Ottawa election: How councillors seeking re-election voted on key files

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Thirteen Ottawa city councillors are seeking re-election in 2022 and one councillor is running for mayor.

The 2018 to 2022 term included some high profile and controversial votes that will affect the future of the city for years to come.

Couns. Matthew Luloff, Laura Dudas, Cathy Curry, Glen Gower, Theresa Kavanagh, Tim Tierney, Rawlson King, Jeff Leiper, Riley Brockington, Shawn Menard, Catherine Kitts, George Darouze, and Allan Hubley have registered to run for re-election. Coun. Catherine McKenney is not seeking re-election as a councillor but is instead challenging the mayor’s race.

King, Kitts, and Curry were not elected in the 2018 election, and weren’t present for some of the votes below. King won an April 2019 byelection in Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward after the departure of Tobi Nussbaum for the National Capital Commission, while Kitts won a byelection in Cumberland Ward when Stephen Blais became the Liberal MPP for Orléans. Cathy Curry was appointed as a city councillor in 2021 to fill the seat left vacant by Jenna Sudds, who became the Liberal MP for Kanata-Carleton.

Here is a look at how each of the candidates looking for your vote once again voted on big files last term.

STAGE 2 LRT

One of the first major votes in the new term was the approval of $4.6 billion worth of contracts to expand the yet to be launched LRT in Stage 2. While Line 1 wouldn’t officially open until September of 2019, councillors voted 19 to 3 on March 6 of that year to expand rail service south to the airport and Riverside South, east to Trim and west to Moodie and Algonquin College.

Some councillors criticized the timeline of the vote, and there was an attempt to defer it, but city staff said waiting could jeopardize payment agreements with senior levels of government.

It would later be revealed that the bid for the north-south Trillium Line portion of the contract went to SNC Lavalin despite not passing the technical threshold set out by the city. Councillors were not permitted to see the technical scores ahead of the vote. City staff said SNC Lavalin addressed any red flags in their bid before it was presented to council.

Here is how each of the incumbents present voted:

  • Luloff: Yes
  • Dudas: Yes
  • Gower: Yes
  • Kavanagh: Yes
  • Tierney: Yes
  • McKenney: Yes
  • Leiper: Yes
  • Brockington: Yes
  • Menard: No
  • Darouze: Absent
  • Hubley: Yes

LANSDOWNE 2.0

Ottawa city council voted 17 to 7 on June 8, 2022 in favour of a plan to proceed with the next phase of the revitalization of Lansdowne Park.

The $332 million plan known as “Lansdowne 2.0” would be funded from the sale of air rights, debt funding, and some capital budget funding for internal costs. The city would borrow $239 million for the project. It would demolish and rebuild the north side stands at TD Place Stadium, demolish and rebuild the Civic Centre, and build three high-rise towers with a total of 1,200 units between them.

The vote did not mean any contracts were signed and it does not bind the next term of council, but gave authority to keep staff working on the project and to conduct public consultations on the file.

Here is how incumbents voted on the approval for Lansdowne 2.0:

  • Luloff: Yes
  • Dudas: Yes
  • Curry: Yes
  • Gower: Yes
  • Kavanagh: No
  • Tierney: Yes
  • King: No
  • McKenney: No
  • Leiper: No
  • Brockington: Yes
  • Menard: No
  • Kitts: Yes
  • Darouze: Yes
  • Hubley: Yes

Coun. Shawn Menard, whose ward includes Lansdowne Park, attempted to defer the vote until after the Oct. 24 election, but his motion to defer the vote was defeated 8 yeas to 15 nays.

Here is how that vote went:

  • Luloff: No
  • Dudas: No
  • Curry: No
  • Gower: No
  • Kavanagh: Yes
  • Tierney: No
  • King: Yes
  • McKenney: Yes
  • Leiper: Yes
  • Brockington: Yes
  • Menard: Yes
  • Kitts: No
  • Darouze: No
  • Hubley: No
A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of Lansdowne Park, including new north side stands, a new event centre, and three residential towers. The project is projected to cost $330 million. (Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group/Handout)

INQUIRY INTO STAGE 1 LRT

Following two derailments on Ottawa’s Confederation Line LRT in the space of six weeks in the summer of 2021, Coun. Catherine McKenney twice attempted to have councillors call a judicial inquiry into the process of financing, building, and launching Stage 1.

The line opened Sept. 14, 2019 and has experienced numerous issues that have impacted or even halted service. The derailment on Sept. 19, 2021 kept the entire line shut down for 54 days.

