Rogers televised debate

Recently, I had the opportunity to delve a bit further into my platform during a debate taped at Rogers TV.

We talked about LRT, development, traffic calming, safer consumption sites, policing, taxes, and more. After a term as Councillor, it was a different experience for me this time than it was four years ago. I was pleased to have the benefit of being well-prepared and able to expertly discuss the issues. I’ve had the advantage of being engaged with the community through my pop-ups, on the ground in the ward, and day-to-day through my communications with residents so that I can represent your concerns and values as you’ve told those to me. I understand the challenges we face and the pragmatic path forward to overcoming those. Most importantly, I’ve had the chance to hone a positive vision for what we should be trying to achieve together as a city.

Take a look by clicking below.

Better. Together. Four years at City Hall.

I have had the privilege of serving Kitchissippi through four years of change. I’m proud that from the day I was elected I’ve worked with you across the spectrum of city and ward issues to be a strong, thoughtful, vocal and independent advocate for sustainable approaches to city-building.

No two issues require the same approach. I’ve used my vote and my voice to champion your values and your priorities and am proud of what we’ve achieved. We’re still better. Together.

Read more below about how I’ve worked hand-in-hand with residents to:

A more thoughtful approach to planning

What gets built where continues to be a ward priority. In this term of Council I’ve worked as a strong advocate for better land-use planning in the face of accelerating intensification pressure: Continue reading “Better. Together. Four years at City Hall.”

Ashcroft convent vote

This morning, I cast my vote in favour of approving the demolition of part of the Seours de la Visitation convent at the Ashcroft site on Richmond. I had a very short time to respond to a fast-moving file, and wanted to provide a quick summary of what transpired today.

As residents know, I have consistently and vocally advocated against several iterations of design for the next phase of the Ashcroft convent site. A 25-storey proposal a couple of years ago was universally derided, and another plan to glass in much of the convent that was presented last winter was also deemed wholly inappropriate by much of the community.

As I telegraphed in my newsletter before having to put that publication on hiatus for the duration of the election period, I found the most recent iteration of the design to be much more acceptable to the community at large.

Nonetheless, on August 2 I argued at the Built Heritage sub-Committee that the interface between the old building and the new was still unacceptable. There was too little breathing space between the old building and new, and the new building was simply too overwhelming in comparison to the heritage building. The sub-committee agreed with me, and rejected the proposal, but on the explicit understanding that further work would be done to refine the concept to address my, the community and heritage advocates’ concerns.

Late last week, I received a copy of the revised plans. Ashcroft has removed some density to create more acceptable step-backs and breathing space between the old building and new, and I don’t consider that it is nearly as overwhelming a proposal as it was three weeks ago.

Time constraints and the election constraints on my communications channels meant that I was not able to consult on those plans as widely as I would have liked, though I spent time in conversation with community and heritage leaders in the past few days about how to proceed.

The decision came down to a simple calculation. We could reject this compromise, which, in my view, would likely result in several years more discussion during which time the convent would continue to deteriorate. Or, we could accept the compromise which met the spirit of what I was seeking at the beginning of the month: a building that is no longer as overwhelming, and that provides a gentler transition to the height that’s been approved behind.

With little time in which to decide, I chose to support the new plan and finally see a way forward to preserving the convent.

The commitment that staff have made to me is that, when the zoning for the new building moves forward, we will see strong legal language in that to ensure that the convent is preserved when the new building is built, and that one cannot move forward without the other.

There are still multiple decisions that have to be made. I am not supportive of proposals for new height in the last phases of the development, and I continue to seek some way forward out of the entry/egress/transportation mess that this development creates. I need to continue to work during the zoning on maximizing community benefits and putting strong protections in place to ensure those move forward. On all three fronts, I believe I will have staff’s and my colleagues’ support.

I hope that summary provides some insight into my vote today. I look forward to working with you in the next months to ensure the zoning is approved in a way that protects the public interest.

