A Few Words About Bob Chiarelli



I got to know Bob Chiarelli during the seven years I covered city hall for the Ottawa Citizen.

As you can probably tell from The Bulldog, I don’t pull my punches very often.

So when Chiarelli was Ottawa mayor, he received not a few zingers from your agent. And yet, he always came back smiling. The mayor knew what his job was and what my job was. It was never personal.

Chiarelli fought very hard to keep city hall and Ottawa open, caring and inclusive. Current mayor Jim Watson does the opposite. Watson could learn a lot from Chiarelli but he does not, for whatever reason.

One of Chiarelli’s colleagues at city hall once said they he could leave the mayor in a room with any number of people but Chiarelli was always the smartest person there.

If you couldn’t tell already, your agent has a bit of a soft spot for Bob Chiarelli. He worked hard to keep communications open at city hall and always answered the phone. That’s all a reporter really asks for.

Chiarelli was the last real mayor of Ottawa.

Over the years, first as an MPP, then regional chair (he got a chuckle when he found out I called him the regional Ottoman), then mayor, then MPP again and minister of everything, Chiarelli gave a lot of work to this community. We have done well by Bob Chiarelli.

Yesterday he lost his seat for Ottawa West-Nepean. That was a bit of a shame.

At age 74, he has the energy of a man 30 years his junior.

Here’s hoping that Chiarelli finds a kind of work that is reflective of his intelligence and dedication.

And he will work. That’s the only way he knows. The citizens of Ottawa owe him thanks.


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7 thoughts on “A Few Words About Bob Chiarelli

  1. Well, there is a municipal election in the fall and I’m sure he could give smug Jim a good run and hopefully beat him.

  2. Hey there Ken, give the man some time to relax.
    I’ll give him a suggestion.
    I, once upon a time, worked. You know, meetings, running around, hands on stuff in business and I still had time to do front-line volunteer work.
    Then I discovered semi-retirement. Now they come to me. I sit in my chair, I point them in the right direction and I still get paid. And, I still can do volunteer work via pro bono advice.

    Let the guy relax, for a bit anyway.

  3. Bob Chiarelli has earned his pension(s). I hope that over the next couple of days he decides to dig over his garden and plant some tomatoes, zucchini and some herbs. Take the summer off Bob, and think about what is next.

    In the meantime, thank you for your decades of community service.

  4. Gents. I find high-energy people like Mr. Chiarelli want to be involved in the thick of things, it’s in their blood. If he felt he could add value at Queen’s Park for the next 4 years by running in yesterday’s election (perhaps less time if an election was called sooner) then he doesn’t need to don his gardening clothes and mosquito netting just yet.

  5. Nicely said, Ken. Bob was, and is, a professional. Although he has said this was his last election (I believe him), I expect him to remain politically active in some form or another.

  6. There’s still a role for Bob as an elder statesman both within the Liberal Party and in our community. While I believed he should have stepped aside and let a younger candidate run in this election, I see a definite place for him. The party is going to need people like Bob as they rebuild. He knows how things work and has the patience and ability to pass that on. He’s also not an idealogue and takes a practical approach to things.
    He could also provide valuable support to a candidate who would take on the person who was his predecessor in the office he’s now leaving. We need a good candidate for mayor who would return the city to openness, transparency and accountability. Bob could be that person’s mentor.


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