McKenney put forward a motion to request a judicial inquiry on Oct. 13, 2021, but it was replaced by a motion by Coun. Glen Gower to have the city’s auditor general perform an audit instead.

Here’s how each councillor seeking re-election voted on the motion to have the AG look into the LRT:

  • Luloff: Yes
  • Dudas: Yes
  • Gower: Yes
  • Kavanagh: No
  • Tierney: Yes
  • King: No
  • McKenney: No
  • Leiper: No
  • Brockington: Yes
  • Menard: No
  • Kitts: Yes
  • Darouze: Yes
  • Hubley: Yes

A second attempt by McKenney came on Nov. 10, 2021.

The debate centered on the main differences between a judicial inquiry and an AG’s report, the principal difference being that a judicial inquiry would be public, while the auditor general would have the authority to provide anonymity to witnesses.

The motion was defeated by a vote 13 nays to 10 yeas, a slightly tighter vote compared to the 14 to 9 vote in favour of an auditor general’s report into the LRT on Oct. 13.

Here is how the incumbents voted:

  • Luloff: No
  • Dudas: No
  • Gower: No
  • Kavanagh: Yes
  • Tierney: No
  • King: Yes
  • McKenney: Yes
  • Leiper: Yes
  • Brockington: Yes
  • Menard: Yes
  • Kitts: No
  • Darouze: No
  • Hubley: No

The provincial government would eventually call its own public inquiry, putting the AG’s investigation on hold. Public hearings with dozens of witnesses involved in the system, including Mayor Jim Watson, councillors such as McKenney and Hubley, city officials, and representatives of the private companies that built the trains and the line itself were called to testify.

Crews moving an LRT train slowly along the track after a minor derailment earlier in the week. Aug. 11, 2021. (Jim O’Grady / CTV News Ottawa)

POLICE SERVICES BOARD

In a dramatic city council meeting on Feb. 16, 2022, councillors remade the Ottawa Police Services Board amid questions over how the police handled the then-ongoing “Freedom Convoy” protest and the replacement of former police chief Peter Sloly.

Councillors voted to replace then chair Coun. Diane Deans with former police board chair Coun. Eli El-Chantiry after Deans led an effort to hire a new interim police chief without a competitive process and without consulting with other councillors or the mayor.

The motion to replace Deans, introduced by Coun. Scott Moffatt, was debated for several hours, and led to tense moments, including a call for the mayor’s resignation.

Here is how incumbent councillors voted on the motion to replace Deans with El-Chantiry:

  • Luloff: Yes
  • Dudas: Yes
  • Curry: Yes
  • Gower: Yes
  • Kavanagh: No
  • Tierney: Yes
  • King: No
  • McKenney: No
  • Leiper: No
  • Brockington: No
  • Menard: No
  • Kitts: Yes
  • Darouze: Yes
  • Hubley: Yes

There was also a motion to replace Coun. Carol Anne Meehan with Jan Harder, which was ultimately defeated. Meehan would later resign from the police services board of her own accord during the meeting.

Here’s how incumbent councillors voted:

  • Luloff: No
  • Dudas: Yes
  • Curry: Yes
  • Gower: Yes
  • Kavanagh: No
  • Tierney: Yes
  • King: No
  • McKenney: No
  • Leiper: No
  • Brockington: No
  • Menard: No
  • Kitts: No
  • Darouze: Yes
  • Hubley: Yes

Coun. Rawlson King also resigned from the police services board. There was an attempt to appoint Coun. Cathy Curry to the board in his place, but ultimately Coun. Jeff Leiper became the new appointee. The motion to appoint Leiper was carried, with dissent from Couns. Mathieu Fleury and Carol Anne Meehan, who are not seeking re-election.

The Ottawa Police Services Board meets on Feb. 15, 2022, to discuss the ongoing ‘Freedom Convoy’ occupation in downtown Ottawa, as well as the resignation of Police Chief Peter Sloly. (City of Ottawa/Zoom)

2022 POLICE BUDGET

The vote on the 2022 police budget, coming just weeks before the downtown core would be occupied by protesters with large vehicles, was contentious in part because of the approval of the police services board to reduce the funding increase the police chief had asked for.

Council approved increasing the Ottawa Police Service’s budget by two per cent, rather than the 2.86 per cent chief Peter Sloly had requested.

Community groups and citizens had asked the police services board for a budget freeze in 2022.

The final vote to approve the 2 per cent funding increase to the Ottawa Police Service passed 19 to 5. Here is how incumbents voted:

  • Luloff: Yes
  • Dudas: Yes
  • Curry: Yes
  • Gower: Yes
  • Kavanagh: Yes
  • Tierney: Yes
  • King: Yes
  • McKenney: No
  • Leiper: No
  • Brockington: Yes
  • Menard: No
  • Kitts: Yes
  • Darouze: Yes
  • Hubley: Yes
Ottawa’s Chief of Police Peter Sloly.

