Harder Lies and That’s the Truth

The word liar isn’t one journalists use easily. No one should. It’s a strong accusation and needs absolute proof. But yet, it is with absolute confidence and proof, I now am calling Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder a liar.

Really not sure what happened to the woman known as the mouth who roared, who didn’t give a hoot about political correctness or what others thought about her. She loved the reputation and it was well-deserved. She just called it as it was – detractors be damned. And her constituents loved her for it. How could they not?

But something has changed. She’s smelled power and she loves it. She’s finally on the inside of council after years of looking in from the outside. And for those of us who liked her better as the free-wheeling honest politician, it’s pretty sad. And hard to take. Harder made it clear she was going to support former broadcaster Carol Anne Meehan as a candidate if she entered the race. The two of us talked about it and we both hoped Meehan would enter the world of politics. And when she did, Harder was there as a supporter. Good on her. A lot of politicians shy away from public endorsements of candidates running against their council colleagues – but again – Harder doesn’t usually waste time on those niceties when she believes in something or someone.

And had she signed Meehan’s nomination papers? Yes, she said, she had. Again, good on her. Do what you believe in. But then, things turned ugly. In an interview with Harder the night before Meehan was to announce, I double checked she’d signed the nomination papers. Yes, she had, she confirmed again to me. But when she realized I was writing about it, she flipped out – insisting I keep that little nugget for later – when it would be more impactful. Say what? Not really a big deal in our world, but Harder was desperate that I not write it.

Then word came down she was going to take her name off of the nomination papers. Okay, that’s crazy. What was she hiding? Or maybe, more likely, who was she worried would find out? Couldn’t be Qaqish, but maybe Mayor Jim Watson? Watson doesn’t like Meehan, not at all. And of course, as is very clear if you watch council, Watson can control Qaqish, so he’s pretty crazy about him!

And then the message exchange went from bad to worse.

Told that I would write that she had put her name on and was now saying she was taking it off, here’s what she texted me: “My name was never there.” When I pointed out the obvious, that she had already told me it was there, here’s her texted response: “You will have to prove that. Certainly I will support her candidacy. My name is not on nomination.”

The problem here? Harder was somehow under the mistaken belief the nomination papers weren’t going to be public!
They are in fact, absolutely public. And yes, her name is there endorsing Meehan.

Another name on Meehan’s nomination papers is former city councillor Steve Desroches. But he too declined to talk about his reasons. Can it be Watson is behind his reticence as well, waiving future support or goodies in front of them?

What are these people afraid of? Watson is a bully. I have absolutely no proof he’s the reason behind their reticence, but as a columnist, I’m free to speculate about what I believe. That’s what I believe. And that’s the truth.


  1. Wow! I am shocked! Like you, I have always admired Jan’s straight forward approach. So disappointing to read that she has changed.

    1. I’m actuallyreally sad, but not sure she’ll ever admit she’s changed. That being said, I never believed she’d lie.

  2. She can take her name off the ballot too in Ward 3. We would pretend to believe her when she says it was name was never on it….LOL

    1. She’ll come up with something, for all the years I’ve covered politics, I’m still pretty naive – this had been really hard for me

  3. Not only is Jan Harder a liar she is also hypocrite. She certainly knows the art of the backroom deal especially when it comes to developers, and she doesn’t know the meaning of the word transparency. If Jim Watson doesn’t like Ms. Meeham you can be sure Jan Harder thinks the same because she is nothing more than Mayor Watson’s mini me. Maybe if some of our city councilors had a set of balls like Sue Sherring they to could stand up to Watson and Harder and think for themselves.

  4. Jan Harder is a veteran politician around council, and a known community politician in Ottawa. As a veteran female politician she has every right to either endorse or unendorsed a candidate for office. Politically, it is not good to be fomenting negative partisanship or favoritism for one particular candidate over another around election time if one is an incumbent councillor with the record of a veteran politician in CANADA’s capital when the career incumbent mayor is attempting to return to incumbency and political primacy only months away. Politics is adversarial enough without one incumbent getting into the mix of another incumbent’s campaign strategy.

    Suck it up, buttercup. Politics is a blood sport don’t ya’ know!


    1. I don’t care who she endorses or doesn’t or who she signs nomination papers for. I just don’t understand the need to lie about it.

      1. Politicians never lie, Susan. Politicians manage their words instead of lying outright. Only noobs lie in politics. Veteran politicians get over that in their first week of management 101 in the Corporation of the City of Ottawa around the council table which is indeed autocratic in terms of process once these councillors & incumbent mayors sit down for yet another term. Electioneering is about pretending that alliances in politics are with the people instead of the politicians and their political party agendas. Watson is a known Liberal Mayor of Ottawa and Carolanne is a known Conservative that stands in opposition to the centrality of Watson’s governance. Harder knows this all too well at election time and she probably thought that you did too.

      2. Oh yeah…one more thing here… since I’m your favorite blog poster of all time and given that you love me dearly can I have my avatar picture uploaded into the avatar window?


  5. I like how you went from calling yourself a journalist when it adds to your credibility but in the same article then refer to yourself a columnist so you can then skirt by on things being your opinion. Either you’re reporting or you’re opining and conflating the two is a disservice to the community. Pick. A. Lane.

    Also – you do care who nominates who, otherwise you wouldn’t have been writing about it.

    1. I agree, Dennis. Susan is disingenuous with respect to intent & agenda of her journalism. She bears no responsibility for her own agenda as though she is somehow some sort of final arbiter of political ethics & professional integrity. Journalists are peddling ‘fake agenda driven news’ as impartial non-biased ‘Peer-reviewed’ (((((cough))))) so-called ‘truths’. Her objectivity is easily accessible IMHO.

      cheers, Robert

  6. I hope you’ve lawyered up. You have committed defamation and compounded the offence by allowing your sycophants to repeat it.

  7. Wow, I like Jan for the outspoken person. She is. I see her always doing stuff for Barrhaven. Now unlink her counterpart in riverside South and east Barrhaven……. Qaqish… What has he done for us? He can’t even answer a simple email about roads. Jan had no issue answering me.. He had to have a crony answer me. Come on Michael, prove you want to be there for us, and not just for the damn pay chack!

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