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Meet the Power Couple Behind 1451 Wellington

Micki & Sam



Plucky Think Tank Takes its Place in Ottawa


Does Ottawa Have Enough Accessible Addiction Treatment?

#ottawastyle * Inuit Art * Adventure Canada * RIU Punta Cana * South Padre Island



Luxury at its Finest Comes to the Capital

1451 Wellington brings luxury living to Ottawa. Designed by Mizrahi Developments, the new residences are the peak of elegance, located in a vibrant OLAwinning neighbourhood. We sat down with Sam and Micki Mizrahi to discuss entrepreneurship, excellence in architecture, contributing to the community and coming home to the capital.

Canadian giving is in decline.


The population is growing, but the number of people making charitable donations in Canada continues to drop. In fact, according to the latest Statistics Canada data available, the number of people claiming tax-deductible charitable donations dropped from 5.7 million in 2011 to less than 5.5 million in 2015. That could mean Canadians’ giving impulse is suffering. That’s bad news for the country’s 82,000 charitable organizations.



In Search of Style

Faith in Canada 150, a program of think tank Cardus, is inspiring a culture of giving with a new initiative: Give150. This initiative is powered by Chimp, a public foundation that facilitates giving by providing individuals access to online tools to integrate giving into their everyday lives. By setting up an account, users have their own free foundation, and can donate to or fundraise for any charitable organization in Canada.

Give150 wants to give you $150 to give to the charities you love.



11 Let’s make giving a habit, not a reflex.




Never struggle with that nothing to wear feeling again. Take a cue from these five favourite Ottawa fashionistas who never go out of style.

Inuit Art: Traditional Yet Contemporary


When Inuit artist Kananginak Pootoogook’s work was displayed in the 2017 Venice Biennale, it was a monumental first for the Inuit art community. We take an in-depth look at contemporary Inuit art through a cultural context, remembering the history of the art that tells the history of its people by bringing stories of traditional and modern Inuit life to the forefront.

Taking Action on Opioids



Opioid-related overdoses have claimed the lives of thousands of Canadians. We speak to Mark Barnes, the owner of Respect Rx Pharmacy in Vanier and Dr. Mark Ujjainwalla founder of Recovery Ottawa for their insight into how to save lives and turn the tide on this national health crisis.




Looking for a way to beat the winter blues? Why not really get away from it all? Bask in the warm glow of the sun at the newly renovated Riu Bambu on Playa Arena Gorda, Dominican Republic. Board a cruise through the wild, rocky and jagged mountains of Greenland. Take a breather and embrace the island life in the Texan paradise of South Padre Island.


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Publisher’s Message ...................................... 4 Best Picks .................................................... 5 Best Cellars ................................................. 7 Savvy Selections .......................................... 15 Book Review.......................................... 17 Travel: RIU Bambu, Punta Cana...................... 39 Adventure Canada ............................ 40 South Padre Island ........................... 43 Opinion: Greg Vezina ............................... 45 Saint Paul University ..................................... 46


Inuit Art ................................................. 9 Health/A Second Chance at Life .............. 25 Faith in Canada/Op-ed ........................... 30 Canada/China Friendship ....................... 36 Greenstream ........................................... 34 Pipelines, People & Progress ..................... 37

39 36

publisher’s message by Dan Donovan

Facts Don’t Lie —

Institutional Prejudice is Part of Canada’s Justice System


he acquittal of Gerald Stanley, a white farmer, in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man from Red Pheasant First Nation, in Saskatchewan should be of concern to us all. The case is not cut and dry and the particulars matter as they should. For example, I wonder why the Crown went for a second-degree murder charge instead of manslaughter. These are legal and judicial issues that will continue through the appeal process. The bigger issue that this matter raises is the problem of institutional racism against Indigenous people in Canada’s justice system that many Canadians deny exists. It exists. If you need proof, just look at the facts. In 2016, Statistic Canada reported that there were 1,673,785 Aboriginal people in Canada, accounting for 4.9 per cent of the total population. In that same year (2016), Aboriginal males accounted for 26 per cent of the prison population in Canada. This means that the incarceration rate for Aboriginal adults in Canada is 10 times higher than the incarceration rate of non-Aboriginal adults. Even more shocking is that, in 2016, Aboriginal females accounted for 38 per cent of Canada’s female prison population. Social scientists say these numbers are due to discrimination and attitudes based on racial or cultural prejudice, as well as economic and social disadvantage, substance abuse, inter-generational loss, violence and trauma. Many non-Aboriginal people have some very strong opinions on the Boushie case. I’ve been surprised by some of the vitriol and hardened opinions around the case, especially from several high-profile criminal lawyers who are suggesting it’s heresy to criticise the court system and judicial process in such cases. Prime Minister Trudeau showed a profound lack of judgement by commenting on this case and he may have inadvertently affected the appeals process which will cause further harm to the proper adjudication of this matter, for all involved. Justice Minister Judy Wilson-Raybould is in a tough spot because she is Canada’s first Aboriginal Minister of Justice (Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation) and has spent her entire career committed to ensuring equity and fairness in the justice system for Indigenous people in Canada. If she had said nothing she would have been eviscerated. Her comments, if taken fairly, were intended to provide comfort to the family of Colten Boushie. She is now said to be considering a simple Criminal Code amendment to eliminate the system of peremptory challenges which are one of the key factors at the heart of this case. Peremptory challenges allow the Crown or Defence to reject potential jurors without giving reasons. In the Colten Boushie case, the defence team used its 14 peremptory challenges to reject any potential jurors who appeared to be Indigenous. Ironically, this type of amendment was first recommended back in 1991, in Manitoba, in a study on Aboriginal justice led by Sen. Murray Sinclair, who then went on to be the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In 2013, in a report to the Ontario government, former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci made a similar recommendation. Iacobucci said the status quo, will mean “any hope of true reconciliation between First Nations and Ontarians generally will vanish.” Reform of anything begins by examining the evidence. The facts show that even today as we currently witness the ongoing National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and after the Residential Schools disgrace, the Sixties Scoop and Truth and Reconciliation Commission and report our “justice system” continues to incarcerate 10 times more Aboriginal men than non-Aboriginals and has a record of being responsible for one-third of our entire female prison population being Indigenous women. A starting point for any meaningful reform is for all Canadians to try to look at the criminal justice system in this country through the lens of an Aboriginal person. Put yourself in their shoes.Your strong opinions may change. And that will be the beginning of real reform n 4 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

goTenna Mesh

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Using technology previously only available to the military, the goTenna Mesh lets you send SMS and GPS locations between phones using UFC radio

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technology. Perfect for the avid traveler, back-

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art director Karen Temple director of operations Maria Alejandra Gamboa web editor/features writer Andre Gagne cover

stunning collection of jewelry that

photographers Mikie Farias, Ping Hu, Anne de Haas,

is designed to seamlessly adapt

fashion editor Alexandra Gunn accounts Joe Colas C.G.A bookkeeper Joan Hamilton contributing writers Andrew Bennett,

Dan Donovan, Anne Dion, Milton Friesen, Rueben George, Alexandra Gunn, Jennifer Hartley, Anna Jonas, Lauren Levesque, Don MacLean, Miriam Martin, Alex Mazur, Isabel Payne, Ray Pennings, Rosa Saba, Lorraine Ste-Marie, Karen Temple, Debbie Trenholm, Greg Vezina web contributors Anne Dion, Maria Alejandra Gamboa, Dave Gross, Andre Gagne, Jennifer Hartley, Don Maclean, Alex Mazur, Owen Maxwell, Isabel Payne, Mona Staples, Kat Walcott, Keith Whittier

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Essentielles collection includes bracelets and rings that use interchangeable leather bands to customize the look of each piece. Choose the style, select the finish of metal and then decide on the reversible leather insert that fits into the metal design. Additional leather insert can be purchased separately. There are many styles and colours to choose from. Visit the website and select “create your own” to customize a look that fits your style.

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For information on advertising rates, visit call (613) 688-LIFE (5433) or e-mail Canadian Publication Mail Product Sales Agreement #1199056. Ottawa Life Magazine, 301 Metcalfe St. Lower Level, Ottawa. Ontario K2P 1R9 tel: (613) 688-5433 fax: (613) 688 -1994 e-mail: Web site: Follow us on Twitter: @ottawalifers On Instagram: ottawalifemag Like us at OttawaLifeMagazine Ottawa Life is listed in Canadian Advertising Rates & Data (CARD). Ottawa Life subscription rates: one year $50.00, includes postage, plus HST (six issues). Two years $80.00, includes postage, plus HST (12 issues). Add $20 per year for postage outside Canada. Subscriber service is 613-688-LIFE (5433) Ottawa Life Magazine is printed in Canada on recycled paper.

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Make Your Walls Come Alive

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friendly resort in North America. Plan your next winter vacation at Titus and come see what all the fuss is about! You can use your Canadian cash at par to book your ski and stay package. Remember, Titus is only 30 minutes from the border, so it’s easy to pack up your gear, grab your crew, and get on the slopes without wasting a lot of time traveling.


The wine-makers knows perseverance is necessary in order to come out on top. The actual château was destroyed during the French Revolution, later rebuilt, and has been completely renovated. Château Timberlay has been regularly awarded top scores in its long history - Most recently, the varietal received a score of 87 points from Wine Spectator for the 2014 vintage. The Château Timberlay Bordeaux Supérieur has a complex bouquet of prunes, bell peppers, cedar and smoky notes that are followed by rich flavours that give in to a long and balanced finish.

This premium Spanish winery has no shortage of accolades and awards for its 2011 Reserva. James Suckling gave the wine a score of 92 points, while Wine Enthusiast gave it 91 for its spicy notes and hints of vanilla and black fruits that mingle with nuances of liquorice and mint. Montecillo Reserva is an ideal companion for grilled or barbecued red meats and stews.

This second-pass shiraz is sourced from the Nugan family’s premium vineyards in Riverina, Australia. The use of the “Alfredo” Dry Grape Shiraz adds to the wine’s intensity. The wine is matured in French and American oak for 12 months resulting in a quality wine with a complex palate of ripened raspberries, blueberries and dark chocolate that earned 90 points from James Suckling.


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This signature wine from the Emiliana winery means “Chilean Oak” in honour of the trees that surround the vineyard that supply grapes for the blend. Emiliana Coyam has been honoured by critics and industryleading publications garnering 93 points from James Suckling, 92 from Wine Advocate, and 90 from WineAlign. This elegant and complex wine has a bouquet of cherries, plums, blueberries and blackberries. The fresh and very fruity palate has a freshness that comes from good acidity, concentration and structure that leads into a lingering finish.


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in search of style by Alexandra Gunn

Follow Alex on Twitter: @AlexandraGunn

Ottawa’s group of

fashion bloggers and social media mavens

has grown in the past year, with some notable departures as people move on — often to Toronto — but the overall fashion community remains a force to be reckoned with. We’re highlighting some mainstays who have graced these pages in the past along with style influencers who have surpassed the Ottawa bubble and have followers from around the globe. Check out these five favourite fashionistas who rule in the beauty and style world.


Q How would you define your style? Style should reflect your personality. I wear a mix of things that are fun-loving, adventurous, a wee bit quirky with a hint of rebelliousness. I’m drawn to pieces with interesting cuts, colours and textures and love putting together outfits that I haven’t seen on anyone else. I also love defying the stereotype of how a mom dresses. Q What are the top trends you’re wearing for 2018? Sparkles and metallic fabrics have been going strong for a while now and I’m loving how they’re creeping their way in to daytime fashion. I’m also surprised at how much I’m enjoying the revival of certain 90s trends and recently purchased a great pair of utility boots similar to the 8-hole Doc Martens I bought at Rock Junction when I was in high school. With Pantone’s announcement of Ultra-Violet as the colour of 2018, I’m looking forward to adding hues of purple to my wardrobe, lavender especially.

