Reopen casino debate, Ottawa councillor urges
An Ottawa city councillor wants to reopen the casino debate in the city, saying a reshuffling of leadership at the provincial government and the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation has changed the debate.
Tim Tierney said he will propose a motion next month calling for councillors to reconsider the decision to support a casino.
The change in leadership in the province, with Kathleen Wynne taking over from Dalton McGuinty, and at OLG, where Paul Godfrey was fired and the board replaced, has changed the debate, he said.
"In a nutshell, there's been a lot of change in the last year," said Tierney.
"Look at the city of Toronto, they voted 40 to 4 against a casino downtown there. These were things we were never allowed to do under the initial discussions with the OLG...so I consider that new information," he said.
Last fall, city councillors voted 19 to 5 in support of a casino in Ottawa. Tierney was one of the five councillors who opposed the move.
'Different appetite' at council
He said he believes more councillors are ready to change their vote, like councillor Rainer Bloess, who voted in support of the casino in the fall.
"I think councillor Tierney's reading the tea leaves here and he realizes there a different appetite around the city council table," said Bloess.
Mayor Jim Watson said he won't support the motion.
Without the mayor's backing, Tierney would need three quarters of council on his side for the motion to pass.
Bloess said getting less than that is still a "moral victory."
"So we may be stalled by a procedural wall but I do think it sends a strong message," said Bloess.