Daniel Stringer is running on experience and a passion for Kichissippi Ward

You may recognize him, but if not, you’ve probably read his op-ed in the Kitchissippi Times; Daniel Stringer is something of a fixture in Kitchissippi Ward. Having previously worked for a Kitchissippi Ward councillor, Stringer has experience in municipal politics and on the provincial level as an aid to an MPP. The three-time candidate for Council is running again to represent the residents of Ward 15.

Stringer, a long-time community advocate, and activist, is running against Jeff Leiper and retired federal government lawyer Oonagh Fitzgerald. The incumbent, Leiper, has been a councillor since 2014 and faced off against Stringer in 2018. In his fourth campaign since amalgamation, Stringer thinks he has an advantage in knowing the ward like no one else and its residents too.

I sat down to talk to Stringer at his campaign headquarters on Richmond Road, which locals will recognize as the ‘old Kitchenalia’ location. Stringer is decked out in a green rain suit, returning from putting up election signs, and a gigantic roadside sign is affixed to his car parked just out front. Stringer may be getting up there in years, but he does not lack energy and charisma. His passion regarding campaign issues facing his beloved Kitchissppi Ward is captivating. “There’s no doubt in my mind people are ready for a change,” he says as we begin our conversation.

At the top of Stringer’s list of concerns for one of Ottawa’s more affluent and liveable areas is urban development and “intensification.” Stringer calls it “densification,” saying, “that’s a pretty word that means we have to build more high rises.” He notes that after studying intensification around the world, the idea of building more houses in Ottawa is “nonsense.” He believes Ottawa really needs employment hubs and benefits for companies to encourage working from home to slow down the need for urban growth. When asked about urban planning relating to Westboro’s high concentration of Cannabis stores, Stringer jokes that he’s not so old as to not keep up with the times and that the market will correct itself.

Stringer calls the LRT a “crisis” and says he will use his expertise in project management to help Ottawa get out of its current predicament. He says the 2018-2022 Council’s reputation of having been the only ever to be investigated by the province is shameful.

He notes that he has met workers involved in the construction of the Confederation Lines while out knocking on doors and that the stories of mismanagement, in his opinion, verge on criminal. Stringer thinks that specialists from other cities with recently developed successful LRT systems should be brought to Ottawa to hasten the process and make informed choices on what’s best. He also notes that Ottawa should have taken a route as Toronto did in developing its GO Transit system, which the province was heavily involved in. Stringer says that as the city grows, more infrastructure will be needed out to the suburbs and feeder municipalities around Ottawa. He also notes that Go Transit has been, by in large, a success story.

On policing, Stringer is concerned about reputational matters, believing that the city made a mistake when it fired Chief Peter Sloly in the wake of the Freedom Convoy. He says he has heard rumours of racism in the Ottawa Police Force and would like to look into the matter if elected; he is disturbed at the prospect of living in a society with racism. He expresses interest in serving on the Ottawa Police Services Board if elected.

Regarding Council, Stringer views gender equality as an essential issue and thinks that Ottawa should work towards gender parity. If elected, he says he will push for a form of Council with one male and one female councillor for each ward.

Another issue that Stringer would like to work on is the Ottawa River. He notes the river is an asset to Ottawa that should be kept clean and protected and that many choose to live in Kitchissippi Ward because of its lifestyle.

Stringer believes many municipal issues are controlled by the province or the federal government, making a dedicated and knowledgeable councillor all the more important.

Incumbent Jeff Leiper has earned this reputation in the last eight years, but Stringer demonstrates passion and commitment; he is not a man to be written off.