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FALL 2021

The Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart Family partner on the uncharted path to reconciliation



Invisible No More

Ottawa’s Comedic Relief– Yuk Yuks is the capital of comedy Lowertown be damned– we’re reducing harm! Montréal amour– a taste of Europe, close to home Holiday Best Picks

Fall fashion * OSSTF profiles * Ask a lawyer * John Scott Cowan on the debates * Ontario’s Highlands


Get out an explore as many lakes and waterways as possible this summer with the portable FUN X2 from E-catamaran. The inflatable boat that easily fit into the trunk of a hatchback. The electricassisted pedal boat takes 5-minutes and no tools to piece together, then inflate, plug in the battery and go. Best of all, no boat launch is required! Drop into KHAP Reve Activ in Dunrobin to test one for yourself or visit for more information.

SHOWROOM AND WORKSHOP•KHAP Reve Activ •106 Constance Creek Drive, Dunrobin







Wendy Jocko, Chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation




Holiday gift guide


The holidays are fast approaching, our annual gift guide will help you find the perfect present for that hard-to-buy for person on your list.

Ottawa’s comedic relief


Whether it’s the House of Commons, or our Crazy Clown train, Ottawa’s always good for a laugh, especially to the rest of the country. Four decades on, and Ottawa’s comedy scene is alive and well, brimming with new talent at Yuk Yuks..

Invisible no more–the Tewin Project


The Algonquins of Ontario and the Taggart family are partnering on the uncharted path to reconciliation. There is great faith in the Tewin Project, and a belief that it will be a defining example of meaningful economic partnership with Indigenous people in Canada.

Montreal amour




Montreal is a taste of Europe, close to home. Cycle through the historic city, experience the RÉSO network, listen to Indigenous voices at the McCord Museum, and meet the greats of art, music, and photography.

Lowertown be damned–we’re reducing harm!


Publisher’s message ................................................... 4 Aristocrat of Scent ..................................................... 9 In search of style ....................................................... 10 Lest we forget ............................................................... 15 Reconcile this .............................................................. 23 Op-ed: 2021 Leaders’ debate ................................... 26 Op-ed: Coal mining in the Rockies .............................. 29


Fighter jets ................................................................... 16 OSSTF educators in Ottawa/Melanie Hotte ...... 31 OSSTF educators in Ottawa/Alp Oran ............... 33 Ask a lawyer .............................................................. 35 Close to home far from ordinary ............................. 36


ByWard Market is a portrait of public policy not working. Reducing harm? Ottawa’s approach to the drug issue is destroying the Market; leaving the neighbourhood’s shops, staff, and tourists to fend for themselves.

Bolder is better! Super saturated colour and leopard print are back on the fashion scene this season. PHOTO : WINTER LOTUS PHOTOGRAPHY


guest editorial message by Ryan Lythall

Who are the Ottawa Police serving and protecting?


ast week, we heard that the Ottawa Police wouldn’t implement a vaccine policy for their officers. Their reason for this was due to a fear of losing frontline staff.

is that nearly 84 per cent of its members are vaccinated, according to OPS. If the number is true, it shouldn’t take an additional three months to rally the troops.

Soon after the announcement, there was public outrage, including from the Mayor. On Friday afternoon, Chief Peter Sloly announced a reversal in their decision. OPS would require all officers to be vaccinated.

Police officers work in our city. They’re in our community and often deal with our most vulnerable, including people with disabilities. With that said, there’s even more reason why they should also be expected to follow the policy made by the city.

All is not well, though. According to the new policy, all officers must be vaccinated by January 31st, 2022. This has caused more uproar due to the fact all other city staff are required to be double vaccinated by November 1st, 2021, unless they have written proof that they’re exempted due to a medical reason, So, why the delay, and why should they be given special treatment.

I’ve had a few interactions with OPS. As some of my readers know, I use a portable ventilator 24 hours a day. If I were to catch Covid from a police officer, or anyone, the result could be fatal. Also, we can’t forget people who aren’t able to get vaccinated. It’s up to each one of us, including OPS, to protect those who can’t get vaccinated.

According to Glocester-Southgate Ward city councillor and Chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, Diane Deans, Police Chief Peter Sloly needs more time to ensure that all members of the OPS are fully vaccinated.

As in most cases, the police once again feel that they deserve special treatment and get away with things.

As s person with a disability who’s also considered vulnerable, I don’t agree with allowing the OPS extra time.

The OPS don’t seem to have a problem with ticketing, and in some cases, arresting those who refuse to follow provincial guidelines.

The announcement by the city that all staff must be fully vaccinated was made on September 7, 2021. My immediate question is, why didn’t the OPS immediately begin the process of arranging for their staff to get vaccinated? Aren’t the Police supposed “to serve and protect”? If you think they don’t do that, I agree with you 100 per cent, and this is just another example. The other thing that pops into my head 4 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

We’ve also seen plenty of examples of that. No need to rehash the long list.

For example, last week, a member of the Ottawa Paramedic Service was arrested for forging documents indicating proof of receiving both doses of the Covid vaccine. That’s a very serious and troubling crime. If you’re in a position of penalizing those refusing to follow Covid guidelines, you should also be subject to the same treatment. You’re still a person in society regardless if you wear a police badge, an EMT uniform, or not.

Ottawa needs to be like Toronto when it comes to making vaccinations mandatory for its police force. Any officer unable to provide proof of vaccination will be deemed unfit to perform their duties and will be placed on an indefinite unpaid absence and not be permitted to enter TPS facilities. That was taken from a press release by TPS on October 21st, 2021. Meanwhile, we’re letting the OPS take their time here in Ottawa while putting others at risk. Nothing to see here, folks. Just another day of being a police officer in Ottawa. As I’ve said before, the pandemic’s still far from over, even though restaurants are allowed to be at full capacity. Depending on who you talk to, the pandemic never even happened. Though people are still dying from Covid, and in certain LTC settings in Ottawa, very little has changed. Yes, a large percentage have been vaccinated. However, as we’ve recently heard, 300 people were either terminated or suspended from the Ottawa Hospital. I feel that a similar thing will happen to city staff following the November 1st deadline for city workers. Those working for OPS choosing not to get vaccinated will be allowed to come in close contact with you. Can someone please explain to me how exactly OPS is serving and protecting us? Ryan Lythall is weekly columnist with and a long-time advocate for people with disabilities. Most of his focus is centred around wheelchair accessibility, and improving public transportation for people with disabilities.

publisher/managing editor Dan Donovan art director & web editor Karen Temple social media manager Kat Walcott social media videographer Kayla Walcott cover photo Sean Sisk Photography,

makeup by Corey J Stone

photographers Arcpixel, Freddy Arciniegas,

Tatum Bergen, Ben Hemmings Media, Glean Productions, Karen Temple, Winter Lotus Photography, fashion editor Alexandra Hunt accounts Joe Colas C.G.A bookkeeper Joan MacLean contributing writers Tatum Bergen, Michael

Bussière, Sid Cratzbarg, Dan Donovan, Ryan Lythall, Grace Giesbrecht

web contributors Susan Alsembach, Luke Barry,

Adele Blair, Sofia Donato, Mckenzie Donovan, Dave Gross, Jennifer Hartley, Ryan Lythall, Owen Maxwell, Kate More, Zarha Nafal, Aaron Nava, Rusel Olsen, Mona Staples, Kat Walcott, Keith Whittier student intern Charlene Kona Mabwoto corporate advisor J. Paul Harquail,

Charles Franklin

corporate counsel Paul Champagne editor in memoriam Harvey F. Chartrand advertising information

For information on advertising rates, visit call (613) 688-LIFE (5433) or e-mail

From Bad to Verse Comedy is often born in the most unlikely places. John Scott Cowan’s humour came to life in environments with tensions threatening to erupt if not eased with laughter. Cowan has translated his many varied and rich experiences–in the boardroom and in life–into a little gem of a book. “From Bad to Verse” is his testament that humour hides amongst the sombre and wit amidst the wise. Believe it or not, there are lots of guffaws and laughs to be had about bureaucratic banter, airstrike precision, scientific research, politics, and university budget cuts. These seriously unserious pieces of short and long verse are proof that some of the best comedy material is found in leadership and governance. It’s a laugh and a lark–witty, dry humour delivered in brilliant prose. Published in Canada by Kerr House Publishing. PRICE: $ $24.95 AVAILABLE AT: Novel Idea in Kingston Tel: 613-546-9799 Email:

Canadian Publication Mail Product Sales Agreement #1199056. Ottawa Life Magazine, 301 Metcalfe St. Lower Level, Ottawa. Ontario K2P 1R9 tel: (613) 688-5433 fax: (613) 688 -1994 e-mail: Web site: Follow us on Twitter: @ottawalifers On Instagram: ottawalifemag

