EDITORIAL: Dave Lee is waking up the neighbours

Cake at Dave Lee's campaign party. "Yeah Dave"

(ABOVE: A cake at Dave Lee’s election night party. Photo by Glen Gower.)

I remember the first time I talked to Dave Lee.  It was September 12, the morning after he filed his nomination papers and entered the race to become Stittsville’s city councillor.  There are three things I remember about that conversation:

  1. He was surprised at how quickly word got around that he was running. “My phone’s going wild,” he said.  “That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen the city work.”
  2. He was focused on the Orgaworld / green bin topic. He must have talked for a good 10 or 15 minutes about it.
  3. He wasn’t focused on winning so much as he was focused on getting people engaged and aware about city issues (particularly Orgaworld).

Lee came a long way from that early morning conversation, winning an impressive 39% of the vote on Monday night against two-term, eight-year incumbent Shad Qadri.

He ran a very effective campaign. With the help of some experienced volunteers, he blanketed the ward with his distinctive black and red signs, attracted around 100 people to a meet-and-greet at the Main Street Pub, knocked on doors, debated, fielded phone calls and emails, and interacted with residents on Facebook and Twitter.

He took his original beef with Orgaworld and turned it into a broader complaint about process and financial oversight at City Hall.  I didn’t agree with where he stood on many of the issues but at least he gave us the opportunity, as a community, to discuss them.

The feisty public debate at Johnny Leroux Arena struck me as being out-of-character for the normally subdued Village of Stittsville.  One veteran politician told me it reminded her of some of the old meetings at Goulbourn Township council, where (in her words), there was a tradition of “loud and action-packed debates”.

We need more of that kind of discussion in Stittsville.  This community is growing fast and changing quickly and we need more leaders like Dave Lee to step up and get involved in shaping our future.

You don’t have to run for office to get involved. Read up on the issues, talk about them with your neighbours, volunteer for a community group, come out to public meetings, write an email to your councillor, comment on this blog. Dave woke Stittsville up, now it’s up to us to keep the momentum going.


12 thoughts on “EDITORIAL: Dave Lee is waking up the neighbours”

  1. Great article!

    I think there’s lots of people passionate about helping Stittsville grow in an effective manner no matter which candidate they were supporting. If we can work together to that common goal, all the better. Glad to see Dave Lee praised for the positive work he’s done for our community.

  2. I must have missed something – what has David Lee done for this community? Please enlighten me

    Sure anyone can complain, most people do, and you hear the one with the loudest voice. But in my questions to David, in the debates, in the articles posted … There is no plan or no response – No plan to say how he would change what he disagreed with, nothing other than complaining about someone else not doing something correct?!

    Where was the impact assessment on what “bringing back garbage weekly” – is the garbage going to be put in his back yard? And honestly … Did he feel if we cancelled the contract there wouldn’t be a penalty.

    Maybe I missed this information or overlooked reading it in the response to my e-mail/questions…Oh wait he didn’t respond (clearly I didn’t meet his criteria to warrant a response or even acknowledgement)

    My opinion, doesn’t have to be yours but if I have missed something I will Happily review and adjust according ….

  3. I don’t know why people think Dave Lee did “overwhelmingly” by garnering a mere 39% of the votes. Stittsville did NOT vote him into office so get the message and move on. Stop thinking that Stittsville was a backwater hole populated by zombies that needed saving by Super Dave. Stittsville did not “wake up” once Dave got here, he just started stirring the shit a bit so it started smelling a bit more.
    Dave did not interact with residents on Facebook at all. He was totally absent. His staff and volunteers were there, jabbing at everyone who didn’t agree with them.
    Getting involved in the community does not mean whining and harassing the counsellor who was voted in by the majority of Stittsville voters. Getting involved in the community means volunteering with the village association, the clubs (not just the ones your kids are part of), schools, and participating in the open houses and information meetings that the city holds concerning city planning, not only the ones for your neighbouhood. Maybe you don’t see Shad at these because there are no cameras and you’re not involved yourself to actually see that he is there.
    Why not make a rule for yourself, a criticism will not be made without providing a suggested solution. As a former Kanata business owner, you should be aware of that.
    You do not speak for Stittsville, Dave Lee.

