Doug Thompson Working Hard to Reclaim Osgoode


Having gone door-to-door with George Darouze to help him win the right to represent Osgoode ward in 2014, former Osgoode mayor and city councillor Doug Thompson is now poised to try to take the ward back.

“I’m not going to officially say yes, but yes, I’m very close to that, to saying yes that I’m going to do it,” Thompson told On the City, From the Burbs in a recent interview.

While Thompson can’t spend any money campaigning until he registers, which this year is May 1, the longtime politician has been on the meet-and-greet circuit.

“People are very supportive. I’ve been to more tea parties over the last three months than I can count. I can’t spend money, but you can talk to people. And residents are saying to me that if I want to run, they’re supportive,” he said. “I’ve been very encouraged by the response. I’m just taking some time, dropping into people’s homes, seven or eight a day and just talking to people.”

But how does Thompson explain his support of Darouze and then running against him?

“I just don’t think he’s a strong advocate for the rural areas. I don’t think he’s done the job. I thought he had more strengths, but the substance isn’t there. It’s really interesting, he’s starting to throw a few darts out there, he’s starting to blame me and others for issues in the ward. And the way he approaches things, he blocks people from Facebook and twitter,” Thompson told On the City, From the Burbs.
(Perhaps that’s a trick he learned from Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.)
“He’s a nice person, but I really don’t think he’s a good politician.
“I guess he’s a good salesman and he hoodwinked me.

There is one wrinkle in Thompson’s plans. He’s also being encouraged to consider running for the Tories in Carleton, should that nomination process be overturned. Thompson had entered the nomination race there, but dropped out when it was clear to him the system was rigged to elect Goldie Ghamari. Ghamari won, but there are still calls to overturn that decision and hold another nomination meeting.
(As a testament to his popularity in Osgoode, when he left the PC nomination race, the provincial Liberals tried to woo him to their side. Frankly, I wish he’d taken the bait. Would have served the Tories right.)

“Honestly, my mind is more focused on the city right now. If (the PCs) do decide they’re going to start the nomination process all over again, I’d have to take a look at it, but right now, I’m focusing on the next term of city council,” Thompson said.
“I just don’t think George is really a rural politician.”




Is Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson hoping for a more Watson-friendly city council after this fall’s election?

In the City, From the Burbs has been talking to a number of concerned politicians and citizens in Ottawa who say Watson is gunning to oust several city councillors who often oppose him around the council table.

At the top of his hit list appears to be College Coun. Rick Chiarelli. Chiarelli told this blog he’s heard from a number of people in his ward who have told him associates of the mayor have been badmouthing the long-time councillor in their search for someone to take him on.

Being on the outs with Watson certainly isn’t new ground for Chiarelli. But Watson was particularly angry with Chiarelli recently following the release of this year’s budget, going so far as to lash out at reporters who were quoting the College ward council.


Chiarelli told the media he felt it was a fake  budget and the media ate it up. Chiarelli has been in the dog house ever since.

“The stuff he’s being saying about me, it’s just grimy, just stuff you wouldn’t say,” Chiarelli said, adding he doesn’t understand why Watson is so thin-skinned.
“Sure, I find it all offensive. If he’s picking people and everybody is just going to be a bobblehead, then why have councillors?” the councillor asked.

Oh, please don’t tempt the mayor with that idea!

“Honestly, I find it kind of an arrogant use of his time. He should be being the mayor, not going off on these tangents.
“My job is actually to consider all the things in front of us and to ask the questions. That’s my job. If I can’t support it, I don’t.”

One person considering taking Chiarelli on is Ryan Kennery, a former city staffer who worked in the mayor’s office. He hasn’t made up his mind yet, but says the idea of running was his own and no one else’s. As to whether Watson would support him, he said that question should be addressed to Watson. Would love to, but Watson – who once told me he knew that as a journalist I was always willing to listen and consider all sides – has apparently changed his mind. The mayor no longer takes my calls!

