Ottawa-area Liberal MPP and Minister of Finger Wagging Jim Watson is in trouble in his riding, so it’s not surprising that he came out last week with an attack on his PC challenger, Mike Patton. Watson claimed that Patton had misrepresented a position he had held with the City of Nepean on his campaign literature. The mayor of Nepean at the time, now a Watson supporter, told the Ottawa Citizen:
“It’s a false statement,” Ms. [Mary] Pitt said yesterday of Mr. Patton’s claim. “He was never, ever hired as director of corporate communications.” She said that Mr. Patton was retained on contract as a special consultant to fight amalgamation.
“He was terminated by council after a very short time. It did not last very long, it wasn’t working out,” she said.
Last week, Ms. Pitt, who has publicly endorsed Mr. Watson’s campaign, confirmed with the former chief administrative officer Robert Letourneau and the then-director of human resources, Grant Armstrong, that her recollections were correct, she said.
Mr. Watson said yesterday that Mr. Patton should correct the biography.
“It is obviously a serious offence to embellish one’s résumé. In this case, Mr. Patton and the PC party should correct the situation right away,” the Liberal candidate said. Mr. Watson said that campaigning for office was like applying for a job, which requires a résumé to be 100-per-cent accurate.
“Otherwise, it’s not fair to the employer,” he said.
Patton has now produced unbiased evidence that he held the position. As the Citizen reports today:
One of Mr. Patton’s volunteers found a Nepean Clarion article on microfiche that highlights the hiring and appointment to the position, replacing the outdoing director, Andrea McCormick, Mr. Patton said in a statement.
Nepean’s then-mayor Mary Pitt has supported Mr. Watson’s claim, saying Mr. Patton was hired on contract as a special consultant to fight amalgamation and was shortly thereafter “terminated” by council.
“I remember, as if it was yesterday, Mary Pitt ... offering me the position of director of corporate communications, and accepting the job on a contract basis,” Mr. Patton said.
“If her memories of the event are less clear than mine, perhaps it’s because it wasn’t as important to her as it was me.”
Ms. Pitt has publicly endorsed Mr. Watson.
Mr. Patton claims his rival has fought an ugly campaign, adding his supporters have felt harassed and intimidated by Mr. Watson when he appeared at their doors.
“I was extremely hurt by these allegations because my word and my integrity mean everything to me,” he said.
Despite this evidence, Watson refuses to apologize for his smear against Patton.