Why Does Watson Want Names? Reader


Frequent Bulldog contributor Anne Marie sent along this email which talks of concern about LRT tunnel safety:


Why, when Sean McKenny reports safety concerns have been voiced to him by some LRT workers, does the mayor not want to meet with him but rather wants the names of individuals who have voiced concerns so he can contact them and meet with them individually.

I have never heard of him making such a request regarding any other concerns on any other issue in this city.  Is intimidation an issue?

Oh transparency, where fore art thou transparency.

Anne Marie



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7 thoughts on “Why Does Watson Want Names? Reader

  1. It’s an intimidation tactic.
    If the Mayor was genuine in his concern for the safety of LRT workers, he would speak with Sean McKenny ASAP.
    All the talk and no action by all concerned is not acceptable. Hopefully, it does not result in more injured workers.

  2. Simple.
    1. If the concerns are dealt with through the union(s), there’s no glory for Watson.
    2. If he gets to meet with them individually, he can keep them from going to the press and/or their union. That means he can maintain the happy-happy facade about the LRT construction going so well.
    3. Meeting them as one-offs means the worker never finds out that he’s the nth person with the same concern so the incidents are individually brushed under the carpet.
    4. He can railroad the worker into accepting a settlement that will include a gag order that means that, even if the worker later finds out he wasn’t the only one, keeps him silent.
    5. Since the City isn’t the employer, RTG or one of their subcontractors will pay the bill.

    Obviously, Watson doesn’t understand about liability for injury on the job or the role played by unions in protecting their injured workers. The employee/employer relationship seems to be a concept that’s beyond him and he doesn’t get that he could put himself and the City in an awkward position if he’s interfering in that relationship.

    Has he considered what would happen if someone invited City employees to take their concerns to that person instead of going through normal channels inside the City and/or with their unions?

  3. Although he sounds like a bully (taking names), Watson is actually thinking from a self-serving PR angle; how to turn the story around and make it about good uncle Jim to the rescue.

    Watson thinks meeting with the worker will make the worker “feel good” that his issue got the mayor’s attention, and Watson can turn a bad story into good PR “Mayor met with injured worker”, and then after that people stop following the story and the mayor can go back to ignoring the injured worker.

    At the meeting, Watson will “listen” to the worker, he will (at most) promise to raise the concerns with the employer, and nothing will actually come from it.

    1. It is a common illusionist’s gambit. Distract the audience from the real issue, which is that there appears to be a workplace safety issue on a project that involves the city, by talking about how the mayor’s office door is always open.

  4. He’s making a list,
    checking it twice,
    going to find out who’s naughty,who’s nice,
    Jimmy boy is running your town.

  5. If an unsafe situation exists at an LRT worksite and/or a worker is injured, would the City (as owner of the property and contractor of RTG) and the Mayor not be potentially named in any legal action that might be taken? If Watson is meeting with workers one-on-one, who’s controlling what he says to them? Does he know the potential interpretation of what he thinks is an innocuous comment will be given by a court or tribunal? He may think he’s offering comfort or support but could be opening the doors to an admission of liability on the part of the city.
    What limits is he planning for this crusade of his? If an attendant at a community rink has a concern with the community association that is contracted by the city to operate the rink, is Watson’s door open for that? What about the truckers who do snow removal? How about someone who participates in an activity run by a community group in a city facility?
    RTG and their subcontractors are private-sector employers. Their employees do not have an employment relationship with the city nor is the City responsible for any aspect of their labour conditions. Unless Watson plans to offer the same ear to other private-sector employees, he needs to step back from this plan of his and allow existing procedures to follow their course without his interference. We can’t afford for him to open up any more avenues for lawsuits.


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