I need to make something perfectly clear here. While there are those at city hall who believe Kennery has been urged to run by Watson to try to oust Chiarelli, I have no hard and fast evidence of that. In a recent get-together with Kennery, we discussed a wide range of issues, with Kennery proving himself to be both informed and engaged.

Taking on an incumbent is difficult to do, often near impossible – especially against a hardworking, ward-centric councillor like Chiarelli.
The two do have something in common, both Chiarelli and Kennery spoke well of the other – both describing the other as nice.

“He’s a nice guy, but he’s going to get thrown under the bus,” Chiarelli said.

Nor do I have any evidence Watson is behind the recently announced bid by former Ottawa Champions president David Gourlay, who earlier announced he is running in Kanata North. That ward is now up for grabs with the official announcement on Tuesday from Marianne Wilkinson that she is retiring.

Gourlay certainly does have strong connections to Watson. Aside from the baseball connection, Gourlay’s wife Danielle McGee works in the mayor’s office. It wasn’t particularly classy of Gourlay to announce his intention to run before Wilkinson announced her retirement, which everyone knew was coming. For now, enough said on that.

Several people have also confirmed that they were approached directly by the mayor enquiring about a possible candidate to run against Deans.
Deans, who is often on the outs with Watson, very uncharacterisally refused to discuss the matter. That of course is somewhat telling on its own.
She didn’t deny it, just said she wouldn’t talk about it.

And Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum, another who is rumoured to be on the hit list, also refused to directly answer whether he’d heard rumblings in his ward about Watson looking for someone to take him on. The silence is odd. Asked whether he’d heard about Watson meddling in his ward, Nussbaum would only say that he would be running again.

“I plan to run and my independence on council is something I will run on,” Nussbaum said.

Pretty telling.



Hey Mr. Mayor, It’s 2018


Honestly, there’s something incredibly depressing about the suggestion the city develop a bureau to increase the representation of women at the city – depressing on a number of levels.

In fact, it’s both depressing and shocking that after all this time, some believe we need to incorporate a government body to deal with this. And it’s worrisome of course to see the potential for our taxpayer dollars used to address the situation.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a problem at city hall. And thankfully, Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans is attempting to address it. Deans has always been a strong voice for women, never wavering in demanding women get the fair shake they deserve. Thank goodness for that.

At last Wednesday’s council meeting, Deans suggested the city was “not women-friendly.” That’s obvious for anyone who follows city hall. And as such, she filed a notice of motion calling for the city to create a women’s bureau at city hall and consider gender balance in municipal government decisions.

“You feel the momentum building in the last few years and then there’s city hall,” Deans said. “If we don’t move ahead, we fall behind.”

Absolutely and sadly true, of course.

Deans said that she wanted the city’s support to have the mayor and staff consider a women’s bureau and a women’s liaison position . To put it in context, Deans called for the city changes following the release of the federal Liberals budget.

But like some others, I bristle at the thought of creating a bureaucracy that would hog our city dollars. I see the need, not sure about the solution. And frankly, like many others, I’m incredibly frustrated we’re still dealing with this issue. And I fear setting up a bureaucracy, even a small bureau, will just bog us all down instead of moving us ahead.

Not surprisingly, Mayor Jim Watson doesn’t like Deans’ ideas.

Can you remember the last time Watson liked anything Deans had to say?

Watson was quick to suggest that he had all sort of ideas for making women more equal at city hall.  He added that if he is re-elected in the fall, he’d like to make sure all city advisory boards and commissions are gender balanced. Really? Not a lot of power there.

If Watson believed in equality, why aren’t the four women on council in more leadership roles? Why aren’t the advisory boards already equally represented? Why aren’t there more women at the senior staff level? Just take a look around the horseshoe at city hall and see where the real power rests at city hall.

It’s with men.

If there was any real concern from our mayor, why has he only made suggestions to improve the situation after his nemesis, aka Deans, raised the issue? Was he saving this little nugget to form part of his election platform? Sure, Mr. Mayor, let equality wait!

Change starts at the top.
Watson has never shown any desire to change the status of women at city hall
So let’s put Deans in as the women’s liaison and insist Watson recognize it’s 2018.