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Rima Aristocrat

The Bold and the Business Woman

Kazakhstan Growing in Green Turkey-Canada Friendship Series

Internment in Ontario: Hidden Wounds From the Past

St. Vincent de Paul *

Michael Coren * Atlantis, Paradise Island * Lake Placid



Ottawa’s Family Law Firm Our Family Law Group knows that family law issues can come up when you

least expect them, and that they are often combined with emotional concerns. With our knowledge and experience we strive to make the legal process as

straightforward as possible for you, ensuring that your interests are protected. We can help you with all types of family law issues: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Advice on Separation and Divorce

Advice Regarding Marriage and Common-law Spouses Cohabitation Agreements

Marriage Contracts and Separation Agreements Adoption

Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Advice Family Law for the LGBT Community Resolving Family Law Disputes


Suite 1500, 50 O’Connor Street


14 World-renowned mezzosoprano Wallis Giunta tells us why Ottawa is always in her heart.






contents The Art of Couture


Designers’ dedication to their dresses can border on obsession. Celebrated dressmaker Justina McCaffrey has felt, and witnessed, this love firsthand.

From Immigrant to Educator then Executive


Rima Aristocrat came to Canada from her native Georgia and turned Willis College from a secretarial college into an internationally recognized institution that partners with both businesses and the community for the benefit of all.

Legendary Litigation


Ottawa has a long history of turbulent and fascinating legal cases. From Mike Duffy to Christy Natsis, we look at the cases that grabbed the attention of Canadians.

The War On Wage Inequality


It’s 2016, but in many Canadian professions, women still make less than men for the same work. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas explains how we can make sure this outdated practice goes the way of the dinosaurs.



The home of two winter Olympics, Lake Placid has great history, fantastic food and lots of activities. It will remind you why winter is such a great season. If you prefer your water unfrozen, head to Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Fashion editor Alexandra Gunn offers style tips for the working mom.





Publisher’s Message ....................... 4 Best Pics ........................................ 5 Savvy Selections ............................. 7 The Art of Elizabeth Arbuckle.......... 8 Justina McCaffrey .......................... 11 Profile: Phoenix Players ................... 12 In Search of Style ............................ 13 John's Reno Tips ............................ 15 St. Vincent de Paul......................... 28 Opinion: Michael Coren.................. 31 Travel: Lake Placid .......................... 44 Travel: Atlantis, Paradise Island........ 43 Saint Paul University ....................... 46


The Law and You/Legal Series.......... 21 Women, Wages & The Workplace........ 25 Reaching Higher: Algonquin............ 27 Building a Better Canada ............... 39 Canada/Kazakhstan Friendship........ 32 Canada/Turkey Friendship............... 37 Canada/China Friendship ................ 38


publisher’s message by dan donovan

publisher/managing editor

Dan Donovan

The Lebreton Flats Fiasco and Why Melanie Joly Must Reform the NCC

copy editor/senior features writer


art director Karen Temple

or years the National Capital Commission (NCC) has been the most inept, closed, secretive, elitist and incompetent organization in the federal government.Their tagline should be “The NCC—We Never Miss an Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity”.

The NCC board of directors has 15 members, including the chairperson and the chief executive officer (CEO). Thirteen members represent the regions across Canada. Five are from the Capital Region. They are appointed by the minister responsible for the National Capital Commission (now the Hon. Melanie Joly), with the approval of the Governor-in-Council. Their role is to oversee the corporation, ensure that the corporation’s resources are used effectively and efficiently; to monitor, evaluate and report on performance; and to foster relationships between the NCC and other levels of government and the public. In all cases they get an F. The NCC’s continuous incompetence over decades is mind boggling. Where to start? They botched the memorial to Victims of Communism project, interfered and tried to delay Ottawa’s $1 billion light rail, against the wishes of the democratically elected Ottawa City Council. In 2011, they spent 5.2 million taxpayers’ dollars to install seven new ice chalets at a cost of $750,00 each (shacks) along the Rideau Canal which is double the value of most families homes in Canada. They messed up the so called Metcalfe Grand Boulevard plan, the King Edward Avenue redevelopment plan in the 1980s, spent decades fighting with Public Works Canada and the City of Ottawa over the development of Sparks Street, embarrassed the entire country by making a complete mess of the Millennium Celebrations in 2000, tried to unilaterally expand the Champlain Bridge against the wishes of every local city council in the region, destroyed the town of Hull in the late 1960s with the horrible development of federal buildings on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. In 1998, Rhys Phillips, in his book Great Gaffes of the National Capital Commission said of the NCC and Hull: “what emerged from the rubble was a textbook example of the twin horrors of postwar urban renewal and latemodernist architecture. Brutalist concrete buildings encase a soulless mall that spans a bleak, six-lane street; they cruelly mock the former humanely scaled cityscape. Four thousand people were displaced. The new ‘city centre’ turns a cold shoulder to the river and the parliamentary precinct across the water.” The NCC board members are largely unknown. One is a forest industry person, another in general management and marketing, a philosopher and the rest are all either government administrative or education management bureaucrat types.There is not one serious entrepreneur or businesses corporate executive like a Terry Matthews or Jim Balsillie.This explains the insanity of the current Lebreton Flats redevelopment proposal. NCC conditions for applying were so ridiculously secretive and onerous that only two bidders stepped up. Of these, only the Rendezvous LeBreton, 100 per cent private money proposal led by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is credible. The other, the LeBreton Re-Imagined by Devcore, Canderel and DLS Group (DCDLS) is not a serious bid. Their plan is built around an NHL arena and reliance on existing government incentives (whatever that means!). DCDLS does not own an NHL team and will not own one. This should disqualify them immediately from consideration. If the NCC board is dimwitted enough to proceed with the DCDLS LeBreton Re-Imagined proposal (and we know from their track record that they are foolish enough to do this) it will create the biggest white elephant in the region’s history. DCDLS is jesting in the media that they can build and then sell their rink to the competition.This is unprofessional and disrespectful to what should be a serious process. Their glib remarks about Mr. Melnyk are in poor taste to the Ottawa Senators organization who has put hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy over the past quarter century, including millions to local charities. The Rendezvous LeBreton proposal should be approved and given the fast track to proceed as soon as possible. Heritage Minister, Melanie Joly should introduce a bill to disband the NCC and set up a new agency that can better serve Canada’s capital region, of which the Mayors of Ottawa and of Gatineau should be permanent exofficio members. The incompetence of the NCC does not serve the public interest and continues to destroy the soul of our great city n 4 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

Jennifer Hartley

web graphics manager Alissa Dicaire web editor/features writer Eric Murphy cover

Michelle Aristocrat, WARDROBE STYLIST: Kelly Mendoza, Plutino HAIR & MAKEUP: Natalie Peachy, Kirsty Mcdonald, Samantha, L’une Beauty Boutique, Toronto WARDROBE STYLIST: Kelly Mendoza, Plutino photographers

Michelle Aristocrat, Nancy Bell, Paul Couvrette, Macduff Everton, Fay Fox, Ethan Kaplan,Valerie Keeler, Ryan Lindsey, Chris Ross, Dave Schmidt Photography, Ben Sarle fashion editor Alexandra Gunn accounts Joe Colas C.G.A web developer Ben Chung social media contributor Sofie Sharom contributing writers

Michael Coren, Dan Donovan, John Gordon, Alexandra Gunn, Jennifer Hartley, Samantha Lapierre, Alison McEwenon, Ozay Mehmet, Justina McCaffrey, Eric Murphy, Karen Temple, Warren Thomas, Debbie Trenholm, Luo Zhaohui corporate advisor J. Paul Harquail, Charles Franklin corporate counsel Paul Champagne editor emeritus Harvey F. Chartrand student intern Valerie Crew, Ashley Mowry, Justine Yu advertising information

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 Like us at Ottawa Life is listed in Canadian

Advertising Rates & Data (CARD). Ottawa Life subscription rates: one year $42.00, includes postage, plus HST (six issues). Two years $70.00, 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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savvy selections by Debbie Trenholm

Say Cheese If you happen to be a cheese lover, then you are in luck. The Ottawa area is blessed with some fantastic cheese shops to feed your passion. You don't have to look any further than our own backyard for artisan cheese that rivals any around the globe. A few months ago, Glengarry Fine Cheese located in Alexandria (35 minutes from downtown Ottawa) was awarded Best of Show for its Celtic Blue Reserve at the 2015 American Cheese Society Awards. In November at the World Cheese Awards, Prince Edward Island’s Cow’s Creamery won Super Gold in the Vintage Cheddar category for its Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. To add to this high acclaim, this unique cheddar was named one of the top 16 cheeses in the world.

way of forging a connection between the dynamic people who make artisan cheeses and the consumers who enjoy them at home,” explains sommelier

Like wine and craft beer, not everything that the cheesemaker creates is readily available at your local grocery store. Farm Boy, Whole Foods, Metro and some Loblaw locations all have a decent Canadian cheese selection. Specialty stores like Jacobsons (New Edinburgh), Nicastro’s (Westboro & downtown), Serious Cheese (Kanata) and The Piggy Market (Westboro) have an even greater selection of hardto-come-by artisan cheeses.

You don’t have to look any further than our own backyard for artisan cheese that rivals any around the globe.

Rather than running around to all these stores, here’s something really handy: you can have cheese delivered.There is a new way to discover artisan cheeses. Subscribe to Savvy Cool Curds artisan cheese-of-the-month club. “It is our

Vanessa Simmons. Each month a different Canadian cheesemaker is showcased and Simmons curates 4 to 5 different cheeses (between 200 and 250 grams each) in a parcel that

• • • • •

$60/month plus shipping (approx $15 – hand delivered by courier) 4, 6 or 12 month subscriptions delivered on the Wednesday closest to the 15th of each month No membership fees Each subscriber automatically becomes a member of the Savvy Company family, giving VIP invitations and special discounts to Savvy Events featuring Canadian artisan cheese, wines, and craft beers.

is delivered to the subscriber’s home or office. “To add to the enjoyment of each bite of cheese, I share the stories behind the talented, passionate, creative and often eclectic cheesemakers. Each person has an interesting story that makes their cheese even richer.” “There is no one better suited than Vanessa Simmons to select the best in Canadian cheese to discover each month. Savvy Cool Curds is handsdown a great idea. I see it each year at our festival, consumers want local… they want Canadian.” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, Founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. The chosen farmstead and artisan cheeses are at their peak ripeness and ready to be simply unwrapped and served. From fresh to washed or aged, made using various milks – cow, goat, sheep and on occasion – buffalo. All told, the parcel will be approximately 1 kilogram of delicious Canadian artisan cheese. Cheese lovers will be in heaven when their monthly parcel arrives from these cheesemakers: Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Cow’s Creamery (PEI), Back Forty Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères (Quebec), and new on the scene in Prince Edward County Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy (Ontario). And that is just the beginning. To top it all off, in each issue of the monthly Curd On The Street Magazine, Simmons shares her tasting notes, tips & tricks, along with cheese-laden recipes. Canadian artisan cheese delivered to your doorstep. Does life get any better than this? n 7 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

gallery by Samantha Lapierre

The Captivating Art of Elisabeth Arbuckle A graphic designer by training, an art teacher by experience and an artist inspired by the world around her, meet Elisabeth Arbuckle. She has called Ottawa home for nearly 30 years but Elisabeth Arbuckle is someone who brings a long cv of international experience to her art. All of it has added depth, meaning and exotic beauty to her work. Like many artists, her interest in art began early in life. Born and raised in Wales, she would pass the Turner House Gallery (near Cardiff) on her way home from school. She began to wander through the small gallery, awed by what she saw and decided she wanted to learn how to do it herself. Thus began her journey as an artist.

It was in Nassau that Arbuckle met her Canadian husband. Eventually, Arbuckle left the warmth of the Bahamas to start family life in Maine, and then moved to Canada. Arbuckle has taught art in Ottawa for the last twenty years.

“My parents were fully supportive of my decision to study art. I don’t think I ever considered anything else a real possibility.”

International Explorer and Artist

Art school in Wales and England followed and she completed her degree program and art teacher’s certification. In addition to Canada, Arbuckle has taught art in England and the Bahamas.

Images and places in National Geographic magazine fascinated her and fed her travel itch and in 1976, she pursued a trip of a lifetime. Travelling from London to Kathmandu, she trekked through Iran, Afghanistan,


Pakistan and India finally reaching South East Asia and then headed to Australia.Arbuckle eventually returned to the United Kingdom only to pack up her suitcases a short time later to begin teaching art in the Bahamas. “Teaching gave me the opportunity to share my love and enjoyment of art and creativity,” she says.“I have the privilege to share my ideas with students from all walks of life, including students of all ages at varying levels of development and growth. However, not only that, I learn from them as they share different approaches with me.”

The inspiration for her art comes from many sources. She was initially inspired by the work of artists such as Gustav Klimt, Oska Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. “I love whimsy and I love line. I have also been drawn to masks as an excellent metaphor for what we see and do, how we present ourselves to others.” Arbuckle’s previous work has focused on her love of natural objects used as a representation of life: leaves, pebbles, shells and objects gathered on walks.

