Ottawa 2022 Election: Look who back - LRT!
Well, the hammer has been lifted, it hasn’t come down yet, but it might do that very soon. The hammer is the province withholding $60M for LRT Phase 1. Why is Ontario doing this? It is all due the issues that the “new” LRT in Ottawa is having, in fact the LRT has not been running since September 19th when a derailment took place. There is no firm date for the return of the trains running at the time of me writing this post. I can’t be sure even if the promise of a month of free rides in December on the LRT will happen. The train might not be running!
It is not shocking that LRT will be the main topic of discussion for a third straight Ottawa municipal elections taking place on October 24th, 2022. What is shocking is that it will be a top issue in the election because of its failure, not success! That Councillors might have assumed that they could run on the successful implementation of LRT in Ottawa is accurate – no one plans for something to fail but fail it did. Whether it was flat wheel, doors jamming or cold weather the LRT never really had a chance. That sink hole at Rideau and Wellington streets really was a talisman of things to come.
A successful launch of LRT would have extended the election success of incumbent councillors, what will its failure mean to councillors? No one has really been held to account for how LRT has flat wheeled been rolled out. Blame, by the Mayor and the City, has been laid at the feet of the Rideau Transit Group, however not one person from the City of Ottawa has been held accountable. Should any members of our current council be held accountable?
The official election period for the municipal elections begins in May when nomination papers are being accepted. The unofficial election period has already started. In this period leading up to May ’22 there may be announcements of Councillors (and a mayor?) not seeking re-election. That runours of who will run for Mayor will begin, former Mayor Bob Chiarelli who is on record as saying ‘I am seriously considering (a run for mayor’ to the Ottawa Sun’s Sue Sherring, https://ottawasun.com/opinion/columnists/sherring-ottawans-deserve-options-and-bob-chiarellis-ready-to-oblige.
Councillor Diane Deans, who is back to full fighting form following her battle with cancer is another serious contender. Until Jim Watson makes his public declaration about running again, he must be considered. In the current climate, a small ballot of 2-3 strong candidates running against Watson will seriously affect his chance for re-election. Watson has yet to lose an election, he won’t want his last to be his first and the one that knocks him out of politics. With two stints of Mayor under his belt, a walk in the snow is certainly something he’ll need to take to consider his political future.
The last time there was a reset around the council table was following the strike at OC Transpo. Is the public ready to make another such statement in October of 2022?
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