AuthorKen Gray

Why Refugee Issue Works For Watson


Mayor Jim Watson’s great blitz on the refugee question changed the politically damaging agenda at city hall. So is this a great humanitarian crusade or petty politics?

The agenda shift is on.

While the world is shocked by the refugee situation, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, a master of public relations, decided it was time to focus the media’s attention from two issues that were killing him.

It’s his regular old ploy.

The $41-million budget shortfall and the $60-million (unnecessary) sole-sourcing of a contract for the light-rail contract were big trouble. Watson was facing a major fiscal and ethical PR crisis.

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•  REFUGEE QUESTION DAMAGES TORY CAMPAIGN. To read this story in Bulldog Canadian, click here.


•  FOR BREAKING FEDERAL ELECTION NEWS, scroll through Bulldog Canadian.


•   TO READ THE LATEST CANADIAN NEWS AND OPINION, click here for Bulldog Canadian.




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FULL LOCAL: Where Ottawa Comes First


Your fastest, most complete Ottawa-area news summary is here at Full Local.


Full Local brings you the best in Ottawa news, information and opinion from the city’s news sites and blogs – all in real time.

The feed for Planetizen, the leading source of city planning and design, is also supplied here to make Ottawa a better place.

Full Local is below:

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YOUR COMMENTS: Ottawa’s Sound And The Fury

YOUR COMMENTSNow you have a voice.anger

Here are the latest comments on The Bulldog and Bulldog Canadian.

Let your opinions be heard. You can write your comments on the end of the appropriate post or use the comment box below. One way or the other, they’ll appear here within 30 minutes of being moderated.

The Bulldog believes in freedom of speech. Exercise it here. The latest comments to The Bulldog and Bulldog Canadian are below:

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City Mayors Pledge To Help Refugees

This is a release from the mayor’s office:

Canada’s big city mayors are mobilizing support to address the current humanitarian crisis facing Syria, says the Chair of Canada’s Big City Mayors Caucus, and Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson.

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Katherine Hobbs Come Back: Top 10 List

Our mayor doing what he does best.

TOP 10 LISTThe $41-million shortfall on the City of Ottawa’s 2015 budget with more to come has shocked Ottawans.

So The Bulldog and its crack team of investigative reporters probed into the actions of Mayor Jim Watson, city staff and council.

With reference to the mayor, our gumshoes were relieved that tweets are free.

The investigation has been turned into a Top 10 list and the results are below:

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Cut Council Wasteful Spending: Odub

Bulldog contributor Odub criticizes council for its odd spending habits:


On Tuesday I witnessed one of our city councillors shopping at the local discount grocery stores. Funny how they look for savings and control their spending when it’s THEIR money?

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Sole-Sourcing Bad Public Policy: Cullen



Veteran politician Alex Cullen looks at the controversy surrounding the sole-sourcing of a $60-million contract for the light-rail project.

Cullen’s eye for detail and diligence on public policy would certainly by useful on this city council:

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LGBTQ Issues Debate On Tap

This is a release from the One World Film Festival:

One World Film Festival partners with the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, Ten Oaks Project, Gender Mosaic, and *Kind to present Canada’s only 2015 Candidates Debate focusing on LGBTQ issues, featuring representatives from the Ottawa Centre riding: Paul Dewar (NDP), Catherine McKenna (Liberal), Tom Milroy (Green), and a candidate from the Conservative Party (to be confirmed).

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Watson Makes Commitment Until He Doesn’t

light rail

A giant $60-million contract for Phase 2 of Ottawa’s light-rail project has been sole-sourced.

No sole-sourcing Mayor Jim Watson pledged during the 2010 municipal election campaign.

So Watson called for bids for the lease on the Coventry Road baseball stadium and took the lowest bid rather than the best bid. Accordingly he screwed up and baseball in this city has suffered a setback from which it probably will never recover. Watson didn’t know what he was doing. No sports fan … no business expert. Good at getting elected though.

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The Mayor And Ethics: Major Whopper


“If all of a sudden, midway through the biggest city building project in the city’s history, if we change direction and companies, we set back the schedule and we wouldn’t save the dollars as we’ve been told by our professional staff and we wouldn’t see the continuation of efficiency with the project.”

Mayor Jim Watson on why $60-million light-rail contract is being sole-sourced

But Your Worship, didn’t you promise not to sole-source contracts during the 2010 election campaign?

