Archive for : April, 2017

Sajjan’s Whoppers

So Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has been called out for a couple of whoppers about his time with the military in Afghanistan.  It’s not the first time he’s been, in the words of a former British Defence Minister, “economical with the actualité”.  Perhaps it’s a job hazard.    But it’s a tad bizarre that the second time Minister Sajjan was caught out it was for the selfsame whopper.  Either there is some difficulty in learning a lesson from the first time he was busted (during the election campaign), or he suffers from recurring delusions.  Two whoppers caught; but it looks like the Minister believes an apology is sufficient.


Meanwhile a very senior subordinate to this Defence Minister, Vice Admiral Norman, has been suspended, and is the subject of an RCMP investigation, for allegedly leaking a confidence of Cabinet.  There is no suggestion that this official had any desire for personal gain in such action, or that any harm was done to the public.  Fair enough that a leak of Cabinet materials, if it happened, would be worthy of censure.  But equally worthy of censure is a deliberate public misstatement by a Member of the Cabinet about events in which he was personally involved.


Does discipline for misdeeds move up the ranks as well as down?

A War of Attrition on Cars

It’s a strong statement, but a defensible one, that the city of Ottawa has declared war on the private car as a method of personal transportation. It’s not presented as such by the city, and probably not understood as such, but recent and planned moves to provide more sidewalk space and bike paths inevitably reduce the flow of vehicular traffic: there is no magic expansion of street width. It is clear that on some streets, the city has decided that the interests of pedestrians and cyclists should outweigh those of car drivers. Consider the recent imposition of limitations on car traffic on Laurier (bike lanes), O’Connor (bike lanes), Main (bike lanes, sidewalks), and the limitations proposed for Elgin (sidewalks, pub spaces): all of these reduce the flow of vehicular traffic.


We can all appreciate the city’s good intentions in providing more safe spaces for pedestrians and bicyclists. But the city has failed, in my view, to be transparent in acknowledging the impact of such measures, and in responding to that impact:

• Announcements of new bicycle paths or widened sidewalks focus on the benefits of such measures – and fair enough. But they also tend to minimize the impact on cars. Travel times for vehicles will change only slightly, it is asserted, but no evidence is offered. And the loss of on street parking seems numerically small, but no evidence of impact is offered.

• But if you propose less capacity for vehicular traffic, it seems reasonable to offer more capacity in public transportation. However, the larger capacity LRT line – and only the relatively short Phase One – does not come online until sometime – no one is telling when – next year.


Perhaps there is a better explanation, but the city’s strategy of favouring cyclists and pedestrians in the downtown targets car drivers with little or no offsetting benefit.