Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier – Candidate Questionnaire Responses

Ecology Ottawa asked all candidates in the 2014 municipal election a series of questions on important environmental issues.

Complete Streets:

Many Ottawa streets are dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians and too many neighbourhoods lack affordable and convenient public transportation options. Badly designed streets discourage active and healthy lifestyles and limit transportation choices. In 2013, City Council adopted a Complete Streets policy that will put more emphasis on designing streets for all ages, abilities and users (pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users, as well as cars).



*indicates incumbent

If elected, will you commit to prioritizing pedestrian, cycling and affordable public transit infrastructure over automobile infrastructure in meeting the future growth in travel demand in the urban area? If elected, will you work to ensure that all new roads and road renewal projects integrate Complete Streets principles? The City’s new transportation master plan increases funding for cycling infrastructure but delays many investments for over 15 years. If elected, will you work to increase the overall level of investment and accelerate the pace of implementation?
George Atanga  YES  YES  YES
Marc Aubin  YES – As past Chair of the King Edward Ave Task Force, I get complete streets. As councillor, I would work to ensure that the City of Ottawa provides an integrated, safe, convenient and attractive public transit, cycling and pedestrian transportation network in the urban area – not the piecemeal approach that has evolved because the car has had priority. For example, we need to shift more funds for infrastructure and operations to better winter maintenance of cycling routes and sidewalks.  YES – As councillor, I would work to ensure that new roads and road renewal projects integrate Complete Street principles. In addition, all road repairs and maintenance should also consider how they can address Complete Street principles. For the City’s policy to become a reality, it is important to include concrete and measurable performance indicators. I also believe that interim measures need to be taken on current roads to works towards their transformation to complete streets.  YES – More money needs to be allocated in the long-range capital infrastructure plan to enable safer and more convenient routes for cycling. As councillor, I would work to ensure that the City’s budget prioritizes complete streets including a minimum cycling grid, pedestrians and public transit by front-loading the investments planned over 15 years into a shorter timeframe
Mathieu Fleury *  YES – We need to reclaim space for pedestrians and cyclists, by creating spaces that are friendly to all users.  YES  YES
Catherine Fortin LeFaivre  YES  YES – I support Complete Streets principles. However, my current understanding is that some streets and areas are more conducive to being transformed into Complete Streets than others. At the very least, I believe that the Compete Streets principles should be *considered* for all new roads and road renewal projects.  YES – Rideau-Vanier is undergoing an increase in density at a rapid pace, therefore cycling and pedestrian infrastructure has to be implemented at a corresponding pace to ensure effective mobility and resident safety.
David-George Oldham
Marc Vinette  NO – I don’t like the way this question is framed. Certainly I support expanding pedestrian, cycling and affordable public transit infrastructure. I’m an avid rambler and cyclist myself. Rideau-Vanier ward is a tourist/entertainment/shopping destination and is centrally located, therefore cars are reality that must be dealt with. The automobile infrastructure I would support would be centred on public safety and parking.  YES  YES – As I consider the current situation a disaster, I absolutely would.

Climate Change:

About 75 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions come from activities that occur in cities, and municipalities have direct or indirect control over about half of these emissions. In 2014 the City of Ottawa adopted a new Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan.



*indicates incumbent

Do you agree that human-induced climate change is an urgent issue and all levels of government have a role to play in helping to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions? If elected, will you push for the full implementation of the City of Ottawa’s Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan, including items identified in the plan for the 2015 budget? The Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan establishes the modest goal of reducing Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent per capita by 2024, but leaves open a lot of space for new initiatives to emerge in the coming years. If elected, will you push for actions aimed at surpassing the current goal?
George Atanga  YES  YES  YES
Marc Aubin YES – All levels of government have a role to play in helping to reduce greenhouse gas reductions. As councillor, I would work to ensure that the City uses a Climate lens in its decision-making to ensure that both mitigation (stopping climate change) and adaptation (adjusting to climate change) issues are addressed. I want to see clear plans for our city to reduce our impact on climate change. Simple things, such as planting many more trees and building a walkable city, will be a major part of that. YES – It is essential that the City take on its current internal strategy, despite being modest, to create momentum within the City’s operations and to demonstrate its commitment to addressing climate change. As councillor, I would work to ensure that the action items are interpreted in as comprehensive manner as possible and assigned the proper human and financial resources to meet their objectives. YES – The Plan is a step forward but it is not aggressive enough. The goal is low compared to other Canadian cities. As councillor, I would work to ensure council sets up its priorities for its next term to include addressing climate change as a priority. This would include a detailed set of actions with measurable targets, indicators and timelines for achieving results that surpass the current goal identified for community emissions as well as City of Ottawa corporate emissions.
Mathieu Fleury * YES – In addition to government, we also need to work with community and residents to see real change happen.  YES  YES
Catherine Fortin LeFaivre YES – Absolutely. Action regarding climate change needs to stop being a “”check the box”” type of initiative at every government level. Immediate action and corresponding investments must be made to reduce GHGs. Ottawa should aim to be a world-leader in environmental action and should not be afraid to implement innovative (but tested) green technologies and infrastructure.  YES YES – I support being aggressive in attempting to reduce GHGs and make the right choice for our future generations.
David-George Oldham
Marc Vinette NO – This is a highly politicized meta issue, and having followed it closely since the late 1970’s I’m fully aware of the wild inaccuracy of predictive models produced by bodies such as the IPCC. The environmental meta issue that terrifies me, incontrovertibly man made, is the ongoing nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan. The silence on this issue from world governments and mainstream environmental groups is deafening. NO – I would have to review the plan in detail before offering support.  NO – Anything that contributes to cleaner air I support in principle on public health grounds.

