Catherine McKenney launches mayoral campaign

Somerset ward councillor Catherine McKenney has officially registered to run for mayor of Ottawa.

McKenney filed their nomination papers Tuesday at the city’s election office.

In a brief thread on Twitter before filing, McKenney said their vision for Ottawa is to make it the healthiest city in the world.

I love Ottawa.

It is a modern & progressive city with so much potential.

Together…we can make it the healthiest city in the world.

We can have transit that’s affordable & dependable.

— Catherine McKenney ���� (they/them) (@cmckenney) May 3, 2022

“We can have transit that’s affordable and dependable,” they wrote. “We can plan neighborhoods so walking and biking are safe and convenient. Where no one struggles to move about our city year-round.” 

McKenney is trans/non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. They were first elected as a councillor for Somerset ward in 2014, winning re-election in 2018. They announced their intention to run for mayor in December 2021, following word Jim Watson would not seek another term.

Speaking to CTV’s Shaun Vardon on Tuesday, McKenney said they are happy to have their name on the ballot.

They said climate change is a key issue.

“Everything we do now has to be framed in that lens, and that leads to things like transit—how do we ensure that we’ve got affordable transit that is dependable, that people will take to move around their neighborhoods, move across the city?” McKenney said.

McKenney added that housing and local businesses are important topics as well.

“Housing—obviously homelessness is key,” they said. “Our local businesses, our BIAs, our main streets—we sometimes forget that they are the spine of our neighborhood so those are the issues today that I think, coming out of COVID and the changed world today, those are the issues we have to focus on.”

The downtown councillor also said they would reach out to rural and suburban communities.

“I will remind you that I lived in Kanata for years. I actually worked for the councillor Alex Munter for many years quite successfully. I do have and understanding of suburban communities and I believe that more and more our suburban and rural villages and downtown neighbourhoods all have the same needs,” they said. “We all really want to be able to move around our communities safely, we want to be able to get around by transit if that is how we want to get to the library, the grocery store. I think that as time goes on, each neighbourhood, while unique, I think we all have the same needs.”

McKenney joins Brandon Bay, Bob Chiarelli, Bernard Couchman, and Graham MacDonald as a candidate for mayor. Candidates have until Aug. 19 to file their nomination papers. Election Day is Oct. 24.

To see who is running for mayor, ward councillor or school board trustee in your ward, visit the city’s “Who’s Running in My Ward?” tool.