First off, Harry Gow, founding president of Transport 2000 Canada, suggested in a letter to the Ottawa Citizen that the city should form a transit utility, similar to the Toronto Transit Commission, to manage public transit in the city. The idea was previously rejected by the city as one that would, according to Gloucester-South Nepean Councillor Steve Desroches as saying that it "be a step that muddies accountability", but Gow suggested that the city may not have been acting with the best interests of public transit in Ottawa at heart:
Well, consultants did not seem well-prepared, but worse, it became evident that a transit commission was a threat to the powers of some Ottawa councillors and city staff to micromanage transit.Gow went on to suggest that the politicking that has taken place in the transit strike, including "nastiness, name-calling and grandstanding on both sides of the city-union fence are ample demonstrations of the harmfulness of political transit interference."
In two more files under the 'Victims of the Transit Strike' label, see: Hugh Adami's most recent The Public Citizen column, "Family on the edge", and an article from the Ottawa Sun discussing the repercussions the strike has wrought on seniors in the city.
First off, Adami's column tells the story of an Ottawa single mother, Lori Hollowa, who feels she may lose her new job and whose 12-year-old daughter haven't gone to school in almost six weeks, all resultant from the ongoing transit strike. It is a story that, unfortunately, may be more common than one would like to believe.
In the Sun, they present a not-entirely even-handed article on the largely unheard seniors and infirm victims of the transit strike, including "93-year-old Bert Smith, who is mostly deaf and legally blind" and has to hitchhike to buy groceries, and "Bernice King, a 72-year-old widow," who now has to spend no small amount of money on taxis when she's lucky, and has to walk around with her walker when she's not.
Finally, as reported in The Hill-Times, our members of parliament aren't excited about having to vote on whether or not public transit in Ottawa is an essential service, and would much prefer a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Apparently Ottawa Centre NDP MP Paul Dewar hasn't even heard requests for federal intervention in the vote:
"It has to be something that's requested and I haven't heard anyone request it yet," said NDP MP Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, Ont.) about the prospect of a Parliamentary vote on back-to-work legislation, which would force an end to the transit strike.Dewar then tore a strip of Edmonton-Spruce Grove Conservative MP and Labour Minister Rona Ambrose for forcing the vote of the members (which was a 75% no-vote), and also off Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien for, according to Dewar, providing imporper information to Ambrose.
"It's conceivable, but talk about unprecedented in terms of Ottawa and transit. I would hope that we get something before that and we'll see what happens...Before that happens we're all pushing to get an agreement."