I apologize for this view of the plan recommended by Planning Committee of the revised heritage proposal. I will replace it with an “official” version when I’m able to find one – this is a camera phone version that I took when I received the new plans late last week at my home while on vacation. The ghosting/outline shows what was originally proposed on August 2, which I opposed. My vote today to support the revisions is based on the significantly reduced visual impact on the convent.

My answers to Making Voices Count’s survey

Recently, I responded to Making Voice’s Count and Women Reducing Poverty Together – Maamawe with my yes/ no answers to their election survey. My thanks go to them for their championship of these equity issues. Yes/no can sometimes lack nuance, so provide here a fuller explanation of my answers. Their questions and preface material are in italics.

Elections Candidate Survey

A City for All Survey to All Candidates

City for All Challenge

2018 Ottawa Municipal Election

As a candidate running for Ottawa City Council in 2018, we want to know where you stand on the issues important to the communities and organizations engaged in Making Voices Count and Women Reducing Poverty Together – Maamawe. Results of this survey will be posted on, social media and widely distributed to help people choose the Mayor and City Councillor they will elect.

Let us know where you stand.

Making Voices Count works with City decision makers to create a city for all. It is driven by residents, the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres, City for All Women Initiative, and community partners.

Women Reducing Poverty Together – Maamawe brings together organizations working with women and women with lived experience of poverty to bring an intersectional gender lens to poverty reduction.

We envision a City for All where:

  • everyone has access to affordable transit so they can access jobs, services and participate in their communities;
  • everyone has an affordable place to call home;
  • everyone has access to social services; and
  • everyone has opportunities to succeed regardless of race, sex, gender identity, ability, religion and sexual orientation;

We will work with you once elected to make this happen.

Safe and Affordable Transit In Ottawa:

  • In the last five years, transit prices have increased a lot more than the rate of inflation.
  • Since 2008, transit fares have increased by 40%.
  • Since 2011, OC Transpo ridership has fallen by 6.7%.
  • With higher transit fares, some women end up walking in unsafe situations or remain isolated at home.
  • EquiPass is a monthly adult pass for people living on low income, but it is still unaffordable for many.

Will you reduce EquiPass fare from $58/month to $43/month no later than 2019?

Leiper: Yes. While the current EquiPass fare represents a significant discount, its take-up has been less than projected. Even the difference from $58 to $43 (the price of a Community Pass available to recipients of disability supports) is significant when dollars for food, clothes, shelter and other necessities are stretched. I believe strongly that Council should be striving to reduce the price of the EquiPass to that of the Community Pass.

Will you freeze transit fares to make them more affordable for everyone?

Leiper: Yes. The price of transit continues to rise at 2.5% per year in line with Council’s long-term plan. During this term of Council, I advocated for a fare freeze that would have seen more of the operating cost of transit put on the tax base rather than paid for by users. The current 45% tax and 55% fare funding formula should be reversed, and even gradually see more of transit costs put on the tax base. Throughout this term of Council, we have heard that transit use is relatively price inelastic – that is, impervious to a degree to price increases. However, ridership has declined, service levels continue to be challenged, and competitors such a ride-for-hire services have entered the market. In the meantime, congestion increases.

Encouraging transit use is critical to Ottawa’s success as an affordable, sustainable City. It’s time to reverse the trend of decreasing and stagnant ridership by encouraging all residents to take transit. I believe that affordability for all residents is key to this. For a relatively low amount each year spread across the entire commercial and residential tax base, we can encourage greater ridership, mitigate congestion in a growing city, and ensure that all residents regardless of income make the choice to use transit.

This now-expropriated strip mall on Richmond will soon be demolished for LRT. Under City ownership, it should be re-developed with affordable housing top-of mind as I continue to stress with City planners.

