Barrhaven Independent May 12, 2023

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For the April 2009 Board Meeting: Deadline is April 3, 2009

For the June 2009 Board Meeting: Deadline is June 5, 2009

OCDSB says no to uniformed police at Grade 1 career day

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board has drawn yet another line in the sand between its trustees and the Ottawa Police Service.

The latest incident happened at Stittsville Public School, but its ripple effect has reached the entire board and every community throughout the city. The Grade 1 class at the school were looking for parents who were deemed to be community helpers to come into the school to talk to the students. One of the students has a mother who is a police officer with the Ottawa Police Service. The decision did not sit well with the Ottawa Police Association. The association’s president, Matthew Cox, sent a letter to the board, its trustees and local politicians. The letter

was also sent to the Barrhaven Independent. The letter asks why members of the Ottawa Police Service were not allowed to be in uniform when talking to Grade 1 students.

“Could someone please explain why? If we are trying to build relationships in the communities and educate students who may wish to pursue a future career in Emergency Services how is this decision the appropriate course of action? Opportunities like this to educate the next generation youth and provide a positive interaction with police should be something you strive to achieve.”

Cox went on to say that the actions of the board were disrespectful to the police.

“The brave men and women who wear the uniform deserve better. Police officers should receive the same support and respect

as any other profession that has been invited to speak to your students.

“Minister of Education Lecce has come out publicly to support the police stating, ‘I find it entirely unacceptable for a school board to prevent a parent of a child in that school from attending take your parent to work day’.”

Premier Doug Ford also weighed in on the situation. He posted on social media and called it a “disturbing trend that needs to stop.”

“Police officers are the people we call when we need help,” the premier also said via social media. “They deserve so much better than this. I’m calling on the (OCDSB) to immediately reverse this policy and show our heroes on the front lines the respect they deserve.”

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Independent S taff
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Ottawa Carleton District School Board Chair Lyra Evans led the charge to eliminate the Ottawa Police Service Student Resource Officer program in 2021. The ban on uniformed police officers at schools is now preventing an Ottawa police officer from driving a police car and wearing her uniform to her daughter’s school for a community helpers career day for Grade 1 students. ( P h OTO LyR a Evan S C a ) ocdsb continues on page 4

Funding approved for Riverside South High School within 24 hours of request

Last month, I was at a community event in Riverside South and I was surprised when a resident of the community asked me why the province was delaying the funding of the new public high school.

The Riverside South public high school had been approved in 2020. However, the opening of the school had been delayed due to COVID-19, which brought with it a shortage in skilled tradesmen and an increase in the cost of materials.

The resident said that the school board had informed parents that the delay was caused by the increase in the cost of the school. They also said the lack of funding could back the opening of the school up by yet another year. Unfortunately, no one from the school board reached out to me regarding this problem.

I contacted the Ministry of Education as soon as I found

out about this issue. Within 24 hours, the updated funding for the new cost of the school was approved. The Riverside South public high school should be moving forward as planned.

Legion Contest

I was extremely honoured to be a guest at the Royal Canadian Legion South Carleton Branch 314 last weekend. The Legion presented awards to 25 students from the area who were the winners in their annual Poster and Literary Contest.

A number of the winners I met were from Riverside South and Findlay Creek in the Barrhaven Independent’s readership area, while others

were from Manotick, Kars and North Gower.

In the contest, students are challenged to exercise their creativity and submit a poster on the theme of Remembrance in either colour or black and white.

This is a contest to select the most suitable posters submitted by students in the Canadian school system.

The posters are judged at the local Branch and then at the Provincial level. The Provincial winners in the Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories will then be submitted to Ottawa for judging at the Legion National Foundation level.

A plaque was awarded to the first place winner in each category, and to the first place winners’ schools.

On notification of having been selected as a winner at the Legion National Foundation level, the artist agrees to the full and exclusive non-

profit use of the art work by the Legion National Foundation and The Royal Canadian

Legion for the period of one year, after which all rights for usage revert to the artist.

Carleton MPP presents an award to Riverside South student Aashna Gnanalingam during the Royal Canadian Legion Youth Education Awards ceremony at the South Carleton 314 Branch in Manotick. goldie continues on page 2

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I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the work, and the emotional depth of the artwork, poems and essays. To see these students represent schools like St. Jerome, Vimy Bridge and St. Francis Xavier among others with their outstanding work is something all of us in the Carleton riding should be proud of.

Their work reflects the heroics and sacrifices of generations of Canadians who fought hard to make Canada the best country in the world. While this era of world war is further in the mirror each and every year, contests like the Legion’s Youth Education Program bridges that widening gap and keeps the youth of today engaged in the history of yesterday.

I am very proud of our winners, and also very proud of all students who took the time to participate in this wonderful contest.

Ontario Combating Violence and Improving Safety in Schools

The Ontario government is investing $24 million to help reduce the risk of vio-

lence in schools and promote the safety of students and educators. This is in response to recent incidents of violence in schools that have increased concern and fear amongst students, families and the broader community.

This funding will provide additional support to school boards and community organizations, including:

- More than $2.8 million to expand Focus on Youth, increasing the province’s investment in this program by 37 per cent to $10.45 million for 2022-23. This investment will provide high-quality program opportunities for thousands of children and youth in 24 school boards across Ontario by creating employment experiences for high school students. Further, the funding will help increase access to free/low-cost camps for children and youth (kindergarten to Grade 12) in high-needs areas where such opportunities may be limited.

- $500,000 (2022-23, 2023-24) to the Pinball Clemons Foundation to part-

ner with the One Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization. This partnership will provide mentorship, inspiration and ongoing opportunities for connection through in-school and afterschool programming.

- $600,000 to partner with Respect Group Inc to deliver and implement the Respect in School Workshop, a 90-minute evidencebased online training program available in French and English designed for school leaders on the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

- $1.5 million (2023-24) in anti-hate initiatives that include development of classroom resources to promote diversity and that better reflect the population of Canada, and to partner with community organizations to provide curriculum-linked educational resources on digital literacy to increase student awareness of online misinformation, critical thinking skills and awareness of online hate and threats.