CHATEAU LAURIER ADDITION

An issue that began with a prior term of council was eventually settled in 2021 with a 14 to 10 vote.

The owners of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier had been trying to get approval to build an expansion to the iconic downtown hotel since 2016, but faced considerable public backlash to the proposed design. The most vocal opponents of the expansion said they wanted the expansion to look like the rest of the hotel, but local heritage rules prohibit that.

The hotel’s owners demolished an aging parking garage at the back of the property with the intention of adding more rooms on the site. They said the hotel could not remain profitable without the additional suites.

Council would eventually approve the application to alter the hotel and issue a heritage permit on Feb. 24, 2021.

Here is how the councillors seeking re-election voted:

  • Luloff: Yes
  • Dudas: Yes
  • Gower: Yes
  • Kavanagh: No
  • Tierney: Yes
  • King: No
  • McKenney: No
  • Leiper: No
  • Brockington: No
  • Menard: No
  • Kitts: Yes
  • Darouze: Yes
  • Hubley: Yes
A new application has been filed with the City of Ottawa to build an expansion at the rear of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. (Photo courtesy: Larco Investments)

TAX BREAK FOR PORSCHE

A community improvement plan application for a property on Montreal Road captured the attention and ire of many residents of Ottawa when they learned the owners wanted to tear down an existing Audi dealership and build a larger Porsche dealership in its place.

Members of the community protested the idea of granting more than $2.9 million worth of tax breaks to the company to build the luxury car dealership, but council ultimately approved the plan.

Mayor Jim Watson said the deal would result in a net gain of more than $1 million to the city, and also suggested the build would not have gone ahead had the plan been rejected.

Here is how the councillors seeking re-election voted:

  • Luloff: Yes
  • Dudas: Yes
  • Gower: Yes
  • Kavanagh: No
  • Tierney: Yes
  • King: Yes
  • McKenney: No
  • Leiper: No
  • Brockington: No
  • Menard: No
  • Kitts: Yes
  • Darouze: Yes
  • Hubley: Yes
Artist’s render of a proposed Porsche dealership at the corner of Montreal Road and St. Laurent Boulevard in Ottawa. (Image by Q9 Planning and Design, prepared for Mark Motors of Ottawa. Obtained via City of Ottawa)

APPOINTING A NEW KANATA NORTH COUNCILLOR

Kanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds left city hall to become the Liberal MP for Kanata-Carleton following her victory in the 2021 federal election, leaving her council seat vacant. City council had two options: hold a byelection or appoint someone to fill the seat.

City staff had recommended a January byelection to fill the seat, as had been done with two other vacancies in the term, but councillors instead opted for an appointment process during a vote on Oct. 13, 2021. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the fact that municipal budget talks were approaching and the cost of a byelection, in addition to the fact that there was about a year left in the term, were reasons councillors agreed to appoint someone in November.

The motion passed, but three councillors dissented: Scott Moffatt, Rick Chiarelli, and Theresa Kavanagh. Of these, only Kavanagh is seeking re-election.

Councillors chose their preferred candidate for the Kanata North seat at a special meeting on Nov. 10, 2021. Twenty-four people had put their names forward for appointment.

Twelve councillors selected Cathy Curry, a former Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustee and chair, as the preferred choice, compared to eight votes for Marianne Wilkinson, the former mayor of Kanata and a longtime councillor post-amalgamation.

Coun. Diane Deans, who is not seeking re-election, asked every candidate whether they would agree not to run in the Oct. 24, 2022 election. There is no rule banning an appointed councillor from running and Curry said at the time she was undecided. She has since registered to retain her Kanata North seat.

Here is who each councillor seeking re-election selected as their preferred candidate for Kanata North:

  • Luloff: Christine Moulaison
  • Dudas: Cathy Curry
  • Gower: Bina Shah
  • Kavanagh: Marianne Wilkinson
  • Tierney: Cathy Curry
  • King: Marianne Wilkinson
  • McKenney: Marianne Wilkinson
  • Leiper: Marianne Wilkinson
  • Brockington: Cathy Curry
  • Menard: Marianne Wilkinson
  • Kitts: Cathy Curry
  • Darouze: Cathy Curry
  • Hubley: Cathy Curry 
Cathy Curry is sworn-in as the new councillor for Kanata-North. (Peter Szperling/CTV News Ottawa)

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