Election Prediction Project
Ontario Provincial Election 2003

Ottawa West-Nepean

Last Update:
3:24 PM 01/10/2003

Prediction Changed:
3:41 PM 28/09/2003

Political Profile:

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Liberal Party:
Jim Watson
Progressive Conservative:
Gary Guzzo
New Democratic Party:
Marlene Rivier
Green Party:
Neil Adair

Garry Guzzo

Federal MP:
Marlene Catterall

1999 Result:
1999 Prediction

22834 47.79%

16419 34.36%

7701 16.12%

453 0.95%

129 0.27%

94 0.2%

2000 Federal Result:
2000 Prediction
Plurality7 853
Marlene Catterall
22 606 43.3%
Barry Yeates
14 753 28.3%
Tom Curran
10 507 20.1%
Kevin Kinsella
2 718 5.2%

Demographic Profile:

(1996 census)


Avg Household Income

Labour Participation62.10%

Canadian Citizen

Canadian Born73.54%
Ontario Born55.24%
Visible Minority18.48%

First Language

Avg Dwelling Value$171298

College/Trade School23020

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30/09/03 Tory in Dixie
Email: canadien76@hotmail.com
At worst, this riding is a tossup, not a Liberal lock. Guzzo ran very strong last time and the Liberals would need either more than an 8 point swing AND no NDP resurgence. Very much a horse race.
26/09/03 905er
Even Guzzo has given up here - just look at his comments in the media. Add to that his insensitive comments about refugees being to blame for high rent and this is 100% red. Time to move it into the Liberal collum.
24/09/03 David
I find it hard to believe that this is still a toss up. Jim is going to win hands down. He has out campaigned Guzzo. Guzzo has been no where, and continues to shoot himself in the foot. The Grits are pulling way, and the latest Decima poll has put them ahead by 22% in Ottawa. Time to switch this one over.
24/09/03 TPM
Jim Watson is doing every thing right and the media loves him because of his availability. Gary is up to his old tricks and his office in Ottawa is living up to it's reputation of not responding to the requests of constituents. His answers at the all candidates meeting and on the air where he laid the blame on his staff for slow or no response only serves to point out his absentee management style. This race might of been easier for Gary if he had spent some time managing his office rather than in Florida
23/09/03 Andrew Cox
Liberal Gain. Reason: the Latest Ipsos-Reid poll for Eastern Ontario shows a very wide Liberal lead - 54% Lib, 30% PC, 8% NDP. Translated into the local scene, this marginal PC seat becomes an almost surefire Liberal pick-up. Watson is a dynamic and high-profile candidate, capable of overcoming Guzzo's advantages of incumbency and populism. The table is set, Watson just needs to convert.
20/09/03 M.S.
This was always going to be a close riding, but Guzzo has not been doing himself any favours lately. First he said he idolizes Joe McCarthy. Now he is caught with fictitous endorsements in his campaign literature (see today's Ottawa Citizen). I respect some of the things Guzzo has done and said in his time at Queen's Park - the children's sex abuse scandal and standing up against the Magna budget come to mind. But at the same time, Jim Watson has an outstanding record as mayor, so it's a wash. So if Guzzo continues to self destruct with dumb mistakes, and the Eves campaign continues to sink, I don't see how he can survive. This one looks more and more Liberal every day.
20/09/03 Gerry Kennedy
I must join the Liberal wave here for the following reasons: 1) The NDP traditionally do very poorly in Eastern Ontario. With Cullen out of the way, almost all those votes will go Liberal. 2) Guzzo is not respected in his own party. Unlike, say, Morley Kells, however, he is not respected across the board. The TOries will only lament losing him if one seat becomes a critical margin for the Liberal majority (and it looks like it won't). Also, the Liberals won't be feeling like they've dumped one of the better Tories. 3) Liberals have a good candidate. Conlusion...Liberals: 45%, Conservatives: 41%, NDP: 10%, Others: 4%
19/09/03 A Tory in Leeds
Email: amber.nolan@sympatico.ca
Garry Guzzo's routine has been getting old for some time. Lets be honest, if there is any member of the legislature who should NOT bring up the name of Joe Mcarty, it would be the member for OW-N. Guzzo did very well to hold this riding in 1999, he will not be so lucky a second time.
17/09/03 The Big Ape
Email: thebigape2000@hotmail.com
This is going to be a very close race between Watson and Guzzo, however I give the edge to the Liberals simply because there is an over all desire for change (look at the recent poll numbers) and people in close ridings usually will gravitate towards the party that seems likely to form the next government.
18/09/03 Thom
I don't think this will be as close as people are predicting. Changes in the demographic make-up and economic fortunes of the riding favour a slight lean to the left. The NDP will not, however, reap the benefits of it having failed to field a really strong candidate while Watson's conservative record is also palatible to traditional PC's. Furthermore, while being the incumbent, Garry Guzzo is simply not that popular and lacks the charisma Watson brings to the race. You must also take into account that while Rick Chiarelli has been a popular Nepean councillor for many years, he did not bring the same kind of political currency to the table in the last election as Watson does in this one. In the last race Guzzo was also the beneficiary of the messiness caused by redistribution and the Alex Cullen controversy. Finally, the pragmatism of swing voters sensing an imminent Liberal government will pay dividends to the former Ottawa mayor who stands to figure prominently! in home-town boy McGuinty's cabinet. The Liberals will win this one by a comfortable margin.
