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Parks and recreation

The front-runners for City Hall's top job sparred over recreation fees this weekend. On Saturday, Jim Watson delivered this promise to freeze sport and facility fees, which he points out rose 40 per cent over the last two years in some cases. Watson says Ottawans pay far more for fields, court and ice time than folks in Toronto pay. He lays the blame -- where else -- at the feet of Larry O'Brien, who he says "doesn't get" that a healthy city is a more productive city.

Well, guess what? O'Brien shot back, calling Watson "off-side" (get it?) on the rec fee issue. Ottawans are paying more for recreation thanks to the dastardly HST. And let's not even get started on Watson's plan to raise municipal taxes 10 per cent over the next four year.

O'Brien's  tactic here is obvious, and I've mentioned it before: Associate Watson with the McGuinty Liberals at every twist and turn of the campaign. Remind people that Watson was at the cabinet table when these unpopular decisions were made. Maybe something will stick on October 25. Strangely, Watson doesn't appear to be picking up on the vibe. Just today, he tweeted: "Had a great visit to the Old Firehall on Sunnyside and a chance to tour the new addition. Good investment of provincial and city funds!" He might want to think about dropping those shout outs to Queen's Park.

For the record, Clive Doucet was first to champion lowering rec fees, with this announcement last Thursday. 


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