Affordable Housing:

In Ottawa:

  • Overall shelter use increased by 16% and length of stay increased by 12% from 2014 -2017. This is primarily influenced by the increase in family and newcomer shelter use.
  • Up to 21% of single shelter use in Ottawa are single women. This data doesn’t include the number of women staying at Ottawa’s Violence Against Women shelters.
  • There is not enough affordable housing in Ottawa to meet demand, with over 10,000 people on the Centralized Waiting List for social housing in 2017.
  • National trends indicate that housing costs significantly increase near rapid transit systems.
  • High rent costs place many individuals at risk of homelessness or living in sub-standard conditions. 42% of Ottawa households spend over 30% of their income on rent and utilities.

Will you ensure that the City’s plan to reduce homelessness has specific actions, targets and money attached?

Leiper: Yes. Without targets, a plan is just an aspiration. Attaching targets to our homelessness plan is critical to holding Council accountable. Significant progress has been made addressing homelessness in the last term of Council, but the lack of clarity around the relationship between different programs such as rent subsidies, capital expenditure on housing, and temporary motel shelters makes clear that we need a more laser-focused plan built on a foundation of evidence.

Will you advocate for at least $12 million/year of City funding, over and above federal and provincial grants, to build new affordable housing?

Leiper: Yes. In this term of Council, a provincial download of inflationary costs for the operation of social housing resulted in a shift of $4 million from the capital budget previously available to top-up capital dollars for housing from the federal and provincial governments. Those dollars were not replaced. I strongly agree that while the federal and provincial governments will need to shoulder the majority of the burden of reducing homelessness, the City of Ottawa must also contribute. Reducing homelessness is not just a moral obligation on all levels of government, but an investment in the sustainability of our city. The financial cost of homelessness is too great a burden on taxpayers, and an investment in tripling the previous capital funding available will be repaid several times over.

Will you ensure that 25% of new development is dedicated to affordable housing with a special emphasis on deeply affordable housing within 1 km of rapid transit stations?

Leiper: Yes. In this term of Council, I have been a key champion for inclusionary zoning. Briefly, inclusionary zoning is a tool recently allowed by Queen’s Park that gives the City the ability to mandate that a certain proportion of new housing development be affordable. I have been very active with Council, staff and working with a coalition of councillors across Ontario to ensure that those rules were passed giving cities the maximum flexibility to determine the appropriate levels.

In the next term of Council, we will debate the required changes to our Official Plan to implement inclusionary zoning, and I will be seeking at least 25% in the vicinity of light rail and bus rapid transit stations. I will also be seeking to ensure that is a mix of pricing according to different levels of affordability, including to lowest-income residents as well as those requiring just a little support. I will also be seeking to ensure some level of inclusionary zoning across the city in all significant projects, recognizing that the priority will be on development in close proximity to transit. I and Councillor McKenney have led in this term of Council the preparation of the ground to use City and other public lands for affordable housing near transit, and will continue in this vein in the next term.

I was pleased to be on hand recently as Options Bytown recognized the Cooperative Association of Eastern Ontario for their work on affordable housing

Access to services:

Ottawa has a growing, aging, increasingly diverse population.

  • Social services play a key role to decrease crimes and enhance wellbeing and belonging.
  • In the 2017 City Budget, the City-funded social service providers requested $2.8 million to address growing demands and emerging needs. This shows the size of the problem and the need to increase community funding.
  • In a 2018 survey to City-funded social service providers conducted by Social Planning Council, 87% of respondents reported an increase in demand for services, 44% reduced services, 18% turned clients away.

Will you advocate for community and City social services to have sufficient funding to keep pace with the growing demand?

Leiper: Yes. Our social services and funding to community partners has not kept pace with demand. New organizations providing needed services to our most vulnerable populations simply can’t get City funding, and the increases for those already in the fold aren’t meeting the need.

There is an immediate need for at least $3 million in new partner funding that I would support.

Will you raise taxes as needed in order to meet the unmet and emerging needs of our increasingly complex city (i.e. housing, transit, social services)?