17/09/03 Craig
Dalton's home base is next door, and Jim Watson is a very strong candidate, however Garry Guzzo is also fairly strong (even on the backbenches) and will contend too. The vote split caused by Alex Cullen's pointless defection in 1999 is gone, the NDP are not even going to be on the radar screen (they will likely throw all their resources for Eastern Ontario into Ottawa Centre, the only riding in the region that they have any real chance in). That means it is almost a dead heat and will be Ottawa's best race for sure, and possibly one of the best in Ontario. Current prediction: Watson 46%, Guzzo 46%, Rivier 5%, Adair 2%, others 1%.
15/09/03 MJ
Email: dze27@yahoo.com
This is a real tough one to call. Guzzo has the usual advantage of being the incumbent, but Watson is popular former mayor of Ottawa. Guzzo has the reputation of being outspoken and is known for his tireless work chasing down "chesters" in Cornwall. There is definitely skepticism over whether Watson is "true Liberal", but he has always been popular in Ottawa. This is my riding, and I can say that Watson has been to my door, plus dropped off literature. Haven't seen anything from any of the other candidates. There are definitely more Watson lawn signs. The other parties are a non-factor. Alex Cullen, now a city councillor, got a respectable 16% of the vote last time, but the current NDP candidate is not well known. I suspect this will tend to favor the Liberals since I can't see Rivier even getting 10% of the vote. I think this is too close to call right now. I suspect this will be a bellwether riding, with the winner coming from the elected party. I suspect the winner will get less than 50% of the vote here.
10/09/03 Fiddle Head
It was someone from Jim Watson's campaign that told me about this website so I had to write something about this contest. Right now I'm still not sure who's going to win. Both the Grits and the Tories want this riding real bad and Guzzo and Watson are running full out campaigns. Watson is well known as the former mayor but he did do a few things in office that people didn't agree with. That's the price you pay for holding office I guess. Guzzo has been on both sides of people's opinion too and people who want to change the government will come out and vote against him. I don't think I'll have this contest figured out until the last week of the campaign.
10/09/03 Tory in Dixie
Email: ericbucholz@hotmail.com
This is a very important riding for the Tories, one that they need to hang onto if they don't make headway in other parts of eastern Ontario. It is true that the riding does have a strong base of conservative support, with Tory MPPs as recent as the Davis era. We can anticipate that it will be hard fought, and it is true that the NDP support may go down to some extent, being somewhat of a cause for concern. To the extent that the bilingual issue has any impact at all, (all I have heard is that it has not), that would hurt the more pro bilingual Liberals, (remember 1972, this area threw out the Liberal MP over this 'silent' issue ?). Nonetheless, I am betting that the NDP do not really see a dramatic decrease, and with province wide Tory momentum, which we are now seeing in the polls, Guzzo can eke out a respectable margin of victory.
10/09/03 Rabbit
My sample of OWN voters (co-workers & friends) shows a leaning towards Watson by those who care. Gary Guzzo is regarded as a loose cannon, and people with small children are still upset with the tories about the CHEO cutbacks. What I found "interesting" was the people who knew there were CHEO cutbacks, but didn't know what was on the chopping block (cardiac unit). People don't seem to be really aware of issues. I wouldn't be surprised at a below 50% turnout.
04/09/03 Dean
Email: deahsherratt@rogers.com
I was going through the riding yesterday on the 86 bus and noticed in both the Ottawa and Nepean sections a large number of signs for Jim Watson, interestingly enough, with a predominant black design and no liberal "red" colours. There were also a few Gary Guzzo signs, but outnumbered probably 8-9 to 1. I suspect that Jim Watson had a large start-up of signs based on memberships that he had to win his recent nomination, but it did suggest that he is running well, or at least, very visibly...
21/08/03 Reality Check
Lot's of people are in need of a reality check here. Derek L. is on the top of the list. Toronto pundits don't know this isn't an urban riding. It's a suburban riding. Very different beast Dereck and far less tolerant of same sex issues. Both the Liberals and the Tories need a reality check if they think either Watson or Guzzo is going to get squashed like a bug. This is going to be a very close race right down to 8 pm on election night. Right now I give the edge to Guzzo simply because of the demographics of this riding. They favour a Tory candidate. This riding is where a lot of the high tech people live. There are also a lot of retired people with money who've built homes in this riding. Both these groups tend to be much more supportive of the Tories than the Liberals and they vote in much higher numbers than most other groups. The performance of the two party leaders is going to have an effect on this riding too. McGuinty will have to out perform Eves or Watson's chances of winning will take a hit. So no matter who you think is going to win this riding, it's going to be by a razor thin margin.
23/08/03 Punk Rock Girl
