Watson Kinda Has No Regrets: WHOPPER WATCH


whopper.watch .12.26


“I appreciate the public’s anger and frustration.”

Former mayor Jim Watson on his light-rail debacle.


In case you’ve been wondering, this has been Jim Watson Week on The Bulldog.

Now Jim Watson Week used to be every week when he was mayor. But now that he is the former mayor, the staff and management of your Bulldog usually take a break now and then from Watson and instead write about Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley … then back to Watson.

The ex-mayor and former god-king of Ottawa did himself no favour when he got the Citizen to write a story about him that was about as hard-hitting as a slow-hangin’ curve.

He desperately wants to get back into public life (watch your back, Mark) because that has been his life … he knows nothing else. Watson likes to be the big man on campus. And so loved … and respected.

Watson was once a young man in a hurry and now he’s an old man in a hurry. That’s one of Watson’s biggest problems.

Everything had to be done yesterday. Studied? Planned? Consulted? Costed out? Nah … just do it. Management by whim.

You might remember that he got sick of testing and delays and was told the LRT was not ready so Watson said send that puppy out because he wants everything done yesterday. Now you might have read that the train didn’t really work out. One of the big reasons was that it wasn’t passing pre-release tests. No matter, send that train out. And it didn’t work. Also, it doesn’t work (note tense). The biggest project in Ottawa municipal history was rushed out the door courtesy of an old man in a hurry. Not exactly a detail man, nor a non-detail man. He was a big idea guy … he wanted a new library. That hatched out of a campaign and was a spur-of-the-moment decision. It’s the wrong project in the internet age and woefully over-budget.

Waydago Jim. Yer the man.

Watson in the Citizen story says he has no regrets. One would think light rail might fall into that category, but no. He doesn’t regret that.

And yet he utters the whopper above.

“I appreciate the public’s anger and frustration.” With no regrets. In other words, he does not appreciate the public’s anger and frustration because he has no regrets.

In fact, even his no regrets have regrets. Watson is like trying to pin mercury on cork board.

Now despite the fact he has no regrets, he has regrets. He regrets  the health system is not responding to the pressures seniors are putting on it. Except that health care is a provincial responsibility. So he can regret it, despite having no regrets, because it wasn’t his responsibility. So how can you regret something with which you had nothing to do? Cut to the mercury and cork-board metaphor above.

Watson also regrets senior loneliness. Don’t we all. He has nothing to do with it as mayor, so it is a very safe regret, though he has no regrets.

Interestingly enough, both of those regrets apply to the current version of Watson. He’s adjusting to not being mayor, dealing with the shame and humiliation of wasting $6.4 billion and not being especially liked. He faces health challenges like all we seniors and he’s lonely. So his regrets are all about Watson. It’s always about Watson. Always has been, always will. And it’s not his fault. And he doesn’t regret it.

So let’s tie this all together.

Watson desperately wants to get back into public life. But (note whopper) he does not appreciate the public’s anger nor its frustration. If he did, he would not be rushing back into public life. But Watson is an old man in a hurry. So he will screw up his comeback by coming back too fast.

Just like he punched out LRT too fast making it a disaster.

So Watson does not appreciate the animosity of the public, not a bit. And he has no regrets except that he has regrets but not the ones he should regret.

Watson is not reading the public mood. And that’s why his comeback will fail miserably. He’s coming back too soon.

Furthermore, it’s not about public policy. It’s about Watson.

And that’s regrettable.

Ken Gray


What Is Jim Watson Trying To Do? BENN

Don’t Come Back, Comeback Kid: MULVIHILL

What About Watson’s Testimony At LRT Inquiry?

Watson’s A Big Man On LRT: WHOPPER WATCH

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2 Responses

  1. The Voter says:

    There’s a song an Ottawa boy wrote a while ago and I think it fits the situation perfectly.

    “Regrets? I’ve had a few but then again too few to mention … I did it my way!”

  2. sisco farraro says:

    Slim Jim never learned the sandbox analogy. Life’s like a sandbox that we all play in and share. Some days we play Jim’s way, some days we play the way others want to play. Bullies like Jim want everyone to play their way all the time. They don’t like compromise so nothing gets done correctly because they don’t listen to the input of others who are smarter than they are. The good thing about bullies like Jim is that eventually they end up playing alone, once everyone has had enough of them. The quote at the beginning of Ken’s piece sounds like the musings of a lonely man.

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