Leiper: Yes. Council’s adherence in the past four years to a 2% tax increase has meant, in real terms, that spending is falling below demand. Municipal expenses have been growing at a higher level, which has meant the City is less and less able to find the funds necessary to provide the services that residents expect. As each year passes, we exacerbate the shortfall and the need for an eventual reckoning through either very high tax increases or deep cuts. This is true across all spending areas at the City, but is particularly keenly felt where the human cost is high.

I will be open to raising taxes if necessary to provide the services that residents demand, and that largely represent an investment in lower tax increases in future as we stop deferring the costs of under-spending to future Councils.

In my answers to the questions above, CAWI has identified $20 million in spending that I would support: $12 million for housing, $5 million to freeze transit fares, and $3 million for social service partners. It’s important to understand what that would mean in terms of cost to taxpayers. In the 2018 budget, a 2% tax increase raised $32 million in new taxes. For the owner of an average priced home in the urban area (as opposed to rural), that was an increase of $75 per year – $6.25 per month.

Had taxes risen by 3% instead, the City would have raised $48 million in new taxes – $16 million more than a 2% increase – at an average cost to urban homeowners of $114 per year, $9.50 a month ($3.25 more per month than a 2% tax increase).

Had taxes risen by 3.5%, the City would have raised $56 million in new taxes – $24 million more than a 2% tax increase – at an average cost to urban homeowners of $133 per year, $11.08 per month. ($4.83 more per month than a 2% tax increase).

With those millions, at the cost of less than a couple of cups of coffee each month, we could have frozen transit fares, put millions into new housing, and provided critical services to residents and accelerated needed repairs to our roads, parks and other infrastructure, saving money in the long-term. We could have boosted transit ridership, saved money on temporary housing costs, and invested in helping all residents with attendant savings in health, housing and other support. These are the decisions that your councillor is being asked to make, and my commitment as in this term is to make those choices with you.

Of course, it’s always critical to find ways to pay for things without unnecessarily increasing the tax burden. We should encourage the City Manager and Treasurer to continue to seek efficiencies in how we run the City, including soliciting residents’ suggestions to find those in ways that don’t hurt service delivery. We should continue to seek new revenue sources from other levels of government and explore tools used in other municipalities such as land transfer taxes – perhaps for transactions above a certain threshold (which would require new powers from Queen’s Park). There may be hard choices about what capital projects to pursue in areas such as transportation.

At the end of the day, though, we can pay now for the services we want and need, or we can pay later. Reducing homelessness, boosting transit ridership, and funding social services adequately will reduce costs in the long run.

The 2017 graduating 13: A Social Enterprise class.

Inclusive City:

People who are Indigenous, immigrants, racialized, living with disabilities and trans are more likely to be unemployed, with lower salaries and less opportunities for advancement.

In comparison to men, women are more likely to have higher rates of unemployment, over-representation in part-time jobs and higher rates of poverty. On average, women earn 72 cents to the dollar earned by men.

In order to have City staff and managers that are representative of Ottawa’s population, will you increase hiring and advancement of people from equity seeking groups including Indigenous people, women, racialized people, LGBTQ, people with disabilities and newcomers?

Leiper: Yes. The City has an important leadership role to play both demonstrating the way forward for hiring practices in the public and private sectors more broadly, as well as ensuring that our City staff is diverse and inclusive in the interest of better policy-making.

City Council has voted to study the creation of a Women’s Bureau in the City. Will you support the creation of a Women’s Bureau to ensure gender differences are taken into account in City decision making?

Leiper: Yes. I was a strong supporter of the motion by Councillors Deans and McKenney to create a women’s bureau. Too often, councillors do not take into consideration a gender lens on policy, a situation that is exacerbated by the uncertainty of gender parity on Council. I stand by that support.

In this term of Council, I have sought ways to champion women’s issues at City Hall, including through the inclusion of sexual assault intervention training for festivals, lobbying for rigorous review of sexual assault cases, and collaborating with my colleagues when an anti-choice flag was flown to have it removed. My commitment is to continue this strong advocacy. I believe a women’s bureau at City Hall will make that easier.


