Monthly Archives: October 2011

CCCA, AGM and other Acronyms

First, a disclaimer: I am a member of the CCCA Board and Chair of the Transportation Committee for the association. 

The Centretown Citizens Community Association held its Annual General Meeting the other night (October 25) and it was a typical AGM with the reports of the great work that the volunteers do to make sure that everything possible is done to protect Centretown from construction projects that are to come, transportation issues, safety and accessibility concerns and the lack of green space.

The meeting had three presentations; Nelson Edwards spoke about the Ottawa Moves initiative that will look at how Ottawa needs to adapt to move our population better than it does now.  (Ottawa Moves has presentations in Andrew Haydon Hall at City Hall November 2nd and 3rd and the public is invited to attend but must pre-register through the city website.  For those unable to attend I will be live tweeting the November 2nd session) The second was from the CCOC, Meg McCallum a CCCA Board Member and a CCOC employee, gave the presentation about the Beaver Barracks and other affordable housing in Centretown.

Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi spoke about items in his vision for Centretown.  Naqvi lists Development/the OMB and the LRT/O-Train as two issues that are high on his list of ‘must do’s’.

Part of making discussions work between Council/Community and Developers will involve eliminating the image that Communities will always object to whatever a developer brings to the Planning Committee.  The other way we can make the relationship smoother is to also bring the OMB into the conversation, but more specifically to have the OMB respect the wishes of City Planners, Community Associations and the Official Plan and the Community Development Plan (CDP) that have been created.  Developers have been successful in pushing the limits past what the Official Plan and CDP dictate.  I was pleased that Mayor Watson in his Budget delivery this past week specifically mentioned the use of the OP and CDP as the guidelines for development and that a “cultural shift in the Development Industry” was needed in respecting them.

Two steps to help Ottawa take back control of development in the city involve looking at how we live in Ottawa.  These initiates will examine how we move around and how people coming into Ottawa also will move around.

This week, the previously mentioned, Ottawa Moves has two seminars being held.  This week Councillor Holmes also announced a ‘Sidewalk Summit’ for November 8th, you can find details from her website   The summit will address issues pedestrians have with getting around Centretown.  The issues of pedestrians have not been heard as loud as those as cyclists, and this summit will take the 1st steps to address this.  Councillor Holmes is asking that if you will be attending to take notice and photographs of sidewalks that are unsafe, need repair etc. as you pound the pavement.  It is very good to note that CCCA Past President Shawn Menard is back on the Board fulltime and is a known advocate for pedestrians in this city through his previous work on the CCCA and time on the Ottawa PTAC (Pedestrians and Transit Advisory Committee).

It will be a busy year for the CCCA, and that is only with what is known to be coming up – never mind the surprises that are lurking behind backhoes, peeping out of potholes and creeping up from cracks in sidewalks and pavement.

You can follow the news of Centretown through Twitter at @centretownbuzz and @CentretownNews or visit the CCCA Website

Reality Check at QP?

Has McGuinty finally read the results of the October 6th election?  Has the reality that he has a Minority government and not Major Minority sunk in?  It may have been the base for his latest action.

Premier Dalton McGuinty has sent Opposition Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Howarth a rather long letter asking for co-operation in the upcoming session of parliament at Queen’s Park ( ).  He is hoping that he will find common ground by forming a Committee with MPP’s from all parties.  He has already named the MPP’s from the Liberal Party to be the government’s colour bearers.  Actually he calls his committee a “New Parliamentary Liaison Group.”  Liberals named to the PLG are Government House Leader John Milloy, Chief Government Whip Jeff Leal, Deputy House Leader Jim Bradley and Deputy Whip Madeleine Meilleur will represent Eastern Ontario/Ottawa.  There has been no word on who will come from Team Hudak or Team Howarth.  PC House Leader Jim Wilson said that the PC’s will also appoint 4 MPPs to the PLG and says the PLG will compliment his regular meetings with Milloy and NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson.

While McGuinty has stated that he will rule as if he has a majority, his first actions come from a suggestion from made by former Premier Bill Davis who managed a minority government for 5 years.  This move seems to bring reality to McGuinty that he has minority and has to govern like it.

It will be interesting to see if he has the same success that Davis did with this approach.

The election campaigns run by the three leaders suggest that each has a different idea of what is needed for Ontario which may indicate that the PLG may have a lot of negotiating to do so each partner is happy.

How will the three teams work through differences such as taxes (higher or lower), green energy (wind or natural gas), energy costs (HST or No HST) and jobs (created through government spending or through supporting small business).  These were key issues through the election period and each party had clear platforms, how successful each can be by compromising their ideals and seem like they are winning will be a sport in itself and will determine how long this minority government survives.

What Premier McGuinty will do for his next acts of setting a date when Queens Park will sit again and who will become the speaker may well dictate how Dalton plans to use the PLG to his advantage or if it will be something Hudak or Howarth can gain from.

Who’s Tweeting Marshall McLuhan

This Post was originally written for my Algonquin College Social Media course in July 2011.  I have posted it here for wider a reading audience.  Rob

The observation of the centennial of Marshall McLuhan’s birth (July 21 1911) sparked more than a few articles and opinion pieces about ‘what McLuhan would think of the internet today”.  This of course is a subject that McLuhan had approached as he discussed and wrote about electronic communication two decades before it became a reality in its infancy.  The Montreal Gazette’s Peggy Curran (@peggylcurran) wrote an excellent piece published July 17th entitled “McLuhan’s legacy is alive and tweeting”

McLuhan’s the “medium is the message’ described how new mediums were changing how we conversed and interacted and communicated or didn’t communicate with each other.  With the advent of Social Media we are back to having conversations, the medium has changed.  People are back to listening, conversing and telling and more listening.   We have had decades where the mediums have been one way, people listening for the most part.