I was not surprised when Jim Watson left the mayors office when he did. Watson understood that when you create these mega cities, and they have their first elections, the downtown mayor always loses. The suburban voters don't trust the downtown mayor and want someone running the city that won't ignore them. The suburbs usually get what they want because they tend to vote in larger numbers than the downtown people do. So Watson read the writing on the wall and took some federal patronage. He would not have beaten Bob Chirelli for the mega mayor job. Now it's 2003 and Jim Watson is making a political comeback, running in a suburban riding. Ottawa West-Nepean is as suburban riding as you'll find. People here were the reason why Watson got out of politics. I think it's hard to see these suburban voters voting for a former downtown mayor who doesn't even live in the riding. Gary Guzzo is already playing on these issues and it's an effective strategy. Without a defining issue locally, Watson is going to have a tough task trying to turn the Tory voters away from Guzzo and towards him. This just isn't the type of riding to elect a candidate like Watson.
18/08/03 Derek L.
Why would Jean Chretien's policies on same sex marriage have any impact whatsoever on the provincial election??? Eves is already on record as being in favour of gay marriage along with McGuinty and Hampton. No provincial party seems to want to make an issue of this. In any case in an urban riding like Ottawa West, public opinion is probably 80% in favour of ending discrimination.
09/08/03 Poll Junkie
Jim Watson will crush Gary Guzzo like a bug. With a 10 point plus Liberal lead in the provincial polls (likely widening with the latest Stockwell + Runciman shenanigans) and one of the highest-profile local candidates in any riding in the province, I'm amazed that anybody thinks Guzzo has a chance to hang on. I lived in the Glebe in the mid-90s and Watson was our local city councillor - he went to EVERY ribbon-cutting, garage sale, school celebration, and any other local event of note. He'll attract soft Liberal and NDP voters in Ottawa West and would make a great Minister of Municipal Affairs in the McGinty government. The bilingualism issue won't help Guzzo beyond his core Tory base, but it will hurt Tory candidates in other Ottawa ridings with a higher francophone population if Guzzo or Eves make a big deal of it.
06/08/03 Mambo King
Email: Everybody Mambo!
This is my pick as the very best campaign to watch of the 103 ridings. Guzzo was cruising towards another term until former mayor, Jim Watson got in the race and made it very interesting. Guzzo is going to try to hold his solid base and attack the federal Liberals who are so unpopular it really hurts the provincial wing of the party. McGuinty talking about making Ottawa bilingual hurt Watson's campaign. Watson is a dynamic public figure who has drawn a lot of new people to the Liberals for the first time. Watson will whip Guzzo in the all candidates meetings and rais a lot of money. When it's all said and done, I think Guzzo is going to just finish ahead of Watson. Guzzo has a wider base to start off with and the same sex issue that Jean Chretien is obsessed with is going to damage a lot of provincial Liberal campaigns this fall. I'll go as far as saying that Guzzo will win by less than 1000 votes.
21/07/03 Wobbly Pop
And let's look at a few numbers. Last election, Alex Cullen took 16.7% of the vote, some of it Liberals who were loyal to him. Guzzo took 47%. The NDP is NOW polling at 16-17% in the recent Environics poll. Meanwhile, the Tories are currently polling 33% and the Liberals 46%. I have to disagree with Common Sens Supporter ---> this one is not too close to call. It favours Watson narrowly at face value and strongly if certain favourable conditions come to pass: I think that the presence of Watson will, minimally, cut out of the NDP vote that Cullen managed to take. The NDP will shrink to 10% or less because their candidate is a non-entity in this battle of two titans. That vote will return to Liberals or go there strategically. NDP voters do not want any more conservative government, that is clear, and are getting ready to try the Liberals, even if they don't love the notion. In addition, Watson will be able to cut into some of the more moderate conservative vote, too. Let's not forget that Watson is an established fiscal conservative (this is documented by other predictors on this site) with excellent community credentials, looking out for Ottawa. That's enough to even out this, or swing it in Watson's favour. Add in other factors... most of the polls are still showing that the appetite for change in Ontario is very high (ranging from 45-60%) vs. those that think the government is on the right track or deserves to be re-elected (I am paraphrasing and combining various polls)... this figure is about 33%. This points to more vote moving to Watson as a very credible candidate embodying that change. Change is in the air, too. Jean Charest will say so, Bernard Lord had to change focus significantly, and the federal Liberals (and the other parties) have all been changing leaders and generations. You can't easily measure this kind of appetite for change, but it is out there. Finally A particularly strong Liberal central campaign (or a landslide tide) could really bring this one over the top. Prediction: Liberal. What do El Predicto, the Gambler, and Grizz have to say lately? Have they weighed in since the Watson nomination victory? P.S. I think the official bilingualism conspiracy was whipped up in Ottawa by a big Citizen headline I saw in my clippings pacakge. Probably