Ottawa Life is listed in Canadian Advertising Rates & Data (CARD). Ottawa Life subscription rates: one year $48, includes postage, plus HST (four issues). Two years $85, includes postage, plus HST (eight 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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Come Wander the Ontario Highlands Thirty minutes. That’s all it takes to escape the city’s pace. This Fall, you are invited to disconnect to reconnect with a trip to the Ontario Highlands. Experience a 3-Night Cross Country Edible Adventure with chocolate tastings in Lanark and Perth, breweries in Calabogie, artisanal cheeses in Sharbot Lake, and gourmet meals along the way. Search out mysteries in the haunted and abandoned, shiver-worthy spooky spots of the Highlands. Bring your loved ones to gaze upon the clear and brilliant night skies–fall in Ontario’s Highlands is the perfect time for astronomy lovers. Or maybe you’ve wanted to try fall camping, hiking, cycling, or fishing. You can explore the Highlands’ fall beauty with front-country or canoe-in adventures in any of the 12 lakes. While you’re there, you’ll connect to the land, water, people, and cultures. Engage in the “Our Connections” campaign to broaden your understanding of the local Indigenous peoples and their cultures and histories. Whatever it is you choose, come wander in Ontario’s Highlands. Eat, discover the mysterious, gaze upon the night sky, connect to the local culture, and explore autumn’s beauties. It’s close to home but a world away from it all. Visit 5 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

holiday picks

Bean Bag Bucketz from Creative Brainworks Bean Bag Bucketz is the newest trend in outdoor social gaming! This ultimate game can be played anywhere – inside, outside, or while traveling. The object of the game is for each team to get their bean bags into the bucketz, worth various points based on skill needed, and the first to 21 wins! Bean Bag Bucketz is portable, lightweight and durable - it’s easy to take it with you to the beach, tailgating, partying, camping, college campus, backyard or anywhere else you feel like tossing. Each game comes complete with a stand, bucketz, bean bags and a carry bag. A great gift idea for anyone! PRICE: $79.99 AVAILABLE AT: Amazon

Limited-edition signed print in support of Canadian news media To celebrate local Canadian news media and spark conversation about the essential service the news industry provides, News Media Canada partnered with renowned Canadian artist Ola Volo to create a custom piece of art titled ‘Champions’, available as an exclusive, limited-edition signed print. The “Champions” artwork showcases three stoic, trailblazing characters representing journalists and readers, as well as multiple landmarks from across the country to celebrate the diversity of people, places, and perspectives in Canada. This art highlights the critical role that newspapers play as champions of truth and the importance of independent Canadian news media. This limited-edition, signed print can be purchased at, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. PRICE: $125 AVAILABLE AT:

5am Lemon holiday boxes make personal gift giving easy 5am Lemon has created a unique online gift-giving experience, centered around appreciating others and delivering fun. With their newly launched holiday collection of exciting new designs, gift giving will be so easy this festive season. They’ve combined a greeting card with a fun box and offer a selection of gifts that perfectly fit, most of which are locally sourced. Write a custom message and even upload photos to make the box even more personable. The end result is a memorable un-boxing experience that shows gratitude and sparks joy! In just 5 easy steps you’ll have a gorgeous, curated box ready to send to that special someone on your list. A great way to spark joy with friends, family or colleagues this holiday season. The only thing more fun than receiving a 5am Lemon box is creating and sending one. PRICE: prices vary AVAILABLE AT: 6 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

Fine art calendars from Darlene Kulig Give a gift that will bring a burst of colour and joy all year long. Bright and spotted with champagne bubbles that effervesce from the earth, Darlene Kulig’s artworks are utterly joyful. Kulig refers to her style as semiabstracted spirited landscapess. The twelve images in this calendar reflect her home in Canada and her travels abroad. PRICE: $25 AVAILABLE AT:

Ho-ho, hold anything with Cuisipro Pack-It Cook-it, store-it, freeze-it or protect-it with the endlessly versatile Cuisipro Pack-It! Pack-It is hypoallergenic, BPA/BPS free and complies with FDA food-grade standards. Made of 100% platinum silicone, Pack-It is a reusable bag that uses zero plastic and can be used in a variety of ways including: sandwiches, homemade ice packs, snack-size portions, cosmetics, storing vitamins, soups, meals-on-the-go, pencil case, marinating, sous-viding steaks or for keeping cereal fresh and sealed. Best of all, they can be used in the oven, microwave, sous-vide, dishwasher and in the freezer. PRICE: $12 to $30 each AVAILABLE AT:

Earth’s Own Oat Nog Canada’s favourite plant-based milk brand is introducing the country’s first-ever Oat Nog, just in time for the holiday season. Earth’s Own Oat Nog is rich, creamy and oh, so deliciously dreamy, with the perfect blend of traditional Nog spices. Made with versatility in mind, this rich and craveable holiday treat is perfect for pouring into a cup of coffee, mixing with a dash of spiced rum (or your favourite holiday spirit!) or drinking straight up at any holiday occasion. PRICE: Suggested retail price $3.49 AVAILABLE AT: All major grocery retailer

Savino: The gift of fresh wine! The Savino Connoisseur is an effective, elegant, and easy-to-use wine preserver that keeps your wine fresh for up to a week–so you can enjoy Tuesday’s wine on Saturday. Made in the USA with the highest quality materials, such as flint glass and BPA-free plastic, Savino products are designed to withstand years of use and won’t discolour or impart flavour into your wine. Savino offers glass or plastic preservers in a sleek design that holds up to 750ml. Are you more of a cocktail drinker? Savino’s Shaker33 eliminates the hassle of a traditional shaker with a revolutionary design. Now you too can enjoy your wine all week long with a wine preserver crafted with as much elegance and quality as your favourite wine. PRICE: Starting at $29.95 AVAILABLE AT:

Buy a toque while donating a toque to a Canadians experiencing homelessness this Fall/Winter Toques From The Heart offers soft and stylish toques that make winter more confortable for both you and a Canadian in need. For every toque purchased, Toques From The Heart gives a toque to a Canadian experiencing homelessness. The concept is simple—when you buy a toque, you give a toque. Three new styles are now available: the Classic Toques 2.0, Merino Toques, and Hockey Team Toques. All designs have a perfectly rounded top, an adjustable rim, and a special hidden message “stay warm together” stitched onto the back under the rim. PRICE: Staring at $29.99 AVAILABLE AT: 7 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

holiday picks


Welcome to the world of premium whole leaf tea; you’ll never look back. Perfect for chilly and festive days, teapigs limitededition winter teas are indulgent and spicy. These wintery offerings make the perfect stocking stuffer or a great holiday gift for that special teacher or your next holiday gift exchange. With four delicious flavours this year, there’s something to satisfy every holiday craving: sweet spearmint is a must for mint lovers, while gingerbread delivers nostalgia in a cup; cozy up on a crisp frosty day with winter glühwein, or get your spice on with spiced pear. PRICE: $7.99 — Each tea box contains 10 biodegradable tea temples AVAILABLE Exclusively online at

Sacred Skin: Skincare that works, and doesn’t make you broke “Skincare should be simple, affordable and effective–it shouldn’t only be for the rich.” That’s the goal at Sacred Spa, but it’s more than a business for proprietor Annamaria. It’s about making skincare accessible and creating longterm results. That’s why she keeps her prices low and why her clients keep coming back. Sacred Spa offers a wide range of services and products: Sacred Skin organic products, waxing, permanent laser hair removal, facials, skin tightening, laser light therapy, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and micro-needling therapy. Micro-needling treats everything from wrinkles to enlarged pores, acne scars, stretch marks, and fine lines by increasing cellular regeneration.The Vampire Facial, or Platelet Rich Plasma Microneedling, is the next level–the most therapeutic and regenerative treatment. Using your plasma, PRP releases growth factors that stimulate and repair your cells. Usually priced at $600-700, Sacred Spa offers PRP for only $250. The process resurrects your skin. Call (613) 864-2224 to book your appointment.


Treat your loved ones this holiday with Canada’s premium chocolate! When it comes to the gift of giving, it’s really the thought that counts. Made in Canada, Galerie au Chocolat is adding a little indulgence this holiday season with a new, luxurious assortment of chocolate offerings all under $25! From unique stocking stuffers to the perfect hostess gift for the chocolate connoisseur Galerie au Chocolat offers an exceptional range of dark and milk chocolate from their premium Artisan and Fairtrade holiday collection. Give the gift of sweet & salty deliciousness with the NEW Mini Fairtrade Ginger and Sea Salt Bark Bar Be the ultimate entertainer and satisfy your guests’ holiday sweet tooth with the NEW Candy Cane Popcorn bathed in white and dark chocolates and covered with candy cane bits. Surprise a loved one with the NEW luxurious Holiday Wrapped Caramels Gift Box, filled with 16 assorted ultra-premium caramel-filled chocolate pieces made with rich Belgian chocolate. Crafted and perfected for more than 35 years. Manufactured in Montreal, Galerie au Chocolat is dedicated to producing ultra-premium quality chocolate that is all natural, non-GMO, peanut-free, kosher, and their dark chocolates are suitable for a vegan lifestyle. PRICE: Gift Giving Under $25 AVAILABLE AT: Major grocery stores including Metro, Sobeys, Costco, Whole Foods, and more!

aristocrat of scent by Sid Cratzbarg



all is a SCENTILICIOUS time as there are so many new and exciting fragrances so, put away those light summer fragrance bottles and Get Sidified with some of the hottest fall scents. I guarantee, these will be an awesome addition to your perfume collection for Fall 2021. Start your day with a spritz of your favourite scent and enjoy the day! These new and incredible fragrances are found at Shoppers Beauty Boutiques and select Hudson Bay stores. Have fun shopping for your new fall scent that will certainly get you noticed and have people say, “What are you wearing?”

concentration but has given ranges. The concentration of compounds definitely effects the intensity and longevity of a fragrance. Fragrance Families 1. Floral – Floral perfumes can be made from a single flower note or a bouquet of flowers. Floral notes are now being introduced to men’s fragrances. 2. Oriental Family –These fragrances are considered warm,

spicy, and seductive. They are long lasting and are great Sid’s Tips choices for fall and winter. I am often asked if perfume expire? The answer is yes, perfume and cologne do go bad. Many perfumes from luxury brands 3. Wood Family –Wood perfumes are often warm and usually have notes of sandalwood, cedar, don’t have an expiry date. Some and patchouli. Some perfumers brands will last 10 years but the PERFUME DURATION AND CONCENTRATION will curb the warmth of a woody average shelf life of a perfume Parfum: 20-30%, the scent lasts a day. fragrance with citrus. is three to five years. Fragrance Eau De Parfum: 15-20%, 8 hours of longevity. experts say that fragrances with Eau De Toilette: 10-15%, 3 or 4 hours of longevity. 4. Citrus Family a heavier base such as amber and Eau De Cologne: 3-8%, rarely lasts more than two hours. Citrus fragrances are usually patchouli last longer. Aftershave Eau Fraiche: Less than 3%, lasts one hour. fresh and light. Some winter and Aftershaves are primarily used to soothe the skin after shaving. summer fragrances will feature The fragrance industry has never overt citrus notes. really standardized fragrance FALL’S HOTTEST SCENTS

Mont Blanc Explorer Ultra Blue Eau De Parfum

Calvin Klein DEFY The iconic name of Calvin

Perfect Intense by Mac Jacobs

Alibi by Oscar De La Renta

Flora Gorgeous Gardenia Eau De Parfum by Gucci

I have always enjoyed wearing the Mont Blanc fragrances. The new Ultra Blue Explorer is a fabulous citrus aromatic fragrance for men and is so appropriate for the office and for this time of the year. The flacon design shows the iconic Mont Blanc star and the glass is printed with the ultra blue Saffiano motif. The fragrance has notes of bergamot , patchouli, woods, and leather. Inspired by the blue sky, and ice covered mountains, this fragrance is definitely a winner!