Clean Water and Healthy Watersheds:

Every time it rains, a cocktail of contaminants (including bacteria, chemicals, fuels and heavy metals) washes off our streets and runs straight into our rivers and streams via the underground storm-sewer system. Ecology Ottawa wants the City of Ottawa to follow-through on its commitment to develop a Water Environment Strategy that improves stormwater management, invests in green infrastructure, reduces flooding, protects our streams, and makes it safer to swim and fish in our rivers.



*indicates incumbent

The City of Ottawa is developing a Water Environment Strategy that will provide a framework for action to promote clean drinking water, reduce the toxins going into our rivers, and protect communities and streams from flooding associated with severe weather. If elected, will you support the development of a strong strategy and prioritize the investments necessary to realize the strategy’s goals? The April 2014 Ontario Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) instructs planning authorities to promote green infrastructure measures (such as parklands, stormwater systems, wetlands, street trees, urban forests, natural channels, permeable surfaces, and green roofs) in order to reduce costs, protect ecosystems and adapt to extreme weather events. If elected, will you prioritize green infrastructure in addressing the City of Ottawa’s water management needs?   The production of clean water for public consumption has been falling over the past decade in Ottawa (ie., we are using less water). Between 2004 and 2013, the amount of clean water produced and used inside Ottawa fell from over 125,000 million litres to about 100,000 million litres (not including private wells). If elected will you commit to continuing this trend by prioritizing water conservation measures that reduce usage by 3 percent per year?
George Atanga  YES  YES  YES
Marc Aubin  YES – Having a plan in place, with goals and milestones, provides the roadmap to do this. As councillor, I would work to ensure that the development and implementation of a strong strategy is a City priority in the next four years. I will also work to ensure that the City coordinates with the other agencies.  YES – As councillor, I would work to ensure that the necessary policies, regulatory tools and budget flexibilities are in place to facilitate the coordination between departments so that green infrastructure can be integrated holistically into initiatives in a cost effective and efficient manner.  YES – There is room for additional reduction in our water consumption as Ontarians use an average of 251 L a day per person while France, for example, uses only 150 L. Many of us in Ottawa continue to flush 30% of the water we use in our homes down the toilet and our aging water infrastructure continues to leak. As councillor, I would work to ensure that the development and implementation of a strong strategy is a City priority in the next four years.
Mathieu Fleury *  YES – We have already made great progress with the Ottawa River Action Plan, for which the Water Environment Strategy is a component. It is now imperative that the Province commit funding of the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel and that we work with our colleagues in Gatineau to ensure that they make similar commitments to our water ways.  YES – I strongly believe that the City needs to learn from other cities, and implement more robust green building performance efficiencies, solar panels and green roof policies. The City also needs to lead the way to innovative community led projects, including community gardens, walking school buses and green walls.  YES – We need to both educate residents on ways to minimize our consumption and use of water and find more innovative ways to conserve and recycle water through programs like the green street bioretention pilots.
Catherine Fortin LeFaivre  YES – I will work with my Council colleagues to create and implement a world-class water strategy which ensures healthy watersheds for Ottawa’s residents and wildlife.  YES  YES
David-George Oldham
Marc Vinette  YES – This is a foundational issue for me. I will support any measure to ensure Ottawa residents clean drinking water. In fact, I’ll propose one: immediately cessation, by the City, of adding toxins (ie.hydrofluorosilicic acid, generically referred to as fluoride) to the water supply on the grounds of public health, environmental protection, human rights (fluoridation is forced medication) and cost (if I’m not mistaken, $400,000/year).  YES – You betcha.  YES – In principle I agree but require more study into the specifics of the measures proposed.

