Arielle Kayabaga bids farewell to City Council to take on new role of MP for London West – London


At her last meeting as London City Councilor, Arielle Kayabaga thanked her fellow councilors and reflected on her time as the city representative for Ward 13.

Councilor Kayabaga spoke at the start of Tuesday night’s Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee meeting, the day before she stepped down from her council seat to take a new seat in the federal government.

It comes a week after her election as Liberal MP for London West.

“I will always be grateful and honored that the people here chose me by preferential ballot to represent them,” she said.

Reflecting on her journey and life experiences that have brought her to where she is today, Kayabaga spoke about immigrating to Canada as a refugee from Burundi at the age of 10, living in social housing and build her career as a young single mother.

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“The change has been constant and something that I have embraced throughout my personal and professional life,” she said.

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Kayabaga was first elected as the first black woman to London City Council in 2018.

During her three years on council, she passed a motion to include an anti-racist lens in budget reviews, worked with other councilors to approve more funding for affordable housing, and to make Dundas Street the London’s first flexible street.

“With my team here in the City and with other councilors, we were able to do an incredible job,” she said.

“Even though this country has given so much to my family and to myself, I saw that there were problems and that things had to change. Generational issues of racism, poverty, housing and climate emergency that need to be taken more seriously. “

As she moves to another level of government, Kayabaga spoke about the importance of collaboration between all levels of government and her commitment to continue working with her fellow councilors to serve the London community.

“I want to make sure that we can continue to build a better, healthier and safer Canada for everyone.

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In his resignation speech, Kayabaga thanked fellow councilors, city staff and Mayor Ed Holder for their support in their efforts to improve London.

Following his speech, Kayabaga received praise from several councilors and the mayor.

“I am so proud of what you have been able to accomplish and what you have done and the hope and reality of what you have been able to put into the minds of young black and refugee women,” said the councilor of district 3 Mohamed Salih.

“As a colleague who is also a refugee, you see you reach the highest levels of government in our country, knowing who you are and the integrity you will stand for, and knowing that you keep fighting for Londoners and keep going. to be one of the loudest voices the city has ever seen, ”Salih said of his pride.

Salih said that in the midst of the celebration, it is important to recognize the challenges Kayabaga faced as a black woman. “It’s important to recognize that there was still a lot that wouldn’t have happened if your skin color was different if your name was different.”

The other advisers had similar praise.

“Although I lose a colleague on council, I am winning over a colleague in Ottawa,” Ward 11 councilor Stephen Turner said.

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Turner also spoke about the importance of representation, with young black girls being able to see someone who looks like them serving on city council and also now in parliament.

Ward 5 Councilor Maureen Cassidy spoke about the importance of diversity and lived experience.

“Canada is a better place to have your voice heard at the table, at the highest level of government in this country. “

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Several other councilors also had congratulatory words to share, but Mayor Ed Holder finished the speeches.

Having previously served as a Conservative MP for London West for two terms, Holder has a unique perspective to share.

“You understood our municipality. Moving from municipal government to federal office is rare, so you have broken many stereotypes and will create many opportunities for our city, ”Holder said.

“You will act in the best interests of Londoners as you always have done, and you will do so with tenacity, commitment and heart.”

Now that the seat in Ward 13 is vacant, under the Municipalities Act, council must fill this vacancy within 60 days, either by appointing a person who agrees to accept the position or by passing a by-law to hold a by-election in the neighborhood.

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According to city staff, council is required by law to declare the position vacant at its next council meeting available, which would take place on October 5.

A report is expected to be presented to a special General Service Committee (CSC) meeting next week for council to deem the office vacant at its Oct. 5 meeting, City Clerk Cathy Saunders said. The exact date and time of this special meeting have not yet been determined.

Once the board declares the vacancy, a report will be presented to the CSC at its meeting on October 12, outlining the two options the board should consider in regards to how the vacancy is to be handled. she declared.

– with files by Matthew Trevithick

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