The Rob Ford Factor, Lessons For Canadian Municipalities, Keynote- Senator Vern White


Ottawa, Feb. 19—Seeking to improve the debate around reducing government spending through innovation, the Municipal and Ottawa Taxpayer Advocacy Groups are joining forces to host a conference on government innovation and spending called the Government Innovation Conference—The Rob Ford Factor, Lessons For Canadian Municipalities.

Canada, provinces, territories and cities owe about $1.1 trillion US. Innovation simply means achieving better long term outcomes with less taxpayer dollars.


Taking place at Ottawa City Hall—Jean Piggott Place on March 8, the Government Innovation Conference will feature expert panellists: Nick Kouvalis, Principal Campaign Research & former Chief of Staff for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; Guy Giorno, Partner, Fasken Martineau, Municipal Governance expert & former Chief of Staff for Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Bob Plamondon, best-selling author of Blue Thunder, The Truth About Conservatives from MacDonald To Harper - Globe & Mail Columnist; and Nick Vandergragt, CFRA Talk Radio host. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has been invited to open the event and Transit Commission Chair, Diane Deans, has been invited to participate on the panel.


Keynote speaker, Vern White, former Ottawa Police Chief turned Senator, will share his perspective on the long term sustainability of municipal police budgets and reducing the root causes of crime.


The Conference is intended to draw attention to cities across North America that have successfully reduced spending through innovation. “Canada has its success stories in Winnipeg and Cornwall, but we can learn from outside our borders as well”, says MTAG President Ade Olumide. New York City likely has the best online, real-time, financial decision making reporting system in North America, while Indianapolis saved $400 million through a managed competition process for over 80 city services.

Uploading could be used to pay down debt or as a tax credit or on water infrastructure, not for new spending initiatives. An unelected arbitrator gave firefighters in Stratford Ontario a 20 percent pay raise. The 40% public private sector pension inclusive wage gap can be addressed by a wage freeze or outsourcing. The EDC has changed to a defined contribution plan for new hires. Should part time volunteering or school be required for welfare payments or social housing? “Now is the time for municipalities across Canada to embrace bold and innovative decision making” said Olumide.


Mayor Rob Ford has demonstrated taxpayer compassionate leadership by successfully negotiating union concessions in order to balance the books of the City of Toronto. Spending in 2012 is less than 2011—a first in the recent history of the City. “Toronto’s success in reducing its spending this year is something MTAG would like to see duplicated in cities across Canada,” Olumide says. Likewise Toronto Hydro is making tough decisions to respond to the ruling of the Ontario Energy Board.


Ottawa Taxpayer Advocacy Group President Kevin MacDonald is concerned about cutting core services while increasing Ottawa’s debt. “Policing is a core service and yet they have been expected to come up with significant efficiencies at a time when City Council is borrowing money for a new baseball team”, MacDonald says.


The media, local politicians and the public are invited to attend this groundbreaking conference on innovation.


Event Details:
What: Government Innovation Conference - The Ford Factor Lessons For Canadian Municipalities When: Thursday, March 8, 2012
Time: 4:30 – 5:30 PM, Panel Discussion
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 PM, Keynote & Questions from the Audience
Where: Ottawa City Hall - Jean Piggott Place, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa
Cost: $75.00

To register online, please go to before Monday, March 5, 2012.

For further information contact:

Ade Olumide, President, MTAG,, 613-265-6360,
Kevin MacDonald, President, OTAG,, 613-799-6223,