Recently, however, Arbuckle has focused her work on the actual path walked along. “The subject matter is not just something concrete, held or seen, but illustrates a time, an experience and a chance for introspection.” Her new adventure is her retirement. While previously she had to balance finding creative time with a busy family life and a full-time teaching career, she now is able to spend time at her studio whenever she wishes. Arbuckle confesses that she often can

get lost in the process of creating her works, as well as in the subject matter. Retirement will hopefully allow her to do just that. She currently maintains a studio at the Nepean Creative Arts, Stafford Studios where the public can view her artwork by appointment. Arbuckle also exhibits her work with a number of groups around Ottawa, including OMMA, Arteast, Nepean Fine Arts League and the Foyer Gallery n 9 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016


haute couture by Justina McCaffrey


A Couture Dress What is often celebrated in this industry is the way in which designers share with each other. I have a friend who makes patterns for Vera Wang in New York and we talk intimately about particular dresses. She described one creation that had over a hundred different pattern pieces, and some of them were so small that they had to be kept in tiny Ziploc bags. Another patternmaker lamented that, prior to New York fashion week, her upper arms and back ached because of the amount of draping and sculpting fabric on the dress form she had to perform during her sixteen-hour days.

Another friend has an intimate atelier in New York where he and his wife work on bringing the most magnificent ideas to the runway through a roster of famous labels. I always marvel at the details. One piece was a seamless mesh pull-over shirt consisting only of glass cut beads that had to be created with a makeshift “loom” of hundreds of needles strategically hand weaving in and out of the beads. It is one thing to have great taste as a designer, but it’s another thing to execute these great ideas. This beaded shirt was a masterpiece that ended up in Sports Illustrated over a swimsuit.

There is a shared understanding in these experiences. We’ve all had them. I have had to cut into lace that costs $1000 per metre — and that is at wholesale price. It is entirely nervewracking. Another of my dresses used over a hundred metres of silk. Yet another dress needed close to one hundred different components. It can be painstakingly detailed. However, it is all worth it.

High-level fashion editors innately recognize and understand these masterpieces. This is why so often the garments that are chosen for content are judged as weird or ugly by people who don’t understand. One example that comes to mind is the Vogue editorial of Alexander McQueen’s knitted gown circa 2003. The dress begins at the shoulders where the knitted stitches are sheer and small, resembling a transparent t-shirt - a t-shirt gown. The knitting needles and stitches become bigger as the dress gets closer to the hem and by the time the dress touches the floor, the oversized knitted stitches resemble rolling hills as the dress cascades into a voluminous train. There is genius in that someone was assigned to figure out the stitches per square inch and gauge them with the incremental change of growth according to the yarn and needle size. Then the knitters were cognizant and changed up their knitting size, all the while keeping each stitch in place as they worked.

Sometimes, I study one particular dress of another designer, perhaps a ready-to-wear piece, dissecting every part of it and eventually discussing its structure and cut with its creators/ patternmakers. I want to know what is inside and how it was constructed. Gladly, they share these details with me, not because I am gleaning some industry secret, but primarily because I find joy in their execution of the garment. I share in their triumph of making an architectural impossibility happen despite gravity and the nuances of a woman’s body.


I have had the good fortune in my career to have had my work featured in some of the most prominent magazines around the world. My dresses have also been in some of the finest retail stores. Still, after all this time in the industry, I am still in awe over the magical process of creating a couture dress and admire the talents and commitment of fellow designers. I have examined other designers’ gowns and often I know the creators of my competitors’ dresses. I appreciate the beauty in what I and others do.

Fashion is my art, and while it can be debated that it is a commercial craft, I still admire and look in wonder at the thousands of Swarovksi crystals, intricate embroidery, ostrich feather tendrils and fresh water pearls that “magically” appear on a gown. Somebody has to work tirelessly on making it all happen. Because of my appreciation of intricacies, my dresses use old world materials coupled with new technical abilities. I use silk linings, lots of boning, stiff canvas and French lace. Special zippers, ribbon and the perfect nettings and tulles need to be carefully chosen. Fabric selections need to be carefully scrutinized as layers of various fabrics create new and different colours. The attention to detail and little extras make the difference. The pattern of a couture dress is created specifically for the shape of the woman. The creator appreciates the woman’s body in its current state with no need to change her size. The dress revolves around the woman rather than a dress form. In contrast, with ordinary ready-to-wear, the woman usually has to modify her body somehow for the dress. Valentino once stated that he needs his couture business for him to be continuously inspired to create all of the other pieces within his readyto-wear and licensed collections. I completely agree. I am passionate about the anatomy of a couture dress. Getting to know my clients so I can truly create something perfect, just for them is, plain and simply, pure magic n 11 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

around town by Samantha Lapierre


Now in their 14th season, the Phoenix Players have been thrilling audiences with their entertaining and thought-provoking productions since 2001. The Players are a community theatre group on a mission to produce quality and an accessible theatre experiences for all. The group offers the opportunity for anyone to join the world of theatre, one that the troupe describes as a world full of creativity, enjoyment, entertainment and connection. In the past, the Players have taken on large productions that have been met with success and praise. The Players’ 2014 production of The Diary of Anne Frank was epic and very well received, attracting a young and new audience to theatre. “When you listen to our audience, they say they like all of our plays. They tell us every time that the play they just saw was the best play we’ve ever done,” explains Player Ellen Clare O'Gallagher.

last scene, all the women and men in the first row had tears streaming down their faces. For the actors,” O’Gallagher says, “we could hardly get the words out, it was so touching.” The Players offer the opportunity for not only actors, but also those interested in backstage work, to assist in stage productions. The group welcomes anyone and everyone looking to try their hand at the world of theatre and acquire a wide range of skills along the way. Prior experience is not required. The Players offer workshops for that. Past sessions have varied, including voice, theatre safety and directing. All are open to the entire theatre community. Not only that,The Players are supportive its auditioning for other companies.

Theatre, of course, can be a moving experience for both the performers and audience. O’Gallagher recalls an emotional response from the audience after a past production of the comedy “Dixie Swim Club.”

Be sure to keep an eye out for the Player’s next big production, The Staff Room. Directed by André Dimitrijevic, the play examines the challenges, difficulties and small triumphs a high school community endures. You can catch the shoe at the Gladstone Theatre from April 22nd to the 23rd and the 26th to the 30th n

“At the end of that play, looking out over the audience in the


in search of style by Alexandra Gunn


Whether she leaves her home for an office or not, every mom works. The challenge is stepping out in a functionally chic outfit. Finding a balance between fashionable and functional is possible if you have the right pieces to ensure success.



Follow Alex on Twitter: @AlexandraGunn

Stuck in a rut? A tailored jacket is a secret weapon. It brings denim up a notch, polishes casual dresses, takes slim pants to the boardroom and can cover up a slouchy outfit. The trick is to find a jacket that suits your lifestyle and then have a local tailor nip and tuck your latest great find. Getting the perfect fit will elevate the final product way beyond its original price tag. As we transition to spring, a cropped trench or a bright blazer are two easy ways to add polish to any outfit.



Let’s face it, it's all about comfort. The key is to find a compromise between a trend and easy-to-wear clothing. A dress is perfect as it can be worn year-round with the addition of tights. Opt for a wrinkle-free material and a cut that is both polished and form fitting. I love the design of this two-in-one sweatshirt dress and it pairs perfectly with casual leggings or leather leggings for date night.



p Marshalls Two-in-One Sweatshirt Dress $399.99

p Winners Cropped Trench $399.99

A large structured bag can accommodate all of your necessities. Ensure the top has a zipper to keep everything in place. You’ll often see celebrities opting for a large designer handbag in lieu of a diaper bag. If you’d prefer a stylish diaper bag, Kate Spade’s signature Stevie bag (ABOVE RIGHT) can be worn over the shoulder or tossed onto your stroller handles (thanks to special straps) and comes with a nylon changing pad.

Spring Trend Sneak Peek The Classic Shirtdress Fashion’s current penchant for shirting brings the classic shirtdress back to the forefront. This classic style borrows details from a man’s shirt creating a sleek design whilst its clean lines provide an ideal canvas for spring’s bold botanicals and vibrant colour palette. Buy it now and wear your shirtdress with tights or knee high boots.

Kate Spade Sunny Daisy Organza ShirtDress $598

Marshalls Printed Silk ShirtDress $99.99

Addition Elle Calypso ShirtDress $195 13 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

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homes by OLM Staff



avigating the world of building permits can be overwhelming for any homeowner. However, these permits can be a very important part of any home renovation or remodelling project. John Gordon, owner of Your Reno Guys, takes the guesswork out.

First of all, it is important to point out that in Ontario, anyone, regardless of qualifications, can practice construction. In order to increase quality control construction, the Ontario Building Code Act was enacted in 1976 to protect both municipalities and homeowners. There have been many amendments to it over the years. The Code is important to consider in your renovation projects. There are two main reasons why a homeowner should get a building permit: 1. Peace of mind that the work performed meets Building Code standards. A lot of trust must be placed in the renovator to do the plumbing, electric and mechanical work according to Building Code requirements. Because anyone can sell their services as a renovator, a second opinion is of the utmost importance. A city building inspector is very knowledgeable about Building Code regulations and will catch any mistakes. 2. Peace of mind for homeowners so there will not be any legal consequences after a renovation. If a renovated home is sold, the new homeowner may sue if the renovations were completed without a permit. Acquiring a permit

A Guide to Building Permits after the work was performed can be very invasive and in some cases the space may need to be completely demolished because the bones were not built properly, according to Code. If you are a homeowner of a newly renovated home where the previous homeowner performed the renovations, it is best to ask for a copy of the construction plans and the building permit. If they cannot be given to you for whatever reason, you can ask the city to supply you with a copy. Fill out an application for a Compliance Summary Report, which will give you the history of the property, what had been applied for and at what time. The Permit Process When applying for a permit, the city requires a clear plan of what is being proposed. A plan is necessary when architectural, plumbing and/or mechanical work is being performed. Plans can be drawn by the homeowner or by a registered designer with a Building Code identification number (BCIN) – another measure developed by the government to help ensure that plans are completed in accordance to Building Code standards, making the review process easier and quicker.

Applying for a building permit can be fairly simple. The City of Ottawa website provides a great deal of helpful information to get you started on the right foot. If you are unsure of whether your project requires a building permit, the best way to determine your needs is to email

Common renovation projects that do not require a building permit:

• Painting or applying wallpaper • Installing new finished flooring (hardwood, tile, etc.) • Replacing bathroom and kitchen cabinetry (when plumbing, dishwasher location and vents are not being affected) • Replacing plumbing fixtures when they are staying in the same location • Building a deck that is lower than 24 inches off the ground

or call Building Code Services at 3-1-1. If you are told you require a permit, always ask to have an email sent to you so you have written confirmation. Next Steps • Complete a building permit application, which can be found on the City of Ottawa website. Bring the completed application along with two sets of plans to any of Ottawa’s Client Service Centres, which can also be found on the City of Ottawa website.

• The fees for building permits are structured as $11 for every $1,000 of forecasted project cost. • The review period for a building permit varies by the complexity of the project but for residential renovations you should expect 5 to 10 business days. • Once your permit is issued, it must be posted in a window so it is visible from outside your home. When picking up the permit, it will be explained to you that specific inspections will need to be scheduled as the work is completed. Building permits are essential for a successful renovation and city officials have made efforts to make the acquisition process as smooth as possible to ensure homeowners understand the process. Renovating without a permit can be as damaging as driving without respecting traffic signals. Protect yourself and your home by acquiring the proper building permits before your next renovation project. Don’t miss the upcoming Ottawa Home + Garden Show, March 25-28 at the EY Centre, for more expert tips and advice. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www. n 15 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016


cover story by Samantha Lapierre photo by Michelle Aristocrat

BoldBusiness woman



Willis College Celebrates 120 Years in the Community

It’s hard to believe Willis College has been training minds in the Ottawa area for over 120 years. Opening its doors in 1896 as a business and secretary school in Ottawa by shorthand expert Stephen T. Willis, the college has long been known for its dedication to the community and its commitment to skills training excellence. “When you are 120-years-old in the community, you become a community. When you have four generations of families trusting you (with their education),you become the community. When you have projects that benefit the community, you become the community. It’s about partnerships and networking. Community is one of the most important pillars,” says Willis College President and CEO, Rima Aristocrat. The school once housed a total of 17 students and three staff members.Today, Willis College is an internationally recognized educational institution, offering its students state-of-the-art courses in business, technology and health care with three campuses in the Ottawa area. There is a location on O’Connor Street plus one in Arnprior and one in Smiths Falls. Since 1989, Willis has been led by Aristocrat. Within seconds of meeting her, one can sense her magnetic personality and an unbridled passion for what she does.

assist Canadian immigrants with degrees in higher education to attain skills training. Aristocrat also began to study technology at Longview College, eventually graduating and becoming vice president of the school.

Aristocrat’s story is as unique as Willis’. She immigrated to Toronto from Georgia in 1974 with the hopes of starting a new life. Equipped with a Bachelor of Science and Music and a Master of Education from her native country, Aristocrat recognized that she needed to acquire a new set of skills for life in her new country.

Soon, destiny came knocking. In 1989, Aristocrat was offered a job at Willis College to teach computers. When she joined the school, she saw its potential to grow and become a bigger educational institution than it was. While at the time, Willis taught few students and was still known primarily as a secretarial college, Aristocrat knew it could offer much more.

“Even though I had degrees, I quickly realized that when you come to a new country, it’s a new language, it’s a new culture,” she explains. “You really need to take something to upgrade your skills set. There wasn’t a need for a whole new education. However, I needed something quick, not only from a skills point of view but an understanding of the culture. How do Canadians work? How do Canadians think, and what are they looking for?”