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LRT Construction To Slow Traffic

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

The City will be engaged in construction at more than 120 sites throughout Ottawa this autumn. This update was provided at today’s construction and mobility technical briefing. While 45 projects will start up this fall, a majority of the construction activity is now underway with traffic impacts already in place.

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Don’t Cut Snow Removal

What do cities do?

Of course, basic services.

Well they pick up the garbage, fix streets, provide transit, deliver water, provide electricity, take away waste and build roads … among other things.

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Watson’s Council Stranglehold Cracks


City Hall: Mayor Jim Watson’s domination over city council failed last week.

Mayor Jim Watson lost a major council vote last week on zoning amendments at 180 Metcalfe St.

In an 11-11 standoff, Watson found himself on the wrong side of the ledger. Tie goes to the opponents.

What does this mean? Well it shows that Watson’s stranglehold on city council can be broken.

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Who Voted For What On 180 Metcalfe



Here is how the voting broke down on the two zoning amendments at 180 Metcalfe St. last Wednesday at city council.

Those amendments would allow a hotel above the second storey of the building and make an exemption of 27 storeys when the community design plan says it should be 12.

Planning committee chairwoman Jan Harder said she was shocked that council would not allow the project and The Bulldog was shocked but for a much different reason:

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But What About Light Rail?

Mayor Jim Watson had a bad week at the end of August.

First he loses the vote on 180 Metcalfe St. Then a report shows that his grandstanding at budget time to get tax increases below two per cent has resulted in a $41-million shortfall.

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$41 Million Of Watson Mismanagement



The fallout has begun on Mayor Jim Watson’s arbitrary budget targets that are not based on city need but on him looking good at election time.

Accordingly the city budget deficit is heading toward a whopping $41 million by the end of 2015.

And why is that?

Let’s let College Councillor Rick Chiarelli say it best:

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Water, Sewers Create Fiscal Sinkhole

Astute watchers of city hall politics will remember that over the last two years water and sewer rates have risen seven per cent per year.

The June consumer price index figures show inflation running at one per cent.

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Who Speaks For The People?



Citizen journalist David Reevely pretty much nailed this one with news that former city planning committee chairman Peter Hume has joined forces with former Minto vice-president Jack Stirling to form the consulting firm HP Urban:

The urban-planning business is high-profile but pretty small. There’s not a lot of money in working for community associations that have to pass the hat to cover a planner’s fees; the people who do it are like legal-aid lawyers but with even less business. With very, very few exceptions, you’re either working for a government that regulates things or for a company that’s trying to get that government’s approval.

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Harder Shocked, Bulldog More Shocked



Planning committee chairwoman Jan Harder said she was “shocked” that a 27-storey hotel slated to be built at 180 Metcalfe Street was defeated at city council Wednesday.

It was to arise from the Medical Arts Building. The project will be addressed again at the Sept. 9 council meeting with the vote tied Wednesday at 11-11.

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Second Taxi Review Report Awarded

ottawa logoKPMG and two other firms have been chosen to conduct the taxi regulations review.

Below is the release from the City of Ottawa:

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A Burger King In The West Block: Whopper Watch


“The mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau have asked for representation on the NCC’s board, which might help prevent future rubber-stamping.”

Citizen columnist Kate Heartfield

What the appointment of Mayor Jim Watson would do on the National Capital Commission board would be to bring the developer agenda to places such as the Macdonald Parkway.

Many Ottawa politicians are beholden to the development industry and the city’s planning department has gone native with developers. What developers want, the City of Ottawa wants. Planning committee chairwoman Jan Harder has never seen a developer she didn’t embrace.

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Should Pols Report To NCC? Whopper Watch


“So we have the worst of both worlds: an unelected body nccdoing the bidding of (certain) politicians.”

Citizen columnist Kate Heartfield on the National Capital Commission

But isn’t this what politicians and public servants do?

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NDP Leads The Pack: Major Poll

Angus Reid this morning released its latest poll on the current popularity of the federal parties leading up to the October election.

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Hummingbird: Nature’s Flower Hooligan

Upworthy examines that little thing in your garden or at the sugar-filled feeder.

The hummingbird, despite its looks, is one mean dude.

According to a report in Slate, they have beaks:

“like stilettos, longer and pointier than those of juvenile males or females — the better for stabbing other males in the throat.”

Like the three hummingbirds seen here absolutely crushing a bird feeder.

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