I was pleased to join Farhia Ahmed and Nimao Ali at a recent anti-black racism summit hosted at City Hall by a coalition of community groups.

My answers to Ecology Ottawa’s survey

Ecology Ottawa has been distributing a survey of councillor and mayoral candidates and it was my pleasure recently to submit my answers. It’s important to note that many of the measures advocated by Ecology Ottawa and its allies will require a willing majority of Council to achieve. However, as they have been able to in this term, Ecology Ottawa and its allies can continue to count on my support and collaboration.

Below are my answers to their survey in bold.

Renewable City

Over the last term of council, initiatives to address climate change have been delayed, understaffed and underfinanced. It’s even unclear whether city-wide emissions have been rising or falling over the past six years. Meanwhile, some spending on city infrastructure (e.g., road expansions) is impeding or negating progress from climate investments made under the environment portfolio. At the federal level, the government has mandated a new climate lens assessment for its infrastructure funding program, Investing in Canada. If elected, will you make climate action a Term of Council Priority, increase funding and staffing commitments commensurate with this prioritization, and mandate a climate lens for the City’s assessment for all infrastructure investments?

Leiper: Yes. I have used my vote and voice in this term of Council to resist road widenings paid for from tax dollars where those compromise our transit plans that are a key part of achieving our climate change objectives. Our largest infrastructure investment, in LRT, has a well-documented climate change rationale that is a model for further infrastructure planning. However, beyond LRT, we have more to do to fund, then measure, initiatives that reduce GhGs to achieve our climate change goals.

The City of Ottawa reports on community-wide climate emissions once every through the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan. This infrequent reporting makes tracking progress toward our climate goals very difficult, and is far behind the standard set by leading cities such as Edmonton and Montreal. If elected, will you commit to increasing the frequency of the City’s community-wide emissions reporting to at least once per year?

Leiper: Yes. In this term of Council, I have twice supported more aggressive GhG reduction goals – most recently by achieving Council’s support for my motion to accelerate the adoption of a more ambitious target. However, without monitoring it is difficult to ascertain whether we’re meeting our goals. Yearly reporting will help make us more accountable for achieving those.

Climate change is accelerating, and cities around the world are rushing to adapt to the impacts of severe weather, flooding and invasive species. The City of Ottawa has committed to developing a Climate Adaptation Plan but hasn’t yet delivered. If elected, will you commit to ensuring the release and initial implementation of a Climate Adaptation Plan within the next term of council?

Leiper: Yes.

Development of Ottawa’s next Official Plan will begin in January 2019 and conclude during the next term of council. The Official Plan sets the ground rules that can make it easier or virtually impossible for cities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions—from transportation patterns and sprawl, to housing densities and unit sizes, to options for local renewable energy production, to the services, amenities, and greenspaces residents can access within walking distance. Official Plans developed with climate change in mind deliver powerful benefits that make neighbourhoods healthier, safer, and more liveable. If elected, will you support and work for a revised Official Plan that makes low-carbon development a top priority, in a way that delivers healthier, safer, more liveable neighbourhoods for your constituents?

Leiper: Yes. The current Official Plan (OP) appropriately prioritizes intensification (though that is not always implemented thoughtfully) mandated for both its environmental and economic benefits. The key challenges in the next term of Council as we refresh that will be to implement OP policies that provide better protection for greenspace including trees, and especially to resist an expansion of the urban boundary. We must keep in mind that intensification that achieves environmental goals does not mean carte blanche for developers. I will persist in seeking meaningful plans for how we grow, then sticking to those.

Active City

Evidence from numerous studies of “induced demand” shows that widening highways and building new roads does nothing to alleviate traffic congestion. Instead, new roads and new lanes are quickly filled up with cars. Congestion is only relieved through investment in alternative forms of travel – by bike, by foot and by public transit. If elected, will you commit to prioritizing pedestrian, cycling, and affordable public transit infrastructure over automobile infrastructure in meeting the future growth in travel demand in your ward (for council candidates) / city-wide (for mayoral candidates)?