- $1 million in 2023-24 to partner with community organizations to combat ra-

cism and dismantle systemic barriers faced by underserved and racialized students through youth hotlines, counselling services, youth support networks, lesson plans and classroom materials.

To support student wellbeing, Ontario is providing $16 million in new funding in 2023-24 through the Safe and Clean Schools Supplement within the Grants for Student Needs that includes the following:

- $12 million to support the salaries and benefits costs for staff such as psychologists, social workers and child/youth workers to enhance additional direct services for students

- $4 million to support the salaries and benefits costs for educational assistants to work with students who may require additional support.

Ontario’s investments reflect the urgency of supporting communities to combat school violence through programs that engage youth, address the root causes of violence, support students to

overcome personal and academic challenges hindering learning achievement, and help them create meaningful connections to — and a sense of belonging within — their schools and communities.

Quick Facts

- In summer 2022, nearly 2,000 students were hired through Focus on Youth placements, while more than 28,000 students have benefited from free or low-cost programming.

- Ontario’s Urban and Priority High Schools program provides $10 million annually to 46 schools in 12 English and French school boards in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, London, Ottawa, Waterloo, and Windsor. The program supports participants to become engaged in and attend school regularly, improve their literacy and numeracy skills, participate in school activities, connect to their community, learn valuable leadership skills and plan for their future.

- For the 2023-24 school year, Ontario is providing a projected $43.5 million

through the Safe and Accepting Schools Allocation within the Grants for Student Needs to hire child and youth workers, social workers, psychologists, education assistants and attendance counsellors to work with students who are at-risk of suspension or expulsion. The province will also provide programming supports to students who have been expelled or are on long-term suspension, including help meeting curriculum expectations while not in school, developing positive behaviours and attitudes, anger management, substance abuse counselling, self-regulation, conflict management or life skills coaching.

Office Notice:

My office is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. If you require assistance on any matter, please contact me at any time. My staff and I will be happy to assist. Even if it’s not a provincial issue, I’ll make sure to connect you with the proper office.

Goldie Your voice at Queen’s Park

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The OCDSB is the second school board in the province where officers have been told they cannot attend school events while wearing a uniform or if driving a police car. Last week, the Toronto Sun reported that the Grand Erie District School Board has apologized after a parent, who is also a police officer, was initially barred from career day if wearing a uniform.

Cox is also a parent, and speaks from experience as he has gone to schools as a visitor and speaker in the past.

“As a parent who has attended and spoken to a kindergarten class in the past, I can assure you that every child in that room loved seeing the police uniform and having an opportunity to sit in the police car and turn the lights and siren on and off.”

Board Chair Lyra Evans responded to Cox, writing that the decision was made because of what she called disproportionate police violence against some communities that has called a level of fear associated with the profession.

Before she became the board’s chair, Evans, as a trustee, rallied support to have the Ottawa Police Service’s Student Resource Officer Program cancelled. She

garnered support from within the board, and then worked with a group called Asilu Collective, who made a presentation of testimonials they had collected from students.

The report made accusations that the SRO program made students of colour and who are gender-oppressed feel scared and anxious.

Evans has used her personal social media accounts to call for the defunding of police.

On Thursday of last week, the OCDSB issued a statement on the board’s stand to the media and also sent a letter to Cox. Both were sent to the Barrhaven Independent. The OCDSB said that to align with Board Policy regarding police involvement in schools, the parent had been asked not to wear her uniform or arrive at the school in a police vehicle.

“I appreciate the many perspectives and concerns that have been raised on this matter,” said the Board’s Director of Education, Michele Giroux. “Our priority is to work collaboratively with the Ottawa Police to develop protocols that support student learning and school safety and are responsive to the community concerns.”

Giroux’s letter to Cox

on behalf of the board had a more diplomatic tone than the correspondence sent by Evans. She called the OPS an important community partner to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

“We share a common commitment to serving the diverse needs of our community and a recognition of the importance of building relationships of trust. With that in mind, I would like to arrange a meeting with you to discuss police services to schools and better understand the perspective of your members. This will be an important first step in mapping out a path forward. I will also be reaching out to Chief Stubbs to arrange a meeting with him about the relationship between the OCDSB and OPS and the need for us to build a new partnership protocol.”

Giroux stated that after ODCSB trustees voted to end the SRO program, the board moved toward an emergency response-based relationship with police and away from having uniformed officers in schools providing direct learning to students.

Giroux added that the parent was “warmly invited to attend and to share her work experience with the class”, but asked to do so without

the uniform and the police car. She said it was an effort to find a balance between the direction of the board, student learning, parent engagement, and safety.

“There will be some who say that the easy path forward is to allow the parent to attend in uniform; others will maintain that uniforms and police cars are not essential to classroom learning about policing,” Giroux wrote.

“The Board decision remains in place until ‘further evaluation is complete’. After careful consideration, I do not believe that any decision on this single incident will bring clarity to practice. That will only come as a result of more fulsome discussions about how the OPS and OCDSB can work together to support student learning, well-being, and safety. These discussions will need to reflect on

the concerns that the community raised during our police involvement in schools review, with an intentional commitment on the part of both parties to building new practices.”

Giroux and Cox have agreed a sit-down conversation that is being scheduled for this week.

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford called on the Ottawa Carleton District School Board to “immediately reverse this policy and show our heroes on the front lines the respect they deserve.”

New bill intended to make school boards put education first

The Ontario government wants school boards to make education their top priority.

Last week, the Ontario government introduced The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, which would, if passed, ensure the province’s public education system focuses on what matters most: important life-long skills, like reading, writing and math. The act would also ensure accountability and transparency for parents and families.

“We are taking action to refocus Ontario’s education system on what really matters: strengthening reading, writing and math skills,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Our proposed legislation would centre the education system on preparing students to succeed in life and work, putting more highly qualified educators in the classroom while ensuring parents have the information they need at their fingertips to support their kids. These reforms would ensure students graduate with a competitive advantage while learning modern lessons in modern

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Blackburn opposed ending SRO program

Less than a year ago, Barrhaven-Knoxdale-Merivale Trustee Donna Blackburn, the only one who was in favour of keeping the SRO program intact, said the issue needed to be re-addressed. Blackburn’s motion aimed to engage the public board in discussions with Ottawa police, in order to create a better standard of practice for when calls need to be dealt with.

