Ottawa's Urban City Councillors 'Locked Out' of Key Committees

Ottawa's Urban City Councillors 'Locked Out' of Key Committees
Posted on February 19, 2020 | Jeff Leiper | Written on February 19, 2020
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Dear City Clerk,

The City of Ottawa’s urban Councillors - and by extension, the residents we represent - have been locked out of key positions within city council. This lack of representation is most acutely manifested in the current make-up of the Finance, and Economic Development Committee.

FEDCO - arguably the most powerful city committee - is comprised of zero urban Councillors and few from within the Greenbelt. The image to the right demonstrates which general areas of the city have their interests represented at FEDCO. The red-centre - demonstrating the lack of representation from central, urban wards, is a fitting casual representation of the democratic deficit at City Hall.

With the recent openings on city committees and boards - resulting, I’m part, from the rejection of Councillor Jeff Leiper to fill the vacancy of Transportation Chair (and by extension FEDCO) - we re presented with an opportunity for the mayor, the Nominating committee, and city council to correct this matter and embrace representative democracy, providing all residents with their fair say in the workings of our city.

To begin to mitigate the situation that has occurred thus far, we are presenting the following choices for the current and upcoming vacancies on city committees and boards:

(Standing Committee) Finance and Economic Development Committee, Member - At Large: Cllr. Catherine McKenney

(Standing Committee) Planning Committee, Add Member: Cllr Shawn Menard and more current Member Jeff Leiper into the role of Vice Chair

Ottawa Public Library Board, Chair: Cllr. Riley Brockington

Built Heritage Sub-Committee, Chair: Cllr Rawlson King

Shaw Centre Board of Directors, Cllr, Mathieu Fleury as local Councillor

Aside from the matter of proper representation on city committees, we are also troubled by the lack of governance procedure to ensure standing committee members decide on their respective chair. We submit that should a standing committee chair step down and assuming quorum is maintained, the Vice Chair should assume the role of Chair, where feasible.

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