Monday, January 26, 2009

Baird breaks silence on strike UPDATED

At a press conference earlier this morning where transport (and infrastructure) minister John Baird announced a $7-billion package of investment in public-works projects, the Ottawa-area MP also waded in to the city's transit strike.

Baird said that he is open to amending work-rest rules for Ottawa bus drivers (who are currently exempt from federal regulations, along with their counterparts in Windsor and Gatineau). But he didn't say it would be a priority:
[Baird] said changing the regulations on drivers' work time will take consultation and study.
UPDATE: The Ottawa Sun reports that a large portion of the infrastructure funding could come to Ottawa and could include public-transit initiatives (emphasis ours):
The list of projects, worth more than $500 million, has the potential to create over 6,045 new Ottawa jobs.

[...]

Last week the city's Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee directed staff to develop a priority list of all ready-to-go projects, including public transit. The list is to be presented to council on February 11.
TransitOttawa.ca will watch that list's contents carefully.

UPDATED (AGAIN): Kady O'Malley at Maclean's reports that mayor Larry O'Brien was meeting with Baird earlier today, "presumably to try to push his latest pitch for the feds to get involved in our transit strike, now on the verge of hitting fifty days."

UPDATED (ONCE MORE): The Citizen reports on the meeting between O'Brien and Baird.

Mr. O'Brien said he'd had a good meeting with Mr. Baird and discussed a number of issues, including safety, but would not say whether they'd agreed on anything or discussed prospects for back-to-work legislation.

In a Monday-morning press conference, before he met with the mayor, Mr. O'Brien said he was open to changing the rules to cover OC Transpo drivers, but doing so would require consultations and research and could take months.

As commenter Klaus points out in another post, the Citizen mixed up names (the bolded O'Brien paraphrase should have been attributed to Baird.

2 comments:

brocri said...

Something that won't take any consultation or study: marking an X next to some name other than Baird, John on the next federal election ballot in Ottawa West.

Bye, bye, John, you useless, arrogant sack of...

David Reevely said...

"the Citizen mixed up names (the bolded O'Brien paraphrase should have been attributed to Baird."

My mistake. Fixed now, thanks to Klaus.