Former Ottawa city councillor Shawn Little, known for a tumultuous time in municipal government, has died while on vacation in Cuba.
He was 48 years old.
Mr. Little was a city councillor from 1997 to 2006, representing the City of Ottawa both before and after it amalgamated with neighbouring municipalities.
His period in office was marked by court battles over allegations from city staff that he violated provincial laws by exceeding spending limits in the 2000 election. The charge was eventually stayed and a prolonged battle ensued over whether the city should cover his legal costs.
He also faced criticism from constituents and fellow councillors for regularly missing city meetings and overspending his office budget.
However that didn’t stop him from winning three elections. He was also known for helping to revive the Westboro Community Association.
Mr. Little made a brief return to municipal politics in 2010 to run for the seat in Bay Ward, which he ultimately lost.
Mayor Jim Watson will mark his death with a moment of silence prior to this Wednesday’s council meeting, according to a statement from city staff. Flags will also fly at half-mast on the day of his memorial service.
"It is with sadness that I learned today of the passing of former city councillor Shawn Little. I had the honour of serving with Shawn during his first term on city council from 1997-2000,” said Mayor Watson in a statement.
“I want to offer my condolences to Shawn's family at this difficult time. May Shawn rest in peace."
In a statement published on his website, current Bay Ward councillor Mark Taylor said he always found Mr. Little to be “genuine and good natured.”
“During the 2010 municipal election, even as opposing candidates, we always took the time during debates or public gatherings to share our thoughts on public service with each other and I was always impressed with his desire to want to genuinely make the community a better place.”