“I was surprised, with its history, why it didn’t have more students,” Aristocrat recalls. “When I learned that private career colleges are not funded by the government, and that it depends on how many students you have in the classroom, I very quickly realized that they must be doing something right to survive 100 years. But I also saw that they were not going to be able to survive much longer if they only had a few students a year.”

During her time in Toronto, Aristocrat made a name for herself in the business and educational fields. In 1975, she founded and led the Canadian Association of Immigrant Professionals. The organization would

Aristocrat prepared a business plan for the head of the college, Rodolphe Rousseau. The plan outlined how Willis could extend its services and programs, especially in the area of technology. Silicon Valley was 17 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016


booming, and Aristocrat foresaw an equally booming job market. “After many meetings, I took over,” she says. Aristocrat began developing programs, sending them for approval and implementing them. “I became the first immigrant and first female to lead Willis College. I was obligated as a new president and as a new immigrant to make sure that nothing happened to this noble establishment while it was under my leadership.” Aristocrat has remained wise with her business decisions, always keeping her students’ best interests in mind. “We are measured by what kind of jobs my graduates can get,” she explains. “Some students have PhDs, some of them are medical doctors, and some have a higher education than us working at Willis. They are our clients, and they are investing in their future.” One way Willis helps students to land jobs after graduation is through partnerships with companies. Under Aristocrat’s leadership, the college has established partnerships with many technology, multinational Fortune 500 companies, including a recent collaboration with security giant SOPHOS from the United Kingdom. Fortinet from California and Check Point from Israel are two other lucrative cyber security partnerships that work with Willis. They are job pipelines for graduates. Companies come to Willis with job opportunities and Willis provides highly and quickly trained, skilled workers. Providing her students with opportunity is a priority for Aristocrat. “It’s one thing to give somebody fish,” she says. “It’s another to teach them how to fish. Education and skills training empower people. They allow you to be a self-sustaining, confident and innovative person.” Aristocrat speaks of her students with pride. She has been applauded for her work with students in minority groups, specifically women, youth, and Indigenous groups. 18 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

Aristocrat introduced Women in Information Technology (or WITS) as a program at Willis for women to learn the necessary skills for a job in the traditionally male-dominated IT job sector. In 2000, Aristocrat began TeKnoWave, Canada’s first national Aboriginal IT training program. The non-profit organization seeks to train First Nations, Inuit, and Métis populations for technological jobs. Its pilot program met with great success. For the past eight years,Willis has been partnering with Minwaashin Lodge, an Aboriginal women’s support centre in Ottawa, to develop Courage to Soar, a program for Aboriginal women who are homeless, survivors, or at risk of domestic violence. The students are trained, with full sponsorship, for careers in office administration, including job placement and agency

Aristocrat speaks of her students with pride. She has been applauded for her work with students in minority groups, specifically women, youth, and Indigenous groups.

“Rima was chosen as Chair of the IWSO Gala because, as an immigrant woman who came here in the ‘70s, she symbolizes courage, vision, determination, and strength as a leader,” says Cooman. “(Aristocrat) has a spirit, which has supported thousands of immigrant women, men, and youth in establishing strong roots in Canada.” To Aristocrat, community is everything. Students taking technological programs at Willis are required to create projects that involve and benefit the community. For example, students will find non-profit or small to mediumsized companies who cannot afford technologies. Students will then create the technology and deliver it to the business. This project counts toward their credits for graduation. “We’ve put millions of dollars into tech programs in the city of Ottawa,” Aristocrat exclaims. “It’s win-win.” 2016 will be a big year for Willis College, and for Aristocrat. Willis plans to roll out some new projects, including Women in Cyber Security Scholarships, Willis Corporate Training Department, Willis College Aboriginal Education Department, new partnership with Invest Ottawa and CENGN, a plan to assist new refugees from Syria and a partnership with Ottawa 2017 to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

“This is a labour of love,” explains Aristocrat. “While I’m leading Willis, having Aboriginal success, having Aboriginal people to bridge the skills gap in Canada, having Aboriginal people stand up and be counted is a part of my mission.”

Willis will also be implementing a brand new scholarship to celebrate its 120 years: the Jim Watson Scholarship. This partnership with Canada’s 150th birthday will see the creation of Jim Watson Cyber Security Professional Scholarships. A total of $150,000 in funds will help draw additional students to fill 150 cyber security professional jobs created for the talent pipeline Willis College and its partners have created.

This past November, Aristocrat was chosen as Honourary Chair of the Immigrant Women Services Ottawa Candles and Roses Gala. Magdalene Cooman, the Chair of the IWSO, finds Aristocrat’s work especially inspiring.

As for Aristocrat, she is excited for the future. “We are going to implement a lot more services that will help the entire community. I’ve always said that we are not a community college. We are a college for our community.” n

referrals after graduation. Over 120 women have successfully graduated from the skills training program.

profile by Samantha Lapierre photo by Fay Fox Joyce El-Khoury Opera Adventure



hankfully, Joyce El-Khoury didn’t follow her original game plan for life. With post-secondary dreams of becoming a nurse or a doctor, her parents advised her to think again. ‘ Joyce, you should be singing.You have a voice, you have this musical talent. It would be a shame if you didn’t use it,” El-Khoury recalls them saying.

Enlightenment, was a performance of Les Martyrs and was also met with wide praise.

Accepted into University of Ottawa’s School of Music, she trained with the distinguished voice teacher and bassbaritone Ingemar Korjus. The young soprano then studied at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts and trained with the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindmann Young Artist Development Program.

It hasn’t all been easy. El-Khoury has faced some challenges along the way. The competition has been stiff and sometimes daunting. “Most cities have opera companies, and thousands of singers are vying for one job. For a young soprano to get work is extremely rare. You have to have your eye on the prize.”

El-Khoury is taking the opera world by storm. She has performed in La Traviata by Verdi close to 60 times including tackling the role of Violetta in eleven different productions. She also has played Rusalka by Dvořák and completed two major recordings, both rare Donizetti operas.

It is clear that El-Khoury does. Along with the uOttawa performance and the part of Musetta in Munich's Bayerisch Staatsoper production of La Bohème, El-Khoury has many roles on the horizon. Upcoming performances include the role of Tatiana in a concert version of Eugene Onegin with the North Carolina Opera, as well as the title role in Donizetti’s Maria Sturda with the Seattle Opera in February and March.

Her recording of Belisario featured the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and garnered the performer nomination for Best Young Singer at the London Opera Awards. The second recording, featuring the Orchestra of the Age of

In honour of her mentor Korjus’ retirement, El-Khoury recently performed with the uOttawa Choir which consisted of pieces she last sang at her own graduation recital.

She is definitely one to watch. It’s truly a good thing she listened to her parents n 19 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016


the law and you/ottawa legal by Alison McEwen


Uber Insists its Drivers are Independent Contractors


here has been much talk recently on whether Uber drivers are in fact employees. And the answer depends very much on who you ask. Last year, a California Labour Commissioner ruled that an Uber driver was an employee because Uber controls the tools that drivers use, monitors their approval ratings, and terminates their access to the system if their ratings fall. This allowed for the recovery of the driver’s car expenses. And that decision is not the only one. Also in California, a labour board ruled that a former driver was an employee and so eligible for unemployment benefits. But these decisions applied to those specific drivers. And the legal decisions are not consistent: agencies in nine US states have sided with Uber and found that the drivers are independent contractors. A Florida agency ruled that an ex-Uber driver was an employee, and then later reversed its decision. There is currently a federal class-action in California where thousands of Uber drivers are seeking recognition as employees. So what does this mean for the Uber drivers? How do we determine their status? Though the technology is new, and the employer (or non-employer, depending what side you are on) is new, the debate about independent contractor versus employee is one that has long been fought. Then there is the further grey area created by the dependent contractor, who gets some of the rights of employees, but not all. The factors traditionally used to determine whether or not a worker is an employee (who owns the tools, who takes the risk, who controls the work being done, etc.) are not necessarily going to work in this scenario (and let’s be honest, they did not always work in traditional cases either!).

But whatever the factors used, Uber is determined to keep these drivers as independent contractors. Uber’s position is that they act simply as a connector: it provides the app to connect people who want rides to people who need rides. Uber argues that the tools (i.e. cars) are owned by the drivers, who choose their hours and are free to work for other companies. The other side says the control is all with Uber: it controls the rates for its drivers, monitors their performance through the ratings, and has detailed requirements regarding the kind of car they drive, and the routes they take. Additionally, Uber has the right to stop any driver from using the app: legally, unless they violate a term of the contract, independent contractors may not be fired before a job is complete.

Uber’s position is that they act simply as a connector: it provides the app to connect people who want rides to people who need rides. So, besides providing interesting fodder for a plethora of lawyers, what are the consequences of Uber’s position? Well, they are steep — an employee is more than just a name. By keeping them as independent contractors, Uber does not have to provide benefits (including health insurance), disability insurance, or pay EI premiums. It does not have to ensure that the drivers are earning minimum wage, it does not have to pay overtime, and there are a number of other employee protections that are not afforded to independent contractors. It also makes a difference for taxes: independent contractors are responsible for their entire contribution to payroll taxes.

Do you think that a company, which was valued last year at $50 billion, should be allowed to leave its drivers without any of these benefits or protections? Further, while Uber paints the drivers as retirees or students or people with a little spare time just looking to make some extra cash, there are a lot of stories out there of people working crazy hours and earning far less than minimum wage. These are workers who should be protected.These are the people for who the laws were written. So we, as a society, should be careful before we let Uber off the hook for taking care of the very people who are the basis for its $50 billion valuation. And with a valuation like that, they can afford it: a recent report approximated the cost of benefits for an Uber driver to average $5,500 per year per driver. Further, many Uber drivers likely do not understand the consequences of being an independent contractor they may not know they are the ones obliged to remit their own taxes. When the line is hard to draw between an employee and an independent contractor, the individual employee’s rights should be put ahead of corporate interests, particularly in cases where the employee is vulnerable and the employer is a huge multi-national corporation with a large valuation. One has to ask, why is Uber so determined to have drivers be independent contractors? Uber can afford to treat its drivers like employees, and what’s more, it should want to keep its drivers happy and healthy. So why won’t it? n Alison McEwen is a lawyer at the law firm of Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP (, and a member of its Labour and Employment Law Practice Groups. Visit the Labour of Law blog for more information on Labour Law at This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. 21 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016


the law and you/ottawa legal by Samantha Lapierre


Ottawa’s Ten Most Astounding Legal Cases


ontroversial cases always make for controversial verdicts and help advance the debate about the role of the courts, lawyers, justice, the justice system and righteousness in our society. Ottawa has been home to many contentious cases over the past several decades. Here is a subjective list of our Top 10 legal cases

1. Mike Duffy Trial In perhaps the most recent case featured in our top 10, the Mike Duffy trial ended on its 60th day in December. On July 17 2014, the RCMP charged Duffy, a former journalist and senator, with bribery, frauds on the government and 29 other charges related to Senate expenses. Represented by lawyer Donald Bayne, Duffy’s trial ended with Bayne electing to call no more witnesses to the stand. All that remains of the trial is for lawyers to sum up their closing arguments, which will most likely take place in late February or March, and then it’s all up to Justice Charles Vaillancourt to reach a verdict. 2. Métis Rights Case 2015 saw a much anticipated court case come to trial in the Supreme Court of Canada.The Supreme Court was asked to determined if 200,000 Métis and 400,000 non-status Indians in Canada have the legal right to be treated as “Indians” under the Constitution Act. Launched in 2009 by prominent Métis leader Harry Daniels, the case did not go to trial until 2011. Métis lawyer Jason Madden represented the Métis National Council, helping to successfully argue that the Act was broad enough to include all Aboriginal peoples. 3. O’Brien Trial In 2009, Ottawa witnessed something the city had not seen in 120 years: a sitting mayor on trial for electionrelated charges. Larry O’Brien, represented by criminal defense lawyer Michael Edelson, faced two charges relating to allegations that he illegally tried to persuade mayoral rival Terry Kilrea to drop out of the 2006 race. O’Brien was acquitted on the charges and peacefully returned to office to

serve as mayor until 2010. 4. Beatty vs. Best Theratronics This was hailed as a landmark case in Ottawa in wrongful dismissal lawsuits. In 2014, Clifford Douglas Beatty, represented by lawyer Graeme B. Fraser, sued a Kanata company, Best Theratronics, after his employment was terminated. At the time, Beatty had worked for Best Theratronics for 16 years and was 58-years-old. The judge concluded that Beatty had been entitled to 16 months notice of termination and that the company failed to submit any credible evidence that Beatty failed to make reasonable efforts to find new employment. 5. Montfort Hospital In 1996, the Health Services Restructuring Commission was given a mandate to improve the health-care system in Ontario.This was bad news for Ottawa’s Hospital Montfort, Ontario’s only French language teaching hospital, and one that offered bilingual medical services (as designated under the French Language Services Act). In 1997, The Commission issued a notice of intent to close the hospital (and later, reduce its budget and services) which sparked plenty of anger from the public who relied on its francophone services. Former Vanier mayor activist Gisele Lalonde led the crusade to keep Montfort afloat, presenting arguments based on administrative law and equality rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Two years later, the Divisional Court made its ruling, finding that Montfort’s designation under the French Language Services Act gave the francophone community a “truly francophone environment,” squashing the Commission’s plans once and for all.

