Saturday, 6 February 2016

Consultation, the NCC, and the 60 Acres


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This, rather weak and outdated, justification did not filter down to the staff negotiating later drafts of the MOU.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.

(Acronym Glossary:
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?

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