Wel­come to Ama­zot­tawa!

Get­ting e-com­merce gi­ant to move to By­town would be big

Ottawa Sun - - COMMENT - JONATHAN McLEOD McLeod is an Ottawa writer

These are ex­cit­ing times for ol’ By­town. No, I’m not talk­ing about Ci­tyFolk. And no, I’m not talk­ing about the LRT. I’m not even talk­ing about up­com­ing Grey Cup fes­tiv­i­ties, the Red­Blacks’ play­off push, the NHL Clas­sic or the start of the Se­na­tors’ sea­son. None of that.

You see, the mayor. Is go­ing. To Seat­tle.

Ama­zon needs a city for its sec­ond head­quar­ters, and Ottawa should be that city.

It just gives you chills, doesn’t it? The thought of Ama­zon com­ing to Ottawa? How happy we’d be re­ceiv­ing the bless­ing of an Amer­i­can bil­lion­aire.

Now, I could go on about why Ottawa would be a great place for Ama­zon, but I’m sure the mayor has that cov­ered … and Jeff Be­zos prob­a­bly doesn’t read Ottawa pa­pers, any­way (all due re­spect to my Ottawa Sun over­lords).

No, we need to talk about why Ottawa should want — nay, needs — Ama­zon.

Lo­cal pun­dits are tak­ing to the newspaper, the web and ra­dio try­ing to dampen our en­thu­si­asm, sug­gest­ing that it would cost far too much to en­tice the multi-na­tional to our sleepy govern­ment town.

How de­luded! There is no price too high to land this com­pany — an eco­nomic gi­ant that will stir in­vest­ment in Ottawa, lead­ing to greater tax rev­enue that will al­low us to fund the very in­cen­tives we’ll need to of­fer to cre­ate Ama­zon of the North.

It’s a per­fect scheme, a perpetual mo­tion ma­chine of city fi­nances.

Why waste money keep­ing taxes low, fix­ing pot­holes or clear­ing snow from every street when we could help a mas­sive cor­po­ra­tion re­lo­cate? Our lives would be so much richer pay­ing for Ama­zon rather than prop­erly fund­ing li­braries or our po­lice force.

We need this. We are a sleepy govern­ment town, with lit­tle more go­ing on than bu­reau­cracy, the ByWard Mar­ket Wine Rack and late-night shawarma. Ama­zon would be more than an eco­nomic stim­u­lus; it would el­e­vate our sta­tus, our civic es­teem. It would jus­tify the very ex­is­tence of our dreary lit­tle Ottawa lives.

I mean, come on, Canada’s cap­i­tal city should be known for some­thing.

When it comes right down to it, this isn’t a case of Ama­zon com­ing to Ottawa. No, Ottawa needs to go to Ama­zon. It’s go­ing to take a lot to lure them west of Toronto. What­ever it takes — zon­ing re­lief, tax breaks, waiv­ing devel­op­ment charges, of­fer­ing grants and sub­si­dies, paving pre­cious greenspace — let’s do it.

We must give our­selves com­pletely over to our cor­po­rate bene­fac­tors. This won’t be Ottawa any­more; we’ll live in Ama­zot­tawa! We’ll plas­ter their smi­ley-ar­row logo across every res­i­dent’s face, fig­u­ra­tively or lit­er­ally … which­ever they want.

Our politi­cians can get this done, if we press them. It’ll likely take work from the city, the prov­ince and maybe even the feds, but it needs to hap­pen. No ca­pit­u­la­tion is too great. Call your rep­re­sen­ta­tives, make them make this hap­pen.

Oh, and what a boon it will be for our hard­work­ing politi­cians. What a won­der­ful legacy they’ll have, turn­ing the keys of the city over to rich Seat­tleites. We should do this for them as much as for us.

Noth­ing bad comes from hitch­ing one’s for­tunes to a sin­gle com­pany. From Nor­tel to au­tomak­ers to the eter­nal se­cu­rity of govern­ment jobs, it’s a can’t-miss propo­si­tion. Just ask Detroit!

So wel­come north, Mr. Be­zos. I hope you en­joy your life in Ama­zot­tawa.


Ama­zon is look­ing for a city that could be home to the e-com­merce gi­ant’s sec­ond head­quar­ters, and Ottawa fits the bill.

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