Caroline Mulroney Says Public Inquiry Into Ottawa LRT Fiasco Is Not About Political Reckoning

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney insists she is not concerned that the public inquiry into the Ottawa LRT fiasco sets a precedent for investigating other potential waste such as Highway 413 or the Bradford Bypass.

Mulroney addressed the investigation into the $ 2 billion project that has been plagued with problems, including five derailments in the past two years, saying that Ottawa’s taxpayers and transit users deserve “answers” about the 12 line, 5 kilometers.

“I am concerned about safety. I am concerned about making sure that the system that has been open now for two years is working as it should, “he said, adding that” he is also concerned about value for money and getting answers and accountability. “

NDP MPP Joel Harden (Ottawa Center) expressed hope that the research will “provide us with what we need” in terms of responses.

“The best disinfectant is sunlight. Let’s let him in, ”Harden said.

The minister said the investigation, which will report next year, was not an attempt by the progressive conservative government to settle political scores with federal, provincial and municipal liberal politicians linked to the debacle.

“We withheld 10 percent of the funds in stage one in July 2020 for security concerns and have been monitoring it ever since,” he said.

When asked if there is any risk of setting a precedent for a future administration to examine progressive conservatives’ plans for the Bradford Bypass or Highway 413, Mulroney emphasized that “as a financial partner, it is incumbent on us to make sure we understand how the money spent is spent and what went wrong. “

With an election in Ontario scheduled for June 2, Conservatives are campaigning to build the 10-mile Bradford Bypass, which will connect the 400 and 404 freeways, by 2024.

They also promise the eventual construction of Highway 413, a controversial 60 km highway connecting Milton from Highway 401 to Highway 400 in Vaughan.

Opposed by affected local municipalities, Highway 413 would raze 2,000 acres of farmland, traverse 85 waterways, and pave more than 400 acres of protected land in parkland in Vaughan.

The Bradford Bypass, which enjoys much regional support, would cross 27 waterways and traverse environmentally sensitive Holland Marsh lands, impacting about 39 hectares of wildlife habitat and 11 hectares of wetlands.

A recent Torstar / National Observer investigation raised questions about the ownership of the land adjacent to the bypass.

Mulroney’s associate minister Stan Cho’s father is a co-owner of East Gwillimbury’s Silver Lakes Golf and Country Club, which would be spared from development under a recently proposed rerouting.

Cho has declared a conflict of interest and no information about the bypass is shared or discussed with him.

Previous Torstar / National Observer investigation found that four powerful developers with ties to conservatives own thousands of acres of prime real estate near the proposed 413 freeway route.

Robert Benzie is the bureau chief for Star’s Queen’s Park and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie


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