Address to supporters at campaign rally

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Hometown Sports Grill
Ottawa, ON
September 8, 2018
(Check against delivery)

Thank you for those kind words Sheila – who I tell daily that I am blessed to have her in my life as a longtime friend and an exceptional Campaign manager!

May we start by respectfully acknowledging that we are here today on traditional, unceded Algonquin Territory. Miigwetch.

Bonjour, hello, Namaste, shalome, ni hao and marhaba, friends, neighbors, and the best darn campaign team in Ottawa!!

I am thrilled and deeply grateful that you are all here today to support my campaign.

With only six weeks left until election day, we are going full-out to win, and I feel more and more confident every day that we will win.

We know the City of Ottawa is in the midst of rapid change – we are embracing the future as a dynamic, modern urban centre.

One symbol of that change here and internationally is the increasing number of women getting involved and elected in politics. It has been one of my greatest priorities over the years – encouraging women to run. As the saying goes: “Change politics. Add women” – and the evidence is there that it’s a change for the better.

As our Mayor Jim Watson said last March “I hope we’ll see a lot more female candidates” – I would add to that by saying, I hope we will see a lot more women councillors after October 22nd – and I’m here to do my small part!

Our Ward – Alta Vista – is clearly ready for change. Our communities want change, and this is our time.

Il est clair que les citoyens d’Alta Vista veulent du changement. C’est notre moment!

At the same time, let me tell you that I take nothing for granted. Our opponents are working very hard… they have the advantages of incumbency and name recognition, and they are not going to let up until election day, so we have to stay focused.

Luckily we have a great team. Speaking of which, I want to start us off today by thanking my “home team” – my family – because without their support, I would not be here today. Please help me thank my wonderful children, Claudia and James, and my husband Patrick – my sounding board, strategist, and shield.

To those who have volunteered and canvassed with me, donated, taken a lawn sign, been a dear friend and are voting for me, and all the people working behind the scenes…Thank you so much.

Being your candidate is not something I take lightly. In fact, I’m humbled and deeply moved by the experience. I will admit there were times when I started canvassing last October that I asked myself if I was prepared for what was ahead.

But in that time, I have met so many people, I have heard your stories and I have made your causes my own. You have inspired me; you have given me great strength. And I want to “give back” to you as a councillor who gets things done for the residents of Alta Vista Ward!

Alta Vista is changing – from the farmlands of yesteryear, to a collection of tightly-knit neighbourhoods…a great place to live, just minutes from downtown.

The issues are many issues and there is much work to do to reclaim our strong voice at City Hall. We don’t want to be known as “the ward that time forgot”. We can no longer afford to sit by and watch others get updated community centres, playgrounds and sports fields while we seem to get the leftovers.

Alta Vista should be considered the jewel in the crown, the go-to neighborhood and one that is viewed as a leader in the “right-way-to-do-things.”

At the heart of my platform is my commitment to bring to City Hall a stronger, more passionate voice for the residents of Alta Vista. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m not afraid to ask the tough questions. As your councillor, I will challenge ideas about our ward whenever necessary.

I will seek out different points of view and bring together people and organizations with diverse interests, to achieve common goals, and make real choices that work for our community.

Representing Alta Vista also means listening to people. That’s what I’ve been doing at your doorstep and in community meetings, and it’s what I’ll continue to do as your councillor.

I will work to provide robust, ongoing opportunities for you to have your say, and to work with you to address the challenges and support opportunities in our ward.

As the City of Ottawa grows and as our community evolves, we always need to consider the impact on the people who live here so our community continues to be liveable and welcoming to all residents, not just a select few. Stronger representation, a safe and healthy community, and a focus on improving the quality of life for everyone are the basis of my inclusive and resident-focused platform. We agree that there are many, many important issues that need our short-to-long term attention.

  • Yet here are the five issues that come up time and again, when I speak to the people of this ward:
    It’s time to address the state of the roads. Alta Vista is the number one ward for complaints about road infrastructure and specifically, our beloved potholes.
  • Pour garder en sécurité nos enfants, nos familles et nos personnes âgées, nous avons besoin de mesures d’apaisement de circulation peu importe le mode de transport. We need more traffic-calming measures in various neighbourhoods to keep children, families and seniors safe regardless of their transportation mode (walking, cycling, public transit or driving).
  • Safety is of great concern. Malgré les efforts de la police, les citoyens ont peur et veulent un retour de la police communautaire et une présence physique à Alta Vista.
  • Greater diligence is needed in planning development projects. This includes the need for genuine resident consultations; planning for the ensuing disruptions; and development projects that will balance and enhance housing and affordable housing, while safeguarding our green spaces and promoting commercial needs.
  • Finally, there is a desire for sensible, connected and safe cycling corridors in the ward. We have cyclists entering the pathway system only to have the pathway end at busy streets or not be connected to the existing city cycling pathway network. It makes no sense! We can and must do better.

I want to speak with as many of you possible today, so I am going to wrap up.

On my watch, another levy with monies coming out of your pocket with little consultation will not happen. On my watch, tearing up more green space to put down pavement will not happen. I will stand with you in protest, and I will fight for you at City Hall. I will be relentless in pushing for financial transparency.

Why would the ward be holding onto over $850,000 in Cash-In-Lieu for Parkland monies while there is so much need for playground improvements? Why has there not been widespread consultation with us on how to spend that money prudently? How can the budget continue operating in the shadows when we live in a society that demands more transparency?

It’s time to say goodbye to the old backroom deals. It’s time to put the citizen’s needs first.

On my watch, dignity and humanity are words I will use often down at City Hall. That means taking a thoughtful and respectful approach with all the residents of Alta Vista – all ages, needs and new residents alike.

Je prendrai des décisions à l’hôtel de ville avec dignité et humanité; une approche réfléchie et respectueuse de tous les résidents d’Alta Vista, peu importe leur âge, leur milieu et leurs besoins.

Your councillor is elected to work for you, no one else. Votre conseillère est élue pour travailler pour VOUS et personne d’autre.

I am excited about the days remaining and am energized by your ideas. And on October 22nd, I will proudly rise to the challenge of being elected as your representative at Ottawa’s City Hall.

Chi-miigwetch. Merci et thank you.