Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Today's ribbon cutting ceremony at Ottawa's sparkling new Convention Centre was a veritable who's who of local politics. Mauril Bélanger and Norm Sterling made appearances. So did premier Dalton McGuinty, alongside most (if not every) city councillor. The lineup of former mayors resembled the portrat gallery at 111 Lisgar: Jacqueline Holzman, Jim Durrell and Bob Chiarelli joined Jim Watson for the big event. There was just one man missing.
My CBC colleagues Chris Goldrick and Paul Morisset were outside on Colonel By getting exterior shots of the building, when who should happen by but Larry O'Brien. He was out for a stroll with his dog. O'Brien said he didn't know about the ribbon cutting, and hadn't been invited to the big gala tomorrow night. Seems incredible, since a great deal of the work that led to this day happened under O'Brien's watch. That includes the approval of the city's portion of the funding. O'Brien may have exagerated during his re-election bid when he claimed credit for the project. But to be relegated to passer-by? Some might call that unfair. Petty even.
While O'Brien stood there chatting, Richard Hayter came out to say hello. He's with the Building and Construction Trades Council, a group representing a couple dozen unions. Hayter invited O'Brien in for a private tour. At first O'Brien resisted, because he had his dog with him. No problem said Hayter, and in the three of them went.