Ottawa mayor will skip 4th of July party amid 'puerile attitude' from White House
Published Thursday, June 28, 2018 8:08PM EDT
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says it would be hypocritical of him to attend a lavish Fourth of July party while U.S. President Donald Trump slaps punishing tariffs on Canada.
So this year, Watson politely declined an invitation from the U.S. ambassador.
“I’m tired, like a lot of other Canadians, of the constant chirping and attacks of the president, whether it’s against the prime minister, against our steel workers, aluminum, cars, dairy products,” Watson told CTV’s Power Play on Thursday.
“And I think it sends a symbolic signal that I’m not interested in supporting an administration that is constantly attacking our economy.”
The annual event, held at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Ottawa’s swanky Rockcliffe Park neighbourhood, is a gathering of the city’s political elite. American beer sponsors, antique cars and plenty of stars and stripes are a common fixture.
Watson has attended the party in past years. But this year’s event, which takes place just three days after Canada applies its own retaliatory tariffs on the U.S., is different.
“Almost every rally now, Donald Trump attacks Canada. We’re their closest neighbour, their biggest trading partner. We get along, we welcome Americans here, Canadians are welcome in the United States. But it’s the administration that’s constantly barraging us with this kind of puerile attitude that is hurting our economy.”
Watson insists his gesture is one of principle, and he doesn’t expect it will ruffle too many feathers.
“At the end of the day, I’m realistic. I don’t think anyone is losing any sleep over the fact that the mayor of Ottawa – maybe if it was the mayor of Toronto,” he said.
“I’m not expecting this to create the kind of waves that are going to make any big difference. But I just think, on a principled stand, I have real difficulties with the way the Americans are treating our country and our people and our government. And I don’t want to be a part of a celebration of their country’s anniversary.”
Watson’s decision has been met largely with praise, with plenty of Twitter users commending him for taking a stand.
Thank you Mayor Watson for deciding not to go to the US Embassy party this year. We all need to send a message. I’m not going to Palm Springs this fall & I LOVE PS. Will stay in Canada or go elsewhere (non US).— Lance Curtis (@lbcurtis) June 28, 2018
Mayor Jim, I applaud you for your decision to give the US Embassy party a pass. I only hope that other officials and politicians follow your lead. Your discomfort is understandable and you are taking a principled stand.— Karen (@kargiber) June 28, 2018
@JimWatsonOttawa HI sir, as a Canadian thanks for not going to the US embassy party. Canadians are hurting this year coast to coast. And we must stand firm and defend our fellow Canadian family members. Happy Canada Day to you and yours— JohnBourassa (@Porkus2199) June 28, 2018
@JimWatsonOttawa Mr. Mayor, as a dual citizen (US/Canada), I support your call to boycott the 4th of July celebration at the US embassy.— Garden Warrior (@Garden_Gal1) June 28, 2018