Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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McKenney/King motion: an opportunity to do better

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On Wednesday, City Council will vote on the City's budget.

As those of us who live in Kitchissippi are very aware, the pandemic has brought the fault lines in our society into sharp relief.  None of us can ignore the growing inequity in the city.

Residents in January 2020 were resounding in their support of Council’s declaration of a housing emergency. Now it’s time to address that crisis in a meaningful way.

At our budget meeting, my colleagues Catherine McKenney and Rawlson King will bring a motion to add a modest amount to our tax bills that would invest an additional $5 million in housing, an additional $5 million into social infrastructure, and $3.2 million into a community-based neighbourhood crisis response team over what is currently proposed in the budget.

It would cost the owner of the average home in Ottawa $28.53 for the year.

I won’t try to analyze the difference that this could make in the lives of so many people struggling in our city since Catherine has put the case so strongly in their blog that I encourage everyone to read here.

I have heard loud and clear from residents that it’s time to address inequity in our city differently than we have in past. The $13.2 million that Catherine is seeking to direct to housing and supports could actually require no increase in taxes if Council rejects the increase being sought by the Ottawa Police Service. That is its choice to make and councillors will have to vote their conscience. If Council chooses, though, to proceed with that proposed increase for police I will still vote for the McKenney/King motion as the right thing to do.

Kitchissippi residents are concerned about our neighbours who are struggling. Supporting the McKenney/King motion is one thing I can do to support residents seeking action.

Tomorrow’s budget is, as Catherine notes, our opportunity to do better. Let's seize it.

Posted December 8, 2020