Leiper: Yes. I have a demonstrated track record working proactively to better balance the needs of all road users, including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, across the ward. I will continue to build on the momentum of ensuring, for example, that Scott Street does not revert to a four-lane car road following the end of the bus detour and will eventually be turned fully into a complete street, and to achieve pedestrian improvements such as the re-building of the Churchill/Richmond intersection. I will persist in seeing cycling infrastructure extended on Richmond Road, as well as traffic calming measures on Byron as those plans have developed this term. I was pleased, with several Council colleagues, to fund a study of how to use City levers to deal with congestion that we will re-visit in the next term.

Upon completion, the City of Ottawa’s light rail transit (LRT) network will bring 70% of the population to within five kilometres of a light rail station. It will be easier than ever for Ottawans to travel to and from their target destinations using sustainable transportation options, but only if the City prioritizes shared mobility services and pedestrian, cycling and transit connectivity near transit hubs. Currently, the City of Ottawa only plans for connectivity within 600 metres of transit hubs. If elected, will you commit to widening this connectivity planning radius to five kilometres?

Leiper: Yes. The opportunity of LRT, particularly at the completion of Phase 2, is to create new travel choices that don’t rely on the private automobile. I was pleased to initiate full bike access to LRT specifically to support this thrust. I would champion efforts during the refresh of the Transportation Master Plan in the next term of Council to use tools such as those created by Bike Ottawa using funding that I provided to plan for cycling connectivity. I will continue to advocate for an affordable transit system, and the maintenance of our local transit service, which will likely require re-thinking the current fare/tax ratio. 

The City of Ottawa adopted a complete streets policy in 2013 and an implementation plan in 2015. Now, all new roads must be built to be accessible to all ages, users and abilities – including pedestrians, cyclists and transit users – rather than just car drivers. However, evidence shows that the policy alone is not sufficient to create complete streets. Councillor leadership is vital to ensure streets are as “complete” as possible and follow through on priority pedestrian and cycling projects identified in the Transportation Master Plan. If elected, will you commit to ensuring that complete streets and priority pedestrian and cycling projects are built in your ward (for council candidates) / city-wide (for mayoral candidates)?

Leiper: Yes. I have a demonstrated track record working proactively to better balance the needs of all road users, including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, across the ward. I will continue to build on the momentum of ensuring, for example, that Scott Street does not revert to a four-lane car road following the end of the bus detour and will eventually be turned fully into a complete street, and to achieve pedestrian improvements such as the re-building of the Churchill/Richmond intersection.

Between 2010 and 2014, 148 people died on Ottawa’s streets. These deaths were entirely avoidable – they were a by-product of the way we have designed our streets. Toronto and Edmonton have embraced a “Vision Zero” approach to road design, that considers all traffic deaths and serious injuries preventable. A Vision Zero policy involves design changes (i.e. reducing speeds and separating road users), funding for these changes and public reporting on progress. If elected, will you commit to adopting a Vision Zero policy for Ottawa?

Leiper: Yes. The City has made some progress in this term of Council to implement some elements of Vision Zero, including studying road deaths to understand the contribution of road design to those, but more needs to be done. A key challenge will be to ensure that the funding is available to make the changes needed to achieve Vision Zero. I have already begun advocating for additional funding for the “temporary traffic calming” program that we have used in Kitchissippi to try to achieve the lower speeds that are critical to saving lives and avoiding catastrophic injury.

Living City

In 2017, the City of Ottawa adopted a strong Urban Forest Management Plan designed to safeguard and strengthen Ottawa’s tree canopy. The plan contains a 20-year action plan that requires sustained attention and investment. If elected, will you commit to fully implementing and fully funding the Urban Forest Management Plan?