slow summer news time. The clarifications from McGuinty and the Liberals show simply a support for the practical bilingualism policy adopted by the amalgamated City of Ottawa, as opposed to re-opening this issue. It means you get service in French if you want to get it at a front line service area (which mirrors the Ontario government policy) It does not mean that grass cutters have to speak French and are better paid because of it. And it does not mean that every road sign has to be replaced immediately (an argument I saw in Ottawa Centre predictions) because most road signs in Ottawa, Gloucester, Orleans, Nepean, Barrhaven, etc already had "rue Wellington street" written on them anyway. So, nice try by the opportunistic Tory spinners predicting in Ottawa-West -- Nepean. Grasping at straws like a turbot clinging to life or whatever it was Tobin said in 1995.
18/07/03 The Brain
Jim Watson is just another overrated municipal politician who jumps up to provincial politics with high expectations and not much else. Anyone who knows Watson knows he's a not a team player. Watson is a one man show and that doesn't work when you run under a party label. Watson will disagree with large sections of the McGuinty platform and will be more than happy to say so. Garry Guzzo is still very highly thought of in Ottawa and has not been tarnished by some of the big mistakes Ernie Eves has made since taking over. I think people are going to be surprised by how much Guzzo beats Watson.
16/07/03 Common Sens Supporter
This race remains is commanding lots of interest in Ottawa even though it is summertime. I was listening to CFRA News Radio the past two Sundays. This week, there was an interview and call-in with Gary Guzzo. The week before was Jim Watson. They were on the same Sunday morning call-in show with the same host. This past Sunday July 13, the host even mentioned the election prediction site and then said that it sounded like the callers were echoing stuff said on this site. One caller even made fun of Mr. Guzzo's campaign manager for calling in to the show to talk to his own candidate. What was most interesting, though, was the actual conduct of the two candidates during their appearances on the show.
Mr. Guzzo this past week didn't seem to say too much. He seemed to rely on his personal popularity and kept on talking about tax cuts. He also got very agitated and irritable, especially late in the show. He was cutting off callers before they could finish their questions, and he reacted very negatively to anyone who questioned his efforts in the riding and why it is hard to reach his office or meet with him. People seemed to give Mr. Guzzo some respect for his crusade about pedophilia in Cornwall, even though Mr. Guzzo says his own government voted against him at Queen's Park. Callers also seemed to recognize that this was not much of an issue of real use to people in Ottawa. Some callers were interested in the fate of the Ottawa Senators and the cardiac unit at the Children's Hospital (an important and prominent institution here.)
The week before, Mr. Watson handled himself pretty well. Even the toughest questions, like the one about official bilingualism that people have commented on recently on this prediction site which was a tough one when it appeared in the news a couple weeks ago did not get Watson upset. I don't remember too much about that one, because it was two weeks ago. The Guzzo one was only just a few days ago. During the Watson one, lots of the usual questions came up about education and health care waiting lists.
The host kept saying that this was an exciting race to watch. I think the host is right. Prediction: too close to call. Mr. Guzzo won last time with about 6000 votes, but against different opponents with a stronger person running for the NDP. During the Watson and Guzzo appearances on the talk show, I don't think anyone mentioned the NDP. So I think that with a pretty popular former Mayor, Mr. Watson, against a sitting MPP, Mr. Guzzo, this one will be worth watching when the election comes up.
10/07/03 The Mongoose
What was McGuinty thinking? Watson may be a strong candidate despite his inability to hold down a job, but official bilingualism could sink ANY candidate in Ottawa West-Nepean. This riding has shown time and time again that it has no tolerance for having bilingualism shoved down its throat. The riding is 99% anglophone and sees no reason to force the city to hire only bilingual staff (at obscene cost) to cut the grass at parks. Dalton has done it again. His announcement may well shore up Liberal support in Ottawa Vanier, and could hurt Brian Coburn in Ottawa-Orleans. But he has completely screwed Watson in the west end. Jim should have know better than to jump into bed with "foot-in-mouth" McGuinty. He's toast.
07/07/03 Sluggo
Just when Dalton McGuinty looks like he's up to the job, he pulls a bonehead move getting involved with forcing the city of Ottawa to provide services in French. This will get the right wingers in this riding upset and will drive them into the Guzzo camp. For this reason, Guzzo is going to be the victor.
04/07/03 Trader Vic
Jim Watson has got to be shaking his head and wondering just what he's gotten himself into. Dalton McGuinty goes to all the trouble of talking Jim into running and then pulls the rug out from under him by promising to make Ottawa bi-lingual. This stand by McGuinty is the best news Gary Guzzo has had in years. The Tories will use this issue to rev up their campaign in this riding. Guzzo is now the overwelming favourite to win.
03/07/03 Tiny Tory?
