Ottawa’s newest city council member will today be named from a list of 20

Ottawa City Council members will today elect a new city council member to the Kanata North branch from a list of 20 candidates in a process that could see more than one round of voting but no public input.

The person who fills the vacancy left by Jenna Sudds, now the Liberal MP for Kanata-Carleton, will represent their constituents for less than a year before a general local election takes place in October 2022.

Several applicants told CBC that they also intend to run next year. Many current councilors had previously said they would prefer to appoint a person who only wants the job temporarily, but were told they could not demand such a promise from a nominee.

Despite this, the majority of the council decided that Kanata North’s next councilor should be appointed instead of being elected. They believed a by-election held in January would come too late because major cases – such as the 2022 budget – would be closed before Sudd’s successor took office.

A midterm election would also cost more than $ 550,000 due to COVID-19 restrictions, while the city of Ottawa only spent $ 7,278 on newspaper ads seeking applicants.

Some residents of the ward had pushed for the appointment of the former longtime councilor and mayor before the merger, Marianne Wilkinson. They claimed she could manage files like the controversial remake of Kanata Golf and Country Club. Wilkinson has actually applied for his old job.

Former city councilor Jenna Sudds, left, was elected the new Kanata-Carleton MP in the 2021 federal election. (Natalia Goodwin / CBC)

Intentions for 2022 are key, says one expert

This has led to Wednesday’s special – and unusual – city council meeting.

Two dozen people had applied before the deadline, but four have since withdrawn. About half of the remaining 20 have provided information about themselves in advance, and each person is allowed to give a five-minute presentation to the council.

The city clerk will randomly draw names from scraps of paper in a box to determine the order of speech, and each council member will be allowed a question for each applicant.

Municipal expert Stéphane Émard-Chabot agrees that it makes sense to appoint someone given how little time is left in the city council term, and suggests that it should be one with roots in society, understanding of municipal issues and experience with politics and projects.

“The last piece for me, which really is the key, is someone who will not run in the next election,” said Émard-Chabot, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and a former Ottawa City Councilman.

He said they should make a public statement even though no laws can hold them to their word.

“You do not want, through an appointment process, for someone to get a leg up on name recognition and get volunteers in place relative to all the other candidates who might be willing and ready to run in 2022,” Émard-Chabot said.

Professor of Municipal Law at the University of Ottawa, Stéphane Émard-Chabot, says hiring is the best option because of the limited time before the next municipal election. (CBC)

Long day ahead

After the council has heard from all potential Kanata North representatives, they will go to the polls.

Each city council member and the mayor will take turns stating which candidate they are voting for. The candidate with the most votes and votes from more than half of the members of the Council present wins. If no one passes the crossbar to get more than 50 percent of the votes, the vote continues to a new round where they fall with no votes and the fewest votes.

Should there be a draw in either direction, the names are placed in a box and the mayor draws one name to fill the vacancy.

Given the number of applicants and the number of possible questions, city staff expect the meeting to last into the evening, and councilors were urged to clear their schedules.

The 20 people who remain on the list for the Kanata North job include a professor at the University of Ottawa, a former school administrator, business owners and a government employee:

  • Sikandar Arora
  • Stewart Cattroll
  • Raymond Gianfrancesco
  • Cathy Curry
  • Peter Lothar Hanschke
  • Anupam Kakkar
  • Peter Karwacki
  • Michael Kempa |
  • Granda Kopytko
  • Siddhartha Kumar
  • Matthew Justin Lee
  • Stephanie Maghnam
  • Christine Moulaison
  • Dyna Margaret O’Connell
  • Jonathan Reid
  • Brandon Roland Russell
  • Patty Searl-Clarkson
  • Bina Shah
  • Marianne Wilkinson
  • Syed Khateeb more

The future councilor is expected to be privately sworn in as early as Wednesday afternoon or evening, and will conduct briefing and training over the coming days.

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