“Despite what people have said tonight about various things, I’ve heard the concerns of the community; I’ve heard them loud and clear,” Blackburn told her trustee colleagues. “The way things stand right now as a result of the decision this board made, we have basically put our administrators in a position where all they can do is call 911.”

schools, preparing them for the jobs of the future.”

If passed, The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act would help students and families by:

- Improving accountability and transparency by allowing the Minister of Education to set priorities in important areas on student achievement, like reading and math, and requiring school boards to update parents on progress

- Requiring school boards to publicly post a multi-year Board Improvement Plan that reflects the minister’s priorities for student achievement, creating authority to deploy personnel to support school boards when needed, along with greater oversight over provincially funded tax dollars

- Ensuring new teachers and educators have the skills they need to teach students effectively in math, reading and literacy

- Directing school boards to increase engagement and reporting to parents on student achievement and ensuring parents have easy access to the information they need

to meaningfully engage with their children’s education and success

- Building schools faster and implementing measures to utilize current school spaces, ensuring Ontario is getting more classrooms into communities who need them

- Strengthening the requirement for school boards to have a code of conduct for boards of trustees, creating a neutral dispute resolution process and authority to standardize and mandate training requirements for school board leadership

- Building on our progress to establish a leading system of student safety and educator oversight, furthering measures to expedite disciplinary decisions for educators convicted of a criminal offense

- Expanding eligibility for therapy counselling for student victims of sexual abuse through the Ontario College of Teachers

- Providing for more consistent approaches to student learning and well-being, including on student mental health

- Improving processes at the Ontario College of Teachers and College of Early Childhood Educators to enable them to operate more efficiently, including more consistent disciplinary processes.

Currently, school boards set their own education priorities, resulting in differences across the education system. For example, there are some schools consistently underperforming in EQAO data, including declining reading, writing and math scores. Moreover, it takes on average five to 10 years to build a standard school in Ontario and it can take more than 100 days to certify internationally educated teachers.

The province will work with the Ontario College of Teachers and Ontario’s faculties of education to modernize teacher training and certification processes to meet the needs of students in the classrooms, including decreasing times to process applications to certify teachers.

Nearly 2,000 front-line educators will be hired, sup-

ported by overall education funding at the highest levels in Ontario history. This includes $693 million more in base Grants for Student Needs (GSN) funding compared to the year prior, or a 2.7 per cent increase. With a focus on supporting students across the province, and building off the approximately 8,000 additional staff hired since 2018, the government will fund:

- Nearly 1,000 specialized math and literacy educators to boost skills

- Over 940 educators to support students from grades 7 to 10 with a seamless transition into high school and in de-streamed courses.

In addition, Ontario’s students are supported with the highest level of per-student base funding in provincial history at $13,125. This record-setting investment will support school boards and educators as they prepare Ontario’s students with the skills they need to succeed in life. To prepare and support students in the destreaming of Grade 9, Ontario is investing in nearly 1,000 educators.

“Our mission is simple: drive continuous improvement to Ontario’s education system so that we graduate the brightest, most ambitious, skilled and entrepreneurial students in the country,” said Minister Lecce. “We are sending a signal across the province: we must – and we will – do better to ensure your children get a quality education that leads them to a good-paying job, home ownership and a life of opportunity.”

Recently, Ontario introduced a $180-million reading and math strategy to help students build the skills they need to succeed. For the 2023-24 school year, the province is providing school boards with $1.4 billion in funding to revitalize and renew aged building systems and components.

Ontario is launching a new student transportation funding formula in 2023-24, with an additional investment of $111 million. The new formula is designed to be more transparent and help school boards provide more effective student transportation.

When the school resource officer program was in effect, the primary job of the officers was to speak with students, work with administrators, assess any possible threatening situations, and link families and students to services in the community. They would also respond to any criminal or emergency matters when they arose.

“What the principals are telling me is all they can do is call 911,” Blackburn said. “I spoke to an administrator, they were on hold on the police line for three hours because they had a non-emergency situation, a situation that had to be dealt with. It wasn’t a minor situation, it could have ended up in a 911 call, and had there been an SRO it would have been dealt with.”

Asilu Collective, a group that was started to end the SRO program in Ottawa,

urged people to speak as delegates at the 2022 meeting. The organization was represented at the board meeting by Hailey Dash, who took issue to wording in the motion regarding the safety of students and staff by police.

“What Trustee Blackburn means is that this is an illusion of safety for students who aren’t being targeted and criminalized by cops in your schools,” she said. “School safety cannot be enhanced by policing. This is a racist lie that cannot be perpetuated.”

“Black folks, Indigenous folks, 2SLGBTQ plus, people with disabilities, continue to be severely impacted by police presence in educational settings,” Dash added.

Trustees voted to defer Blackburn’s motion indefinitely.

Barrhaven-Knoxdale-Merivale Trustee Donna Blackburn has been the lone trustee who has been in favour of restoring the Student Resource Officer program.

All we are saying, is give police a chance

What did we think was going to happen?

The latest lapse of judgement from the Ottawa Carleton District School Board happened last week when the mother of a first grade student became a political pawn in a statement against the police. The woman, an Ottawa police officer, was told she was not welcome to visit her child’s class for the community career day if she was in uniform and if she drove a police car to school.

The trombone player leading the parade in this decision is board chair Lyra Evans, who has been an outspoken anti-police mouthpiece throughout her political career.

Evans, an NDP candidate in the last provincial election, claimed that police are scary and intimidating for children and youth who are of colour, Indigenous, or part of the LGTBQ2+ community. She successfully pulled lobby groups together and managed to get the popular and widely successful Student Resource Officer program cancelled.

But to ban police presence on career day for Grade 1 students? That’s just shameful.

