Alex Munter

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Alexander Mathias Munter
Alexmunter3.PNG
Munter speaking at his mayoral campaign HQ launch on September 22, 2006
Kanata City Councillor
In office
1991–1994
Preceded by Bev Read
Succeeded by Tom Flood
Constituency Katimavik-Hazeldean Ward
Ottawa-Carleton Regional Councillor
In office
1994–2000
Preceded by Merle Nicholds
Succeeded by position abolished
Constituency Kanata Ward
Ottawa City Councillor
In office
2001–2003
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Peggy Feltmate
Constituency Kanata Ward
Personal details
Born April 29, 1968
Montreal

Alexander Mathias Munter (born April 29, 1968) is a former politician and journalist in Ottawa, Canada's capital city. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Career[edit]

Prior to joining CHEO, Munter was Chief Executive Officer of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)- the provincial government agency responsible for planning, integrating and funding health services in the Ottawa Region with an annual budget of $2.2 billion. Prior to his work with LHIN, Munter was Executive Director of the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (YSB), one of Ontario largest accredited children's mental health agencies.

In 2012 and 2013, Munter served as co-chair of the Ontario Healthy Kids Panel along with Kelly Murumets, president and CEO of ParticipACTION. The final report recommended starting kids on the right path from conception to birth, changing the food environment, and creating healthier communities.

Munter was a City and Regional Councillor in Ottawa from 1991 to 2003. From 1997 onward, he headed the council committees responsible for health and social services with oversight of the city’s $550 million human services budget. In that role, he led Council to adopt unanimously pioneering smoke-free regulations in 2001; helped open new child care centres, expand the number of child care spaces, and expand public health programs for children and youth; worked with provincial government to oversee the transfer of ambulance services and social housing to the municipal level; initiated Canada's first comprehensive public access defibrillator program; expanded long-term care for seniors; funded hospital expansions and worked with the Community Care Access Centre and community support agencies to improve at-home support services for seniors and people with disabilities.

Munter's family emigrated from Germany to Montreal in 1966, two years before he was born. His family moved to the Ottawa region in 1977, and settled in the Katimavik-Hazeldean area west of the city. At age 14, Munter began publishing the Kanata Kourier from his basement as a monthly local paper for the suburban community of Kanata, Ontario. In four years, the paper had a staff of seven and a circulation of 10,000 in the town of 27,000. In recognition of his success in business, he received an award as "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" from then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1988.

President and CEO of CHEO[edit]

CHEO is Canada’s national capital children’s hospital, the second largest hospital in the Champlain LHIN and is one of only a few stand-alone pediatric hospitals in Canada. Over the last ten years, CHEO has doubled in size, added two new wings, and quadrupled its research infrastructure. Its pediatric emergency room is the second largest in Canada and treats more than 60,000 patients a year. Overall, CHEO helps more than 500,000 children and youth each year. CHEO runs specialized programs for eating disorders, autism, psychiatric mental health, sexual assault, telepsychiatry and early language development. It also houses several provincial and regional programs, including the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, the Ontario Newborn Screening Program, Better Outcomes Registry Ontario and Champlain Maternal Newborn Program. In addition to its clinical mandate, CHEO is an academic health science centre, providing education to 1,600 future pediatricians, students in nursing and health professionals. The 250 researchers at the CHEO Research Institute conduct $27 million in research each year. CHEO provide training for doctors and nurses in community hospitals on best-practices for pediatric care. As President and CEO, Alex is leading the hospital into the future as it faces new challenges and takes advantage of new opportunities to expand care. In meeting the challenge, CHEO recently launched an electronic health record program to improve the quality of patient care and improve system efficiency. Moving forward, CHEO will continue to focus on childhood obesity, expanding mental health services, improving maternal/newborn health, and innovating to help more kids and families even while resources continue to shrink. Never before has CHEO served more patients with fewer beds than it does today.

Chief Executive Officer of the Champlain LHIN[edit]

While Chief Executive Officer of LHIN, Munter strengthened the region's health system by making strategic investments at hospitals and community-based agencies in both urban and rural areas of the Ottawa region. In particular, he made great strides in improving care for the elderly by putting in place programs that help vulnerable seniors stay independent and health for as long as possible in their own homes.

