What the candidates are saying to Sandy Hill

John Cockburn, Judy Rinfret

Canada’s federal election will be held on Monday, October 21, (advance polls October 11-14). IMAGE posed these questions to the five major candidates in the Ottawa-Vanier riding. They could reply to each question in either English or French but not both—because of space limitation.

Why do you want to represent the residents of Sandy Hill—how will you do that? How will you communicate with Sandy Hill residents if and when you are elected?

What federal initiatives are most relevant on a community level in Sandy Hill?

What do you think are the most important ecological challenges facing the residents of Sandy Hill and what would you do to effect positive and sustainable change?

A long standing issue for this community is heavy truck traffic on King Edward and through downtown. What, if any, solution do you support?

What measures do you think the federal government could implement that would help protect the many historic buildings in Sandy Hill that are currently threatened?

What measures do you advocate that would mitigate the problems of transients, homeless and socially disadvantaged people that have an impact on Sandy Hill residents?

What federal policies do you support that would reduce crime on a national and local basis?

For information on all other candidates (minor parties and independents) go to the Elections Canada web site and type in your postal code.

We hope these candidate statements will help you make informed choices on October 21 and want to thank the respondents for their efforts.



Conservative Party

Joel Bernard

Occupation: Parliamentary Affairs Advisor

Residence: Ottawa


Representing Sandy Hill

I have served as a Director of Parliamentary Affairs or as a Policy Advisor to four different federal Ministers on Parliament Hill since 2006. I am presently employed with the Shadow Minister of Public Safety, Borders and Emergency Preparedness. Much of my work depends on knowledge and information. These two come from two main sources; the Deputy Minister and his/her staff and stakeholders/public at large.

You cannot be a good Policy Advisor without developing relationships with these two groups. All of my successes over the years can be attributed to relationship building. The issues and the needs may change, but the mandate never does. This mandate is to serve but also to remember that we are public servants, not public masters.

Federal initiatives relevant to Sandy Hill

We have committed to introduce measures that will make life more affordable by scrapping the Carbon tax, remove the GST off home heating bills and home energy costs, make maternity benefits tax-free, provide a Universal Tax Cut to all hard working taxpayers, implement the Green Tax Credit for Public Transit, implement a Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, implement a Children’s Arts & Learning Tax Credit, boost the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), cancel $1.5B in corporate welfare and redirect savings to Canadians and help homeowners pay for energy-saving renovations through the Green Homes Tax Credit (GHTC)


We should all be concerned about climate change—about the kind of planet we will leave to future generations. A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment is built on three guiding principles: 1. Green technology, not taxes, 2. A cleaner and greener natural environment and, 3. Taking the climate change fight global.

Under the Conservative plan, it will not be free to pollute—and unlike the Liberal scheme, there will be no sweetheart deals for anybody. However, rather than simply funneling money to the government as the Liberal plan dictates, emitters who exceed our limits will be required to invest in technology that will lower emissions to fight climate change.

We will introduce the Green Homes Tax Credit, a two-year plan that will encourage Canadians to improve their homes with emissions-reducing technologies. In 2017, emissions from buildings accounted for 12% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions. We cannot tackle climate change without making our buildings greener. Canadians will be eligible to receive a 20% refundable credit on their income tax for green improvements to their homes of over $1,000 and up to $20,000. This will allow Canadians to save up to $3,800 on their green renovations in each year. We have over 50 specific initiatives proposed in our plan.

King Edward traffic

If the solution to this problem was easy to implement, it would have been dealt with long ago. The City’s only proposal so far has been to move the traffic problem from downtown to other communities in the riding. I will work with all levels of government to insure that a final solution does not create winners and losers.


Personally, I want to be your champion to work with City Hall to develop a strategy that will guarantee international best practices in maintaining heritage properties in Sandy Hill and all of Ottawa-Vanier. Canada is certainly not the only region to face this challenge. We need to look at other jurisdictions but we must also have a solution tailored for us locally.

Social issues

Our government has announced a Health and Social Program Guarantee: a commitment to maintain and increase the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer by at least 3% per year.

