By Laura Meuller, Ottawa Community News.
Denis Schryburt, a bilingual candidate well-known in Centretown for his activism in the gay, lesbian and transgendered community, thinks he has more to bring to the table as councillor for Somerset Ward.
The single 48-year-old “proud public servant” was born and raised in Ottawa and currently works for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, but his interests and experience run the gamut from computer programming to acting to sports and recreation (his first government job was in the Canadian Sports and Recreation Centre).
Until deciding to run in the municipal election, the Centretown resident represented community associations on the city’s parking stakeholders working group, was vice chairman of the city’s community services advisory committee and was chairman of the police board’s liaison committee for GLBT communities.
He has been involved with the Centretown Citizens Community Association, Bruce House and Arts Court and he organized the first Diabetes Gala.
He is also regional director of the Ontario GLBT Chamber of Commerce and a member of the advisory committee for the Eldercare Foundation of Ottawa.
Q: Why are you running for city council in Somerset Ward?
A: I think running for council is doing much of the same but bumping up a notch. I am hoping that as a councillor I can do even more than I have been doing for the community … As councillor, I find I can definitely bring in the change I think is needed. Bring(ing) in new, fresh ideas I think is needed in the ward.
Q: Detail your past political and civic activism, whether it’s volunteering, campaigning, donations, lobbying or employment at any level of government or political party.
A: I did work for Alex Munter when he was running for mayor (Munter ran unsuccessfully in the 2006 election) … I helped in communications, I helped in media relations, door knocking, phone calls, scheduling – a little bit of everything. I worked on the Hill for Liza Frulla, the (Liberal) minister of Canadian Heritage. I worked for Ruby Dhalla, who was the (Liberal) MP for Brampton-Springdale. Working with Ruby I got to work on some very interesting files such as healthcare, childcare, housing, homelessness. I’ve helped out (Ottawa Centre Liberal MPP) Yasir Naqvi in the past … I went door knocking with him and that kind of stuff.
Q: How are you going to fundraise for your campaign?
A: What I’ve been doing so far is meeting and doing coffee parties and wine and cheeses with people who have been organizing them for me so I can meet their neighbours. I am going to use my website to raise some funds. I haven’t given much thought (to corporate and union donations) … I don’t see an issue with that personally.
Q: Do you have any potential pecuniary interests or a financial or family conflict of interest?
A: Absolutely not. That’s why I am stepping down from these boards and committeesP – ethics are very important to me.
Q: What do you think the biggest issue was in Somerset Ward this term and how was it handled? What will be the big issue next term?
A: I think that what the city believes it is doing as consultations is not really consultation … My big thing is definitely pushing for more consultation and actually recording and listening to what people are saying.
I think LRT has been a huge, huge issue in the ward. I think it was handled properly. I am very happy with the way it is turning out so far.
Development and intensification is going to be a big issue. There are a lot of condos going up and a lot of people (developers) want them higher and higher. I am all for intensification, but I think it can be done smart. I think Bank Street is a good example of something that needs to be done. We need to attract more business to come and settle in on Bank Street and in the area so the people of Centretown don’t have to jump in their cars and go somewhere else to shop.