Is Watson's entire Campaign Team posting on this Web Site? Not the same guys that helped him become Mayor though, those were Tories! Like a true opportunist Watson is jumping ship trying to ride a Liberal wave that will certainly die on the beach as soon as Teachers implement Work to Rule and/or Strike after a long relaxing Summer. Not the Best way to get that Soccer Mom vote, eh Real Deal! Glen keep quoting the Tory platform, it is a good platform that people will vote for...NAH..what the people of Nepean really want is a good dose of Corporate,Small Business and Personal Tax Hikes to really sink the Economy
03/07/03 Sgt. Slaughter
I am sure that Mr. McGuintys plan to institute bilingualism, in the NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION IN A BILINGUAL COUNTRY...will not be met with much dismay in any riding. Bilingualism is something that we as a country should embrace as it is specifically attatched to our heritage and tradition and gives us a sense of a unique and intellectual culture of which all canadians can and SHOULD be proud.
02/07/03 SMW
McGuinty's recent musings about making Ottawa officially bilingual was very stupid. The issue had been put to rest and now he has stirred the hornet's nest up again. If this catches, it will hand the election to Guzzo. Anglo's in Ottawa, especially the West end, don't like forced official bilingualism. This will haunt all Liberal candidates west of Bank St, especially Watson.
01/07/03 GJJ
Glen should stop recycling the lines from the Tory party manual and refrain from sniffing any more liquid paper. It is patently false to assume that federal voting patterns will automatically transfer over to the provincial election in this or any other riding. The combined vote of the Conservatives and the Alliance in the 2000 national campaign was more than Catteral indicates a general preference in the riding for the centre-right and right side of the political spectrum. It does not demonstrate that the constituency is a slam-dunk for the Tories. The reality is that Guzzo has been the invisible MLA, which will come back to haunt him on election night. Coupled with the public's tiredness of this government (despite Eves' bungling efforts to reposition this ragtag band of half-wits as real Progressive Conservatives) and a strong candidate in Jim Watson, the Liberals should win this riding. Guzzo should start preparing his resume and begin searching the help wanted section in the classifieds.
27/06/03 Corporal Punishment
Perhaps, Teachers should refrain from strikes. This is clearly the reason Glen cannot spell. Stay in school...don't be a fool, Glen. Anyways, Guzzo, the absentee and absent-minded Member from Florida will not garner any votes in Sarasota or on golf courses in Ottawa. Watson on the other hand will garner more than enough votes from knocking on every door in the riding and attending community events that Guzzo would have attended, should they have been held in the Sunshine State. The Harris-Eves government is flatlining and their cuts to healthcare will be the nail in their coffin! Florida will soon be chanting: Here comes the Judge!
24/06/03 Glen
Not so fast. Federal Liberal Cattarell is a joke. This is one of those ridings where the combined Federal CA and Tory vote would have defeated Marlene. People here are sick of the Liberals, I cannot see them voting for Dalton McGuinty, Teacher Strikes and Increased Taxes. Guzzo comes back strong. Who is Watson's Campaign Manager anyways?
10/06/03 The Real Deal
Email: a
A Response to Scoop: The bridge-building exercise began immediately in the Liberal camp. Some of the key organizers for Farnworth are coming on board with the Watson campaign, which continued working through the week. In other words, your last posting was sheer propaganda… desperate musings showing the fear and desperation now plaguing Guzzo’s camp of cronies, stooges, henchmen, and fartcatchers, as they wake up to the fact that they have serious competition from a highly credible opponent. So desperate are they that they have taken their strategy of whisper campaigning of division in the Liberal camp to electionprediction.com. I add in response to your FIRST posting: you write that your inside Tory sources (which betrays the fact you are likely a Tory yourself) tell you that Tory resources will be moved from Nepean-Carleton (Baird) as well as from Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke (the Valley) both to Ottawa – West – Nepean (to fight off the strength of Watson)… [let me tell you, they will NEED it!] Meanwhile, you write in your second (uninformed, desperate) posting that Farnworth supporters will be sitting this one out. In fact, if you read the Ottawa Citizen on Monday June 2, Farnworth said something about always helping other Liberals. I predict that any of her disenfranchised supporters will go help Lib. Candidate Rod Vanier in the neighbouring riding. I am also pretty sure that this day after Ottawa Citizen article is ALL that you had available to help you make your big claim about the horrible rift in the Liberal camp you so eagerly exaggerate. So, here’s what you have: good Loyal Liberal organizers ARE coming onboard with Watson in Ottawa – West Nepean. Those upset Liberal supporters from Farnworth campaign are going to go help in Nepean-Carleton… while Nepean-Carleton Tory resources get moved to Ottawa West in a vain attempt to fight off the campaign strength of Jim Watson. So, looking out of riding, I see a harder campaign for Baird, who will be vulnerable due to his bungling and that of Eves on the hydro file, his sheer, smarmy arrogance, that tasteless and fairly racist joke he made about SARS, and my personal favourite, dumping syringes on the podium to make a tacky point at a press conference. Those homes in Barrhaven take a lot of air conditioning, but coal fired generators at $100 million won’t go over well with the soccer Moms, either. And one thing nobody likes in Nepean is wasted money and debt. The hydro file is riddled with both.
