Mark Sutcliffe: My plan for a better future for Ottawa

  • National Newswatch

Ottawa has been through more than two years of upheaval and disruption. And we face significant challenges in the months ahead, including economic uncertainty and a possible recession, rising inflation, concerns about the future of downtown and the ByWard Market, homelessness, a housing shortage, and more.

We're in the final hours of a long municipal election campaign. Despite all the signs, debates, announcements, and media coverage, the election was never about me or any other candidate. It was about you.

Over the course of the last several months, I've heard from thousands of residents in every part of the city. What you've told me is that you want to see an end to the divisive politics of the past four years. You want your elected representatives to find common ground and work productively together to make Ottawa better for everyone.

Once the election is over, we need to get everyone in Ottawa working together toward a shared purpose. If I'm graced with the trust of voters on Monday, I'll get to work immediately on building a safer, more affordable, more reliable city. I've laid out a road map for the first 100 days in office, during which I will act swiftly to put in motion the many components of my platform on the environment, housing, affordability, public safety, health care, downtown revitalization, support for seniors, and more.

Elections are competitions. But governing must be about collaboration. For the next four years, my goal will be not to lead one side in a fight against the other. It's to lead Team Ottawa in a quest for a better future for our city and everyone who lives here. This moment requires collaboration and consensus. It calls for a balanced approach that combines compassion and fiscal responsibility, so we can support those who are struggling through difficult times and protect the city's financial strength so that we are ready for future emergencies.

As your mayor, I'll hit the ground running and work with the democratically elected members of city council to create positive change in our city. Together, we will respond to homelessness and housing affordability. We will hire more paramedics, recruit and retain more family doctors, respond more effectively to mental illness and substance use disorder, protect and enhance support for seniors, and improve public safety. We will keep taxes as low as possible, cut recreation fees and freeze transit fares, and support small businesses. We will improve and modernize our bus service and repair our roads, sidewalks and multi-use pathways, including our cycling lanes. And we will revitalize downtown, restore the ByWard Market, and launch an economic development and talent summit to develop strategies to attract more people and businesses to Ottawa.

I will bring together the best and brightest minds in our city, the leaders from labour, not-for-profit, and community organizations, to create immediate action around our highest priorities. I will be a compassionate champion for the most vulnerable, and a passionate advocate for small business and our local economy. I will serve you no matter where you live, whether that's in the rural, suburban, or urban areas of the city, whether you speak English, French, or another language.

It's time for Ottawa to start working together again. If I'm fortunate enough to be your next mayor, that will be my top priority.A life-long Ottawa resident, Mark Sutcliffe is an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, and community activist. He co-founded the Ottawa Business Journal, and several other small businesses. For over 30 years, Mark was a broadcast journalist on CFRA and CityNews, and was the executive editor and a columnist for the Ottawa Citizen. Mark's extensive involvement in community organizations includes: serving as Chair of the United Way; board Chair for the Ottawa Board of Trade; OrKidstra; the Great Canadian Theatre Company; Ottawa Community Housing Foundation; and Run Ottawa. He's also served on the boards of Algonquin College, Invest Ottawa, Kind Ottawa, and the Royal Ottawa Hospital Foundation. His contribution to the city was recognized in 2016 when he was inducted into the Order of Ottawa and named the United Way's Ambassador of the Year.