Unfortunately, Evans is once again putting her own politics ahead of what is right for the board. This is just another feather in her cap for the next time she runs for the NDP in the next provincial election. The only way to fix this problem with Evans and other trustees who are serial candidates at the provincial level is to force trustees to resign if they run for a political office at the federal or provincial level.

But worse than that is the dividing line being created between the school board and the police. It has been made very clear by the OCDSB board that police are unwelcome. The SRO program was an opportunity to build relationships and eliminate those fears. The police, regardless what the OCDSB trustees think, are heroes. They are the good guys. They protect us.

If a divide exists between the police and certain groups, the OCDSB is widening that divide. They are teaching children that the police are bad, and they are to be feared.

Maybe the OCDSB could create a campaign to teach children not to call 911, because even if your house is being robbed by a masked gunman, that is a much better scenario than if the police showed up and intimidated and threatened both you and the criminal.

The delicious irony is that when the trustees lost control of the crowd during two of their meetings this year, the first thing they did was call the police. They don’t want the police around in the schools, but they have no problem calling 911 when a few parents get vocal because they are sick of the board’s woke agenda and policies.

Back in the day, one of the most important books we read in school was George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Students in the OCDSB don’t have to read it anymore. They are living it.


Remembering a friend who set the bar

When you lose a friend, time works in mysterious ways. What seems like a month ago might be 10 years ago. What seems like 10 years ago might be last summer.

Five years ago, I lost one of the most influential friends of my childhood and youth. I had a hard time dealing with it. She was the strongest, most courageous, most successful, most humble, most driven and most sincere friend that my entire high school could ever have.

In corporate and professional life, she was Catherine McIntyre. Those of us who grew up with her will always remember her as Cathy Marjerrison. Catherine was the corporate superstar who became Vice-President of Air Miles. Cathy was the best friend of everyone in our grade who happened to be the Canadian national junior high jump champion and academic overachiever.

I think back to our days at Churchill Public School. There were three classrooms, about 50 students, and we all knew each other. There were a few of us pushed ahead in a special program. We were all smart, but in reality, there was Cathy, and then there was the rest of us.

I remember how she always had my back, like in the school play when we were in Grade 5. It was our last year at Churchill. We had the two main roles. I was a cowboy and she was the cowboy’s wife. When I forgot my lines, she kept whispering them to me on stage. I don’t think I ever thanked her for bailing me out on that one. I always wondered if she learned my lines because she was that smart, or if she was just looking out for me and knew that I would forget them. Probably both.

to school dances, even though she knew I would just lean against the wall of the gym, awkwardly, wishing someone would get out the basketballs.

In Grade 13 when I was struggling miserably with this presentation I had to do in English class The Stone Angel. She came over to our house and we sat at my desk for hours as she tried to help me grasp a project I didn’t get on what may have been the most unenjoyable book I have ever read. You didn’t give up. My presentation was a disaster, and I remember seeing your face in the front row. You felt so bad for me, and I felt horrible that I let you down. Letting you down was a worse feeling than getting the courtesy D-minus from Mrs. Mitchell.

Despite that mess, she always brought out the best in me, and in all of us. One memory I cherish was when we were mixed doubles partners on the school tennis team. We went to the EOSSAA tournament and I still have the medal we won. That was the best I had ever played in my life. The funny thing is, after that day, I never played tennis again.

A couple years later, I remember seeing her at South Grenville. She knew I had been playing for Carleton and that I had been doing well. I could see in her eyes that she was really proud of me. It erased the bad feeling from the Stone Angel presentation. It meant everything to me that I made her proud. But that’s why Cathy was special. Everything was always about someone else, never about her.

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When we first went to high school at South Grenville, we were the two 12-year-olds in Grade 9. She was mature, organized, goal driven, and a role model for her peers. She fit in and were the most popular kid in Grade 9. I was a terrified, immature kid who watched the Muppet Show every night. Yet, she always looked out for me.

I remember the great chats we used to have when we had our spares together. She never lectured me, though I knew she was always looking out for me and encouraging me to have more confidence. I remember the day she sat down with me and told me to wear more collared shirts and sweaters rather than sports jerseys and sports t-shirts. I remember her breaking down my hair cut. I remember in Grade 11 when she convinced me that I should start going

That was in 1985, and that was our last good chat until a few years ago. She was the guest speaker at the South Grenville Chamber of Commerce dinner, and I was the emcee and the person who introduced you. I hung onto every word of her speech. It was one of the best I had ever heard – even better than when she was valedictorian. I left that night feeling great, like I did after all of those talks we had in high school and elementary school.

And then, she was gone. It wasn’t fair.

I wish I could have told her all of these things while she were still here. She created a blue print for all of us to follow through life. I could never dare to try to be like her, but I sure learned a lot from her. She knew how to achieve and succeed, and she knew how to pick herself up off the ground in the face of failure.

And while we were never best friends, she was absolutely the best friend I ever had while growing up.

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from the other side

Talking trash: Bag and tag system is not the answer

Hello and welcome to May!

I have never been good at trash talk, but this week, lets talk trash.

You may have heard the City of Ottawa is considering implementing a bag-and-tag system which would limit each household to two bags of garbage every two weeks and provide them with an annual allotment of bag tags.

Beyond that, at the time of writing, no details were available. However, on Thursday, May 4th the City staff held a technical briefing to share more about the proposed program with Councillors, the public, and the media.

I grew up in a town (well, now a city of almost 350,000) with a similar system—the limit was one bag of garbage

every two weeks and twenty or so tags a year.

Markham boasts one of the highest waste diversion rates in the country, but it is not a result of the bag-and-tag system.

At the introduction of the system in the late-2000s, residents began visiting the town’s parks more regularly. They were not enjoying the scenery or amenities, though, they were illegally dumping their garbage in park refuse bins.

Construction site dumpsters also saw an increase in illegal dumping from nearby communities.

So that certainly did not contribute to the town’s high waste diversion rates.

It was the strength of its recycling and composting programs. Markham collects all recyclables weekly and does not require residents to sort them (their waste collection contractor, coincidentally also Miller Waste, does that at a depot).

