Ottawa's municipal election is on October 27th. Francesca D'Ambrosio is running for city councillor in Ottawa's Beacon Hill - Cyrville ward. She answered these questions from our editorial team.
1. What difference would you like to make by entering politics?
I would like to see two things happen, one being turning the spirit of politics from exclusion to inclusion. And reversing the roll of mayor to councillor to constituents to the way it it should be; constituents , councillor to Mayor.
2. How do you feel this impact would affect the Black community specifically?
I think often of this question, as its important to grow up with examples of what you can be in life. Right now, as a woman of colour, a biracial one at that, I feel that I reach that many more people. Children who are looking for role models, and in the adult community as a voice to issues that concern them specifically, to a person who can empathise, not sympathise.
3. Have you worked with members of the Black community prior to running for office and in what capacity?
Yes, I have always been active in the black community, as a volunteer and peer mentor and as a general human being. Lol
4. What issues are you most passionate about, and why?
I am very passionate about disrupting the status quo, by any means necessary. We have become apathetic to living within communities that are not as vibrant as they should be. My vision is utopian, and I believe it can be done. I am passionate that every member of this city deserves to live their best and fullest life within our communities and that we provide them with the tools and resources to do so. My focus is useful and relevant programs, living wages, schools, childcare, affordable housing, and employment opportunities that help our constituents to thrive.
5. As a Black candidate, do you feel any responsibility to focus your efforts on issues affecting the Black community? If yes, what do you feel the most pressing issues are?
I am very careful to not claim an experience that is not my own. I am acutely aware that the black experience is different from the biracial experience or the Latino experience or the Asian experience, however we all share "the experience". In saying that As a woman of colour, I have a responsibility to make the issues heard. I hope to strengthen the ties that bond us all in our daily lives, and that is absolutely my priority to both bring awareness and understanding to the issues that affect all of us. I think one of the most pressing issues that affect all of us is political correctness. Because of this disease, issues won't be discussed or even identified.
6. What is the one thing you plan to achieve if you get elected?
I plan to achieve fiscal accountability. We bleed money into funding initiatives that are simply not effective. I am a huge proponent of evidence based politics.
7. Why, or should members of the Black community get involved with politics?
I think all members of any minority group should enter into politics. To matter, we must have a voice. To have a voice, we must be heard. To be elected into public office ensures our voices are heard.
8. What do you think is the deterrent to economic success in the Black community, and how do you to propose to address this in your riding?
So many things here I could say... The mentality that it's simply not as good if its black owned (or any minority) needs to be eradicated. To do this, we must be more involved in the start up process. Too many times I have seen a black enterprise fail based on the most minute of details. Education is the key to ensure this success. But the dialogue has to happen.. We have to acknowledge that there is a general vibe of ...self first, for us to heal. Why don't we subscribe to "there is enough for all of us" ? Clearly, our lives in the community don't mirror that.