McKenney, Sutcliffe square off in final major debate of Ottawa’s municipal election

With just days before voters head to the polls, the two leading contenders for mayor met for one of the last major debates.

Catherine McKenney and Mark Sutcliffe focused on rebuilding community trust, as news of Ottawa’s next police chief is set to be announced Friday.

“This needs to wait for whoever is the next mayor and council to rebuild that trust with the hiring of a police chief,” said McKenney. 

“I don’t think we need to delay that process any further,” said Sutcliffe. “The people of Ottawa want to wait for a new police chief. They want leadership.” 

The debate was held at Carleton University’s Dominion Chalmers Church and hosted by CTV Ottawa’s chief anchor Graham Richardson and Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Kristy Cameron. United Way East Ontario, in collaboration with the Ottawa Board of Trade and Ottawa and District Labour Council, were the organizers.

The candidates touched on affordable housing and landmark infrastructure, specifically Lebreton Flats, potentially the future home of the Ottawa Senators.

Both candidates said they weren’t in favour of putting city money toward the project.

“I don’t think the city should be subsidizing a hockey rink, but they should work with the NCC to bring the rink to Lebreton Flats,” said McKenney. 

“I’m not in favour of putting public dollars into a private arena,” said Sutcliffe. “What I am in favour of is seeing a lot of vibrant development.” 

Although the debate was interrupted twice by hecklers, the frontrunners focused on driving home their points before revealing they’ve made a friendly arrangement: after the election is over, no matter who wins, they’re going out for BeaverTails.

The debate came with four days left in a municipal election campaign that started in May, when candidates were allowed to register to run for office.

A Nanos Research poll for CTV News Ottawa shows McKenney and Sutcliffe in a tight race for mayor, with McKenney receiving support from 29 per cent of respondents, compared to 24 per cent for Sutcliffe.

There are 14 candidates on the ballot running to succeed Jim Watson as mayor of Ottawa, after the three-term mayor decided not to seek re-election.

Ottawa voters head to the polls on Monday.

CTV News Ottawa and will have complete coverage of the 2022 municipal election on Monday.

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