6. Warman vs. Fournier In 2014, Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman launched a lawsuit against the webmasters and two commenters of the website The defamation case lasted six years. Warman was known for his use of the now-repealed Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act to launch complaints against those he alleged had posted hate speech online. had been openly critical of Warman’s complaints, and a jury found 41 statements on the website regarding Warman as libelous. The jury ordered the defendants to pay $42,000 in damages, as well as $85,000 in costs. The website was banned from publishing any of the defamatory statements. 7. Calypso Water Park Trial In 2014 Calypso Water Park was on trial on 20 charges under Ontario’s Technical Standards and Safety Act, one that governs amusement park and water park operations. Calypso was represented by lawyer Lawrence Greenspon. Prosecutors withdrew nine of the charges due to lack of evidence. The park was later found to be guilty of six out of the remaining 11 safetyrelated charges. 8. Christy Natsis In 2011, Pembroke dentist Christy Natsis struck and killed the driver of a truck, head on, on Highway 17. Natsis’ blood alcohol level was nearly two-anda-half times the legal limit (however, the readings were removed from evidence after the judge found provincial police violated her rights). The case went to trial that year, and the jury reached a conclusion in 2015 when Natsis, defended by lawyer Michael Edelson, was found guilty and sentenced to five years and 40 days in prison, as well a four-year driving suspension. 9. Jean Paul Rheaume Beating John Barbro, a former correctional 23 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

Ottawa Legal >> from page 23

officer at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre was acquitted in an alleged 2010 beating of a prisoner, Jean-Paul Rhéaume. Barbro could not be correctly identified as the single perpetrator in the alleged incident, although Barbro was the only guard who was fired after the alleged incident occurred. Through his crossexaminations, defence lawyer Michael Edelson exposed a “code of silence” among guards, and accused the internal provincial government’s investigation as one that had “tunnel vision,” with investigators exclusively targeting Barbro and rejecting any evidence in Barbro’s favour.. 10. Romeo Phillion The case of Romeo Phillion is a benchmark case for the wrongly convicted. It all began on August 9, 1967, when an unknown assailant stabbed a firefighter, Leopold Roy, to death. Ottawa Police placed Phillion in a police lineup after he matched a description given by Roy’s wife. After a positive identification was unable to be made, Phillion was let go. In 1972, Phillion, once again, found himself in trouble with the law after being arrested for an armed robbery of a taxi driver. Although the crime was completely unrelated to Roy’s unsolved murder, Phillion confessed to the crime. It was later found that Phillion’s false confession was due to an anti-social personality disorder. The trial began on October 16, 1972, and Phillion’s lawyer Arthur Cogan failed to prove his innocence. Roy was sentenced to life in prison. In 1998, Phillion’s case took a turn when his parole officer handed him an envelope containing police reports prepared by an investigating officer in his case. The report provided Romeo with an alibi: a detective had spoken to a Trenton service station operator who confirmed the Phillion had been in Trenton between 12 and 1 p.m., the day of Roy’s murder. This made it impossible for Phillion to have returned to Ottawa by 2:45 p.m., the time the murder was committed. After a lengthy re-opening of his case, Phillion’s conviction was overturned and he was ordered a new trial. Phillion’s name was cleared in April 2010, on his 71st birthday n 24 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

the law and you/ottawa legal by Samantha Lapierre

Women, Wages The Workplace


OPSEU Shines a Light on Inequality


he Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) represents a diverse group of 130,000 public employees across Ontario. OPSEU empowers

members to solve workplace problems.The union’s expertise extends to collective bargaining and dispute resolution through to workplace health and safety and protection of human rights. Gender equality in the workplace is just one of the causes for which OPSEU fights. Claire Tortolo is a full-time professor at Algonquin College and teaches English as a Second Language. For the past three years,Tortolo has also been a union steward for OPSEU Local 415. How did you first become connected with OPSEU? I come from a long line of public school teachers. My father was a union rep for the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario when I was a kid, so I clearly remember him doing union work. I always thought it might be something of interest. About three years ago, there was a protest outside a building in downtown Ottawa that Dalton McGuinty was visiting. It was during a time when the government was going to make some major changes to the public school system. I went on my own (to the demonstration) and I bumped into a few people holding an OPSEU flag and started chatting with them. They turned out to be two executive members here at the college. They invited me to a meeting. Everything went from there. How would you rate your experience with OPSEU? Really positive. It has given me a great chance to see how the college system works. On a personal level, it’s been great for me to get out of my department and meet a lot of people in different parts of the college doing different types of work. The work has

also been pretty eye-opening. There tends to be an assumption that things are working in a fair way when you’re in a job. Sometimes it takes digging a little deeper to start to see that there can be problems and issues. Being able to work through our own problems in our department with the union was really positive. Being able to help people in other departments as well has been great. How has OPSEU changed gender inequality in the workplace? In the college system, one of the best things that has come from our union representation is that we have a collective agreement that includes pay scales. We are fortunate to have that. It means that it doesn’t matter what your gender is, you are placed on the scale because of your experience, academic background, and all of those things. There really isn’t that kind of gender inequality. But I think we only have that because we have a union and because we have a collective agreement that gives us that possibility of equality. How can we change gender inequality in general in the workplace? I think the first step is to be aware of it and acknowledge that it still exists. I think that can be a challenge today, which is surprising, considering it’s been around for a long time. It can

ABOVE: Claire Tortolo is the union steward for OPSEU Local 415.

be difficult sometimes to get people to understand that it is a really important issue. Beyond that I believe that if (workers have) an organization, whether it is private or public, then that gives you a position to ask for equality. From my point of view, I’ve seen that work really well through the unionization process. Do you find that younger people are more aware of inequality that they may face or that others might face? I do think that young people are more aware of inequality. But I teach mostly international students, and many come from countries where discrimination against women is much more pronounced. Initially these immigrants are delighted about how much more equal our society is. However, once they get a deeper understanding of Canadian society, they realize that we still have a lot more work to do n 25 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

the law and you/ottawa legal by Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Women, Wages The Workplace


Let’s do to Wage Inequality What We Did to Drunk Driving W

omen earn less than men do – sometimes even when they’re doing the same job. This is disgraceful, and it’s one of the reasons my union partnered with Ottawa Life to look at how women are treated in the workplace. Unequal treatment of females is rampant in the private sector, though some companies show true leadership on this issue. But as many workers in Ottawa know, wage inequality is also a fact of life in the public sector. This has to be fixed. We need to make the exploitation of women by employers – both public and private – unacceptable. This is particularly true of government, which should be leading by example. Perhaps it’s time to launch a campaign so that we view wage inequality in the same light we now view drinking and driving. Drinking and driving was once standard practice. Thankfully, today, it is not. But that did not happen overnight. It took a lot of work to change the public’s mind on this issue. We had to educate people on the harm drunk driving causes. We had to educate people who serve alcohol, whether in a bar or at home, that they are responsible if someone drinks too much and then gets behind the wheel. We now shun drunk drivers and penalize them severely. As we are often reminded, friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Let’s mount a similar campaign about wage inequality. Let’s educate the 26 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

public that wage inequality is harmful. Let’s punish employers that pay unequal wages. Let’s get the government to crack down on offenders. And let’s change public attitudes about wage inequality. Premier Kathleen Wynne could take concrete steps to help women achieve equitable pay in both the private and public sectors.

By hurting women in the public sector, Premier Wynne is attacking the part of the economy where women have made the most progress towards wage equality.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President Ontario Public Service Employees Union

She could raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, as many great activists are demanding. Women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs, so bringing up the minimum wage would help women most. She could get serious about enforcing

the Pay Equity Act. Union women have made decent progress on this, but most non-union women have no real way to enforce their rights. Wynne should help them unionize. At the very least she should make employers obey the law. She could make “equal pay for equal work” the law in Ontario. Women are over-represented in part-time, temporary, and temp agency jobs, which often pay less than permanent full-time jobs. If two people are doing the same work, they deserve the same pay. Most important, she should stop saying she cares about fair pay for women while actively cutting wages for women in the public sector. This is effectively what is happening when Premier Wynne decries the “Gender Wage Gap” in society, only to turn around and punish women working for government and its agencies. By hurting women in the public sector, Premier Wynne is attacking the part of the economy where women have made the most progress towards wage equality. Her behaviour simply can’t be justified. It is true hypocrisy. We’ve made a lot of progress as a society in educating the public and discouraging drunk driving. It’s time for a similar campaign on wage inequality. Friends don’t let friends pay women less n Warren (Smokey) Thomas is president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

reaching higher/education by Scott Anderson

The Facts About Algonquin College’s

Saudi Arabian Campus


lgonquin College has been engaged in international activity since 2004 through partner institutions across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. We began working with the government of Saudi Arabia on reforms and improvements to that nation’s technical and vocational college system in 2009 through a campus in Jazan, Saudi Arabia. This important effort proved the strength and value of a Canadian college education abroad, and generated an important financial return for Algonquin College. In 2013, this partnership expanded when Algonquin College joined international education providers from around the world, including the US, Spain, the UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada to submit bids to operate campuses for fiveyear terms, educating Saudi women and men. After our successful bid, the campus in Jazan was rebranded as Algonquin College. The Saudi government subsequently opened up additional campuses for bidding, and in the second wave Algonquin College was not successful in our goal of obtaining a women’s college. We are exploring options to open a female campus in the future. We are nonetheless pleased to see vocational education opportunities being opened up to thousands of female Saudi students. Since the beginning, Algonquin has been open and transparent about the College’s work in Saudi Arabia, announcing each new step, and providing regular updates to our Board and to the Ontario government, which approved this international expansion. We look forward to continuing to build upon the success of our international education work, in support of our mission of transforming hopes and dreams into skills and knowledge,

leading to lifelong career success. Why is Algonquin College operating a campus in Saudi Arabia? Algonquin College began its international work in 2004, and in that time has engaged countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in educational partnerships and programs while also hosting international students from 100 countries at our campuses in Ontario. While acknowledging that no country in the world is exactly like Canada, the College aimed to have a positive impact globally by engaging other countries rather than isolating them.

In the second wave Algonquin College was not successful in our goal of obtaining a women’s college. We are exploring options to open a female campus in the future. Why is Algonquin College operating a male-only campus? As part of the Colleges of Excellence program, and in keeping with Saudi cultural norms, the government of Saudi Arabia has opened 18 all-female and 19 all-male colleges, including the male campus we operate. As is the religious custom in Saudi Arabia, all schools in that country are gendersegregated.

As mentioned, Algonquin College has not been successful in its goal of obtaining a women’s college yet. We are looking at all the options. Has Algonquin College money in Saudi Arabia?


On the whole, the Algonquin College Saudi Arabia Limited Liability Company (LLC) is expected to return $4.4 million to Algonquin College’s operations over the duration of the five-year Jazan campus contract. Though the campus posted a $1.4 million loss during its second year (in 2014-15), this is in part due to a variety of economic and other complicating factors. To mitigate this, the College has changed its program mix and reconfigured its language program delivery with a strong positive effect for 2015-16. As international operations are not funded by the Ontario government, no Ontario taxpayer money has been jeopardized by this one-time loss. Revenues from other non-funded operations offset our onetime loss in 2014-15, and those funds will be recovered over the remaining years of the contract. Learn More Our International Education Strategic Plan can be viewed atalgonquincol This plan guides where we do business internationally, and why.

In response to interest from our community, and in the interests of transparency, the College is releasing the 2013 Jazan campus proposal document, including its initial offer to operate a female campus in Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia. Algonquin College’s Jazan campus’ website is Visit the Saudi Colleges of Excellence website,, to see a full list of campuses and learn about the initiative’s goals n Scott Anderson is the Executive Director of Public Relations and Communications at Algonquin College 27 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

Ottawa’s Heart Grows Three Sizes With New St. Vincent de Paul Location


ames Strate has to be getting tired of grand openings.

Less than four months after Strate’s organization, Ottawa’s branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, opened a temporary pop-up store on Metcalfe Street, it announced that it was opening a new location in the building evacuated by the recently closed Goodwill. It is the perfect fit. The Ottawa branch desperately needed a location for a new sorting facility. “Wellington Street, where we are, has a sorting facility downstairs, but we’re basically outgrowing it,” says Strate (the Ottawa branch’s executive director). St.Vincent de Paul, well known for its charitable thrift stores, uses the money from its stores to give back to the community, providing food and daily essentials for the less fortunate.

Over the years, the sorting area has seen it all. “We’ve had a wide array of the unusual,” Strate says, thinking back to some of the stranger things they’ve received. “An urn full of ashes was rather unusual.” Almost all of St. Vincent de Paul’s stock comes from donations. It relies on church groups, trucks that offer home collection and 20 drop-off boxes around the city to replenish their stock.

The 5,000 square foot Wellington store is the heart of the society’s Ottawa operation, and it’s clearly a community lifeline. Even at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday, more than a dozen shoppers flip through the hangars and bookshelves inside.

The mounds of donations in the St. Vincent store make the giant sorting area feel labyrinthian, but it’s a cozy labyrinth. Signs posted on the walls read ‘Good morning everybody’ and ‘I can only do twelve things at once!’ The walls in the book sorting room are plastered with movie posters and magazine cut-outs that surround a cheerful man named Jamie who brings five flats of books upstairs to sell almost every day.

