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CBC Ottawa

Attacking us where we live

Alta Vista councillor Peter Hume has distributed a letter to the editor in response to this piece in today's Ottawa Citizen by columnist and blogger Ken Gray. Gray was for many years the newspaper's man at City Hall, so he and Hume are well acquainted. So well acquainted Hume knows where Gray lives, and makes a point of sharing that information.

"As a resident of Westboro and a former Ottawa Citizen City Hall reporter, Ken Gray knows that development issues are rarely simple, but his column elevates his neighbourhood conflict over his journalistic principles," writes Hume.

What exactly is Hume saying here? He's saying Gray's opinion on the twin condo towers proposed for 335 Roosevelt Ave. is influenced by his address. That's insulting. We can argue about the details, but Gray's column very neatly sums up the frustration many residents of this city are feeling about the planning process, where every zoning regulation seems to come with an escape hatch, and every rule seems ripe for the breaking. But never mind all that: Ken Gray lives in the neighbourhood. 

Peter Hume has ignored the message and shot the messenger. When politicians feel it's okay to broadcast cheap insinuations about a journalist's motives, we're at the summit of a very slippery slope. I've seen it happen before at Ottawa City Hall, and it's not okay. The councillor better have some proof to back up what he's written. If he doesn't, he should apologize to Ken Gray. 

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