Back to the Ballot Box
What you need to know about the Mayoral Candidates for Ottawa’s 2014 Civic Election
Do you know who you will be voting for on Monday, October 27? With the civic election approaching, OLM took a look into what each candidate envisions for the city, should they be elected to office.
Here are the main points of the platforms of the candidates running for mayor.
Bernard Couchman believes the City of Ottawa needs change and that he can provide that change. Overall, Couchman’s goal is to unite what he currently perceives as a fragmented city. For him it’s about, “getting us on the same page—we’re all Ottawa.” As a mayoral candidate, Couchman says he is about productivity over visibility. His main platform hones in on health, economics, the environment and education. Through all of this, Couchman has a vision of moving the City of Ottawa forward.
Born in Montreal, Mike Maguire now calls Ottawa home. What he wants to see for the city is a bold new approach to waste management. He believes the cost of Ottawa’s current waste management approach is too high. Maguire would like to address the city’s dependency on landfills and envisions reducing present and future need for them. The high and rising price of electricity is also something Maguire would like to address. He believes it would provide relief in hydro costs. His proposed solution to these issues is for the city of Ottawa to adopt the incineration method. Incineration would save money by not creating another landfill, discourage the expansion of landfills and generate electricity. “We’re facing unprecedented financial pressures from all sides but we also want to be as environmentally responsible as possible so our beautiful city is preserved for future generations,” he says.
Michael St. Arnaud
A large part of Michael St. Arnaud’s platform focuses on the regulation of landlords. St. Arnaud draws attention to the right of the provinces and municipalities to license landlords and believes the city should exercise that right. Recognizing landlords as a business of their own, St. Arnaud holds they should be regulated and licensed, just as retail stores and automobile drivers are. With the current lack of regulation on landlords, there is no accountability or credentials from a governing body in place. This is a cause for hostility between the tenant and the landlord and often arises after an issue has surfaced. ”There should be justice, credibility and checks and balances put in place for both parties involved in any landlord and tenant dispute,” says St. Arnaud. Over all, his platform calls for a legitimization of the operations of landlords.
Anwar Syed is running his campaign for mayor on a relational basis. He would like to see more multicultural events and festivals happening in the city. Syed migrated to Canada in 1999 with his family and believes his breadth of knowledge in different backgrounds, cultures and work ethics can “take Ottawa toward greater heights.” In order to build these relational bridges, Syed proposes to make the second weekend of July a multicultural festival for the city of Ottawa. He would also like to see a Multicultural and Multilingual Institution be built in the city. Not only does Syed show interest in cultural relationships, but he also envisions “making Ottawa a safer place to live, work, and commute for all residents,” and keeping “Ottawa a secure place for residents and visitors alike.”
The word surrounding Jim Watson’s platform for re-election is “progress;” progress for a better Ottawa and progress on environmental issues. In his past four years serving as mayor, Watson has made progress on a number of different fronts, including getting the construction of the light rail transit underway, giving visibility to the public about the ongoings of City Hall and establishing fiscal discipline in City Hall. With so much change happening all around the city, Watson believes “Ottawa needs strong and stable leadership for the challenges that remain ahead.” City Hall was a much different place before Watson stepped into office and he aspires to “continue the work we’ve started together.”
Much of Robert White’s platform as mayoral candidate for Ottawa centers around economics and saving money for the city. For the first term of office, for example, White aims to freeze the wages of City of Ottawa union workers, freeze the Ottawa Police Services budget, freeze long term capital borrowing and freeze the transit budget. Cancelling phase II of the light rail transit development alone would save $2.8 billion for residents of Ottawa. White proposes to reinstate weekly garbage pickup for residents, however only during the summer. White would also like to reduce the number of City of Ottawa employees by 5 per cent per term of office, which would save on wages and salaries for extra workers. On the flip side of this, White would like to increase the amount of full time jobs available by bringing business investment for manufacturing into Ottawa and expanding business prospects to help business in Ottawa expand.
Darren W. Wood wants to give City Hall back to the people. How he proposes to do this is through the “Transparency Act.” This Act would give members of the public the opportunity to be present in City Hall whenever council is meeting. Surrounding the same issue he says, “the mayor has to be the first line of defence to protecting taxpayer dollars.” Wood stands for voter representation and intends to give voters the representation he thinks they deserve. Wood says he is “a person who believes in the little guy” and “has time and time again fought for the little guy and won.” He does not propose cuts to any areas of City Hall, but is instead reimagining and reinterpreting what the higher up levels of City Hall will look like and giving new life to it.