@ yowcitystyle uu


Q What are some of your favourite shops around Ottawa? Viens Avec Moi Boutique owners Sophie and Renee do such a great job curating their shop. It’s hard to pop in without walking out with something new. I love how they’ve transformed their boutique in to a collaborative space by welcoming in other local businesses to set up shop: Preloved Ottawa with trendy consignment clothing, Pollen Nation with their stunning floral arrangements and planters, and Goods Shop with a slew of locally made gifts and home decor. Q What do you wish people would stop wearing? Why? I find it distracting when someone is wearing something that they either keep pulling at or adjusting. I’m a firm believer that you should always feel comfortable in the clothes you’re in and that they should fit properly. Confidence is your most important accessory. PHOTO: KAMARA MOROZUK



@styledomination uu

Q: How would you define your style? My style is pretty classic and feminine. I’ve incorporated a bit more colour in my wardrobe (loving this mustard/gold trend), and invested more in quality accessories. I also took the time to find makeup colours that really work for me. As a result, I feel I look better and more refreshed. Lastly, I’ve expanded my shoe collection and I’m glad I did. It’s really elevated my wardrobe. Q: What are the top trends you’re wearing for 2018? Definitely velvet, especially in pale pink and mustard. Sounds crazy but these colours are so flattering and velvet is so luxe. I’m also really feeling Gucci like the rest of the world right now.


Q: How would you define your style? I favour clean lines, simple silhouettes and elegant accessories. I do wear the famous sartorial statement pieces, like faux fur and massive jewellery when the circumstance calls for it, but in general I prefer classic pieces like tailored coats and pencil skirts, figure enhancing sheath dresses or a pair of well-worn skinny jeans topped with a pin-stripe blazer — and always with high heels. Q: Favourite must-have accessory? I can’t live without my fashion earrings. I must have over a thousand pairs. They add a hint of glamour to any outfit.



Q: What are some of your favourite shops around Ottawa? I love Aritzia, a Canadian-born company, and shop there often. When I want pieces that no one else has, I hit up Viens Avec Moi Boutique in Westboro. I also love Saaboon, a handmade soap company on Gladstone.

#OttawaStyle @erinelizabethh

Q: What does #OttawaStyle mean to you? #OttawaStyle is understated elegance. It doesn’t have to be loud to be proud.

Q: What do you wish people would stop wearing? Why? I’m sure this is such a polarizing subject but I do wish people would stop wearing Crocs. Or worse, socks and Crocs. There’s absolutely no place or occasion that can justify such fashion abomination.

@20YS @ouicestchic


Q: What does #OttawaStyle mean to you? #OttawaStyle is changing in our city. Over the past year, I’ve noticed that the Ottawa fashion crowd has been unapologetically bringing it to the streets and the city’s big events. I love the anticipation of what certain style influencers will be wearing.


Katrina Turnbull TV HOST/FASHION &

Q: What does #OttawaStyle mean to you? I think Ottawa Style is showcasing your personality through fashion. I think Ottawa is becoming much more fashion forward as a city, and it’s amazing to see.


Q: How would you define your style? I would define my style as very simple, minimal, and classic. I really believe that less is more when it comes to fashion and I tend to fall for more timeless pieces.


Q: Favourite must-have accessory? Definitely a watch. It’s a classic piece that goes well with any outfit whether you’re dressed up or down. 10 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018


Q: What are some of your favourite shops around Ottawa? I really love the brands and price points at Nordstrom and Simons. I always find one-of-akind pieces that no one else is wearing. One of my favourite independent Ottawa designers is Cecilia Racicot. Her collections are on-trend yet also timeless.

Q: What are the top trends you’re wearing for 2018? I’m not too big into fashion trends, but I can always get behind stripes or floral prints. Q: What are some of your favourite shops around Ottawa? You can usually find me in the ByWard Market or at the Rideau Centre. Most of my following is from the United States so I try to shop at stores that are accessible to them as well since they usually ask about the pieces I wear.

Q: What are the top trends you’re wearing for 2018? I am so excited about the sheer trend in 2018, specifically incorporating sheer pieces with blouses and blazers to give the illusion of being a bit revealing while remaining sophisticated.

Q: What do you wish people would stop wearing? I really wish government workers would stop wearing Crocs to work. I don’t care how comfortable they are, they are not professional. We need to set higher standards for public service attire.



gallery by Rosa Saba

art. A shift from ivory to stone brought new possibilities, including bigger carvings and different artistic styles. “It was the absence of the fur trade that allowed (Inuit art) to fill the gap,” said Hessel. “It was truly a transitional time.” The government pushed Inuit art production through companies like the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Canadian Guild of Crafts. Inuit communities established artist cooperatives to support the growing industry, and the introduction of printmaking fostered a new artistic growth.


Traditional Yet Contemporary At the 2017 Venice Biennale,

an exhibition which shows the best contemporary art from around the world, Inuit artist Kananginak Pootoogook’s work was displayed.

spirituality focused on the land and the animals, and Inuktitut, their language, purely oral until colonialists arrived, was “inseparable” from their culture, Hessel writes.

It was a first for the Inuit art community.

In the 1700s, Inuit people began trading with European and American whalers.

Inuit art has been popular internationally for decades, but this was the first time it was included in the Venice Biennale. Ten of Pootoogook’s ink and coloured-pencil drawings were displayed alongside pieces by artists around the world.

Inuit society was becoming increasingly dependent on trade and foreign goods.

The drawings depict Inuit life — the past and the present — including a successful walrus hunt, material cultures such as ATVs, and a self-portrait of the artist who is considered a household name in the Inuit art world. As art historian and curator, Ingo Hessel writes in his book Inuit Art: An Introduction, contemporary Inuit art is a by-product of outside influences on Inuit culture, and its art is best understood in a historical and cultural context.

Before colonial contact, the Inuit people were semi-nomadic, split into regional groupings that relied on hunting for food, clothing, shelter and weapons.

They told stories, played games and carved toys for their children. Inuit 12 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

Hessel writes that the Inuit were also affected by European missions, which offered medical assistance and education that undermined Inuit spirituality, language and other traditional knowledge. Inuit art was also affected. Artifacts had become a trade commodity alongside the burgeoning fur trade. Inuit carvers began to make more delicate, display-only pieces, and as Hessel explains, European subject matter began to make its way into their carvings. Hessel says the fur trade inextricably bound the two cultures together, allowing Inuit art to become an increasingly popular trade item. After the collapse of the fur trade, Inuit carvers increased production of their


Of all the Inuit art co-operatives that sprung up during this time, perhaps the most well-known is the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in Cape Dorset, or Kinngait.

Pootoogook was instrumental in the founding of this co-operative in 1959, along with James Houston, who Hessel said is likely responsible for introducing printmaking to the Inuit people. The co-operative is now the primary producer of Inuit prints and drawings. “They really fostered creativity and originality and innovation,” said Hessel. What really helped establish Cape Dorset’s Kinngait Studios as the hallmark of Inuit art production was the addition of its own wholesaler in 1978, Dorset Fine Arts, which operates out of Toronto.

Inuit art, often with the curatorial help of people like Paige Connell, who oversees prints and drawings at the wholesaler. As well, wholesalers often have permanent collections that can be loaned to museums. Older historical pieces are sold in art auctions, like the twice-yearly one that Hessel organizes for Walker’s Auctions. Several hundred pieces are showcased, which Hessel said he curates with as much care as if it were an gallery or museum exhibition. PAINTINGS FROM THE WEST BAFFIN ESKIMO CO-OPERATIVE, CAPE DORSET

The Galérie d’Art Vincent, located in the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, has been acquiring and selling Inuit art for almost 25 years, indicated owner Vincent Fortier.Though they primarily sell sculptures, the gallery also sells the Cape Dorset print collection and drawings by some of the most wellknown Inuit artists. Marie-France Bouchard, who has worked at the gallery for more than two decades, said she has seen an increased interest in drawings recently. Drawings were primarily made as proofs for prints, but are becoming a more popular medium for sale.

Marketing manager William Huffman said having a southern outpost meant the co-operative could focus on art production while Dorset Fine Arts took care of liaisons with museums, galleries and other institutions.This includes the distribution of Cape Dorset’s renowned annual print collection, which artists work year-round to produce. “Since the very beginning, (the collection) has been sort of the backbone of the studio’s activity,” Huffman explained. The print collection is probably the most anticipated product to come out of Kinngait Studios, released every fall since the founding of the co-operative. Through wholesalers galleries acquire 13 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

savvy selections by Debbie Trenholm

everyday scenes like people watching television. Her work also showed the harsher realities of life up North: scenes of alcoholism and abuse.

Make My Cheese Canadian – Please!

For the Inuit people, colonial contact resulted in a loss of tradition and culture that damaged societies, writes Hessel. Issues with violence, drugs and alcohol have increasingly become a theme as contemporary artists move toward depicting the truths of Inuit life.

rocery stores and farmers markets G are overflowing with artisan cheese and the good news is that the rise of local cheesemakers is not stopping anytime soon.

There is no need to venture to the European section of the cheese counter to find a wedge that will wow your taste buds. Impressive cheese is made in our backyard.

These artists are also gaining recognition beyond the Inuit art world. Kenojuak Ashevak’s piece Owl Bouquet is shown on the commemorative “Canada 150” $10 bill, and Tim Pitsiulak designed a quarter in 2013 depicting a bowhead whale and two belugas. It isn’t just the mediums that have changed in Inuit art since the co-operatives were established. Contemporary Inuit work explores themes beyond what many expect from traditional Inuit art. Many of today’s Inuit artists, now into the third generation, draw scenes of daily Inuit life, or explore political themes such as climate change. Annie Pootoogook, who died in 2016, used coloured pencils to depict

Heather Campbell, an Inuit artist from Labrador, said people have come to expect a certain kind of art from the Inuit people. However, she said that contemporary Inuit artists like Annie Pootoogook have challenged this.

Campbell worked as a curatorial assistant at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and helped curate the Canadian and Indigenous galleries at the National Gallery in Ottawa. She found herself learning about historical and contemporary Inuit art in a way that her university art education had not taught her.

“Seeing these contemporary artists bringing Inuit art into contemporary times really had a huge influence on me,” she said. Campbell, an oil painter originally, used to try and include traditional Inuit spiritual symbols in her art as a way of explicitly referencing Inuit culture. But she more recently began using a process where she draws with ink on top of colourful ink blots and lets her imagination find images in the colours. “Long ago, our art was for ourselves,” she said. “I think now, Inuit art is becoming more of a commentary on contemporary life. “It’s become instinctive,” she said. “Whatever is in there comes out, and I’m okay with it.” Campbell said, now she can explore traditional themes while also drawing upon the influence of her life in Ottawa. She said many contemporary Inuit artists are going down the same path – still portraying what it means to be Inuit, but in today’s world. “It’s going to change as our culture changes. We’re not living in a vacuum anymore.” n


In fact, being in Ottawa we are treated to cheesemakers on both sides of the border – Quebec and Ontario. And we are talking about more than just cheddar. Locally made cheeses span the gamut of tastes and styles.

“We make alpine-style cheese like they do in Holland,” said Shep Ysselstein, who weaves his family Dutch roots into his rapidly growing cheese business.“All of my cheese is made with the milk of my father’s herd of 120 Holstein cows. Every two days, fresh milk is delivered from the farm across the street to my cheese production facility. I use every last drop.” Gouda, washed rind cheeses and brie are Shep’s signature creations. If you have enjoyed the Beau’s cheese – washed with Lug Tread beer – the cheese is in fact made at Gunn’s Hill. Sheep, goat and cow milks are the main ingredient that the cheese-maker starts with.

Best of all, Canadian cheeses are rivalling the European equivalent at international competitions.

Seasonally, the cheese-makers need to tweak their recipes to reflect the make up of the milk.

