Bafflegab, Lies and Mistakes


Pretty sure city treasurer Marian Simulik has much more important things to do at Ottawa City Hall than send emails to city councillors about my blog. That being said, appreciate that my story about secrecy within the walls of city hall was deemed important enough to need dissing by someone as high up the hierarchy as Similuk herself
Yes, our municipal politicians are a paranoid bunch. But if you’re reading this blog, you likely already knew that.
The purpose of my most recent blog was to point out that when Mayor Jim Watson appeared to pull a rabbit out of his magical hat and announced found money on the day of the budget, some councillors already knew there was a surplus, others were kept in the dark.
But for some reason Similuk chose to do some bureaucrat bafflegab and ignore the message.
“The purpose of this memorandum is to clarify the timelines regarding the change in the forecasted results for the 2017 year-end, given the recent erroneous media reports regarding this matter,” Similuk wrote in an email to council dated Jan. 10.
Now, Similuk doesn’t name me, but since I’m the one who wrote about the timeline, the odds seem good. So Similuk is right about one thing. I did mistakenly write that Kanata Coun. Allan Hubley bragged in November about knowing well in advance of the city budget that there would a hefty surplus in the numbers. I knew he did his bragging in December, but wasn’t careful enough in my writing.
Mistakes are never okay. I don’t take it lightly. And I apologize to all of the readers.
I always think about Rick VanSickle, one of the finest editors I had at the Sun. He’d been reading a feature length article in the Citizen and couldn’t put it down, the story so well executed, the writing so beautifully crafted. Near the end of the story, he saw a spelling mistake in the name of one of the main personalities in the story. He talked about how it absolutely ruined the entire article for him.
He’s right of course. One mistake casts doubt on the entire article.
So with that in mind, I’m loathe to point out the obvious. But I feel I have to. As serious as any mistake is, it doesn’t change the reason for the article.
The point of the article was all about secrecy at city hall, about some city councillors being given information about the budget and others being left in the cold.
That in no way excuses the mistake.
But there’s also no excuse for favouring residents in one ward over another.
And that’s what’s happening at city hall.
When Mayor Jim Watson chooses to punish a city councillor by not including them in his inner circle, he’s freezing out that councillor’s residents. They’re his residents too of course.
Not acceptable.
And no amount of emails from the very talented Similuk will ever change that.


  1. Well, Sue, you’ve donned your sackcloth and ashes over your error, so I won’t beat on you about it.
    The fact is that your error – as grievous as it was – did nothing to take away from the issue at hand. Our Mayor clearly favours those council members who kiss his ring. Those who do not are left out in the cold. The citizens of the wards of those left out are merely pawns in this ridiculous chess game.
    In addition to the secrecy you wrote about, it has been reported elsewhere that the Mayor and some others knew of the delayed introduction of Phase I of the LRT before the budget was voted on. Part of the budget includes the income from the LRT. That income will be less than forecast in the first year of the LRT since it will not be in place when expected, and will not, therefore, be bringing in revenue. Nonetheless, this information was kept from some Councillors and they voted for the budget ignorant of the fact that the numbers in it were inaccurate.
    I doubt that these two examples are atypical of the reign of Jim the First. What is different is that, FINALLY, some Councillors actually seem to give a damn. This is a refreshing change, and it will be interesting to see if they can sustain this interest, or if they will revert to their normal somnambulant ways.

    1. Grant, you are right – it is refreshing to hear that our elected councillors are willing to not just accept what is presented as the truth or the best solution. A debate is important! The fact that our Mayor is not treating everyone as an equal is disturbing.

  2. To focus on one mistake does not take away the context of your article.
    There is indeed a hierarchy at City Hall consisting of certain councillors who abide by the mayor’s wishes.
    There are those who don’t and they are left out of the inner circle.
    For anyone to believe that those millions was “found” money … I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale!
    The mayor and councillors are employees of the residents and businesses of the city.
    They would all do well to remember that.

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