Over the last 12 years, our nation’s capital has grown to be a vibrant and diverse city of a million people with so much to boast about.
From the launch of Stage 1 LRT to our record investments in affordable housing.
From the Ottawa 2017 celebrations to a flourishing arts and culinary scene.
Or the opening of countless community centres and a thriving tech sector for local start-ups and business giants alike.
Since 2010, we’ve also expanded our cycling network by 58 per cent.
The list goes on and on.
This fall, Ottawa residents will head back to the ballot box.
You may hear your family members, friends or colleagues say: “Another election? Why should I care?”
For starters, we rely on the municipal government much more on a day-to-day basis than we think. Whether you’re turning on the lights in your home, filling up a glass of water from the tap, walking on a cleared sidewalk, hopping on a bus to get to a community centre, or calling 9-1-1 – those are all city services and we all expect these basic services to be delivered to us every single day.
Secondly, those elected this fall will ultimately oversee a number of transformative projects that will have an impact on the development of our city for years to come. We need to ensure that those we elect will work to build on the momentum of the last few terms: Stage 2 and 3 LRT; revitalizing LeBreton Flats; opening Ādisōke, the new net-zero central library; building the new Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital, and so much more.
Last but not least: we can’t give up on democracy. In June’s provincial election, we saw the lowest voter turnout in Ontario’s history. Nearly three years of living through a pandemic, paired with an increase in vitriol on social media, has resulted in a lack of interest on the part of voters and an apprehension on the part of potential candidates to register.
While we’re all tired, we can’t let fatigue and hatred overshadow the fact that this election will have major impacts on our city’s future.
So do your research, ask the tough questions, and vote for people who will continue to work for a better Ottawa.
Vote like the future of our city depends on it – because it does.
Vote like our democracy is at stake – because it is.
We’re far from perfect, but we should be proud of the progress we have made as a city and as a community.
I love this city, and I know you do too.
Voting Day is Monday, October 24. To find your assigned voting location or for more information about the 2022 municipal election, please visit: ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/elections/2022-municipal-elections.
Jim Watson is the outgoing mayor of Ottawa.