Ottawa·ELECTION 2018

Just who are the 7 new councillors headed to city hall?

The seven councillors-elect who'll be joining council on Dec. 1 are promising more accountability and shifting the municipal political leadership slightly to the left. But just who are they, really?

Newcomers include a triathlete, a former news anchor, and a rock band frontman

Meet Ottawa's new city councillors

5 years ago
Duration 1:23
Seven new faces will be on council.

The seven councillors-elect who'll be joining Ottawa's council on Dec. 1 are promising more accountability and shifting the municipal political leadership slightly to the left.

They also add three more women to the ranks. But beyond that — just who are these folks? And how will they change council's dynamic?

It's pretty early in the game, but here's a snapshot of the new faces, from east to west.

Matthew Luloff - Orléans 

At 34, Orléans councillor-elect Matthew Luloff will be the second-youngest member of council — after Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury — but perhaps the only one who fronts his own alternative rock band.

A member of the armed forces since 2002, Luloff served a tour in Afghanistan in 2008. He said he started his band Hearts and Mines as a way for vets to cope with "tumultuous war memories," calling himself an advocate for mental health and the arts.

As a Liberal staffer, his most recent job was issues manager for Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan. So Luloff is no stranger to politics.

On local issues, he's in favour of weekly garbage pickup in the summer, since maggots can breed in the green bins in hot weather — although he was under the impression that plastic bags would be allowed only in the bin for dog waste.

Now that he knows that plastic bags can be used with all sorts of organics, he's rethinking that platform plank.​

Luloff already has at least one political ally on council. He's known Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais since high school, when Luloff was a lifeguard at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex and Blais worked the front desk. 

Blais endorsed Luloff, which was undoubtedly a help in a race with 17 candidates. The two plan to work together on east-end issues, including the LRT extension and widening Highway 174.

Laura Dudas - Innes

Joining Blais and Luloff in council's so-called "eastern bloc" is Laura Dudas, who's on board with widening Highway 174, making sure that there are employment opportunities around LRT stations in the east, and completing the gaps in the cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

The three already appear to have a congenial relationship.

Dudas, 39, is no stranger to municipal issues, having worked in the city's corporate communications department for eight years. She's also a well-known entity in her community of Blackburn Hamlet, where she's been the president of the community association for more than a decade.

She ran before and came in second to outgoing incumbent Jody Mitic in the 2014 campaign — she has perhaps been running ever since for another shot. She beat out, among other candidates, two former staffers of previous Innes ward councillors.

Like a number of newly elected councillors, Dudas has criticized the current council for failing to hold contractors to account, particularly with the second surprise delay of the LRT project

Shawn Menard - Capital

Shawn Menard is one of two councillors-elect with direct links to the NDP, including an endorsement from Paul Dewar, the popular former MP for Ottawa Centre, and Joel Harden, the current MPP.

He proudly calls himself "an ardent progressive" who's happy to mix it up — and he's already engaged in some testy back-and-forths on Twitter with Mayor Jim Watson.

A student politician during his years at Carleton University — not unlike Watson — Menard helped lead the campaign to get council to approve the U-Pass in Ottawa. To win support for the monthly student transit pass, Menard's team encouraged grassroots supporters from across the city to lobby their own councillors to vote for the plan.

It's a strategy he's looking to emulate to press other issues forward at city hall.

Menard is 36, has a master's degree in public policy and administration, and has held jobs with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Big City Mayors' office, where he says he worked with Watson. He's also been a public school board trustee.

He ran for council on three priorities: reducing what he characterizes as too much developer influence at city hall, implementing a fare-free bus for first Bank Street and ultimately the entire city, and banning single-use plastics in Ottawa.

Carol Anne Meehan - Gloucester-South Nepean

A major challenge for most newcomers to politics is the lack of name recognition. But for veteran broadcaster Carol Anne Meehan, that wasn't a problem.

Meehan is likely best known for her time hosting the local CTV news with the late Max Keeping. She has spent much of her adult life in the public eye, and is well-liked by audiences — the death of her husband in 2012 and her unceremonious firing from CTV in 2015 were met with an outpouring of support.

She has strong ties to local conservatives: she emceed the campaign launch for Nepean PC MPP Lisa MacLeod earlier this year, Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder signed her nomination form for the municipal election, and former ward councillor Steve Desroches — who's running for the Conservative nomination in the federal riding of Nepean — endorsed her.

However, her views may be tricky to pigeonhole. Meehan has said she wants to halt development in her ward until the transportation infrastructure catches up. She's also advocating for improved transit in the community, and has voiced some interest in Menard's push to reduce transit fares.

Theresa Kavanagh - Bay

A public school-board trustee for the past eight years and an NDP Parliament Hill staffer for two decades, Theresa Kavanagh sailed to victory Monday night.

She's known in her community for helping to stop the planned closure of Regina Street Public School, and is a critic of council's approval of controversial rezonings such as the 65-storey tower slated for 900 Albert St. 

She wants to invest more in public transit and would rather focus on crime-prevention measures than, say, increasing funding for the police force.

Kavanagh, 60, holds a couple of degrees — one in math — and she's run in more than just elections. She's an accomplished amateur athlete, competing in numerous marathons, triathlons and Iron Man races. 

She'll be joining other progressive voices around the council table, and says she's looking forward to working with the mayor, who happens to live in Bay ward. Watson said before election day, however, that he had voted for Don Dransfield, her Liberal-backed contender.

Jenna Sudds - Kanata North

The day Marianne Wilkinson announced she would step away from her role as longtime Kanata North councillor, she also voiced her support for Jenna Sudds, her chosen successor.

The councillor-elect has a master's degree in economics and was the inaugural president of the Kanata North Business Association. Most recently, she served as the inaugural executive director for a national technology council.

Though she's been blazing trails in the ward for years, Sudds said she was still asked during the campaign about her clothes or what her husband thought of her decision to run.

Those comments, combined with the lack of female representation at city hall has led her to support the idea of a women's bureau. The 39-year-old also wants to change the way the city sets out its budget to give councillors more control of the money — and also get more feedback from the public about how it's spent.

Glen Gower - Stittsville

Sudds will likely have an ally in her fellow west-end councillor-elect Glen Gower.

Both have called for the LRT to run to the Eagleson park-and-ride and beyond sooner than is currently planned, in order to serve people in the two fast-growing suburbs. They also want to expand the options for taking transit within their communities beyond simply commuting downtown.

Gower, 40, is well known in the community for his online newspaper, Stittsville Central, which he ran while presiding over the local community association and working at a local software company. He's also served on a number of local boards and, as a member of Heritage Ottawa, helped to save the 145-year-old Bradley-Craig barn.

He used his platform to take the city to task on development applications in the area, and called attention to lagging infrastructure like roads and intersections.

Now that he's working the flip-side of the system, he wants to limit urban sprawl — an issue that will come up in the next term of council when it reviews the official plan — and make sure that communities have walkable links to transit, shops and services.

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