It was the recent federal election that prompted the most questions for Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson Nov. 5, particularly with regards to his interactions with former prime minister Stephen Harper.
Speaking to 30 first-year journalism students, Watson was blunt about his lack of communication with the former prime minister.
“He lived in a bubble, and I don’t think he had that ability to reach out to other party leaders, and not of his political persuasion,” Watson said. “It’s no surprise that I’m a Liberal, but that shouldn’t prevent (Harper) from meeting with me on important issues.
“A lot of people didn’t vote for me, but that doesn’t mean I close the door and not meet with them. Once you’re out of the election cycle, you should do the responsible thing and be in the cycle of governing.”
Watson, himself a journalism graduate from Carleton University, spoke about the importance of municipal government, as well as the issues and projects city council are currently dealing with.
While Watson has worked at all three levels of government over the course of his career, he says he feels a certain fondness for municipal politics.
“I find it to be the most practical and the most pragmatic government,” he said. “There’s a lot of talk at the federal and provincial levels. There’s more action at the municipal level. You can actually get things done.”
Aside from discussing the topics of housing and employment, Watson took time to outline the council’s plans for the ongoing LRT project, as well as the recent redevelopment at Lansdowne Park.
Watson also looked excited as he illustrated his plans and hopes for the city’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.