FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa is condemning yesterday’s budget vote calling it a “budget not reflective of the multiple crises we are facing or grounded in reality.” The proposed 2022 budget, gives police an additional $11.3 million while social services remain drastically underfunded and continue to suffer. The vote yesterday made it clear that those in power are disconnected from the struggles their constituents face in Ottawa and are beholden to the wealthy and well connected.
There were also other motions meant to push the City of Ottawa in a direction that would begin to tackle these crises like putting actual dollars towards the city’s flagship environmental program, Energy Evolution and enacting a fare freeze to give transit riders a break, but those too were rejected.
“This is a disappointing decision that demonstrates the lack of leadership and vision for what the city needs.” Said Sam Hersh, Board member of Horizon Ottawa. “The reality is we have the resources to invest in affordable housing, mental health, and public transit but it comes down to priorities,” said Horizon Ottawa Board member, Sam Hersh.
Multiple organizations such as ACORN Ottawa, Climate Justice Ottawa, Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition, Coalition Against More Surveillance, Horizon Ottawa, Harmony House, and Ottawa Coalition for a People’s Budget gathered with many supporters in the form of a rally to condemn the status quo budget and show that better is possible.
The Ottawa Coalition for a People’s Budget drafted an alternative budget that would have made significant investments in childcare, food security initiatives, and mental health services. The City could pay for this through new revenue streams such as a 5% vacancy tax, progressive property taxes, halting new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and reallocating police funds elsewhere.
“We can provide good quality services to every person that needs it in Ottawa but we need councillors who will listen to their constituents and have the courage to do what is right.” Said Hersh. “We will be making sure that those councillors who voted for this budget and rejected calls for change will have a difficult time getting their jobs back come 2022.”
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