However, specific to the homeless situation, the shelter move to Montreal Road is a non-starter for me. Shelters do not solve homelessness and again, transferring a challenge from one community to another is nothing short of skilful mismanagement on the part of City Hall. I will work with the Mayor’s office to find a sustainable long-term solution.

We have to find a solution to help folks with addiction and mental issues but we also have to work to maximize public safety for the residents of Sandy Hill and Ottawa. That is why we have announced considerable investments to help police do their jobs.


We have announced a three pillar public safety strategy which includes combatting gangs and organized crime activities and illegal guns. We will also provide police with additional resources to help them do their jobs.

A Conservative Government will take action to fight human trafficking by renewing the action plan cancelled by the Liberals, toughen the laws and sentences for those convicted of human trafficking and end automatic bail for those accused of selling human beings.

The wounds of sexual abuse last a lifetime and the penalty should fit the crime. Survivors of sexual abuse need to be assured that their government acknowledges their anguish and that the people who hurt them will be punished. A Conservative government will put the safety of children first and ensure that those who seek to harm them will face the full weight of Canada’s justice system. We will ensure that victims’ voices are heard and that sentences for sexual interference take into account the length and severity of the abuse by adding aggravating factors to the Criminal Code. We will end the practice of giving those who harm children a mere slap on the wrist, by ensuring that anyone who is convicted of a serious sexual offence against a child serves at least 5 years in prison.


Green Party

Oriana Ngabirano

Occupation: Public Relations

Residence: Vanier


Representing Sandy Hill

Sandy Hill is a beautiful and thriving community, where families, students, and seniors all contribute to the character of the neighbourhood. I take a high priority in consulting with all members of our riding to understand the issues and provide channels of discussion between citizens and all three levels of government. When elected, I would form citizens’ committees to focus on the relationships between electors and elected, increasing citizen involvement in our democratic process.

Federal initiatives relevant to Sandy Hill

The principal initiative I would advocate for is Guaranteed Livable Income. Poverty is the biggest challenge in Ottawa-Vanier.

Ending systemic poverty means rethinking the system. We have the resources and talent to create a truly just society. Our social safety net was developed almost 50 years ago, it’s time for the next major innovations—Pharmacare and Guaranteed Livable Income. Poverty is a problem we can fix.

Homelessness, increased hygiene/diet related diseases, and increased crime rate are social consequences of poverty that are far too familiar in Ottawa-Vanier.

Transportation and traffic are also becoming critical issues. Hopefully with the new LRT service, we should see a positive change on the roads. There is much more that can be done to increase the use of public transportation. When elected I will advocate for increased funding to stimulate re-investment in active/sustainable transportation, safe infrastructure and services (e.g. safer bike paths).


Comme vous le savez, l’environnement est la priorité du Parti Vert du Canada. Toutes ses politiques ont comme fondement la protection de l’environnement et la qualité de vie des canadiens.

Outre les problématiques liées aux changements climatiques, nous sommes aussi conscients des autres défis auxquels nous auront à faire face: la qualité de l’eau, de l’air et des terres qui nous environnent et qui servent à nous nourrir.

Le recyclage est un sujet qui me tient à coeur; une fois élue, je veux travailler sur des politiques qui augmentent la responsabilité des manufacturiers dans le cycle de vie des produits qu’ils produisent. Je compte inciter l’innovation et le changement vers des pratiques durables et respectueuses de l’environnement en responsabilisant le début de la chaîne.

King Edward traffic

The heavy truck traffic through the heart of our city is hazardous, harmful to health and quality of life. The solutions proposed so far only divert the traffic to other neighbourhoods, so the only viable option that has been presented is the tunnel running from Vanier Parkway/Coventry Road to the Macdonald-Cartier bridge. I would support moving forward with the appropriate studies. The end goal is to reduce the amount of polluting vehicles. We must implement a strategy to expand the national rail system, for large distances, while concentrating on emissions free vehicles for short distances and within cities.


At the federal level, the promotion of tourism as a sustainable economic means is the best argument for heritage conservation in a capitalist country. Tourism and heritage go hand in hand.

I believe that an increase in community pride and quality of life will make tourists want to visit our neighborhoods. A Green Party Government will increase funding to the arts, culture, and heritage.