The underground sorting area is packed with piles of clothes, furniture, bags of Christmas ornaments and pretty much everything you can imagine giving away. The latest load of donations are bags of clothes going to Syrian refugee families.

The Ottawa St.Vincent de Paul Society secured one of the biggest donations in its history last year, when the late volunteer Paul Dole convinced the owners of Stollerys to donate three truckloads of fine menswear after the Toronto institution closed.



building a better canada series by Eric Murphy

There was no room for all of these new clothes in the already crowded Wellington store, so Strate set up the Metcalfe Street pop-up to sell the high-end clothes in a ritzy downtown setting. They named it ‘The Paul,’ not as a modern take on the St. Vincent brand, but after Paul Dole, who made it all happen. According to Strate, the store has been a “great success” and will stay open until the stock is gone or things slow down. “It’s just day-today. When sales die I guess we’ll pack up our wears,” he says. Despite the Paul’s success, Strate won’t be changing the name or style of any of the other stores. “It’s a one-off,” he says. “If Canadian Tire or the Gap donated a warehouse full of goods we would continue on like that.” The front window of the Wellington store is legendary for its displays. Because of all the work that goes into setting up the row of paintings, clothes and antiques, the store only sells the items in bi-weekly “blitz-sales,” where everything goes up on a first-comefirst-served basis. Sometimes, if the collections are nice enough, they get lines that wind around the corner. When asked what the biggest issue St. Vincent de Paul is facing in Ottawa, Strate is philosophical. “It’s just overall, general poverty,” he says. “There’s no reason anybody should be living on the street.” Hear hear n

building a better canada series by Eric Murphy

Laying the Foundation

for Tomorrow’s Power Plants


ith December’s climate summit rolling out some promising new international goals and the Liberals’ dedication to spend $20 billion on sustainable infrastructure in Canada, the next few years are looking very promising for the country’s green energy sector. Fortunately, our green energy technology is expanding just as fast as the international interest in it. Right now, Canada is moving forward with two new advanced and sustainable ways to power our lives: wood pellet plants and run-of-theriver hydroelectricity. “I can see biofuel, biomass, all sustainable energy technologies being a growing opportunity for Canada,” says infrastructure and green-energy expert Ellis Kirkland. The wood pellet plants use renewable forest by-products and even wood that would normally be considered waste as fuel to power themselves. This can only be done after the wood has been processed into small pellets, and the burning process is actually quite similar to coal. In fact, it’s so close to coal burning that the Rodenhuize Power Station, formally a coal-burning plant in Belgium, has been refitted to use only wood pellets as fuel. This could be an exciting and costeffective option for many parts of Canada. Ontario has already phased out all of its coal power, but that doesn’t mean we cannot convert some of the plants into pellet-burning green power stations. We already have plenty of pellets. Canada exports more than a million tons of wood pellets to countries around the world every year. “Timber was a dying market,” says Kirkland. “But now it’s burgeoning as a result of the pellets industry.” Because of the plants’ need for lumber,

investing in these biomass pellet plants will stimulate multiple industries simultaneously and create a variety of new jobs in Canada. Not only will new jobs be created to gather the wood, but new trees will need to be grown in place of the old ones. We can also recycle leftover commercial wood into pellets, which will save the wood from landfills, thereby keeping it from rotting and releasing even more greenhouse gases. There have also been leaps in hydroelectric power in the last few years.Traditional dams have often been criticized for disturbing fish spawning and creating enormous basins to store water. These basins, although essential to keep the older dams working allyear, have displaced millions of people worldwide and the rotting greenery in the ponds has its own environmental impacts.

Canada has a remarkable opportunity of becoming a model to the rest of the world.

station before merging back into the original waterway. This means that local fish are largely unaffected. To avoid issues that older dams have with enormous and destructive basins, these run-of-the-river plants simply don’t use them, although some have small inundation areas. Since the basins were used to keep the dams working all year, not having this extra water does mean that run-of-the-river plants have low points in the year, but many believe that avoiding the basins’ environmental impact is worth it. So far, Canada has a number of large and private run-of-the-river hydroelectric plants, but Kirkland says we need to look at expanding the idea. “We need to invest in all new green infrastructure technologies,” she says. “Canada has a remarkable opportunity of becoming a model to the rest of the world.” Like the wood pellet plants, run-of-theriver technology creates opportunities for other industries. Some scientists have suggested building new fish hatcheries to offset possible ecosystem damage, and supporting infrastructure like roads and bridges will need to be built to access potential plant-building sites. “You can only go into these places if there’s a road,” Kirkland points out.

ELLIS KIRKLAND, Kirkland Capital Corporation

Often considered a ‘gentler’ form of hydroelectric power, run-of-the-river plants avoid both of those major issues. These plants aren’t actually placed inside the river itself. Instead, they are diverted away from the river, often through a long pipe. The diverted water then flows through the power

These new technologies can help Canadians work with world leaders in green energy and protect our resources. “We’re a land-rich and a resourcerich nation,” says Ellis Kirkland. “We don’t just want to sell off what we have. We want to partner with capable partners to develop what we have in a sustainable manner for the generations to come.” n 29 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

What makes sports heroes legends can sometimes involve what they do off the field, or what they do to get there, as much as what they do when they are on it. Their determination, their will power and their dedication to what they do is always inspiring.When Russ Jackson broke a rib during his legendary career with the Ottawa Rough Riders, he didn’t let it destroy him. He only took one game off to recover. That was the only game he missed in his 12-year football career. Jackson led the Ottawa Rough Riders through the team’s golden age from 1958 to 1969, winning the Grey Cup three times. He is also considered the ‘last Canadian quarterback,’ as that position has been dominated by American players ever since he retired. “I had already been inducted a couple years earlier into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame,” says Jackson, now 83. “But when you get inducted in with people who have represented all of the sports at the Olympic level and the dominion level, national level and so on, it’s one step higher.” Elizabeth Manley is best known for her bold and energetic freestyle figure skating. In the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games, Manley’s skating ranged from elegant to almost frantically precise, and it ultimately won her a silver medal and national adoration. She won silver again at the world championships that same year and moved on to professional figure skating in 1989. She says that her induction into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is “truly is an honour.” “You spend your whole life working so hard and trying to excel in a sport, being recognized and [having] my legacy remembered for years to come, even long after I’m’s just such a true honour.” However, an athlete’s legacy can stretch 30 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

well beyond athletic careers. When Manley started talking about her depression in the 1980s, many people ran out on her. “People weren’t ready to put Canada’s sweetheart and depression in the same category,” she says. “1983 going into ‘84, I was at the lowest point in my life,” she says. “I was diagnosed with depression, I’d had a nervous breakdown, I’d lost all my hair and gained a tremendous amount of weight. I quit skating.” In such a short period of time, Manley watched her Olympic chances crumble, and realized her dream had been taken away. “I really felt at that moment that there wasn’t anything good for me,” she says. But Manley reached out for help, and four years later she was standing on a podium in Calgary, silver medal around her neck. Now, Manley is the sort of person someone can reach out to, and she isn’t afraid to share her story. In the 1980s, many people shut the door on her because they didn’t understand the realities of depression. The fact that mental health understanding is so much better today is largely due to people like Elizabeth Manley who speak out. For this reason, her work in mental health deserves as much recognition as what she’s achieved on ice. Of course, skating still plays a very large role in Manley’s life. After a successful career in the United States with organizations like the Ice Capades, she’s since returned to Canada to train




canada's sports hall of fame series by Eric Murphy

the country’s next generation of figure skaters. Russ Jackson has always maintained that football was his hobby, something he did alongside his real profession, teaching. It was common in the 1960s for athletes to hold a second job. Sports didn’t pay nearly as well as they do today. Still though, Jackson says the 60s and early 70s were the golden years. “The fans were behind you,” he says. “They almost felt like they had a part of you.” Back then everyone knew the local players, and Jackson’s fame made teaching a little more interesting for himself, students and even the parents. “On parents’ night some of the parents would come in and they wanted to talk more about football than their kid’s progress,” he laughs. However, teaching was a real passion for him and there is no doubt he changed the lives of many children. When asked about his legacy, Jackson believes that as the last Canadian quarterback, his is already written. “I don’t think there’s anything to add to it now,” he says. “It was a great life, and I was thoroughly pleased to have the opportunity to play professional sport.” Canadians want to thank and honour the Russ Jacksons and the Elizabeth Manleys of the sports world for everything they have done and continue to do to motivate and inspire us n

opinion by Michael Coren



At their best, journalists are supposed to speak truth unto power. Sadly, too many utter power unto truth. This was made startlingly clear for me when my sister who lives in Britain gave birth to her second child. Katie was born several weeks premature and spent rather a long time in hospital. She came home accompanied by a nursing team, to a house wired for oxygen. Katie had two strokes when she was tiny and is now classified as being Autistic. Much as we congratulate ourselves on our liberal attitude towards those who are different, we regularly discriminate against the Katies of the world. Goodness me, her mum and dad have witnessed it for years. Don’t get in the way, don’t speak too loudly or make any of us, the lucky ones, feel in any way uncomfortable.There’s a ramp out there so you can get in, but once inside you better conform and shut up. We’ll fine people if they leave their cars in handicapped parking spots but won’t turn a hair if they talk to handicapped people as if they were dumb animals. One friend of mine who has an autistic teenage daughter told me that, “it’s like living every day with truth in the house.” It’s startlingly light, bright phrase. He then told me that when his daughter was small, his wife would receive aggressive, judgmental looks from passers-by. Their silent glances spoke loudly: “Why would you keep such a child, why would you have such a child? Have you not heard of abortion?” Katie’s parents have lived the same experience, yet Katie herself is supremely unaware of this hatred. She is more concerned with things such as jigsaws, and Katie solves jigsaws like Super Girl. She starts not from the outside but from the middle. The

complex shapes that so baffle us take form perfectly in her beautiful mind. Wonderful pictures come alive and speak. Speak in a way Katie cannot. Hey, she’s not “like” Super Girl. She “is” Super Girl. She doesn’t have an extensive vocabulary, even though her parents have added speech therapist to their

Much as we congratulate ourselves on our liberal attitude towards those who are different, we regularly discriminate against the Katies of the world. many other roles. But sometimes words aren’t so important. I remember arriving in England for a vacation and Katie walking straight up to me, grabbing my hand and taking me to a chair. She’d been told by her parents that I would be tired after the flight. She then began to talk to me as if I’d never been away.The conversation had never ended, the bridge of love had never been closed.

It’s true that she doesn’t always look you in the eye and that her attention seems to wander, and that she appears to be distracted. Unlike, of course, those people who always look you straight in the eye and seem to take in every word you say. Then forget your name and care not a fig for your life and anything in it or about it. I sit down and chat to my sister. Has it been difficult? “Yes, but also joyous beyond belief. A new adventure every day and a new path of discovery.” She pauses. “I wouldn’t change it for the world. Katie has made us all grow so much, taught us things we didn’t know about ourselves, about what it really means to be human. Yes we cry, but yes we laugh. Actually being a mum to Katie is all about saying yes to things. Yes to life, yes to love.Yes.” At which point Katie trots her way into our conversation, into our world. She wants to watch The Jungle Book. She’s seen it hundreds of times, but that doesn’t matter. It pleases her and she learns from it. Katie doesn’t need the latest, expensive toys or fashionable luxuries. She’s so much more than that. Perhaps so much more than us. Fly Super Girl, fly Katie, and never care for a moment about those who would clip your wings n 31 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016


canada/kazakstan friends by Dan Donovan


Kazakhstan/Central Asia Kazaks are the ancestors of the great Genghis Khan. Today, their diverse multicultural society, with its historical tribes, numerous languages and religions and their international outlook in global affairs have made it one of the most compelling countries to watch in Central Asia. Economic growth in Kazakhstan is led almost exclusively by the coal, iron, gold and copper sectors. It is the world’s largest supplier of uranium. It has the second largest uranium, chromium, lead, and zinc reserves, the third largest manganese deposits and one of the world’s largest copper reserves. It is a significant diamond exporter and has one of the world’s largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas. The giant Kashagan field in the Caspian Sea has made Kazakhstan one of the world’s top oil exporters. The past decade has also seen exponential growth in its banking and financial services sector. The country is on a roll but none of this came easy. After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Kazakhstan experienced a difficult transition from a planned to a market economy. One of the key problems was dealing with the consequences of the fallout of 456 Soviet nuclear weapons tests held in northern Kazakhstan between the 1950s and late 1980s covering a geographic area larger than France. Over 1.5 million Kazakhs still suffer radiation-related illness from those tests today. Under the leadership of its first (and only) president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan voluntarily rid itself of all nuclear weapons and 32 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation and the Comprehensive Test Ban treaties. Nazarbayev then launched Project ATOM (Abolish Testing is our Mission) to promote nuclear disarmament and end nuclear testing resulting in the passing of the Declaration on a NuclearWeapon-Free World at the UN General Assembly.These efforts were supported by Canada. Nazarbayev also devised an economic plan for the newly emerged country. A slow but gradual recovery began in the early 2000s, followed by a rise in Kazakhstan’s total trade in the second half of that decade, when it became one of the world’s top grain exporters and its mining economy started moving into overdrive. As a result, the Kazak people have seen their standard of living, incomes and quality of life improve dramatically. Nazarbayev’s free market economic reforms have made Kazakhstan Central Asia’s strongest and wealthiest economy and its capital, Astana, has become one of the most important financial centres in Central Asia. In his sunset years, Nazarbayev is now working to secure the future for Kazakhstan and protect his legacy with Constitutional changes that embrace democratic governance models and

