Watson Spins NCC Fable: Reader


Frequent Bulldog commenter Sheridan takes on the issue of Mayor Jim Watson and the Sir John Carling hospital site.

Here’s Sheridan:

Once again, we witness Mayor Jim Watson playing prime minister, surrounded by his Liberal posse — I dread to think what 2017 is going to be like. And, as others here have written, Watson was not shy to take the credit. Worse still was the fact that he covered his tracks, regarding his silence during the whole selection process, by blaming the National Capital Commission.

Jon Willing (Ottawa Citizen: “Momentum grows for Sir John Carling as site for new hospital, NCC blasts mayor over secrecy allegations”): “This has been a great learning lesson, I think,” the mayor said. “We can’t have this kind of secrecy. We have to be able to have whoever the group is studying the site the ability to speak with the users of the site because it was clear the left hand and the right hand didn’t know what was going on. If the NCC came forward with a recommendation that clearly was not acceptable to the hospital, they should have known that before they released the recommendation.”

Wow, this coming from the lips of Watson, whose city administration has the transparency of a brick wall (e.g. buses down Scott Street, Mooney’s Bay playground, Ottawa Public Library building plans, etc. etc.). Anyway, you can read the response NCC chairman Russell Mills gave in defence of the NCC’s inclusive process with both the public and the Ottawa Hospital, which is nothing like Watson’s fable.

Furthermore, after the selection of the Sir John Carling site was official, Watson was still using a condescending tone towards the NCC (Jon Willing, The Ottawa Citizen: “NCC licks its wounds, moves on from political rejection of hospital site”): “A recommendation can be accepted or rejected,” Watson said. “In the case of the elected officials from all three levels of government, this is clearly the route we’ve chosen. We’ve chosen to thank the NCC for their work, thank them for the public consultation but politely reject their preferred choice for a variety of reasons,” Watson said, pointing to better site access, traffic management and transit at the Sir John Carling property, which is near a Trillium Line rail station.”

Again, where was Watson to argue that the Ottawa Hospital’s preferred site (across from the current site) did not have LRT access? If Watson was convinced that traffic would be a problem at Tunney’s, then why did he not speak up, or even volunteer to have the city conduct a traffic study? I could got on, but I think the picture is clear that Watson did nothing until the Ottawa Hospital was willing to accept the Sir John Carling site as the alternative.

I can’t wait for Watson to attend his next NCC meeting; talk about “how to win friends and influence people.”



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5 thoughts on “Watson Spins NCC Fable: Reader

  1. I wonder how Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly feels about having foisted Watson on the NCC Board.

    If the NCC had wanted to have the Ottawa and Gatineau mayors at their table, it would have happened a long time ago so we can speculate about their willingness before Joly laid down the law.

    While much of their business is conducted behind closed doors, the NCC does have open meetings sometimes. The next one might be worth attending. My sympathies are with NCC chairman Russell Mills.

  2. Watson was late to the party due to a lack of leadership and acumen.

    Also until his press conference he was not the front and centre for a photo-op.

    He is politically astute when it comes to garnering votes but slow off the mark until he checks for the direction of public opinion.

  3. Wonder if this is partly Watson payback to the NCC for it not originallyapproving his Phase 2 light rail down the Macdonald Parkway.

    My gut senses more layers to this mess, just do not know who or what, but games are being played.

  4. Doug Fullerton, he of Rideau Canal Skateway fame and other intuitive measures while chair of the NCC, must be spinning in his grave over the farces being conducted among the levels of government. Should we be considering once again a federal city such as Washington D.C. where a Watson would not be king?

    1. Bruce:

      Thank you for this.

      The City of Gatineau for many years didn’t want the O-Train crossing the Ottawa River for what I perceived as nationalist reasons.

      Now the Gatineau mayor is a supporter of it.

      But if a train can be perceived as a nationalist affront, imagine what a federal region would engender.

      Quebec would never buy it.




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