Mark Sutcliffe eyes mayoral race, schedules announcement Wednesday

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Entrepreneur and broadcaster Mark Sutcliffe positioned himself as a non-partisan choice for mayor in announcing his candidacy Wednesday afternoon in Kanata.

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With his wife Ginny and their three children standing beside him, Sutcliffe, 53, called for “a fresh set of eyes” to restore confidence in public transit and to help people afford living in the nation’s capital.

“The work I’ve always enjoyed most is when I’ve teamed up with other people to try to make our city better. All I’ve ever wanted is to make a difference in this incredible city that has been so good to me and my family,” Sutcliffe said, choking up as he delivered his prepared remarks under a gazebo in Brookshire Park.

Earlier in the day, Sutcliffe submitted his paperwork to run in the Oct. 24 municipal election, confirming rumours that have been circulating in recent weeks that he was interested in the mayor’s job.

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He jumps into the mayoral contest with Catherine McKenney, the current councillor for Somerset Ward, and Bob Chiarelli, the former mayor and Liberal MPP.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the mayoral ballot also included Brandon Bay, Bernard Couchman, Graham MacDonald, Ade Olumide and Param Singh.

Mike Maguire, who last ran for Ottawa mayor in 2014 and won about 18 per cent of the vote, also registered Wednesday to run for mayor in the 2022 municipal election.

Mayor Jim Watson isn’t seeking re-election.

Sutcliffe hosted radio shows on CFRA and 1310 News and was a TV host on CPAC. At Rogers TV, he moderated many municipal election debates. In recent years, Sutcliffe has been interviewing leaders as part of his Digging Deep podcast. He has been a columnist for the Citizen and was at one time, the newspaper’s executive editor.

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Sutcliffe co-founded the Ottawa Business Journal and been involved in owning or investing in several other businesses.

Now, he wants to be a politician.

But why?

“A few months ago I didn’t think it was going to happen, but more recently I have realized that we need new leadership at Ottawa City Hall,” Sutcliffe said.

“I’ve always been deeply committed to community service. I love my city and I want my kids to grow up in a city that is safe and affordable and reliable. That’s the kind of city I grew up in. I’m a little bit worried that’s not the city that we live in now, that it is becoming too expensive, it’s harder to get around, there are issues of public safety. I care deeply about the people of Ottawa and I want to make sure we solve these challenges.”

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Asked why he made his announcement in Kanata, Sutcliffe said, “I want to make sure every part of this city is represented. I care a lot about the people of Kanata and the people in the suburbs and the rural areas of this city, as well as the urban area.”

He said residents are unsure if LRT is ever going to get to Kanata, “so I want make sure that people know that we’re listening to them.”

Sutcliffe said he’s worried about the city’s future as it emerges from the COVID-19 public health crisis and enters “an affordability crisis.”

“We must make life more affordable for everyone by keeping taxes low, recreation fees and other costs low as well,” Sutcliffe said.

There’s also a “crisis in confidence in our public transit system,” he said, pointing to the evidence collected during the ongoing LRT inquiry that suggested “mistakes that were made” in procurement and implementation of Stage 1.

“We need to restore the reliability of light rail and the confidence in our public transit system and we need to fix our roads,” Sutcliffe said.

Nominations for city council and school board positions close on Aug. 19.

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