The Tomato

15 Ottawa councillors braved the transit system. Photo: CC, Tony Webster via Flicker.

City councillors miss every meeting due to transit delays

Advocacy group Free Transit Ottawa challenged city leaders to rely solely on OC Transpo for a week. The mayor and several councillors turned down the challenge, leaving 15 of the city’s finest to brave public transit. This led to mass panic as the municipal government faced an accidental shutdown.

The challenge, which ran from Feb. 4 to 10, resulted in a higher lack of productivity than usual, with only three of 23 councillor seats occupied throughout the week. (Councillors who were not part of the challenge still used it as an excuse for their absences).

Mayor Jim Watson tried to pass a motion that would declare himself Lord Protector of The Ottawa Valley, but the meeting didn’t meet quorum. At another meeting, Watson and two of the sitting members went to get Beavertails and skate on the rink outside city hall.

Glen Gower, councillor for Ward 6 Stittsville, was stuck on the side of the Queensway after his bus, the 62, decided a highway would be a great place to run out of gas. He not only missed all of his scheduled meetings, but also a gala, his son’s first birthday, and the entirety of the TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival, which ran for three days.

Shawn Menard and Catherine McKenney were reportedly misbehaving on their bus ride, carving initials into the back of seats and pulling the ponytails of other passengers. They were asked to sit up front with the driver so she could “keep an eye on them.”

After the challenge, councillors were asked to fill out surveys to share their experiences.

Carol Anne Meehan, councillor for Ward 22 Gloucester-South Nepean said she’s “learned a lot from the experience,” and that she will be looking into “giving everyone in her ward an SUV.”

Alan Hubley, Councillor for Ward 23 Kanata South claims “It was the most sadistic experience of (his) life, (and that he) “wouldn’t wish it on his worst enemy.” Hubley notably added another line segment to the rating scale they were offered, rating his overall experience at a negative 20.

Due to the limited number of sitting councillors, the municipal government had to shut down, leading to the stoppage of snow clearance and garbage pick-up. The Tomato attempted to reach out to residents of Sandy Hill but couldn’t reach their doorsteps due to icy sidewalks and massive snow piles.

Mathieu Fleury, councillor for Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier, is assumed to be somewhere along route 12, but authorities are urging him to come home as the challenge has been over for days. Anybody who may have information of his whereabouts are asked to call Ottawa Police.