If Not Chiarelli, Who Should Run For Mayor?



Bulldog reader Luke Chadwick sent along a comment in The Bulldog Forum saying College Councillor Rick Chiarelli should not run for mayor.

I started responding and discovered I’d just created a post-length essay. So here it is. To read Luke’s comment that spawned this post, click here.

Here’s the post that started as my reply to Chadwick:

Luke, I agree. Chiarelli has been in one job is a long time.

But the most effective councillors at city hall this term have been the senior ones who are prepared to stand up to the mayor. Many junior councillors are scared of him.

They have also grown up in this childish cloud of so-called collegiality that the mayor promotes to avoid criticism. Mayor Jim Watson is very thin-skinned. He views honest debate as a threat. So too critical thought.

Have councillors not seen how the Ontario legislature works, or the House of Commons here and in other democracies? Have councillors not seen how the two houses of Congress in the U.S. debate?

Chiarelli is prepared to stand up to such things as the stupidity of Watson’s actions during the budget. Good for him.

Should he run for mayor? Depends on who is running. But at present, I don’t see anyone mounting a campaign. So yes he should prepare to run.

Only he and Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans have a chance of defeating Watson of the current members of council and will create a healthy discussion of issues, if Watson is capable of that.

Our inexperienced councillors are often unprepared to do the grunt work that finds holes in city reports and actions. Too many councillors are naive and lazy when it comes to city administration.

How did no one notice that extra tables were whisked through council for Rideau Carleton Raceway? Why were councillors not demanding whether LRT was late prior to the budget?

We need a thorough cleaning of council but only through getting good replacements … not this group of inadequate representatives.

The place where real debate occurs in this city in a civilized manner with widely opposing viewpoints is right here on The Bulldog. If we could get this kind of debate at city hall, we would not be asking for change.

And notice that Watson has repeatedly tried to hamper this discussion on The Bulldog through three separate blacklists, two of which are still in place. That’s how afraid he is of free debate and how afraid city staff is of Watson.

City staff is too often prepared to do what is wrong rather than stand up to the mayor.

That alone should be reason enough to turf the current mayor out.

Free speech and criticism provide good government by catching mistakes and keeping staff and councillors on their toes.

The current mayor can’t do it. If not Chiarelli, who is prepared to stand up to Watson?


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6 thoughts on “If Not Chiarelli, Who Should Run For Mayor?

  1. The problem with introducing new blood directly into the mayor’s chair are the unknowns such as Larry O’Brien and Rob Ford. Neither of them did a stellar job during their tenure. We’re more likely to get a candidate of substance who has sat at the table for a term or two and knows the ropes. Of those mentioned recently, the only unknown candidate I can see being successful might be Vern White. Paul Dewar might have been good as well but given his health, I do not see him running (or being elected if he does.)

    That leaves candidates who are already at the table, and I agree with you, Ken. Councillors Diane Deans and Rick Chiarelli are the top two. I’d prefer Chiarelli but either would be an improvement over his nibs.


  2. About a month and a half ago I read an article that noted Vern White would win the mayor’s chair if he decided to run. I agree that he is the best person to run in the fall election and to provide guidance to the city at this point in time. He knows the city, he knows politics, and he is a nose to the grindstone guy, not a self-obsessed narcissist. I agreed then that he would be the best choice for mayor then and feel the same way now. I don’t know if anyone who follows the Bulldog has any influence with him. If so, please sit down and have a long chat.


    1. Sisco:

      I’m pretty sure Vern White knows about The Bulldog.

      If he wants to participate, he’s more than welcome.

      But people are people. They will do what they want to do.

      Not what people try to convince them to do.

      People have minds of their own.




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