Jim Watson: Economic Genius



In July, the Ottawa job market contracted by 3,000 people.

How do you do that?

The City of Ottawa has or will spend $6 billion with a B on light rail that one would think would be enough to stimulate the local economy and create jobs. Not so.

Then the figure going around city hall these days for the total cost of Ottawa 2017 is $55 million. Wow. Now that’s undocumented but then so are the figures for Ottawa 2017. Pick your poison.

And then there was last year’s $45 million operating deficit. Surely that spending would create some work. Or the highest level of the operating deficit plus capital debt in the city’s history. Still no jobs.

So basic economic theory has it that jobs should have been created. Except they were not … at a very high cost. Hard to measure the price of those non-jobs.

And remember that Ottawa 2017 was created to stimulate employment in the capital … particularly in the tourism field. Hmmm. How did that work out? About as well as all those unused camping spots in the capital for the great anniversary celebration.

Maybe shutting down the whole downtown and snarling traffic to a crawl for three days of Lizardfest (La Machine) wasn’t such a good idea at all. Some businesses need the ability to travel to make money and keep jobs humming.

And so we carry on. We could ask His Worship how all this happened but he doesn’t have the faintest idea. Economics is not his forte. What is his forte?

On the bright side, he can add up a long column of figures.


Video above: Events such as Red Bull Crashed Ice as part of Ottawa 2017 were supposed to stimulate the economy. In fact, employment in Ottawa contracted.

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8 thoughts on “Jim Watson: Economic Genius

  1. The best mayor in the world isn’t going to be able to create jobs once minimum wage goes up to $14 in the fall and the federal government has finished decimating middle-class entrepreneurs with their proposed tax changes. At least we will be too high to notice the failing economy.

    On a more serious note, I doubt if Statistics Canada figures are overly accurate from month to month. How can a government agency measure every job created or lost each month. One should look at overall trends or next time monthly employment goes up, The Bulldog will have to eat its hat.


    1. Andrew:

      Some problems exist in your comment.

      First we weren’t discussing the minimum wage in the post and it was not in force in July.

      And this is very sloppy. You should have seen this given all the pictures of The Bulldog over the years … The Bulldog doesn’t wear a hat.



      PS Your minimum wage comment would make a great topic in The Bulldog Forum. Why don’t you serve it up.

      It’s very controversial and well worth discussing.

      In fact … I’m going to put it up now.

      Feel free to comment on it.


    2. Andrew:

      Come on. Andrew the city is spending $6 billion on light rail and employment contracts in what is becoming a strong economy across the country?





  2. It would be good to know which sector(s) lost those jobs.

    Is there a correlation between the places the city’s been flinging money and any positive movement in the job market? The 3,000 is the net job loss – which sector(s) expanded to cover up other losses?

    It will also be very interesting to see the tourism figures for this year. If Ottawa spent $55 million to attract, for instance, $25 million of new business, there’s a problem. That problem is, of course, compounded by the reality that some of that new business will have been the result of federal initiatives meaning that our outlay actually garnered more than that hypothetical $30 million loss.


  3. Ken,
    To be fair, there is no such thing as current economic theory.
    There is a current economic bunch of realities:
    – life long jobs, gone
    – company pensions, gone
    – salaries that keep up with the cost of living, gone
    – growth in part-time jobs, yeah
    – retraining thousands to compete for those hundreds of new tech jobs, yeah
    – extreme earnings differentials between the employees that actually do the work and those that wear the boss’s hat, yeah

    The list of current realities are not well addressed well by economic models and those 3,000 jobs are a mere drop in the unfilled bucket that will be filled as time goes on. It’s everyone for themselves. Scratch, grab,and tread water as best you can.


  4. There is one current economic theory but nobody wants to tell you about it. it is indentured service.

    That’s the one where we now run the economy on life-long debt. Pay-day loans, credit cards to buy groceries, credit cards used to pay minimum payments on other credit cards which all then lead to a massive debt consolidation line-of-credit loan.

    Lifetime of minimum payments leaving the balance payable by your estate, life insurance or that big lottery win.

    Now, that’s an economic plan.



  5. Ottawa 2017 has been terrible value for money. There are numbers thrown around about attendance and “economic activity” from events like La Machine created, and headlines about restaurants in the Byward Market having run out of food – on one day.

    Restaurants/cafes are one of the only few industries that benefit by multi-million dollar weekend events, like Crashed Ice and La Machine. It’s not like they’re going to hire staff for sporadic spikes in traffic.


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