Say No to Unlimited Power for Ottawa Mayor Watson

Say No to Unlimited Power for Ottawa Mayor Watson
Posted on April 7, 2020 | Suzanne Mooney | Written on April 7, 2020
Letter type:


Ottawa Citizen

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

In the April 6, 2020 Ottawa Citzen, an article noted a Staff Recommendation to Council which would give the Mayor/CEO or a designate, unlimited unilateral power to borrow money.  Do we really look that stupid? 

On Wednesday April 8, 2020, City Council will hold a Virtual Council Meeting. At that time, a motion will be put forward for a vote;  

This motion will give the Mayor/CEO, or a designate, unlimited financial powers; 

While not the actually worded ‘recommendation’ or ‘motion’ here is the intent, as published in yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen.

“A staff recommendation scheduled for a vote during a council meeting Wednesday calls for Jim Watson or a designate to have the power to sign off on bylaws for issuing debt, rather than waiting for the next council meeting.”

We must think carefully about this and advise our Councillors, who by legislation represent our wishes. 

Jim Watson has a long personal/political agenda. Do we really want unfettered borrowing to finance God knows what? With interests rates at historic lows; with the Bank of Canada rate to the Chartered Banks at less than 1%; with a Virtual Council Meeting assembled at the click of a ‘send’ button, why would we authorize the Mayor/CEO, OR A DESIGNATE carte blanche? 

This Mayor and Council has an outstanding record for activites with 'unintended consquences' reflecting poor, non-community centric planning.  Do we want more of our monies spent the same way now when we have a chance to change? It is at times of great hardship when we need to do everything we can to safeguard our democatic principals. Granting the Mayor unfettered power is not an act to maintain democracy. 

In 2001, the Municipalities Act was amended to include the designation of CEO, in the definition of the role and responsibilities of the Mayor. The elaboration of this designation is contained in the following document, which was sent to me by the Office of the Minister. And it is vague. Here is part of the response, I received from the Minister when I asked for clarity:

“The Municipal Act, 2001 sets out the role of council and head of council as well as the special responsibilities of the head of council as chief executive officer. In some municipalities the head of council may be referred to as mayor.”

Here is the legislation, with the additional information on the designation of CEO:

Do you value citizen participation, in the affairs of our city, as defined in the legislation? 

Do you do want to be saddled with a heavy financial burden, for expenses encouraged by the municipal lobbyists already sponsoring online ‘ads’?

Yesterday, I wrote to my Councillor requesting that he vote No to this motion. 

Please join me, in the fight for citizen rights; encourage your Councillor to vote “NO’. 


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