Letters for March 26, 1999

Arnold should leave city council

It has recently come to my attention that Somerset City Coun. Elisabeth Arnold has won the NDP nomination for the upcoming provincial election in Ottawa Centre. What I find somewhat odd is that she has decided to remain as the councillor for Centretown at the same time as she will be campaigning for the provincial election.

I have no problem with municipal politicians making a bid for provincial politics. However, I cannot understand how Ms. Arnold will be able to organize and run a provincial campaign while at the same time claiming to fully represent the citizens of Centretown at Ottawa City Hall. What am I to do if I require the services of my councillor, only to be told that she is too busy campaigning for another job? It is a situation that is extremely unfair to the tax-paying citizens of Centretown.

Now, I am certain that Ms. Arnold would respond that she can faithfully perform both duties and that she is fully capable of being a provincial candidate and holding down the responsibilities associated with municipal politics.

I would disagree with this statement, and I am quite certain that a large number of my fellow citizens would have the same doubts.

If Ms. Arnold is serious about running for provincial politics, and if she is as confident in victory as she claims to be, I would urge Ms. Arnold to do the honourable and responsible thing and resign her municipal duties. Or are we to be faced with yet another example of a politician wishing to have her cake and eat it too? Give the electorate some credit, Ms. Arnold; we’re smarter than you think. Such hubris could well end up causing you to lose the election before it even begins.

Martin Simard,

Elgin Street

Too many decisions made in secret

My compliments on a fine editorial on the demise of the Metcalfe project (March 12, 1999); you’re right in describing as fundamentally unacceptable the NCC’s attitude to Centretown and other National Capital Region residents.

When will they start working with us and stop putting together initiatives behind closed doors? They seem incapable of understanding that working together is as much in their interest as it is in ours.

Here’s an example: if the NCC put anywhere near the same effort into initiatives to get inter-provincial trucks off Rideau Street and King Edward Avenue as it did for the prospective Metcalfe Boulevard, we might be on our way to a solution and singing the praises of the NCC. Instead, the NCC plans transit-free roads to Gatineau Park and tractor-trailers continue to rumble through downtown.

Another example: the Ottawa Airport Authority has announced a $239-million expansion, with not one penny allocated to transit (bus or light rail) infrastructure. Does a virtually transit-free airport befit the capital of a country committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions? In contrast, Washington National Airport has a subway stop right in the terminal, as do Paris, London and Amsterdam.

Again, where is the NCC, or for that matter, OC Transpo, whose Transplan ‘99 essentially ignores the airport. Wouldn’t it be a great photo op having Marcel Beaudry and Bob Chiarelli cutting the ribbon opening an airport light-rail station?

David Gladstone,

Frank Street