Social issues

Those issues are direct consequences of poverty and as mentioned, the principal initiative I would advocate for is Guaranteed Livable Income.

Pharmaceutical use must be more rigorously assessed. It is estimated that prescription drug use leads to 150 000 deaths every year in North America. Health Canada has not performed adequately in assessing risks. Canada still lacks any requirement for mandatory reporting of side-effects from prescribed drugs. Far too often, conflict of interest in the relationship between those who advise government agencies, and even physicians who accept trips and promotions from the pharmaceutical industry, can influence decisions. There are two and a half drug sales representatives for every physician in Canada. Getting a handle on the use of prescription drugs can both save lives and cut costs.

The best way to accomplish both life-saving and cost-cutting goals is through a universal Pharmacare program, a bulk drug purchasing agency, and shorter drug patent protection times. It is critical that no conflict of interest corrupt the drug assessment process. Drugs showing a greater harmful than beneficial effect will not be part of a national Pharmacare program.

I support safe supply and a much needed increase in access to Mental Health support services and alternative medicine.


Crime levels and poverty levels have a direct link. Consequently, I would advocate for a Guaranteed Livable Income.

The Green Party is a practical party. In all our policies we seek to avoid over-the-top rhetoric and partisanship. We take this same pragmatic and level-headed approach to the tough issues of criminal justice.

Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. I support smarter investments to prevent crime through better programs in youth activity/entrepreneurship, early childhood education, and the public health approach to violence prevention (Cure Violence


Liberal Party of Canada

Mona Fortier

Occupation: Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier

Residence: Ottawa-Vanier


Representing Sandy Hill

I’ve been working for the people of Ottawa-Vanier for the past two and a half years and would love the opportunity to keep working for our residents. I have always believed that I can best serve my community by getting involved and taking action. I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines, because it is through action that we can create positive change.

I want to keep focusing on making life more affordable for residents, protecting our environment and helping our local businesses prosper. Ottawa-Vanier is strong because of its diversity, which is representative of the Canadian social fabric. If I’m re-elected, I will continue to represent our community’s multiple voices at the House of Commons.

Les initiatives fédérales touchant la Côte-de-Sable

Nous devons en faire plus pour que chaque Canadien ait un logement sécuritaire et abordable. Si je suis réélue, je travaillerai pour rendre la vie plus abordable. Je veux faire en sorte que les Canadiennes et les Canadiens aient accès à des logements abordables qui répondent à leurs besoins, dans des communautés où leur famille peut prospérer. Un logement permet aux gens de se sentir plus en sécurité et cela leur facilite la tâche pour élever des enfants en bonne santé, faire des études et obtenir un emploi. Les logements abordables changent la donne pour les familles et les gens de tous âges et de tous horizons. C’est pourquoi nous allons de l’avant avec la toute première Stratégie nationale sur le logement du Canada, un plan décennal de 40 milliards de dollars grâce auquel un plus grand nombre de Canadiens auront accès à un logement.

Aucun enjeu n’est plus important pour notre avenir que la lutte contre les changements climatiques. C’est pourquoi un gouvernement libéral réélu a un plan ambitieux pour protéger l’environnement et stimuler l’économie. La pollution a désormais un coût, et plus de 1,1 million d’emplois ont été créés au pays depuis 2015. Le gouvernement libéral prend des mesures concrètes pour réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre et faciliter l’adaptation de tous les secteurs aux changements climatiques, du secteur industriel à celui de la construction, en passant par celui du transport et de l’agriculture. Cela implique de recourir à de l’énergie propre pour alimenter nos foyers, nos lieux de travail, nos véhicules et nos industries, et d’utiliser l’énergie plus efficacement. Cela implique aussi des infrastructures et des écosystèmes plus résilients et mieux adaptés aux changements climatiques, ainsi que l’agrandissement des aires protégées et des parcs par de nouvelles mesures vigoureuses de conservation.


Our government has a strong plan to protect a clean environment and it’s working for Canadians. We put a price on pollution to fight climate change and put money back in the pockets of Canadian families. Nationally we also launched the Oceans Protection Plan and designated nearly 15% of marine areas as Marine Protected Areas.

