Saturday, 6 February 2016
Note: This is a slightly cleaned up version of a series of tweets.
In Spring 2014, NCC and AAFC staff questioned TOH’s justification for taking Experimental Farm land. NCC shrugged, it’s what the boss (either John Baird or Mark Kristmanson) wants. Earlier, days after sharing the 6th draft MOU—and finally bringing AAFC to the table, TOH shared a 2007 land assessment matrix with the NCC.
That deserves emphasis: the NCC got to the 6th draft of an MOU giving away Experimental Farm land before asking TOH for justification.
This, rather weak and outdated, justification did not filter down to the staff negotiating later drafts of the MOU. They kept going anyways.
NCC = National Capital Commission
TOH = The Ottawa Hospital
AAFC = Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
It’s nice that Catherine McKenna (local MP and Environment & Climate Change Minister) said she wanted to revisit the land grab. It’s based on an avoidance of evidence, consultation, and accountability. The deal doesn’t need to be revisited. It needs to be scrapped. Catherine McKenna and Melanie Joly can act to bring accountability to Ottawa.
The NCC was consulting on it’s Capital Urban Lands Plan while (literally) giving away the Farm, and it’s new CEO knew the whole time. No where in the consultation report did the NCC mention giving away the Farm. Then it parachuted the give away into the final Plan.
This really questions what NCC consultation is worth. With the Farm, at least, they could have used ongoing consultation process. But the boss(es) had already made their decision, so why would the NCC bother with consultations?
This is one reason to be skeptical about any NCC consultation process. What have they already decided and are keeping quiet about?
Thursday, 4 February 2016
This is what the 60 Acres the NCC is cutting from the Experimental Farm and giving to the Hospital looks like: pic.twitter.com/TkbWPWqM1g— Pete Anderson (@dairpo) November 23, 2015
This is what the 60 Acres looks like on Parliament Hill: pic.twitter.com/59ciEMk7rg— Pete Anderson (@dairpo) November 23, 2015
This is what 60 Acres looks like in the Byward Market: pic.twitter.com/qx3fxClXZ9— Pete Anderson (@dairpo) November 23, 2015
This is what 60 Acres looks like at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University: pic.twitter.com/W3mTuJ2R7y— Pete Anderson (@dairpo) November 23, 2015
This is what 60 Acres looks like at Lebreton Flats: pic.twitter.com/6lXlKSfzZO— Pete Anderson (@dairpo) November 23, 2015
For my Queen’s friends, this is what 60 Acres looks like at Queen’s University, Kingston: pic.twitter.com/1OkEl4ER1E— Pete Anderson (@dairpo) November 23, 2015
For our friends with the provincial government, this is 60 Acres at Queen’s Park: pic.twitter.com/wiBnNGUVHu— Pete Anderson (@dairpo) November 23, 2015
Friday, 29 January 2016
Earlier this month the Ottawa Hospital launched pre-consultations on the design of its future Civic Campus. PACE Consulting, an Ottawa-based public relations firm, has approached a number of stakeholders to determine potential issues TOH may face going forward. The most important outstanding issue is the location of the new hospital. Consultations on the design of a new hospital are premature before light is shed on how TOH got its sweetheart deal to lease 60 acres of nationally and internationally significant research land for a dollar a year.
Sunday, 24 January 2016
- The utter lack of consultations on the land transfer (and the decision to not consult on this portion whatsoever);
- Keeping Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials out of the loop until the National Capital Commission and Ottawa Hospital had a sixth draft Memorandum of Understanding for discussion;
- Worse, not consulting AAFC’s Science and Technology Branch—which operates the research fields of the Farm—until the day of the announcement and then only on the text of media documents;
- The fact that the planned campus will destroy long term research projects on the impact of climate on agriculture, part of an international project with sites around the world; and,
- Relying on a 7 year old, previously rejected, unweighted land decision matrix to choose the site.
Sunday, 29 November 2015
|The 60 Acres at the Central Experimental Farm|
The Hospital's consultations will be on the design of the new campus, not its location. Given the lack of transparency in selecting the site at the Farm as well as the Farm's important role in Canadian agricultural science and history, there can be no true consultation if the location is off the table.
Records obtained through federal access to information and provincial freedom of information requests reveal that the Ottawa Hospital has consistently fought, delayed, and cancelled attempts by local politicians to hold consultations on the transfer. Indeed, in the year before Baird's gift was announced, the Hospital worked to keep news of the pending transfer under wraps.
The Central Experimental Farm is governed by a long-term management plan that demands its integrity and continued use for agricultural research as the best way of respecting its rich history. The NCC's urban lands master plan supports keeping the Farm intact.
Since the announcement the Hospital has portrayed the gift as the only way to build a new Civic Hospital, which is reported to hold less beds than the current campus and be the hub of a distributed network of clinics despite requiring almost triple the land space, is on the Farm land across the street.
This is a false dichotomy. The question isn't Hospital or Farm. There is more than enough space in Ottawa for both institutions, even on federally owned land.
The 60 acres in question are part of the original 465-acre Farm and today represents approximately 15% of its research land. Field #1 in particular has been the site of important research since the Farm's inception in 1886. Notably, long-term international research underway on Field #1 feeds into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The loss of this land will end this important research and damage Canada's reputation with our global scientific partners.
This cavalier attitude towards science, history, and government transparency is characteristic of the previous Conservative government. The Liberal's promise of "real change" is being sorely tested by their silence.
The Farm-or-Hospital dichotomy relies on silencing stories of the Farm's past, present and future importance to Ottawa, Canada, and our international partners. Rather than seeing the experimental fields as rare and invaluable archives of past use and laboratories for future generations that they are, we're to empty them of meaning and render them worthless.
Thursday, 8 October 2015
If you are interested, send an email to email@example.com with a 250 word abstract for your paper as well as a 50 word summary to fit into the panel abstract. Please note that the deadline to submit for the CHA is October 15.
Sandilands, C. (2013) “Dog Stranglers in the Park?: National and Vegetal Politics in Ontario’s Rouge Valley.” Journal of Canadian Studies. 47.3, Fall 2013. 94-122.
Monday, 5 October 2015
This list includes my writing on the transfer of 60 acres at the Central Experimental Farm published elsewhere, as of 6 October 2015. For a periodically updated summary of reactions to the 60 acres, please go to this page.
2015-10-06: "How Relocating a Hospital Could Compromise Canada's Agricultural Innovation." The Food Chain, TVO.
2015-07-17: "Experimental Farm Plan a Call to Action." The Ottawa Sun.
2015-06-22: "The Central Experimental Farm's Inclusion on Endangered Heritage Place List a Call to Action." ActiveHistory.
2014-11-20: "Vacating Science and Forgetting History at the Central Experimental Farm." ActiveHistory.
2014-11-13: "Protect the Central Experimental Farm." Ottawa Citizen.