Liberals acclaim former MPP Naqvi, deputy mayor Sudds as replacements in Ottawa ridings

Kanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds resigned her seat at council after winning election federally in Kanata—Carleton. Jenna Sudds / Twitter

Two Ottawa politicians entrenched in the municipal and provincial spheres will attempt to claim seats in Parliament under the Liberal Party of Canada’s banner when Canadians next go to the polls.

Yasir Naqvi, former Liberal MPP in Ottawa Centre, will run in the same riding federally. The seat is currently held by Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna, who announced in June that she would not run in the next election.

Naqvi served at Queen’s Park from 2007 to 2018, including a stint at Ontario’s Attorney General from 2016 to 2018, until losing his seat to the NDP’s Joel Harden in the most recent provincial election.

Even before his role as the federal candidate was made official, Naqvi had been knocking on doors with McKenna in Ottawa Centre neighbourhoods this past weekend.

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Kanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds has meanwhile been acclaimed as the Liberal candidate in Kanata—Carleton, she confirmed Monday night.

Sudds will run to replace outgoing Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon, who said Sunday that she will not seek re-election, citing health concerns.

The Hill Times first reported Sudds was eyeing the Liberal nomination in July.

Sudds told Global News in an interview Tuesday that she had reached out to McCrimmon a few years ago to indicate her interest to fill the seat if she ever decided to step down.

She said she recently reached out to McCrimmon, who she thanked for her leadership over the past six years in office, and the party amid rumours of an opening in the riding to put her name forward as a potential candidate.

Sudds was first elected to city council in 2018, having previously served as the inaugural executive director of the Kanata North Business Association. She said Tuesday she had planned to serve out her first term and run for re-election in Kanata North in 2022, but the chance to take a run at the federal position was too big to pass up.

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“These opportunities don’t come up often,” she said. “It’s not a path I would have predicted, but I think that’s part of what makes it really great.”

Sudds is not expected to resign her seat at Ottawa city council unless she is successful in her eventual federal campaign. Until the writ is dropped, Sudds remains in her duties as councillor and deputy mayor of Ottawa.

When the campaign begins, city council can either appoint a representative or call a by-election to fill the vacant seat, according to a statement sent to Global News from Rick O’Connor, Ottawa’s city clerk.

While O’Connor confirmed she is permitted to continue her activities as the Kanata North representative during a campaign, Sudds told Global News on Tuesday that she plans to take an unpaid leave of absence when the election is called.

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Global News reached out to Mayor Jim Watson for his take on Sudds’ decision to run for a federal seat, but his press secretary said he was out of office and unavailable for comment.

Speaking on rumours of her candidacy last week, however, he was supportive of any political aspirations from his deputy mayor.

“I think she’d be an incredible candidate for Parliament. We’d obviously be very sad to see her leave,” Watson said at an event unveiling the name of the new central library facility. “Whichever path she follows, we wish her continued success.”

The Liberals also acclaimed Sophie Chatel as their candidate in the riding of Pontiac on Monday. Sitting MP Will Amos had announced the day before that he would not seek re-election.

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