Revitalization

Doucet: Recession a Missed Opportunity to Invest in Cities

By Ben Bull
Published July 31, 2009

Ottawa City Councilor Clive Doucet comes to the defense of cities in today's Star. Arguing that we missed an opportunity during the current recession to provide long-term sustainable investment to our municipalities, Doucet laments:

It will be remembered as a time of fabulous lost opportunity. Both Canada as a federation and Canada as a collection of local jurisdictions were perfectly situated to take advantage of the recession.

We had healthy local and national bank accounts, the best in the West. There was money to restructure our cities and our national economies to deal with resource shortages, price escalations and a different sharing of global economic productivity, and what did we do? We not only missed the boat, we drove off in the wrong direction.

Citing the need to invest in our creative industries and sustainable infrastructure Doucet goes on:

The lack of understanding of the nature of the recession by both the federal and local governments is stunning. Our national surpluses are being gobbled up by "stimulus funding" and we are assuming years of new debt, but there will not be a single, national flagship investment to help us turn the corner toward the new economic and environmental reality.

There will be no new high-speed rail service between Windsor and Quebec City. We will still rely on an overloaded and extremely costly 1960s highway called the 401.

Doucet understands the importance of cities. If only our provincial and federal levels of government did too.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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By C. Erl (registered) - website | Posted July 31, 2009 at 18:59:45

I wish Clive was one of our city councillors...sigh.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted July 31, 2009 at 20:05:19

Hi Ben: Someone wrote this on commondreams.org today, I think it rings true of what is wrong with our thinking today

"The corporation must make a profit and then continue making ever greater profit. Corporate profits must grow, forever! Irrational, impossible, unsustainable but that is in the nature of the beast—much as lemmings are pushed into the sea.

The parameters are the same in every corner of the global economy. The maximum profit is a product of the greatest possible productivity and the lowest possible wage."

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 01, 2009 at 08:10:23

you mean filling in potholes isn't a legacy investment in our cities??

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By arienc (registered) | Posted August 02, 2009 at 08:20:01

Wow...someone who gets it. This quote tells us exactly how we've been spinning our wheels as a society for virtually my entire lifetime.

"We need to ask ourselves what is the point of endless growth if the nation can't afford the public investments it had when the nation was less than half its present size?"

Not to mention less than half of the present tax base.

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