We Need Stronger Public Participation at Ottawa City Hall

Residents who reach out to municipal government through letter-writing, phone calls or other means are often ignored. I want to change that.

In the early days of the not-for-profit organization Synapcity, senior leadership met with a senior municipal political leader to talk about our work.

The organization’s goal is to increase civic engagement between Ottawa residents and the city government. A sincere commitment to civic education and building authentic relationships between a city and its communities will improve public participation and help residents develop a voice that can meaningfully inform decisions in the city.

The elected politician’s answer was curt. “We don’t need more activists,” he said.

Since then, and especially since being elected the councillor for College ward, I have been standing up for informed public participation in decision-making. Residents who attempt to reach out through letter-writing, phone calls, meetings, social media and especially through protests, can too easily be dismissed as noisy or messy — undeserving of serious consideration.

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