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Ottawa Centre MPP requests Ontario's auditor general investigate LRT procurement

Joel Harden feels the September 19 derailment was "the straw that broke the camel's back" with residents' patience for the transit system.
2018-06-07 joel harden2
NDP candidate Joel Harden speaks to the media after winning in Ottawa Centre. Jenn Pritchard/ OttawaMatters

Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden has written a letter to Ontario's auditor general, calling for an investigation into the procurement of the city's light-rail system, which is been out of service for nearly a month following a second derailment.

Harden wants Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk to have a close look into the P3 procurement contract in order to determine if the people of Ottawa and Ontario got their money's worth over the issue-plagued light rail system.

He feels the various issues that have impacted the service since launch have frustrated Ottawans and the derailment on September 19 was "the straw that broke the camel's back."

"People are asking really valid questions like how did we get ourselves into a contract like this, where we just can't get access to the information?" Harden told CityNews Ottawa. "For people trying to get to work, for moms and dads trying to pick up their kids from daycare, sitting on crowded buses as an alternative is unacceptable."

Harden adds, he wants to know from the auditor general what went wrong with the contract between the city and Rideau Transit Group (RTG), and how the city could get out of the contract, if she thinks that's a good idea.

"We need it... we need the LRT to work," he explained. "What I need is for the auditor general to get down to the bottom of this because I've lost the confidence in the leadership of the city to do it with any sincerity."

Harden also feels anyone on city council who votes against the motion for a judicial inquiry into the light rail system, which is being put forward by Councillor Catherine McKenney on Wednesday, October 13, needs to re-think if they should be re-elected in next year's municipal election.

Harden is also encouraging any residents who are frustrated due to overcrowding on replacement services to get in touch with his office.

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