Co-Chair of Ontario’s Healthy Kids Panel[edit]

In 2012, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-term Care Deb Matthews appointed Munter co-chair of the Ontario Healthy Kids Panel along with Kelly Murumets, president and CEO of ParticipACTION.The panel was tasked with providing the Ontario government evidence-based and fiscally achievable recommendations to curb the province’s childhood obesity epidemic. The government’s target was to reduce childhood obesity by 20% in 5 years. The report recognized that today’s youth could be the first generation to have worse health outcomes than the generation that preceded them. Recognizing no magic bullet exists, the panel’s report recommended starting kids on the right path from conception and birth, changing the food environment, and creating healthier communities.

Executive Director of the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa[edit]

Prior to his role at LHIN, Munter was Executive Director of the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (YSB) where he led 350 staff delivering services to youth aged 12 to 20. During his tenure, the organization grew by one-third, adding services and expanding its reach. It won recognition for a ground-breaking new health clinic for street-involved youth; the establishment of a youth health hub and launch of innovative new clinical mental health programs; closer co-ordination between hospitals and community health providers; new programs to help at-risk youth find and keep jobs; and new measures to improve the agency's governance, efficiency and service quality.

Restructuring health[edit]

Munter was very involved in the restructuring of hospital and other health services as a member of the former Ottawa-Carleton District Health Council in the 1990s. Other health-planning leadership roles included his assignment as Co-Chair of the Regional Task Force on Health Care (1998-1999), member of the board for the Ottawa-Carleton Children's Aid Society (1997-2000), Co-Chair of the National Network on Ethnocultural Communities and AIDS (1990–91), member of the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism (1992–94), Board Member of the Community Foundation of Ottawa (2004-2006), and appointment to the Ontario Public Health Capacity Review Committee and chair of its governance panel (2005-2006).

Advocate for health, children, youth and family issues[edit]

Throughout his career and in his roles with LHIN, Youth Services Bureau and Ottawa councils, Munter has been an advocate for a wide range of issues relating to health, children, youth and family issues such as day care, youth mental health, gay rights, services for the elderly and helping improve co-ordination between hospitals and community health providers.

While on Ottawa city council, Munter chaired the city's health committee and, along with Medical Officer of Health Robert Cushman, led the battle to bring Ottawa's no-smoking by-law.

Munter was the co-ordinator for Canadians for Equal Marriage, a group that campaigned successfully in favour of legislation to enshrine same-sex marriage in Canada.

Involvement in local politics[edit]

Munter became much involved in local politics in his role as editor of the Kanata Kourier. He was frequently at odds with Kanata Mayor Des Adam. In August 1989, he sold his paper to Runge Newspapers Inc. for over $300,000 due to competition from the rival paper Kanata Standard, but stayed on as publisher.[1] In November 1989, Munter left the Kourier to focus on his ongoing studies in Political Science at the University of Ottawa.[2]

He became a political reporter for the Ottawa Citizen, but left to run as a candidate of the Ontario New Democratic Party in the 1990 provincial election, contesting the riding of Carleton. Munter placed third in this conservative riding, but received more votes than any previous NDP candidate in the area.

Munter briefly returned to the Citizen, then worked for the Spicer Commission on Canada's Future before re-entering politics to run for Kanata City Council against incumbent Bev Read. After winning the election, Munter quickly became a prominent member of the council. He pushed through an initiative to install condom dispensers in some municipal buildings. He also chaired the Kanata Police Services Board.

In 1993, he came out of the closet as the Ottawa area's first openly gay politician.[3][4]

The following year, he ran for a seat on the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton representing all of Kanata. He easily won the seat against two other Kanata politicians.

During his time in office, Kanata was in the midst of an economic boom centred on the high-tech industry. Munter's main concern was managing the area's rapid growth. He supported creating the amalgamated city of Ottawa, and was acclaimed to the new Ottawa City Council when it was created.

He also chaired the new city of Ottawa's health committee and, along with Medical Officer of Health Robert Cushman, worked to bring in Ottawa's no-smoking by-law.[citation needed]

Munter was courted to run provincially or to challenge for the mayoralty against Bob Chiarelli in 2003, but instead took a hiatus from electoral politics. He became a visiting professor of Urban Studies and Communications at the University of Ottawa and resumed writing for the Citizen. The federal New Democratic Party (NDP) approached him to run in Ottawa Centre in the 2006 federal election to succeed Ed Broadbent but Munter declined. Munter was the co-ordinator for Canadians for Equal Marriage, a group that campaigned successfully in favour of legislation to enshrine same-sex marriage in Canada.

