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Harder investigation, electric bus deal head to Ottawa city council

Ottawa city council is set to debate a $986-million electric bus deal, as well as the integrity commissioner's report that recommends removing Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder from the planning committee she's chaired since 2014.
2017-11-01 Ottawa City Council Chambers MV
Ottawa city council chambers, November 2017. (Photo/ Mike Vlasveld, Village Media)

Ottawa city councillors have two big files to deal with, Wednesday, as they debate the future of transit as well as the future of one of their own, accused of being too cozy with a local developer.

The city's integrity commissioner has recommended Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder be removed from the planning committee, which she chairs, for the remainder of this term of council. He also recommends council dock her 15 days' pay, after his investigation into a citizen complaint about a perceived conflict of interest, involving her longtime friend and mentor, Jack Stirling.

Harder recruited Stirling's daughter to be her assistant, then hired Stirling's company to advise on planning issues. Meanwhile, Stirling's company was involved in two files that came before the planning committee during Harder's time as chair.

Councillors will debate the integrity commissioner's report, as well as the penalties -- if any -- they decide to impose.

Council is also set to decide whether to approve a multi-year, $986-million deal to eventually replace OC Transpo's fleet of diesel buses with electric ones. The plan includes a $400 million dollar loan from the federal government, to help cover the capital costs.

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