Mayor Jim Watson, Ontario's ombudsman spat on Twitter, radio

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Ontario's ombudsman, André Marin, have been duking it out on Twitter and CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning after Marin's calls for the power to investigate municipalities.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, left, and Ontario ombudsman André Marin, right, exchanged heated words on Twitter and CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. (CBC)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Ontario's ombudsman, André Marin, have been duking it out on Twitter and CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning after Marin's calls for the power to investigate municipalities.

On Wednesday, Marin held a news conference in Toronto to discuss the provincial government's reintroduced accountability bill.

During the news conference, Marin brought up a report released that day by Ottawa's auditor general, which criticized the city's contract with Orgaworld for green bin recycling.

"Looking at the track record of this province, I hope that he [auditor general Ken Hughes] survives after a report like this," Marin said.

The next day, Watson was a guest on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. Asked about Marin's remarks, Watson told host Hallie Cotnam duplicating Hughes's oversight efforts isn't necessary.

"I think he's put forward an argument against his own quest for more powers because the auditor general did his job," Watson said.

"[Hughes] was asked to do the investigation, he came out with a very damning report, he didn't hold back any punches, and what Mr. Marin is saying is, let's allow him to go and do an amateur auditor general's report and have a duplicate of what we did, costing taxpayers lord knows how much money."

Marin responded on Twitter, calling Watson's comments "cheap electioneering" and promising to respond Friday during Ottawa Morning.

Watson shot back, asking why Marin felt it was necessary to have illustrations of chickens and pigs at his news conference on Wednesday.

During the interview, Marin said he has "great admiration" for Watson and Ottawa's model is a good one, but "he should know better."

"He's creating a diversion by talking about duplication, which he knows very well we don't do," Marin said. "We're oversight. Oversight is not duplication. We're looking over to make sure things are done properly."

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