’t set a target, you can’t miss it.

Furthermore, the Chiarelli Choo-Choo did not require an audit of the procurement. It was procured and built, cheaply and without scandal when there was actually a competitive media at city hall looking for dirt. By the way, auditor general Nathalie Gougeon’s probe of the Trillium Line procurement, which featured a winning bidder who failed the technical standards twice, is now 502 days, 10 hours, 11 minutes and three seconds late (give or take a few seconds here or there). For details, click here.

So enough of this “positivity” clown show. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, positive about the Trillium Line mess from procurement, planning, administration, completion and augmentation. And it’s insulting to a public (that is paying for this) most of whom are much better than council and staff at their jobs but paid less, to listen to the sugar-coating of a municipal mess.

Were city hall to look at a barnyard full of hog feces, council and staff would say something like: “the liquid manure spreading will go swimmingly this year.”

Council and city staff are being paid royally to cock up light rail … a good idea gone horribly bad. Stop embellishing the truth, finish the trains and make sure they work … or get out.

Most people with no experience can do as bad a job as this.

And cut the crap.

Ken Gray

Brady Bunch,The (Intro) S1 (1969)

The Brady Bunch: Everything was very positive there but it wasn’t reality was it.


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5 Responses

  1. Merrill Smith says:

    The ghost of Spiro Agnew says it was “nattering nabobs of negativism.” It’s a lucky politician who is remembered for a good line.

  2. Ken Gray says:


    Then thank goodness I’m not a good politician. It was Spiro I was thinking of at the time. Just got the quote wrong … but escaped copyright problems.



  3. Been There says:

    Why are there no consequences?
    How many people, primarily university students , modified schedules and even living accommodations based on the scheduled arrival of the LRT and the required new bus routes?
    No consideration has been given to the inconvenienced public. There is seemingly no rush to put in any extra hours that could speed up completion. It is time to pay out Amilcar’s contract and bring in a person with project management skills . Sutcliffe and the city manager’s acceptance monthly million dollar losses and missed milestones are beyond comprehension and yet Amilcar is able to retain her well paid position.

  4. Ron Benn says:

    There are no consequences for failure at city hall, or the NCC (Westboro Beach). Do the arithmetic on that.

  5. The Voter says:

    Been There,

    Unfortunately, it’s looking more and more like Amilcar was hired specifically for the skills we see her displaying. She can shovel bovine excrement with the best of them and can speak in entire paragraphs that say absolutely nothing. That she’s never been called on it or had to back down or retract any of her pronouncements tells me that her bosses are more than happy with how she’s running OC Transpo and what she’s telling us and Council about it’s “progress”.

    She is rarely challenged by the Mayor or the Transit Commission members on the performance of the transit system. If they hadn’t hired her to do exactly what she’s doing, at least one person on Council would have held her to account by now.

    I used to give her the benefit of the doubt but she’s been here too long not to do better and to step up to take responsibility for the department she heads.

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