rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Friends of Landsdowne Park appeal P3 approval

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

In a month or so, the Ontario Court of Appeal will hear a case that will set important legal standards for P3s in Canada, and determine whether municipalities can hide behind the complexities of such schemes to subsidize private developers while ignoring public procurement rules.

At issue is a P3 scheme to privatize Lansdowne Park which is arguably the City of Ottawa's most valuable public asset. You may have skated by it on the Rideau Canal -- a world heritage site.

The City has decided to give most of the park to private developers for commercial development while subsidizing their investments and losses in football and hockey franchises.

Friends of Lansdowne, a grassroots group, took the City to Court and lost round one. In giving the P3 scheme a pass, Justice Hackland of the Ontario Superior Court held that the views of City Council should be given great deference when it comes to carrying out a complex P3 project, stating that:

"To do otherwise would be to unduly restrict the public/private joint ventures that are of increasing importance in the establishment of municipal facilities and which often depend upon a complex exchange of benefits, assets and services to facilitate development."

Unlike most P3 fights, this one is about public space, not services. It is about the commons, and whether it will be enclosed by commercial interests. Lansdowne Park can be for the people of Ottawa, what such places as the Forks in Winnipeg, English Bay in Vancouver, or Millenium Park in Chicago are for those communities. Or it can be another place to shop.

You can find out more about this landmark legal challenge at: www.letsgetitright.ca

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.