If LeBreton Fails, Blame Jim Watson



Ottawa’s should watch the moves of Mayor Jim Watson closely as he tries to grab power on the LeBreton Flats project:

  • Watson and Senators owner Eugene Melnyk do not like each other due to Melnyk’s consortium being blocked by Watson to bid on a casino;
  • Watson has been at odds with the National Capital Commission for his whole career and would like, in his very petty way, to cause as much trouble as possible for the NCC. That can be accomplished by harming the NCC’s LeBreton Flats project;
  • As reader CeeLee noted in a previous post, both Watson and city manager Steve Kanellakos are in a conflict-of-interest position in being the arbitrator and negotiator on the LeBreton project. The City of Ottawa is in a partnership with Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group at Lansdowne. OSEG and the city are in direct competition with Melnyk and the Senators in sports and entertainment;
  • There is no need for Watson to be involved in the negotiations. As reader The Voter notes in a previous post, city manager Steve Kanellakos is more than capable of conducting the negotiations;
  • Watson does not have the administrative aptitude nor the skill to conduct such negotiations. Note the outrageous cost of the light-rail project which doesn’t even get to Kanata or Barrhaven. Also take note of how much revenue the city is getting at present from the Lansdowne project;
  • Watson and the city are far too tight with the old-boys network in Ottawa and one wonders if Watson is carrying their mail in this negotiation. Watson depends on that network for much of his campaign funding. Does the old-boys network want a piece of the action at LeBreton where billions are being thrown around? Does the old-boys network want to scuttle LeBreton plans so it can swoop in to develop it itself?
  • Watson is a poor negotiator. The mayor got involved in bringing Double-A Blue Jays baseball to Ottawa and that negotiation failed miserably. He snatched a defeat from a slam-dunk victory. We now have have the lowest level of professional baseball at the city facility run by Order of Ottawa recipient David Gourlay. The team draws a paltry attendance of just north of 2,000 patrons a game;
  • Watson’s enormous ego is in the way on this project. His grandstanding on the day of the first Senators playoff game is showboating of the first order;
  • Watson has no qualms about scuttling worthwhile projects if it suits his political purposes. The $1-billion east-end bridge was stopped primarily by Watson due to pressure from the high-priced neighbourhoods in the area. That cost Ottawa enormous construction spending and high-quality jobs;

That said, if the very lucrative LeBreton Flats project flops, that failure can be placed directly at the feet of Mayor Jim Watson.

If LeBreton fails, the Ottawa Senators fail. The LeBreton project has the Senators in survival mode. The club feels it cannot successfully continue at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata. And if the Senators move to another city and LeBreton lies fallow for another half-century, the people of Ottawa lose badly. Ottawans should remember this in the 2018 municipal election.

Enjoy the Boston Bruins-Senators playoff series Ottawa. Hard to say how many more of them you will see once Watson is through with LeBreton.



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5 thoughts on “If LeBreton Fails, Blame Jim Watson

  1. If the choice is between Lebreton failing and Watson failing, let’s look at which would do more harm to the city both now and in the long term. If it looks like the balance is tipping in the wrong way, the citizenry needs to be ready to jump in and pull him back. You talk of the disaster it would be if we lost the Sens and/or the Lebreton development. Let’s talk of how we’ll ensure that doesn’t happen.

  2. Just picture the scene in Blazing Saddles.
    Governor Lepetomane sitting at his desk. “Work,work,work,work,work,work,word,work,work. Hello boys.”
    Now substitute his lairdship in the place of Mel Brooks’ character – voila.

    Now Ottawans, hold that picture in your memory.

  3. On hearing Watson’s words, had the sinking feeling that he was opening the door to using taxpayer money for a LeBreton arena.

    1. He’ll offer up a chunk of money and then tell the feds and the province that they should cover 1/3 of it each. He can then take credit for ‘negotiating’ the deal. All 3/3 of the totals in these arrangements are coming directly out of our pockets one way or another.


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