the rule of law, all overseen by the country’s freely elected bicameral Parliament. Some of the wealth and profits generated from Kazakhstan’s diverse economy have gone to underwrite the wonderfully extravagant capital of Astana.This city is like Dubai on steroids. To see it is to believe it. Astana has an energetic vibe and boasts an impressive skyline of buildings, ministries, museums, malls and boulevards that scream 21st century. Kazak citizens are young, educated, professional, multiethnic and busy. Very busy. They are true internationalists and whether it’s in the private or public sector they look to other countries to gain knowledge about how to best develop their own governance and business models. Canadian diplomats and NGO institutions from the Ottawa area are playing an important and active role in this effort. On December 9th, the Canadian Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) organized the inaugural Central Asia Security Innovation in Astana in cooperation with the Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the five Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Republic, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan) to discuss security governance challenges in five major key areas: anti-terrorism, border management, human and drug trafficking, energy and nuclear security, and transboundary water management. CIGI policy experts were on hand to

provide a Canadian perspective on these matters. The tone was set at the outset of the conference by Shawn Steil, Canada’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan and Ottawa-based Margaret Skok, Senior Fellow, CIGI and a former Canadian Ambassador who both observed that there was an absence of region-wide cooperation between Kazakhstan and its smaller neighbouring countries. Skok suggested these five countries work on setting aside their various enmities and try to work on a multilateral relationship that could provide them with a collective influence as a Central Asian bloc. Steil said it was his experience that “lots of dialogue, conversation and programs are the key things that build trust between states.” He also said this was easier said than done, noting that “Kazakhstan must balance the competing interests between its geographical neighbours, Russia and China, against its determination to maintain its own hard-won independent foreign policy and economic relationships with the European Union, the United States and Canada.” Steil and Skok both suggested Kazakhstan and the other Central Asian republics – Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan – have a vested interest in closer regional co-operation. Stockwell Day, Canada’s former Minister of International Trade and former Minister of Public Safety, said that the Central Asia states should work together and share information wherever possible on mutual security matters, on technical matters and on health issues. Day noted that the United States-Canada relationship was “a friendship based on respect and the ability to link arms and work together on issues and share information in areas of mutual concern in security, trade technical matters, health issues and even military.” He said that cooperation and preparation are the things that can get countries “through moments that could otherwise be disastrous” and noted that “Canada had learned from disasters within its borders and among its neighbours.” A common theme raised by the five

central Asian countries was the issue of how to prevent Central Asian citizens from joining international terrorist groups like ISIL and then returning home to cause havoc. Former Canadian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and former CSIS Director Reid Morden responded to these security issues with a recommendation that Central Asian governments consider coordinating their intelligence efforts. Reid said that “intelligence today comes from across all areas whether its transportation, health, immigration, export, trade or other areas, but intelligence gathering must be based in law through an Act of Parliament.” When asked about the guidelines and rules related to the collection of intelligence, Reid said that “while intrusiveness is allowed, it must be governed by the proper oversight and that there must always be a balance between security needs and the inherent rights of citizens.”

(President) Nazarbayev’s free market economic reforms have made Kazakhstan Central Asia’s strongest and wealthiest economy and its capital, Astana, has become one of the most important financial centres in Central Asia Ambassador Steil said that better communication between Central Asian states was the first step in moving forward to form a “Central Asian bloc” and that region-wide cooperation in a variety of areas including trade, border controls and the harmonization of customs regulations were good starting points. CIGI invitee and former Ambassador of the United States to Kazakhstan (2009–2011) and Tajikistan (2003–2006) Richard Hoagland said that the kind of cooperation that could drive Central Asian prosperity would be stunted unless there was an end to “endemic and sometimes

government-sanctioned” corruption. He said that the Central Asian states themselves need to understand that it is in their interest to fight corruption for their own international reputation and credibility. Colin Robertson, a trade expert, former Canadian diplomat CIGI fellow and Vice President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute stressed the importance of these Central Asian nations to develop a professional civil service. He said that those involved in the military, policing and border security should be “well-educated, well-trained and have a high esprit de corps because these are traits that help protect countries from corruption practices.” He added that “border enforcement is important but so is trade, and it is important to expedite goods at the border and keep them moving.” Robertson said that the Central Asian countries should not see cooperating and the sharing of information as something that weakens their country, but as a strength. He noted “that sharing info builds trust and that the Central Asian countries should share info on infrastructure, roads, and pipelines.” Robertson provided numerous examples of cooperation between the American and Canadian governments in trade, commerce and border issues. He said that Canada and the United States understand the importance of dialogue and communication on many issues but they also understand that on other issues “good fences make good neighbours.” The audience attending the conference included representatives from key ministries in the Kazakhstan and the four other Central Asian governments. There was also a large group of Central Asian university students.Two graduate students told Ottawa Life Magazine that they were impressed with the views of the Canadian participants. One said he was very impressed with how Reid Morton explained the requirement in democracies to balance security needs with citizens’ rights and a female student said she thought Ottawa’s Margaret Skok was a very impressive moderator who “got Kazakhstan” and really seemed to understand Central Asian issues n 33 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

the canada-turkey/ottoman to ottawa friendship series by Eric Murphy



Turkey’s Vimy Ridge


n April 1915, standing on one of the First World War’s deadliest fronts, Lt. Colonel Mustafa Kemal approached a group of soldiers planning to abandon

their trenches. The young men of the 57th regiment were in the way of a large approaching force, and they were completely out of ammunition. “You still have bayonets,” said Kemal. “Affix them, and lie down.” “I do not expect you to attack,” he continued. “I order you to die. In the time which passes until we die, other troops and commanders will take our place.” It’s hard to imagine what those troops must have felt when they heard that order, but ignoring any fear they might have felt, they turned back towards the enemy and fought. None survived. That enemy was a collection of Australian and New Zealand regiments who were eventually followed by soldiers from Newfoundland. The 34 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

doomed men of the 57th regiment were Turkish soldiers fighting for the Ottoman Empire. In modern Turkey, their unit is legendary, but few Canadians have ever heard their stories. On December 9, 2015, Canadian Senator Anne Cools and the Council of Turkish Canadians held a conference on Parliament Hill titled the Great War and Gallipoli: A Reconstruction of Mindsets and Drives. The Battle of Gallipoli, also referred as the Battle of Çanakkale, occurred on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey between April 25, 1915 and January 9, 1916. The British launched a naval attack followed by a mass landing in an attempt to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (modern Istanbul). The Turks repelled repeated allied attacks and pushed back the allied forces. Gallipoli became a defining moment in the establishment of a new Turkish regime as the charismatic Mustafa Kemal would use the hard PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

won battle as part of his campaign to unite all Turks under one country from the tattered remnants of the collapsing Ottoman Empire. In Commonwealth Australia and New Zealand, citizens celebrate Anzac Day every April 25 to commemorate the battle. It surpasses Remembrance Day in terms of stature and importance.The British used those forces, and some from Newfoundland, like cannon fodder and thousands died. The battle has been immortalized in numerous movies and documentaries including Peter Weir and Mel Gibson’s famous 1983 movie, Gallipoli, and in the heartbreaking 1985 Pogues song The Band PlayedWaltzing Matilda, which captures all its tragedy and horror in lead singer Shane McGowan’s lyric: “and we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs, then it started all over again.” “The literature on Gallipoli from the British and Anzac (Australian and New Zealand) perspective is voluminous, but only a handful of narratives recount the Ottoman experience,” said Associate Professor Sevtap Demirci, one of the two Turkish historians who led the conference. Their goal was to show the often ignored Ottoman side of the battle and how the victory at Gallipoli led to Turkey’s creation. At the time of the battle in 1915, Newfoundland was still part of Britain. Soldiers from Newfoundland fought at Gallipoli and stayed to the bitter end. They suffered 49 losses, and when the attack was finally abandoned after eight disastrous months, their troops were some of the last to leave. “It had a very significant impact on our community, which was very small,” explained Newfoundland Senator Elizabeth Marshall at the event. “Fighting in the war was a family affair.” Today, we often blame the terrible losses on poor British planning, especially when it comes to the plans from leading Admiral Winston Churchill. But the real narrative is much more complicated than that.

Blaming the loss on the British means we ignore the contributions and sacrifices of Turkish soldiers like the men of the 57th, who were fighting for their homeland. “The Ottoman successes are largely attributed to the allied mistakes, the activities of German generals, or inhospitality of terrain,” said Prof. Demirci. In short, the British give more credit to the ground the Ottoman soldiers were standing on than they give the people who fought and died. Naturally, the Germans also took the credit, saying that it was their officers stationed near Gallipoli that led the Ottoman soldiers to victory.

The victory at Gallipoli changed the Ottoman Turks forever. In fact, one Turkish official commented that “Gallipoli was the place where [the] Turkish nation started to breathe.” In many respects, Gallipoli is to Turkey what Vimy Ridge is to Canada. There is at least some truth to these points. The British absolutely did mishandle the invasion. Churchill planned the attack in four stages based around naval bombardment. He figured that when the long-range guns and minefields were gone the Ottomans would surrender as soon as allied boots hit the ground. But the Ottomans were more resilient than Churchill expected, and when the land invasion finally began in April, not even phase one of the four phase plan was complete. Clearly, some of the blame lies with Churchill’s poor strategy and the

allies underestimating the defending Ottomans. But really, if it hadn’t been for the Ottomans’ unshakeable defense and willingness to die for their empire, they surely would have lost. The soldiers that did perish became heroes in the Ottomans’ eyes, and the victory at Gallipoli changed the Ottoman Turks forever. In fact, one Turkish official commented that “Gallipoli was the place where [the] Turkish nation started to breathe.” In many respects, Gallipoli is to Turkey what Vimy Ridge is to Canada. After all, our success at the battle of Vimy Ridge made our prime minister confident enough to push for more autonomy from Britain. In fact, the Turkish officer’s quote sounds very similar to something a Canadian Brigadier-General said after Vimy Ridge: “in those few minutes, I witnessed the birth of a nation.” Winning Gallipoli came at a high cost for the Ottomans. Although more than 44,000 allied troops died during the eight month invasion, the Ottoman defenders lost nearly twice that many. More than 86,000 Ottoman soldiers lost their lives, and more than 150,000 were wounded.The two sides’ trenches were often placed so close together that Ottoman and allied troops could talk and even trade some supplies, but that also led to very deadly fighting. It’s hard to imagine that anything new could emerge out of such a bloody and destructive conflict. But like new trees that grow out the ashes of a burned forest, new nations can begin from horrible battles and wars. The Ottoman Empire didn’t survive the First World War, and there was even more blood and horror before Turkey emerged as its own nation. Mustafa Kemal, the Lt. Colonel who ordered his disheartened soldiers to stay and fight even though they faced certain death, would later become the founding president of the new Turkish state. It was his split-second decision that saved the battle, and it was that battle that made his reputation, and eventually, his country n 35 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

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the canada-turkey/ottoman to ottawa friendship series by Ozay Mehmet, Ph.D

The Lost Turks of Brantford, Ontario


n 1890s Brantford, Ontario was the third largest industrial city in Canada, after Montreal and Toronto. Known as the “Birmingham of Canada,” it was a major

centre of the new tractor and auto industries including Massey-Harris, (later Massey-Ferguson). A Brantford businessman visited the Sultan’s capital in 1895 looking for new markets in the Ottoman Empire which, at that time, included most of the Balkans and virtually of the Middle East. His visit resulted in more than exports of machinery. In the following two decades, thousands of the Sultan’s subjects came as economic migrants to Brantford. Most were Armenian, but about 120 were Muslim Turks and Kurds. Almost all came from the same region in Anatolia indicating the relative peaceful relations at the time in the Sultan’s domains. What happened to this band of Ottoman Turks of Brantford is a mystery buried in Canadian history. Up to 1914, they lived and prospered in Brantford. Deeply attached to their faith, they even purchased a Turkish lot in Brantford’s Mount Hope Cemetery. It survives to this day. The local newspaper, the Brantford Expositor of 30 January 1912 contains an amazing story of the “first ever Mohammedan funeral” in the city. On this occasion, the deceased was a young Turk, Ahamed Osman and his funeral was an elaborate public procession along the main street. No less than 20 horses were on hand, leading a casket wagon in lieu of a hearse. Very prominently, the casket was wrapped with Turkish flags and a young man walked at the head of the procession carrying the Ottoman star and crescent.

Suddenly, their world ended in November 1914. England was now at war with the Sultan. This small band of Brantford Turks became “enemy aliens” under the hastily drafted War Measures Act in Ottawa. The Ottoman Armenians were not touched. Sadly, the Brantford Turks were thrown out of work and then the Brantford Police came on a cold wintry night, rounding

Suddenly, their world ended in November 1914. England was now at war with the Sultan. This small band of Brantford Turks became “enemy aliens” under the hastily drafted War Measures Act in Ottawa.

