The Known and Unknown of the 2014 Ottawa Election

Question Mark 2

In Project Management there are knowns and unknowns. In the Risk Management of a project the known risks and unknown risks are considered into the mitigation of these risks to ensure a project is a success.

There has been much said about 25% of Council seats changing. We have ‘known’ that 6 wards will have new representation because of incumbents stepping down.

The ‘unknown’ is how many current Councillors could be unseated? In the 2010 Ottawa Municipal Elections six incumbent councillors were defeated. That election saw Stephen Blais, Tim Tierney, Mathieu Fleury, Katherine Hobbs, Scott Moffatt and Mark Taylor beat the incumbent advantage. Jim Watson also defeated incumbent Larry O’Brien to take over the Mayors’ chair. The 2010 vote saw a 48% change in people sitting around the council table.

Who are the unknowns of the 2014 Ottawa Election that could unseat an incumbent?

Here are the Wards where the threats of the unknown taking over are greatest.

Kanata North: Marianne Wilkinson promised in 2010 she would not run again, she changed her mind. In 2010 she took half the vote, but Jeff Seeton also took 45%. This time around Jeff is back and Matt Muirhead is challenging Ms. Wilkinson as well. The three way split could see a change in the Kanata North.

West Carleton – March: Of all the wards that could turn, this has the smallest chance but I include it because the wildly popular Eli El-Chantiry is going up against the wildly popular Jonathan Mark. It’s a small chance, but I like Jonathan’s chances here, it will depend on his organization and his ability to get his supporters to vote.

Stittsville: A two person race can be an incumbent’s worst scenario. In Ward 6 the outcome here this will depend on how unhappy Stittsville residents are with garbage, Orgaworld and transit. There could be a new Councillor for the residents of Stittsville.

Bay: It was only four years ago that Alex Cullen lost this seat to Mark Taylor. Cullen is back and could take this back if voters are looking for someone to put up more of a fight at council.

Gloucester – Southgate: Has the Ward had enough of Diane Deans? This question has been asked many times. Will 2014 be the year Ms. Deans is retired by the voters? Just like in Kanata North, the split caused by having strong candidates running usually saves the incumbent, I think 2014 the outcome might be different.

Rideau-Vanier: Mathieu Fleury has his work cut out for him this year; he is up against some stiff competition.

Rideau – Rockcliffe: Peter Clarke won this Ward with only 25% of the vote in a field of 10. There are 5 candidates challenging Clark this time around. 25% of the vote could win the election this time around again – I don’t think it will be Peter Clark with the 25%.

Kitchissippi: This is an interesting Ward, with 3 of the 4 challengers all vying for the same anti-development vote. I expect that Katherine Hobbs will keep her seat and serve for another 4 years.

Rideau-Goulbourn: Scott Moffatt took this seat in ’10 because Glen Brook was complacent. There is a lot of talk that the rural vote will go elsewhere. I don’t see it happening in 2014. Scott has stood his ground at council supporting the rural vote.

With these nine ‘unknown’ outcomes, council could again see an almost 50% changeover in councillors. My guess is that as many as five incumbents will go down to defeat with almost a cleaning of house in the west end with the exception Kanata South.

On the night of October 27th we see how many unknowns become a known.

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at


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