Before the polls closed on Mon, Oct 25, the Ukrainian Church Hall, where Jim Watson was holding his election party, was already buzzing with people. Media had commandeered the front half of the hall while supporters and volunteers mingled with each other, waiting for the results to trickle in.
When the results did come in it was not in a trickle, but rather in a torrent. By 9pm, Watson had received a phone call from the defeated Larry O’Brien and was on his way to give his acceptance speech.
The air of anticipation that had hung over the hall exploded into jubilation, with clapping, cheers and laughter as Watson entered. There was the expected media frenzy of cameras rolling and flashes popping as Watson slowly made his way to the podium.
His acceptance speech conveyed his optimism for the future of Ottawa.
“The public have voted for change, and they have voted for change in a very big way. They opted for a vision of Ottawa that is anchored in reaching consensus on common grounds. One that values differences of opinion and the diversity of voices and idea, a city and a mayor that believes the true strength of our community is not found just inside councillor chambers but in community centres, shop floors, coffee shops, service clubs and resource centres,” said Watson.
Watson reiterated the need for the city to move forward in a sensible and sustainable way. He said that has to include controlling spending by controlling taxes, improving transit, cleaning up the river system and making Ottawa the most transparent and accountable city in Ontario.
Watson took time to thank the other candidates, noting that it took “courage and a thick skin” to put their names on the ballot. He thanked, in particular, Larry O’Brien for his commitment to the city, Clive Doucet for his passion and Andrew Haydon for his past work with the city.
As mayor-elect, Watson embraced the election of the new councillors and announced his intention to meet all the councillors in the next few days to talk about their vision for Ottawa’s future. Watson also reiterated what he felt were the expectations of the voting public.
“Tonight the public have told us loud and clear that they expect the mayor and council to work together, to build together, and to get our collective acts together. We can and we will make our communities better places to call home, better places to raise a family, to own a business and to go to school,” says Watson.