The town also has a hazardous household waste depot that is easy to access and regularly open to the public as well as a popular textile recycling program.

Along with policies familiar to us, like allowing plastic bags to line green bins and providing waste diversion services to multi-unit buildings, they have progressively nudged residents to divert

more of their waste.

The success of the diversion program makes the bagand-tag system pointless. FYI: Markham cancelled their bagand-tag system in the mid2010s.

The same can happen in Ottawa. Rather than imposing a hard limit and punishing residents who might need to go above that limit occasionally, we should progressively nudge our city in the right direction.

Ottawa is among the few cities in Ontario still requiring residents to separate their recyclables, due to the belief that mixing recyclables diminishes the value of recycled materials (which has merit, but not enough to hold back our waste diversion goals).

We can also expand the re-

cyclable materials we collect for recycling by working with our contract partners, outside organisations, or even taking the initiative to set up our own systems.

Household hazardous waste disposal should be easier to encourage us to dispose of it properly.

We have a good system right now, but it can be better. There are better systems we can emulate, not just in my hometown, but in all of Ontario.

While increasing Ottawa’s waste diversion rates has great benefits for the environment, chief among the City’s concerns is the capacity of the Trail Road Landfill. The facility currently has room for another decade or so of garbage before it reaches capacity.

New landfills require years of approvals before one can open. Cost and process notwithstanding, nobody wants one near their communities, either. There are two privately owned landfills in the city, they manage mostly industrial, commercial, and institutional waste.

It is fine to pay lip service to tell you to reduce, re-use, recycle, and compost, but it is nothing without actively improving our program to make you want to throw less into your garbage.

I do not sit on the Environment Committee, so I will not vote on the bag-and-tag system during consideration in early-June, but I will be speaking and voting against it when it rises to Council mid-June. Nudge. Don’t impose.

Like many new religions, Wokeism is characterized by intolerance

In the final days of the First World War, exhausted Canadian soldiers made a curious discovery. When viewing German soldiers captured or killed in a late-1918 confrontation, they noticed the regimental badges of many German army units were mixed in with the unit they’d just confronted.

This told them that the Germans were at the end of their resources, throwing together soldiers from whatever units they still had left. They were desperate to hold back the inevitable defeat. Indeed, the Canadian soldiers were correct. Within weeks the Germans sued for an Armistice, ending the slaughter.

Is the same happening in the victimhood culture of modern society?

When some future historian gets around to writing the current version of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, will they observe the obsession over trans-rights as being peak hysteria for early 21st-century society? Will they ask, “Is that all there was?”

Having gone through victim status for women’s rights, gay rights, indigenous rights,

Asian rights, immigrant rights and climate rights over the past two decades, radical social engineers seemingly only have trans-rights left in their chamber to create moral panics.

While earlier manufactured victim crises could claim 51 per cent of the population (women) down to five per cent (LGBTQ), trans people represent an estimated 1.6 million people in the U.S. (0.04 per cent).

Even allowing that the obsessive spotlight on the issue has boosted numbers in the impressionable 13 to 17-yearold group, we are looking at a rounding-error segment of the population claiming grievance status. But you wouldn’t have any idea of the marginality of this community if you watched the current media cycle. Trans stories dominate the headlines.

The latest cause célèbre? A trans woman murdering children and staff at a Christian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee – all the while the trans lobby claims the shooter as a victim.

Which comes as a surprise to most middle-class citizens who haven’t been aware of trans people – or their own hatred for them –

until informed by media outlets such as CBC, PBS or the New York Times (which just published an open letter from 1,000 writers, authors, and journalists demanding that it not report on problems with prescribing gender dysphoric children puberty blockers.)

How hysterical? Here’s career radical poseur Jane Fonda suggesting on The View that Christians who refuse to wear the Trans ribbon should be “murdered”. While her panel pals hastened to suggest she was simply joshing, a glib Fonda shrugs, raises an eyebrow and lets everyone know by her silence exactly what she’s thinking.

Then there’s a Michigan professor who wants murder over mediation.” I think it is far more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic, or transphobic speaker than it is to shout them down,” said Wayne State endowed chair holder Steve Shaviro. “When right-wing groups invite such speakers to campus, it is precisely because they want to provoke an incident that discredits the left, and gives more publicity and validation to these reprehensible views than they could otherwise attain.”

Look, every movement

has its loonies. (Witness TrumpWorld.) But the percentage of progressives who have suddenly gone from “I love RuPaul” to deciding trans rights is a hillside for them to die on is stunning. But such is the nature of modern hysterics. The Salem Witch Trials were generated by Christian fervour; the current fervour is driven by secular liberals casting about for quasi-religious meaning.

Citing new WSJ/ NORC polling showing a cratering of public trust in a number of categories since 2019, author Michael Shellenberger notes:

“The evidence is now overwhelming that recent panics around climate, race, and sex – the mass desire to conform to a strict moral (Woke) code – stem from a) the acute need of liberal secular people for purpose, b) rising loneliness, and c) mass anxiety created by social media …” ...“Like many new religions, Wokeism is characterized by intolerance.”

Witness the current disproportionate furore over a tiny number of NHL players refusing to wear Pride jerseys. Or the elite panic that spawned censorship of revered authors such as Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, and Agatha Christie,

whose work is now butchered after their deaths.

While Woke media pounds its drum over right-wing indoctrination and its incipient violence, psychology Professor Sam Vaknin says, “The potential for aggression and even violence in victimhood movements is much larger than in the general public.”

That is worrisome in a society where virtually everyone now thinks they belong to a victim group that needs reparations from the rest of that society.

Finally, the Gibbon of this age will likely come to the conclusion that none of these tempests really have anything to do with their putative grievances. Rather they

are the useful mechanisms by which totalitarians are trying to remake every aspect of society. Not unlike the effort attempted by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Like today’s radicals, they sought to change human nature. If it took a million dead, it was a price they felt worth paying. Don’t underestimate today’s radicals if given the chance to demonize. If only they could seize the guns.

