Nothing like a little cyber-spat between politicians.
Political observers this morning watched as Mayor Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) and local Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) went keystroke-to-keystroke on Twitter over provincial uploading and other city issues.
Yes, it was Watson vs. MacLeod, but this time not in the provincial legislature, where the mayor previously sat as a Liberal cabinet minister.
CBC Radio’s Alistair Steele has posted the blow-by-blow on his blog, but the general theme of the tussle was PC Leader Tim Hudak’s non-commital to future cost relief for municipalities under the 2008 provincial uploading plan.
Apparently Twitter followers at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference took notice of the squabble, too. One delegate later told me, “People were wondering what was going on in Ottawa.”
It picked up a bit later in separate interviews I had with Watson and MacLeod.
Watson said he’s “not interested in getting in a partisan spat” with MacLeod.
“I’ve said all along, if there’s an issue that affects our city, then I will speak out on it,” Watson said, adding “I make no apologies for that.”
“I would hope, being the mayor for all Ottawans, that he’s not going to get invovled in the campaign,” MacLeod said, noting, either way, a Tory government will work with the mayor.
There was common ground, however, between Watson and MacLeod.
MacLeod highlighted the Tories’ plan to take a serious look at the “broken” arbitration process in Ontario to help municipalities better afford public sector wages. She called it “one of the biggest issues we’re dealing with.”
Watson expressed concern about the current arbitration system and conceded he didn’t like Premier Dalton McGuinty’s position to not mess with the arbitration process.
“We need changes to the arbitration system to make them fair,” Watson said.
I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last from Watson on the provincial election platforms.
Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling.