Tue. May 17th, 2022

These are not issues you will hear discussed by leaders on the campaign track, but candidates for the Husting here in Ottawa have made promises of a very local nature.

Some of these local promises are drawn directly from a political party’s national platform to show how a 30,000-page election promise would affect people on the ground in Ottawa.

Eg. Ottawa’s new Democratic candidates say their party’s affordable housing plan to build public housing would translate into 20,000 new units in that city alone over the next 10 years.

Other promises are about issues you had never heard outside of Ottawa. Here are a few of them.

Funding for LRT Phase 3

While LRT Stage 2 is under construction, Ottawa is already looking for federal and provincial governments to pay for Phase 3: a $ 1.8 billion expansion of the Confederation Line to Kanata and Stittsville and a $ 3 billion to Barrhaven.

The conservative candidate in Kanata-Carleton, Jennifer McAndrew, was the first out of the gate who promised that a Tory government would fund the federal share to build the light rail line out to Kanata.

SE | Conservatives promise to fund LRT expansion to Kanata:

Conservatives promise to fund LRT expansion to Kanata

Jennifer McAndrew, Conservative candidate for Kanata-Carleton, says a Tory government would fund the federal share of expanding LRT to Kanata. 0:19

Her Liberal rival Jenna Sudds, a city council member in the area, quickly matched that promise.

Since then, the NDP candidate in Kanata-Carleton, Melissa Coenraad, has also promised to fund the third phase of LRT for Kanata.

In their response to Mayor Jim Watson’s questionnaire on local issues, all expressed general support for expanding light rail transit, but they did not all respond directly to Ottawa’s specific request for funding.

The Liberal Party undertakes to pay half of all costs associated with LRT Phase 3.

The Conservative response agreed with McAndrew, saying they would “immediately prioritize” building the Kanata extension, but were silent on Barrhaven.

NDP Ottawa South candidate Huda Mukbil also promised to fund the entire LRT Phase 3.

This omission may be political. Without an established race, the race in Kanata-Carleton is believed to be very close between McAndrew and Sudds.

On the other hand, the planned Barrhaven LRT expansion is located in the riding of Nepean, which is being held by the liberal sitting Chandra Arya.

$ 10 million for self-propelled pilot in Kanata

Sudds commits to live in Kanata for another moment and commits $ 10 million to a pilot project for an autonomous shuttle service to ferry some of the 24,000 workers in Kanata North Technology Park to the Moodie LRT station, which is expected to be completed in 2025

In 2017, an autonomous vehicle took a spin around Kanata North Technology Park in the first ever demonstration of a self-driving car on the city streets of Canada.

SE | Liberals promise $ 10 million for autonomous shuttle pilot projects in Kanata:

Liberals promise $ 10 million for autonomous shuttle pilot projects in Kanata

Jenna Sudds, the liberal candidate for Kanata-Carleton, says the party is pledging $ 10 million for a pilot project where an autonomous shuttle would transport workers from the Moodie LRT station to Kanata Technology Park. 0:27

The park is home to 540 companies and 24,000 workers, making it the second largest employment center in the city.

Conservatives say automation technology for a shuttle service is promising, but a pilot is premature. McAndrew says a Conservative government would consider the idea once LRT Phase 3 is built.

Public employees work from home

Working from home became the immediate reality for many during the pandemic, and we are all still trying to figure out how permanent that shift will be.

Most political parties see a kind of hybrid system in the future where surplus office space is converted into housing or used for other societal purposes.

SE | Permanent homework can free up state property:

Permanent homework can free up state property, the candidate says

Pierre Poilievre, a Conservative established for Carleton, says allowing public servants to work from home permanently would free up office buildings that could then be sold and used for affordable housing. 0:49

Carleton incumbent Pierre Poilievre, the only Conservative lawmaker in Ottawa after the 2019 vote, has perhaps the most accurate promise – 15 percent of all 37,000 federal government buildings turned to private use.