Munter is not a member of any political party now. Locally, the Ottawa Sun reported Munter campaigned for candidates from all the major parties including Conservative, Liberal, and NDP.[5]

On February 13, 2006, Alex Munter announced his candidacy for mayor of Ottawa in the November 2006 municipal election.[6] A 2005 poll by the Ottawa Sun had Munter as a front-runner, in a statistical tie with the incumbent Bob Chiarelli. Another public poll in April 2006 had Munter as the front runner with a significant lead over Chiarelli. Most polls made public in the early stages of the campaign showed Munter in first place, often by a small margin. A poll conducted between October 13 and 18 by UniMarketing and sponsored by Radio-Canada and Le Droit, had Munter ahead by 12 percentage points at 44% of decided voters. Larry O'Brien was in second place with 32% and Chiarelli third (24%).[7]

On election night, Munter finished second with 36.25%, behind O'Brien (47%) but ahead of Chiarelli (15.6%).

2006 mayoral campaign platform[edit]

A map showing the concentration of Munter's vote. He won the downtown and his home region of Kanata while doing poorly in the rural areas

Munter set out several key priorities in his mayor campaign: public safety, fiscal responsibility, local economy and public transit. He promised to limit tax hikes to the inflation rate. While he was a city councillor, he claimed he helped to bring in ten consecutive balanced budgets without any tax increases. His opponents claimed that the budget was balanced despite his votes to increase spending.

He said he planned to improve public transit in the city of Ottawa, to review the O-Train project and to fix possible irregularities regarding the contract with Siemens. Munter said that the project could have been significantly better than the current proposal, and that the costs could have been reduced. He did his own proposal of the north-south line by proposing the removal of the Barrhaven and downtown sections. Funding released would have redirected for the development of a future east-west line.[8]

He criticized outgoing mayor Bob Chiarelli on several occasions for proceeding too quickly on the project, without proper information and consultation. He also criticized the Mayor for allegedly providing incorrect information about the project, including saying that there will be additional costs because of an announcement made by John Baird, President of the Treasury Board, that the federal government's $200 million contribution would be delayed until after the November election.[9] After Larry O'Brien's election as the new mayor, the expansion project was completely cancelled by City Council on December 14, 2006.

He promised to improve safety on the city streets with an increase of the number of police officers. He supported, along with mayors from other cities, increased gun control and stricter measures for drug dealing. He also proposed to give an easier access to leisure activities for kids with lower recreational fees. In regards to the environment, he wanted the city of Ottawa to be environmentally friendly. In addition of improvements for the public transit system, he also promised to close two landfill sites situated on Carp and Navan Roads in which there were expansion requests by private firms despite opposition by citizens.

Awards[edit]

Munter has won numerous awards[citation needed] from a wide range of organizations for his contributions to the community, including the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Canadian Institute for Child Health, United Way/Centraide Ottawa, the Federal Business Development Bank, l’Association Canadienne-Française de l’Ontario d’Ottawa, Leadership Ottawa and the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Urlocker, Mike (1989-08-16). "Renfrew printer takes over Kanata Kourier". The Ottawa Citizen. p. D2. 
  2. ^ Munter, Alex (1989-11-29). "Farewell press tycoon, hello job hunter". The Globe and Mail. p. A7. 
  3. ^ Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives profile
  4. ^ Canada.com article referring to Munter as 'well-known gay rights activist'
  5. ^ http://ottsun.canoe.ca/News/OttawaAndRegion/2006/01/26/1411909-sun.html
  6. ^ "Former councillor Alex Munter to run for mayor". Archived from the original on 2006-03-03. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Chiarelli not discouraged by Munter's lead in Ottawa mayoral race". CBC News. October 23, 2006. [dead link]
  8. ^ Chiarelli attacks Munter's light-rail alternative
  9. ^ Chiarelli misled council on rail deal, Munter says
Preceded by
Bev Read
Kanata city councillors from Katimavik-Hazeldean
1991-1994
Succeeded by
Tom Flood
Preceded by
Merle Nicholds
(as mayor of Kanata)
Regional councillors from Kanata Ward
1994-2000
Succeeded by
None, regional council abolished
Preceded by
None, ward amalgamated into Ottawa in 2000
Ottawa city councillors from Kanata Ward
2000-2003
Succeeded by
Peggy Feltmate
Business positions
Preceded by
CEO of CHEO
?-present
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compensation: $330,000
Succeeded by
Incumbent