Klein is synonymous with fashion and fragrance. DEFY is for the millennial male who dares to DEFY! The scent opens with crisp bergamot and lavender absolute. Vetiver oil from Haiti is the heart of this awesome fragrance with a base of amber notes. I love this scent and feel it is a must have for your collection and is a great way to start your day.

Marc Jacobs’ latest eau de parfum celebrates the power of being real, bold and perfect. It has been described as a bolder, complex, fun, and playful fragrance for the modern hip woman. I love the crystal-cut cap adorned with mismatched charms. Perfect Intense is a beautiful floral scent with notes of daffodil,roasted almonds, and sandalwood.

I have always loved the fashion house of Oscar de la Renta. Their new fragrance, described as one of the most glamorous fragrances of 2021, is introducing the young modern woman to the luxury brand. Alibi is a floralfruity-gourmand fragrance for women with notes of ginger,mandarin,vanilla, and musk. The magnificent sculptured glass bottle has been inspired by the handbag of the same name. A must have to your fragrance collection!

I love that Miley Cyrus fronted the launch campaign for this sensational fragrance. It has been described as a scent created for the woman who is a free spirit. The elongated flacon is crafted from lacquered pink glass with a gold cap and the packaging features an incredible floral pattern. The a white Gardenia note is blended with Jasmine absolute, pear blossom,and sweet brown sugar accord. This fragrance is DDG (drop dead gorgeous). Be part of the Gucci world by wearing this new scent.


in search of style by Alexandra Hunt

The fall 2021 fashion runways were mostly virtually but they signalled a return to normalcy with cheerful styles for evenings out on the town and large celebrations with friends and family. Their vibrancy indicate that a return to joy; think bright colours, lots of sequins and sparkle, and a return to animal prints. With over a decade of fashion reporting, I’ve learned that trends come and go, but certain styles are forever.


Your world )Oscar de la Renta Salvatore Ferragamo



Off White

Make space in your closet for colour and embrace wardrobe joy! While neutrals are always the backbone of any look, designers injected their shows with bright, punchy colour. Super saturated hues were spotted all over the fall 2021 runways at Louis Vuitton, Prada, Tory Burch and several more. Wear one juicy colour head-to-toe or just add a pop to ease yourself in gently.

passionate vibes


colour affects people’s mood.” PHOTO: WINTER LOTUS PHOTOGRAPHY


a hopeful mood

lively energy

happy, joyful feelings

Looking for some colour therapy? Pick your mood and wear it on your sleeve! What does your favourite colour say about you? The colours that we wear can secretly work some magic on our emotional state. Our mind subconsciously knows this, which is why we often gravitate towards specific shades at specific times. Colour can trigger an emotional response, which is why surrounding yourself with a bright shade can enhance your mood. 10 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

“I believe that

a sense of calm

Get Cozy

Alex’s Top Picks

I have a new found appreciation for loungewear. Don’t you? Cozy new styles make snuggling up indoors even more enjoyable. $49.95

Brighten Up A nourishing serum from Italy that provides anti-wrinkle, lifting and moisturizing benefits. Rilastil hydrotenseur serum $99.99


This season, leopard was spotted on the runway at Celine, Etro, Christian Dior, Marine Serre, Lanvin, Max Mara, Michael Kors Collection, Molly Goddard, Elie Saab, and Roberto Cavalli.

Go Wild

Elie Saab

Michael Kors


No matter the year or season, animal prints are a constant in fashion. This year, fashion’s longstanding love affair with animal prints will take you beyond fall/ winter and well into spring 2022. Recently, the spring runway shows have came to a close featuring a heavy rotation of animal prints, specifically tiger stripes. If you’re looking for an investment piece, consider shopping for separates that will take you through the winter and in to the summer months.


Roberto Cavalli

Find Alex Hunt on Instagram @ottawastyle and Twitter @alexhuntstudio

You don’t need to dress head-to-toe to embrace animal print. Command attention with a statement accessory or a single piece to stand out in a crowd. t

Leopard-Print Crew-Neck Sweater •Old Navy $44.99


Safari Shirtdress•Banana Republic $179.00


Leopard Print Fedora•Winners $19.99 11 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021


arts and entertainment by Michael Bussière


hether it’s the House of Commons, or our Crazy Clown train, Ottawa’s always good for a laugh, especially to the rest of the country. Locally and internationally though, we have a lot to be proud of in the wonderful world of comedy. The two Macs, for instance. Mike MacDonald’s professional-grade class clownism tormented teachers at Brookfield High in the 1970s. When he wasn’t destroying a drum kit, he was provoking pants-wetting laughter with his insane improvisations and cartoon face. Late boomers may remember him playing power chords on a tennis racket air guitar in the basement of the Beacon Arms Hotel, or at some joint on Carling that’s been everything from a Chinese


restaurant to the Church of Whoever. Mike headed to the U.S. where his career soared and led to an appearance on Letterman. Norm Macdonald was a true original. The native of Quebec City grew up in North Stormont and never fudged his Canuck accent while enjoying enormous success in the U.S. After a start in stand-up, Norm wrote for Roseanne and Dennis Miller. The big time came on Saturday Night Live, where he held the much-coveted host

spot on Weekend Update. He never looked back. Norm’s recent death at the age of 61, following a nine-year battle with cancer, inspired glowing tributes from fans and peers alike. Howard Wagman has owned Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa since the club opened in the early 1980s, and he’s launched the careers of the funniest who have graced his stage. Tom Green, Angelo Tsaruchas, Jeremy Hotz, Jon Dore, and Chris Finn owe him their start to fame. Norm Macdonald once did new talent

ABOVE: (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Mark Breslin with Howard and Tammy Wagman; Mike MacDonald with Howard Wagman and Mike Wilmot; Russell Peters, Howard Wagman, Dave Martin, Derek Supple and Dean; Mitch Muirhead and Howard Wagman; A young Howard Wagman; Jason Rouse, Dave Martin, Bill MacInstosh, Jon Dore and Howard Wagman.

Howard’s still and always on the lookout for new talent, and recently found it in abundance in the stylings of Simone Holder, winner of the annual 2021 Yuk Yuk’s Mike MacDonaldBe a Donor Summer Comedy Competition, named in homage to the zany great who died in 2018 at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute at the age of 63.

Simone’s natural knack for comedy finally emerged when she found herself on-stage at both her parents’ funerals. Her eulogies will go down in Canadian

Simone Holder felt a calling to comedy when she was 15 years old watching Eddie Murphy’s frantically hilarious 1983 concert film “Delirious”. It took years for her to overcome the shyness and give it a shot herself. “It never occurred to me before seeing Eddie that regular people did comedy,” Simone says, “and, I mean, he seemed old then but was only like 22! Can you imagine being that confident? When the teacher called upon me in class, my throat closed up and I could barely manage a squeak!” For years, Simone lived with the dream, only sharing her deep, dark secret with her close confidante and best friend Melissa. “ I realized that my whole life I’d been preparing to do comedy, because I could take any difficult situation and put a funny spin on it somehow, even if it was just in my own head,” Simone recalls. She’s not shy about sharing a very pivotal and very human moment that struck very close to home. “The morning my father died, I was onroute to Montreal from Toronto and he died when I was in the air. I arrived at the palliative care home and about an hour later the doctor performed the certification. My sister and brother-inlaw left and I stayed with my mother. A nurse eventually came in and tried to make conversation. She commented like, ‘Oh, your husband was a very handsome man,’ and my mother

Norm Macdonald

I loved the feeling and was totally comfortable. The shyness just kind of melted away. I couldn’t wait to go back every week.” A feature showcase at a local club for select family and friends came next, and Simone hasn’t looked back since. It took only two years in the biz until her win at the 2021 Yuk Yuk’s Summer Comedy Competition. “The biggest laugh I get is when I talk about how White people try to get me to go into the woods camping or whatever. I mean, you’re afraid of nothing!” she

Simone Holder won the 2021 Yuk Yuk’s Mike MacDonal-Be a Donor Summer Comedy Competition.

