Analysis: The politics behind Ottawa Mayor Watson's latest cabinet picks

By Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen, December 11, 2018

Mayor Jim Watson has chosen a cabinet of clear allies, while strong-arming those who could present the biggest challenge to his four-year agenda and political future.

The result may be a sharper wedge between inner-urban councillors and the rest of council.

The city’s committees, subcommittees and council appointments all took shape Tuesday at a meeting of the nomination committee. A survey distributed to councillors last week allowed them to state their preferences; and the mayor brought his proposed slate to the committee, which votes and sends the list to council for final approval.

The elephant in the room Tuesday quickly emerged as the lack of urban representation on arguably the most important council committee: the Watson-chaired finance and economic development committee. That’s the committee tasked with major policy oversight for things such as LRT planning, corporate finance and real estate.

Not a single downtown-area councillor will sit on the finance committee if the proposed membership passes at council meeting Wednesday. In fact, of the 11 proposed members of the finance committee to sit with Watson, nine members are either rural or suburban councillors.

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