Ottawa has always been a beautiful city, a caring and welcoming community, and a terrific place to live and to raise a family. But we are facing significant challenges right now, some of them unique to our specific circumstances as Canada’s capital.
Now that the deadline has passed to register as a candidate for the municipal election in October, we understand more clearly the distinct choice that Ottawa voters face on October 24.
First of all, let me congratulate all of the candidates who have bravely stepped forward to run in this campaign, for school board trustee, for city councillor, and for mayor. Thank you for your commitment to our community, and good luck in the weeks ahead.
In the six weeks since I announced I was running for mayor, I’ve heard from thousands of residents about their concerns. Inflation and rising interest rates are squeezing household budgets. A looming recession is shaking consumer and business confidence. And the changing nature of work is putting immense pressure on our downtown core and our public transit system.
Confidence in public transit is at an all-time low. Crime rates are rising. The cost of housing is skyrocketing. Homelessness, mental illness, and addiction are all increasing. And the effects of climate change, including extreme weather events, are threatening our health and our infrastructure.
While all of this has been happening, there has been far too much politics and talk at City Hall, and far too little action. This election represents a clear and significant choice. Your next City Hall can be driven by ideology, partisanship, division, declining services and deteriorating infrastructure. Or we can create the change that you want, moving forward together with a hopeful, responsible, constructive, non-partisan, unifying approach that brings new leadership and fresh eyes to city hall.
I’m not a career politician. In fact, I’m not a politician at all. But I’ve lived my entire life in Ottawa. And I’ve spent my entire career listening to the concerns and ideas of residents, community leaders, business owners, policy experts, and others during my time as a journalist and broadcaster. I’ve covered Ottawa for more than 35 years. In fact, for the first time, I won’t be moderating the televised election debates, but participating in them.
I’ve also spent thousands of hours as a volunteer, serving and leading many community organizations including the United Way, the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation, the Great Canadian Theatre Company, OrKidstra, and the Royal Ottawa Hospital Foundation. My goal has always been to work with others to make our city better and help the most vulnerable.
I’ve launched and grown small businesses and I’ve coached, mentored, and advised more than a hundred entrepreneurs and business owners. As a volunteer with Invest Ottawa and the Ottawa Board of Trade, I’ve worked hard to create jobs and help Ottawa’s economy flourish.
Most importantly, my wife Ginny and I are the parents of three children. Like many other parents, I want our kids to be able to thrive in Ottawa, one day buy their own homes, and enjoy the same quality of life that we were fortunate to have when we were growing up.
I love this city and I know this city. I’m concerned about our future, but I’m also filled with hope and optimism that working together, we can solve our challenges. I’m ready to serve my community and lead the city through a very challenging period.
Over the next two months, I will continue to share my vision and my priorities for Ottawa. I’ll explain in detail the commitments I’m making to build a city that is safer, more reliable, and more affordable for everyone, while meeting our sustainability goals, growing our economy, and protecting and improving our quality of life.
I will present a plan that is optimistic and enthusiastic about the extraordinary potential of our city. I will deliver change that is positive and responsible and serves every community in our large and diverse city - rural, suburban, and urban - and I will never pit one part of the city against another. I will respond to the concerns you’ve identified in the many conversations I’ve had since I became a candidate.
I promise I will work hard every day to serve the people of my hometown. I promise I will avoid the politics of division and bring people together to solve problems and build a better future. I promise to represent you with honesty and transparency.
On October 24, the choice in this election could not be more clear and the impact of that choice more consequential.
In the weeks ahead, I will continue to do what I have always done: listen carefully to your concerns. As I have said many times, there is nothing better than working with the wonderful people of Ottawa to build a better future for our children and grandchildren.
I look forward to seeing you throughout the rest of the campaign.
Candidate for Mayor of Ottawa