Mayoral candidates target rural voters in final days of Ottawa’s municipal election

The two leading contenders for mayor are courting the rural vote, with six days left before Ottawa voters head to the polls.

Catherine McKenney released details of a plan they said would “prioritize” rural residents.

“My vision for a world-class city includes rural communities, McKenney said in a statement on Tuesday.

McKenney’s plan to prioritize rural residents includes:

  • Regional representation, including for rural communities, on city committees
  • Preventing sprawl from developing more farmland
  • Protecting rural communities by ensuring developments commit to safeguards for clean water, farmlands, and rural ecosystems
  • Ensuring rural communities are properly served by city services with disaster relief and mitigation in extreme weather
  • Addressing the current crisis in rural paramedic support
  • Engaging with other levels of government to and stakeholders to improve the availability of broadband internet

“Broadband connectivity, paramedic support, water, wastewater, and storm drainage infrastructure – the city has a duty to respond to the needs of residents, wherever they live,” McKenney said.

Meantime, Mark Sutcliffe says he is the candidate that will stand up for rural communities, adding Ottawa needs a mayor who “respects the priorities of Ottawa’s rural villages.”

Sutcliffe’s campaign pointed to a comment McKenney made during Monday night’s mayoral debate on ‘Leadership for a Liveable Ottawa’ at Lansdowne Park.

“During the debate, fellow mayoral candidate Catherine McKenney asserted that ‘rural villages have a lot in common with downtown Ottawa,” Sutcliffe’s campaign said. “But the needs of residents’ downtown, or in the suburbs, or in a rural Ottawa are not the same.”

During the debate, the mayoral candidates were asked, ‘What changes would you make at City Hall to better bring together urban, suburban and rural communities?”

“At the very least you have to have equal gender and geographic representation on committees like planning, like finance and economic development,” McKenney said, adding they introduced an inquiry at council to see if the mayor could not chair council meetings so they can take part in debates as a member of council.

“I think we have to rebuild trust at City Hall; I’m ready to do that, I work well with my colleagues.

“If anything, rural villages have much more in common with downtown communities and we know that suburban communities are all looking for the same thing, so it is very possible and it is what all of council wants to do.”

Sutcliffe told the debate that, “That may be the quote that that is the most downtown quote of all in this entire election campaign to suggest that rural communities have a lot in common with downtown Ottawa. I will be a mayor for all of Ottawa.”

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