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Somebody give Larry a bigger shovel

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Since moving to Ottawa I’ve noticed some interesting parallels between the civic issues here and in Winnipeg. Among them are both cities long standing discussions, debates, etc about building a new stadium and endless debates about light rail and rapid transit.

The two cities are also both embroiled in mayoral races right now. Ottawa’s election is to be held Oct. 25, two days before Winnipeg’s civic election.

In Winnipeg, you have a well-known businessman-turned-mayor fighting to keep his job against a challenge from a seasoned politician.

In Ottawa, there is a well-known businessman-turned-mayor fighting to keep his job against a challenge from a seasoned politician.

Both of the current mayors got bad poll results this week, which showed them to be behind their opponents.

Sam Katz however should take some solace in the fact that the Probe Poll which showed him to be slightly behind Judy Wasylycia-Leis (although statistically and realistically tied) while Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien was 17 points behind former Ottawa mayor and Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Jim Watson.

That poll, released Monday, led to O’Brien delivering a very strange address to the editorial board of the Ottawa Citizen Monday.

Basically O’Brien admitted he was a bad mayor but wants a second chance because he has learned from his mistakes. (This is a mayor, remember, who had to temporarily step down from the job while he went on trial for allegations of influence peddling in the 2006 mayor’s race for allegedly trying to pay off another candidate to drop out. O’Brien was acquitted and went back to work.)

This is also a mayor who promised he wouldn’t raise property taxes and yet they went up 14 per cent since he took the mayor’s chair four years ago.

Telling voters you know you kind of sucked but can do better is kind of like trying to dig your way out of a deep and muddy hole using a plastic shovel from your kid’s sandbox.

Good luck with that.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.

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