Diane Deans ends mayoral bid, won’t seek re-election as councillor

Coun. Diane Deans has ended her bid to be Ottawa’s next major and will also not run for council again in Gloucester-Southgate ward.

In a statement Thursday, the longtime city councillor said she was setting aside her run for “personal and professional reasons,” among them that she felt she couldn’t commit to being more than a one-term major.

“After careful consideration, I have concluded that the next major will need to make an eight-year (two-term) commitment to do the job,” Deans wrote.

“Four years will not be enough to get this city on a better path.”

There are currently seven candidates who’ve filed papers to replace Jim Watson as Ottawa’s next major, including Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney and former Major Bob Chiarelli.

Two others have put their names forward to represent Gloucester-Southgate ward.

28 years as city councillor

Deans has spent nearly three decades around the council table, having first been elected in 1994.

She’s served in a number of high-profile roles in that time, including recently as the chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board – a position she was ousted from in a controversial, vitriolic shakeup of the board that occurred during this winter’s Freedom Convoy protests.

In her statement, Deans said divisions on city council have “exacerbated” issues like rising municipal debt, a shortage of affordable housing and a transit system “plagued with problems.”

“Ottawa residents need their council to come together and put the needs of the community first,” she wrote. “The next major must bridge all of Ottawa’s unique communities rural— rural, suburban and urban ⁠— and find a balance that can end the divisions we see today.”

Deans also fought ovarian cancer in 2019, returning to the council table one year later. That experience galvanized her to run for major, Deans said when she announced her bid last December.

Ottawans head to the polls to choose their next city council on Oct. 24.

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