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Former Ottawa city councillor Diane Deans in palliative care


Former Ottawa city councillor Diane Deans is in palliative care after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer, according to Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Jessica Bradley.

Deans represented the Gloucester-Southgate area for nearly 30 years. She was first elected to the former Southgate ward in 1994 and represented the post-amalgamation Gloucester-Southgate ward until 2022.

Deans was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2019, taking an extended leave from her duties for treatment. She returned to work one year later.

"Those who know Diane, know that she is a fighter," said Bradley in a statement. "Diane has courageously fought this insidious disease and has been a pillar of strength throughout her journey. Her battle has been a public one and the support and outpour of love from the community has kept her strong."

Bradley was Deans's former executive assistant and received the long-time councillor's endorsement in the 2022 municipal election.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said he was shocked and saddened to learn the news. He told CTV News Ottawa he spoke with Deans recently over the phone to express his sympathies.

"She was really a trailblazer and a mentor to so many people, as a woman in politics," he said. "And I know her impact on her community is very significant, but I know beyond just the community that she served, her impact on women who aspired to a career in elected office was very profound as well."

Deans's 28-year career in municipal politics included chairing several important boards and committees, including becoming the first woman to chair the Ottawa Police Services Board. Councillors would later oust her from that position amid fallout from the 2022 Freedom Convoy protests and Deans's move to hire a new police chief. She had announced a plan to run for mayor, but later said she would not seek the job, citing "personal and professional reasons."

Bradley says Deans is being supported by her family, who are asking for privacy. Further details will be shared in time, Bradley said.

"In recognition of Diane's service to the city, Mayor (Mark) Sutcliffe and I will be bringing forward a motion to Council to rename the Greenboro Community Centre in her honour," said Bradley. "The centre is just one of the many contributions that Diane has made and this recognition will serve to not only honour her memory but to remind us all of an amazing woman who truly made a difference." 

Bay Ward Coun. Theresa Kavanagh said she visited Deans in the hospital this week.

"I got to chat with her for a while. She was in great spirits for somebody in her situation. Fighter 'til the end, full of ideas and just inspirational," Kavanagh said. 

Kavanagh praised Deans's insight and intelligence and said she worked very hard for her constituents and the city. Top Stories

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