When I took office on November 15th, the responsibilities and demands of the office were immediately apparent. The emails were rushing in, and the phone was ringing off the hook. There was the completely understandable impulse to simply rush into the process of "being the councillor".
But I believe in the process of Dream / Plan / Act, which implies that the best actions come from solid plans, and the best plans come from greatest dreams.
I also come from the professional world of non-profit arts organizations, where I learned over many years that the most successful non-profit organizations were the ones that had a crystal-clear mission statement. Because when your resources are scarce - whether it's scarcity of time or money - a clear mission statement will always help you focus your resources and guide your decisions. A clear mission statement can be a compass.
And so, my staff and I embarked on a process right out of the gate in order to come up with our mission statement. We did this in many ways: we had lengthy discussions, we re-visited what we learned in the campaign, we put sticky notes up on the wall, we read the City's Official Plan, we even took two days to tour the many different neighbourhoods to meet the people and places that define the specific issues facing our ward's residents. We took our time with this. We put time into this. And while we did this, we still responded to emails, answered phone calls, and helped get their problems addressed.
Here's what we came up with:
- Politics is the art of the possible. I will therefore not settle for solutions that simply...work. I will be guided by a commitment to seek out nothing short of the best solutions possible for the people who depend on me.
- For our government to effectively represent and serve the people, the people need to trust that we have their best interests in mind. I am dedicated to improving and enhancing the quality and transparency of our municipal government, so that trust in this institution is restored, grown and sustained.
- The City of Ottawa's population is projected to grow at an accelerated rate over the coming decades. I must support and guide that growth in a way that is sustainable, responsible, forward-thinking, and just.
That's my mission. Hopefully, the values, principles and goals that it advances, and the actions that come out of it, will help to create a better Ottawa for all of us, for a long time to come.