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How to play nice with others: on unifying city council

September 1, 2010

Back when I was a wee puglet, my humans signed me up for puppy kindergarten.

For those who are unfamiliar, puppy kindergarten is essentially a room full of 12 week out puppies of varying breeds in one room trying to learn how to be responsible and respectful canine citizens. Now, if you have ever taken a course with a Great Dane who has yet to understand how his legs work in a coordinated fashion, and a Chihuahua that is still timid of its shadow, you can appreciate the need to for all students to respect each other and get along in a relatively timely fashion.

Based on my observations of city council over these past few years, the next mayor will have to truly step up to unite council and help keep everyone on the same page. Without a unified council, this city cannot reach its potential.

Worse yet, a city council that does not get along can have serious ramifications. In addition to delays with service delivery and implementation, the financial implications are nothing to snort at. Motions held up by council cost taxpayers million and billions of milkbones…I mean dollars that are simply wasted. Do we really need another term of light rail transit (LRT) like flip flop? Is that how we get things done in this city?

Luckily, several parallels can be drawn from studies during puppy kindergarten. For example, city council is composed of a mosaic of individuals vying to serve the needs of a plethora of different groups and people. As the new mayor, I would propose some significant changes to council meetings. More specifically:

1- One council meeting meeting a month would be held at a dog agility course to promote team building skills and overcoming obstacles as a team.

2- Every second month, a council meeting will be held at the new location of the Ottawa Humane Society to serve as a reminder session in empathy and having compassion for society’s most vulnerable.

Finally, to ensure an adequate level of transparency and accountability, all matters arising from council will be available in a machine readable format as a principle component of the City of Ottawa’s open data strategy.

What would you propose to unify council? Is reducing the size of council the answer? As always, your comments are appreciated, and will likely garner puggy high fives.

Thanks for your support,

Cleo’s scribe.


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