Locally, our government has supported efforts to keep our riverways clean and free from pollution, including supporting the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel. If I am re-elected, I will continue to fight for real climate action, and support the greening of our national capital region.

La circulation sur King Edward

Les problèmes de transports régionaux sont un enjeu auquel notre communauté est confrontée depuis des décennies et qui préoccupent plusieurs membres de la circonscription. Les étapes une et deux du train léger transformeront la façon dont les résidents se déplacent dans notre ville. Cela réduira le temps nécessaire aux voyageurs pour se rendre au travail et aussi la congestion routière.

Dans le budget de 2019 de notre gouvernement, nous poursuivons cet engagement et avons présenté un plan visant à garantir que notre infrastructure de transport interprovincial est bien entretenue et répond aux besoins de tous les résidents de la région de la capitale nationale. Ceci, conjugué au besoin immédiat de remplacer le pont Alexandra et de trouver une solution viable à long terme pour sortir les camions du centre-ville et de l’avenue King Edward, a amené notre gouvernement à prendre des mesures pour étudier les priorités du transport en commun et des transports pour la Région de la capitale nationale. J’ai appuyé cette demande afin d’avoir une stratégie régionale de transport en commun et de transport interprovincial globale et non une approche à la pièce.

Je m’engage à continuer de travailler de concert avec les élus, les dirigeants des associations communautaires et les résidents tout au long de cet exercice.


We live in one of the most beautiful national capitals in the world and it is important that we continue to look after our heritage sites and ensure that the National Capital Region is accessible for visitors and residents alike.

Ottawa-Vanier is fortunate to have some of the most historic museums and monuments in the country. I have worked hard to secure investments to support restoration and protection of our historic National Capital Commission and Parks Canada buildings in the riding, including Laurier House in Sandy Hill. If re-elected I will continue to work with community stakeholders, as well as my provincial and municipal colleagues to ensure we support growth that respects the historical traditions of our communities.

Enjeux sociaux

Un gouvernement libéral réélu fera en sorte que chacun dispose d’un logement sécuritaire et abordable à Ottawa et à travers le pays. En tant que la députée d’Ottawa-Vanier, j’ai travaillé pour aider Shepherds Good Hope à obtenir un engagement financier fédéral de plus de 3,65 millions de dollars pour la construction d’un ensemble de logements avec services de soutien sur le chemin Montréal. Cette approche de “logement d’abord” fournira 42 logements abordables destinés aux personnes ayant connu l’itinérance chronique et nécessitant des services 24 heures sur 24. J’ai également appuyée l’Initiative multiconfessionnelle pour le logement dans leur candidature pour bâtir la Maison des anciens combattants à Village des riverains, qui fournira environ 20 unités aux anciens combattants sans abri.
Dans le cadre de la Stratégie nationale sur le logement, notre gouvernement a comme objectif ambitieux de réduire l’itinérance chronique au Canada d’au moins 50 %. Les investissements dans l’Allocation canadienne pour enfants, la Stratégie nationale sur le logement et l’Allocation canadienne pour les travailleurs ont permis de sortir plus de 900 000 Canadiennes et Canadiens de la pauvreté.


Ensuring our community’s safety has always been a priority for me and our government. Over the past four years, we have invested $327 million in new federal funding to tackle the increase in gun related violence and gang activity in Canada. This included $65 million to the province to support local police forces in addressing local crimes, and $86 million for the RCMP and CBSA to stop illegal weapons from entering our country.

But we know there is more to do, and a re-elected Liberal Government has committed to ban all military-style assault rifles in Canada and provide municipalities with the ability to ban handguns. We understand that gun crime has been on the rise and we must take common-sense action to strengthen gun control and crack down on gun crime.


New Democratic Party

Stéphanie Mercier

Occupation: Nurse

Residence: Gatineau, QC


Representing Sandy Hill

I moved to Sandy Hill six years ago when I came to Ottawa to complete my Bachelor’s in nursing at the University of Ottawa. When I made the decision to attend law school after completing my degree, the combined cost of my rent and tuition meant that I could no longer afford to live in the community. I know that many students in the area, like me, have struggled to afford their tuition and the cost of living in this area, but this problem isn’t theirs alone. Affordability is a huge concern for many residents I’ve spoken with, something I can speak to with my own experience.
As an NDP candidate, I have the opportunity to fight for the change Ottawa-Vanier residents deserve: access to safe affordable housing, climate leadership, and comprehensive healthcare coverage.