One of Canada’s renowned judges at these competitions is Vanessa Simmons, cheese sommelier and curator of Savvy Cool Curds, the only artisan cheeseof-the-month club that exclusively features Canadian cheeses. Vanessa knows everything there is about cheese and she travels coast to coast visiting cheese-makers and farmers to learn the ‘whey’ they make Canadian cheeses.

In the winter, they need to compensate for higher fat content in the milk, in order for the cheese to not be too soft. During times of the year when the animals are fed a lot of carrots, there are higher levels of beta carotene in the milk, resulting in a cheese with a more golden hue.

“Often a recipe that has been passed through a family for generations is the starting point,” explained Vanessa. This is exactly the case with Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese located in Woodstock, ON – Canada’s dairy capital.

Whether the recipe is a family secret or not, cheesemaking is part art and part science.

ING: WARN r tisan ve a If you lo you’ll be cheese, g over droolin cle. this arti

SO MANY CHEESES, SO LITTLE TIME! In France, they boast there are more than 365 different types of chèvre (goat cheese). While this sounds divine, the idea of constantly trying different cheeses is definitely appealing. Where to start? Vanessa Simmons tells us where and how. Check out the best-before date – Pick a cheese that is closest to bestbefore date to enjoy right away. This might actually mean that the price of the cheese is discounted for quick sale. Often cheese is sold into grocery stores young.You want a cheese that has been ripening. The exception to this rule: Fresh Cheese or Cheese Curds. Soft rounds of cheese – Buy small. Give them a squeeze on the sides. Notice if they are firm or ‘squishy.' What you want is a round where the edges are soft to indicate that the cheese is ripe and ready. It’s OK to eat the rind – The rind is often washed with wine, beer or a special concoction that is intended to help the aging process while the cheese is in the caves. The effect is a hardened outside to the cheese that is fine and delicious to eat. The exception to this rule: watch out for rind that is wax. This is not intended to be eaten.

– As soon as you put curds in the fresh, the squeak disappears. The cheese is fine on the counter for a few days.

Like your curds squeaky?

Building a Canadian Cheese Board 101

Instead of slaving hours to make hors d’oeuvres or a fancy dessert, create a cheese board. Use Vanessa’s tried and true tips and you’ll be guaranteed to get 15 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

book review by Don MacLean

top reviews for your cheese selection. Vanessa’s Buying Tips:

Milk type: Cow, sheep, goat, buffalo (when

in season). Buy at least one of each.

Select different styles: fresh, soft, semi-soft, washed, firm, hard . . . and always make sure there is a blue cheese. Style of cheese:

Age of cheese:

& old cheeses.

Have a variety of young

Select cheeses that have visual appeal. Rounds, wedges, chunks, even in pyramid shape – in combination will create the wow factor. Visual variety:

Five-10 gms/cheese/person is a good rule of thumb n

How much?

Debbie Trenholm is a sommelier and the founder of Savvy Company

Serving Tips Take them out of the fridge - make sure the cheeses are at room temperature – arrange on the cheese board at least one hour beforehand. This will allow the flavours and texture to shine their finest. • One knife please Place one knife per cheese on the board. • To cut or not to cut Don’t cut up small pieces in advance.

• Add-ons Sprinkle onto the board fresh berries, dried fruits, toasted nuts, olives, caramelized or pickled onions or milder charcuterie items as accompaniments.

• Wood, plate or slate Use an interesting wooden board, cross cut log, antique plate, slate or marble tiles or tiered trays for visual appeal.


Life as a Brain Surgeon By Henry Marsh


Admissions is a moving and often thrilling account of a man struggling to come to terms with old age and the end of a satisfying career while continuing to work as a neurosurgeon in parts of the world that desperately require that sort of medical expertise. Henry Marsh begins his second memoir Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon with a long description about a severely dilapidated

• Plain Jane Serve specialty breads and plain crackers. Crackers dressed with herbs or spices will conflict with the taste of the cheese.

cottage that sits between a canal and a lake in Oxford, England.The cottage smells damp.Windows are broken. Weeds have overrun much of the outside. Remnants of the cottage’s previous and now deceased owner are still everywhere manifest. A cottage in so severe state of decay would be enough to make most potential buyers take a pass. But Marsh barely hesitates when contemplating whether to purchase the property. “I’ll take it,” he tells the real estate agent. Both for Marsh and for the reader the anecdote is instructive. It signifies Marsh’s gradual transition from being a practicing neurosurgeon to something slightly but not altogether different. For although he continues to work both as a surgeon and mentor in places like Nepal and Ukraine, he is retired from his career as a neurosurgeon employed with England’s National Health Service (NHS).

Connection. An active lifestyle. Balance. It starts here, with you, at the Y.

Join today! 16 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

When in London, he thus expects to have more time on his hands, other preoccupations to command his attention. More importantly, old age and all that it might eventually entail looms over a no longer distant horizon. The loss of his steadiness and skill with his hands, the loss of his once superlative memory, the insidious diminishment characteristic of old age. His father was stricken with dementia before he died. Marsh wonders if he will suffer the same

fate. For this reason the opportunity to use his head and his hands to rebuild a derelict cottage assumes an almost existential importance.

broaden the book’s range and appeal. Admissions, from this perspective, is so much more than a series of reflections on life as a neurosurgeon.

Marsh’s relatively unique circumstance informs the book’s structure. In all of the chapters, Marsh weaves his experiences as an aging retiree, on the one hand, and a still practising neurosurgeon, on the other. Of the many places outside of London Marsh has travelled for his work — America, Ukraine, Sudan, among others — Nepal seems to be closest to his heart. Perhaps it’s because the place, more than any other, brings out Marsh’s literary impulses and ambitions.

Yet, it’s around neurosurgery that Marsh’s time in Nepal revolves. When he goes anywhere outside of London, it is to practice his craft and mentor other doctors struggling to do the same and to learn about other country’s health care systems. Indeed, Marsh’s insights into Nepal’s health care challenges (and other low income countries) are fascinating and important. One of the many remarkable feats he achieves in Admissions is to shed so


He writes with a novelist’s eye and nuance about Nepal’s landscape and the country’s people. He writes of burgeoning cities, choking pollution, the perils of navigating the place’s congested streets and running through narrow alleyways. An elephant ride prompts reflections on their social life and enormous brains. The effect is to

much light in so few pages. To begin with, the combination of corruption and the ceaseless pressure to reduce taxes means that there is little or almost no public investment in a field of medicine as relatively niche as neurosurgery. A resource starved medical system like that of Nepal’s first requires investment in primary health care. The health 17 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

benefits will far outweigh any of those that would derive from precious dollars invested in neurosurgery. It is precisely this sort of larger context that fuelled Marsh’s colleague Dev’s decision to open a neurosurgery clinic in Nepal and to operate it himself with tireless dedication for over 30 years.The challenges associated with providing neurological care, Marsh learns from his friend, have a cultural component. Families of those suffering from, say, a tumour are much less inclined to accept a dire diagnosis than would be true in a place like London. Neurosurgeons are revered but only if they successfully treat the afflicted. If they insist they cannot, that reverence may turn into disbelief. People will go elsewhere in the hope of a better diagnosis and outcome. Yet those same patients are often diagnosed at a much later stage in a tumour’s development. What would have once been an operable tumour is now inoperable. What to do? The question is further complicated in Nepal by, shall we say, the emergence of less scrupulous neurological care providers. Many will be all too happy to have a family pay for surgery that will do nothing to save a patient. For this reason, Marsh’s colleague has operated on many patients who he would not have had he been in London. The themes of detachment and compassion — so vital in the life of a neurosurgeon — are consistently highlighted in Marsh’s memoir. Marsh is no sentimentalist: his frank assessments of patients can occasionally leave him sounding too detached. But, of course, detachment and objectivity are indispensable for a neurosurgeon. Doctors are not magicians. Patients are often beyond saving and will die. Even if a patient can be saved, Marsh makes clear that the consequences can often be too severe to make it the appropriate course of action. Difficult choices must be made. Yet to be too detached is to risk becoming a doctor without compassion.

As Marsh asks, who wants a heartless technician engaging in life and death decisions or difficult surgeries requiring hours of sustained concentration? But to be too emotionally invested can compromise a doctor’s objectivity or render him so potentially incapacitated by grief that he will not be able to continue. For most doctors negotiating the tension between these competing needs is forever a challenge. In Nepal, however, that tension often reaches a fever pitch. A neurosurgeon in Nepal is ceaselessly pulled in diametrically opposed directions. There was so much suffering that one had to remain sufficiently detached in order to continue the tireless work in which he — and his colleague Dev even more so — were engaged. Yet the suffering and ultimately dire diagnoses were so often so needless that it was impossible

much of his life he had little respect for his father’s work as a lawyer and a passionate proponent of democracy, a passion fuelled by his experience fighting Nazism. The man does have his warts — and his regrets. Nevertheless the portrait that emerges from these sketches of a life lived as a neurosurgeon is of a man whose first priority is to reduce — however slightly — human suffering. Death runs like a river through Admissions. Marsh encounters it everyday as a neurosurgeon. His greatest work related fear is that one of his mistakes will have the catastrophic consequence of killing the patient. His own mortality is a growing personal preoccupation. Death’s ceaseless presence, however, doesn’t cast a pall over the book. On


for Marsh not to be driven to despair. As he suggests, he increasingly felt he was being forced to suppress the empathy that is so fundamental to being human.

the contrary, for all of the talk about illness and dying, Admissions is a thrilling read.

Marsh is a man of contradictions. He is at once generous but cantankerous, both patient and impatient, kind and curmudgeonly. A careful reader will detect the odd contradiction in his thoughts about medical care. He believes fervently in England’s NHS but writes of his irrational disdain for remote bureaucrats who never have to engage with distraught families but who presumably have some role in making the system work.

When Marsh takes the reader inside the operating room as he or one of his mentors attempts to remove a tumour, we catch a tantalizing glimpse – however vicarious and incomplete – of medicine’s awesome potential and limits. Likewise there is a deep satisfaction to be derived from learning about different tumours and how they interact with the brain and body to cause debilitating illness or worse. For Marsh, that sort of knowledge is the basis for a more fundamental source of wonder.

Another of Admissions’ great virtues is that he doesn’t attempt to conceal such contradictions or other painful regrets. Marsh documents how he slapped a (male) nurse who refused to follow his instructions. He laments for

The brain as the infinitely beautiful, mysterious and complex source of our thoughts and emotions and, indeed, our consciousness. Long before the book’s end, Marsh’s sense of wonder becomes the reader’s, too n 19 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

cover by Anna Jonas

much more than your typical crash pad. A feat of design, the limestone building is an architectural statement destined to become a local landmark. Timeless elegance is mixed with important architectural achievements, such as a copper mansard roof with a striking copper spire. Residing at 1451 Wellington gives you your own secure luxury space, and with every hassle handled you can concentrate on more important things than worrying about home maintenance.

Starting in real estate back in 1989, in Toronto, Sam spent more than a decade working in draft-plan approval, rezoning, and selling lots to builders, as well as learning all he could about land planning uses and zoning in different markets. In 2007, he decided to fully divest himself of most of the other businesses he was part of in order to focus solely on real estate development and started the construction arm of Mizrahi Developments.

Amenities include a 24-hour concierge service, all-day valet parking, stateof-the-art gym facilities, a catered entertainment suite, an overnight guest suite, secure surroundings and soaring ceilings and expansive windows with unbeatable views of the Ottawa River and the downtown core.


uxury at its Finest Comes to the Capital

“Being able to build and design . . . it’s one of the best ways that I’ve found that I can express my art,” he said. One thing’s certain — the residences at 1451 Wellington are a definite masterpiece. Choosing Ottawa for the project was far from coincidence.The city not only holds the eyes of the world, given its status as Canada's capital, but also has a special place in the company’s heart given their family connections. Sam’s wife Micki Mizrahi was born and raised in Ottawa. “Ottawa is always

A feat of design, the limestone building is an architectural statement destined to become

Plus, it will stand next to a newly rebuilt park.

a local landmark.

