Today’s letters: Passport woes; blaming politicians; and LeBreton Flats

Tuesday, June 27: You can write to us at letters@ottawacitizen.com

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Refocus federal bureaucracy on client service

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Re: Federal government did not anticipate ‘massive surge’ in passport applicationsMay 30.

As a retired assistant deputy minister formerly responsible for the passport office, I am appalled at the minister’s attempt to blame the victims of her agency’s incompetence rather than find creative solutions to the unexpected surge in applications. Why, for example, did the department not extend the hours of offices in those cities that had an overload of in-person applications and extend all expired passports for one year with a simple stamp on the observations page? Productivity would be increased many times over and the surge of renewals would be spread over the next twelve months.

There is a pattern of inability to deliver in current public-service programming, given the long delays for applicants for citizenship, permanent resident cards and other essential services. It is time for the Clerk of the Privy Council to jettison the frills of management theory and direct her deputy ministers to focus on their primary function: client service.

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Raphael Girard, Ottawa

Let’s give politicians some credit

Re: Why Joe Biden will not run for U.S. president in 2024, June 22.

Wonderful writing by Andrew Cohen. These days, being a politician at any level is dangerous due to the wicked side of social media. It is relentless, very aggressive and threatening to politicians and their families.

Understanding seems to have vanished, and it has gotten worse with COVID-19 and, here in Ottawa, with the “Freedom Convoy.” We all know there are many speed bumps and stop signs on the road of life, but moving in the right direction is what we should try to do. Instead of appreciating the efforts of politicians, they get blamed. I sincerely appreciate all those politicians and I respect them for what they have withstood.

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As for President Joe Biden, the chances of a Pete Buttegieg/Kamala Harris 2024 Democratic ticket is real. Republicans are in a mess.

Anant Nagpur, Ottawa

Bring 67’s to LeBreton Flats too

Re: Ottawa Senators win bid for downtown arena on LeBreton FlatsJune 23.

The NCC has just announced an agreement with the Ottawa Senators to develop a new NHL arena and events venue on LeBreton Flats. This site is spacious and has the advantage of offering easy pedestrian access to O-Train stations at Pimisi and Bayview.

Serious consideration should now be given to accommodating the Ottawa 67’s franchise at this new arena. The shared use of the arena is only a matter of scheduling to satisfy both tenants. There is no further need to develop an arena at the cramped and inaccessible Lansdowne Park site. The tired old Civic Centre should be replaced with new “North grandstands” to accommodate open-air field sports.

And while we are at it, the 1,200 residential units in the three buildings proposed for Lansdowne 2.0 should also be developed on LeBreton Flats, where there is much more space, while allowing Lansdowne Park to be redeveloped as a community leisure facility.

It is the City of Ottawa’s turn to show leadership in accommodating professional arena sports and entertainment on a central site which is well served by efficient public transit.

George Bruce Levine, Ottawa

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