Jim Watson’s letter response to “Don’t cut out the core” campaign

The following is the text of a form letter received by many Ecology Ottawa supporters during the week of December 17, 2018. The letter is from the office of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for taking the time to write about Committee Assignments. 

While I can appreciate your concerns, I respectfully disagree with the assertion that Ottawa’s urban residents are not represented on the City’s various committees, boards, and agencies.  Recently, some have even suggested that there are no ‘inside the greenbelt’ members on Committees – this is simply not correct.  In fact, there are three (3) members from inside the greenbelt on the Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO), as well as three (3) on Planning Committee.

When considering Committee appointments, we tried to bring a balance of new and experienced members to each committee.  Not every Councillor could be chosen to Chair a Committee, as there are only seven (7) Standing Committees (not including FEDCO), and 23 members of Council to choose from.

During this process, we also took into account gender, language, experience, geography, and those Committee preferences identified by individual Councillor.  In most cases, we were able to accommodate members’ first and second choices.  Overall, this process was a balancing act – with the various considerations often coming into conflict.  For example, only one (1) urban Councillor requested to be a member of FEDCO. 

As you may know, I also live inside the greenbelt, and represented an urban area (Capital Ward) as a City Councillor.  In addition to chairing FEDCO, I am an ex-officio voting member of all committees.  This means that in addition to the other Committee members, I too have an opportunity to participate and bring an urban perspective to the table.

It is also important to remember that Members of Council who are not on a specific Committee will often attend meetings in order to participate and voice their point of view.  Each Member of Council is entitled and encouraged to attend and participate in all Committee meetings. Once Committees have voted, these items rise to City Council; at this stage, each Member of Council has the opportunity to speak to any specific issue and vote on it at City Council. 

Once again, I would like to thank you for your email. I hope that the above information has proved useful in demonstrating that residents of Ottawa’s core are, in fact, represented on all Committees.

Sincerely,

Jim Watson

Mayor

City of Ottawa

JW/ps

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