“It’s like living in a five-star boutique hotel,” said Sam Mizrahi, president and founder of Mizrahi Developments.”… but with the same feeling, the same soul and the same freedoms as you would find in your home.” Mizrahi Developments, renowned for its thoughtfulness in design, is recognized as one of the top developers in the country, with an unwavering dedication to excellence.

Meet Ottawa native Micki Mizrahi and her husband Sam who are adding a wow factor to the local condo market.

Ottawa is a city of hidden gems. Whether it’s the cool and quirky neighbourhoods, restaurants, cafés, bars, shops, sports facilities, museums, parks, universities, colleges, green spaces and bike paths or the live music scene, this city is on a roll like never before. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was voted the most popular mayor in Canada, scoring a 79 per cent approval rating in by Mainstreet/Postmedia in 2017. After a celebratory Canada 150 year, the capital is now stepping into high gear as the city experiences a renaissance not seen since Confederation. Ottawa is booming and a growing number of


new developments are shaping the city skyline. With 2018 comes the LRT finally zipping its way through the city and making neighbourhoods feel closer than ever, as well as the new Lebreton Flats development — the most monumental in recent local history. The real proof of the capital’s golden age is the introduction of 1451 Wellington, a new luxury residential building delivered by Mizrahi Developments. Located on the bustling corner of Island Park Drive, this residence is so PHOTO: ANNE DE HAAS

The company name is synonymous with exceptional quality, built on the pillars of responsibility, integrity, inspiration, standards and vision. Sam Mizrahi was a born entrepreneur: “I love starting things from scratch,” he said. “I would look at market sectors that hadn’t been modernized or where there was a missing element . . . where they were under-serviced and where nobody was really serving a demand that I felt was present. What I looked at doing was to serve that market in a way that no one else was at the time and to become the best at it — to bring the best practices, the best technologies and innovation into that sector.”

Sam began to look not only at purchasing and rezoning properties but construction as well, taking the process from the very start right to the end and creating a niche in the high-end luxury market. The company is and always has been constantly on the lookout for ways to exceed every building code regulation and expectation to build a better product.

going to be the capital of Canada and it’s always going to be a city that the world looks at,” said Micki. “Because of that, the arts and culture in Ottawa is just exceptional and it always has been.” “With Ottawa being the capital city of Canada, it’s important to see more buildings that share the same architectural values that we see in the buildings like the Supreme Court, the art galleries and the Parliament 21 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

Sam always says ‘Micki, would you live here? I would.’ That was that feeling we had standing at that corner.

buildings,” Sam added. “It’s important to mirror that with residential buildings that share that same philosophy.” The hope is that this project will inspire others to create similar buildings across the city. For Mizrahi Developments it was all about making a meaningful contribution to the landscape and creating a development that would make a positive impact in the community. In fact, 1451 Wellington has already received official landmark status from Ottawa’s Urban Design Review Panel. “Ottawa has some of the best buildings in Canada from an architectural standpoint,” said Sam. “We were looking to mirror the type of architectural quality that you see in government buildings and to serve the community by creating a landmark and an iconic statement that would emulate a lot of the other buildings you could see in the city, but that you could live in.” For Micki Mizrahi, every return to Ottawa feels like coming home, though 22 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018


it’s changed considerably since she last lived here.

simultaneously private while being in the centre of everything.

“Every time I come back, I’m more impressed with what’s been developed,” Micki said. “Whenever we’re getting involved in any kind of project, Sam always says ‘Micki, would you live here? I would.’ That was that feeling we had standing at that corner. I think it's going to change the way that development happens in Ottawa and we’re really excited about that.”

“It’s a nice neighbourhood to be part of,” said Micki.

There could not be a more perfect location for such a landmark building than stylish Westboro.

Mizrahi Developments is always searching for projects where it can benefit the community — sites that are challenging and ripe for redevelopment. Sites that are going to have a meaningful impact and create a significant community benefit.

This year’s OLA winner for Best Neighbourhood in Ottawa is the best of both worlds — a hot spot for both families and businesses. A tight-knit community with an active BIA, Westboro is upscale with thriving arts and culture and a vibrant foodie scene. Close to both the lush and scenic nature of Gatineau Park and the majesty of the Parliament buildings, it’s a transformative residential neighbourhood that manages to be

“Very proud” to be doing something in Ottawa,Sam Mizrahi said the project was accomplished with the collaboration of the city and neighbourhood, building not only the residence but also strong relationships that helped create a better product.

“Ottawa is on the cusp of this incredible new energy, this urban lifestyle that has really cool restaurants, fun places to hang out and when we’re walking on Wellington, we feel it,” added Micki. “This energy is new to Ottawa and we believe that 1451 Wellington is perfectly situated to enjoy all of it.” n 23 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

A SURVEY OF ART IN THE OTTAWA-GATINEAU REGION Ottawa Art Gallery will open its stunning new space with a landmark regional arts retrospective. Learn more at Presented by

FIRST PUBLICATION OF ITS KIND! A visual exploration of the art produced in the Ottawa-Gatineau region going back 6500 years. This gorgeous companion catalogue to the OAG’s upcoming inaugural exhibition draws together a broad selection of curators, artists, writers, art historians and community members to generate the most extensive and multilayered exploration of the region’s art history and contemporary production to date.


For purchasing inquiries, please contact the OAG at or 613.233.8699 ext. 234.

Government Slow to Take Action on Opioid Crisis Unknown, Anwi nabahigan [socketed point], c.4000 BCE, ozawabik [native copper]. Collection of the Canadian Museum of History, BkGg-11-1049, IMG2008-0583-0005-Dm.


second chance at life/health series by Rosa Saba

he official numbers aren’t out yet, T but the number of opioid-related deaths in Canada in 2017 is expected to have surpassed 4,000, reports the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

As frontline workers spend their days and nights preventing and responding to overdoses, others are looking to the federal government for leadership and long-term solutions — though it’s unclear what those solutions might be.

This is yet another significant increase in opioid-related deaths, up from a record 2,861 deaths in 2016.

In many ways, British Columbia has been at the forefront of the opioid crisis in Canada.

Supervised injection sites are popping up in Ottawa and other major cities, mirroring British Columbia’s mitigation of the crisis that first rose to national attention on the streets of Vancouver. The sharp rise in fatalities is mainly due to fentanyl, a volatile and unpredictable synthetic opioid being cut into a wide variety of street drugs. In 2016, more than half of opioid-related deaths were due to illicit fentanyl, and PHAC reports this number is rising. Though the sudden climb in deaths can be attributed mainly to fentanyl, health care professionals say the staggering number is making the Canadian public more aware of something that had been brewing under the surface for some time: a mounting long-term crisis of prescribing opioids, coupled with a lack of accessible addiction treatment. PHOTO: OLM STAFF/SHUTTERSTOCK


— Mark Barnes,


B.C. has been distributing naloxone kits and operating supervised injection sites for far longer than the crisis has been recognized nationally — and the province is also the hardest hit by deaths. New numbers indicate opioidrelated deaths eclipsed 1,400 in B.C. in 2017.

Andrew Hendriks, director of health protection with Ottawa Public Health, said that by early 2017, he knew the opioid crisis had begun to take hold in Ontario. He said two deaths in a short time span, coupled with a rise in overdose victims arriving in emergency rooms were the first real indicators that Ottawa’s drug supply was becoming tainted with fentanyl. “Something was different,” he said. “People were overdosing in the suburbs . . . that really kind of jump-started a conversation at the community level.” Ottawa Public Health had been providing harm-reduction services such as needle exchanges for nearly 20 years, but after overdoses continued to rise during the summer and public outcry mounted, it opened a supervised injection site in September, and is currently applying to make it permanent. Frontline workers across Ottawa — pharmacists, social workers, and others who work with the city’s most at-risk communities — say the same thing: In early 2017, something changed for the worse, and the problem has been growing ever since. 25 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

Anne Marie Hopkins, a social worker with Shepherds of Good Hope, said that in early February, two longterm members of the shelter died of overdoses during one weekend. The numbers only increased — in the shelter, in the ByWard Market, people were overdosing in never-before-seen numbers, which she attributed to the arrival of fentanyl. “It’s not the amount that people are doing, it’s the drug supply,” she said. “Initially we were just scrambling to keep our patients alive.” By this past September, the shelter was responding to between 50 and 100 overdose situations a day, which Hopkins said came in clusters due to the unpredictability of the drug supply. Eventually the organization opened a trailer supervised injection site in its parking lot. Hopkins spends her work day following up on incident reports and connecting people to additional services. When we spoke, she described herself and her team as being particularly “on edge.” Cheque Day was just around the corner — the monthly arrival of government support money that almost immediately translates into an escalation in overdose numbers across the city.

“My approach to the whole training is from a compassionate standpoint,” he said. For Barnes, it’s important the public understands that addiction is a mental health issue, one which he says has not been treated like other public health issues due to preconceived notions about addiction. Like many, he partially attributes the crisis to the high rate of opioid prescriptions in Canada and a lack of support for people once their prescriptions end. “We need to have a better understanding about who’s at high risk when we’re prescribing opioids,” he said. “I do believe that addiction is a mental health disorder. It’s not a character flaw.”


Workers at the trailer try to refer users to other facilities across the city. Every Tuesday and Thursday, a peer worker will take people who want to get on opioid replacements to Recovery Ottawa or Respect Rx Pharmacy. “We have a number of people who we serve every day who are in the deepest, darkest places of their addiction,” Hopkins said.“They need opportunities to be able to stabilize themselves.” Mark Barnes, the owner of Respect Rx Pharmacy in Vanier, has been training groups to use naloxone kits since 2016. As part of his training, he talked about the history of the opioid crisis and the wide range of people who are at risk of overdoses.

It’s this misunderstanding of addiction that Dr. Mark Ujjainwalla sees as the primary barrier to properly treating people who are addicted to opioids. Ujjainwalla founded Recovery Ottawa, a clinic that treats opioid withdrawal using methadone and suboxone. He is against supervised injection sites, saying they allow federal and provincial governments to ignore mental health issues causing and exacerbating the opioid crisis. “It’s a mental condition, but it’s being treated as sort of an incurable choice,” Ujjainwalla said. “There’s a lack of recognition that addiction is a mental disorder.”

At Recovery Ottawa, withdrawal treatment is covered by provincial healthcare. However, Ujjainwalla explained: “It is not treatment. It is short-term transition, theoretically, but it’s the best we can do.” Long-term solutions, he said, should include counselling and other services that work to lessen the different factors that can lead to addiction – but these are services that are often not covered by healthcare. Ujjainwalla said he thinks government should be building full treatment centres instead of only funding shortterm services like supervised injection sites. He believes doctors need to be educated on responsible prescription of opioids. “What I’d rather hear is that we’re developing a collaborative approach,” he said, “a comprehensive treatment facility that addresses the appropriate and evidence-based management of addiction and mental health.” Recovery Ottawa does receive referrals from supervised injection sites, as does Respect Rx Pharmacy. Workers at the sites are sometimes able to connect users to programs and case workers that can eventually lead to treatment, Hopkins said. Workers in the trailer can build relationships with frequent clients in the hopes of helping them in more ways. “Since we’ve opened the trailer . . . the amount of referrals that we’ve been able to give to other services has gone up,” Hopkins said. Funding for both supervised injection sites and longer-term solutions takes time to procure. Federal health critic Don Davis has publicly called on government to declare a public health emergency (like British Columbia), with the hopes of allowing funding to flow more freely. “A declaration is a sign of leadership,” Davies said.“It’s an indicator of how the federal government regards the current crisis, and as long as they refuse (to) continued >> page 29 27 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

second chance at life/health series by Rosa Saba

Health Canada Responds to the National Opioid Crisis

oversight of the overdose prevention sites. Health Canada remains committed to working directly with applicants to facilitate the application process and are reviewing all applications to operate supervised consumption sites as quickly as possible.

u Implementing new legislation and fast-tracking regulatory action, including passing Bill C-37, reducing regulatory barriers to treatment and supporting the passing of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act.