NORM THOUGHT HE BOMBED AND LEFT AFTER HIS SHORT SET, AND I (WAGMAN) THOUGHT HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT HE’D JUST DONE, SO I LEFT THE CLUB AND FOLLOWED HIM UP TO SPARKS STREET AND TOLD HIM ‘YOU’VE GOT IT’ AND YOU NEED TO COME BACK AND DO THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN. comedy history as one of the most morbidly auspicious debuts of all time. “I had people howling with some of the funny stories I shared about my mum and dad and I was hooked,” she says, with a warm, sonorous laugh. “I thought maybe they were just being nice, but it was genuine and it really helped us all get through it.” Simone threw herself into the craft with a six-week course at Absolute Comedy taught by Ottawa-based actor, playwright, and stand-up comedian Pierre Brault. After 40 years of aspiration, it was time to learn the basics. How to structure a joke, how to deliver it, how to create a punch line for a funny premise. The moment Simone stepped onto that stage, she knew. “I heard angels singing.

says. “I heard it could take forever to get out of the preliminary round, but last year my first shot and I got to the semifinals, and I vowed to make it to the finals next year.” The vow paid off. “For Simone to grow this quickly is really quite marvellous and monumental, and we’re all really proud of her,” says impresario Wagman. “I honestly believe she’s got a shot in the business.” Yuk Yuk’s and other fun events all over town are frequently hosted by Tavis Maplesden, a superb writer-for-hire, comedian and devoted stay-at-home dad who was maybe best known during lockdown for his online show ‘Trevor’s Pad’ featuring fellow comic and friend Trevor Thompson, who, according to Tavis’ meticulous statistics, “has 13 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021


replied, ‘Yes, thank you. He was.’ And the nurse went further and said, ‘You must have had to beat other women off with a stick.’ And my mother said, ‘Yes. Yes, I did.’ And I wanted to burst out laughing at the matter-of-fact way she said it, because I thought it was hilarious! The nurse was just trying to be nice, and my mother was just so deadpan I thought this was gold!”


night. “For someone [Norm] to step on stage for the very first time and be great is one in a million,” Howard says. “But, Norm thought he bombed and left after his short set, and I thought he has no idea what he’d just done, so I left the club and followed him up to Sparks Street and told him ‘you’ve got it’ and you need to come back and do this again and again.”

Fund for Kids at CHEO, plus a whole lot of other stuff that really shows just what a bighearted guy he is.

been watched by tens of viewers!!!” on Facebook Live. “My comedy outlet used to be writing TV scripts and pilots, so doing stand-up was never even on my radar,” Tavis says, “until my father-in-law signed up to do amateur night at Absolute Comedy,” [there’s a joke in there somewhere]. It inspired Tavis to give it a shot. “I was nervous for days knowing my appearance was coming up. Once I got up on stage, it felt like it just washed out of me from head to toe. My set was only about four minutes but I felt like I could have stayed up there forever.”

Howard Wagman has raised over $2 million through Yuk Yuk’s for various organizations, and brought Dylan onboard as community events coordinator to boost those efforts. “Howard felt my network would help a lot more charities and bring in even more support. It was a beautiful winwin for the club, for the organizations, and for the audience,” Dylan says. “My role is also to put on all kinds of special events that I’ve created to bring people in and make sure they have a great time while helping support some great local causes.”

Dylan Black and Howard Wagman

Tavis is a natural when it comes to hosting an event that affords a quick thinker like him plenty of The pandemic has taken a huge play time to read the audience DYLAN WAS VOTED OTTAWA’S toll on both the city’s nightlife and guide the interaction, FAVOURITE RADIO PERSONALITY & TV/ and on charity events that have something he does with great struggled to maintain donation skill. It’s not an easy task. “In MEDIA PERSONALITY IN 2020 AND 2021, numbers by substituting virtual comedy, it’s known as the bullet when you’re the first act of say a AND’LL PROBABLY MAKE IT A THREE-PEAT. HIS events for in-person gatherings. It has not been an easy dozen to get up on stage in an GOAL IS TO TAKE PART IN AS transition. Dylan hosts an annual evening, especially on amateur MANY COMMUNITY-MINDED EVENTS extravaganza to celebrate his nights. It’s considered a bit birthday and drum up support of a curse, but hey the host is AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. for his favourite local charities. really the first person to get up Two years ago, one of the Trailer there when the lights come on joke by a married guy about the family’. Park Boys joined in to help raise dollars to get the place warmed up.” There’s It may be the same stuff told in 6,000 for the Max Keeping fund at CHEO, also the opportunity to bounce off the different ways, but I guarantee you with this year’s version held online just performers. “If I hear a yoga joke, and they’ve lived it and it’s true. I mean, how a few weeks ago. Despite all the caring I’ve got one in the back of my head, I can much of a laugh is a guy going to get and best efforts, so much has come to play off them and tie the whole evening sharing how great his life is!?” The trick a standstill, but Dylan is steadfastly together.” He told me the yoga joke. I is to keep it kind, which is something determined to reboot the great work. laughed like hell, but the wholesome Tavis manages with great finesse. So be family quality of OLM prevents me sure and check him out the next chance “I’m a huge believer in the Support from transcribing it. you get by following him on Facebook Local scene, charities, businesses, the or Instagram; or, at venues across town, arts and so forth,” Dylan says. “And my Tavis is also a very gifted writer who including the new Laugh Lounge at 61 ultimate hope is that people do come is always on the lookout for new York Street in the ByWard Market. back with more excitement than ever collaborators. There’s a great exchange to live events, live comedy, to support posted online with the morning crew on Dylan Black’s big booming voice is heard the amazing people who have held on Live 88.5 about New Year’s resolutions on BOOM 99.7. He’s also super adept for so long through tough times. The that does the near impossible in at Simpsons impersonations. Dylan human connection is just so important comedy. It’s crafted and spontaneous, was voted Ottawa’s Favourite Radio and I know once we’re reunited it’ll feel universally human and highly original, Personality & TV/Media Personality in great to have fun together again and good natured but just a little bit dark. 2020 and 2021, and’ll probably make give generously to so many worthwhile It takes alot of talent to achieve those it a three-peat. His goal is to take part causes.” balances. Mind you, the man’s life is a in as many community-minded events balancing act, with days spent being as humanly possible. Consider him Tough times be damned, Ottawa’s SuperDad, nights prowling around super-human, because he’s everywhere, comedy scene is alive and well. Be sure clubs, and in-between time crafting including fundraising events for The and . . . Yahoo Simone, Tavis, and Dylan excellent material. Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario for all kinds of great upcoming events! g (Dylan’s done 24 telethons to date!), “You know, there are a lot of people Make-A-Wish and The Max Keeping who say ‘Hey, here comes another hack


lest we forget by Tatum Bergen

The eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month


t the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the sound of silence resonates with sorrow and thanks. The echoes of a twentyone gun salute pound in silent hearts. Adorned with paper poppies, Canadians stand before crosses, side by side. Pipes play and the bugle sounds the Last Post. It is a solemn moment, a sorrowful remembrance. We are grateful. On Remembrance Day, we commemorate those who served and those who died in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and the war in Afghanistan. Forefront in our minds are the 158 Canadian soldiers who gave their lives in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2011. Our soldiers fought these wars for the freedoms of Canadians and the values we hold dear. We continue to honour the 7,000 Indigenous Peoples and the unknown number of Métis, Inuit, and non-Status Indians who served in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean World War. They were the forerunners of Reconciliation. By the end of the First World War, approximately 619,000 Canadians enlisted for service overseas–an enormous contribution from a population of under 8 million in 1914. Of these, 61,000 Canadians died and 172,000 were wounded–and many more broken in mind and body. “Shell shock” afflicted thousands, and innumerable more suffered, and still suffer, from PTSD.


In Flanders Fields by John McCrae In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields.

Canada emerged from these wars changed, sacrificing lives and generations for the democracy, freedoms, and rights we have today. Canadian communities from coast to coast maintain war memorials to honour the soldiers whose bodies could not be laid to rest at home. Their names are inscribed on plaques and cenotaphs to recount their sacrifice. In Ottawa, Canada’s National War Memorial at Confederation Square is a symbol of remembrance, partnered with the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill to memorialize the war. At its base, the Memorial Chamber contains the official Books of Remembrances.

Since the 1920s, a single Unknown Soldier represented the unidentified dead of Canada and the Commonwealth States in London’s Westminster Abbey. In 2000, Veteran Affairs Canada selected a set of remains to return to Canada from a cemetery near Vimy Ridge. On May 28, 2000, the solider was laid to rest at the National War Memorial. This year, hundreds of thousands of Canadians will pay their respects to our soldiers and their families. Nearly 630,000 Canadian Veterans live with the memory of war. Over 71,000 Canadians are actively serving today. “We Remember” is not an impersonal memory but a proclamation of pride. Our ancestor’s memories project on our minds: our great-grandfather and great-grandmother’s farewell, our grandmother’s tears over her father’s last embrace, their prayers for protection. We remember their heartache, their pride, and their resolve–and we make it our own. May we not pass by the Veterans who stand dutifully in the cold selling poppies; but rather take up their post, calling our fellow Canadians to remember. May we remember the fallen and not forget those who gave their lives so we can live, feel dawn, see sunset glow, and love and be loved. May their sacrifice be inscribed on more than stone and pages but, for generations to come, on our hearts. For, in the words of John McCrae from the battlefield, the torch is ours to hold high g 15 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

fighter jet series by Dan Donovan

Canada’s fighter jet contract still up in the air


he Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) fighter jet contract to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s is part of a procurement package that is worth almost $20 billion (with an overall program cost of $74 billion). It is the most significant investment in the RCAF in more than 30 years. The matter has been on the backburner in Parliament for the past year because of Covid-19 but that will change with the selection of a winner and the signing of the contract in coming months. One area of concern is that the new Defence Minister, Anita Anand, appears singularly focused on dealing with misconduct and misogyny in the CAF. After her appointment she said, “my top priority is to make sure that everyone in the Armed Forces feels safe and protected and that they have the support that they need when they need it and the structures in places to ensure that justice is served.” She went on to say she is ‘determined’ to resolve military misconduct crisis as defence minister. While the issue is certainly a serious one, much of the blame for it rests with the Trudeau government. For six years former defence minister Harjit Sajjan proved unwilling to hold senior officers to account when he was told 16 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

of allegations of sexual misconduct being levied against them. This, despite having a report from former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps on the issue on his desk since 2016. Sajjan made no serious attempt to implement her recommendations. When more allegations of misogyny arose earlier this year, the Trudeau government launched yet another independent review into sexual misconduct, this time, led by former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour. That announcement was criticized as a stalling tactic by survivors and former military leaders.