Bruce Dowbiggin is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167.

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Local woman reflects on the horrors of war during Polish Heritage Month

As May is Polish Heritage Month, local resident Alice Basarke thinks back to a certain day.

“April 14th, 1940 Is a day of infamy in my family and countless others,” she said. “On that day, the Russians carried out their second wave of ethnic cleansing, in eastern Poland.”

Between 1939 and 1945, more than six million Polish citizens lost their lives. Approximately half were ethnic Poles, while the other half were Polish Jews. Approximately 90 per cent of the deaths suffered were non-military. They were civilian targets of Nazi Germany and then the Soviet Union.

Both the Germans and the Russians wanted to control Poland. They both also wanted to ethnically cleanse the country. The German genocide was driven by racism, while the Russians were driven by Stalin’s plan to Sovietize Poland and eradicate Polish culture.

“The Russians (Soviets) sent 1.8 to 2 million Polish Citizens to Siberia during WWII in spite of the fact that Poland was an ally, fighting to defeat the German Nazis,” said Basarke. “They were ‘resettled’ into

2,800 labour camps, spanning 11 time zones deep into the Russian frontier, where more than half died due to starvation, hard physical slave labour, disease and harsh climates. When Hitler attacked Russia in June of 1941, Stalin needed the Polish deportees to help him fight off the Germans. He especially had his eyes on the Polish Military that had been exiled in 1940. He therefore granted the Polish prisoners a short window of so called amnesty. Only a relatively small number of about 150,000 managed to escape to freedom, across the Caspian Sea and into Persia.”

There were 6 major pogroms or deportations. The numbers given are the official numbers admitted by the Soviet Union, at that time.

On Feb., 10, 1940, 220,000 were deported from Poland. On April 14, 1940, there were 320,000 Poles deported, with most ending up in Kazakhstan, which is where Basarke’s family was sent. Another 240,000 were deported in June and July of 1940, while 300,000 were deported in June, 1941.

“Why am I telling you this now?,” asked Basarke.

“There is a large Polish as

well as Ukrainian Population in Canada, who all want their story told, and Putin has been recently accused of War Crimes.”

Basarke and other Polish Canadians in the area are fearful that the history they grew up with is repeating itself.

“Yes, of course Putin is guilty (of war crimes),” Basarke said. “He is not the 1st Russian leader, with great aspirations of expansion. This is a pattern of their Russian history. Tak-

ing young children, and brain washing them to the Russian way of thinking, was commonly practised in WWII. I personally have three young cousins, who were separated from their families in Siberia. They were taken to ‘school’ where they were taught the glories of ‘Mother Russia’.

They were taught in Russian, and forbidden to speak their own language. Only Russian holidays were celebrated, with special foods, desserts and sweets. No Christian or any other holiday was recognised. For me, this war with Putin is personal.”

The Soviets encouraged

violence against Poles and it estimated that 350,000 Poles died under Soviet occupation. An additional 100,000 Poles were killed in 1943-44 in Ukraine, along with 500,000 Ukrainians and Belarusians.

Alice Basarke was one of several local Polish-Canadians who met with Nepean MP Chandra Arya last year. polish continues on page 9

polish continues from page 8

“Today, Poland is being lauded internationally for helping Ukrainian refugees,” said Basarke. “ The Polish people have opened their doors, providing food, clothing and shelter to mil-

lions. Fund raising is a never-ending endeavour. I have a cousin, who every second week-end loads up his car with collected food and clothing and drives 600 km to the border, where he gives

away whatever he has to collected, to those who need it. He then offers rides to any refugees, who want to get away as far as possible from that border. There are many Ukrainians with friends and family in other parts of Europe. They are desperately trying to make contact, hoping for help. It seems to me that Poland has done far more than anyone could expect of it. This has been going on a long time. Why do they do it? Where do they find the strength to continue? A relative of mine has said that we all know how the Russians operate. If Ukraine should fall (God forbid) Poland without a doubt, will be next.”

Basarke said it’s important that people know

about the history that she lived through.

“And so, as I recall April 14, 1940, and all that my family had to suffer, this business of Russia attacking Ukraine comes into focus,” she said. “It has all been done before. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but history repeats itself, again and again. Little children still disappear and go through brain washing. We cannot sit on the sidelines and say nothing.

“It is time that the World must wake up to all these atrocities, which Russia has kept hidden, all these years. Hitler was a demon. Stalin was no better.”

Alice Basarke is pictured with her mother on a Perisan beach in 1942. Nepean Mayor Ben Franklin presented Alice Basarke with the 1992 Nepean Citizen of the Year Award.

Hospital foundation fundraising campaign surpasses the halfway point

One year after the public launch of the historic $500-million Campaign to Create Tomorrow, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation announced it has surpassed the halfway point of its fundraising goal. With $268 million raised to date, the campaign has taken a significant step forward to support the state-of-the-art new hospital on Carling Avenue and to enhance the hospital’s leading-edge research.

With 53.6% of the campaign’s goal achieved, Tim Kluke, President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, said residents of our city, region, and beyond understand how vital this new hospital campus will be for generations to come. “In the past year, we’ve seen so many families, individuals, and organizations make their largest philanthropic gifts

ever — full stop. It’s a powerful example of how our city is ready to bring to life this vision to transform healthcare. While our campaign goal is ambitious, and there’s still plenty of work to do, we know achieving our goal is possible. There is room for everyone in this campaign and our success to date shows the city is ready to make it happen.”

From improving trauma care to enhancing neuroscience excellence to taking research to new heights, this campaign will strengthen the hospital’s ability to transform patient care here at home and around the globe.

With the first phase of construction now underway, Roger Greenberg, Chair of the Campaign to Create Tomorrow, explained that it’s generated a new level of excitement about the fu-

ture of healthcare. “This is a critical moment I’d been waiting for — the reality of seeing work underway.

It’s an exciting moment in time for this campaign, and I know it will energize our community’s engagement with what the future holds for healthcare.”