06/06/03 The Mongoose
If Wardak knew Jim Watson as well as he says he does, he would know that AC is lying through his teeth about Watson's past. Not only did Watson not support the three-city model in Ottawa, like Tory MPPs John Baird and Brian Cobourn, but he was in fact the primary force behind the drive for a one-city Ottawa. In doing so, Watson was making a play to gobble up huge reserves in Nepean and other municipalities to cover the massive debts Ottawa had run up. Watson believed so strongly in the one-city model that he teamed up with arch-nemesis Bob Chiarelli to push it through. Watson plays well in Ottawa Centre. He will get killed in Nepean, where Garry Guzzo has vastly increased his visibility with Bill 45, which is extremely popular for a private member's bill, both in his riding and in Cornwall. And let's not forget that Watson is the worst kind of opportunist. This man swore up and down that he would never run for a party, and then when he flip-flopped on that he said he'd only ever run in Ottawa centre. Tie that in with the fact that he used to be a Tory and the voters of Ottawa West-Nepean will see right through him. Guzzo will win by the same margin as in 1999.
04/06/03 Wardak
Quite simply I agree with A.C. As someone who has known Jim Watson as long as I have (as I know A.C. could vouch for as I have figured out who he is right now). I have seen Jim Watson in action through several City Council victories which he won by 60%, 90% and 80% and with a crowning victory for Mayor, he is the best person who could possibly be running against Garry Guzzo.
This is the seat that was held by Bob Chiarelli (as Ottawa West) and will now go to Jim Watson. We have been waiting for Jim to go partisan because he has been able to win with everything he has ever done. Ironically, it was his run for Rideau River Residence Association president at Carleton that was his closest victory and he doesn't lose. He's not about to start now.
03/06/03 David in DC
Email: canadian@gwu.edu
Watson won the nomination and is now in a position to defeat "no-show" Guzzo. Watson's team is remarkably organized and is in a good position to win this thing. In elections, the first step for a challenger against an incumbent is name recognition. Watson already has this. The Liberals will pick up this seat.
04/06/03 AC
Though Jim Watson rumblings began sometime in March and heated up a bit in April, there was no public declaration from the nomination candidate until April 29th. That's right, April 29th. The membership cutoff itself was May 23rd. During that time, Watson's team rang up a lot of memberships and delivered a nomination day victory through hard work. So, the nomination victory shows a narrow vicotry and a supposed riding split, but, let's not forget, Watson had a short timeframe to work in, and he was working outside his natural Ottawa Centre power base. Meanwhile, the defeated Liberal opponent was on home turf, having been a Nepean councillor, and had the advantage of starting to plan around Christmas and sell memberships starting in Jan-Feb-March-April-May. Lots of memberships were sold while there was no other nomination opponent in the game, and some people on that team remained only from loyalty, being good to their word. So, for Watson, taking the nomination was the hard part.
Incumbent Tory MPP Gary Guzzo has been invisible in his riding since 1999 and was invisible to the portion of the riding he represented from 1995-1999 before redistribution. Guzzo's victory in 1999 was also aided by the strength of the Harris central campaign and the relative weakness of a rookie McGuinty central campaign (and negative TV advertising) These factors are all gone now. Guzzo's two best issues are criticizing his own government's foibles and his crusade against pedophilia in Cornwall. Cornwall expatriates in Ottawa have mixed feelings about the taint this has given their city. I don't know the inside scoop. The point is this: Guzzo has done sweet f--k all for his own riding most of the time, is hard to get hold of at the best of times, and is frequently out of the country enjoying his condo in Florida. This is why Guzzo is scared now that Watson has seized the Liberal nomination. This is why on March 25th, the same day the Watson rumour first appeared in a mainstream publication (the Ottawa Sun) Guzzo attacked Eves' phony Budget plan (March 27) to get good headlines back home as well as on Focus Ontario and in large press.
As for the split in the Liberal camp now that Watson has come in, I think it is being exagerated primarily by opponents of the Liberals... Guzzo's camp, federal Alliance staffers, and a still bitter and confused Alex Cullen have all been propagating the 'parachute Liberal' argument because it is the best they can come up with. It probably suited the other Liberal nomination seeker to adopt this mentality to keep fighting what was going to be a hopeless battle. It will pass.
I give you this: Jim Watson was a good, visible, Mayor who held the line on taxes in the City of Ottawa (no small feat) by adopting a 'pay as you go' policy for projects. This policy had been popularized... in Nepean. So in other words, his genuine fiscal conservative nature referred to smugly by a previous writer is in fact an advantage for this particular riding.