The new Defence Minister, Anita Anand, appears singularly focused on dealing with misconduct and misogyny in the CAF.

The hypocrisy hit new levels when Prime Minister Trudeau criticized the CAF after naming Anand the new Defence Minister saying, “It is obvious that despite the work the military has done, despite the work that we have done, the military still doesn’t get those survivors

need to be at the centre, and the unique priority of everything in regard to sexual misconduct and harassment in the military,” Trudeau said. He added “This shows they simply still don’t get it.” This was rather jarring coming from Trudeau who so callously dismissed a survivor in 2018 who he had allegedly groped at an event he attended in 2000. In response to that allegation Trudeau said, “I have been reflecting very carefully on what I remember,” he said. “I feel I am confident I did not act inappropriately. “The same interactions can be experienced very differently from one person to the next,” he said Minister Anand has the Deschamps report with very specific recommendations on how to deal with misogyny in the CAF. She would do well to implement it and turn her attention to the problem of procurement. The Royal Canadian Navy shipbuilding contract with Irving Co. is now well over a decade old and has yet to deliver new destroyers, while the price has almost tripled. The fighter jet contract is a boondoggle in its second decade of delay that dates back to July 2010, when the Harper Conservatives announced that Canada would buy 88 Lockheed Martin F-35 PHOTO: ISTOCK

stealth fighter jets. After winning the October 2015 election the Liberals cancelled the Lockheed Martin bid. In 2016 they announced the $15 billion Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) to replace its CF-18 Hornet jets which are closing in on four decades of service. This Fall, the government must choose two finalists from either Lockheed Martin, Boeing, or Saab. The word in Ottawa is that the Saab Gripen will be dropped from the competition and the government will have until mid 2022 to select either Lockheed Martin’s F-35 or Boeing’s F/A-18 as the RCAF’s new fighter jet. The delivery of the new fighter jets is expected in 2025. If Anand can bring the same type of chutzpah to the defence file that she brought in her previous role as Minister of Public Services and Procurement the RCAF might finally be able to meet its commitments at home and abroad g

Girl Guides is a place where girls can be themselves.

Visit to join the fun! 17 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

cover story by Michael Bussière photos by Sean Sisk Photography

INVISIBLE NO MORE – The Tewin Project

The Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart family partner on the uncharted path to reconciliation


n February 10th, Ottawa City Council made a controversial move when it voted to bring 445 rural hectares of land from southeast Ottawa (near Carlsbad Springs) into Ottawa’s urban boundary to create space for a transformational new community called Tewin (pronounced “Tay-Win”). It’s not the first time this huge tract of land was considered for development. Fifty years ago, the suburbs of Ottawa began to grow beyond the limits of Greber’s Greenbelt. Pockets of new neighbourhoods popped up in places like Orleans, Blackburn Hamlet, and Kanata. And so, in the 1970s, the former Ontario Housing Corporation and the National Capital Commission began considering locations outside the belt for future “model city” communities. Carlsbad Springs was 18 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

one such location but was passed over in favour of “South Rideau,” which eventually became Barrhaven. It was the beginning of communities where today hundreds of thousands of Ottawa residents call home. In a 10-minute videotaped message to council posted before the meeting, Chief Wendy Jocko of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation describes Tewin as “a generational opportunity to create one of Canada’s most innovative and environmentally sophisticated communities.” Chief Jocko explains that the development will be, “all guided by Algonquin principles and teachings, while allowing Algonquin people to take their rightful place within the economic fabric of Canada’s capital”. Tewin, meaning ‘home’ in Algonquin,

is a joint venture of the Algonquins of Ontario and the Taggart Group, a construction company that dates back to the early 1940s when Harold Taggart began building homes in Ottawa’s west end. The Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) represents ten communities pursuing a modern-day treaty based on Algonquin Aboriginal and treaty rights protected under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, includes Pikwakanagan First Nation, Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini (Bancroft), Bonnechere, Greater Golden Lake, Mattawa/North Bay, Ottawa, Shabot Obaadjian (Sharbot Lake), Snimikobi (Ardoch) and Whitney and Area. Collectively, the AOO lays claim to 36,000 square kilometres in eastern Ontario, loosely defined by the watershed of the Ottawa River from Mattawa to Kingston to eastern Ontario. The name Ottawa itself is Algonquin

for “trade,” something enabled for eons of time by the confluence of three rivers and a culture of excellent paddlers. The AOO and Taggart are committed to working together to build one of Canada’s most dynamic neighbourhoods, rooted in Algonquin culture and values and becoming a beacon of what reconciliation can look like through partnerships and economic development. The Tewin project has garnered a lot of attention in many quarters because it has come to represent so much more than just a new dynamic neighbourhood in the capital. As a reconciliation project, it has split Algonquin communities along provincial lines. No sooner had the Tewin proposal been brought to a vote that the controversy about who exactly is an Algonquin hit the news. Communities that aren’t part of the AOO, several of which are located in Quebec, were vocal about Tewin not being an act of reconciliation, in their opinion. Claudette Commanda, the granddaughter of the late William Commanda, the Algonquin elder, spiritual leader and longtime band chief from Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg First Nation located just south of Maniwaki spoke against the project in a CBC interview saying “You should not be standing up there and saying ‘I recognize that we are on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Algonquin nation- but you turn around and you’re going to give our land away to a group of people?” To that, Chief Jocko defended the project in her taped message to council. “We are taking our rightful place in Ottawa, Canada and the global community.” Chief Jocko went on to say, “This is a significant colonial injustice that we are now seeking to reconcile […] through every avenue available to us.

Chief Jocko began her remarks by stating that federal recognition of official First Nations status under the Indian Act is a remnant of the colonial era, and that identity expressed and experienced, then as now, by cultures themselves, versus legal definitions, is the true measure of indigeneity. All members of Pikwakanagan First Nation are automatically included as beneficiaries of the Nation. Anyone else who consider themselves as Algonquins have

past is never forgotten. In December 2015, the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) outlined 94 Calls to Action (or recommendations) pertaining to everything from child welfare and justice to newcomers to Canada. Recent changes, for example, to the citizenship test and oath, which now both include references to Canada’s Indigenous peoples, their histories, and their rights, fulfil calls to action 93 and

[Tewin is] a generational opportunity to create one of Canada’s most innovative and environmentally sophisticated communities.

Wendy Jocko Chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation

to complete an enrolment application form. “We have worked very diligently to strengthen the criteria for enrolment [in the AOO] requiring anyone who wishes to register to demonstrate a sustained connection to the original historic collectives,” said Chief Jocko. The final Council vote confirming Ottawa’s urban boundary expansion for Tewin came on the heels of Canada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, a federal statutory holiday meant to ensure that the history and legacy of Canada’s colonial

It is important to note that while traditional Algonquin territory is centred on the Kichi sipi, meaning “the Great River”, historically in pre-colonial times multiple autonomous tribes controlled the waterway. For example, one group charged other nations a toll for traversing a strategic point located at Allumette Island near present-day Pembroke where broad rapids require a portage. The Nipissing exercised similar jurisdiction in their territory. To this day, while there is a unified identity, the Algonquin are organized into autonomous nations and sub-nations that live in widely disparate socio-economic conditions.

94. This is more than just symbolism. It is meaningful knowledge that reframes Canada’s origins in the minds of new Canadians as beginning with the presence of Indigenous cultures in this vast and ancient land. According to the 2020 TRC Report Card issued by the Assembly of First Nations, The TRC Call to Action 92 which states that Indigenous communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects and that Indigenous communities are included in the co-development of a strategy to eliminate employment gaps, has seen little progress

Tewin may just help move this needle. “Tewin truly is about reconciliation, and speaks directly to the TRC Calls to Action,” said Lynn Clouthier, Algonquin Negotiation Representative 19 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

for the Ottawa region. “Reconciliation is not about hand-outs. It is about groups working together toward a mutual goal. That, to me, is Tewin defined.” Tewin is separate from AOO’s other land claim negotiations in the province. However, it is not the first time that the AOO has pursued an urban housing partnership of this nature. Wateridge Village/Village des Riverains is a 125-hectare site on the former Rockcliffe Airbase under development by Tartan Homes and in partnership with the AOO. Neighbourhoods and communities and how they evolved (or devolved depending on your view) in the capital have changed over the decades. Drive through any vinyl siding enclave in Ottawa and you’ll see clusters of SUV’s obscuring faux brick facades. Box stores are your only shopping option and the hub of most community interaction. Smart Centres™ further aggravate earnest consumers by requiring a car to

drive from one box to the next within their confines. Shopping malls simulate main streets where private property rights trump your personal rights. Busk, stage a protest, or stick a poster on the wall at Bayshore and you’ll never eat frogurt again. It wasn’t always this way. Main streets like Bank or Wellington were developed and built to serve families. Post-war suburbs didn’t assume that the car was almighty. Cruise around Alta Vista, Mooney’s Bay, or Manor Park and you’ll notice that laneways are narrower and that neighbourhood plazas once provided supermarkets and other retail necessities. In the era of climate change and a yearning by citizens for more sustainable, connected, and liveable communities, urban planners and developers are listening and changing to meet those demands. So is city hall. The City of Ottawa masterplan released in August 2020 would consider these 15-minute

neighbourhoods, in which “you can walk to get to the grocery store, where you can easily walk to frequent transit, and where children can safely walk to school.”  In many ways this is the opposite of the suburban car first communities the city has permitted developers to create for the past 40+ years.

