The price of a good time

SUSAN SHERRING -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

"Nuts."

That's how Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson describes an idea floated this week by River Coun. Maria McRae suggesting that perhaps the Ottawa Senators should help pay for the mounting security bill being incurred by the Ottawa Police during the playoffs.

"Wacko."

That was Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess, assessment of the idea.

"Ridiculous."

That one comes from West Carleton Coun. Eli El-Chantiry.

What really concerns El-Chantiry, as a former member of the Ottawa Police Services Board, is McRae's understanding of the board's responsibilities.

McRae is now on the board, and El-Chantiry has to wonder if she understands the responsibilities.

"That is a concern for me," he said.

(It should be, councillor.)

Ottawa Police Chief Vernon White estimates that the bill for keeping Ottawans safe during Sens fever will be at least $500,000 -- and could go higher -- depending on the crowds and the lengths of the series.

This week, McRae suggested to more than one media outlet that perhaps the Sens should help with the tab.

Yesterday, she was busy backtracking, saying she'll support the police service paying the tab.

(Was your phone ringing off the hook, councillor?)

If you want to talk about nuts and bolts services, what could possibly be more important than keeping people safe?

And when large groups of people gather for an event as historic as the Ottawa Senators being in the Stanley Cup, the police need to be there.

No debate needed.

The Sens aren't asking for the police, but citizens in the nation's capital need them.

And to suggest the Sens should actually pick up the tab, well, give your head a serious shake.

Stittsville-Kanata West Coun. Shad Qadri absolutely snorts when asked what he thinks of the idea.

"I nearly fell off my chair," Qadri said, of his reaction to the idea. "Really, I couldn't believe it."

As Qadri, and so many of his colleagues rightly point out, it's the cost of having the Stanley Cup here in Ottawa.

And it's a cost that is providing incredible benefit to countless businesses in the Ottawa area.

We should be thanking our lucky stars the Sens are in the Stanley Cup -- that the city is rallying around them -- and the partygoers are out in full force.

Citizens of Ottawa are benefitting from watching the Sens -- and feeling that hockey pride -- but local businesses are seeing their tills ringing.

COSTS JUSTIFIED

Bay Coun. Alex Cullen gets this one too. He knows there are costs associated with being a city with a team in the Stanley Cup.

He goes one step further, praising staff for having the foresight to have an event at Festival Plaza outside Ottawa City Hall.

"It becomes a place where people gather, and it makes controlling security easier for police," Cullen said. "That's a good thing."

He understands that city council is very concerned about the bottom line but in this case the costs are not only justified, there's not a thing you can do about.

Now if you hate the Sens, and don't want to think about one red cent being spent on policing the partygoers, too bad.

For every demonstration that gathers on Parliament Hill, for every farmer protest, for every and any gathering on the Hill, there's a cost to taxpayers.

Get over it.

Yesterday of course, McRae was more than happy to support the Sens.

"We couldn't buy this is type of advertising," she said, adding if there's any possible cost-sharing with the NHL for this type of thing, it should be explored.

But she's happy to help pay the bill.

Quite the turnaround, don't you think?

The councillor from River Ward should be more careful to think before she speaks.

And if she screws up, own up to it.

No one believes her story when she tries to shoot the messenger for her messes.


Videos

Photos