Ottawa, Ontario - Mayoral Candidate Mark Sutcliffe announced his plan today to make Ottawa safer for everyone through investments in emergency, protective and social services, a more compassionate approach to mental illness and substance use disorder, and immediate action to address safety in at-risk neighbourhoods including the ByWard Market and Dundonald Park.
“All residents of Ottawa deserve to feel safe in their own neighbourhoods and wherever they travel throughout our city,” said Sutcliffe. “That’s why unlike other candidates, I will not defund the police. Instead, I will invest in and modernize emergency services and ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equitably.”
Sutcliffe cited the rise in violent crime, such as the recent shootings in the ByWard Market, increased violence against women, hate and bias crimes against marginalized communities, as well as the significant number of "level zero" days where ambulances were unavailable as the rationale for investing in these services.
Sutcliffe noted that other candidates in the municipal election have voted to defund police and emergency services, or are proposing to cap funding at a time when crime and other challenges are escalating. “I reject these proposals,” said Sutcliffe. “We need to improve our emergency services, and demand better of them - but the answer is not to defund them. In particular, residents must be able to count on ambulances being available when they need them.”
As Mayor, Sutcliffe promised to increase police resources in three priority areas: violence against women, hate and bias crime, and gun violence.
Sutcliffe also addressed the decline in public confidence in Ottawa’s police service and concerns about a failure of leadership during the convoy in February. “All residents of Ottawa must be confident that their police service treats all people, and all communities consistently and equitably, and is responsive to public concerns. We need a fresh approach that sees the city’s police and other protective services working together with community partners and social service agencies and other levels of government to deliver a safer Ottawa for everyone.”
Sutcliffe also outlined specific action for vulnerable people and residents living in at-risk neighbourhoods. “We are facing a crisis in Ottawa around mental illness and substance use disorder, and a deteriorating system is not supporting our neighbours, family members, and friends who are struggling,” said Sutcliffe. “We must leverage the expertise of first responders, social workers, counsellors and others to deliver better results.”
Sutcliffe’s commitments include:
Rejecting calls to defund emergency services, opting instead to invest in first responders to make Ottawa safer for everyone;
Hiring 100 more positions over four years to address violence against women, hate and bias crime, and gun violence;
Creating stronger representation on the Ottawa Police Services Board, and accelerating and expanding the city’s anti-racism strategy;
Striking a Task Force within 30 days of taking office with a mandate to provide concrete recommendations on solutions for responding to mental illness and substance use disorder, ahead of the 2023 Budget process;
Increasing city support to organizations that provide essential services for those dealing with mental illness and substance use disorder;
Reducing the need for police intervention by supporting a more integrated, cross-disciplinary response to incidents involving mental illness and substance use disorder;
Moving away from temporary, ad-hoc and emergency shelters in favour of transitional and supportive housing in order to dramatically reduce homelessness in Ottawa; and
Hiring 42 paramedics with funding from the provincial government, supporting community paramedicine pilots, and expanding the city’s Targeted Engagement and Diversion frontline service program.
“In parallel with this work, we must also take immediate steps to address safety in at-risk areas that have persistent issues,” Sutcliffe said. “Expanding resources in neighbourhoods like the ByWard Market and Dundonald Park is critical to making the city safer.”
In specific neighbourhoods, Sutcliffe committed to:
Expanding the presence of police and supportive services, through the deployment of Neighbourhood Resource Teams.
Supporting the targeted, limited use of CCTV cameras for investigative and deterrence purposes in at-risk areas, as a tool to support and monitor police work.
Creating a Storefront Neighbourhood Operations Centre in the ByWard Market where police, public health, and social services have a reliable and effective presence to prevent and respond to issues.
Mark Sutcliffe Campaign