After trading jabs in the media and over emails for most of the summer, an Ottawa city councillor and members of a conservative citizens group will take their argument face-to-face later this month.
Bay Ward Coun. Alex Cullen will be debating members of the Ottawa Taxpayers Advocacy Group in a classic-style debate on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Champlain Room.
The debate stems from information about city spending that OTAG had posted on their website. In November, the group intends to run bus advertising with the text “Legal Extortion by City Hall? Read the facts at www.ottawataxpayer.com.”
After visiting the website, Cullen determined that the group was misinterpreting the facts.
“They’re going to put the ads up based on misinformation,” he said. “We’re not refusing the ads. They are entitled to their opinion, but their opinion, when misinformed, should not go by unchallenged.”
Cullen even suggested that the city should put information addressing the OTAG allegations on their own website.
OTAG spokesperson Ade Olumide said they have no hope of convincing Cullen of their position, but they would consider it a victory if people leave the debate questioning the wage bill at the city.
“People have to pay attention. If Mitel pays each employee $1 million salary, we don’t care, but when council gives money away to the unions, it off our backs,” he said. “Unions are fighting for their members. We’re trying to get council to fight for us.”
Cullen said it’s going to be a classical moderated debate with himself and another member of council arguing against Olumide and OTAG member Bill O’Malley.