Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ottawa left out; what's Baird doing about it?

The Ottawa Hill Times gave the perspective of a few of Ottawa's MPs, who criticized John Baird for failing to get Ottawa any of the Federal money allocated to transit projects in major cities.

Paul Dewar, the NDP MP for Ottawa Centre, said he's not sure what Mr. Baird has accomplished for Ottawa, citing last week's federal budget, which pledged unspecified millions of dollars to create a rail line from Toronto to Peterborough, the riding of Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro.

"There's nothing for [Ottawa] transit, interestingly enough, whereas there's money for Vancouver and Peterborough," Mr. Dewar said. "With all do respect for the people of Peterborough, I think Ottawa needs more transit money than Peterborough does."


For the time being, Mr. Dewar said all regional MPs should be focused on getting a transit plan for the city. "As federal MPs in this region, we have to get the resources for a transit plan. I'm going to be working with any local MP and councillor and MPP to get that done. That's really what people want to get on with," he said. "I really don't ant to spend any more time on finger pointing, and I'm not going to be putting out ads."

Mr. [David] McGuinty said that as a result of the latest light rail proposal to emerge from city hall, combining bus routes, light rail, and a downtown subway and estimated to cost as much as $3.6-billion, Mr. Baird is going to have to start fighting for more federal money for Ottawa.

"Is Mr. Baird going to kill the $3.3-billion project and call it a $3.3-billion boondoggle?" Mr. McGuinty said.

Personal agendas aside, there are some valid concerns raised by both Dewar and McGuinty.

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