Watson also advocated for a three city model (Nepean, Ottawa and Gloucester) rather than the really big City of Ottawa that the provincial Tories ultimately decided on for amalgamation. In addition, Watson has good progressive liberal credentials as a strong community activist in any number of causes, and he knows the education files inside out at both elementary and post-secondary levels. On public school closures, Watson was a local champion... on post-secondary/double cohort stuff, he knows all he needs to know because of continuing work at and with Carleton University on the Board of Governors and Alumni Association. I have not even touched on his knowledge of Tourism (a key industry in Ottawa proper) and his time as Chair of a Major Crown Corporation, the Canadian Tourism Commission. Tourism is a good provincial portfolio, I believe currently held by affable but utterly undynamic and also vulnerable Brian Coburn out in Ottawa-Orleans. Finally, as a former Mayor, Watson will be an Ottawa champion.
So what's Guzzo? A former judge, a conservative MPP rarely seen in his riding and sometimes rarely seen in Ottawa, who surfaces occasionally to make noise about an issue in other city that is so filled with rumour, innuendo and intangibles that we will never know just what the truth is. What else is Guzzo: scared s--tless.
Prediction: Liberal (especially since the Cullen split factor has faded) and the riding is not being re-distributed this time. Ernie Eves own weakness, Nepean disgust for debt and wasting money (read the Eves hydro cap and still-mounting debt) and the possibility of a surge from a good central Liberal campaign, combined with complete non-NDP campaign, make this a strong Liberal target with a GREAT candidate.
03/06/03 Scoop Jackson
Jim Watson won a very bitter nomination battle with Lee Farnworth that has split the Ottawa West-Nepean Liberals. I guess some of the local Liberals including Farnworth didn't know the party had decided to go with Watson. Farnworth herself called Watson who had just joined the party last month "a 35 day Liberal". This split in the riding is going to help Guzzo hold on to the riding as a lot of long time Liberals will be sitting this election out. Both parties really need to win this seat.
02/06/03 Scott "the truth"
Now that Jim Watson has been nominated, he will cruise to victory. There is going to be a Liberal sweep. The Conservatives will be reduced to about 20-25 seats.
30/05/03 GJJ
The electorate's tiredness with the Conservative government rather than any admiration of Dalton McGinty can only help Jim Watson, who should easily win the Liberal nomination for Ottawa West-Nepean. Watson has continously maintained a high profile within the city after leaving the Mayor's chair through his volunteer activites, regular newspaper column and by recently moving to television and hosting the noon news. He is generally well-liked and should win the riding. The only real question is to speculate on the ministerial portfolio he'll be assigned. I just wish my beloved New Democrats could have a more credible showing than the seven or eight seats they might garner ...
30/05/03 Political Hack
When Jim Watson wins the Liberal nomination on June 1, it's going to set up the best two way contest in the province. Both the Liberals and the Tories will be bringing in troops from around the Ottawa region to try to take this very important seat. I give Guzzo a slight edge right now because the Tories are going to bring up some of Watson's record of keeping the books balanced when he was mayor and it will hurt Jim's chances. This is the local race I'll be watching on election night in September.
20/05/03 Scoop Jackson
I can confirm that Liberal party officials have been working long hours making sure Jim Watson has more than enough local riding members to beat Lee Farnworth for the nomination. My Tory contacts tell me that they are concerned about Watson and will be moving workers out of Baird's riding to help keep Guzzo. My Tory contacts also told me that Watson's challenge to Guzzo means much less help for their candidate in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke where Tory hopes are just about gone. Both the Liberals and the Tories need Ottawa West-Nepean and this should be one of the ridings to watch. Guzzo is likely to hang on but just barely.
09/05/03 El Predicto
Let's start with the Liberal nomination. Lee Farnworth is not going to be the Liberal candidate. The fix is in for Jim Watson and he'll beat her in a very bitter nomination battle which will take place in the end of May. Watson does give the Liberals a high profile candidate but he comes with a lot of baggage. Jim is not a team player and will have a hard time supporting a lot of the Liberal platform because he is a real live small "c" conservative. This will cause problems with his campaign. Gary Guzzo is still very popular in this riding and will take advantage of the problems in the Watson campaign. I am sticking with my prediction that Guzzo holds on to win.
01/05/03 Sam
If Jim Watson wins the liberal nomination, this could be a big pick-up for the Grits. SHould be an interesting race.
30/04/03 ME
Please Nathan, turncoat Alex Cullen won under the LIBERAL banner in 95. As an incumbent he came in a distance third in 99, barely got his deposit back with less than half of what the Liberal managed to score. While I won't be surprised to see other "grassroot" NDPers to be naive enough to believe in the "we have a chance in this and this riding" propaganda from the Cecil Street Office, it is rather embarrassing that you, a member of the national executive, to spewl out silly partisan rant like that. Don't you have more tangible ridings to score? Or is the NDP campaign in Ottawa Centre falling apart?
