New survey sheds light on how candidates will act on energy, transit, sprawl, and more
OTTAWA, October 13, 2022 - The results of Ecology Ottawa’s All-Candidates Survey on the Environment have been released, revealing both consensus and division when it comes to the environment - a defining issue in a landmark election.
On October 24, citizens will choose not only a new mayor, but also at least 11 new City Council members, effectively changing the face of the government of our nation’s capital. With climate, housing, and inequity crises well underway, there exist many possible futures based on who is elected. To uncover some of those futures, Ecology Ottawa’s new survey is a comprehensive, multi-issue deep dive that informs voters on where candidates stand on climate and nature.
Every Mayoral and City Council candidate in the 2022 Ottawa municipal election was invited to participate. More than 70 candidates weighed in on 13 questions about energy, housing, public transit, bike lanes, the tree canopy, waste management, Indigenous partnership, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, and more. Candidates responded to each question with a yes or no, and were provided with the opportunity to elaborate in a long answer.
Some key findings:
- 85% of respondents said they would fully fund and implement the City of Ottawa’s ambitious Energy Evolution plan to get to net-zero, and 87% said they would commit to no expansions of the urban boundary - though these commitments waver in some of the candidates’ long answers.
- There was strong support - over 90% - on climate adaptation, active transit networks, conservation, collecting organic waste, restoring the tree canopy, and working in partnership with Algonquin Anishinaabe and other Indigenous peoples.
- Asked whether they would support the introduction of a user-pay system for curbside waste collection, 56% supported the idea while the rest did not, indicating division on how to reduce waste. Candidates in both camps expressed affordability concerns.
- Two questions saw a surprising 100% consensus: committing to building a public transit system that is rapid, reliable, affordable and accessible for all users, and bringing Ottawans at all diversity intersections together on environmental issues.
“Environment and climate are front and centre in this campaign, from how we travel around the city, to where we build homes, to how we reduce waste, to how we restore nature,” stated Alice Irene Whittaker, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa. “Looking at our survey results, candidates seem to be keenly aware that citizens care deeply about the environment, and there is no path to leadership without a strong climate plan. Whether candidates follow through on ambition once elected is the big question.”
Ecology Ottawa believes that stronger environmental policies come with high economic and social benefits, and that we must choose courageous candidates that will rise to meet the precarious moment at which we find ourselves.
“Our new survey helps inform voters, so that citizens can choose those candidates who will take bold environmental action,” added Alice Irene Whittaker. “We can refuse climate breakdown and instead choose a resilient, liveable future for Ottawa.”
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Alice Irene Whittaker
Executive Director, Ecology Ottawa
Ecology Ottawa is a not-for-profit, grassroots, and volunteer-driven organization working to make Ottawa the green capital of Canada. Ecology Ottawa provides residents with the information and tools they need to understand local environmental issues and promote environmental leadership at all levels impacting the City of Ottawa.