A Meaningful Presence The Tewin partners say their vision is groundbreaking in terms of modern urban planning and demonstrates the unique perspective that Indigenous communities can contribute to land use planning and development. Algonquin history, culture, and voice have been, and will continue to be, a foundational element in the consultation, planning, design, and development of Tewin. Algonquin teachings will be embodied within the community design process with the intention to create a place where the Algonquin people can see themselves. “For centuries of European settlement, the Algonquins had become invisible in our own land and precluded, in one way or another, from fully participating in the economic and social life in Canada,” said Chief Jocko. “Tewin reminds us that we are home in our Traditional Territory and assures us that we can rebuild our meaningful presence on these lands and within the social fabric of this city.”

Reconciliation is not about hand-outs. It is about groups working together toward a mutual goal. That, to me, is Tewin defined.

Lynn Clouthier Algonquin Negotiation Representative for the Ottawa region


Chief Jocko says that working closely with the Taggart Group of Companies over the past few years has “demonstrated the strength of building partnerships based on Algonquin values and teachings, and our shared desire to advance reconciliation in a bold and meaningful way.”

One Planet Living Another set of principles central to the thinking behind the development plans for Tewin is the One Planet Living framework, an optimistic vision for the future “where everyone, everywhere lives happy, healthy lives within the limits of the planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness.”

system at no cost to the city. Michelle Taggart, Vice-President of Land Development at Taggart, says that one of the things that makes this project so exciting is that they are working with a ‘blank canvas’.

Tewin is a dream come true. We have the unique opportunity to build a new community that is founded on Algonquin values and place-keeping principles.

Michelle Taggart Vice-President of Land Development, Taggart Group of Companies

Tewin will make Ottawa the only city in the world with two One Planet Living developments, the other being the community of Zibi located in Ottawa and Gatineau. Chief Jocko hopes that Tewin will “position the City as a world leader in sustainable community development [and] serve as an unprecedented model for smart, compact, and integrated urban growth.” Indeed, Tewin will be developed in accordance with what are called the 5 Big Moves of Ottawa’s new Official Plan: Growth Management; Mobility; Community and Urban Design; Climate, Energy and Public Health; and Economic Development. In doing so, Tewin promises to deliver a set of benefits that will promote the social, economic, and environmental health and wellbeing of the area, and also protect agricultural land and significant natural features. Promising to demonstrate how a new community development can provide a wide range of housing types and address affordability in the city, all while making use of available sewer and transit systems, the community will support between 35,000 to 45,000 new residents and foster job creation with a vision for local urban agricultural development and culturally relevant opportunities for learning and innovation. High-quality

transit will serve Tewin from day one, at the expense of the developer, promising not to impose any additional costs on the Ottawa taxpayer.

Controversy To the wearier Ottawa resident who is less optimistic about the feasibility of such a vision, it may all sound too good to be true. After all, when it comes to feasibility relative to current municipal infrastructural networks like sewage treatment, water, and transit, Tewin’s scores by city planning officials were low. City staff voiced concerns about Tewin’s proximity to “existing or planned infrastructure including servicing and transit as well as amenities such as recreational facilities and retail.” So why has the city gone ahead and approved the site? Representatives from the development team say that the numeric scoring system that was used to score Tewin was designed to evaluate incremental additions to the city boundary, rather than to score a holistic and complete new community like Tewin. While there is no existing transit or plan to expand transit to the area, Taggart says they are fully committed to developing and building a transit

“We are starting from scratch, learning from the past, and planning for the future. We will build a dense, connected, sustainable community that will be planned around a future transit system rather than trying to fit transit in after the community is built,” said Taggart. As with any development, there are significant challenges ahead and the AOO-Taggart team say that they are fully committed to working with the city to capture the costs of this development. They argue that Tewin is a unique proposition for what greenfield development can offer the city and remain confident that ‘Tewin will pay for Tewin.’ “For me personally, and as a professional planner, Tewin is a dream come true. We have the unique opportunity to build a new community that is founded on Algonquin values and place-keeping principles. Just think how special that is. This is going to be a community like no other in Canada,” said Taggart.

Real Reconciliation There is great faith in this project on many levels, and a belief that, when all is said and done, it will be a defining example of meaningful economic partnership with Indigenous people in Canada. It is Clouthier and Jocko’s hope that Tewin will be a means for the communities of the AOO to support their aspiration to be a self-determining people once again, to re-make their place for future generations and to renew Algonquin culture. It is a hope shared by many members of the AOO and their partners, and indeed many Canadians who are ready to see real progress on truth and reconciliation g 21 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

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talk is cheap by Tatum Bergen



Ontario government and the PM, Tofino Trudeau, cut Indigenous people out of gaming industry. The Shawanaga First Nation called upon the Ontario Government to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation by immediately pausing the changes to gaming regulations in Ontario


n the age of reconciliation, the Government of Ontario stands at an impasse: economic discrimination or proactive reconciliation.

for the province, the private gaming sector, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), and First Nations communities.

This June, iGaming became legal in Canada. The Bill C-218 amendment to the Criminal Code decriminalized “single-event sports betting”– allowing Canadians to gamble on sports teams in a single game.

The OLG, a crown agency, already launched its online platform on August 27, 2021. According to Casino Reports, the PROLINE+ launch reported $1 million in revenue within the first week and accumulated over $6 million in betting volume since the launch. These staggering profits are from one platform alone.

For Canadians, this is good news. The industry provides a significant source of revenue for Canadians, generating an estimated $14 billion per year. The $14 billion previously spent illegally on iGaming went through offshore servers and landed in the hands of organized crime, fueling drugs and guns. Legalizing online gambling directs the revenue back into the Canadian economy, providing jobs and opportunities for businesses while allowing for regulation, customer protection, and support for those struggling with addiction. Ontarians alone spend $1 billion on online gambling per year, 70 per cent going to unregulated sites. Federal legalization is the dawn of Ontario’s booming iGaming industry. It is a substantial economic opportunity

saying the essential aspect is the impact on Indigenous communities: “It is…my understanding that there are likely other Indigenous governments that have expressed an interest in more direct management and betting. We have a responsibility to Indigenous peoples and communities on these important issues and how this industry may impact and benefit Indigenous peoples and communities.” Despite this, Ontario left Indigenous peoples out of the equation. The struggle between the Ontario gaming industry and First Nations dates to the 1980s and as recently as September 1, 2021.

The Ontario Government failed to consult and accommodate the Shawanaga First Nation’s interest in the iGaming industry. Ontario did not give them prior and informed consent of the changes made by the legalization to the provincial gaming industry.

Over the decades, casinos and the gambling industry have been a reliable source of income for First Nations, contributing to communities and economic development. In the House Debate over legalization, Hon. Anita Vandenbeld urged the Government,

The Shawanaga First Nation issued a press release on September 27, 2021 stating the Ontario Government failed to consult and accommodate the Shawanaga First Nation’s interest in the iGaming industry. Ontario did not give them prior and informed consent of the changes made by the legalization to the provincial gaming industry. Ontario publicly stated that they would engage with the Ontario First Nations Limited Partnership (OFNLP2008) about sharing iGaming revenue. They said they welcomed Indigenous perspectives in designing and 23 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

implementing the industry. But when the Shawanaga contacted the Government to share their perspective and interests, they received a meagre response. Ontario’s Attorney General and Minister of Finance took two months to respond–described by the Chief as “limited and inadequate.” The Minister claimed they reached out to meet with the Shawanaga a month earlier, but Chief Pawis is unable to confirm this contact. Whether this was a simple miscommunication or an attempt to ignore First Nations’ concerns, Ottawa Life awaits a response from Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy.

“Nothing will change,” said Chief Adam Pawis after the meeting when OLM asked him about his hopes for the Ontario government to consult First Nations. OLM has not received a response from the Minister. The issue now remains. The Government went ahead and is implementing iGaming without consulting Indigenous peoples directly. The Government waited four months to communicate with the Shawanaga. This breaches both their duty to consult and the 2015 Political Accord that committed “to work together to identify and address common priorities…[such as] the treaty relationship, resource benefits and revenue sharing and jurisdictional matters involving First Nations and Ontario.”

Granted, Ottawa Life confirmed that the Government did reach out to the OFNL2008. The problem is, the OFNLP2008 explained, it is not under their mandate or authority to The Government went ahead and is speak on behalf of individual First implementing iGaming without Nations for iGaming. Contacting the wrong agency out of ignorance consulting Indigenous peoples directly. does not fulfill the duty to consult all The Government waited four months Ontario First Nations.

