Sole candidate for Orleans in city election encouraging others to run

One candidate is left in the fight for Orleans in the upcoming city council election after long time councillor Bob Monette announced his retirement this morning.

Miranda Gray, a change management consultant, doesn’t want to run uncontested for the seat. She told 580 CFRA that she’d much rather have competition come election day.

“I believe there should be a diversity on the council,” Gray said in an interview. “And while I’m more diverse than a white guy, I’m not much more diverse.

“It would be great to see more women on council, it would be great to see a council that looks like our city … and while I want to be a part of that, there are other great candidates in my area that could be part of that at various levels.”

Bob Monette announced his retirement in a Facebook post this morning, saying ‘family considerations’ over the last few weeks led to the decision. Monette was one of the first candidates to file his nomination papers on May 1.

Originally, Gray decided to put her name in the ring for city councillor not because Monette was doing anything wrong - but because she said she believed opposition is the best way of keeping up a healthy democracy.

Now, she wants to make sure other people follow her lead and take her on during the campaign.

“I think it’s a bad sign if I’m acclaimed and running unopposed,” she said. “So that would worry me about our democracy.”

Monette represented Orleans at city hall for just under thirteen years, after first being elected in 2006. During his time in office, the councillor championed LRT transit extension to the suburbs, opening the first community garden in Orleans and the creation of a future employment hub in Orleans.

Gray said any councillor elected to represent Orleans has to honor Monette’s legacy in the work they do on council. In her role as a community organizer, Gray said she would often send Monette emails in the middle of the night and would get an almost instantaneous response

“He sets a very high bar,” she said. “His motto was ‘how can I help you’ and he was always there to help .”

When asked about how she hopes to honour Monette, Gray said she will host community events to thank him for all the work he’s done over the years - whether she is elected to office or not.

Dozens of people left messages and comments on the past councillor’s social media,  including Charles Bordeleau, Ottawa’s chief of police, who told Monette he ‘served … constituents well’.

Monette will stay on as a city councillor until election day on October 22.

Orleans is not the only ward so far with one candidate. West-Carleton March, Stitsville, Beacon Hill-Cyrville, Cumberland and Kanata South have only one candidate registered to campaign.

Potential council hopefuls have until 2 p.m. July 27 to submit their nomination papers.