To join the Campaign to

Create Tomorrow in support of The Ottawa Hospital, visit

About The Ottawa Hospital:

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s top learning and research hospitals where we are guided by our vision to provide the world-

class and compassionate care, we would all want for our loved ones. Our multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, is home to the Regional Trauma Centre and Cancer Centre, and to discoveries that are adopted globally.

Backed by generous sup-

port from the community, we are focused on reshaping the future of healthcare to improve the health of our diverse population of patients from eastern Ontario, western Quebec, and Nunavut.

For more information about The Ottawa Hospital, visit

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1. Relaxing place

4. Plant by scattering

7. A type of explorer

12. Unique traits

15. Lady

16. Dismayed

18. Railway

19. Type of whale

20. Sodium

21. Manning and Lilly are two

24. Where golfers begin

27. Entrapped

30. Influential punk artist

31. Hebrew calendar month

33. Car mechanics group

34. Undesirable rodent

35. Minneapolis suburb

37. Witch

39. Get free of

41. A written proposal or reminder

42. British School

44. Country on west coast of Africa

47. Cool!

48. Information

49. __ route

50. Jim Nantz’s network

52. Something to register (abbr.)

53. Give cards incorrectly

56. One who’s learning on the job

61. Stevenson adventure novel

63. Taking careful notice

64. CNN’s founder

65. Speak badly of


1. A person with unusual powers of foresight

2. Single sheet of glass

3. Portrays a character

4. Expresses happiness

5. Acquires

6. “The Martian” author

7. Degree

8. 60-minute intervals

9. A detective’s pal

10. Group of nations (abbr.)

11. Popular Georgia rockers

12. Fencing swords

13. Basement

14. Samoan monetary unit

17. Male parent

22. Finnish lake

23. A smooth fabric

24. Arctic explorers (abbr.)

25. Mild yellow Dutch cheese

26. Very willing

28. Expressed pleasure

29. Lasso

32. Hindu model of ideal man

36. Move your head in approval

38. Ill-__: gained illegally

40. Die

43. Accused publicly

44. Precious stone

45. Individual thing or person

46. Behaved in a way that degraded

51. Derogatory term

54. No seats available

55. Liability

56. Popular beverage

57. Tough outer skin of fruit

58. __ Spumante (Italian wine)

59. Troubles

60. Negative

62. Camper


Four Productions, winners of more than 54 Tony Awards, and Shaggypup Productions, exclusive producers of Menopause The Musical in Canada, are bringing the brand-new sequel, Menopause The Musical 2: Cruising Through ‘The Change’ to Ottawa’s Gladstone Theatre for its North American Premiere. The show will be running from May 10th through June 4th.

The producers invited the volunteers and residents of Interval House, St. Joseph’s, Nelson House, Chrysalis House, Cornerstone Women’s Shelter as well as volunteers from the Ottawa Food Bank to a special performance May 5. The response has been terrific.

“When we looked at the plan for Menopause 2, we thought coming back to Ottawa was ideal,” said Seth Greenleaf, President and CEO of GFour Productions. “We have been here two or three times before, and we are always happy to come back.”

Menopause The Musical 2: Cruising Through ‘The Change’ is the sequel to long-running, international hit show Menopause The Musical, a groundbreaking celebration of women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived “The Change.” Menopause

The Musical 2 continues to empower women dealing with life adjustments after 40 by embracing each other and the road ahead.

“Menopause The Musical is about four women who


end up fighting over a bra in a department store,” Greenleaf said. “Eventually they form a friendship and a relationship with each other. In the sequel, the women reunite five years later and they go on a cruise together.”

Menopause The Musical 2 is a hilarious and heartfelt look at the joys of menopause and friendship, complete with the hot flashes, mood swings, and memory lapses.

“My favourite part of the show is watching the audience,” Greenleaf said. “The reactions and the laughter are always great.”

Greenleaf said that GFour had no idea that the first Menopause the Musical show would become a worldwide hit with a run of more than 22 years.

“It kind of snuck up on us,” he said. “It was like a lightning in a bottle moment for us.”

Part of the success is that the musical focuses on a topic that had never been explored in a broadway production.

“Because it was so much fun, the show developed a loyal fan base,” Greenleaf said. “The excitement about the show everywhere added to the energy of the production.”

Pandemic helped Menopause 2

While the COVID-19 pandemic turned the live entertainment industry upside down, Greenleaf said that the shutdown gave his team time to focus on the sequel.

“COVID really did give

North American debut at Gladstone Theatre

us a chance to channel our focus and get this done,” he said. He added that from the first pen to paper or strike of a keyboard to finished product, the process took about two years.

“We have a strong team of writers who have been with the show for a long time and who have a thorough understanding of the characters and the dynamics,” Greenleaf said.

Menopause 2 is described as a highly charged trip of self-discovery, backed by a new soundtrack of toe-tapping parodied hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s. For these four ladies, menopause was not just the end, but the beginning of a beautiful friendship where love conquers all, and friendships never fail.

“Having the show at the Gladstone will be special,” Greenleaf said. “It is a much smaller and more intimate theatre than the big stages we will be using when the tour begins.”

While the show is a sequel, Greenleaf said that seeing the first show is not necessary to enjoy the second one.

“It was written so that people who are new to Menopause will enjoy the production,” he said. “There might be one or two jokes they might not get if they didn’t see the first one, but they will like the show whether they have seen the firs tone or not. A lot of our audience in Ottawa has been from the suburban communities. For people in Barrhaven who have seen the first show and enjoyed it, they will love the chance to see the sequel.”

Even though Menopause 2 is just going live this week,

a third Menopause show is already in the planning stages.

The original Menopause

The Musical debuted in Orlando, Florida and ran OffBroadway for four years performing for more than 1,500 audiences, followed by a U.S. national tour that is still running today. In 2007, it opened internationally in the United Kingdom and has performed in countries including Australia, South Korea, Brazil, France, Slo-

venia and many more. It is also the longest-running musical in Las Vegas history, performing nightly at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Beloved for more than 20 years and seen by more than 17 million, Menopause The Musical has played in every state in the continental U.S A., as well as in every province in Canada plus 500 cities worldwide, and has been translated into nine languages.

