Out in the ‘Ville*, three-term councillor Shad Qadri is taking on prominent community person Glen Gower. Qadri has seemed like a weak councillor for a while, and there has definitely been some growing unrest in the ‘Ville for the past few years. The only thing that’s maybe surprising about this campaign is that there’s only one challenger. Usually, a vulnerable incumbent will have a host people vying to knock him off (see: Capital Ward).
I watched the Rogers debate a few weeks ago (and live-tweeted it). Gower was able to match Qadri’s knowledge of city council goings-on (which is unusual; incumbents have a massive advantage there), and certainly came off stronger.
Endorsement: Glen Gower
This really wasn’t difficult. The amount that Glen Gower has been able to do simply as a community volunteer–from traffic calming to heritage preservation to ward communications–is remarkable. This is a case where the challenger has practically acted like a councillor for the past few years.
His record in the community is impressive, but that’s not the only reason I’m endorsing him. He has a sound understanding–and a commendable vision–of what both the ‘Ville and the city needs. He’ll very much be a suburban representative, but he understands city life, and he gets how urbanism can integrate with suburbanism, making outer communities more sustainable and more livable, without trying to turn them into New Centretown.
Perhaps the most subtle commendation of Gower is the fact that no one else chose to run. It’s my understanding that there was a lot of grassroots supporters urging him to take this on. Perhaps it’s not a crowded field because people know Gower is their best chance at improving the ‘Ville.
The incumbent isn’t an innocent victim here. He hasn’t been a great councillor for the ‘Ville or the city. He hasn’t always been the best at communicating, and it’s hard to think of too many initiatives he’s really spear-headed. Worse, as the chair of the Board of Health, he pushed back hard against Overdose Prevention Ottawa, ignoring all the evidence that safe injection sites save lives and help people seek treatment. And to just add insult to every-friggin’-thing, this past week he decided to claim the role of overdose prevention champion. That was cynical as hell, and really, truly gross.
So after serving and leading this community for years, after working diligently to make the ‘Ville better, after so much volunteering, so much advocacy, so much community-mindedness, it’s time for residents to do the right thing, and make Glen Gower, officially, the councillor for Stittsville.
*Pretty sure no one calls it “the ‘Ville”, BUT THEY SHOULD.