Canadian internment camps PHOTO: NATIONAL ARCHIVES A145485

No doubt this small group of Turkish Canadians must have looked strange and exotic to the highly conformist and staunchly British townspeople of Brantford. The much larger Armenian migrants from the Ottoman Empire were at least fellow Christians. But these Turks, their religion and customs were alien.Yet they were tolerated.

the whole lot of them and herding them into the city jail. A few days later, the city fathers, complaining of the cost of care, put them on a train to Fort Henry in Kingston. The authorities at Fort Henry were equally puzzled with the unexpected influx. From Kingston, these Turks were

sent to Kapuskasing in the wilds of Northern Ontario. Given axes, shovels and other tools, they were ordered to build an internment camp which housed a much greater number of Ukrainian, German and Axis nationals. The POW Roll of the Kapuskasing Camp contains several names which must belong to these Brantford Turks. Even in captivity throughout the WWI, the Turks of Brantford kept their faith, refusing to eat pork and performing their Muslim prayers. One or two died in captivity. No record exists about the fate of survivors of the Brantford Turks after the War. Maybe some returned to Turkey. There is scanty evidence that a few of them might have moved to St. Catherines in southwest Ontario. But the majority remain as lost Turks of Brantford. After WWII, by order of the Cabinet in Ottawa, all records relating to the Kapuskasing internees were destroyed. So, it seems, we shall never know the real story of the lost Turks of Brantford n Dr. Ozay Mehmet is a Senior Fellow of Modern Turkish Studies with the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. 37 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

Correcting Misconceptions

& Upholding Justice in the South China Sea


hinese activities in the South China Sea date back to at least over 2,000 years ago. China was the first country to discover, name and explore the South

China Sea islands and exploit their resources. Furthermore, it was the first country to continuously exercise sovereignty over them. In the 1940s, China recovered the South China Sea islands that had been illegally seized and occupied by Japan and the Chinese government published an official map displaying a dotted line in the South China Sea. No countries had ever challenged or disputed the boundary. However that has changed over the last 40 years. With new discoveries of rich marine resources in the South China Sea around the 1970s, some countries adjacent to the South China Sea region staged an illegal occupation of some of China’s Nansha Islands and remain there to this day. In the 1980s, despite some countries’ illegal encroachment and occupation of China’s islands, China demonstrated good will by proposing to resolve the dispute seeking joint development so as to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. In the 1990s, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) established a dialogue mechanism in an effort to enhance mutual trust, reduce misgivings and deepen cooperation. While the overall relations between China and ASEAN were growing 38 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

steadily and positively, the Philippines, which is also an ASEAN member, deliberately and illegally ran a naval ship aground in 1999 at Ren’ai Jiao, which is part of China’s Nansha Islands. In spite of China’s repeated representations to the Philippines, the vessel has never been towed away. The first decade of the new century saw the overall relationship between China and ASEAN advancing on a fast track. In 2002, China and ten ASEAN member countries signed a Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). The parties to the DOC undertook to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and resolve their disputes through consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned. The parties to the DOC also agreed to undertake cooperative activities in

five specific areas, including marine environmental protection, search and rescue operation, and combating transnational crime.All parties attached great importance to DOC and all parties fully recognized and honoured the document. In 2003, China acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). China is the first non-ASEAN country to join the treaty. Prior to joining the TAC, China already reached a consensus with ASEAN countries on the establishment of a China-ASEAN free trade zone. However, the South China Sea dispute has become a more complicated and more widely-talked-about issue over the last six or so years. Part of the reason is that some signing parties to DOC have not lived up to the agreement but the primary reason was the Philippines’ unilateral move to initiate compulsory arbitration proceedings with respect to the dispute over “maritime jurisdiction” in the South China Sea in 2013. China remains committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea, despite the clear breaches that have occurred. Since the 1950s, China has completed boundary demarcation with 12


canada-china friendship series by Luo Zhaohui

of the 14 land neighbours. While it is China’s firm position that its sovereignty and territorial integrity involve no violations, China remains willing to address and resolve the emerging maritime disputes through consultations and negotiations. In recent years, China has consistently stood for comprehensive and effective implementation of the DOC. More than ten rounds of senior officials’ meetings between China and ASEAN countries on the DOC implementation have occurred. China has also initiated and established a China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund totalling 3 billion RMB yuan. China is willing to work with ASEAN countries to steadily advance the consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). In fact, China and ASEAN countries launched their COC consultations in 2013 under the framework of implementing the DOC. Again, several rounds of senior officials’ meetings and a joint working group meeting have been held and significant progress has been made. China still maintains that “joint development” is the right approach to addressing and resolving the South China Sea dispute. China is willing to resolve issues of maritime territorial delimitation with other countries through bilateral negotiations in accordance with the spirit of international law. The China-ROK maritime delimitation talks, which started on 22 December 2015 in Seoul, is an example. Still, in spite of China’s willingness to work with South China Sea littoral countries, they continue to encroach upon China’s sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea. As mentioned, the Philippines and a few other countries have already occupied many islands and reefs in China’s Nansha Island. They are now intensifying their attempts to occupy more territory and find every means possible to justify or “legitimise” their illegal occupation. China will neither accept nor participate in the

arbitration proceedings initiated by the Philippines. China is of the view that the Philippines, in initiating compulsory arbitration proceedings, has breached an important consensus under the DOC signed by China and all ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, i.e. that territorial and maritime rights disputes shall be resolved through consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned. Moreover, the arbitration initiated by the Philippines falls within the scope of a declaration filed by China in 2006 in accordance with provisions of Article 298 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which excludes, inter alia, disputes concerning maritime delimitation from compulsory arbitration and other compulsory dispute settlement procedures. In November 2014, at the East Asia Summit, a “dual-track approach” to the South China Sea dispute was officially proposed by the Chinese state leader for the first time. While the South China Sea dispute should be addressed peacefully by parties directly concerned through friendly consultation and negotiation, peace and stability in the South China Sea should be jointly maintained by China and ASEAN countries. This proposal, which is fully in line with international law and international common practices, has been widely supported by most ASEAN members.

prosperity, is China’s major concern. China cares more than any other country about the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. As a matter of fact, the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea has never been an issue. China strongly believes it is important to protect other countries’ right under international law to sail and overfly in the South China Sea and it is equally important for other countries to respect the sovereignty and security of the littoral countries while exercising their right of navigation and overflight. Fourth, China’s construction activities on its own islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands brook no dispute. The Nansha Islands is in a distant sea area with busy shipping routes and is vulnerable to marine perils. China’s construction of civil and public facilities on the Nansha islands and reefs is aimed at better fulfilling China’s relevant international responsibilities and obligations, and providing necessary services to vessels from China, its neighbours and other countries sailing in the South China Sea.

Third, as a South China Sea littoral nation, China is a beneficiary and defender of the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea. China is a major trading nation in the world and a major importing nation of energy resources. Over 40 per cent of China’s foreign trade in goods and more than 80 per cent of its crude oil imports are shipped via the South China Sea. One has reason to say that the South China Sea is China’s lifeline for maritime shipping and transport.

For example, two multifunctional lighthouses went into operation on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef in China’s Nansha Islands in October 2015, which will greatly improve the navigational conditions and safety of passing vessels in the South China Sea. China has also deployed radio navigation and maritime safety communications facilities as well as medical and emergency service facilities on some islands and reefs. All these facilities are designed to provide navigation and maritime emergency rescue services to passing vessels. China has completed the land reclamation and deployed a limited amount of necessary military facilities on relevant islands and reefs for defence purpose only. To put it bluntly, the Nansha Islands is after all China’s own territory. China’s activities on its own islands and reefs brook no dispute n

Security and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which bear directly on China’s economy and

Luo Zhaohui is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Canada 39 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016


canada-china friendship series


by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada

Educational Exchanges as a Catalyst for Stronger China-Canada Relations


he forty-five years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Canada in 1970 have witnessed steady progress and growth of the bilateral relations and cooperation in all areas. ChinaCanada educational exchanges and cooperation, like those in other fields, have also grown in depth and width, from exchange of scholars and students, training of teachers in the early years following the diplomatic engagement, to curriculum development, joint research, joint PhD programmes, and co-hosting of international conferences. The twoway interflow has served to enhance mutual understanding between the education authorities and academia of the two countries and improve the academic standards, and level of scientific research and education administration of both sides. In 1973, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Education of China and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada on the China-Canada Scholars’ Exchange Programme (CCSEP) was signed in Beijing. It was the result of an undertaking by then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. In the same year, the first group of nine Chinese scholars and students under the CCSEP left home for Canada in pursuit of more knowledge in the host country, thus starting the interflow of scholars and students between the two countries.

The CCSEP is the most important government-sponsored scholars and students’ exchange programme between China and Canada. Since its launch the programme has sponsored over 1,000 Chinese and Canadian students and scholars for their pursuit of research in humanities and social sciences in the host country. Among them, to name just a few, are former Chinese ambassadors to Canada Lu Shumin and Lan Lijun, former Chinese UNESCO ambassador Zhang Xuezhong, Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Susan Gregson, former minister of the Canadian Embassy in China Sarah Taylor, and Vice-President of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Paul Brennan. The CCSEP is the longeststanding, most influential and highestlevel exchange programme between China and Canada for personnel exchange and training. In 1983, the Chinese and Canadian governments signed a China Aid Programme funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The educational cooperation projects under CIDA China Aid Programme have played a positive role in China’s higher education reform and development. These projects include the China-Canada Management Education Programme 1983-1996 (CCMEP), the China-Canada University Linkage Programme 19881995 (CCULP), the Special University Linkage Consolidation Programme19962001 (SULCP), and Strengthening Capacity in Basic Education in Western

China 2002-2007. Specially designed to cater to the needs of China’s higher education development with focus on capacitybuilding, the CIDA programmes and projects have achieved remarkable results in respect of curriculum development, personnel training and joint scientific research. Over half of Canadian universities were committed and involved in the CIDA education-related programmes to develop cooperation with Chinese universities. These programmes have facilitated exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and Canadian higher-education institutions. They have also contributed to the internationalisation of Chinese higher education institutions. China’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme, its first Master of Public Administration (MPA) programme and the development and improvement of disciplines in medicine, environment, agriculture, nursing and others are, in fact, practical outcome of the ChinaCanada higher education cooperation. In 2005, the Chinese Ministry of Education and Agriculture and AgriFood Canada signed a MOU on Scientific and Technical Cooperation and Personnel Training in Agriculture. Over the past decade, over 400 Chinese PhD candidates and researchers from 40 Chinese higher education and research institutions came to Canada and pursued joint scientific research 41 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

in a dozen of specific fields at 15 research centres or laboratories under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. More than 100 Canadian agricultural scientists provided supervision and guidance to the Chinese PhD candidates, and participated in the joint research. Over 260 Chinese PhD candidates under the joint doctoral programmes have completed their planned research and studies, and returned to China. The Chinese and Canadian researchers have published over 1,000 co-authored publications in international academic journals. In 2006, the Chinese Ministry of Education signed separate personnel training cooperation agreements with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). The agreements provided a framework for Chinese students of high academic merit to pursue PhD research at Canadian universities with sponsorships jointly provided by the China Scholarship Council and the Canadian institutions. In July 2005, the first Confucius Institute in Canada was inaugurated at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver. There are now 12 Confucius Institutes and 18 Confucius Classrooms in Canada. The Confucius Institutes operate on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. A Confucius Institute may be established in Canada upon the Confucius Institute Headquarters’ approval of a joint application submitted by a Canadian host institution and its Chinese partner institution. Over the past ten years, the Confucius Institutes/Classrooms in Canada have been geared towards Canadian students and general public. Apart from providing courses on Chinese language and culture, they have organized a variety of activities for students to gain first-hand experience of Chinese culture. They have also held academic seminars and workshops on Chinarelated topics. While contributing to multiculturalism in the host country, they have also played a positive role in promoting cultural and people42 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

to-people exchanges between China and Canada and enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples. In 2010, the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) held their First High-Level Consultation on Education Collaboration, and reached broad consensus on all-round collaboration in education. Two more rounds of the High-Level Consultation have been held since. The High-Level Consultation has led to a variety of projects of educational cooperation between provinces and universities of the two countries, ranging from the exchange of university faculty and students, joint operation of education institutions, joint research to cohosting of academic seminars and workshops. As of now, 640 cooperation agreements have been concluded between universities and education institutions of the two countries, with 75 education institutions and programmes jointly established and operated by Chinese and Canadian partners. The University ofAlberta has developed extensive exchanges and cooperation with Chinese universities and education institutions. The university now hosts nearly 5,000 Chinese students. As of now, its professors and their peers of Chinese universities co-authored a total of 3,615 papers. Since 2011, UAlberta, with funding of the China Scholarship Council, has provided professional development courses for 200 education administrators from 70 Chinese universities through its Global Academic Leadership Development Programme. As of the end of 2013, the Chinese Ministry of Education had concluded agreements on mutual recognition of academic degrees and credentials with the education authorities of 10 Canadian provinces, and signed MOUs on educational exchange and cooperation with Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. All this formed a solid foundation for educational co-operation between China and Canada.

