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5 posts from February 2009

February 24, 2009

So Where Does This Leave the (Ghost) Train?

TheStar.com | Canada | Harper won't support rail link between Que. and Ont.: McGuinty.

This was the train that was supposed to take the not-so-direct route from Montreal to Toronto via, Peterborough (at least in the re-election dreams of Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro).

But with the conductor-in-chief giving the project a thumbs down, it appears the train will remain ephemeral for at least the foreseeable future.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Railroaded: The Peterborough Story.

February 22, 2009

Information Request Hide and Seek -- and Other Harper Gov't Games

The Canadian Press: Lag in releasing listeriosis notes breaks information law: experts.

This is outrageous. At what point will the Harper government begin to comprehend that they are accountable to the Canadian people?

Speaking of acountability, I wonder how difficult it would be to get an update on the status of the investigation into allegations of CPC campaign financing irregularities (the in and out scandal) from the 2006 election (two elections ago)? What is holding up that investigation? At first it was the fall election. Now what's the excuse?

Will Canadians have to wait until the Harper government is nothing more than a nightmarish memory before we finally get answers about what was really happening during this sorry chapter in our country's history, the years 2006 to [please let it be over soon]?

Related:

Peter Gorrie's must-read article about the environmental protections that will soon be undone, courtesy of Harper & Co and Ed Broadbent's speech (Barbarism Lite: The Political Attack on Social Rights).

February 19, 2009

Del Mastro to survey residents about interest in Little Lake resort plan: Peterborough Examiner - Ontario, CA

Survey being taken on Little Lake resort plan - Peterborough Examiner - Ontario, CA.

It wasn't that long ago that MP Dean Del Mastro stated that he was going to leave the Little Lake resort plan proposal in Peterborough City Council's hands so that local officials could consult the citizens of Peterborough to determine how much interest there might be in such a proposal.

Apparently, Del Mastro has had a change of heart. The Peterborough Examiner is reporting this evening that Del Mastro "will be sending out ballot-type letters within the next few weeks as part of a process to gather comments, questions, and observations on the Little Lake redevelopment proposal."

This raises two concerns for me:

1. Why isn't Del Mastro allowing City Hall to do its job by following up on a proposal which, Peterborough residents will recall, was prepared by a local developer? The identity of that developer was not revealed to the public until an investigation was conducted by The Peterborough Examiner. It would be much more appropriate for Del Mastro to take a hands-off approach to the issue.

2. How can the public have faith in a survey that is conducted in-house by Del Mastro and members of his staff? Given that this project has been Del Mastro's baby right from the start (along with the developer in question), Del Mastro lacks the objectivity to be put in charge of this particular task. If a survey is going to be conducted (and doing a survey on this issue is probably the best idea Del Mastro has had in a long time), it should be conducted in accordance with standard surveying procedures and it should be overseen by a group of objective third parties who have no vested interest in the outcome of the survey. Anything less will only further erode the public's trust in politicians. (And as that infamous survey that had Del Mastro spitting car parts at Garth Turner a few years back pointed out, the public views politicians as less trustworthy than used-car salesmen.)

February 18, 2009

Study: Canadian women report poorer quality of life than men as they age

Canadian women report poorer quality of life than men as they age.

Important story about how older women in Canada fair vs. older men. Study results will be published later in the year.

February 17, 2009

The Globe and Mail: Dean's Train is Officially a Ghost Train

I'm pretty sure this was the funding announcement that Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro was anticipating when he assured area residents as recently as a few weeks ago that ground would be broken in 2009 for the much-talked about Toronto-Peterborough rail extension (a project that has recently earned the nickname "the ghost train" around town).

Problem is, a train that doesn't head any further east than Markham isn't going to score many points with the voters who were railroaded into voting for Del Mastro by his promise to bring the train to Peterborough.

It would appear that the ghost train has met the same unfortunate fate as the ghost battery plant. Guess that leaves the ever-optimistic voters of Peterborough Riding with just two of four Del Mastro campaign promises to pin their hopes on: the constitutional amendment regarding property rights and the resort complex for Little Lake -- both far-fetched but not officially dead yet.

Return on campaign promise investment (current stats):
2 out of 4, just four months post-election.

Rating: Not impressed. Not surprised.

Related:

GO Transit infrastructure investment details (Government of Ontario press release)

Comments @ Maclean's Magazine about potential for Montreal-Toronto high-speed rail: A couple of readers can't figure out where Peterborough would fit into the picture, except as a political-point-scoring pitstop: "Dean likes this route to Ott/Mtl because his riding is along the way." "Despite the fact I would love and use a Peterborough stop, it should go along the lakefront." "I’m a big fan of high-speed rail but when it comes to Dean Del Mastro - what a chooch(oo)!"

Metrolinx: The Big Move: Regional Transportation Plan: Peterborough is included in the long-term plans (15 to 25 year time frame). These are the immediate plans. Of course, all this has to make its way through the provincial government approval process. And anything can happen when the infrastructure fairy godmother is dropping taxpayer money from heaven.