Healthy Urban Trees:



*indicates incumbent

 The Emerald Ash Borer infestation is killing millions of trees across Ottawa, including about 25 percent of the trees in the urban area. In response, organizations and individuals, including the City of Ottawa, are coming together to set the collective goal of planting a million trees in our nation’s capital as part of our contribution to Canada’s 150 birthday celebration in 2017. If elected, will you support and prioritize investments towards this goal?  The City of Ottawa has announced its intention to develop a new Forest Management Strategy. If elected, will you support the development of a strong strategy and the investments necessary to realize the strategy’s goals? 
George Atanga  YES  YES
Marc Aubin  YES – I support the goal of a million trees. Since I was teenager, the urban forest has been one of my main interests. Ottawa was once a city of trees, but we lost many of them to road widenings and Dutch-elm disease. As councillor, I will pursue the creation of an inventory of tree planting potential and I will champion the rebuilding of our urban forest. Consideration should be given to reducing or replacing salt used during the winters.  YES – The City of Ottawa lags far behind Toronto’s tree canopy cover. (Toronto 1/3 vs. Ottawa 1/6).  As councillor, I would work to ensure that the forest management strategy support an increase in the tree canopy. The Official Plan recommendations for the acquisition of new open spaces on the streets within the Market including George and York street areas as well as the Retail, Arts & Theatre Precinct and the University Precinct need to be achieved before the options are forgone.
Mathieu Fleury *  YES – This is a very important priority that can greatly increase the well-being of our city. We should also encourage residents, through better public education, on City programs that allow residents to care for City owned trees on their properties, like the Trees in Trust program.  YES
Catherine Fortin LeFaivre  YES  YES
David-George Oldham
Marc Vinette  YES – I tree planted a couple of seasons years ago, so not only will I support it, I’ll be getting out there and plant a few myself.  YES – In principle, yes. I would reserve support until I’m able to review the strategy in detail.


Proposed Oil Pipeline Threatens Ottawa Water and Communities

TransCanada wants to move more than a million barrels a day of tar sands oil through the City of Ottawa and across the World Heritage Rideau River on its way to export terminals in eastern Canada. The proposed “Energy East” pipeline puts communities and waterways in danger all along the pipeline route.



*indicates incumbent

Do you think the City of Ottawa should conduct a thorough and independent assessment of the risks and costs that the proposed Energy East pipeline poses to the health of Ottawa’s communities and water?  Would you oppose the Energy East Pipeline if it was demonstrated that it threatened the health of Ottawa’s water, climate and communities? Should the City of Ottawa intervene in the National Energy Board review of the proposed Energy East pipeline in order to ensure that the interests of the people of Ottawa are well represented? 
George Atanga  YES  YES  YES
Marc Aubin  YES – The pipeline is an example of the failure of our federal level of government to address climate change. An independent risk assessment should be done by our city at a reasonable expense. The assessment should not only include assessing the risk of spills, but the greater concern of how this affects our country’s commitment to fighting climate change.  YES – If it is demonstrated that the pipeline threatens the health of Ottawa’s water, climate and communities, I would oppose it. As councillor, I would work to ensure that the City of Ottawa undertakes a thorough and transparent process that includes public hearings to assess the risk to safety, health and the environment.  YES – As councillor, I would support the City of Ottawa intervening in the National Energy Board (NEB) review to ensure that the safety, health and environment of the citizens of Ottawa are not at risk. If they are, I would work to ensure that the City opposes the pipeline at the NEB. However, as the final decision rests with the Federal Government and not the NEB, the City of Ottawa must also appear at the NEB hearings to ensure that all precautions have been taken to reduce the risks.
Mathieu Fleury *  YES  YES  YES – Although I believe that the City has a role to play, our counterparts at the provincial and federal level play a far more important role in the discussion and should be voicing the concerns of residents.
Catherine Fortin LeFaivre  YES – I believe it’s only fair for Ottawa to conduct its own assessment of the risks associated with the proposed Energy East pipeline.  YES – I am still learning about this issue and its potential impact on our city. Should it be demonstrated that the risks are too high, then I would not be able to support its construction.  YES – It seems natural for the City of Ottawa to be involved in some way with the National Energy Board review considering its impact on the people of Ottawa. I would need to know more about the National Energy Board process before supporting a formal intervention.
David-George Oldham
Marc Vinette  YES – So long as an assessment is devoid of politics and done in a timely and affordable manner.  YES – If the oil is being extracted (and I sympathize with activist and aboriginal groups challenging at the point of extraction), it will be shipped. The spice must flow. It remains to be seen if a pipeline is less safe than trucking or rail transport, which are demonstrably unsafe.
If facts show a pipeline is unsafe, I will vigorously oppose it.
 YES – If it impacts Ottawa, then we must certainly intervene to ensure our interests are represented.

One Comment on “Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier – Candidate Questionnaire Responses

  1. Pingback: Election Reports | Ecology Ottawa

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