Ottawa West-Nepean: Take Chiarelli As MPP



This is the first Bulldog endorsement of Ottawa-area candidates for the provincial election.

Once your agent had a casual conversation with an associate of then-Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli.

“He was always the smartest person in the room.”

Chiarelli still is. His period as mayor seems like a lost time of politicians and staff actually listening to the public and reacting to residents’ opinions. City hall was open and transparent rather than simply saying it is and doing something else. Public servants were actually leaving the federal government to work at the newly amalgamated City of Ottawa where it looked as though that was the progressive government in town. And it was … until Chiarelli left.


It was also a period where smart legislation came down the pipe. Chiarelli’s anti-indoor-smoking bylaws were hard-fought and successful. The measures done in conjunction with then-medical officer of health Robert Cushman and Kanata councillor Alex Munter probably saved more lives than any other bylaw in modern Ottawa history.

His light-rail plan was a model of efficacy and efficiency. That it was destroyed by dirty politics is a stain that will mark this city, and its tax bills, for decades.

The infrastructure minister has always been good at bringing projects and money into the city. Witness the recent $50 million he secured for extending his ground-breaking O-Train … still the only working light rail in Ottawa.

That’s not to say that Ottawa West-Nepean MPP is not facing problems. His handling of the energy file has resulted in high electricity costs and The Bulldog would have preferring hydro-at-cost to attract industry to the province. When Niagara Falls was being harnessed for power, the province promised energy-at-cost. It would be a good practice today.

Chiarelli, like all Liberal candidates, is also burdened with the premiership of Kathleen Wynne. She has promised the world to voters and her actions look desperate. Perhaps they are. She is spending when the economy has taken flight. Always best for governments to spend in bad times and pay down debt in good. Wynne is missing an opportunity to cut the deficit. That flaw might cost her Ontario’s top job and those of many of her Queen’s Park colleagues.

It would take an absolutely outstanding candidate to gain The Bulldog’s endorsement over Chiarelli in Ottawa West-Nepean. That candidate is not there.

Chandra Pasma is the NDP candidate in Ottawa West-Nepean. She is a union researcher and former policy adviser to the leader of the federal NDP. She’s local and has been a long-time anti-poverty advocate.



Pasma is a perfectly good local candidate except that she has not been a two-time Ontario cabinet minister, former mayor of Ottawa and a successful lawyer as is her opponent. Furthermore she is burdened by her party’s huge spending promises as are the Liberals. However, if you are concerned about gender inequality in the political world, Pasma might be a good choice. She seems to be capable of being a very good local representative but she has drawn Bob Chiarelli as an opponent. Bad luck.

Progressive Conservative candidate Jeremy Roberts studied political science at Carleton University and has a masters of public policy from the University of Oxford. A smart young man and has done good work in the field of autism. He has been an adviser to a number of senior Tories.

The Conservative party prior to this election has been a gong show of infighting and nomination problems. Ottawa West-Nepean saw its share of such difficulties with Roberts being acclaimed.

Furthermore, Roberts’ leader Doug Ford was a force in one of the worst municipal administrations in Canadian history. The problems there embarrassed Toronto and Canada all over the world. Ford’s pronouncements are inconsistent and scattershot. Witness his position on Phase 2 Ottawa light rail.

In terms of leadership, both Wynne and Ford are problematic making voting in Ontario this time out very difficult … maybe the most difficult in modern Ontario history.

Had either the Tories or Grits had Chiarelli as leader, the choice of premier would be easy.

The Bulldog endorses Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli for MPP in Ottawa West-Nepean riding.


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15 thoughts on “Ottawa West-Nepean: Take Chiarelli As MPP

  1. Ken:

    I couldn’t agree more on your assessment of Bob Chiarelli. He was one of the best mayors the city had. While I am no fan of Premier Kathleen Wynne, I would support Bob if I were a resident of his riding. Bob had provided a great vision for the City of Ottawa and is a very approachable and open-minded individual. I hope to see him back as the MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean.

    1. High praise indeed, Pierre.

      You would have worked with him a great deal as City Clerk.

      You know of which you speak.



  2. Considering he’ll be over 80 at the end of the next term, you don’t think he should have stepped aside for younger blood? I think he’s had a good run and, yes, he’s done things for the city but it’s time to move on. It’s too bad nobody challenged him for the nomination.
    Chandra Pasma looks like a very solid candidate with a lot to offer. I’d say she’s worth considering.

    1. The Voter:

      With respect, despite his age, he is still bringing it.

      Younger people will get their chance soon enough. They’ll just need patience which comes in short supply with the young.

      I’m confident he’ll do a good job and he’ll be the first person to say when he can’t.

      This is very difficult election to pick but I have no doubts about Bob Chiarelli.

      Our society sometimes puts too much emphasis on youth. With experience comes wisdom.

      A little wisdom is helpful.



      1. “The young” in this case are in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I wasn’t thinking of a 20-year-old candidate.

  3. I am not a political expert, just an observer. The Liberals and PCs in Ontario are stuck with leaders no one really wants to admit they voted for. The time is ripe for the NDP to make their move in this province, but where are they, what platforms do they support, why are they being so quiet? The opportunity will never be better for them than it is now.

  4. With regards to Bob Chiarelli, the central character of Ken’s original piece, we’re all looking for a candidate to run for mayor against Jim Watson. Mr Chiarelli has experience in this role and I’m sure many voters would be happy to provide him the opportunity to right the ship. The most important question is who needs him more, a failing province or a city in need of help.

    1. Sisco:

      I don’t know how much change the minister can effect at Queen’s Park, particularly if his party loses the next election.

      He could have a profound effect on Laurier Avenue.



  5. I would have to disagree when it comes to Bob Chiarelli, his days as mayor were great years for Ottawa but his due date as a politician has past. He doesn’t seem to deal with adversity as well as he use to. I believe he’s lost his way,,, over time.

  6. I know that Bob Chiarelli works hard but there is no escaping the McGuinty-Wynne legacy of fiscal mismanagement and scandal. His own conduct in the “pay for access” scandal is another example of why this government should go. If you believe in going home with the one that brung you, then Bob deserves to go down with the Wynne government. It’s the way accountability works.

    1. Alex:

      Look at the NDP platform. I’m sure you have seeing that it is your party.

      That would spending out of control … the last thing this province needs with the spending that has gone on with the Wynne government.

      Governments should spend when times are bad to stimulate the economy. In good times, such as these, governments should pay down debt so as to be ready for the next downturn.

      Maybe that’s when we need the NDP. But not now.

      cheers and thx for the comment Alex


  7. At this point, it seems that the Liberals will be reduced to third party status. Of course, this could change, but a powerless MPP in the back rows of Queens Park won’t be able to do much for the riding. Would he even stay on?

    1. Doug:

      Thank you for the comment.

      MPPs still have lots of good and important constituency work to do, even when in the backbenches.

      I’m sure Bob Chiarelli would stay on.



  8. The NDP? As I noted earlier they have a great opportunity to make inroads in the June election, but how are they presenting themselves.
    I’ve seen two ads on TV for the NDP. One has a man and woman in garish gym outfits throwing large red and blue balls around while phrases pop up on the screen, concluding with a voice noting something like why not give us a chance, while the other ad has Andrea Horwath on screen appealing to those who are more fortunate to pitch in more. That’s it? Opportunity lost.
    Bob Chiarelli? Too old? A good leader surrounds himself with good people and works as part of a team while ensuring he or she doesn’t take all the credit. This is an excellent opportunity for an someone with a great deal of experience to begin mentoring people from the next group who will be running the show.


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