Mark Sutcliffe is running a centrist campaign for mayor. Photo credit: Cameron Ryan

Mark Sutcliffe is hoping his centrist campaign for mayor will lead him to victory in Ottawa.

“I heard more and more from people that they thought there was a need for a strong centrist, sensible, non-partisan candidate to kind of come in and get everyone working together,” Sutcliffe said during an interview.

Sutcliffe, a lifelong resident of Ottawa, is an entrepreneur and businessman. He is in what many consider to be a three-way race with Coun. Catherine McKenney and former mayor Bob Chiarelli.

Sutcliffe has spent his career in media. He founded the Ottawa Business Journal, has hosted a radio show on CFRA and written columns for the Ottawa Citizen. He also served on the board of Algonquin College from 2012 until 2017.

With no prior political experience, Sutcliffe is running on his record as a successful businessman, community leader and volunteer.

“I want to bring a fresh outside perspective to city hall. I’m not a career politician, I have nothing against people who choose to spend their lives in politics, but I think there is more than one way to serve your community and I’ve spent the last 30 years serving my community as a volunteer and by starting small businesses and working in the media,” said Sutcliffe.

“Jim Watson and Bob Chiarelli and Catherine McKenney have been in politics for more than 25 years or longer, all of them.”

Watson, the current mayor of Ottawa, is not seeking re-election.

Sutcliffe is not affiliated with any political party and the non-partisan nature of municipal politics is what attracted him to this mayoral race, as opposed to running provincially or federally.

“I’m not trying to win some partisan battle, I’m trying to bring everybody together from across the political spectrum and from throughout the community, bring everyone together and get them working together,” said Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe said he is focused on bringing competent leadership to Ottawa and restoring trust in the city’s systems, such as public transit, road quality and emergency services.

“There are obviously lots of big ideas we can tackle as well but ultimately people, they just want us to get the basics right, they want us to deliver city services that work for them and work for them no matter where they live in the city,” said Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe bills himself as the candidate that can bring everyone together to solve the city’s toughest problems without letting partisanship get in the way. He lamented the infighting and toxicity in the last term of council.

“I don’t have all the answers and I’m not an expert in many of those areas but what I am is a leader and I can bring the right people together and put aside the partisan ideological differences and get people working together towards a shared objective,” said Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe has an uphill battle to climb with the latest polling from Mainstreet giving McKenney a 14-point lead over him.

Sutcliffe’s name will appear alongside 13 others vying for the job of mayor when voters go to the polls on Oct. 24.