Shawn Little

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Shawn Little
Ottawa City Councillor
In office
Preceded by Joan Wong
Succeeded by Christine Leadman
Constituency Kitchissippi Ward
Personal details
Born October 16, 1964
Died November 24, 2012

Shawn William Little[1] (October 16, 1964 – November 24, 2012) was a political consultant and Ottawa City Councillor in Ottawa, Canada, for the urban Kitchissippi Ward, consisting of neighbourhoods west of the City Centre. He was born in Ottawa and raised in its Westboro neighbourhood, where he attended Woodroffe Avenue and Broadview Public elementary schools followed by Nepean High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Carleton University, and a diploma in health sciences from Humber College. He wrote articles for the Newswest community paper in its early days.[2] He died in November 2012 while vacationing in Cuba.[3][4]

Political career[edit]

Little was involved in politics from a young age as a member of the provincial Ontario and Federal Progressive Conservative parties. He worked for Progressive Conservative MP Walter Baker when he was 16 years old. He first ran for election in Goulbourn outside of Ottawa in 1988 at age 24.

Little ran in newly formed Kitchissippi Ward (which included the former Elmdale and Queensboro Wards and finished second to incumbent Joan Wong. He helped lead the effort to oppose the National Capital Commission (NCC) plan to widen the Champlain Bridge,[5][6] and was a local community leader, volunteer and activist for local organizations, charities and community service groups. Little served as the founding president of the revamped Westboro Community Association, served as a board member for the not-for-profit community-based publication Newswest and president of the Westboro Kiwanis Club. He also helped develop and worked with several initiatives reaching out to marginalized youth. As one friend put it: "He talked about the importance of reaching out to youth and getting involved with them before they go down the wrong path".

Ottawa city council[edit]

On his second attempt, in 1997, for a seat on City Council Little was elected to represent Kitchissippi. Elected at age 33, Little was one of the youngest councillors in Ottawa's history (that honour now belongs to Rideau-Vanier councillor Mathieu Fleury, who was elected at age 25 [7]). He represented the City at the World Capitals Forum in Tapei, Taiwan in 1997 and was elected to the national Board of Directors as an Ontario Director for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In his community, he was known to be a fiscally conservative and socially progressive politician.

During his subsequent nine year council career (1997–2006), Little chaired the City's Licence Committee and Animal Control Tribunal, was Vice-Chair of the Planning Committee and was a member of the Community and Protective Services Committee, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, the City's Task Force on Property Tax Reform and the Priorities and Planning and Budget Committee. He served as a member of the Board of the Ottawa Civic Hospital, a Trustee for the Ottawa Public Library, on the Board of the Westboro Business Improvement Association, Ottawa Board of Health, and as a City Council liaison to the Ottawa Youth Cabinet.

Second term[edit]

In 2000 the former City of Ottawa and surrounding municipalities and townships amalgamated to form the new City of Ottawa. Little again ran for election to represent Kitchissippi Ward against Regional Council member Linda Davis. During the campaign Little supported plans to build a new Loblaws store in the area.[8] The race was one of the most bitter in the city with Little's supporters accused of stealing lawn signs while Davis was accused of leaking libellous, frivolous and fictional material to Frank magazine.[9] Little defeated Davis with close to 50% of votes cast compared to Davis's 40%. Little was one of only three councillors from the former City of Ottawa re-elected to the newly amalgamated Council.

When it was approved, the new Loblaws in Westboro was seen as a victory for the community and one that revamped and revitalized the many small businesses lining Richmond Road and West Wellington Street that had been in sharp decline.[10]

Third term and later career[edit]

At the 2003 elections Councillor Little sought re-election for a third term.[11] The race attracted many challengers, including Linda Davis. Little was re-elected, receiving a 27% plurality.[11] Little had decided to stand as a candidate in the 2006 municipal election, but had a change of heart before the elections took place, noting that he had accomplished all of the important goals for the area he set for himself when he first ran for office and endorsed candidate Christine Leadman instead.[12] One of these goals was revitalizing Hintonburg, a neighbourhood that once had 67 known problem rental properties, and drug issues among its population.[13] After leaving politics in 2006, Little managed an Ottawa-based tech company until 2010.

In August 2010, Little returned to politics as a candidate in Ottawa's 2010 municipal elections for the Bay Ward, which was held by incumbent Alex Cullen.[14] Although Little came in fifth place behind candidate Terry Kilrea, Cullen was defeated.[15] At the time of his death, Little lived in Calgary, Alberta where he managed his own political consulting company and remained active in political affairs.[16]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "From the editor: You make it happen.", Don McGillivray, Newswest, December 1980
  3. ^ "Former Ottawa councillor Shawn Little dead". 
  4. ^ "Former Ottawa councillor Shawn Little dies at age 48 - Ottawa - CBC News". 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "NCC reconsiders widening of bridge after community group files lawsuit" Leonard Stern. Ottawa Citizen. Aug 16, 1996. pg. A.1.
  6. ^ "Fudge the numbers and hope for the best". NCC: Working to Consign the National Capital Commission to Oblivion. Retrieved Nov 18, 2012. 
  7. ^ Williams, Steph (October 18, 2012). "Youth Summit gives voice to city's students". Ottawa West EMC. Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Huge Loblaws approved for Westboro" CBC News, April 5th 2000
  9. ^ Landon, Laura (Oct 27, 2000). "Loblaw's store debated in Kitchissippi Ward". The Ottawa Citizen. 
  10. ^ Reevely, David. "City Hall stunned by death of former councillor Shawn Little". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Little re-elected with just 27% of vote;" Bruce Ward, Erin Conway-Smith and Ken Gray. Ottawa Citizen. Nov 11, 2003. pg. B.3
  12. ^ "Little bows out of race for Kitchissippi seat" Jake Rupert. Ottawa Citizen. Sep 14, 2006. pg. C.1
  13. ^ McKinnon, Neil (Aug 26, 2012). "Former Kitchissippi councillor Shawn Little wants Bay ward". Xtra. Retrieved Nov 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Little seeks return to council". Susan Sherring. Ottawa Sun. Aug 19, 2010. pg. 15.
  15. ^ "CBC Ottawa Votes Blog". CBC News. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  16. ^ Reevely, David (26 November 2012). "City Hall stunned by death of Shawn Little, former Ottawa councillor". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Joan Wong
City councillors from Kitchissippi Ward
Succeeded by
Christine Leadman