Mayor Jim Watson wants to confront Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk over his LeBreton Flats arena proposal.
This is because Melnyk has been musing about whether LeBreton is the right place for his arena. If Watson had spent 10 minutes in the business world instead of drawing a lifetime paycheque from taxpayers, maybe he would recognize that’s called a negotiation tactic. In the public sector perhaps, hard-nosed deals aren’t made in the same fashion as in the private world. That’s why governments usually get hosed when they go P3 or sole-source a proposal.
That’s how Watson’s city government got its clock cleaned by Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group in the outrageous Lansdowne deal. No word if that OSEG agreement includes getting a 30-year lease on Ottawa City Hall at a nominal charge. But then maybe the city went willingly to that slaughter, too. That said, you’ve got to admire OSEG’s business acumen on this one.
But back to Melnyk. Here’s a man who wants to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this city through building a new arena … a huge project. So what does Watson do, apparently on behalf of the taxpayers of Ottawa? The mayor confronts Melnyk.
And why does Watson want to take on Melnyk? Because Melnyk is a tad unpopular in town now and by berating Melnyk, Watson thinks he can be popular. After all, city business is never about the city. It’s about Watson.
Want a library? Yes? Got the money? No. Is this good for Watson? Yes. Debt, debt debt. One wonders how long taxpayers will pay for his King Kong-sized ego? Time will tell.
Watson is putting hundreds of millions of dollars of Melnyk investment money at risk. But then what’s new? Watson turned down hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in a Kettle Island Bridge and left thousands of people in Lowertown at risk of being hurt by dangerous trucks full of things like gasoline. Hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars more than Watson’s much-touted Invest Ottawa has brought to the city. Invest Ottawa? Yet another Watson paper tiger.
Oh yes … the confrontation with Melnyk. Yes Watson negotiating with Melnyk. Watson has an illustrious history of negotiation. Remember LRT being tunnelled down the Macdonald Parkway? Watson escaped those negotiations wearing nothing but his undies. The NCC got everything it wanted but Watson declared victory. Lucky the public didn’t see him scampering down the parkway in his Harvey Woods.
Why Watson has not only been a person who can screw up the big projects. He can throw a stick into the spokes of small business, too.
Take The Bulldog for example. Watson blacklisted The Bulldog from city press releases … the same stunt the late Rob Ford pulled on The Toronto Star. Apparently Watson was using Rob Ford as a role model. Then he blacklisted The Bulldog from city advertising despite placing the same in The Bulldog’s competitors. The fact is that The Bulldog, with its large civic affairs readership, is the logical place for the municipality to advertise. Except if you criticize the mayor and we’ve done that now and then.
In both instances, Watson has tried to put the wee Bulldog at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. In other words, he tried to squish The Bulldog with his big municipal foot. Strangely, he has even failed at that.
No word where Mayor Jim Watson’s ego fits in this equation.
Hello, Your Worship. We’re still here.
Watson has also blacklisted The Bulldog from his Twitter account, but that really doesn’t matter. The mayor doesn’t have enough REAL followers to make it worthwhile to discuss. Curious what you can buy these days.
So there must be a point to all this and here it comes. You want a confrontation, Your Worship? You won’t get that from me but you will get a spirited debate.
In fact, here’s what I’m offering. The Bulldog will debate you on this or any other topic any time, anywhere, and any place. No editing, no time limit, no nothing. Just debate. You’ve never been in a debate, Your Worship, until you’ve gone mano a mano with The Bulldog. Bring it on. I’m game. I was born ready. And put some thoughts behind those lips for a change, big guy.
You see, Melnyk probably doesn’t have time to confront you. He has businesses to run, hard work to do, all in the private sector where you have to hustle to make the tax money that pays your salary.
I, on the other hand, have all the time in the world to debate you. And that’s because I know I will win. You’ve got a tiger by the tail, Your Worship.
Name the spot and the time, Your Worship.
You might scare your little councillor friends but you don’t scare me.