Minority Report

Kevin O'Donnell
2014-01-07 12:08

Since mid-2012, City of Ottawa councillor Doug Thompson has voted against the majority will of his peers only once*. On November 26, 2013 when Council debated the Transportation Master Plan an amendment was passed that modified the plan for Prince of Wales Drive. Thompson dissented.

You can listen to his reasoning in the embedded video (skip to 1h58m if it doesn't start there automatically). The details of the vote are available as well.

The frequency with which a councillor (or citizen commissioner) votes against the majority should not be considered a valid standalone measurement of their value. The job is about more than just voting. There is nothing wrong with being on the 'winning' side of every vote - it could simply mean a councillor is always getting their way.

Nonetheless, the minority report is interesting to look at if only to guess about why the variance in dissenting rate exists.

Among elected councillors, at the other end of the scale we find Councillor Rainer Bloess has dissented 3.38% of the time. Bloess is 15 times more likely to vote against the majority than Thompson. The transition from one end to the other other is also smooth, as you can see in the chart. Whatever factor influences how frequently a councillor will vote against the majority, the dose has been doled out smoothly from smallest to largest.

Here is a pretty chart. Open the Google document for a fullscreen view and to see the raw spreadsheet values.

Among citizen commissioners to the Transit Commissioner and Public Health Board we see a different story, though in fairness the sample size is smaller (they have fewer things to vote on in total).

Three commissioners, Johnson, Rahn, and Ferrabee have dissented on votes. Crew, Padolsky, Quinn, Reporter, and Smallwood never have (since mid-2012). For Ferrabee's one vote against the majority she joined Rahn and Johnson in voting against a security camera proposal for OCTranspo. The debate on that vote was interesting. Rahn has dissented twice, the second time by supporting Johnson's failed motion to have OCTranspo produce a non-peak on-time report. (Interestingly, Bloess joined them in that dissenting vote).

Johnson's outlier status as the only member with a dissenting rate above 4% comes as a result of his third and final vote against the majority. He voted against having OC Transpo annually review the bus advertising policy - a topic which spun out of the recent 9/11 Truther ads inside buses.

Being a relatively new member to the transit commission, Johnson has cast only 65 yes or no votes. Perhaps his dissenting rate will come back into range once he has more votes under his belt. Or maybe as a regular citizen, and younger than average committee member, he really is going to continue have a different view of things.

* OttWatch scrapes the voting history out of Ottawa.ca after meetings have concluded. It's possible some data is missing. (So perhaps Councillor Thompson has voted no on more than one occasion, but we missed that vote in the counting). Corrections welcome.

comments powered by Disqus

More stories...

Development Charges Background Study, 2017 Amendment
2017-03-28 09:18:55
Ottawa Vanier by-election: live-stream November 10th, 7pm
2016-11-07 12:05:33
MFIPPA: Ottawa Police Service How-to Guide
2016-11-01 12:08:35
The market price of 60 specific park-and-ride spaces
2016-10-14 15:31:23
Part Lot Control: blocks and parcels and lots
2016-10-06 13:10:29
MFIPPA: A How-to Guide for the City of Ottawa
2016-07-15 09:05:51
Forcing the Police Board to deal with an issue
2016-05-31 11:16:34
Sparks Street Mall Authority governance review: bumpy
2016-04-18 09:49:47
Give me an ad Vasili
2016-04-01 09:00:42
Zoning inflation: the Shania Twain effect
2016-02-29 09:02:09
Information Tickle Trunk
2016-02-28 22:32:47
Public Bathroom Map for Ottawa: a howto
2016-02-19 13:17:28
Delegating to a City Committee
2016-02-03 14:09:09
Lebreton Redevelopment Story Collection
2016-01-26 09:20:44
A few of my favourite Joanne Chianello stories
2015-12-09 22:04:06
Online at last: Committee of Adjustment web presence coming in 2016
2015-11-19 10:53:01
Ottawa Centre #elxn42 Candidates Debate — Oct 1 — Livestream
2015-09-09 21:19:18
If you were a ward boundary review petition, what would you look like?
2015-07-06 09:09:09
Traffic cameras and a MFIPPA request
2015-06-18 10:38:48
City Solicitor, DCR Phoenix and over-contributions
2015-04-18 19:39:03
2014 Winners Donation Index and Audit Application Instructions
2015-04-16 15:28:58
Corporate Directory Search Crowdsourcing
2015-04-13 10:55:49
First Analysis of the 2014 Election Donation Index
2015-04-11 06:14:44
Three Thousand Two Hundred and Nineteen - Digitizing 2014 Campaign Donations
2015-04-08 09:16:04
Goodwill motions: when motions are not real motions.
2015-03-26 12:25:23
A Debate Over Five Words: and the City of Ottawa
2015-03-26 08:32:25
Reporters' Privacy and the Daily Media Call Summary
2015-03-02 14:24:27
Browse and Search the 2015 Draft Budget
2015-02-05 23:46:52
Taxi Regulation Report: Uber Late with no ETA
2015-01-24 11:00:26
Assorted By-Laws
2015-01-22 10:02:56
Postmedia's conversation with the Mayor
2014-11-07 09:25:24
Detailed #OttVote Results: 2014
2014-11-01 14:36:22
Website Screengrabs - 2014 OttVote Edition
2014-10-26 23:55:30
Ottawa Citizen #OttVote Candidate Survey - Index
2014-10-25 14:47:10
Kitchissippi All Candidates Debate Livestream
2014-10-06 13:50:32
In Support of Ottawa123 and Ranked Ballots
2014-10-03 11:53:21
OttWatch's avatar is...
2014-09-30 10:50:19
OttVote Advocacy: Find Your Ward Widget
2014-08-04 21:03:58
The Fundamentals of Municipal Finance: Seminar
2014-07-14 10:45:35
Digitizing the 2014-Q1 MFIPPA disclosure list
2014-05-05 09:41:48
Committee of Adjustment: Agendas
2014-02-03 08:54:44
Ottawa Stop Sign Requests: mapped
2014-02-02 23:16:46
Campaign Transparency: 2003 and 2006 campaign returns
2014-02-01 23:57:45
How to comment on Committee of Adjustment applications
2014-01-28 11:49:47
Donations and Maps
2014-01-23 00:40:58
Committee of Adjustment: Panel Agendas
2014-01-20 09:22:17
Inside the Lobbyist Registry
2013-11-14 09:18:57
Tiny Zoning Tour
2013-11-01 02:58:52
OttWatch Publishes Freedom of Information Requests
2013-10-29 20:38:47
Created by Kevin O'Donnell to make it easier to be part of the political conversation in Ottawa.
On Twitter? Follow @OttWatch and @ODonnell_K
Privacy Policy