This election campaign has brought a number of structural issues with the electoral process vividly home for Marc:
- The first motion that Marc intends to put forward as a councillor is to change from our first past the post to a ranked ballot system. This will ensure that your next councillor will be the last in Ottawa to be elected with less than 50% of the vote.
- The largest expense of any municipal electoral campaign comes from signs. To reduce the influence of finances in the election process and to avoid the littering of (plastic) signs all over our neighbourhoods, Marc would like to see a change to the sign by-law to ban signs on public property.
- In order to avoid too many candidates while respecting everyone’s right to participate, a request should be made to the province to increase the number of endorsements required to run (from 25 to 75 for city councillor positions) and/or to require endorsements from ward residents only.
- A request should be made to the province to require disclosure of campaign contributions before election day so that residents can make an informed choice when voting.
Marc would support a motion to declare an affordable housing crisis. This motion would request City staff to prepare an ambitious plan for Ottawa to reduce the 10,000 person waiting list for social housing to zero over the next 10 years, and to determine what steps can be taken this term to reduce that waiting list by half.
This city needs to look at
- leveraging the city’s assets, most notably those close to current and future LRT stations, which have been flagged recently by the city
- using all potential revenue streams, such as the one announced as part of the federal housing strategy in the last 2019 federal budget
- imposing a mandatory minimum 20% of affordable housing every time the inclusionary zoning provision can be applied
- significant yearly investment by the city itself such as the $15 million allocated to social housing in the last 2019 municipal budget
Marc supports landlord licensing, similar to that used in Toronto. Such a system would include a landlord registry, yearly inspections, increased enforcement and better repair standards.
Short term rental
Marc also supports a review of the short-term rental rules in Ottawa to avoid the proliferation of “ghost” hotels created by airbnb-type rental that take away housing from the currently saturated long-term rental market.
Development and Zoning
Zoning and Consultation Marc commits to voting to override the City of Ottawa’s Official Plan or zoning by-laws only when it is in the public interest. He supports a motion requiring proponents to consult in advance with local community organizations before filing a development application.
Refuge at 333 Montreal Road
Marc commits to opposing the construction of the Salvation Army project at 333 Montreal Road by voting against any request for zoning or funding or in favour of any motion that would reduce or cancel the project.
No city money should be spent to develop an arena in LeBreton Flats. One suggestion that Marc heard while door knocking is that social housing should be considered as part of the LeBreton project. Marc was pleased to see that the city is already looking at a land parcel adjacent to the future main library for that purpose. To help fix the affordable housing crisis, the city needs to convince the NCC to include mixed housing types (rental, ownership, different income levels) as well as mixed-use (residential, commercial, public space…) development at LeBreton Flats.
Climate action The current Official Plan aims to increase commuting by public transit to only 23% over 10 years, up from 21% today. But despite this plan to reduce the number of car commuters over 10 years, in reality, the number of cars in our city is increasing substantially because of the city’s growth. This is an unacceptable prospect, as 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa are generated by (mostly car) transportation.
Marc support the motion that will be tabled on April 16, 2019 at the Environment Committee declaring a Climate Emergency. This is the start for real change. Ottawa will prepare an ambitious plan to reduce GHG emissions in the city to follow the UN-IPCC targets. Residents need to see a comprehensive plan to believe that something can be done at the city level.
Marc supports a ban on single use plastics. The European Union has recently moved towards such a ban and many cities around the world, such as Montréal recently, are also showing the way when higher level of government are too slow to act.
Transportation and transit
Marc’s view is that it is good public policy to put a price tag on societal problems in order to make solutions to those problems affordable. To reduce our society’s reliance on cars in order to make headway on environmental goals and increase connections in our neighbourhoods, Marc’s goal is to shift more people towards using public and active modes of transportation. To help make that happen, transit fares must be reduced either across the board or for certain categories of riders. As a start, Marc would like to see free transit for children under 12, as in most other major cities. This is a good investment both for families now, and so that future generations learn to enjoying taking the bus from an early age. In order to fund such fare reductions the City can look at new revenue streams, such as parking fees.
Also, Marc sees a need to improve Para-transpo services. The time that riders spend waiting for bookings and at pick up are unacceptable. The city must do better for our most vulnerable neighbours.
Kettle Island Bridge
There has been much talk about routing traffic across the Ottawa River via a new bridge at Kettle Island. Marc advocates against an inter-provincial bridge at Kettle Island for many reasons. Moving such truck traffic from one community in Ottawa to another is simply not a viable solution. Studies have shown that only a portion (40%) of trucks would use the new bridge and it would considerably increase car traffic instead.
Both Gatineau and Ottawa must accept the extra cost for transport in the region: interprovincial truck traffic has to be rerouted outside the city and away from residential areas if we want a truly livable city.
Marc supports a truly bilingual city.
At the city level, on bilingualism, the main issue for Francophones is that official recognition of Ottawa’s bilingual character need to be followed by concrete actions, including obtaining quality municipal services in French and truly bilingual representation on city council.
In the ward, many unilingual Francophone immigrants cannot find work because they do not speak English. Paradoxically, we must therefore support the English language learning in the short term to economically support the Francophone population, but we must also promote Francophone businesses and industries in the long term.
To promote the bilingual character of the city, Marc will
- ask more questions in French at City Council
- require documents to be translated into French before voting on a decision at City Council
- consider a motion that executive positions in the city be filled only by bilingual persons (the excuse for not being able to find qualified bilingual persons should no longer be used in 2019)