As part of the November announcement, the government committed to “identify and reduce federal barriers to treatment.” What kind of treatment does this statement include, and what are some of the barriers?

u Taking steps to reduce harms, by making it easier to get life-saving naloxone, by approving more than 25 new supervised consumption sites, and by raising awareness of how to spot overdoses, and what to do to help someone who might be experiencing an opioid overdose.

In general, provinces and territories are largely responsible for the delivery of health care services, including treatment. However, the federal government is also taking steps to remove barriers at the federal level for potential treatment options. In September 2016, Health Canada once again allowed applications through the Special Access Programme for the sale of diacetylmorphine (medical-grade heroin) for emergency treatment. In June 2017, our government made regulatory changes to allow the import of certain listed medications not yet authorized in Canada for urgent public health needs. Our government continues to review its policies and regulations to identify potential barriers to accessing treatment and to find ways to reduce them so that the provinces and territories can access as many forms of treatment as possible, should they want them.

Health Canada:

Ottawa Life Magazine contacted Health Canada to learn more about their response to the opioid crisis. Thierry Bélair, the Press Secretary to the The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, responded to our questions. What do you think the federal government has learned from British Columbia (and Vancouver's) response to the opioid crisis?

Our government is committed to working with partners, including the provinces, territories and municipalities, across Canada to address the opioid crisis. This includes sharing best practices and lessons learned through the Federal-ProvincialTerritorial (FPT) Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses (SAC). Membership in this Committee includes federal, provincial and territorial Chief Medical Officers of Health, and the Committee is cochaired by Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer. Health Canada:

Because British Columbia was the first province to witness the full scale of this crisis, a number of the measures taken in that province have been shared through FPT collaboration and are being implemented nation-wide. Some of the important tactics piloted by British Columbia include models for supervised consumption sites, naloxone distribution and treatment guidelines.We will continue to support the implementation of best practices and innovative approaches to respond to the crisis. Part of the federal government's 28 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

recent initiatives regarding the opioid crisis includes more access to opioid replacement programs, such as hydromorphone. With the legalization of recreational marijuana on the horizon, is it likely that cannabis could become a player in these types of programs? Is it already? Health Canada: While cannabis is not an approved therapeutic substance in Canada, health care practitioners may authorize its use for the relief of a number of symptoms associated with a variety of disorders that may not have responded to conventional medical treatments.

The evidence on cannabis is evolving. Health care practitioners are authorizing cannabis as a treatment for a wide range of symptoms associated with medical conditions, including nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy, loss of appetite and weight loss associated with HIV-AIDS, and pain and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and arthritis. Our government recognizes the need to pursue different options to address the opioid crisis and better serve Canadians and will continue to follow the evolving research on novel approaches. What role do safe injection sites play in the mitigation of the opioid

crisis, and does the minister foresee significantly increased support for safe injection sites in 2018? Health Canada: Supervised consumption sites are an important harm reduction measure that provide controlled settings where individuals can bring their own illegal drugs to use under the supervision of trained professionals. They are intended to prevent overdose deaths and the spread of blood-borne diseases,while providing access to health and social services, including treatment. International and Canadian evidence shows that, when properly established and maintained, supervised consumption sites save lives without increasing drug use or crime in the surrounding area.

This is why our government streamlined the application process for communities that want and need supervised consumption sites while ensuring that public health and safety requirements are met. To date, the federal government has approved more than 25 supervised consumption sites across Canada. In addition, Health Canada has also approved applications that include providing oral and intranasal consumption activities and drug checking services in addition to injection services. Health Canada has developed a process to issue class exemptions for overdose prevention sites on a province-by-province basis and for a three-month period, with the possibility for renewal. Provinces and territories would be responsible for the

What is the minister's response to health critic Don Davies’ call for enactment of the Emergency Act?

Opioid-related overdoses have claimed the lives of thousands of Canadians, devastating families and communities throughout the country. Our government and the provinces and territories continue to work collaboratively and to take action to prevent overdose deaths. Health


We have responded to the opioid crisis by: u Making significant new federal investments, including $100 million over five years to support the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy and urgent funding to British Columbia and Alberta.

u Establishing the FPT Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses, which is using its public health lens to focus on improving surveillance, supporting harm reduction and addressing treatment options. Is there anything else you would like to add about the federal government's role in mitigating the opioid crisis in Canada? Canada: Our Government is committed to addressing this crisis. That commitment can be seen in the significant actions we have taken, and continue to take.


We have responded through: u Significant new federal investments; u Enacting new legislation; and u Fast-tracking regulatory action.

We have focused our attention on three key areas: u We are working with the provinces and territories to increase access to treatment; u We are supporting innovative approaches to address this crisis; and

Opioids >> from page 27

call this a national health emergency, then clearly it isn’t one in their eyes.” Davies said he thinks government has yet to make this declaration because it is “taking a stigmatized approach” to the crisis. “They’re still viewing addiction in a judgemental way,” he said. Davies added he thinks the crisis stems from a lack of funding for pain management and treatment. He points to the marketing by companies of opioids for all types of pain as a factor. “Lots of Canadians have become addicted, and so pulling them off the opioids is actually very problematic as well because you leave them with very little options,” he said. “I think that criminalization, stigmatization and repression simply drive it underground.” The Emergency Act would also legitimize unsanctioned supervised injection sites, such as the ones set up by Overdose Prevention Ottawa which closed in October after being open less than three months. James Hutt, a community organizer, said they opened the site “simply because there was nothing else.” “We looked around and we saw complete inaction at every level of government,” he said. The city remained “staunchly opposed” to the site, which closed after Shepherds opened its trailer. Like Hopkins, Hutt said community workers would try to get people connected to other resources. However, the lack of space and services made it hard to do more than just preventing and dealing with overdoses, he said.

u We are taking steps to address stigma related to opioid use.

Barnes added that more understanding is key to moving forward — on the part of the government, the healthcare system and the average Canadian.

Above all, we will continue to work with stakeholders to bring forward solutions to save lives and turn the tide on this national health crisis n

“There’s really no one-size-fits-all,” he said. “People are still just trying first to keep people alive, and then figure out where to go from there.” n 29 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

faith in canada/op-ed by Andrew Bennett

faith in canada by Anne Dion

Plucky Think Tank Takes it Place in Ottawa

Legislating Protection for Faith Spaces ometimes Parliament works just the S way the textbooks say it’s supposed to work. One recent example is in the

way the House of Commons justice committee dealt with Bill C-51, which aims to erase “outdated” parts of the Criminal Code. The committee held hearings. Government and opposition MPs listened to and questioned committee witnesses. Then Liberal, Conservative, and NDP MPs responded by making significant changes to this government bill — a rare enough instance of putting partisanship aside, in this case, to buttress religious freedom in Canada by preserving Section 176 of the Criminal Code. Last summer, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced Bill C-51 to the Commons. What made her bill controversial was that it would eliminate the special legal protections for religious leaders and religious services that Section 176 contains. That part of the existing law makes it a crime to obstruct religious leaders from performing their religious rites or services. It also makes it a crime to disturb “an assemblage of persons met for religious worship.” Not surprisingly, the move created a lot of concern among religious leaders and Canadians in general. Thankfully, the justice committee voted in the fall to amend Bill C-51 to save Section 176 from elimination. But, they didn’t leave the section untouched. Instead, they drafted updated language for it, something I previously suggested was a wise option. The amended language would change Section 176 to refer to “officials of religious and spiritual services” instead of the old language about a “clergyman or minister.” The new legal text uses language that is more neutral. 30 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

This is a good thing. It means that both government and opposition understand that religious services and sacred spaces are not the same as any other public gathering or public place.Their distinct treatment in the law is an acknowledgement of their distinct role in Canadian society. As I’ve argued before, churches, mosques, synagogues, and gurdwaras are not public spaces like any other. Canadians worshipping in those places don’t see those spaces as similar to the


hockey arena, the mall, or a park. They have a unique purpose, distinct and different from secular spaces because people gather in them to act upon their deepest metaphysical beliefs and to participate in the transcendent. A multi-faith coalition of 65 religious leaders, which I was a part of, built upon that argument through an open letter to Wilson-Raybould. We explained why sacred spaces need specific protection in 2017. “The removal of section 176 would send the wrong message in our current climate,” we wrote. “According to a Statistics Canada report released in

June 2017, hate-motivated crimes reported in the Muslim population rose 61 per cent in 2015, with hate crimes also on the increase against Catholics. Crimes against the Jewish population in Canada accounted for 13 per cent of all hate crimes. These statistics are very troubling to all faith communities.” The coalition included the Canadian Council of Imams Islamic Foundation of Toronto, the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism, the World Sikh Organization of Canada,the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and the Toronto Board of Rabbis. It was on the heels of the publishing of this letter that the justice committee unanimously approved the preservation of Section 176. The House of Commons has now passed the modified Bill C-51, sending it off to the Senate for some sober second thought — and hopefully passage.We’ve witnessed a rare instance of MPs setting aside their partisan differences to cooperate in committee on a very important issue. Government MPs didn’t insist on rubber-stamping the bill. And opposition MPs didn’t insist on obstructing it. Amazingly, the committee’s action and cooperation came despite WilsonRaybould’s testimony in favour of leaving the bill as drafted. It’s heartening when MPs respond favourably to Canadians who speak out about an important public policy issue. In doing so, the House of Commons took action to defend religious freedom. Congratulations to all who helped preserve Section 176 of the Criminal Code n Andrew Bennett is CARDUS Law program director

of Church and State is obviously necessary for a country whose Separation definition of freedom includes belief. Canadians pride themselves on being inclusive and open-minded, even though we don’t have a constitutional clause (like the United States) telling Parliament to steer clear of dictating any one religion. It seems, however, that we’ve taken this unspoken rule quite literally, and have scared off any discussion of faith from the Hill. ABOVE: Michael Van Pelt

CARDUS is a think-tank that just opened its Ottawa office on the corner of Rideau and Sussex. Its faith-based perspective is what drives its work as Parliament’s new neighbour. We talked to co-founder, Michael Van Pelt, about where he sees religion’s home in Canada’s political landscape.

OTTAWA LIFE : Can you describe what you do as a public policy think-tank?

engagement places CARDUS in a tradition.

In a way CARDUS is part of the typical not-for-profit public policy think-tanks in Canada (remember in Canada that’s a newer phenomenon than in the United States). So you have a whole plethora of think-tanks, many of them based out of Ottawa.

We come out of a European social thought tradition, which is historically a Christian perspective, although many of the ideals we hold to are consistent with various religious communities across Canada.

Michael Van Pelt:

We work on very similar projects whether its public policy projects, strengthening families, education reform, renewal of our economic sphere, or dealing with end of life issues; those are the types of very typical policy issues that we work with. But we’re a little bit different in that we’re also invested in much more of a cultural engagement. And that cultural PHOTO: PETER STOCKLAND

Can you explain more about what you mean by cultural engagement? Think about what would happen if you wake up in the morning and you want to change something. How do you change that? How does culture change? How does politics change? Some people will decide that the way to change the world is to change legislation or to change policy — and that is a way to change the world.

But behind that is often times major cultural trends and social trends that inform how people react on the hill. So we don’t want to just look at those specific policy issues, we actually want to look at what animates that from a social and cultural and philosophical and intellectual perspective. Michael Van Pelt: So for example when you look at end-of-life issues — you can’t talk about palliative care without having an understanding of the dignity of the human person.

Who are we as humans? What value do we have? What kind of control or authority should one have over another’s life? All of those quite big philosophical issues actually inform that public policy issue. Many people do this and they do it 31 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

faith in canada/op-ed by Ray Pennings

from their own intellectual traditions. Our intellectual reservoir is European Christian thought, and it’s the basic idea that loving your neighbour as yourself actually has day-to-day practical implications, including policy implications. Tell me more about the Ottawa office and how it opened?

