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Somerset Ward: Decisions, decisions

By Apartment613 on October 17, 2014

Post by Trish Chang

Your palms are sweaty — you’ve been looking through profiles for hours. Some sound too good to be true, and others sound just plain wacky. Looking through pictures and profiles, overwhelmed by both too much information, and not nearly enough, you turn off the computer and decide to look again tomorrow.

You’re choosing a city councillor in Somerset Ward.

There are 11 candidates running in Somerset Ward, as you may have noticed by their signs, littered throughout our parks, streets and intersections. And while you could make your decision based on lawn signs, you could also flex that democratic muscle and make an informed decision.

And with all these candidates it’s also going to take a bit of stock-taking on your part of what’s important to you, and who can best realize those goals, because after all, we’re all stuck in a mandatory 4-year relationship with this person. is a project I started in vain, to make it easier to compare candidates. In a handy, central location, it’s easier to compare how candidates will tackle big issues like ensuring affordable housing in the city, improving cycling infrastructure, how the city can better support local businesses, and the controversial biweekly garbage and green bin program.

So check out the candidates’ positions; see if you can find a match. And because I’m feeling nice, here’s a little cheat sheet on how to tell them apart, in no particular order:

  1. Catherine “Pass me that Torch” McKenney – She’s the assumed frontrunner, and likely the one with the most experience, having worked for Diane Holmes, Ed Broadbent, and most recently as an aide to the Deputy City Manager.

  1. Thomas “Support Local” McVeigh – You’ve certainly eaten at Absinthe, the restaurant he manages, and having worked for small businesses for most of his career, he intends to bring a focus on supporting small, local businesses that the city could use more of.

  1. Silviu “The Activist” Riley – He’s ambitiously campaigning one of the more lefty platforms, which includes a focus on increasing the minimum wage to $15, and stopping the energy east pipeline.

  1. Jeff “Pass me the Mic” Morrison – Jeff’s produced some of the most compelling answers at live debates, which complements his many leadership roles in Ottawa, most prominently having led the charge to keep the casino out of the city.

  1. Conor “#OttawaIsAwesome!” Meade – Conor brings a lot of energy to his platform, billing himself as a pragmatic centrist, and focusing on goals of supporting intensification in the core. He was super enthusiastic about Uber’s expansion into Ottawa.

  1. Edward “The Analyst” Conway –A lawyer by training, Edward’s got full a length analyses on his website examining how intensification has changed our city, why Ottawa’s density may not be able to support the LRT, and what we might be able to do about it.

  1. Martin “New Ottawa” Canning – Martin has built his strategy from the ground up, having knocked on doors since January, collecting the views of the ward. Outreach continues to be his strength, and he’s promising to bring his office to you via pop-up offices, if elected.

  1. Denis “Community Champion” Schryburt– Denis’ community experience sets him apart, with wide-ranging experience as the community co-chair for the Ottawa Police Service’s LGBT liaison committee, a co-founder of TotoToo Theatre, and past vice-president of the Centretown Citizens Community Association.

  2. Lili “This is my ward now” Weeman — Lili is a bit of a career candidate, having previously run in several elections, including for Mayor of Toronto. She’s not afraid to say exactly what she thinks, and her blue-sky ideas have kept candidates on their toes, and us entertained during debates.

  1. Sandro “Simple Solutions” Provenzano — Born and raised in Little Italy, Sandro is championing the “Keep it Simple” mantra throughout his campaign. Sandro has consistently reiterated the importance of looking for  straightforward solutions to our city’s problems.

  1. Curtis “Last but not least” Tom — Curtis is our final entry into Somerset Ward, having launched his campaign with less than a month to voting day. Hard to get a read on him, given that he’s missed most of the debates, but he’s coming from the tech sector, with various volunteer experiences.

But it’s really up to you, the intrepid voter, to figure out what’s important to you, and who can deliver that the best. Because after all, we build this city.

Check out to watch debates and compare all candidates on big issues. Advance voting is on October 18, and Election Day is October 27. To find out where you can vote, check out the City of Ottawa’s website.