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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A Tale of Two Cities

- Some of Ottawa's rural wards are thinking of breaking off and recreating Carleton County.
A rural group proposes a return to county governance for four Ottawa wards, saying their needs can never be met in a city system dominated by urban councillors.
As an urban studies student, this is the kind of thing that I'm actually interested in (but surprisingly enough, have no strong convictions about). The first thing that came to mind upon reading this opener was the extention of unreasonable City laws into clearly rural wards. For instance, in neighboring Leeds & Grenville county just west of Ottawa, you can discharge a firearm on your own property for shits & giggles. Can't do that in Ottawa! I live in a downtown urban ward and this (grudgingly) makes sense for me (self defence excluded, naturally). But out in West Carleton? However, for the small gov't conservative in me, there's this:
"I don't under any circumstances agree with de-amalgamation," El-Chantiry said. "I'm one of those people from day one who believed the less politicians the better. Going from 88 municipal politicians to 22 - that's a good news story."
- Mitch brings us the Ruins of Detroit tour. Great, but sad if you ever saw old film of what Detroit once was.

Posted by CharLeBois on August 3, 2005 in Municipal Politics | Permalink


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Ottawa is now a monstrosity. It is 80km east-west and 50km north-south. Its area is 2,778.64 km²--almost half the size of Prince Edward Island. 90% of the land area is rural.

And it was, sadly, Mike Harris' Tory government that gave us this monstrosity.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-08-04 6:38:56 AM

Are you fed up with the intolerable acts of Governments?

* The Nutrient Management Act
* The Amalgamation Act & the loss of democratic representation
* Environmental Protection Act and the Ministry of Environment closing rural saw mills
* Species at Risk Act & the loss of property use & enjoyment
* MPAC & unfair property tax assessments and reclassifications on woodlots & maple syrup producers
* Fish & Wildlife Act & the MNR mismanagement of wildlife and introductions
* Unaccountable and overpowering bureaucrats armed with double standards & unjust enforcement
* Firearm registration Act & the loss and destruction of firearms and the rural lifestyle
* Buffer zones and land use designations that deny the use of private property
* The mining act that strips away rights and privacy
* DFO regulations that protect minnows more than people and harm your farm
* The bureaucracies’ attack on the rural economy and lifestyle

And ready to demand a return to democracy & justice?

Download the "Public Servants Questionaire" Click here.....

Join the rural landowners, farmers and small business – to fight for democracy’s return and a Canadian Bill of Rights – not Government Wrongs. All these intolerable acts are the result of our lost property rights. The Landowners are resolved to make Parliament restore “Our right to own, use, enjoy and earn a living on our private property” – free from the unnecessary and intrusive urban regulations that have closed our sawmills, slaughtered our abattoirs, broken the back of our family farms, threatened our maple syrup producers and clear-cut personal freedom and liberty from our woodlots and lands.

In conjuction with:

* Lanark Landowners' Association (LLA)
* The Renfrew County Private Landowners Association (RCPLA)
* Ontario Property & Environmental Rights Alliance (OPERA)
* Hastings County Property Rights coalition
* Glengarry Landowners association
* Leeds & Grenville landowners association
* Prescott/Russell landowners association
* Dundas & Stormont Landowners association
* York& Durham landowners Association
* Simcoe County Landowners association
* Conservationists of Frontenac & Addington
* Kapuskasing Energy Regional Resource Association
* Ontario Wood Producers Association (Renfrew County Small Sawmill Association (RCSSA)
* West Carleton Rural Association (WCRA)
* Rural Council of OTTAWA
* Water watch association
* Milton rural Residents association
* Rural Rights alliance
* Alberta Association of Landowners for the Protection of Agricultural Land
* Western Stock Growers
* Ottawa Carleton Soil & Crop improvement association
* Ontario Deamalgamation Network
* Ontario Deer & Elk Farmers association
* GreenBelt Coalition


Posted by: maz2 | 2005-08-04 6:47:12 AM

If the logic is to reduce elected members, then fewer than 22 would be better still - say, 1?!

The more elected officials you have, the more responsive they are to local issues, and the less in thrall to large interests, whatever these may be. As for cost, that relates to the size of the bureaucracy and its cost structure, which always seems to increase under regionalization. There has not been a single amalgamation in Canada that has saved taxpayers money.

Posted by: Owen | 2005-08-04 7:27:40 AM

The amalgamation of the City of Ottawa has been a financial disaster. Many fiscal conservatives thought amalgamation was a great idea, because it would eliminate overlap and provide economies of scale. But we ended up with an unaccountable monster which is dominated by hard-core commie NDP and Liberal councillors (and mayor). Most of the downtown constituents are apartment renters, who don't pay property tax directly and who in any case are cushioned from tax increases by rent-control laws which only allow landlords to raise rents due to tax increases gradually over several years. The politicians have managed to cultivate many hard-core, rabid, whining, special interest groups, such as the poverty industry, the eco-loons, and the French language zealots. For example, an older French guy was ranting to me the other day, about how angry he was when he found out that an "English" community center a couple of blocks away somehow got a city grant that was a few thousand dollars more than his "French" community center. He justified his complaint by claiming that his ward is "80% French", which is a fabrication. Tens of millions of dollars are going to be pounded into the linguist, environmental and welfare ratholes because of such outright lies, and it is only going to get worse. And these are only a few of the special-interest groups ... there are also the librarians, the arts bureaucracy, the unions, the tourist industry, ...

The larger budget in the amalgamated city lets the politicians and workers get away with all kinds of shenanigans which would never fly in a smaller, more accountable organization. For example, they actually gave city employees credit cards, with no restrictions on them, and no oversight or accounting for how they were used. I think that by the time they yanked the cards (about a year after they were introduced), it was reported that $25M had been spent with the cards which couldn't be accounted for. Just the other day, it was revealed that there were 450 more employees working for the city than anyone had admitted to previously. As it is, the new City has more employees working for it than the previous 11 municipalities and regional government combined.

We have an anti-tax activist who is running for mayor, but somehow the lefties managed to find a faux-conservative stooge to run against him - obviously a stalking horse intended to marginalize the real conservative by making him look "extreme". Lately I heard this guy was comparing his opponent to the KKK - then saying, "well gee I'm only repeating what other people told me". The "other people" were French activists, whose only goal is to get a lot more pork and jobs from the city.

From what I gather from the odd news story and other blogs, every single large city in Canada is in the same situation, and quite a few of the smaller towns and cities too. There is clearly a 3-way tag-team at work in the 3 levels of government, working together to stitch up all of the money, jobs, industries and votes and unite all power under the control of the elite power brokers belonging to the Liberal, NDP and Red Tory factions. And as the economic situation gets worse and worse, these tyrants will be in 100% agreement that the whole problem has been caused by insufficient taxation, subsidies, and regulation.

Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-08-04 9:50:26 AM

Justzumgai hits a great many nails on the head. Plus amalgamation meant that job pay scales all got upgraded to the single highest prevailing level--no way to save money.

What I think has happened with municipal politics is that the lefties, realizing they have no real chance at power in most provinces, and certainly not federally (the current NDP influence is a temporary aberration), have decided to concentrate a great deal of their efforts on municipal politics. Voter turnout is low so a committed minority can have disproportionate electoral success. Plus the non-party nature of politics in most cities means the lefties do not have a clear label by which the voter can assess them.

One answer is for conservative-minded candidates to get together and run on a generally common platform (without actually constituting a "party") that electors can relate to.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-08-04 10:24:56 AM

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