Open Letter to Ottawa re: Our Future
February 17, 2022
To Our Elected Officials,
Our community members are fatigued, fearful and frustrated. After two years of restrictions, stress and uncertainty, the last three weeks of demonstrations and blockades have further threatened the economic, mental, and physical wellbeing of our citizens. We are in crisis.
You have sworn to govern with equality and integrity. You have a duty to ensure public safety, enforce laws and protect our institutions. There is no room for partisanship in the behaviour, the communications or decision making of our elected leaders. When you are divided, uncommunicative and use social media platforms to communicate your differences as public leaders, especially during a crisis, then public trust is eroded. When your citizens are suffering, and they witness anything less than radical collaboration, leadership, and transparency, then they have no choice but to pick a side in this divisive discourse. Divided or unified, you have a choice to make, and you set the tone for our community.
We need to change the tone. To that end, the business leaders of the City of Ottawa are calling on our city council members, our local Members of Provincial Parliament and Members of Parliament.
- To come together, visibly demonstrate unity and share a clear message of your commitment to work without political motivation to support each other and end this crisis.
- To be an example of respectful, strong, and thoughtful leadership for our community, and for the world watching us to aspire to.
- To communicate a clear, concise, and evidence-based plan to manage the current COVID situation by creating an environment in which we can live with the virus.
We believe the citizens of our city and country have been exceptionally cooperative as the virus and its counter measures have evolved. However, it is time to leverage the lessons we have learned and address the immediate and long-term impacts of the pandemic and our response. We acknowledge that there may be a need for flexibility as the situation evolves, however, we are long past the necessity to accept the acceleration or reduction of restrictions without clear and consistent benchmarks, objectives, and corresponding action plans. We expect our governments to be guided by science and balance public health with the overall well being of our citizens; their mental, physical, and economic health. Transparency is the only path to rebuilding trust and quelling the divisiveness we are currently experiencing. True leadership demands it.
To Our Occupation Protestors,
We support your right to make your views known. We also make our views known by convening, conversing, and collaborating with fellow community members and decision makers.
We do not support the tactics you have utilized that have essentially held our families, our friends, our neighbourhoods, and our employees as hostages for several weeks. Our community members are anxious, frustrated and paying the price for your multiple agendas and ineffective advocacy. Your very presence is undermining the freedom of our citizens. You should not be emboldened by any local show of support. If even one of our citizens is fearful, that is too much.
We understand as citizens and businesses in Ottawa we are privileged to call our community, Canada's Capital. And with that benefit we recognize the right of all Canadians to peaceful protest.
To Our Community Members,
We have an opportunity to shape the future of our community by engaging in the democratic process, to listen and be heard. All rights are equal, and we need to be unified in protecting our freedom even when our views on policy differ. Protests that are peaceful, responsible and adhere to the laws that protect us all should be encouraged. Two-way dialogue and rational debate lead to equality, innovation, and prosperity for all.
This is an important time in our history. The understanding that we are all connected, that we are all equal and that we can do anything when we work together is a solid foundation for our future. We each have a role to play. And our democracy provides the path for any of us and all of us to influence what kind of city and country we want to live in and leave for the next generation.
This year offers a unique opportunity with both a provincial and municipal election, to declare what we believe true leadership looks like. To let it be known that we intend to play an active role in determining what our city will be and how we will get there. We do not have to impede the rights of others to do so. We simply need to take ownership for our future and get involved. That is true freedom.
The business leaders of Ottawa are committed to advocating for the wellbeing of our community, our employees and each other by engaging decision makers, elected officials and stakeholders in meaningful discussions and demonstrating thought leadership. Stronger together, Ottawa.
Ottawa Board of Trade
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | ottawabot.ca