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Worn down by ward baloney

Don't listen to council: there's time to adjust boundaries properly

Randall Denley
The Ottawa Citizen
Thursday, May 05, 2005

                            Randall Denley

Ottawa city councillors say one of the reasons they are changing ward boundaries is to help produce effective representation. Judging by their discussion of the issue, it's in desperately short supply. The problem has more to do with the councillors themselves than where the ward boundary lines are drawn.

Councillors created the timetable for the ward boundary report, and they've had plenty of notice of what it would contain. Tuesday, they said they didn't really like it, but it was too late to change it. If so, why did they spend the morning listening to public presentations? Surely councillors' job is to make decisions, not just rubber stamp consultants' reports.

The "it's too late" argument is a bunch of self-serving baloney. It's the first week of May. The new boundaries don't have to be finalized until the end of December.

That's not enough time to start over again, but it is enough to improve what they've got. The truth is, most councillors don't care about the new ward boundaries because the changes don't affect their fiefdoms. Those who care most are the ones with large suburban wards. They are happy because the consultants suggest smaller wards, and less work.

Equally unconvincing were protests by councillors who thought there were too many wards, or that the size should be balanced out more. If that was the goal, they should have told the consultants that last year.

While city council will expand by two, the number of rural councillors goes down by one. It's a bad idea, but not one councillor really went to bat for rural people, including the ones they elected. And this, despite the fact the city's last plan to change ward boundaries failed at the Ontario Municipal Board because it wasn't fair to rural people. Haven't they learned anything?

 The Ottawa Citizen 2005


Related Letters to the Editor:

Rural request ignored - The Ottawa Citizen - Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Rural residents ill-served by city - The Ottawa Citizen - Tuesday, May 14, 2005