  4. Good afternoon,
    Instead of cowering behind an alias like the previous critics have done, I would like to personally bring forth some major points. Before you dismiss my input , please consider that my opinion is as valuable as anyone else’s, including that of Mr. Qadri’s assistant who was permitted to ask a question during the councillor debate.
    You speak as if you know every single detail regarding my father, when the reality is that all you know about him is what you deduce from reading his website and the rumours you hear circulating around Stittsville. You claim that my father is only involved in events concerning his children, my father had coached basketball teams years and years before I was of age to be involved in them.
    You claim that the only way to be involved in your community is to be part of the SVA and committee hearings, this is false. My father sponsored many sports teams during the running of his business, many of which were teams that did not include his own children. He has organized and participated in fundraisers for members of the community. He has also leant his sound equipment for events such as the Guardian Angels barbeque. These are not high-profile contributions he makes to the community, unlike those of the SVA and other politcal groups which are given press in news sources. I am sure you were probably not aware of these contributions either, which speaks volumes. People like my father give back in ways which they do not expect any glory in return.
    Personally, I am proud that my father had received 39-40% of the vote this past election, given only five weeks of preparation for election day. He has woken up many people who were otherwise not conscious of the issues at city hall. They may see their bills rise, but they would not really deeply question the reasoning behind it. The incumbent claimed that the results showed that the community “fully supports” what he has done. 61% is not full support. If you honestly believe that someone who signed a contract at 67 million dollars (our taxpayer dollars by the way, not from some money-printing plant) is responsible enough to head this community, you are gravely mistaken.
    With regards to the platform on the orgaworld contract and the weekly garbage pickup, my father stated that he would bring these issues to review before the council. He would push for re-negotiation of our inflated contract with Orgaworld (and yes, he recognizes that there would be a penalty for cancellation) and he would do a cost-analysis of weekly garbage pickup. And maybe if you hadn’t made it obvious in your debate questioning that you were part of the Qadri inner-circle, you would have gotten a response. With regards to your emailing, if you worded them in a non-offensive manner, maybe you would have gotten a response.
    I would just like to conclude by quoting President Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” In essence, it is easy for you people who lack the courage necessary to run for office to criticize from the sidelines, hidden behind your computer screens. My father put himself on the ballot this election because he wanted to educate people on an important breach-of-trust which not many are aware of, and he wanted to right some wrongs at city hall. My father did not want to be the spectator in the crowd, criticizing city hall and the incumbant while doing nothing about changing it. When you have the ability to do the same as he did, then your arguments may gain some substance.

  5. Kieran,
    Nice quote, but it just makes you sound more pompous and entitled.
    We are not the cold and timid souls you think we are. We “people” were at the debate, asking questions that constantly went unanswered because Dave kept going on and on about his only platform of Orgaworld and garbage. I was amazed to see that Dave had no idea what the Main Street Community Design Plan was all about, like he had read it just that week. We had well publicized open houses and meetings about that for 2 years. Maybe he should have attended those.
    We were/are not all in Shad’s inner circle as you allude to. I am not and have never been part of Shad’s inner circle. Do not assume that if I don’t agree with your father, that I am in Shad’s inner circle.

    Stop saying that you woke us up, that is in your mind and in your mind only.
    Stop saying that you are representing Stittsville. Stittsville voted for the person who is to represent Stittsville at council, that’s how it works.
    If Dave Lee wants to criticize Shad and and throw in his fluffy suggestions, he can do it in the name of Dave Lee, not in the name of Stittsville.