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Two Barrhaven players selected in 2023 CFL Draft

It was another big year at the CFL Draft for the local football community.

Nepean Eagles grads James Peter and Max Charbonneau, both linebackers for the Ottawa Gee-Gees, were taken in the 2023 CFL Draft last Tuesday.

James Peter, who is a graduate of St. Mother Teresa High School and who also played high school football for the Titans, was selected in the second round, 12th overall, by the Ottawa Redblacks. Charbonneau, a graduate of John McCrae Secondary School, went to high school at John McCrae Secondary School. He was selected 71st overall by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

While many players from the Eagles program have gone on to play college football, the local program is continuing to send players into the professional ranks.

Defensive end Deionte Knight, grew up playing in the program and went to the University of Western Ontario to play for the Mustangs, was drafted by the Toronto Argonauts last year. Two years earlier, Barrhaven wide receiver Phil Iloki was drafted by the Argonauts out of the Carleton Ravens program. Prior to that, offensive lineman Alex Mattaes (Ottawa), defensive end Ettore Lattanzio (Ottawa), and offensive lineman Tyler Holmes (Toronto) were all CFL draft picks. All three won the Grey Cup.

Peter served as a team captain for the second consecutive season with the Gee-Gees and recorded a career-high 58 total tackles. Peter finished the regular season leading the OUA in solo tackles (44), total tackles (58.0), and tackles per game (7.3), as well as second in assisted tackles (28). He ranked

second in the nation in solo, assists, and total tackles, finishing third in tackles per game. He was selected to attend the College Gridiron Showcase in Fort Worth, TX in

January. Peter was named Football Player of the Year at the Ottawa Sports Awards. While he was playing

with the Gee-Gees, Peter served as a volunteer coach in the summer for the Nepean Eagles Pee Wees.

Charbonneau appeared in six regular season games at middle linebacker with the GeeGees last year, recording 17 total tackles. In two

playoff starts, he tallied 10.5 tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. He attended the CFL Invitational Combine in Waterloo, ON in February and was selected to advance to the CFL National Combine in Edmonton, AB in March.

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Max Cjharbonneau (42) was drafted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. James Peter (2) was selected 11th overall in the CFL Draft. ( P h otos By Gor D We B e r)

MPP MacLeod lends her voice to Dare To Be Vulnerable project

Susan Blain suffered a trauma in 2019. It changed her life and took her down a dark path.

“I lost everything,” she said. “I lost my home, my savings, I was homeless, and I was suicidal. To use an expression that (Nepean MPP) Lisa MacLeod uses, I had my own personal mental health injury.”

Blain has struggled with mental health throughout her life, with depression as a teenager and suicidal ideation in her early twenties. In 2020, she was hospitalized and diagnosed with depression, panic disorder, and later PTSD. Talking about her struggle has been a big part of her healing journey.

Part of that healing process was to start the Dare To Be Vulnerable Project.

The Dare To Be Vulnerable Project features 48 video stories from leaders in the community who openly share their personal struggle with their mental health.

Many of the people in our world, young and old, are suffering in silence because

they feel alone, fearful and ashamed. They’re scared to speak up about their mental health. They’re afraid if they speak out they are going to be misunderstood and judged unfairly.

“Study after study show that one of the best ways to address the stigma and the shame that surrounds mental health is by sharing our lived experiences; our stories,” Blain said.

The Dare To Be Vulnerable Project is about people telling stories.

“The project is about breaking the silence,” Blain said.

“With Bell Let’s Talk Day, we have learned about the power of sharing your story. This project is about people sharing their journey and opening up to talk about mental health. Talking about mental health was hidden or secretive for a long time. We want to show people that talking about your mental health is cool.”

The project has been cathartic for Blain, and has helped her channel her focus on healing after suffering from mental health difficulties.

“We all have a mental health story,” Blain said. “Talking about it sets us free. Removing the silence is about saving lives.”

Blain’s project includes a series of 48 video stories that are each about 15 minutes in length.

“They are 48 courageous conversations,” Blain said. “We included people from as many backgrounds as possible.”

She added that every story has the chance to resonate with someone who sees it.

“Every story has a chance to save a life,” Blain said. “Every story will have an impact.”

One of the 48 people to share their story of mental health is Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod. She has been very open about her struggles with mental health during the 2022 provincial election.

“I am a six-term member of Ontario’s Provincial Parliament who has championed mental health awareness, suicide prevention and anti-bullying measures throughout my

career,” MacLeod says in her bio for the project. “I have experienced anxiety and depression but it wasn’t until May of 2022 when I realized something more was happening to me. I spent the 2022 provincial election in crisis, in therapy and a bit of time in a hospital bed. I have since learned I am bipolar- or as Frank Sinatra called himself ‘an 18 Carat Manic Depressive’. This was not the journey I expected, nor even want, but it’s mine and I am doing my best every day to make it a journey I can be proud of.”

MacLeod spoke at a DTBV event last month, sharing her story about her mental health journey. Having someone with MacLeod’s popularity has added to Blain’s project.

“I admire her courage,” Blain said of MacLeod. “She’s still navigating through her situation and trying to find the right medication. She has been very inspirational to a lot of people.”

MacLeod became a board member for DTBV. Blain said having the local MPP on her

team is invaluable.

“There are trailblazers, and then there are trailblazers who widen the path for everyone else,” Blain said. “Lisa is a leader in the area of politics. She is using her platform to make people aware. People come out and talk about mental health because of her. She stands up for women. She is a politician, a mother, a wife, a hockey mom – people can relate to her.”

MacLeod’s inclusion in the

project has significantly raised the profile of the DTBV project.

“Lisa has notoriety,” Blain said. “She is the longest standing MPP in Ottawa. When she uses her voice, people listen. I herald her courage. I’m inspired by her courage. I have seen first hand how her story can inspire others.”

For more information on the Dare To Be Vulnerable project, visit

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Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod, left, joined Susan Blain, centre, and others at a Dare to be Vulnerable luncheon in April.