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I want to share with you why I'm running for City Council

Simply put, I’m running for City Council because I believe City Hall is broken. Our city is beset with problems that include a failing public transit system, homelessness, mental health issues and rising crime. The concerns of small business owners – the lifeblood of our community – have been lost in the noise of arguments between those who have lost sight of the greater objective of building a sustainable city that works for everyone.

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I’m a social liberal and fiscal conservative. I’m not tied to any lobby or ideology and therefore I’m well-positioned to reach out across all constituencies, including land and property developers, as well as experts in the mental health, community housing, urban planning and transportation fields. Input from all of them is critical to fixing what’s wrong with the city. Cutting out the ones you don’t like and demonizing them doesn’t work.

            We need people on City Council who are willing to co-operate in putting forward solutions to issues that are important to the entire community – and not just pet projects of the individual councillors. As an example, I note that some councillors have already said they would stop Lansdowne 2.0 even before the proposal goes for public consultation. Are there flaws with the Lansdowne development? Maybe. But, the site attracted 4.1 million people in the year before Covid (up from 300,000 predevelopment). This increased flow of people has been a boon for small business owners in Ottawa South and the Glebe.  It seems that their voice and their views have not been heard. 

            I bring more than 30 years experience in negotiating political solutions to difficult challenges through my service in the federal government and as a consultant on transportation issues. 

            The next City Council must establish clear priorities. In the current economic environment, we simply can’t afford everything. We need to choose our priorities carefully and proceed in a manner that is workable and sustainable. 

            I view homelessness and mental health, which are inextricably linked, as the foremost challenge facing the city. The Smart Prosperity Institute says more than 100,000 new homes are needed in Ottawa by 2031. That is 25 per cent more than  what has been committed in Ottawa’s Official Plan. More needs to be done and that means working with developers to find ways to build more affordable housing that also addresses environmental concerns and mitigates urban sprawl. 

            Our city’s transit system has failed us. We must take a hard look at the LRT trains and determine whether they can be made to handle the challenges of an Ottawa winter or whether they need to be replaced. We must also determine what the LRT will look like in 15-20 years. If cost-effective, I would be in favour of an underground line from Billings Bridge, with stations in Ottawa South, the Glebe and Centretown,  to Parliament station on the Confederation line. We need to ensure the LRT system and the bus routes work in concert and make sense for users. And finally, we need to ensure we meet – or expedite - the plan to make our buses emissions-free by 2036.

            Policing has also been an area of contention among councillors. I agree that the police lost the trust of a large part of the population during the truckers convoy early this year. However, I also note that they learned from those failings and  effectively handled subsequent protests through the spring and summer. I don’t believe in defunding the police and I don’t believe it is up to government to tell police how to do their job. However, I do believe it is up to governments to provide the tools police need to better serve and protect the population. In particular, I will push for an expansion of the Ottawa Police’s mental health unit, which has earned praise from leading mental health experts in the city, but which is woefully understaffed and underfunded. I also want to see more community policing, with officers out of their cars and instead walking and biking their beats and engaging with all of our various and diverse residents.

            I understand that this is a lot. That makes it that much more important that City Council learns the difference between what is needed and what they want. 

However, I am convinced that with new councillors, people who are willing to work collaboratively, and without animus, with both those they agree with and those they don’t, that Ottawa will recover from the failures of the past four years and again become the beautiful, vibrant, inclusive city that we all want.

Reach me by email at

Follow me on Twitter @danrogerscapitalward & on Instagram @vote4danrogers


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