Candidates make their pitches for city council: Jeff Morrison, Somerset Ward

On Thursday, Aug. 28, OBJ issued an open invitation to all candidates in the upcoming municipal election to answer one simple question: Why should the business community vote for you?

As the responses come in, one will be published online each day, and be included in our daily email newsletter. Send your response to editor@obj.ca.

Today’s response is from Jeff Morrison, candidate in Somerset Ward.

**********************

My name is Jeff Morrison, and I am seeking your support for city council in Somerset ward.  

I am proud of my history with the business community.  For 8 years, I served as Director of Government Relations and Director of Environment with the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), representing an industry that includes over 120,000 small, medium, and large sized businesses in Canada.   

With CCA, I championed many issues near and dear not only to construction, but the business community at large.   

I successfully lobbied the federal government for billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.   

I was extremely active in issues related to labour supply.  I lobbied on issues such as reducing employment insurance rates, increasing labour mobility (including between Ontario and Quebec), strengthening environmental policies, and promoting research and innovation.   

It is because of this strong link to these important issues that John DeVries, CEO of the Ottawa Construction Association has said, "Having worked side by side with Jeff at the Canadian Construction Association, I am pleased to endorse his candidacy for election as Councillor for Somerset Ward. Jeff brings to the Council table a high level of passion, ethics and knowledge to improve the community.”  

But in this election, what is as equally important as my experience is my vision for the future.   

My platform contains a number of specific ideas intended to help local businesses, particularly small business.   

For example, I have called for a 0.5-1% increase in the hotel destination fee in order to better promote Ottawa and attract more tourists.  

I've also suggested discount transit passes for tourists attending major sporting and cultural events as a means to encourage attendance.   

I've already led efforts to revitalize Bank Street (through my campaigns on Somerset House and Barrymores Music Hall), and I want to continue revitalization efforts of major streets, in order to help the businesses that line them.   

One such example is to facilitate more "Open Streets" days, in order to bring more people to the streets where small businesses are located.  

Just as importantly, one of my major campaign themes is better partnerships, which includes with the private sector.   

I've heard too often that businesses in Somerset ward feel their voices are not heard.   

I want to bring a new spirit of openness to City Hall for Somerset ward businesses, which includes an open door policy for both businesses and the BIAs that represent them.   

Part of that greater openness is acceptance of public-private partnerships.  I believe that PPPs have been an underutilized "tool in the toolbox" to achieve progress on specific projects.   

Although not appropriate for every project, and certainly not a panacea, PPPs should be given greater consideration at City Hall.  

For more information on my views and my ideas, check out my platform at www.jeff2014.ca/platform, or please email me at info@jeff2014.ca.  I look forward to continuing to hear from, and work with, members of Ottawa's business community.  

**************

Previously published

Aug. 29 - Katherine Hobbs, incumbent, Kitchissippi

Sept. 2 - Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi

Sept. 3 - Marc Aubin, Rideau-Vanier

Sept. 4 - Thomas McVeigh, Somerset

Sept. 5 - Cam Holmstorm, Rideau-Rockcliffe

Sept. 8 - Catherine McKenney, Somerset

Sept. 9 - Mathieu Fleury, incumbent, Rideau-Vanier