To emphasize that Social Media will and can continue the conversation that McLuhan started, the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) invited readers to watch a 1977 broadcast of an interview with Marshall McLuhan and then to “Tweet like McLuhan” .  The responses would be used by a writer guised in on Twitter as @fauxMcLuhan.  The hashtag #tweetlikeMcLuhan has the responses provided many 21st century McLuhanism’s, also comments and Mcluhan Tweets have been posted at with @fauxMcLuhan commenting on the posts.

Back to how we have come full circle with this new-fangled medium called the internet.  Before radio and Telephone there were little in the way of a medium to take us away from each other, newspapers only distracted us for so long, as did books…we ended up talking about what we were reading.  Then radio and TV made their appearances.  Chairs and furniture were rearranged to allow for maximum listening and viewing pleasure.  Hours upon hours could be spent listening to the radio.  When TV came along society changed, we became listeners, always needing to hear (and see) what was being beamed our way.  There were conversations of course about what was shown, but you couldn’t talk to Ed Sullivan or Milton Berle to tell them how much the show this was great, or not so great – we could only tell our friends.

Let’s scoot ahead 50 years, late in the first decade of the 21st century and how we have managed to come full circle in having real time conversations with not only our friends but with those we don’t know but share interests and knowledge.  In “Twitterville” (page 93) Shel Israel (@shelisrael) describes how TV’s golden moment in  broadcasting and mass marketing  came from studios in Burbank, ads were put in front of people to see and hear, like a monologue.  The new golden moment is “Twitterville” and micro mass marketing where it is a conversation, it’s personal and what communities think have greater influence than traditional brand marketing.

Pat Curran writes in her McLuhan piece that McLuhan himself wrote over 40 years (1962) before the internet and Social Media became part of our lives that “he envisioned the computer as a research and communication device as an extension of consciousness which would do the work of a Television, Library, encyclopedia and personalized shopping plaza.”

Has McLuhan been proven right? More over if the Message is the Medium and as Social Media evolves and has the people become more and more the Social in Social Media have we come full circle?  With Technology, have we been able to replicate what no technology allowed us to do in the first place, converse and communicate one to one?

Red Heart Blue Sign Post #1

One of the nicest things said to me while campaigning in the Provincial Election was “you have the wrong colour on your signs”.  The other not so nice thing said was that “how a lefty could be allowed to infiltrate the right?  Please come and take your lawn sign as I no longer want to support you.”  Were my feelings hurt?  Of course they were, I knew where the comments came from.  I learned that you cannot possibly expect to please everyone, even those who sleep in the same tent as I do.  But it also meant that I struck a chord with the voters in Ottawa Centre and I held the right DNA to represent the needs of all segments of voters in the riding to be the PC Party Candidate in Ottawa Centre for the fall 2011 election.

There is a general consensus that a Conservative could/will never become the Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa Centre.

Let’s look at some of the reasons behind that statement:

  • Ottawa Centre was last PC in 1955, that was when it was called Ottawa East, so in fact Ottawa Centre (created in 1967) has never elected a PC Candidate to be the MPP
  • The riding has teeter tottered between the NDP and Liberal for so long that the general consensus is that a Conservative could never win this seat and always thought to be a perennial third place finisher
  • In the past 14 elections (including by-elections) the riding has gone NDP 7 times and Liberal 7 times.
  • It was last NDP up to the 1995 Provincial Election

The truth about Ottawa Centre is that the riding is so diverse that in different areas of the riding the support changes from Orange to Red to Blue, yes…Blue!

In considering past election results and that provincially the riding has been Liberal since 1995, I see that the shift politically is swinging right in the PC Direction.  The swing is continuing right BUT let’s be clear that Ottawa Centre will never be as ‘Blue’ as ridings like Nepean Carleton or Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Ottawa Centre does not have the makeup of the riding and the people the live those ridings.

I do believe that Ottawa Centre is changing and a Progressive Conservative can and will be elected to represent the voters there at Queen’s Park.  The reason?  The demographics are changing in Ottawa Centre.  Condos are going up; empty nesters are moving back down to the city core; and the PC Party of Ontario has shown it can be the party that supports those that need the help without being ‘parent like’ in how it is done.

In its endorsements for Ottawa Centre, while not endorsing me, the Ottawa Citizen  did agree with my statement that for Ontario to be able to help those in the province properly it needed to have its financial books in order and resolve the debt and deficit issue that currently plague Ontario.  For this to take place one of two things need to occur.  The Liberal government will have to swing it fiscal policies further right than ever planned OR in the next election the PC Party will be elected and will be governing in Queens Park.

There is a strong base for the PC Party to build on.  The party must look to the community to find its socially active Conservative platform and candidate to show and convince the voters of Ottawa Centre that it can be a ‘Blue’ riding to protect each and every resident AND protect the province from bad fiscal policies and high spending platforms.

I give credit to Emily Dickinson for the name of this blog with her profile of my campaign written in October 2011.  I will quote Emily quoting me to end this initial post, “Compassion about people should be everyone’s concern, no matter what (political) party you come from”.

You can read Emily’s entire profile here,  You can also follow Emily on Twitter @emilyddickinson.

You can follow me on Facebook here and on Twitter @robertdekker.