This is a pretty significant shift for CARDUS.

Michael Van Pelt:

We observe trends in the Canadian policy world and in our political world — we’re on the one hand watching significant hesitancy about interaction with faith-based communities, and significant hesitancy about engaging in questions of religion. And not just hesitancy but also a pretty credible, or reasonable, amount of just plain old forgetfulness. Some might say it’s a little bit more than hesitancy, a little more than forgetfulness, some might say we’re just not interested in religion and religion should have nothing to do with the public square. It could be the whole spectrum of those opinions. At CARDUS we don’t want to build a country that looks like that; we want a country that authentically engages in questions of faith, not just at a religious-worship level, but also how faith integrates and influences policy decisions — whether economic decisions, whether social decisions, whether they’re cultural decisions. The reality is, when normal Canadians get up in the morning, their religious commitments, or their communities of faith are actually quite important, and they do have an impact on their perspectives of the world and their perspectives of the public square, and their perspectives of what happens here in Ottawa. That was the animating philosophy when CARDUS was just beginning: we are a think-tank that works from a faith perspective, we’re a think-tank that collaborates with all kinds of different faith communities as well. Our intellectual roots are Christian but 32 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018


Being Prepared Is Good in Life and in Death


we interact with a very broad spectrum of people. That conversation needs to have a strong presence in Ottawa. So, how do you do that? You don’t set yourself five miles down the road, what you do is you set yourself smack-dab in the middle of where the action is. So we’re the hospitable neighbour to the activities at Parliament; we talk about ourselves as being three-doorsdown from Parliament. We want that kind of faith-hospitality to show up here. And it’s not just faith-hospitality; where there’s hesitancy and sometimes animosity about faith, we still want to be the most welcoming players around. And it shows up in the amount of people who walk through our door — it’s not just those who want to rally around this or that idea, it’s also people who want to engage us and not agree. Part of the measurement and the test of CARDUS’s ability to be actually a public-facing organization is to engage people with very wide perspectives. So, yes, we do have a perspective, we have ideas, we have arguments, we have research papers that have certain kind of arguments, but we want to be able to engage a wider kind of marketplace to do that, in an authentic, fun, hospitable kind of way. That’s really what this office is about. Why is all of this important? Well, we did research with the Angus Reid Institute as part of FaithInCanada150, and we found that: • 21 per cent of Canadians are deeply committed religious people; • 60 per cent are spiritually interested, spiritually aware, not rejecting faith;

• 21 per cent are not interested and see faith as not beneficial to society There’s a pretty substantial middle ground of people who say that faith is actually pretty important, both to society and personally.

urgency of a deadline to resolve things that need to be resolved. “Thank you” is another priority for those who have a finite number of words and visits to share. There are important people in each of our lives and the reality of the final deadline focuses the mind on who helped us become whom we are and contributed to our successes.

Eighty-three per cent of immigrants coming into this country are religiously identified (we have for years been one of the world’s most welcoming countries, but it is often times forgot that religion and religious commitments are a huge component of the people that we welcome into this country). At minimum, we want to talk about that. It’s so easy to ignore religion, and in the political arena, religion can be so charged, there’s even more motivation to ignore it. We have found out you cannot do that internationally — religion has become a huge global issue — but we can’t do that in this country either. So, from there we go to work: we think about what our perspective would be on, say, end-of-life issues; how do religious commitments impact those? How do religious commitments impact how we organize labour in this country? We explore that. The idea to start this organization came from seeing the positive side but also the negative side of Canada’s political treatment of faith. I’m watching Canada more and more resist engaging people of faith. We’re living with both of these trends, and that’s what animated my colleague and I to decide to — rather than live only in our own spaces — let's build a think-tank that can communicate this vision to a broader public n



he year is off to a hopeful start when it comes to end-of-life care issues. In mid-December, a bill that calls for the development of a national palliative care framework received Royal Assent. That sets the clock ticking on a 12-month timeline on the design of a national framework for how to deliver palliative care through the health system. This will help balance the picture in Canada following the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide. It also makes clear that affirmation of the choice to die is not what makes for a good death. Autonomy does not transform something that is inherently bad into something good. But adequately preparing for death can help. Approximately 10 per cent of us will die suddenly, without warning and without a chance to say good-bye to those who are near to us. For the remaining 90 per cent or so, at some point we will receive the news that while the precise time can’t be pinpointed, it will likely be a matter of years, weeks, or days when we can expect our passing. Sure, we may be able to choose from among a medical intervention or three, which may extend that timeline marginally, but the inevitable is near.



I wonder if the question surrounding a good death involves less medicine and more of how we prioritize the remaining time. For most of us, these priorities are likely to fall into some combination of five categories. By happy coincidence, they are congruent with Dr. Ira Byock’s The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living, though I had not read his 2004 book when I came up with my own list. Firstly, there is someone to whom we need to say, “I love you.” Whatever our status or wealth, death is an equalizer. The value of intimacy and our closest relationships are highlighted at these times and the need to say, with words and deeds, “I love you” to those whom we really love becomes the most important item on our agenda. Usually, there is also someone to whom we need to say, “I’m sorry.” Living with broken relationships is a plight too common but there is nothing like the

Depending on our station in life, some may feel the impact of our death, not just in terms of our absence, but also from the loss of our care. “You will be ok and taken care of ” are words that need to shared with those who depend on us, with the appropriate arrangements put into place to back up those words after we are gone. “I too will be ok” is the final word that our loved ones need to hear from us.The content and character of this statement will differ significantly depending on your understanding of life and death. Whatever debates we may have about such matters while we are alive, these matters take on an urgency when the inevitably of death is near. So what does any of this have to do with palliative care and the end of life? Imagine how much less stressful, and less terrifying, anyone’s last days would be if facilitating the five priorities above were part of the care received. Pain management, support for caregivers, and advanced care planning all play an important part in this equation. Tying up the loose ends in life must be part of the equation too. Done well, preparing for death will result in a better life, right to our last breath n Ray Pennings is the executive vice-president of think tank CARDUS. 33 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

greenstream/health & the environment series by Alex Mazur

Sharing Hope In Paraguay Far away from home, the LIFE Team spent two weeks last year serving communities in Paraguay, alongside Global Aid Network (GAiN)’s local partners. The team was made up of families from the Richmond, B.C. area, consisting of adults, teens and children. The team taught workshops, visited an orphanage, prepared food and distributed goods and spent quality time with the many children in the community. In Paraguay, the pit of extreme poverty is so deep that those in the gutter feel hopeless about potential escape. More than one-third of the population lives in poverty, especially those in rural areas.1 Because the burden of poverty usually falls on women, Diaconia (GAiN’s partner in Paraguay) provides microloans to poor women who are trapped in debt, empowering them not only through opportunities to start a career and earn money to pay off their loans, but to also build a better future for their families. Rufina was one of those women.


n its first day in Asuncion, Paraguay, during a stroll along the Paraguay River, the LIFE Team was exposed to the stark reality of inequality. PHOTOS: COURTESY GLOBAL AID NETWORK

High-rises towered above the floodplain slums revealing the intense economic disparity of the city. When heavy rain pours and the river rises, squatter homes – made of cardboard, metal and tarp – that line the shores are subject to flooding, forcing people to leave their makeshift homes until the flood subsides.


She received an opportunity to create a new life. As a wife and mother of five, Rufina now had hope that she could provide for her children. She had always fought to overcome obstacles in her life, but it wasn't until she joined Diaconia, that she received an opportunity to move forward. “Two years ago I joined Diaconia with the hopes of growing financially by investing into my clothing store,” Rufina said. “We were struggling to put food on the table and were having

a difficult time with my daughter. I was taking medication to sleep at night, which made me very exhausted throughout the day. I was struggling and my family and friends were worried about me. I started to work with our micro-finance trust group each week. Today, I am off sleeping pills and my business is thriving. My daughter's life is also improving. I can only say that Diaconia has brought a change into every area of my personal and family life.”

fried rice. Team participants also used their skills to lead workshops and speak on business-related topics such as marketing and budgeting — helping empower the women to develop the skills to grow businesses. On their sixth day there, the team visited GAiN’s other partner Jesus Responde, a Paraguayan non-profit that developed a strategy to connect

and Shelter) according to Lily Kwok, GAiN’s LIFE Team's manager, it was anything but happy. The centre is a government facility that provides temporary shelter for children who come from abusive homes. Although Jesus Responde has been working with a local partner to help the shelter, and the children are no longer

Marta was another woman impacted through Diaconia. As a single mom to one son, Marta was struggling. Selling food on the streets was her only way to make a living. But this all changed when she got involved. “A year ago I was struggling to make ends meet,” shared Marta. “I was living in a constant deep sadness due to the passing away of my father who had always been such a support. I heard of Diaconia and joined. Before I knew it, I was cooking and selling meals from home on a consistent basis and making really good money with it. Today, I don’t have to go out on the streets anymore to sell food.Through my trust group, I was able to hear about God's love for me. Today, I am free from the sadness that had overtaken my life. I have been blessed above and beyond what I hoped for.” The micro-enterprise program also provides workshops and vocational training for these women, something that the LIFE Team was able to get involved in. A highlight was leading workshops, where the team taught women how to make something many of them had never even tasted before – Chinese

local churches to build community centres across the country.

in abusive homes, their new temporary home still needs a lot of help.

With soup mix from Fraser Valley Gleaners, a partner of GAiN’s based in Abbotsford, B.C., more than 400 community centres were able to feed approximately 25,000 impoverished children each week.

“We were told the kids there are from broken homes, have never known structure and deeply craved love and affection,” explained Kwok. “Honestly, we felt overwhelmed by the situation and were deeply saddened by the conditions of these kids. They ate so fast and wanted more! It was hard to leave.”

For many team members, the most heartbreaking experience happened at the end of the trip, when they drove across the country to Ciudad Del Este (City of the East) to visit a children’s centre. Though it was called Hogar Transitorio y Abrigo “Nino Feliz,” (which translates to Happy Child Transitional Home

If you want to learn more about GAiN’s Relief and Development projects and/or a LIFE Team Impact Trip, go to GAiN is a worldwide organization dedicated to bringing hope and tangible help to the poor and the suffering. Since beginning in 1998, GAiN Canada has mobilized people and resources to help people in more than 47 countries around the world.

Feeling the heaviness of the situation, team participants did their best to bring as much joy as they could in the time they were there. This came in the form of balloons, skipping ropes and groceries to prepare meals for the kids. “It was a challenging but impactful two weeks. The group definitely grew in their knowledge of poverty and were challenged in how they are to respond going forward,” Kwok said n 1 Source: The World Factbook. July 11, 2016.


canada-china friendship series by Dan Donovan

pipelines people and progress by Rueben George

Let’s Take a Moment to Have a Sincere Conversation About the Kinder Morgan Project

Canadian Government Declares 2018 the Year of Canada-China Tourism Destination Canada, an estimated 750,000 Chinese tourists will have visited Canada in 2017, a 23 percent increase over the previous year. Statistics Canada has stated that Chinese visitors contribute more than $1 billion to the Canadian economy, supporting an estimated 7,400 jobs.


n 2016, Prime Minister Justin Isigned Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li a joint declaration to pronounce 2018 as the China-Canada Tourism Year in order to further promote twoway tourism exchanges and friendship between our countries.

