Paul Dewar on the past, and coming, session of Parliament

This morning I spoke with Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar about his thoughts on the past session of Parliament, the prospects of a fall election, and a handful of bills that will be hot topics in the fall.

Radio topics, July 29

Today, we’ll be joined just after 8am by Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar. We’ll talk about his reflections on the spring session of Parliament and what we can look forward to in the fall. We’ll also touch on some of the following:

Geocache responsible for Transitway bomb scare.

Rasputins to close.

Toronto avoids decline in tourism

The ongoing busted bike theft ring in Toronto

You aren’t allowed to put a mural on your garage?

Scrabulous sued.

Billions coming for infrastructure

More curious tory electoral spending in quebec.

Guide Ferrett banned from bus

EU to ban seal products from “cruel hunting”

Councillors take the rail case to the Citizen

For those that are unaware, the Citizen is really good about posting the full audio of the discussions its editorial board has with various stakeholders. Yesterday they had a discussion with Councillors Alex Cullen, Peggy Feltmate, and Peter Hume. It’s available here (streaming MP3). Also of note is a conversation with the dissenting councillors from late June.
In any case, I’m working through it as we speak, but the general vibe seems to be that the councillors are understandably supportive of the plan (including the proposed tunnel), and meet some skepticism from the Board.
I really like that the Citizen shares these conversations, and during the election they were essential listening and pretty much determined how my vote would go. It’s also nice to see how these conversations develop, progress, and ultimately end up in various editorials and columns. What I really don’t like is that there doesn’t seem to be an RSS feed for when these go up, nor is there an obvious iTunes podcast option (I can’t check the directory from work; the words “itunes” and “podcast” certainly aren’t on the page).

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No light at the end of the tunnel

Councillor Doucet’s office has just issued a media advisory about a press conference he is holding tomorrow as part of the ongoing saga of Ottawa’s transit planning. I’ve pasted it below.

Essentially, as I’ve lamented before, it looks like the the tunnel plan is going to be expensive and add lots of delays. Moreover, it seems that some of the rail moneys will instead be spent on busses. Meanwhile, monies dedicated from other levels of government continues to go unused, and continue to exist only at the good grace of other budgets.

Press Release

Deputy City Manager confirms no tunnel for a least 7 to 11 years – and special tax levy required. City’s matching funds are no longer on table for any rail project.

At 11 am. on Thursday, July 24, in the Richmond Room at Ottawa City Hall, Councillor Clive Doucet will share responses he received from city staff confirming timing and cost implications of Transit Option 4.

Concerned that the current transit plan will do nothing for the next decade but invest heavily in more buses, Doucet put a number of questions to city staff.

What some of the responses mean for Ottawa:

The old plan had no special levy for transit and built rail first. The new plan will require as special levy to implement and will be buses first. The city’s matching funds that were available under the old plan are no longer on the table. They have been re-appropriated to busways and other projects.

“The new plan will invest approximately $900 million for about 65 kilometres of exclusive busways and $600 kilometres for buses…”

This means more congestion in the city core, more diesel pollution, and no relief from rising fuel costs.

With the city poised to spend hundreds of millions on more buses and busways, our priorities have become reversed. Clive will point out that “people are right to want light rail first, it’s the smart choice but that’s not what is going to happen. The train Ottawa is expecting is a bus”.

Questions and answers, and backgrounders will be available at the press conference.

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Radio Topics, July 22nd

It’s Tuesday! Adam and I will be on from 7-9am on 93.1fm in Ottawa, for everyone else. You should tune in: I promise a sufficient number of batman puns.
We’ll touch on some of the following:

Another sewage spill!
Calls for OPP commissioner to resign

Giant Lobster spared the pot

Lower southside stands ummm, lowered.

Paul Martin thinks that Canada should bring Omar Khadr home. Too bad he didn’t think so when he could have made a difference.

Lower tariffs won’t hurt farmers, say conservatives. Will help people.
Pet owners petition the city to let cats and dogs on the bus.

Gateway to the city?

Radio Topics for July 15th

Its Tuesday again. Bluesfest wrapped up on Sunday night, Mike and I are finished our marathon of concerts. We’ll talk about what we liked and didn’t like during the ten day festival. As usual we air on CKCU from 7 to 9am, 93.1fm for those in the Ottawa area, for everyone else.

First they come for your guns then your pesticides. Calgary to debate banning cosmetic lawn chemicals.

Harper to give millions of dollars to Nova Scotia to end feud.

Harper however doesn’t mind angering China and refuses to attend opening ceremonies of Olympic Games this August.

Ottawa Folk landmark, Rasputin’s get lit on fire…literally.

World Youth Day kicks off in Australia with a mass presided over by the Pope. As with any global gathering these days, climate change is on the agenda.

The government, or at least the Quebec government, is taking away Peer to Peer file sharing websites as well.

Ticketmaster wants you to be able to scalp your tickets.

Ottawa makes its pick for Curbside composting contract and something about the deal ‘stinks!’

Most important story of the week…Quebec to finally allow yellow margarine.

Radio Topics, July 8th

It’s Tuesday! Adam and I are both in the middle of the bluesfest marathon- I took last night off (despite the allure of former President James Taylor’s unique brand of bittersweet folk rock). To keep things bluesfesty, at 8:30 we’ll play an interview Adam did last week with Joel Plaskett about Canada Day, touring, and the move to producing.

We’ll also talk about some of the following:

Polaris short list revealed
Manitoba Child Services takes child away from white-supremacist mother.

Stephen Truscott gets 6.5 million apologies.

This is not how you avoid ATIP scrutiny (especially if you had promised to expand it)

Dr. who went to prison to have manifestly unfair laws overturned awarded Order of Canada, shit storm ensues.

Syncrude dead ducks could net $1 million fine.

Canada Day invitation with Samuel de Champlain holding poutine causes uproar by people that probably did not attend said function, calls for resignation of ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Good Sense also upset.

Government of Canada appeals court ruling that limits spread of STIs amongst  impoverished Vancouverites

Watch out for missing manhole covers!