First off, Diane Deans had asked the federal transport minister, Chuck Strahl, where his government stood on the issue. Deans interpreted Strahl's rather vague e-mail with an air of victory, saying (as quoted by 580 CFRA) "if you don't ask, you don't get." But the comments were pretty non-committal; here's the section where he actually addresses Deans' request, as presented on Ken Gray's Citizen blog The Bulldog:
In your correspondence, you inquire about transferring federal lands along the Ottawa Light Rail Transit phase-one corridor-including rights-of-way and a station at Tunney's Pasture-at a cost of $1.00. Where possible, and as the law permits, the Government of Canada will explore opportunities to facilitate the City of Ottawa's request; however, some limitations may exist where the immediate disposal of federal real properties must be made at fair-market value.A day after the e-mail was released, Strahl clarified his comments by couching them with a lot of ifs and buts. Ken Gray is calling it a 'flip-flop', although it seems like Strahl never really made any promises in the original e-mail, anyway. So now Strahl is saying there's nothing written in stone, and that the one-dollar deal wasn't something the government has agreed to (although he stopped short of saying it's something the government would never agree to). From the Citizen:
"Let me be clear. At no time did we indicate that a straight transfer of land for one dollar was an option that the government of Canada would agree to," Strahl wrote Thursday to Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans.