Home Is Where The Heart Is
On August 15th, 2022 It was with great excitement that I submitted my nomination papers to campaign in hopes of becoming your elected representative for Knoxdale-Merivale, Ward 9 on Ottawa City Council! I am incredibly proud to have spent many years of my life on Craig Henry where my father still resides. I attended Knoxdale Public School, Greenbank Middle School and Sir Robert Borden where my late mother also taught, during my youth. Home is where the heart is and I am incredibly excited to be “coming home” to Knoxdale-Merivale.
Balanced. Non-Partisan. Unifier.
Many people have asked me how I was able to set up so many meetings with Ministers, MPs and MPPs across all party lines over the course of a global pandemic. The answer is actually quite simple. I have a completely balanced approach to everything that I do. While municipal politics and city elected officials do not represent political parties, it is important to note that I am completely non-partisan. Over the course of the pandemic, I built and continue to maintain tremendous relationships at all levels of government across political parties.
My focus is to unify Ottawa City Council not only for the benefit of the residents in Ward 9, Knoxdale-Merivale but the City of Ottawa as a whole. My main purpose for running in this election is to help people and helping people can only be achieved through a balanced, non-partisan approach.
A Voice For All
In mid-March 2020, I was beginning to view the rapid progression of COVID-19 with great concern. My concerns were not only for our city but for Canada as a whole. The first call I made was to a city councillor who recommended I contact my MP and my MPP. This was the beginning of what would become a multi-year project to advocate for the questions, concerns, and needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19 within Ottawa and beyond. I took a meeting with former Minister of Infrastructure, MP Catherine McKenna, and the rest was history. What followed was countless meetings with over 50 Ministers, Federal MPs, Provincial MPPs, and other leaders across Canada. My advocacy work would translate into results for thousands of small business owners in the form of policy changes. I was incredibly honoured to have the opportunity to speak during I was incredibly honoured to have the opportunity to testify before the House of Commons Federal Finance Committee (FINA) as well as the Provincial Standing Committee on Finance Economic Affairs (SCOFEA) both twice. I was also called to testify before the Ontario Pre-Budgetary consultation in 2021 and 2022. All of these appearances before the Federal and Provincial Committees saw me bring many other locals with me to testify as well.
It has been an incredible journey, one that has made me feel my efforts politically have resulted in positive changes for those who needed it most. I look forward to continuing my work as a capable community leader who delivers results.
Priorities Over Politics
What does it mean to put the priorities of our community over conventional politics? My strong belief is that a non-partisan approach to the issues in our neighbourhoods is imperative to being a successful leader on the City Council. The ability to work collaboratively and in a positive manner with municipal leaders has been lost. There is a need for our elected municipal leaders to represent their constituents more effectively. I believe this critical need must be re-established with high importance for Ward 9 and its residents.
Kindness, compassion, and empathy are a few of the core values that I have represented my entire life. From being a college professor for over 15 years to holding round tables with MPPs and MPs alike. I have always found that carrying yourself with kindness, compassion, and empathy while listening effectively to others are core characteristics that create the most effective leaders. My goal is to establish a stronger open-door policy for Knoxdale-Merivale. I believe the residents of Ward 9 deserve to be heard and to have their concerns responded to in a timely manner with a higher level of kindness, compassion, and empathy.
Community involvement has always been a strong component of my life. As the founder and former owner of one of the leading event rental companies in Ottawa, the opportunities to get involved in supporting others were endless. I created a program through the event company called "Keep Ottawa Warm". One winter night while producing an event, I was approached by someone that needed food, winter clothing and other support. The next morning, I sent an email to all the customers on my mailing list asking people to donate any clean, gently used winter clothing that I would personally donate to shelters across Ottawa. For four years, I’ve received 2500 pieces of winter clothing which myself and my staff would personally deliver.
I also had the pleasure of working with Ottawa Public Health for the past five years to create an awareness campaign regarding opioids and overdoses. I was incredibly proud to have videos produced by Redblacks players and more, encouraging people to "Party Safe". I also set up workshops with Ottawa Public Health on how to administer Naloxone properly. He was given a "Healthy Communities Champion" recognition by City Councillor Keith Egli and Dr. Vera Etches. Most recently, I teamed up with Ottawa Public Health to create pop vaccination sites at small businesses to help get as many people vaccinated against COVID-19 as possible.
Every holiday season, I’ve had a lot of fun taking my popcorn and cotton candy machine from the event company and setting them up in box stores. I ask for donations for the treats and with that money, I then purchase toys for Toy Mountain to ensure that as many children in our city wake up with something under their tree.
In February 2021 and February 2022, I arranged for Mental Health town halls so the residents of Ottawa could learn where they could access mental health support. On these calls were the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, The Royal, Ottawa Public Health, addictions specialists and more.