Leiper: Yes. Along with Councillor Chernushenko, I was a sponsor of the UFMP (including by successfully asking Council to elevate it to a term of Council priority) and am committed to ensuring it has appropriate funding to be fully implemented. I have also worked extensively on tree issues at the ward and city level, including working with tree advocates to support their efforts.

Flooding and severe weather events are happening in Ottawa more frequently than in the past. It’s more important than ever that the City adapt to climate change by systematically scaling up development of green infrastructure – living and built systems designed to slow down, soak up, and filter rainwater, such as trees, rain gardens and permeable pavements. The City has the policy tools to do this, but remains at the pilot phase and has not moved to wide-scale implementation. If elected, will you work to ensure that all street resurfacing and new road construction integrate green infrastructure wherever possible?

Leiper: Yes. Street re-surfacings will have limited potential to integrate green elements, but street re-builds are key opportunities. In order to capitalize on those, I would support a policy and increased budget to incorporate progressive stormwater solutions when renewing road infrastructure. I am pleased to see that the City has begun pilots of measures such as bioswales, and (assuming those are successful) I would support broader rollout of those.

Urban greenspace is a precious commodity. Yet sprawling development patterns, infill developments, and road widenings regularly threaten our trees, greenspace and biodiversity. If elected, will you commit to prioritizing greenspace preservation as part of the planning process?

Leiper: Yes. The current land-use planning regime must be changed in order to prioritize urban greenspace. I have begun in this term of Council to work with senior staff to identify the barriers to accomplishing this in anticipation of achieving the needed changes at the level of the Official Plan and in provincial statutes. Where stronger language is required in the Official Plan to support, for example, the preservation of trees in the face of infill construction, I am committed to working with staff and my Council colleagues to effect that.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is proposing a permanent radioactive waste facility alongside the Ottawa River, upstream from Ottawa. Mayors of over 100 Quebec municipalities have banded together to oppose this proposal, citing a serious risk to drinking water from the Ottawa River. If elected, will you join them in opposing this dangerous nuclear waste dump?

Leiper: Yes.

Waste Management

In March 2018, City Council changed its contract with Orgaworld to allow dog waste and other organics to be placed in green bins using non-compostable plastic bag liners. There’s no evidence that allowing plastics will encourage more people to compost. But the new rules will produce a new stream of unnecessary plastic waste that will complicate the disposal process and deliver lower-quality compost. If elected, will you support rescinding the decision to allow non-compostable plastic bag liners and dog waste in the green bin program?

Leiper: Yes. I was a vocal member of the minority of Council that resisted this change, and I would be pleased to support its reversal.

Ottawa’s 44% waste recycling rate is the lowest of all major cities in Ontario, well below leading municipalities like York Region at 65%, Halton Region at 56%, and Toronto at 51%. That’s partly because Ottawa only spends 50¢ per household per year to promote the program and educate residents. If elected, will you support tripling the level of funding for promotion and education for waste prevention, recycling, and green bin programs to at least $1.50 per household per year, a level closer to the average for large municipalities in Ontario?

Leiper: Yes. I was pleased in this term of Council to work with (and support with my office resources) the work of Waste Watch Ottawa, which has made this recommendation.

Ottawa’s 2011 waste management plan is out of date and irrelevant. The City has made no effort to update the plan, though the poor performance of its recycling and green bin programs falls far short of the 65% waste diversion rate in York Region, the leading municipality in the province. If elected, will you support the development of a new waste management strategy and waste diversion action plan that follow best practices and set a 65% waste diversion target for Ottawa?

Leiper: Yes. I believe that many of Waste Watch Ottawa’s recommendations (developed with some support from my office) should be implemented to move us along this path. In the upcoming term of Council, we will update our solid waste strategy to account for upcoming changes to provincial producer responsibility regulations, but the WWO recommendations should be implemented regardless.

The field house at Van Lang

In any term of Council, every councillor faces their share of frustrations and achievements. When we look back on those four years, we each face a decision about whether we want to continue.

