By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
Jim Watson has announced he won’t see re-election next year after 15 years in the Mayors seat.
When election season begins next year, the council table in Ottawa will end up with a few fresh faces. A handful of councillors have already announced they won’t seek re-election, and now names are coming forward for who might run in Barrhaven.
Changes to Leadership in Barrhaven
In 2018, Barrhaven city councilor Jan Harder announced she would not seek re-election.
Harder has seven elections under her belt, and was city councillor for the former City of Nepean from December 1997 until January 2001. In the two decades since, she has served as Barrhaven’s city councillor for the City of Ottawa.
“A lot of people are saying are you crazy? Why are you saying that?” Harder told the Barrhaven Independent in December 2018 when she announced she won’t seek re-election “I’m going to tell you that I have lots of plans for this next term — one of them is to find somebody who is going to represent Barrhaven really well (in the next election.”
“I still have another career in me,” she added. “I really can do anything. I’ve been in the customer service business since I was nine years old. Every job that I’ve had has been all about customer service.”
It’s unclear who will run in Barrhaven next year, but some names are already making the rounds. The first candidate is expected to officially announce his intention to run in January 2022. The Barrhaven Independent is not yet naming him.
Helen Crawford, who has chaired various parent councils for over a decade and a half, is also considering a run for the councillors seat.
In 2019, Crawford won the Ottawa Carleton District School Boards Chairs Award, and is current president of the Nepean Minor Hockey Association. She is also communications manager for a national not for profit, and chaired the Push for your Tush for colorectal cancer Canada — a cause very close to her heart. In December 2018, Tyson’s sister Julie passed away at the young age of 48 from colon cancer. Now she wants to keep her spirit and passion alive, while saving others through early screening.
Community event planner Darrell Bartraw, who organizes Canada Day in Barrhaven, the annual Santa Claus Parade, and many other events, has received a lot of support from the community who wants him to run. But despite the well wishes, he has decided against the idea.
“I feel I could do so much for the Barrhaven Community and the City as a whole as Councillor, having lived in Ottawa for all of my 64 year and having seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I have extensive community involvement from being President of Canada Day in Barrhaven for 12 years, being a member of the West Barrhaven Community Association for around 15 years, and presently the president. Presently, I am also the Province of Ontario Chair of the Trillium Foundation for Champlain Area and a member of the Ottawa Property Standards and Licencing appeals committee,” he told this newspaper. “I have spoken to a number people that have shown interest in running for Councillor for the new Barrhaven West Ward and I feel that a number of them would represent our community well and will work with community leaders, Community Associations and Groups, the BIA and others to continue the good work that Councillor Jan Harder has done for so many years. I feel I will better serve people by doing what I do and love for the amazing community of Barrhaven, the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario and this, the best Country in the world.”
Michael Wood, former co-owner of Ottawa Special Events, has told the Barrhaven Independent he is considering a run for council, but hasn’t made up his mind just yet. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, he has spent his time advocating for small and medium-sized businesses, while advocating for them in meetings with politicians from all levels of government.
Barrhaven will also be an interesting race to watch as the community is being split into two wards, with Riverside South becoming its own ward. Ward 3 will become Barrhaven-West, and new ward 24 will be Barrhaven East.
Carol Anne Meehan, who is current councillor of Gloucester-South Nepean, also known as ward 22, has told us she will run for councillor again, but is not sure where. It will either be in Barrhaven East (ward 24) or Riverside South-Findlay Creek (ward 22). She expects to make a decision soon.
A News Councillor And Name For Rideau-Goulbourn
Ward 21, currently known as Rideau-Goulbourn, will soon be called Rideau-Jock.
Councillor Scott Moffatt, who has been in office for 11 years, announced in November on Twitter that he would not seek re-election.
When first elected in 2010, Moffatt commented that he would likely stick around for 12 years as councillor if he could when asked about term limits. “And now, after 11 years in office, it would appear my sentiment about how long I’d be a Councillor rang true,” Moffatt wrote.
Moffatt first ran for council in 2006 and lost to incumbent Glenn Brooks. Also on the ballot was longtime municipal politician and former Rideau Township mayor Jim Stewart. He said that loss led to his victory in the next election and to his career as a councillor.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for that 2006 loss 15 years ago,” Moffatt tweeted. “Thank you to everyone who got me here today.”
Moffatt pointed out that it has been nearly 50 years since he or two men he looked up to from childhood to adulthood would not be running for the local ward.
“With all of that said, on October 24, 2022, the ballot will be absent of a Brooks, Stewart or Moffatt for the first time since 1974, seven years before I was born,” he tweeted.