Federal initiatives most relevant to Sandy Hill

At the doors, I’ve heard from countless residents that it’s only been harder to get by the last four years. National housing and childcare strategies, and head-to-toe health coverage would help lessen the burden on families. Life is simply becoming unaffordable as rent skyrockets while wages stay the same.


Sandy Hill is especially susceptible to flooding, being in a low-lying area. Flooding has been exacerbated by climate change, making it more frequent and more severe. This has a real cost not only for residents, who are paying to renovate and insure their homes, but also the federal government. The Parliamentary Budget Office projects annual liabilities paid by Canada’s federal and provincial governments to average over $900 million over the next five years, with floods accounting for about $670 million of this spending.

The debate around climate change in Canada frequently centres on its cost. Many will say that investing in infrastructure to mitigate floods or generate clean energy is too expensive, but this perspective fails to acknowledge the long term costs of climate change, leaving it to future generations to foot the bill.

The NDP has a comprehensive plan to address climate change and orient Canada towards a green economy: continuing carbon pricing, while ending breaks for large emitters, and creating 300,000 green jobs across the country to restore Canadian infrastructure for climate change resilience and reduce our carbon footprint. We will also work with municipalities to provide fare-free public transit, and scale up low-carbon transit projects.

Traffic on King Edward

It’s clear that the current situation on King Edward isn’t sustainable. Truck traffic has been responsible for several serious accidents with pedestrians and cyclists. Not only is the volume of traffic dangerous, it worsens air quality, and its excessive noise is disruptive to residents. I’m supportive of the proposal to construct a tunnel under the downtown core to manage truck traffic, and will advocate for federal funding for the project as an MP.

Social issues

When I worked as a volunteer for the Overdose Prevention Ottawa supervised injection site in the Byward Market, I saw that many of the people who went to the site also struggled with homelessness, or their mental health, but were unable to access the supports they needed to recover. If elected, I will support the NDP’s plan for public coverage of mental health care and expand access to treatment on demand. As an MP, I will also advocate for the decriminalization of drug possession that prevents substance users from seeking treatment, and for cooperation with the provinces to fund projects like safe injection sites that have been proven to save lives and help substance users get treatment.

In Canada, eleven people die each day from opioid related causes. Ottawa has been at the forefront of this crisis. I will work with the NDP to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, and put resources behind an effective response.


It’s no coincidence that Ottawa-Vanier experiences such high incidence of crime, and the highest food bank usage of any Ontario riding last year, with 15% of residents having used a food bank in 2018. The reality is that many of our neighbours are forced to choose between paying for their medication, a place to call home, and putting a meal on the table. The current patchwork of programs is difficult to navigate, and simply doesn’t provide enough support for many who are struggling to meet their basic needs. A post-secondary education, widely viewed as being the key to opportunity, is growing increasingly out of reach for those who are stuck in precarious employment, or making minimum wage.

I’m fully on board with the NDP’s plan to roll out universal pharmacare by the end of 2020, and update medicare to include mental health and dental. I will also fight for the affordable housing in our community, by supporting the NDP’s plan to build 500,000 affordable units across Canada over the next 10 years. I will also advocate for a national childcare strategy that supports families across the country.

As an MP, I will also work to remove barriers to accessing employment insurance for those who need it, including workers who have been precariously employed, or who live with episodic disabilities.

People of colour and Indigenous people are also far more likely to be arrested and convicted. As an MP, I will advocate for an end to discriminatory practices like carding, and advocate for an approach that emphasizes healing and restorative justice.



People’s Party of Canada

Paul Durst

Occupation: Public Servant, Canadian Armed Forces (Ret.)

Residence: Beacon Hill North


Representing Sandy Hill

I’d be proud to represent Sandy Hill because it’s a community that truly represents Canadians at all stages of life—from the young minds being formed at the University of Ottawa, to the Public Servants, academics and others who live and work here, to the many seniors who choose to live here. I think that’s worth preserving, and as your MP that will be my role. I will work to address the scourge of opioids impacting our community, protect the architectural treasures of Sandy Hill, safeguard the majestic Rideau and Ottawa River ecosystems, and ensure that Sandy Hill is a place where people of all ages and from walks of life feel safe and respected.