When I’m asked why I’m running again, I sometimes share my hope to achieve a more inclusive, equitable city, more thoughtful planning, safer streets, and continued improvements to engaging the community.

The real decision to run gets made, though, when we ask ourselves “did I make a difference?”

When I was elected, the field house at Van Lang was a concrete pad and didn’t have the budget to complete. I approached several colleagues early in the term to borrow from their parks funds, and they trusted me to make good on a timely re-payment (since delivered). Working closely with the community, who drove the project, and our partners, the field house finally opened its doors earlier this term.

The field house at Van Lang is programmed and run by an innovative partnership, and we’ve been learning as we go how to work together with generosity, patience, and with our goal of inclusivity and community development always at the forefront. I’ve done everything in my power to facilitate that.

When I watch this video from last night’s grassroots-organized dance at the field house, I can trace its origins in actions and approaches I’ve taken, always working with others, that made it possible.

When I examine this term of Council and ask myself, “did I make a difference”, the answer I think is “yes”. And that’s why I’m running again.

Enjoy some awesome dancing, Kitchissippi.

June 24 Campaign Launch

Friends and neighbours,
I am writing to invite you to my campaign launch party for re-election to City Council!
In the four years since you first elected me, I’ve been:
* a thoughtful, independent, vocal champion for our community at City Hall
* present, collaborative and accountable in all our neighbourhoods
* innovative in the tools we’ve used to make better policy and to serve you.
I need your support for my re-election so that we can build on this foundation to:
* collaboratively develop the big picture of how our community will grow through thoughtful and predictable planning
* achieve progressive policies on transit and transportation, housing and the environment.
I hope you can drop in between 2-4 pm on Sunday, June 24 at Lexington Smokehouse and Bar, 344 Richmond Road.
Come by for some live music and snacks. We’ll have a sign-up sheet as well if you want to volunteer, donate or have a lawn sign delivered this fall.
Thank you for your ongoing support. I look forward to seeing you on the 24th!

Chers amis et voisins,

J’aimerais vous inviter à une célébration du lancement de ma campagne de réélection pour notre conseil municipal.

Durant les quatre dernières années comme votre conseiller pour Kitchissippi:

• Je me suis fait le champion indépendant et l’interprète des intérêts de notre quartier à l’hôtel de ville et je l’ai fait de manière réfléchie.

• J’ai été présent dans tous les coins de notre quartier, j’ai collaboré aux initiatives et agi de façon responsable.

• J’ai fait des innovations aux moyens d’action que nous utilisons pour améliorer nos politiques et mieux vous servir.

Au cours du prochain mandat du Conseil municipal, je veux continuer à amplifier nos acquis :

• en développant avec vous un plan de croissance de notre communauté, un plan réfléchi qui tient compte de l’avenir,

• en finalisant des politiques progressistes dans les domaines du transport en commun, de l’habitation et de l’environnement.

J’espère vous compter des nôtres, le dimanche 24 juin de 14h à 16h au Lexington Smokehouse Bar, 344 chemin Richmond.

Venez nous saluer, écoutez un peu de musique et partagez un petit gouter. Nous aurons des feuilles pour vous inscrire comme bénévole, pour faire un don à la campagne ou indiquer que vous voulez un panneau électorale pour votre propriété.

Je tiens à vous remercier de votre appui continu au cours du mon dernier mandat. Il me fera grand plaisir de vous revoir le 24,


First campaign ad

Thanks to our early and generous sponsors, we were able to place our first Kitchissippi Times ad this week. It’s on newsstands now! Use the buttons above to donate so we can keep spreading the word until October 22.

Nomination Day and the road ahead

It was fun to pull some of the team together on nomination day, May 1 for some photos. We’re working on the various campaign materials right now, but will be getting to the doors soon. Our biggest need right now is to pull together a list of volunteers who can walk with me during my canvassing shifts for the next several months. It’s easy work simply tracking interactions at the door. If you’re able, please write to us at so we can add you to the list!