No official names have come forward announcing they will run, but David Brown, who lost to Moffatt by a slight margin in 2018, has said in the past that he would run again in 2022. Moffatt defeated Brown 5,080 votes to 4,023 votes in that fall municipal election.
Bob Chiarelli for Mayor
Barrhaven resident Bob Chiarelli, who was Mayor of Ottawa from September 1987 to July 1997, and then from 2001 until 2006, has told this newspaper he will take another run for the Mayors seat.
The active 80-year-old three-time grandfather was also a member of provincial parliament for the riding of Ottawa-West Nepean from March 2010 until his defeat in June 2018.
“I am still considering it very seriously, getting a lot of encouragement moving forward, and I’m analyzing everything going on,” he told the Barrhaven Independent. A few weeks ago. “There is a lot to be done in most cities, particularly in Canada, on the environmental side, on the congestion side, on the quality of life side. If you look at the very serious debates we have had with the community with respect to quality of life, how our neighborhood is going to grow, how we are going to grow outside of the urban boundary, there are a lot of issues there. Some of them are being resolved, and there are a lot of people concerned about part of what’s happening with the official plan.”
Chiarelli, who already has a campaign team in place, noted how long the commute time is by car from Barrhaven to downtown Ottawa, a drive which before would only take 15-20 minutes. Now it could take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour depending on traffic.
He also has concerns with phase three of Ottawa”s LRT line, which is supposed to come out to Barrhaven, ever being built. With funding being a concern, and issues with the problematic phase one line, he says it doesn’t look promising. Phase two, which is supposed to open in Riverside South Next year, is expected to also be delayed.
It could become a packed Mayor’s race. Somerset ward councilor Catherine McKenney has announced they will run for the seat, and Gloucester-Southgate ward councillor Diane Deans says “she’s seriously considering it” as well. Shortly after Watson announced he’s not seeking re-election for office, Deans called a 3:00 pm press conference at city hall.
Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod, has confirmed she will stay at the provincial level, and won’t run for the job. Former Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna has also said she has no intentions to run.
The last election in 2018 saw 12 names on the ballot for Mayor of Ottawa, but only two recieved more than two per cent of the vote. Former city councillor Clive Doucet came in second place with a little over 22 per cent, a total of 59,156 votes.
Watson Not Seeking Another Term
Today Mayor Jim Watson, who turns 60 next year, announced on his website that the 2018 election, which he won with 71 per cent of the vote, was his last.
“As I was awaiting the results of the 2018 election about three years ago, I made my decision – even before I knew the results – that if I was successful that night, it would be my last election as Mayor of Ottawa,” Watson wrote. “The decision was both easy and tough. On the one hand, I loved almost every hour of every day and it was a true privilege and honor to serve as our city’s Mayor.”
Watson was Mayor of the former City of Ottawa from 1997 to 2000, and has held his current position since 2010. He was a city councilor in Ottawa from 1991 to 1997. Watson was also a member of provincial parliament for the riding of Ottawa-West Nepean from 2003 until 2010, and served in a number of ministry roles.
“I am grateful to the residents who supported me through both good and challenging times – going back to my days as a city councillor for Capital Ward and as MPP and Minister for the riding of Ottawa West–Nepean,” he wrote. “I have served with over 100 different councillors during my time on Council, and while we didn’t always agree on everything, I respect their work and their role, and I thank them for their commitment to our city.”
In August 2019, Watson came out as gay, creating history at Ottawas first openly gay Mayor. He listed this as a personal highlight alongside a strong list on municipal accomplishments including: Ottawa’s Canada 150 events, the opening of Landsdowne and the Shaw Centre, and the opening of Ottawa’s LRT system, among others.
In recent months, Watson has faced much public backlash over the problem-plagued LRT system, which is now facing a provincial public inquiry — which the Mayor originally opposed.
“The start of this new transportation system was frustrating beyond belief and a massive letdown to its users,” said Watson. “While we are now seeing an improvement in the reliability of the service, we must continue to hold our partners to account. I truly believe we have turned the corner with much better, reliable and consistent service for the people of Ottawa.”
More recently, Watson has been Major during the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed how the city works. During the past year and a half, he’s been involved in shutdowns, COVID-19 testing, and now mass vaccination efforts.
“With great leaders like Dr. (Vera) Etches, Steve Kanellakos, Tony Di Monte, (Chief) Peter Sloly, Pierre Poirier, Donna Gray, and many others, saw Ottawa boast the best vaccination rate of any large city in Canada,” he noted.
The start of the new year is expected to be the unofficial kickoff of potential candidates putting their name forward to run in the 2022 municipal election. Stay glued to the Barrhaven Independent for all the latest information.