    I don’t put my name on here because I have a business to run, probably why your father doesn’t do his own responses on here.

  6. “Mo”, respectfully, I would suggest having a look at the election numbers again. In 2010, Mr. Qadri had over 90% support. This year, he had 60%. Math major I’m not, but I do think that decrease in vote share represents a shift in opinions among residents that should be taken seriously.

    Whether you like Mr. Lee or not, I think it’s only fair to give credit where credit is due. Mr. Qadri lost ~30% of his vote share since the last election. Mr. Lee provided 40% of Stittsville residents with another choice, which in a democracy, is great.

    Now we can all move forward, and work towards making this community a better place to live, work and play, and ensuring that Stittsville isn’t forgotten at City Hall. There’s lots of discussion to have and room for everyone to play a part. All of this negativity on this post isn’t going to get us anywhere. The campaign is over – let’s move forward as a TEAM.

  7. To be clear about my comment, it was directed at Mo.

    Kieran is clearly an engaged, well spoken young man – and one who is eligible to vote. Very few people his age cared enough to vote and even fewer paid any attention to the issues in the ward and in the city.

    What are we saying to our young people when they are bullied by anonymous people on the internet for being smart and engaged? I, personally, am glad there are still young people like Kieran who can think for themselves and are prepared to stand up and speak out. We should be encouraging more of our young people to do the same, not insulting them when they do. You should be ashamed of yourself and I’m fairly certain Mr. Qadri would want to personally distance himself from comments like yours.

    There are no candidates any longer. The election is over. There is a man who was brave enough to run in the election against a long time incumbent because he felt there needed to be more accountability at city hall, and there is Shad Qadri, the winner of the election and our representative for the city for the next four years. No matter which side you voted for, accept the results and move forward to make a better Ward 6 rather participating in divisive activities.

  8. I would like to take a moment to thank Stittsville Central for giving the public an opportunity to express their views, be it what they may, allowing us to engage on what I hold very dearly in this country, our ‘freedom of speech’. Except when it comes to the side of bullying, which is evident in Mo’s comments to a young man who only wishes to express his admiration, gratitude and get the facts correct about his father. This Mo is a very low blow, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Secondly I note that you are a business owner, hence the alias. You stated that Dave Lee is a ‘Kanata Business Owner’, well Mo being a fellow business owner, you can certainly agree that there are times a logical, financial and sound decision must be made in order for a business to operate smoothly. Mr. Lee did make that decision to move his business from Iber to the Sensplex, a mere 150 meters OR one block outside of Ward 6. Eluding that not only taking IPlay out of the Ward, but sounding like he had moved across town, your statement is totally unjustified. A fellow business owner would never pass this type of judgement.

    October 27th has passed and I congratulate Mr Qadri on his win. It is time for people to put any animosity behind them and work towards positive ideas to make Stittsville a place we all can be proud to call our home.

    Marlene Labelle

  9. I am curious. What makes you so bitter and angry? You think it would have been better if Shad had no opponent so that none of the issues were brought forward? There are many people who would never have paid attention to these issues had Dave not stepped up. Clearly your feelings are very hurt by any criticism of the incumbent . You can’t ignore the fact that 39% of the voters wanted a change. Unbelievable response to Dave’s son. I hope your ” business ” has nothing to do with influencing our youth.

  10. Kieran, you are an inspiration and a breath of fresh air!!
    Katie, Amy and Marlene, well said.
    Mo, shame on you for being such a bully.

    I was at the debate and some of those questions went unanswered because you would have had to be in office for 4 yrs to be able to answer them. I believe Mr. Lee did the best he could and ran for council for the best interest of Stittsville – out of over 20K ppl, he was the only one who ran against an 8-yr incumbent – bravely done! He has clearly given loads back to his community according to his son – I also heard that if he hadn’t volunteered, the high school wouldn’t have had a team those years. I would hope that someone like Mr. Lee will be here in another 4 years.

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