China and Canada have had strong diplomatic ties since 1970 and this has led to a growth in political, economic, trade and people-to-people bonds that has benefited both countries. Tourism has become a new bright spot of the bilateral relationship. In 2016, more than 1.4 million visits were made between the two countries and both Chinese and Canadian governments extended the validity of visas to 10 years for each other, stimulating people-to-people exchange and bilateral cooperation. Canada expects to welcome a record numbers of Chinese visitors in 2018 and Canadian tourism operators have been preparing for the influx to show off all the excitement and adventure that our country has to offer. 36 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

There is also a large Chinese diaspora in Canada.Today, more than 1.7 million Canadians, about five percent of the population, have Chinese ancestry. Mandarin and Cantonese are the most spoken languages in Canada after English and French. A recent survey (The Travelzoo® Winter Travel Trends Survey) by U.S. based Travelzoo of its members found that nearly nine out of 10 Travelzoo members in China report they will be travelling to North America in the next year with nearly all of them (97 per cent) coming for leisure travel. Within the next two years, one-third plan to visit Vancouver and 28 per cent intend to travel to Toronto. “China and Canada are building a strong relationship in tourism,” says Lara Barlow, General Manager, Canada, for Travelzoo. “From the Rocky Mountains to the Maritimes and everything in between, there is a lot to offer in Canada that is attraction record numbers of Chinese visitor to come across the Pacific.” China is a significant market for Canadian tourism. According to

A 2016 international travel survey conducted by Statistics Canada found the average stay in Canada for a Chinese tourist is 24 days. According to experts in China, Chinese tourists are especially attracted by Canada’s outstanding natural beauty. “Unlike 10-years-ago, when Chinese travelled to shop, we have witnessed a growing appetite among Chinese tourists to explore nature in depth over the last few years,” says Yoyo Huang, publisher in Travelzoo’s Shanghai office. “Canada offers some of the most aweinspiring natural scenery on the planet. Travelzoo China is working with our partners to discover more opportunities to give our members the nature and adventure experiences they are seeking in Canada.” Canada and China are exploring measures to facilitate easier travel between the two countries. For example, there are now 11 Chinese cities offering flights to Canada, prompting the opening of seven new visa application centres in China so travellers can apply for Canadian visas close to home. The Canada-China tourism relationship is not a one-way affair. “Travelzoo Canada has seen an increase in travel offers to China from a variety of Canadian travel providers, making 2018 a great time for Canadians to visit China as well,” adds Barlow n PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

he debate between British T Columbia and Alberta that is taking place right now in regards to proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline brings up some interesting issues for me as a Coast Salish First Nations person.

My people, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation are the people of Burrard Inlet where the pipeline is proposed. We have been the caretakers of the land and water of the lower mainland long before there was a Canada.This work has continued to the present day in the form of science based research and ecological restoration work. Before this dangerous new pipeline and tanker project was ever introduced we had staff working with governments at all levels to sustain the health of our region. We have made great progress with our programs to reintroduce elk, repair salmon spawning habitat and much more. This work is critical for our traditional diet, our culture, identity and spirituality, all of which are based on the land and water of our territory. When the Kinder Morgan was first proposed, we carefully studied it and our assessment report was more thorough than the provincial or federal government studies. What we discovered was a risk too great to accept. An increase from approximately 50 tankers a year to over 400 would result in a more than 80 per cent chance of a catastrophic oil spill that could not only undermine all of our work to restore the health of the inlet, but also PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

would endanger millions of migratory birds, and countless marine species not to mention all of the people living in the most densely populated part of western Canada. For the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, this matter is an issue of respect and proper consultation. That is why it is before the courts right now. First Nations have won the vast majority of these types of court cases in recent years. But I wish we didn’t have to fight about this in court. This is not just a First Nations people’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation are simply doing what the provincial and federal government have not been doing which is to seriously examine the threats posed by the Kinder Morgan project and make a decision based on evidence, rather than one based on politics or pressure from industry. It is proper that the British Columbia provincial government is now taking that responsibility a bit more seriously. A study of diluted bitumen is long overdue. The National Energy Board would not even consider studies done by the National Academy of Science in the United States that showed this unconventional oil product (bitumen) is even more dangerous than conventional crude oil. Bitumen is different, since it must be blended with toxic chemicals like benzene which even in very small amounts can cause birth defects and brain damage. It threatens our water and the very air we

breathe and everything we all love and care for. To ignore these real dangers is reprehensible Why is the government of Alberta interfering with research into the real risks posed by the Kinder Morgan project. It seems to me that too many politicians are being blinded by greed or fear of political failure. To be clear, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, are not anti-development. In fact we are developers. We have multiple condominium projects and a variety of successful business ventures in large part thanks to the leadership of my grandfather Chief Dan George and my Uncle Leonard George.They continued the traditions of our ancestors who skillfully traded with our relatives from up and down this coast for thousands of years. Now it is our responsibility to continue their work both in terms of the protection of the land and water that supports us all as well as in providing economic opportunities that benefit our community and our neighbours. Reconciliation is not just about working together when you agree. That’s the easy part. The real work is focusing on the times when you don’t agree and finding a better path forward. We are at a moment right now where there is an opportunity for real vision and leadership from all our political leaders. It could not be any clearer that this project is short sighted, has more risk than reward and is fundamentally unsustainable as we need to be well on our way to a world that is moving beyond fossil fuels to address the existential threat of climate change n Rueben George is from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation 37 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

travel by Karen Temple



ulling up to the sleek front P entrance of the RIU Bambu you can see right through the lobby, past

the pool and to the sun-filled, palm tree populated beach and, you know you’ve come to the right place. The recently renovated, Riu Bambu sits among of cluster of five separate RIU properties all on Playa Arena Gorda close to Punta Cana. The 1000-room resort is large. Long winding pathways connect all the “casitas” to the beach, tennis courts, seven restaurants and five pools. It can be a bit of a hike from your room to the main pool area and the beach but the lush manicured grounds make the walk zen-like if not therapeutic. Maintenance staff riding over-sized tricycles pass — always with a friendly nod and a ‘beunos dias”. The staff are all pleasant and Spanish speaking. The personnel at the front desk are all multi-lingual but if you’re in language limbo, unlimited free wifi and Google translate will fill any gaps. The white sands of Playa Arena Gorda are beautiful. Palm trees are peppered across the beach and help to shade our very white skin from the hot sun. For those looking for more than assuming

the horizontal position and catching up on a good book, a detailed list of back-to-back daily activities is posted next to the beach towel hut near the main pool. There are plenty of off-resort day trips too but if you prefer to soak in the heat and recharge head to a lounger. The resort was at capacity during our visit but there was never a problem finding a spot on the beach. There are five pools to choose from but we preferred to hang out on the beach. There is something about lying in the shade of an enormous palm tree and cooling off in the ocean.The water was warm and the surf was, for the most part, gentle. The waves wash algae up on to the shore. Not the slimy stuff that comes to mind, this resembles more the plastic plants that embellish a child’s gold fish bowl. Volleyball is a big draw. It is heart warming to see vacationer from so many countries, who don’t share a language, stow their electronic devices, join together and have fun on the beach. There are people from everywhere here. Lots of Spanish, Argentinians, English, German and Russians. While enjoying afternoon cocktails at the beach-side bar, we chatted with couples from as far away as Poland and the Ukraine.

Our young-adult children spent their time working out at the gym, visiting the shops on Caribbean Street, swimming in the ocean, chatting up the beach vendors, and hitting the Pachá discotheque at night. We all visited Splash Water World for an adrenaline rush on the water slides. The park is tucked behind the resort and is free to all RIU guests. The RiuLand kid’s club area is adorable an offers daily programming for kids from 4-12. Older kids take part in the RIU4U teen activities. RIU continues to uphold their reputation for great food. There are Spanish, Italian, Asian, and Mexican restaurants, as well as a steakhouse but we alternated between the two buffets. Buffets are great for families with picky eaters. Our family vegan was in veggieutopia with the selection of fresh produce while the meat eaters enjoyed the daily themed buffet offering. After dinner we took in the nightly show. The massive area is filled with tables and chairs and all ages take in the performances. It’s a fun, family-friendly vibe. With direct flights from Ottawa, RIU Bambu, Punta Cana is easy to get to. Relax, rest and repeat at RIU for a week that’s guaranteed to recharge n RIU.COM 39 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

evidence of human habitation dating back as far as 8,000 years. Throughout the trip, I would hike across squishy arctic tundra, climb rocks millions of years old, and even jump into frigid waters in the Torngat Mountains National Park. With each stop and every new sight, I often found myself incapable of describing the wonder I felt.


the Essence

a.m. somewhere in Greenland It’s. . .5:30 where exactly, I’m not sure. With the first rays of light, the silhouettes of massive, jagged mountains surrounding our ship begin to appear. As the sun rises, the gentle waves change from black to a deep sparkling blue, and the mountains transform into wondrous snow-capped structures with bases ground smooth from a millennia of glacial movement. travel by Isabel Payne

At that moment, standing on the deck, I wonder if this was what the spirit of adventure feels like. I have never had the itch to explore the natural world. Instead, I have followed concrete roads, and rarely strayed far from modern civilization. Any hiking was always on safely paved pathways that saw regular human traffic - I’ve never owned hiking boots. How does one prepare for an Adventure Canada voyage to remote communities and national parks barely touched by modern day visitors? I was very much at loss.


of Adventure Instead of visiting massive cities, we would visit small communities, where expedition guests would often double the local population. We would also stop in national parks that had as little as 600 visitors annually, and witness the consequences of some of our nation’s darker moments in history. Having celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017, Adventure Canada continues to offer a range of expeditions, both on ship and on land, exploring remote reaches of the world. My trip began with a chartered flight from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland; the only settlement in the country with an airport large enough to land larger airplanes. During the span of two weeks, we would sail aboard the Ocean Endeavour down the western coast of Greenland, stopping to see glaciers and small communities, before travelling across the Davis Straight back into Canada to explore northern Quebec and the coast of Labrador. Many of the stops would be far from modern civilization, but would reveal PHOTOS: ISABEL PAYNE

Life aboard the Ocean Endeavour is far different from any other cruise. Family run, Adventure Canada has never been a company that’s in it for the money. Instead, its focus is to educate guests on the culture, history, and difficulties communities and wildlife face in the area. The staff is made up of people from the local communities and parks we visited, family members, as well as professionals who specialize in various topics from geography to music to archeology. Instead of alcohol-fueled dance parties, educational lectures were given on board by the staff, (and in some cases by guests) which often covered upcoming stops, truly enriching our experience. Adventure Canada works with the communities it visits to prepare cultural experiences that benefit both parties. Locals in these communities are often as excited to meet the expedition-goers as the guests are to meet them. Even though some populations are as small as 300, doors are open for guests to experience first-hand life in the community and, in some cases, to witness the struggles the people face. At one stop we were invited to join a baptismal ceremony for a young local in Kangaamiut, where food and drink were openly shared.