“The Province is obliged to directly engage with First Nations and their organizations on the legal and policy issues connected with the Internet Gaming Initiative and does not constitute formal consultation, engagement or accommodation,” the OFNLP2008 asserted. “It cannot and should not be characterized by any part as such.” We are unsure whether any First Nations other than the Shawanaga have reached out to the Government. Regardless, the OFNLP2008 advised the Government in July of 2019 to consult with First Nations directly. Apart from an unconfirmed email to a single First Nation in 2021, the Government has not made their best effort. On October 6, Shawanaga Chief Adam Pawis and the Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, finally discussed Shawanaga’s inclusion in a meeting. The Minister’s response to the Shawanaga determines Ontario’s dedication to reconciliation and their political commitments to First Nations. The Government has not yet honoured their requests or concerns. 24 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

gaming since the 1980s. First Nations assert that gaming is their inherent right. To date, no court has been willing to rule in support of this claim. This refusal, however, is founded on an agreement made in 1985 on gaming rights. But here’s the catch: the Government did not consult Indigenous peoples in this very agreement in the 80s–the courts have since abandoned their duty to consult in gaming matters. The 1985 agreement and foundational breach of the constitutional duty to consult justified their continual inaction and refusal to consult with Indigenous peoples on gaming matters. Of course, the courts contest their right to gaming–there is profit at stake. Without acknowledging their inherent right, the industry and its profit remain in the Government’s complete control.

Chief Pawis connects Shawanaga’s right to gaming: “The barter and trade system historically developed by First Nations peoples’ precontact should be recognized and included here as guaranteeing First Nations to communicate with the Shawanaga. a fundamental role in the ability to This breaches both their duty to consult wager, bet, participate, and derive income from games of chance here and the 2015 Political Accord. in Ontario and throughout Canada.” He explained that bartering and betting were essential to Shawanaga “In the wake of the serious and culture and wealth accumulation. horrendous truths confirmed across Turtle Island of the genocide of It is high time that the Crown reIndigenous children and others Canadaestablishes its commitment to consult wide,” said Chief Adam Pawis, “One First Nations regarding gaming. would expect this type of financial discrimination and ongoing economic With the genesis of iGaming genocide of Indigenous peoples to have legalization, the Government is dutyended.” bound to consult First Nations and accommodate their explicit interests. But why does iGaming affect Indigenous rights? To foster reconciliation with First Nations is the goal of this duty. Denying The idea of “the duty to consult” is a them the right to economic opportunity doctrine created over time by Canadian and development–by ignoring their courts to protect the unique rights of requests to be involved and considered Indigenous peoples guaranteed under in the budding industry–is the opposite Section 35 (1) of the Constitution. It of reconciliation. It is economic requires the Government to dialogue discrimination. with First Nations when proposing an action that might affect their rights. The onset of iGaming legalization The duty hinges on an existing inherent hands the Ontario Government both Indigenous right or treaty. a responsibility and opportunity to proactively pursue reconciliation. A The courts have contested the right to failure to consult First Nations on

iGaming is a step backwards and out of the age of reconciliation. A refusal to consult silences the voices of Ontario First Nations peoples in an industry that would contribute to their economic development. This compounding failure is a dishonour to the Crown–another constitutional principle that seeks reconciliation. It requires the Government and its agencies to act with honour and integrity towards Indigenous peoples and to avoid “even the appearance of ‘sharp dealing.’” Indeed, cutting First Nations out of iGaming opportunities appears to be a “sharp deal.” For these reasons, the Shawanaga First Nation has grounds to claim that the Government thus far failed their duty to consult and accommodate First Nations in iGaming. Chief Pawis asks the question at the heart of the matter: “[H]ow can there

economically them?

be reconciliation when governments and Crown agencies consistently discriminate against First Nations peoples’ futures and livelihoods, blatantly denying us our voices and our due. The deliberate exclusion of First Nations by OLG is shameful and brings dishonour to the Crown. Reconciliation… requires, among other things, recognition of First Nations’ inalienable rights to participate fully in the economic opportunities from gaming.”


In the meantime, the Shawanaga First Nation calls upon the Ontario Government to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation by immediately pausing the changes to the province’s gaming regulations and beginning discussions with First Nations. To add insult to injury, our Prime Minister’s deliberate choice to vacation in Tofino on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation leaves Canadians to wonder whether the Government has abandoned reconciliation in everything but words.

Reconciliation means revenue sharing, employment, and development. If Ontario seeks reconciliation with the First Nations, they must shed their conflicting interests with the OLG and provide First Nations with a seat at the gaming table. The Shawanaga First Nation’s call for inclusion in the new and booming industry leaves us to wonder how Indigenous communities can develop if the Government continually robs them of access to industries that have


First Nations and Canadians alike are asking the question: Is there a genuine insincerity behind their promises? A failure to consult and accommodate– mere days after the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation–is a promise and hope of reconciliation broken g


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politics/opinion by John Scott Cowan

The spectacularly awful leaders’ debates:




ow that a discrete interval has passed since our recent federal election, it is an opportune time to try a bit of dispassionate analysis to explain to ourselves why it felt like such a shambles. It launched amidst some controversy over whether it was needed at all, but it seems to me that it didn’t entirely become a festival of mutual ox goring until the so-called leaders’ debates. Something very odd has happened to the word “debate”, if those leaders’ debates are anything to go by. Perhaps it’s my inner curmudgeon speaking, but through most of my life, there were two incontrovertible properties of a debate. The first was that all the debaters were expected to speak about the same subject, and the second was that each side had a substantial reserved block of time to elaborate their position (and sometimes more than one block) and a further consolidated block of time for rebuttal. Interruptions by opposing debaters were usually heavily penalized. The first of the two debates in French had a hint of the original definition of “debate” in its structure, despite the woefully short time blocks. It was conducted with considerable decorum (with only odd exceptions), and the referee (called a “moderator” to mollify 26 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

the media folk) was respectful, helpful and not especially intrusive. The participants were expected to address the same topics.

The central focus was on the so-called moderator, who peppered each of the leaders with different questions, allowing seconds, rather than minutes, for an answer. It felt more like the interrogation of captured spies than a debate.

By the time we reached the sole Englishlanguage debate, the concept had transmogrified itself into an egregious caricature of a sort of demented collective press scrum. The central focus was on the so-called moderator, who peppered each of the leaders with different questions, allowing seconds, rather than minutes, for an answer. It felt more like the interrogation of captured spies than a debate. But enough about the dubious features of the event. Amongst my usual interlocutors, I have found none who

found it edifying. The more interesting questions are, first, what are the causes of that sort of debacle, and, secondly, what can be done to give us something more useful during future elections. I suspect that there are many causes for what we saw. It is popular to blame the communications revolution and social media for some perceived decline in the attention span of some folk. I’m not entirely certain that attention spans have declined. People still develop intense interests that evoke sustained concentration on a single subject. But some other causes are fairly obvious. Some portions of the press and media have, over the last two generations, become hugely narcissistic. They have gone from reporting the news to thinking that they are the news, and reporting incessantly on themselves. Again, perhaps it is the curmudgeon in me that makes me think that journalists were better forty years ago. Given the critical importance of free speech and a free press in guaranteeing democracy, I am relieved that there still are a nontrivial number of exceptional, wellinformed and perceptive journalists. But many are not. A significant slice of the fourth estate is neither literate nor numerate, and do us the huge discourtesy of assuming we aren’t either.

They are wrong; large swaths of the voting public in Canada are well-educated and somewhat reflective. Compounding that is the perceived broadcast need to compress complex issues into 10-30 second soundbites. I say “perceived” because it isn’t necessarily true. Newsmagazine shows that take 20-60 minutes on a single issue remain hugely popular. But if some in the media give new depth to the word “shallow”, are leading politicians similarly limited? Admittedly, some politicians and their media advisors have bought into the “soundbite” myth. The result is scenes of political leaders spouting snappy “talking points” and catch phrases, instead of marshalling evidence and outlining their logic. But that doesn’t mean that they are all incapable of serious, reasoned debate. I’ve known many Canadian politicians, including three PMs, seven party leaders who did not become PM and dozens of members of Parliament or senators who were cabinet ministers, and certainly more than half are or were genuinely impressive in private. So just imagine an election debate in which unelected journalists didn’t participate, and didn’t interrupt our representatives every 30 or 60 seconds. Imagine candidates debating each other in long enough blocks to be coherent, and on subjects which they think we might wish to hear about before we judge their fitness to govern. After decades of watching news anchors and reporters tampering with debates under the guise of being moderators, contemplate the possibility of political discourse not pushed through microcephalic filter of some ill-educated stage prop of a newsreader. We might get political discourse appropriate for a free people, and I have no doubt that a critical portion of the swing vote would have the knowledge, powers of reasoning, and attention span to assess it properly. So how can the trend be reversed? Is it possible to get from where we are now to

a more civil and substance-oriented debate? Perhaps. Ironically, the Covid pandemic may just have begun a series of cultural changes that may make such debate more possible. Two important changes in our culture are the public’s wariness of crowded in-person events, and an increasing familiarity with on-line events, some of which are interactive. Neither of these trends is likely to be a transient. This could somewhat reduce the

After decades of watching news anchors and reporters tampering with debates under the guise of being moderators, contemplate the possibility of political discourse not pushed through microcephalic filter of some ill-educated stage prop of a newsreader.

