Ottawa councillor Fleury not seeking re-election

Veteran city councillor Mathieu Fleury says he is not running for re-election in this fall’s municipal election, nor is he running for mayor.

Fleury, 36, made the surprise announcement in an email to supporters on Tuesday morning. He has served three terms on council and had been mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate.

“It has been an extreme privilege to represent Rideau–Vanier around the council table, and I am so proud of everything we have accomplished together during my three terms as City Councillor.  I am also humbled by the encouragement of so many Ottawa residents urging me to run for Mayor,” Fleury said.

“Executive tables, including the one in council chambers, benefit from renewal and new ideas. It is time for me to find new ways to contribute to our city’s future - at least for now.”

The University of Ottawa graduate was first elected to council in 2010 at age 25, the youngest councillor at the time.

“Please know that I am not going anywhere. Ottawa is my hometown and I am determined to build our exceptional community up in new ways,” he said.

Community leaders who worked with Fleury said his presence on council will be missed.

“It's a little bittersweet," said Kalin McCluskey, the executive director of the ByWard Market BIA. "Mat has definitely done a lot for the community, not just for businesses but also for the residents and has always tried to have a balance on what's best for ByWard and I know the other parts of his ward as well."

"We're hoping that the next councillor is going to be emphatic about all the changes that are coming to the ByWard Market, that they'll champion public realm to give us the improvements we need to make it even better and that they'll support our businesses who are mostly small and local."

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, who is also not seeking re-election, said Fleury has done a great job for the community.

"Politics is tough especially if you have a young family and Mat has a young family and you're out almost every night at different meetings and events and so on," Watson said. "I think he's done a great job and he'll be missed he's got a lot of energy and enthusiasm he brings to the council table and I wish him and his family the very best in their next journey."

Fleury’s announcement means there will be at least eight new councillors at city hall after the October election.

Veteran councillors Scott Moffatt, Jan Harder, Jean Cloutier and Keith Egli are not seeking re-election. Councillors Diane Deans and Catherine McKenney are running for mayor, leaving their seats in Gloucester-Southgate and Somerset wards open.

Deans has not officially registered to run for mayor, but announced she would run back in December.

There will also be a councillor elected in the newly-created Barrhaven East ward.

The municipal election is Oct. 24.