On 17 October 2015, the ShanghaiOttawa Joint School of Medicine welcomed its first batch of 56 students with a white coat ceremony, where teachers and veteran medical professionals formally dressed medical students in white coats, the garb traditionally considered a symbol of purity, compassion and devotion, and where medical students publicly affirmed their commitment to medical professionalism and mandate to preserve life and serve patients with dedication. The Shanghai-Ottawa Joint School of Medicine is jointly established by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine and the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine. As of now, it is the first and only Chineseforeign joint undergraduate clinical medical education institution approved by China’s Ministry of Education. According to the latest statistics of the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), China is the number one country of origin for international students in Canada. In 2014, students from China made up 32.96 per cent of the international student population in Canada, totalling 110,918 while the number of Canadian students in China stood at 3,271. In 2015, with a view to encouraging more students to study in China, the University of Alberta proposed a Canada Learning in China Initiative, a credit-gaining programme, to be jointly sponsored by participating Canadian universities, Chinese Ministry of Education and Chinese higher education institutions. In 2016, the first cohort of 200 Canadian undergraduate students are expected to start their study in China. The extensive and wide-ranging educational exchanges between China and Canada are of far-reaching significance. The exchanges of students and scholars and cooperation in scientific research have served to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, and acted as catalyst for further development of China-Canada relations n



travel by Karen Temple

Atlantis: A Watery Paradise It’s hard not to be taken by the beauty of the beaches on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. A natural reef acts as a buffer, calming the waves that gently crash onto its’ shores and the sun is said to shine 300 days a year.

Hollywood was an early fan of the island, which has been featured in several movies including two from the James Bond franchise. The Hollywood set has also taken to the beauty of the area building homes on private islands surrounding Nassau and Paradise Island. The Atlantis resort is a truly dreamy, watery escape that lies across the bridge from the island of Nassau. The striking architecture of the Royal Towers with a 25-storey high bridgelike structure joining the two towers is impressive. For the equivalent of an average family’s yearly total mortgage payments, you can rent a suite as high as a $25,000 a night. At that price, the chances of sneaking a peek of a celebrity guest are increased.

The Royal Towers were the first part of Atlantis to open and were built in a record 18 months. The entrance features a beautiful carving of Poseidon and the doors are two storeys high and carved with sea horse-shaped hinges. The doorman insists the doors only close when a hurricane is threatening the island. Once you enter, look up and take in the beautiful frescoes that surround the vaulted ceiling. The attention to detail is a real treat. Further inside, look down to get your first glimpse of the Atlantis aquarium experience. The lower level of the Royal Towers doubles as the back wall of the massive aquarium. Atlantis boasts 14 lagoons, eight million gallons of salt water and 50,000 fish including sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, goliath

Atlantis is a great family destination that will leave you with life-long memories. Prior knowledge of the addition expenses will help avoid a premature coronary at checkout. Here are some things to be aware of: • Mixed drinks are $15 US and beer is $8 (except in the Casino where price jumps substantially). • 15% gratuity is added automatically to all bills plus the 7.5% VAT tax • Meal plans can be purchased before leaving home and run from $99-$160 per person. (Note that gratuities are not included in the price and will be billed to your room. Children 12 and under eat for free with an accompanying adult but again, the room will be charged for gratuities on the value of their meal.) • A $49 per person, per day resort fee will be added to your bill PHOTOS: COURTESY ATLANTIS RESORTS

groupers, eels and more. To take in all the aquariums, be sure to head to the “dig” tunnels that connect the Royal Towers to the outside aqua adventure park. To get a closer at the marine life, choose among several hands-on marine experiences, including feeding and swimming with stingrays, snorkeling in the massive Ruins of Atlantis tank which is decked out with artifacts from the fabled lost city and home to sharks and many other fish. Stop by Dolphin Cay to get close up with these perpetually-smiling mammals. All the activities are available for an extra fee and are very popular so be sure to book early. There are 18 waterslides, a not-so lazy river and 11 pools, although the whole place seems like one huge unending pool. There is so much to see and do that it is easy to overlook the detail that went into making all the ponds, pools and lagoons. It’s unparalleled and the landscaping is first class. Take time to appreciate the beautiful sculptures sprinkled through the resort. It’s easy to get around. Well-manicured paths connect the five hotels, the pools, the stunning marina and Marina Village. Some of the walk can be long but if you’re not up for it, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service between all the buildings. Leave your wallet in your room as most restaurants, including the poolside locations, do continued >> page 45 43 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016




ong before hosting its first winter Olympics in 1932, Lake Placid developed a reputation as a winter destination for the active outdoor enthusiast. Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey decimal system, first laid these roots with the creation of the Placid Park Club in 1895, “a place where educators might find health, strength and inspiration at modest cost.”The club quickly gained national recognition for its commitment to winter sports excellence and the property grew to encompass 9,600 acres by 1923. Nearly 100 years later, Lake Placid now shares the honour of hosting 2 winter Olympics (1932 and 1980) along with St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Innsbruck, Austria. Not bad company to be in for a quiet upstate New York town with a current population of less than 3000 people. Turning onto Lake Placid Main Street on a mild winter evening you can’t help but feel the sense of excitement and energy that once filled this small town centred around two small lakes in the shadows of the Adirondack Mountains. The streets are no longer filled with aspiring athletes but the energy still remains as young families, outdoor enthusiasts and curious tourists dot the colourful shops and restaurants that light up the streetscape. Hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts to suit your every need can be found interspersed 44 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

among the other local shops. Amidst the myriad of accommodation options is the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort. The Holderieds family, originally from Germany, bought the Golden Arrow in 1974 and continue to own and operate the hotel with serious attention on sustainability and environmental stewardship in all areas of operation. It is the first and only hotel in the United States to receive a Platinum rating from the prestigious Audobon International Organization for their green lodging program, offering environmentally conscientious and comfortable guest suites. Golden Arrows’ many rooms come available with large soaker tubs, fireplaces and dramatic views of Mirror Lake with the Adirondack peaks in the background while continuously maintaining a focus on environmental sustainability through a variety of

initiatives including the use of recycled decor, toiletries, building innovation and an extensive recycling program. The hotel offers its guests a variety of family-friendly activities that can be accessed from the grand lobby which enters onto Mirror Lake. Crosscountry skiers can enjoy ski in/ski out lodging from anywhere on the first floor. Experience dog sled rides on Mirror Lake. It is a big hit with both children and adults.



travel by Mike McEwan and Alessandra Gerebizza

Once settled in, definitely purchase an Olympic Passport for $35 USD that provides entry to many former and current Olympic training facilities. With your Olympic Passport, you can begin your visit with a trip to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, or as it was known, the Field House, just a short walk from the Golden Arrow, and site of the famous “Miracle on Ice” where the US Men’s Hockey Team managed the unlikely defeat of the U.S.S.R. in 1980. Here you can learn of the Olympic history that helped shape Lake Placid and its surrounding communities. If you prefer to see firsthand the sites where some of these great athletes once competed, you can take the short drive to the Olympic Sports Complex and, if you are fortunate, witness future Olympians in training at the bobsled/luge track. If you aren’t afraid of heights you can

visit the Skydeck at the Olympic Jumping Complex and marvel at the view from the 120-metre ski jump.


After a busy day of outdoor adventure, Lake Placid has a wide array of dining options located on Main Street, within walking distance of Golden Arrow. During the day, Big Mountain Deli and Creperie is a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike, offering 46 different sandwiches each named after the 46 peaks once thought to be within the Adirondack Mountain range. At night, Smoke Signals and the Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood offer savory and unique local dishes that are sure to nourish and satisfy even the most famished

adventurer. Generations at The Golden Arrow has the best selection of burgers in town. Whatever it is you’re after can be found on the lovely Main Street. After riding down Whiteface, visiting the Olympic sites, sledding around Mirror Lake and feeding your inner foodie on Main Street, be sure to visit The Whiteface Lodge spa and treat yourself to any one of the many signature restorative winter facials. The Vitamin C Wrinkle Repair and Brightening Repair Facial is most popular in the winter months, especially after being out on the slopes all day.


Not far from the Olympic Complexes is Whiteface Mountain, a former winter getaway for President John F. Kennedy and his family. Included with your Olympic passport is a gondola ride to the top of Littleface Mountain. This is a must do for anyone who wishes to get some great panoramic pictures of the Adirondacks on a clear day. If you are going to be at Whiteface Mountain, you may as well take advantage of the highest vertical elevation (1045m) in eastern North America and hit the slopes. Whiteface Mountain has trails to suit every level of skier or snowboarder. There is a variety of packages including lesson and rental options. When it is time for a rest, grab a table or a cozy Adirondack chair on the large outdoor patio at the base of the mountain or stay later and catch a live act inside the bar on most weekends in the winter. If downhill sports aren’t for you, Whiteface Mountain and the surrounding national parks provide untold kilometres of hiking and cross-country ski trails to explore in every season.

Atlantis >> from page 43

not accept cash. (However, this does not apply to the two on-site Starbucks coffee shops.) Paying with your room key is very convenient and you don’t have to worry about losing you Visa in the not-so-lazy river. The Atlantis Resort is like an exclusive club but it is available for all to experience on a perday basis. Nassau has a deep-water port that accommodates up to four cruise ships a day. A favourite destination for the cruisers is the Atlantis resort. They arrive daily and contribute to the busy, happening vibe of the place. If a relaxed adult-only experience is more your style, stay at the Cove in order to have access to the Cain at the Cove. Exclusively for Cove guests, the Cain at the Cove is a beautifully landscaped pool area with a mini-outdoor casino and restaurant. For a more exclusive experience, rent a beach hut or cabana. Get a feel for the local scene and wander up and over the bridge to Nassau. It’s an easy 15-minute walk and once you taste the cracked conch, grouper finger, even pork chops and plantains at one of the fish fry shacks under the bridge, you’ll want to be wandering back there daily. It is a culture clash compared to Atlantis and definitely a worthwhile experience.

Whether you’re looking for a family getaway, a romantic couple’s escape or a great place to shred some powder, Lake Placid will deliver on all fronts. Pack up the car and get ready to enjoy this winter playground n

The Atlantis Resort at Paradise Island is a warmweather playground, a kind of Disney of water and sun. The white sandy beaches can’t be beat and the water park will keep the whole family busy all day n 45 OTTAWALIFE MARCH 2016

education by Christian Bellehumeur, Ph.D

From Learning through Pleasure to Healing through Pleasure


n early fall 2014, Saint Paul University celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre. Since its inception, the Centre has provided services in both official languages to thousands of people from a diversity of socio-cultural and (a)religious backgrounds. One of the Centre’s founders, Father Yvon Saint-Arnaud, OMI (1918–2009), was Canada’s leading figure in the development of pastoral counselling, known today as counselling and spirituality. One of his contributions to psychotherapy is a work of great depth, published in 2002, La guérison par le plaisir (“healing through pleasure”). This volume continues to inform researchers, intellectuals and psychotherapists both here and abroad. Professor Saint-Arnaud was also a renowned clinician and a highly sought-after speaker in Canada, France and Belgium. Saint-Arnaud’s contributions complement the works of other famous researchers in the field of positive psychology (such as Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi and Lyubomirsky). Positive psychology emerged about 15 years ago to study the conditions and processes that contribute to the flourishing or optimal functioning of people, groups and institutions. It examines concepts that are closely related to spirituality, such as virtues, human strengths, optimism, hope, gratitude, forgiveness, altruism and humour. All of these themes echo the attitude and teachings of SaintArnaud, who was known as much

for his intellectual rigour as for his contagious laugh. Indeed, those who knew him recall that he could always have fun and knew how to live life to the fullest. For him, any real pleasure was linked to the capacity to enjoy it. He would refer to Assagioli’s notion of will to explain that human beings can revel in (as an act of will) the beautiful, the true and the good in their surroundings. But what is healing through pleasure? According to Saint-Arnaud, there is a possibility of healing when we become aware of the relationship between our potential to heal and our beliefs, feelings and behaviours regarding the disease and its cure. His concept of pleasure is also closely associated with values: for him, authentic, lasting pleasure is always consistent with one’s values. Pleasure and values go hand in hand, since both are defined by what is good for the human person. Having authentic fun is always linked to enjoying the good—for example, admiring a beautiful sunset, or enjoying a conversation with a dear friend. This quote says it all: “Pleasure is essentially the enjoyment of what we find good for us.” (Saint-Arnaud, 2002, p. 222, our translation.) According to Saint-Arnaud, authentic pleasures are a healing force. They have a combined effect on our values, which in turn have an impact on our health systems overall: they produce balance in our body, mind and spirit. Furthermore, authentic pleasure remains profoundly human, since it

favours continued self-transcendent growth. He acknowledged all forms of pleasure, but he especially valued spiritual pleasures arising from intelligence. The joy of learning is the ultimate intellectual pleasure, for there is great satisfaction in discovering life artistically, philosophically and/ or scientifically. And, of course, he recognized the many pleasures associated with love, such as mutual validation, self-transcendence, security, creativity, spontaneity, friendship, intimacy and commitment. In tribute to Professor Saint-Arnaud’s remarkable contributions to the field of counselling, psychotherapy and spirituality, Saint Paul University’s School of Counselling, Psychotherapy and Spirituality, together with the Society for Pastoral Counselling Research (SPCR) and l’Association canadienne des intervenants psychospirituels (formerly the Association des Psychothérapeutes Pastoraux du Canada, founded by Saint-Arnaud), will hold an international conference on March 17–19, 2016, entitled Positive Psychology: Healing through Pleasure. One of our featured speakers is noted psychologist Dr. Kenneth Pargament, who along with many other interesting presenters will engage you with fascinating topics chosen for your learning pleasure n Christian Bellehumeur, Ph.D., is a psychologist, associate professor and director of the School of Counselling, Psychotherapy and Spirituality at the Faculty of Human Sciences, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario.

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 MARCH 2016

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