Through similar experiences I learned how the Indigenous Greenlandic Inuit people hunt and fleece seals and how to carve and polish antlers. We also learned about environmental issues affecting these communities caused by corporations in the south. My eyes were opened to a whole new world and way of life that I never imagined I would be able to experience. When not visiting communities, the Ocean Endeavour made stops in national parks including the gorgeous Torngat Mountains National Park and the Wonderstrands in Cape Porcupine. Due to the unpredictable nature of expedition travel, some planned stops are cancelled because of bad weather. A highly-anticipated stop at Hebron was cancelled due to extreme winds but further down the coast of Labrador we stopped for a hike around Indian Harbour. We also enjoyed an opportunity to explore an abandoned whaling factory. With each stop we found ourselves in awe with how colourful the North is as well as the abundant wildlife. When we weren’t peeking through our binoculars at bears and sea birds, we would catch glimpses of lemmings racing by, or in one instance, we enjoyed playing with a little brown weasel who was as excited about his new friends as we were with him. Each night, I returned to my cabin exhausted from the day’s adventures

but truly excited for what the next day would bring. During the two weeks, I had the opportunity to befriend a diverse group of incredible people. From welcoming 16 people into an eight-person hot tub to ensure everyone warmed up after a dip in freezing waters, to hunting down the crew members holding out during a peppermint tea crisis, the people onboard were really what made this trip into a life-changing experience. We all boarded as strangers, but left as family. Adieu to the well-paved paths of the world. ADVENTURE CANADA GREENLAND & WILD LABRADOR 2017 STOPS: Sept. 23: Kangerlussuaq/ Sӧndre Strӧmfjord Sept. 24: Evighedsfjord Glacier & Kangaamiut Sept. 25: Nuuk Sept. 26: Day at sea/ Davis Strait Sept. 27: Kangiqsualujjuaq Sept. 28: Eclipse Sound Sept. 29: Nachvak Fjord Sept. 30: Saglek Fjord Oct. 1: Day At sea (Hebron Cancelled) Oct. 2: Nain Oct. 3: Indian Harbour Oct. 4: Cape Porcupine & Gready Oct. 5: L’Anse Aux Meadows Oct. 6: Terra Nova National Park Oct. 7: St. John’s



travel by Jennifer Hartley




hile most people don’t think W of Texas as a winter hot spot, it actually has some of the most beautiful beaches and summery scenery you could ever dream of. Located on slice of land chock-full of activities is the Texan paradise of South Padre Island. South Padre Island

The island was once a beautiful, desolate place where the Karankawa Indians, migratory birds and sea turtles were the only residents. The island was granted to Nicolás Ballí from King Carlos III of Spain in 1759 and later passed to Ballí’s grandson, Padre José Nicolás Ballí. Soon after the exchange, Padre José brought the first permanent settlers. South Padre is the world’s longest barrier island. It is roughly 55 km long, sub-tropical and about 40 km north of the Mexican border. On one side is the Gulf of Mexico and on the other is the Laguna Madre Bay. The gulf side features wonderful scenery and beaches of sugary sand while the other side features landscapes rich in biodiversity. There is an incredible ‘vibe’ to South

Padre Island. The locals embrace their home’s varied environmental landscape, defending it at all costs, respecting it, even going so far as to ban plastic bags because of potential damage to the ocean. Their reverence for nature, the environment and the respect for habitat and biodiversity are a huge part of the islander’s identity. The Laguna Madre Bay off Padre Island features astounding natural phenomena . . . including alligators. South Padre is also hugely entertaining during Spring Break and there are concerts and numerous parties. The visitors all mingle well with the locals and those who are in-between — the ones who move there for winter months; the Winter Texans as they are called. The summertime has a regular fireworks display, but really, South Padre is electrifying enough. Sights to see

If you are bird watcher, then a visit to South Padre will be a near religious experience.

There are daily walking tours guided by passionate birders who teach visitors all about the various bird species. If you stay long enough, you'll witness more than 300 types of birds. If horticultural pursuits grab you, the richness of the greenery and plants in the area will interest you. There are sand dunes to explore, but with great care. There is quicksand on the island. It's best to ask locals about getting around these hazards safely. Transportation-wise, you can rent bikes and truly explore the island and there is a free shuttle that runs regularly (including one that goes to Port Isabel, across the causeway). Sea Turtle Inc

A must-see is Sea Turtle Inc. It is a rescue centre dedicated to saving, rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles. The organization was founded in 1977 by one woman and it grew from a rescue haven in her backyard to its upcoming location.

At the South Padre Birding and Nature Center, there are thousands of winged creatures that choose South Padre Island for a stop on their journey north and south. PHOTO: MARK MENJIVAR


opinion by Greg Vezina

Canadian Fake News Awards: Coming April Fool’s Day

Sea Turtle Inc. is about to open up a new multi-million-dollar facility.

It is a great place for kids to once again be reminded of the interrelationships that exist between nature and us. Sea Turtle Inc. also educates on turtle conservation, which is a really interesting topic on its own. Dolphin watching

There are bottle-nose dolphins in the local waters and dolphin-watching tours are available. Water sports

There are no privately owned beaches in Texas, so everyone is welcome to enjoy every inch of the entire coast line. There are more than 25 beaches on the Gulf of Mexico side of the island alone. Snorkeling, parasailing, upright paddle boarding and boat cruises are available. South Padre is a haven for kite surfers as the wind is perfect for the sport. There is also a diving spot that is actually an artificial reef formed by the 2006 sinking of the Texas Clipper, a 473-foot ship. Horseback riding

Equestrian junkies will love the trails on the island and there is a sunset ride you can experience along the beach. Kind of romantic and calming! Rain, rain go away

If you have the misfortune of being on site during one of the very few rainy days, head over the causeway to Port Isabel. It sports fantastic shops and a few museums. The businesses are artsy, local people 44 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

here will be Fake News Awards T in multiple categories for private and public broadcasters, print and


Its growth and impact on the community is inspirational. It is a magical place that must be seen and enjoyed.

very kind and full of useful history and information and you can buy everything from incredible fudge to jewelry. Hit the Lighthouse Museum for a little local history and if Mexico/ South Texas history is of interest, the Port Isabel Historical Museum will be fascinating. Eating

There are more than 50 restaurants and nightclubs, as well as live entertainment to keep everyone engaged. As you might imagine, seafood is one of the best options thanks to its freshness. If you like ceviche (fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices and spiced with ají or chili peppers) this will be your paradise. The best place to sample this delicious treat without a doubt is Ceviche Ceviche. The variety and freshness blew me away. It is a take-out kind of joint so don’t expect to sit down here to have a high-dining experience. Laguna Bob’s also has a great ceviche, but it is more of the standard kind of restaurant. There is live music, a warm staff and the restaurant is perfectly situated right on the water, Laguna Madre Bay side. One place that doesn’t mind a younger clientele — if you're so inclined — is


Padre Island Brewing Co. It has great burgers and really, really good beer. Meantime, Blackbeard’s Restaurant is a South Padre stalwart and has a fried seafood platter that is a heart-attackwaiting on a plate but worth every bite. Think about sharing — the portions are enormous. Sleeping

There are all kinds of hotels and a lot of the major chains are on the island. There are budget motels, big chains and even bigger resorts. Condos are also prominent on the island. If you are bringing the kids, then Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort is the place to stay. It has an incredible set-up with an indoor and outdoor water park featuring slides, rides, lazy rivers, fast rivers and water coasters. There is a great, heated pool (to 100 F) with a swim-up bar. O

This is a massive resort with restaurants and a fabulous bar and you could easily spend your whole trip on site. There is so much to see and so much to do on this magnificent island. It's worth the trip to South Padre Island, Texas. Simply — a piece of paradise!

online media, cable, satellite and other distributors. Also for new media platforms including news aggregators.

Research in Canada has proven news and public affairs coverage, as well as debates, as being the most important events in election campaigns – with a commercial value of many times the legal campaign spending limits of all parties and candidates combined. CBC polling analyst and senior writer Éric Grenier researched the archives of his poll aggregating and analysis website and concluded that parties and candidates excluded from polls have their votes reduced by 400 per cent. Complaints about inaccurate, partisan and unfair political reporting have been summarily dismissed by the Canadian media ombudsman, public editors, and the industry’s National NewsMedia Council for decades, many without reply. Similar complaints to other private and university journalism organizations have gone unanswered or unsatisfactorily resolved, as have dozens of official complaints to the CRTC, Elections Canada and Elections Ontario. Canada’s Democracy Watch has run campaigns to get chief electoral officers to use their powers to remedy many problems in our election laws elected officials will not – or to have a court remove CEOs who won’t act. The three major federal parties have passed election law changes many times to suppress smaller parties and independent candidates, that the

Supreme Court of Canada subsequently overruled as unconstitutional attacks on democracy, smaller parties and independents rights to run for election, and voters rights to cast an informed vote. Similar laws passed in Ontario had to be litigated over again after that government refused smaller party requests to comply with the federal decisions forcing them to go back to court. SMALL PARTY AND INDEPENDENT

Recently even the U.S. Federal Court ordered the Federal Election Commission to write rules that ensure any presidential candidate running in enough States needed to theoretically win the Electoral College must get equal time in debates, as they must in the primary elections now, because their media abused the rules to allow illegal multi-million dollar campaign contributions to the major parties.


With the exception of the CBC’s Grenier, Ottawa Life Magazine and Sun Media, who regularly give editorial and news coverage to smaller parties and independent candidates, no other media organizations will be asked to provide judges for the Canadian Fake News Awards.

Ontario’s None of the Above Direct Democracy Party (NOTA) and several smaller and new parties on Dec. 15, 2017, announcement of a Charter Challenge against more than a dozen of Ontario’s election laws went unreported here, but was covered by the U.S. and international media.

International broadcasters RT Russia Today and Al Jazeera English will be asked to provide judges being the only media organizations in the world that provide equal or even equitable coverage in leaders’ debates, moderated by the former host of CNN’s Larry King Live, to smaller parties in U.S. elections.


The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that United Nations Human and Political Rights Conventions Canada has ratified minimum Charter rights, however, small party and independent candidates are regularly excluded from, threatened with or even arrested for daring to be included in local all-candidates debates, even those carried by publicly owned and local cable channels and/or held on public property, clearly violating the most basic of UN rights.

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Columbia Journalism Review and the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan Washington-based think-tank will be invited to provide judges.The Democracy Channel will announce the Canadian Fake News Awards results on April 1, 2018 n Greg Vezina is president of the Democracy Channel® Inc. and leader of Ontario’s None Of The Above Party 45 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

education by Lauren Levesque, Miriam Martin and Lorraine Ste-Marie

What kind of leadership is needed today? n a world that is becoming more Ileadership complex and uncertain, what kind of is needed? This question is rooted in a growing consensus that, as a community, we are living in a period of disruption and transition marked by several divides: ecological, social and spiritual. Ecologically, we are increasingly separated from the natural environment. Socially, we are increasingly separated from each other. Spiritually, we are increasingly separated from ourselves. These states of separation are having greater and greater impacts on our individual and communal lives. With these impacts in mind, the scope of the challenges we face seem overwhelming and can fuel a sense of futility and hopelessness. And yet, our era has been marked by a deep desire to learn how we can be agents of change in our own lives and communities. This desire to understand and participate in dynamics of change is a key element of the field of transformative leadership. The field focuses on equitable and mutual relationships that open spaces for reflecting on and practising constructive social change. It offers ways to develop leadership skills for addressing the challenges and opportunities we face as individuals

and as communities.

Here, diversity is key.

The Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at Saint Paul University was created to take up the task of understanding the challenges confronting leaders today as well as collaboratively building possible responses through deep reflection and practice.

Academic programs such as the Master’s in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality offered through the Providence School draw on an array of perspectives in the human sciences to think through our roles as agents of change in multiple contexts: personal, professional and communal. Working from a place of diversity reminds us that constructive social change is not the purview of one field, one life or one community alone.

One of the goals of the school is to bring the growing interest in spirituality into dialogue with the focus on equal and mutual relationships. The idea is that grappling with questions around leadership, spirituality and social change are personal and collective endeavours. In other words, we need not only to learn to listen to each other, but also to pay close attention to the quality of our own listening. This attention is grounded in thorough examinations of the ways our inner lives as leaders support and shape our concrete action in the world. In the Providence School, we recognize that the imperative to work for constructive social change has deep spiritual roots. Spirituality can be understood as a source of wisdom and insight that can help us reflect on the many ways we coexist and flourish as a human community.

It is a task to which we are all called to participate according to our diverse gifts. As the world becomes increasingly complex and uncertain, we need spaces where we can openly and honestly grapple with such complexity and uncertainty. The Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality is a space where students are encouraged to engage with the question: What kind of leadership is needed today? Each student brings a particular experience, interpretation and story to the question. In this diversity, there is hope: the recognition that, as transformative leaders, we create change together n Lauren Levesque, Miriam Martin and Lorraine Ste-Marie are Assistant Professors Faculty of Human Sciences, Saint Paul University.

You can be the face of change! Saint Paul University (1848) is the founding college of the University of Ottawa, with which it has been federated since 1965. Bilingual and on a human scale, it offers programs in social communication, counselling and psychotherapy, canon law, public ethics, conflict studies, philosophy, human relations, and theology. 46 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2018

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