As a candidate one of the challenges is ensuring that you share your message and your priorities with residents as much as possible are campaign surveys. This campaign has been a particular challenge as the normal mediums of community events and debates have been cancelled. This is one of the reasons why I have been making a special effort to ensure that I answer as many candidate surveys as possible.
To date, I have answered the following surveys:
It has been great to see the engagement leading up the election day! Unfortunately, I did miss the deadline by a day for the Orleans-Cumberland Community Resource Center survey that was sent to me. In an effort to ensure that residents have a sense of my answers, I have posted them below!
Thank you everyone for your incredible engagement throughout this election! Merci à tous pour votre engagement incroyable tout au long de cette élection!
Thank you for reaching out to learn more about my position on the following issues. I applaud that wonderful work that OCCRC accomplishes in our community, and if I am lucky enough to be elected on October 5th, I would honour to work in partnership with you for the betterment of our community.
Please see my responses to your questions below:
1. Should you be elected, would you commit to the development of a long-term vision in order to reinvest in our social infrastructures? Given that the population keeps growing and that the needs in the community are evolving, would you ensure that community social services as well as municipal services are allocated adequate funding to meet the ever-increasing demand?
Catherine Kitts: The growing demand tells me there is a systemic issue. I want to see everyone cared for and supported when in need and we have some incredible programs in the city available to help. I want to see them continue to be funded in order to support all our communities in need, and I also want to explore the root of the issues causing the demand to increase so we can address them before they become emergency support measures.
2. Should you be elected, would you commit to working with us so that new municipal investments are made to ensure the delivery of youth services in our community?
In addition, how would you engage with youth and their families who come from marginalized communities? Equally important, how would you engage with community organizations that support marginalized communities to ensure that each youth has the opportunity to reach their full potential?
Catherine Kitts: Yes, if elected I would commit to working with the OCCRC in the delivery of youth services. In particular, if I was looking to engage with youth and families from marginalized communities, my first step would be to listen to their experiences, concerns and needs. It would be important that I sit down with the OCCRC, community leaders and other community organizations to learn more about their priorities to better understand the role and the support that the city councillor can provide. There is little doubt in my mind that as leaders, we need to take every action possible to ensure that we provide the best opportunities for our communities and our children to reach their potential.
3. Should you be elected, how would you ensure that changes are made in the system to address systemic inequities, specifically towards Black, Indigenous and racialized communities?
Would you ensure an increase in hiring and advancement of people from equity seeking groups including Indigenous, Black, racialized people, women, 2SLGBTQIA+, people with disabilities and newcomers?
How would you ensure that responses to concerns expressed from the community are evidence-informed, and that they do not lead to further marginalization and isolation of vulnerable communities? How would you ensure that all community members feel safe, heard, and have a sense of belonging and agency, regardless of their race, culture, mental or physical ability, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age?
Catherine Kitts: I pride myself on my evidence-based decision making and informed opinion, in particular when it comes to policy decisions. Thus, I would be eager to work with you and community leaders to review the concerns expressed by these marginalized and vulnerable communities. It is incredibly important to me that everyone feels like they have a voice and space at the table to actively participate in decision-making and especially when it comes to decisions that directly impact their communities. Regarding your query on equal and equitable employment practices, I can commit to be an advocate for these practices both at city hall and in our community. There is great work being led by organizations such as CAWI and Equal Voice, and I would continue to support their advocacy in addressing system level changes.
4. Should you be elected, how would you ensure that the help provided by the City of Ottawa to the community continues to be a welcoming place for people who have been displaced from their homelands as a result of often unimaginable circumstances?
Catherine Kitts: I believe Ottawa benefits from the vibrant and active multicultural communities in our city. I believe it is important that Ottawa remain a warm and welcoming city. However, it is important that we ensure that our city can support these communities and peoples in such a fashion that allows them to retain dignity and self-respect. Often the burden of services falls on the support not-for-profit organizations in our communities such as the local food cupboards and resources centers. Therefore, as the city councillor it would be vital that I ensure I have ongoing and active communication with these organizations to ensure I have a sense of their needs and can support their mandates.
5. Please share your perspective on harm-reduction.
Should you be elected, how would you ensure that the City of Ottawa continues to invest in services that will reduce risks while easing the burden caused by drug overdose that falls on people, families and our community?
Catherine Kitts: I would be in support of continuing to invest in harm-reduction services and the social supports that accompany these programs. The evidence indicates that often harm-prevention and safe injection sites significantly reduce drug overdose fatalities. I believe that as the City of Ottawa continues to grow, we will need to make smart choices that balance the needs of our most vulnerable populations with the limited funds available at the municipal level. This could include looking for, and advocating for, partnerships with other levels of government and not-for-profit organizations that specialize in offering the community support required.
6. Should you be elected, how would you ensure that the City’s plan to reduce homelessness includes specific measures and goals, and with sufficient funds allocated to them to bring about a reduction? Would you ensure that 25% of new housing developments are dedicated to affordable housing with a special emphasis on affordable housing located within 1 km of rapid transit stations in our City
Catherine Kitts: I am in support of reducing homeless and of finding an actionable plan in addressing a very concerning, and growing, issue. I would want to ensure I inform myself more fully to the implications of committing to the 25th% target that you mentioned. That said, I absolutely think increased density and affordable housing makes sense when it is close to transit, and I think there is a huge opportunity with stage 2 of the LRT for Cumberland to look at increasing affordable housing options in the east-end.
If I am lucky enough on October 5th to be elected as City Councillor, I will lean into my journalism skills to broaden my knowledge on this particular issue. I would look forward to learning from and working with you.