29/04/03 Ottawa Business Journal
Watson to seek Liberal nomination
EST Former Ottawa mayor Jim Watson is expected to announce Tuesday afternoon his intention to return to politics by pursuing a provincial riding. Watson will seek the Liberal nomination for the riding of Ottawa-West Nepean, which is held by Tory MPP Garry Guzzo. Ottawa-West Nepean is the only remaining provincial riding that has not selected a Liberal candidate. A press conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. The 41-year-old Watson was elected to Ottawa city council in 1991 and became mayor in 1997. In 2000 he left municipal politics to become president of the Canadian Tourism Commission. Last fall he gave up that federal job and became the host of the new noon-hour program on local CHUM station the NewRO. He also began writing a regular column for the Ottawa Citizen on municipal politics.
28/04/03 Nathan Hauch
Email: nathan.hauch@sympatico.ca
I couldn't help but smile at a Liberal prediction on this page, all the while referring to the sky-high rents that people in this riding often pay. Here's a newsflash: the Liberals voted AGAINST a rent control bill put forth by the NDP recently. Plus, considering that this used to be Alex Cullen's seat, it's entirely possible that the NDP can win -- especially considering 1) that neither Dalton McGuinty nor Ernie Eves are seen to be personable politicians and 2) that the NDP has its platform out before the Libs and the Tories and 3) that the NDP was the only party to vote aganist hydro privitization, something that should go over well with voters in this riding.
The Conservatives have a weakness in this riding and a few others like it due to the Tenant Protection Act. This riding has a large number of renters. There have been a large number of Above Guideline Increase Applications forcing tenants to pay as much as 10% more than previous years. Some former Tory supporters may stay home and others who have not bothered to vote recently may come out to oppose the government for this reason. Right now the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal is processing a half dozen applications like this each week. This affects thousands of people.
Who is Lee Farnworth?? Not exactly high-profile.
31/03/03 Thomas Mulligan
A tough one to call. Guzzo has a lot of sympathy for his stand on Child abuse and standing up against Eves on the budget. The possibility of a race for the Nomination between Lee Farnworth and Jim Watson both high profile popular candidatesfor the Liberal nod could swing the race to being a tossup. Anger in the riding over what amounted to a poorly run focus group rather than a budget is quite high. The NDP is a non starter in this one.
21/03/03 El Predicto
Time has run out for the Liberals to find a candidate to run in this riding. McGuinty has called just about everyone in the Ottawa phone book and has come up empty. Guzzo will keep this riding for the Tories. Dalton McGuinty won't lose any seats in his hometown, but he's not going to pick up any new ones either.
05/03/03 THE GAMBLER
The Gambler is putting his money on Gary Guzzo to win Ottawa West-Nepean. Guzzo is a veteran heavy weight who always manages to pull out a descision on the judges cards. It's hard to find any challengers to get in the ring with Guzzo.
27/02/03 A.S.
Email: adma@interlog.com
It may not be as tough as it looks. Or at least it'll be a plainer sort of direct PC-Lib head-to-head, as the freak Alex Cullen situation's been factored out (and remember: in 1995, NDP would have earned only about 11% within these boundaries). Keep in mind, too, that Guzzo's quotient was probably inflated in direct reaction to the Lib-NDP bickering silliness--if Cullen stuck with the Grits and the NDP sunk back to their "natural" 1999 range, he would most likely have trounced Guzzo. (Keep in mind that the Grits won every other Grit-vs-PC "incumbent race" in 1999.) Though even if Guzzo retires, Liberals shouldn't feel *too* confident, McGuinty or no McGuinty; on the whole, PC (and Reform/Alliance) fortunes have been on the rise in the Ottawa region. Then again, the collapse of the high-tech boom might have reversed that rise by now. But count this as a target seat, for sure.
06/07/02 Andrew Cox
This riding is a real toughie. The sitting Liberal MPP crossed to the NDP before 1999, and got just 16% of the vote as NDP. The PC incumbent is unlikely to run again, so the PCs will need to work hard to get a good candidate. But it was a pretty convincing win in 1999 for the Tories and it will be an uphill climb for the Grits. Rick Charelli looks set to run again for the Grits. I'll say it depends on who the PCs nominate and the swing from the central campaign.
25/10/02 jc Wainwright
I tend to agree with the previous posting, this riding will be a sure Liberal bet if the ND voters shift to the libs. I think that this is very likely a Liberal win. The McGuinty-Ottawa Connection will allow the Liberals to take this seat.
I see a big Liberal pickup here. Education will dominate the campaign and the Tories have been very unpopular in that department in Ottawa, and it was fairly close in 1999. It depends on who runs, but I think this will be one of the big ridings for the Liberals on the way to a possible government (minority or majority). Also NDP voters will likely move to the Liberals if they pick a left-of-centre candidate, making this a Liberal lock.

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