Mob Mentality Sinks Chiarelli – Who’s Next?

Hey Councillor Shawn Menard, be afraid, be very afraid.

On Wednesday, you and your colleagues decided to punish a fellow councillor without any sort of due process.

Even a killer, found with a smoking gun in his hand standing over his dead victim, gets a fair trial.

But College Coun. Rick Chiarelli has received none of that.

And let’s face it Coun. Menard, it would seem Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson dislikes you only marginally less than he despises Chiarelli.

You could be next. And when the mob mentality sets it, with Watson in charge, there might not be anything you can do about it. So remember how quickly you joined the mob.

In case you missed it, council unanimously rejected giving Chiarelli time off from council, though he had a doctor’s note saying he needed the time off.

This has never happened before. Ever.

Do I believe the dozen plus women who’ve come forward with allegations of inappropriateness of Chiarelli’s alleged actions, sexual or otherwise?

Absolutely. There is no doubt in mind. Like other journalists in the city, I’ve spoken with some of these women, I know them, I like  them – and I not just believe in them, but I never doubted them.

If you haven’t paid any attention, Chiarelli has been accused of making  inappropriate sexual references towards many of his young female employees, everything from suggesting what they should wear, to late night stops together in the city or outside of it.

It’s gross, not a terribly sophisticated word, but it’s appropriate. And it breaks my heart to think of these very young women feeling they had to deal with grossness because they needed a job. 

But if council can censor a colleague who hasn’t been found to be guilty of untying, what’s to stop Watson and his gang of targeting other councillors they don’t like?

So where does city council get off refusing a doctor’s note, which should have excused Chiarelli from attending council for at least three months.
This has never happened before. Never. Ever.

And frankly, I don’t believe for a minute that if Chiarelli was in Watson’s inner circle before this news came out, this just wouldn’t be happening now.

No way, no how. Watson protects his friends. What can you remember about Watson criticizing his buddy Tim Tierney, after Tierney alluded to a food bank donation as an apparent hope his opponent might reconsider running? Doesn’t take too long thinking about that, does it? Osgoode Coun. George Darouze was found guilty of breaching council’s code of conduct. Not only didn’t Watson utter a word, but Darouze is still one of Watson’s deputy mayors.

What does that mean to Chiarelli? Well, before he’s been off for three months in a row, if he wants to keep his job, he’ll have to show up at some point, make an appearance during roll call. Watson knows this experience will be humiliating, and the media will be chasing him for a comment. It doesn’t bother me that Chiarelli might be embarrassed. But it won’t take away Chiarelli’s pay cheque and it won’t change a thing – accept humiliate the College councillor. Is that Watson doing a happy dance?

Former Bay councillor Alex Cullen is the only politician that I know of to call council out.And if your municipal memory isn’t as long as mine, Cullen and Chiarelli are not friends. And they don’t like each other. In fact, Cullen believes that years ago, Chiarelli stabbed him in his political back. So don’t think for a moment that Cullen is just backing up a friend. In fact, Cullen is too principled to back up anyone he didn’t agree with.

“It’s politics pilling over good judgment. In any other employment situation, a doctor’s note would be sufficient to get you any leave doctor recommends. This is a health professional saying someone can’t do their job. That should have been valid enough. Unfortunately, there are politics at play here. And that’s spoiled over to making a judgment on this very valid request. There was no debate and that really bugs me.There was no discussion on why this should be, (council’s) decision over that of a health professional. I suspect what happened is that there was a herd mentality,” Cullen said to On the City, From the Burbs.”This has been very badly handled, ” Cullen added. “And someone has to call out council. If it could happen to one person, it could happen to anyone.”

“It’s the political piling on, Jim has continued to twist the knife. He’s entitled to his opinion, but we know his motives. There’s been no debate, no justification, yet we do have due process.You can’t skip steps. No law has been broke,” Cullen rightly pointed out.”Politics is a blood sort and the herd will turn on someone who’s weak.”

Yes, politics at Ottawa City Hall, it’s ugly


  1. I believe the women .. no question there.
    Chiarelli is in a difficult spot and ridicule/humiliation is a given upon his return but this penance does not take away from the fact that he had a doctor’s letter supporting and legitimizing his absence.
    Councillors would be wise to remember this moment lest one of them be availed with a personal problem resulting in their absence from council.
    What goes around, comes around.

  2. Idiot Ménard’s action along with that of others will end up costing taxpayer funds in court. All to score political points with the public and virtue signal which Ménard loves to do. I suspect the legal opinion given to City Council behind closed door was the total opposite of what Council did which was to reject the request. Mr. Sevigny, Chiarelli’s lawyer will have a field day with this in court. What the likes of Ménard did is indefensible in court.

  3. I expect the reason that Watson didn’t comment on Tierney was because it was before the courts. When you are charged with a crime and it was very serious I don’t think it’s appropriate for colleagues to weigh in. That is different though when there is no criminal charge however I am not saying there isn’t a crime here as this is written in both Canada’s and Ontario’s criminal code. There is an opportunity as well for all of these women to file civil suits and the payouts range generally from 5000 to $20,0000. Sexual harassment takes many forms and has many different forms of recourse for women. Police, the employer or hire a lawyer.

    Quite frankly taking about anything but the women almost seems like a disservice to those women to me. All of us that have been victims at the workplace and that is 1 out of every two of us, deserve better.

    And I also believe a lot of people at the City of Ottawa knew a lot more than they would ever admit publicly for many years – and did nothing – in the City’s desire to protect its reputation. So now the crack has opened – people are criticizing the City and Mayor and Councillors and that is frankly misguided criticism. Again can I emphasis THE WOMEN !

    Maybe Chiarelli has a doctors note that allows him to holiday in the Czech Republic but I would be hard pressed to grant him leave if I was a fellow councillor just because he has to dodge reporters.

    There is a lot of history here. I expect that’s hard to ignore amongst colleagues and staff. I know it’s behind the scenes – but just think about it. When no one leaps to defend ……

  4. “But if council can censor a colleague who hasn’t been found to be guilty of untying, what’s to stop Watson and his gang of targeting other councillors they don’t like?”

    He has not been censored – Rick Chiarelli can show up to Council or speak to any media member he likes to tell his story. He has, in fact, done that – he has had his assistants read prepared statements to the media on his behalf that surely he approved. He is well enough to engage a PR firm and a law team for positive spin but not to answer questions to anyone? How convenient his illness must be to allow him work that benefits him but not work that benefits anyone else.

    That his story is of great embarrassment to him, and to the city, is something he could’ve controlled years ago with his actions.

    He has, and continues, not to show up and answer basic questions to his colleagues and his constituents. Certainly if the man can survive a plane ride to Europe while receiving a public pay cheque, he can drive to Laurier and be counted as present once in three months. The hyperbole is astounding.

  5. If Rick is forced to resign who will replace him? Already two wannabe politicians are jockeying for the lucrative position.

    Since Emilie Coyle is not interested will we get stuck with Ryan Kennery or some other Watson ally? Sure hope not!

    “Councillor Kurt Stoodley” to go along with Coun. Meehan sounds good to you people, no?

    I trust professional journalists more than career politicians, so a council with Joanne Chianello, David Reevely and Susan Sherring would be a huge improvement on Watson and his gang for competence and transparency.

  6. Good for you for writing an article exposing the fact that due process is being completely disregarded in this case. Regardless of one’s opinion of the allegations, this lack of process should be frightening to us all.

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