He also says a Conservative government would introduce a Treasury Board policy that would allow any federal civil servant who can demonstrate that they can work from home the opportunity to do so permanently.

“We have these outrageous buildings that are empty all night, and we have these houses that are empty all day, and yet we force people to travel for an hour and a half a day to go to a place to do something that they can do at home, ”Poilievre recently told CBC.

People are paddling past federal government buildings on the Ottawa River last June. (Christian Patry / CBC)

Citizens’ campus and the experimental farm

Controversial plans to build a new Civic campus in Ottawa Hospital on part of Central Experimental Farm have made their way into the Ottawa Center election campaign.

Critics say the decision-making process for where the hospital is going – a saga that has lasted several years – has been shrouded in secrecy.

A future Civic campus for Ottawa Hospital is seen here with more towers in Preston and Carling than currently exist. (Ottawa Hospital)

Back in 2016, the National Capital Commission was asked to look at its own land to determine the most appropriate location, and it chose Tunney’s pastures.

This decision upset hospital board members and local politicians, who behind closed doors decided that Civic would be at the former Sir John Carling site on the farm.

The hospital’s plans to build a massive parking garage in the coming months on the site of Queen Julianna Park, which would displace 500 trees, have also been the subject of protests in recent times.

Now, Ottawa Center NDP candidate Angella MacEwen promises a study of the decision-making process behind the location of the new Civic. She says there is still time to investigate the issue as construction for the hospital itself is not scheduled to begin in a few years.

While MacEwen does not specifically promise to move the Civic to Tunney’s, she does keep the option open.

SE | Yasir Naqvi on resident concerns over new hospital space:

Non-profit bus city traffic should replace Greyhound, says NDP candidate

Angella MacEwan, NDP candidate for the Ottawa Center, says a national bus service would connect Ottawa’s rural areas and play a role in combating climate change. 0:32

Liberal candidate Yasir Naqvi says that while more consultation is needed in the local community, the focus should be on better integrating transit in the yard at Dows Lake.

In particular, he promises to build an entrance on the south side of Carling Avenue at Dows Lake LRT station that would connect directly to the hospital site.

The current plans have the station only on the north side of Carling, on the other side of the street where the hospital is proposed.

He also promises to make sure that there is no further development on the farm.

“I want to introduce legislation to protect the central experimental farm forever,” he told the CBC, promising to protect the rest of the farm from further development.

Ottawa Center Liberal candidate Yasir Naqvi, left, speaks with equestrian NDP candidate Angella MacEwan during the 2021 campaign. (Antoine Trépanier / Radio-Canada)

Buses, bridges and a library

When the Greyhound closed all of its bus routes between cities in Canada, it left people without affordable transit. It is a particular problem for people and low-income students, argue proponents who cannot afford a train or a car.

MacEwen spoke this week about the NDP’s platform promise to create a national, nonprofit, city bus that would also serve rural areas, including in Ottawa.

SE | Non-profit bus city traffic should replace Greyhound:

Residents worried about parking, environmental sustainability of potentially new hospital, the candidate says

Yasir Naqvi, Liberal candidate for the Ottawa Center, says more community consultation is needed when it comes to Ottawa Hospital’s new campus, but the protection of the central experimental yard should be a priority. 0:45

The mayor also asked political parties if they would maintain existing promises to fund the new central library and Chief William Commanda Bridge.

The city expects a federal contribution of more than $ 73 million to the library and an additional $ 8 million to make an unused railroad bridge across the Ottawa River a crossroads for pedestrians, cyclists and skiers.

Not surprisingly, the Liberal Party committed itself to the funding they had already promised.

The Conservatives and New Democrats chose not to answer the question. However, a few individual NDP candidates wrote to the mayor to say the projects would be respected.

The name of Ottawa’s future central library branch will be Ādisōke, an Anishinaabemowin phrase meaning storytelling. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

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