Ottawans deserve straight talk on accountability

Ottawans deserve straight talk on accountability
Posted on October 14, 2014 | James Mihaychuk | Written on October 14, 2014
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Author's Note:

Author's Note:

I need to vote in advance polls in the 2014 City of Ottawa elections. I am trying to attend local events and to read up on the ten candidates in Ward 16 - River. After reading the questionnaire prepared by the Ottawa Citizen, I was disappointed that some candidates did not give proper answers, while others did not support democratic reforms.

Link to the Ottawa Citizen’s feature for River Ward:
http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ottawa-votes-river-candidates-answer-our-questions

 

I recently made some time to meet several local candidates for city councillor in Ward 16 (River) at the Hunt Club-Riverside Park Community Centre. With ten candidates, the field is crowded. Making an informed choice takes some work.

I was happy to find the Ottawa Citizen's detailed candidate questionnaire, compiled by Matthew Pearson. Some candidates have only tenuous connections to our ward. Others appear to have a keen grasp of the issues affecting our community. A few gave evasive responses or did not answer certain questions. 

I found the questions on governance to be most revealing. These questions included: improving transparency, instituting term limits, reducing the size of council, banning corporate & union contributions, and adopting ranked choice voting. I would have added to that list means to recall politicians in cases of gross misconduct.

I found the responses from most candidates to be quite tone-deaf when we live in an age of voter apathy and scandals in several other municipal governments across the country. Only one or two candidates seemed to be serious about addressing governance issues. 

Clearly we should be thankful that Ottawa's last council has not been the media circus that other Canadian cities, including Toronto, have endured. However, we should not be complacent. We need to restore faith in our public institutions and to overcome voter apathy. 

Ottawa’s last council was faced with several contentious issues including transit, the Orgaworld contract, casino gambling, Lansdowne redevelopment, and the now-notorious Airport Parkway foot bridge. As citizens, we deserve truly accountable councillors.

About The Author

mihaychuk's picture

 I am interested in sustainability, civic engagement and democratic renewal. You might meet me at the soccer pitch, at the Farmers Market, or walking or biking on local trails.
I'm a high-tech veteran and have... More