Jim Watson: Ottawa’s Most Fiscally Irresponsible Leader Ever


Mayor Jim Watson spent absolutely nothing on sponsorships, donations and memberships last year from his office budget.

Smoke and mirrors.

Watson doing what he does best. Charming a crowd.

Now Watson can go to the hustings and say he is Mr. Frugal. People will believe him because they haven’t taken five minutes to look behind the claim.

Watson amassed the largest operating debt in Ottawa municipal history. At one point, Ottawa’s debt was $1.8 billion.

One wag spoke to me after I wrote the post Jim Watson Goes To Hell suggesting that the fires in hell that were the basis of the satire were actually fueled by dollars of Ottawa debt. Wish I’d thought of that when I was writing the piece.

No Watson is like the wizard from the Wizard of Oz. He puts forth a facade of great knowledge and fiscal prudence.

What a joke.

On light rail alone he is overspending the cancelled plan by $6 billion to $2.8 billion and giving us less than the original plan. How is that possible?

The problem is, voters just believe what they are told and what they hear is the power of Watson’s reach with a huge campaign budget, a fawning media (embarrassingly so) and more than $28 million of free publicity from Ottawa 2017.

But wait until the campaign begins for mayor. Up will come the no-spending on sponsorships and the like from his office.

And voters will go … “Hey that Jim sure takes care of my tax money. What a good guy.”

In fact there has never been such a wildly overspending mayor in Ottawa’s history.



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6 thoughts on “Jim Watson: Ottawa’s Most Fiscally Irresponsible Leader Ever

  1. Another side of that is the community events that didn’t get that boost from the Mayor’s office although he was there to glad-hand with the attendees.
    You also have to look at his marketing strategies for events that carry his imprimatur. The Mayor’s Christmas Party and Trick or Treat with The Mayor Halloween event for families; The Mayor’s Canada Day Breakfast for seniors and The Mayor’s Breakfast Series for the business community among others. These events are put on through private sponsorships and, for the business breakfasts, ticket sales paid by the local business community but I’m willing to bet most participants give credit to Jim Watson for their treats. The Christmas, Halloween and Canada Day events are organized by city staff and happen outside of office hours – is their time billed to the Mayor’s office budget?
    There is also other city funding that is available to city-wide events which parallel the more local events that councillors fund with grants out of their office budgets. That frees Watson up to talk about how little he spends in comparison to his council colleagues which, besides being misrepresentation, is profoundly unjust. The local summer festival or winter carnival goes to the local councillor for help but city-wide Bluesfest and Winterlude aren’t supported by the city-wide mayor’s office but out of other city, provincial and federal budget lines.
    Then, of course, there’s the non-accountable slush fund that is the Ottawa 2017 funding.

  2. This is just a third rate distraction by a conjurer. It doesn’t fool the people who are watching, but it does work on those who only read the first paragraph of a shallow news story.

    1. Ron:

      You are right.

      It’s just too bad that there are so many first-paragraph readers of shallow news stories out there.



  3. Yes Ron, a “third rate distraction”, done by a person for whom it is a specialty.

    People do not pay attention to what is really going, thus the reason our three tiers of government get away with so much. The fact that they do, has nothing to do with ‘lives are so busy’. Lives have always have been and always will be busy. You have to give a tinkers darn to pay attention, something that is greatly absent. People just don’t care.

    Anne Marie

  4. As the spending goes up, zoning is waived for developers allowing greater intensification and hence a larger tax base for the city. This invariably comes at the expense of public consultation and a total disregard for existing community plans for the area. There are way too many examples. Here are but two in my ward: Mooney’s Bay Sinking Ship mega playground and a retirement/housing development of land formerly occupied by Bayview High School.


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