Bob Chiarelli files nomination papers as Ottawa municipal election campaign begins
A former Ottawa mayor has filed nomination papers in a bid to become mayor again as the dash to the municipal ballot box officially begins.
Bob Chiarelli, 80, kicked off his campaign for mayor by registering at the city's elections office Monday morning.
Chiarelli was elected the first mayor of the amalgamated city of Ottawa in 2000, and served two terms before losing in the 2006 election. He is also a veteran of provincial politics, serving as a Liberal cabinet minister.
"I'm not doing it to satisfy my ego or pad my resume in any way, shape or form," Chiarelli told CTV News at Noon on Monday. "I'm a citizen like any other citizen, and I think there's a strong consensus among us that a lot of things at city hall are moving in the wrong direction."
Chiarelli singled out the city's growing debt, LRT issues, and the city's response to the 'Freedom Convoy' protests in February as issues he thinks the current council could have handled better.
"The councillors are very divided on a lot of issues and they’re not working together as a team," he said.
Monday is the first day candidates for mayor, councillor and school board trustee can file their nomination papers to run in the 2022 municipal election on Oct. 24. Candidates can begin accepting contributions and spending money on their campaign once the nomination forms have been filed and approved by the city.
There will be a new mayor and at least seven new councillors at Ottawa City Hall after the election.
Jim Watson has announced he will not be seeking re-election after three terms as mayor of Canada’s capital. Watson was first elected mayor of the amalgamated city of Ottawa in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014 and 2018.
Councillors Diane Deans and Catherine McKenney both announced in December they would be running for mayor.
Chiarelli, asked why at his age he's running for the city's top job again, said it's up to the voters whether that matters.
"That's something for the voters to decide," he said. "We have six months. There's a campaign with a lot of energy, I've got a lot of ideas on how to solve some problems, some new initiatives to bring forward ... that'll be up to the public to decide."
Four councillors have said they will not be seeking re-election – Jean Cloutier, Keith Egli, Jan Harder and Scott Moffatt. And a new councillor will sit at the council table this election, as Ottawa adds a 24th ward to address the growing population. The new ward is “Ward 24 – Barrhaven East.”
Candidates for mayor, councillor and school board trustee have until Friday, Aug. 19 to submit their nomination forms.
Some councillors were on hand Monday to sign up for re-election. "From my mind, this is going to be the four years of true fiscal responsibility that we have to maintain," said Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney.
Shawn Menard, the councillor for Capital Ward, said he'd like to see more accountability in the next term.
"At the end of the day there's been a lot of positive movement on some files," he said. "We need to continue that work but make sure there is good debate and there's accountability and I don't think we've seen that as much this term and I really hope that changes next term of council."
Rebecca Bromwich, also running in Capital Ward, said she could help bring a level of decorum to the council chamber.
"I'm a mediator by training and I think I can bring a level of professionalism and decorum and collegiality."
Brandon Bay, who is running for mayor, says housing is a key issue.
"Top of mind I think for a lot of residents and for me as well is the price of housing right now," he said.
This election will also be the first where voters city-wide can use mail-in ballots to vote.
"This is an opportunity for anyone or any elector who may not feel comfortable going to a voting location or just prefer that method of voting to sign up and to receive their special mail-in ballot," said municipal elections and French language services manager Michele Rochette.