Saturday, January 24, 2009

Disaster Strikes Ottawa

I have friends in Ottawa, the (currently) frigid capital of Canada, and I thought I would take a moment to share their pain with you.

It doesn't appear that their situation is getting much play outside of Ottawa itself - at least, my search for news articles found nothing from outside the city - but the people of Ottawa are experiencing an unnatural disaster. Namely, a bus strike, now in its 46th day.

This is a grim kind of ascesis, an ascesis made abuse because it isn't voluntary.

It seems that bus drivers want more money, or to keep their current scheduling. It seems that the city wants to save money, or to bully the drivers into worse hours. It depends on who is doing the talking. But I don't think many people in Ottawa care anymore what either the bus drivers' union or the city says - they just want their city back.

Let me put this into perspective. Ottawa has frequently been called the coldest capital of the world. I don't know enough to dispute it, but we'll take it as assumed that it is cold. I do know that there was a nasty cold snap a couple weeks ago where the mercury dipped below minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. And then there were a couple snowstorms where a foot of snow fell.

Meanwhile, the poor and the destitute have to walk, or stay at home.

Meet Anna Kraisingerova. She is 59, and she walks 6 hours to and from work, 18 km (11 miles). Happily, her story is now known, and there has been an outpouring of kindness.

But there are those whose stories do not yet have a happy ending.

Meet businessmen who are losing a third of their business.
Meet store owners who have no business.
Meet Burmese Christians who have no Church.

This bus strike is inhumane.

- V.

1 comment:

les said...

Where there is no natural competition, ie. a monopoly, there should be no right to strike. Binding arbitration for police, firemen, city workers, transit workers/drivers, ambulance, etc.