Being a poet, my predecessor on City Council, Clive Doucet, often introduced his columns with a little poetry. Not being a poet, I don’t.
I am, however, a filmmaker, or at least I was until elected into this 60-plus-hours-a-week job. Back in 2010, I had just released my film Powerful: Energy for Everyone. When asked if I planned to make more films while serving as councillor, I truthfully said no, as I couldn’t imagine finding the time and energy.
Predictably, the creative itch set in before too long. I often carry a camera to record things I see in the course of my day. A helmet-mounted camera lets me (safely) film attributes of the Glebe and other parts of our city to highlight the good or draw attention to needed improvements.
By the summer of 2012, I knew there would be a next film, about the joys, challenges and benefits of urban cycling. Cycling vacations in New York and Montreal produced lots of material on what those cities are doing to promote active transportation and complete streets, with a particular emphasis on building better cycling infrastructure.
Back home, I captured more footage and interviewed people with different perspectives on urban cycling — families, women, business owners, etc. I also consulted the City of Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner to ensure that my film wouldn’t pose any ethical problems. His advice was to find an independent person or group to handle fundraising and payments for editing and other expenses, and to have that person/group publicly release the final report on the film’s financing. Both are being done.