Adam: McKenna says she won’t run for Ottawa mayoralty — but hope springs eternal
Catherine McKenna has ruled out running for mayor of Ottawa — ever, she says. That’s a real pity because she would be an ideal candidate.
In a surprise announcement last week that she was leaving federal politics to spend more time with her family, the Ottawa Centre MP and infrastructure minister also expressed no interest in running for mayor. “Jim Watson, I am not running in the next mayoral election, or ever,” McKenna said, addressing the mayor by name. “Hopefully, that’s definitive. It’s not even possible.”
Ottawa has a thin pool of serious, substantive and diverse candidates with great ambition for the city. If, indeed, some are out there, they are hiding. They haven’t shown up, election after election. So, when McKenna suddenly became available, it whetted the appetite. Ottawa hasn’t had a woman as mayor in 24 years, and here was a good chance to at least break that male dominance. Alas, it is not to be.
McKenna has three children and wants to spend time with them. No one can begrudge her that decision. But there’s no denying that her retirement from federal politics and the decision to not even consider running for mayor are both big losses for the city.
A star candidate in 2015, McKenna won Ottawa Centre by defeating the late NDP MP Paul Dewar, then comfortably winning re-election in 2019. She was a key member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, first serving as environment minister and ably stick-handling the government’s controversial climate change file. She turned once-hated carbon pricing into acceptable public policy, then became infrastructure minister. She had everything going for her.