I learned as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces that a single channel of communication is never enough. You’ll hear from me in these pages, and in the pages of other newspapers. I live in this riding, and when I am elected I will be available to anyone who wants to come by and talk. Finally, I hope to communicate with you in the most important way: through my actions, by helping to produce cleaner rivers and parks, safer streets, and a more prosperous Sandy Hill.

Federal initiatives most relevant to Sandy Hill

One of my top priorities across the riding of Ottawa-Vanier is to address a killer that is too often ignored: opioids. Opioids have claimed the lives of thousands of Canadians. Despite the efforts of the Liberal Government, Health Canada reports that the death rate from opioids has climbed every year from 2016 to 2018. There is no one solution to this multifaceted problem. We must: strengthen border protections to stop illegal opioids entering Canada, help the RCMP to tackle the national problem of the opioid epidemic, create clear pathways to rehabilitation for those involved with opioids, and support legislation to allow our police and courts to hold those responsible to account.

Preserving the beauty and charm of a community like Sandy Hill is not just about preventing predators from taking advantage of the most vulnerable. It’s also about leveraging the National Capital Commission to ensure that Sandy Hill’s architectural and natural legacy is preserved. In the words of Action Sandy Hill, that means making sure that local development is “compatible with existing architectural and cultural [and I would add, natural] heritage”.


Sandy Hill is blessed with the Ottawa River, the Rideau River and the Rideau Canal, and a network of parks and green space. Preserving Sandy Hill’s ecology requires local action. When I am elected, I will be an advocate for community engagement, empowering local voices. For example, the non profit Ottawa Riverkeeper organization, devoted to the Ottawa River watershed, have raised a number of urgent issues for those who love the ecosystem of Sandy Hill to consider: from sewage overflows, to plastic in the water, to the lack of risk assessment for projected pipelines intersecting the Ottawa River. I would ensure that groups such as Ottawa Riverkeeper have a voice with the National Capital Commission.

King Edward traffic

Heavy truck traffic is an ongoing issue for those in Sandy Hill. Several viable solutions have been suggested, from a tunnel to another interprovincial bridge to ease traffic flow. Our leader, Maxime Bernier, has made interprovincial trade a priority. Plans such as the tunnel and the bridge show that more interprovincial trade is compatible with lessening the traffic through Sandy Hill. I will work with municipal and federal colleagues to determine the best option and seek federal funding to make it a reality.


Sandy Hill is the home of ten historic prime ministers—and that’s just for starters. It’s important not to lose our architectural heritage, and when elected I will use the National Capital Commission to preserve it. But I won’t just focus on the heritage from the past. Sandy Hill is vibrant. It is home to some of the most beautiful gardens in Ottawa. The Odyssey Theatre in Strathcona Park is a cultural treasure that most of us know and love. One of Ottawa’s newest bookstores just opened along Wilbrod Street. These are the results of engaged Canadians growing their community, and I will empower them by fighting against red tape and in favour of local innovation.

Social Issues

As mentioned above, one of my key plans is to tackle the opioid crisis in Sandy Hill and beyond in Ottawa-Vanier. As a father of five, I know that our families are the most precious things in our lives. No one should have to lose a family member to drugs or violence. We need to tackle opioids, addiction, and the lifestyles that accompany them with compassion but also allow people to take responsibility for their actions. At the federal level, that means securing Canadian borders against drugs and seeking tough consequences for those who defy the law, while always creating pathways to rehabilitation.


Too many residents of Sandy Hill have experienced this rise in crime, and fights and litter along Rideau Street are now commonplace. I believe that safety starts with the little things. Gardens are now often vandalized and defaced. Many residents of Sandy Hill feel unsafe because of out-of-control house parties that can turn into block parties. I would lend my assistance to municipal and provincial colleagues as they combat littering, vandalism and unsafe parties, while working with federal colleagues to address the larger factors at work: illegal weapons entering Canada as well as large scale criminal activity.