Harden presses Ford government for answers on Ottawa LRT
QUEEN’S PARK – The Ford government needs to come clean about what it knew about the problems with Ottawa’s LRT before it went into service, said MPP Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre) during question period on Wednesday after a CBC report showed senior city officials knew of reliability issues before accepting and opening the LRT system.
“The Ford government and the Liberals before them used a P3 privatization model to build Ottawa’s LRT, which has meant big problems and no accountability,” said Harden. “A CBC investigation revealed that the city’s transit manager, John Manconi, knew our LRT wasn’t ready before it opened on Sept. 14, 2019.
“Did the province know that senior municipal officials in Ottawa worried our LRT wasn’t fit for service? Yes, or no?”
The Ford government failed to answer Harden’s question but defended the P3 privatization model used to build the faulty LRT.
“The problem with public-private partnerships is that governments invest hundreds of millions of dollars, paying extra for private financing and profits, then can’t fulfill their crucial role to ensure public safety, proper use of public funds, or even that the project actually works,” said Harden.
Harden said the CBC’s investigation shows that the City of Ottawa was concerned about train and maintenance performance during testing, with Manconi saying, “We can all agree things are not going well”.
“This government should have known about this and it should have taken early action,” said Harden. “Today Ottawa families are anxious that the next incident or derailment could be the one that seriously injures someone. We need this government to mandate a judicial inquiry and join us in asking for an Ontario Auditor General investigation to get to the bottom of this mess."