attraction and utility of “whistle-stop” campaigning across the country by party leaders and put more emphasis on broadcast or internet-based events, of which there would logically be more of them and longer ones. That opens the door to a much more extensive series of debates, and that is the crucial key to making them better. More debates means that each one can cover a single topic, or at least a narrowly defined group of topics. More debates also means that not every leader needs to be in every debate. Some debates might even be in the traditional format of only two sides in the debate. Furthermore, an extended series of debates provides an opportunity to appropriately scale the participation of party leaders whose parties have not achieved official party status in the House of Commons. Leaders of parties below the official party cut-off could be invited to

participate in perhaps one or two debates in each official language, and all the others could be invited to many more, though not to every one. Such a framework would lend itself well to a format that gives individual debaters non-trivial blocks of time, and would push the leaders to make more detailed arguments, and to marshal facts and data to support their stances. It might also allow for two-person teams, especially when the topic of the debate is one that falls primarily within a single cabinet portfolio. Imagine a debate, for example, on health policy issues, with the sitting PM and the Minister of Health on one side, and the leader of an opposition party, plus that party’s health critic (or shadow minister, if you prefer the older term) as the participants in a four-person traditional debate. Or, with a couple of opposition parties, that would be six speakers, with each given a couple of opportunities to speak, which is not impossible for a 90-120 minute event. This approach, with three or four major parties, implies quite a number of debates. But if these debates, rather than whistle-stop rallies, become the central features of the campaigns, that is not an insurmountable problem. The whistle-stop rallies are just a form of targeted advertising, and such advertising can be done without traipsing the leader across the country from riding to riding, (which, as a modern apparent sin, dramatically increases the leader’s carbon footprint) . Plus, it is an opportunity for each party to raise the public profile of some of their more local senior MP’s, by giving them some ambulatory public exposure roles during the campaign. For those aspiring to cabinet roles, or who already hold them, this is a great opportunity, and also helps to move us away from the drift to cult of personality politics which has been plaguing the US and some European nations. I suspect that the real impediments to making such a debate series the centrepiece of election campaigning is that the idea of it will evoke instant 27 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

revulsion amongst the spin doctors, professional publicists, and campaign advisor hangers-on which burden every party. They will fear that a certain fraction of them will become redundant. And if they are what is standing between the voters, and real transparency in political discourse, their ranks should indeed be thinned out. Replacing some of them with folk who can actually develop and articulate real policy, rather than catchphrases would be a boon to national mental health. The television broadcast networks as well may not look warmly upon such a significant series of disruptions to their normal broadcast schedule, in which case they may need to be reminded of the effects of the communications revolution, including the existence of the internet and the many other platforms over which such programming could be distributed widely, and in real time. But you may well ask, “Given the opportunity, can the leaders actually debate effectively?” It is very likely that they can. Of the six party leaders during our recent election, four had trained and worked as lawyers, so they certainly had considerable exposure to the debating which is fundamental to our legal system, with its teachings and methodologies. And of the other two, one had been a drama teacher, so even if he could not prepare a solid debate argument from scratch, he could certainly simulate one quite well, if handed a decent script. The remaining leader was a well-educated individual 28 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

For our democracy to function properly, real and substantive public debate is essential for making wise choices. And that debating needs to take place in two critical fora. One is in public, so that we can effectively select representatives who will accurately reflect our views and implement our wishes, and the other is in parliament.

with a long history of successful entrepreneurship in the entertainment industry, so he likely could cope too. The role of the moderator thus becomes essentially that of a referee. After delivering a welcoming announcement outlining the scope and rule set of the debate, the moderator’s job should consist of keeping time, discouraging and penalizing interruptions, calling upon debaters when it is their turn, and generally keeping order and decorum. Sort of the equivalent of the speaker of the House of Commons. A key tool for the moderator would need to be a control panel of microphone switches for each participant. Turning off a microphone when debater has gone past the allocated time and not heeded a polite request to wrap up within

one sentence is hugely effective for encouraging compliance. The moderator should not be expected to act as a fact-checker, and should not try to steer the debate content or context. The public, and after-thefact pundits are the fact checkers, and the politicians should make their own choices of emphasis on the issues, at their own peril. For our democracy to function properly, real and substantive public debate is essential for making wise choices. And that debating needs to take place in two critical fora. One is in public, so that we can effectively select representatives who will accurately reflect our views and implement our wishes, and the other is in Parliament, where the legislation to carry out those wishes is examined, refined and enacted. One forum, Parliament, already has a long tradition of orderly debate, and a set of rules largely perfected by Arthur Beauchesne prior to his retirement in 1949. The other forum, the public setting of an election campaign, desperately needs an improved form of orderly, comprehensive explanation and testing of competing ideas. In short, we need a coherent and substantial series of real debates, not a couple of playground brawls replete with one-line imprecations from the brawlers and chiding remarks from passers by g Dr. John Scott Cowan is Principal Emeritus of The RMC of Canada


2021 Leaders’

you can’t be serious by Michael Bussière

The sheer lunacy of endorsing coal mining in the Rockies of all places T

here is no more glorious drive in this vast country than that which heads west from Calgary along Highway 1. I’ve done it many, many times over the years and it never fails to make my heart sing to leave the rambling suburbs behind and enter the Foothills with the white-capped Canadian Rockies looming on the horizon. It has long been the landscape of great songs. Song is being deployed to rally opposition against metallurgical coal mining in the Rockies, as approved by

ABOVE: Award-winning musician Corb Lund, an 8th generation Albertan with roots on the family

ranch, is fighting Premier Kenney’s plan to allow coal mining in the Canadian Rockies. (PHOTO: GLEAN PRODUCTIONS)

the ever-popular Jason Kenney and the United (in name only) Conservative Party of Alberta, which ended a 1976 moratorium issued by the Lockheed government. Leading the tuneful charge is the multi-award and Junowinning Corb Lund. Recorded together with some of Alberta’s finest, including Brett Kissel, Terri Clark, Paul Brandt, Armond Duck Chief, Nice Horse, and Sherryl Sewepagaham, Lund’s new recording of “This is My Prairie,” a song from earlier in his career, is offered as an anthem in solidarity with “ranchers, urban and rural Albertans and First Nations communities in strongly opposing coal mining in 29 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

Polls indicate opposition to the plan stands as high as 80 per cent and crosses all political and demographic lines.

the heart of our Rocky Mountains.” Metallurgical coal used in steel production is slated for extraction on the eastern slopes, despite there being an international glut on the market and not much spin-off job creation. It poses a huge threat to a pristine watershed and the livelihoods of ranchers. “When this was announced, there was a big public outcry from across the spectrum in Alberta,” Lund says, “and the Premier said it was just noise from a bunch of urban busybodies, but I’ve talked to cattle ranchers who want it stopped because their water supply will be directly threatened by this.”

ABOVE: Corb Lund with his mum Patty. (PHOTO: GLEAN PRODUCTIONS)

Notwithstanding the massive floods of 2013, Alberta is not exactly swimming in water, and with the provincial government’s own projections putting the population at 6.3 million by 2046, fresh water will become an ever-more valuable natural resource for both agriculture and cities. “This is right in my backyard and coal mining takes a lot of water, so between contamination and the water it’s going to use, that’s a real measurable threat,” Lund says.

unless you’re talking about Gretzky or beer,” which raises the question about why the government is proceeding, especially at a time when the Premier’s numbers are the lowest in the country. Admitting error and reversing course rather than political smoke and mirrors would be a big win-win all around, but Lund fears that won’t happen. “Their instincts appear to me to be, instead of fixing it, they think ‘how do we pretend that we fixed it and fool people.’ It’s like a playbook from 1992 before Twitter, but people are catching on!”

Polls indicate opposition to the plan stands as high as 80 per cent and crosses all political and demographic lines. Lund puts that in perspective. “A friend of mine who works in polling says you never see that kind of number

Lund himself is an 8th generation Albertan with roots on the family ranch. For him, the fight with Kenney is both personal and has broader implications. “The Rockies are one of the last wild spaces in Canada, so there are all kinds of


reasons to not mess it up,” Lund points out. “They say they can reclaim it after mining but once you blow the top off a mountain to get to the coal there’s no way you can put it back the way it was. I want foreign companies to go away and I want the Alberta government to admit they’ve made a mistake and put a strong coal policy in place that prohibits coal mining in the Rockies. Full stop!” The new version of “This is My Prairie” was released mid-October. It’s a beautiful, prescient ballad for a magnificent landscape that we must all band together and save. Be sure to watch it on YouTube and share it abundantlyg Visit to sign the petition against coal mining in our Canadian Rockies

OSSTF educators in Ottawa series by Grace Giesbrecht

IN YOUR CORNER: Academic Advisor Melanie Hotte on helping students handle university


elanie Hotte enjoys helping people understand complicated systems—particularly, the often-difficult and rarely clear-cut world of university. Hotte is an academic advisor with St. Paul’s University, a small bilingual university in Ottawa. As the first face student see when looking for help, she finds solutions to problems and works to ensure that every student has equal access to resources and equal opportunity to succeed—a position that has become even more necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic. “My main responsibility is to be there for students.” Hotte explains. “I am often the first point of contact for students when they have questions.” And questions abound. University is infamously tricky to navigate beyond the difficulty of the programs themselves. “It’s everything from the first questions that [students] have when they start their studies to helping them with graduation and advice on further studies,” she says. She also handles queries about scholarships, aid, course scheduling, and deferrals should a student require one. “All those options, I’m here to explain them.” Some students, often those who’s parents have graduated university, have help from home or previous experience with such systems. They know which pathways are available to them, and they know what assistance they can

get. Many others do not. “My job is to make sure everyone has access to the information [and] that everyone has equal chances of succeeding.” Hotte says, no matter their background or previous knowledge of the university system. A social worker by trade, Hotte moved into advising at the postsecondary level several years ago at a francophone school in Vancouver, B.C. She recognizes a theme between the two fields. Both are about helping people; both are about seeking equality and equal access to resources for everyone. Furthermore, the skills she used as a social worker have come in handy in her advising positions. “I am a very good listener,” she explains. “Students can feel welcome and comfortable talking to me, and that’s key to helping them.” Listening and understanding the nuance of a student’s situation has always been important and, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, has risen wildly in prominence. COVID-19 had a major impact on students at every school in many ways and St. Paul’s University is no exception. “In COVID, I saw the impact on my students,” Hotte says. “Some are single parents trying to study their own courses online while helping their kids with their studies….Some students are falling behind, losing scholarships, or losing reliable employment.”

Just as prevalent are students who already work in healthcare or community services and are going to school concurrently. “These students had to take on more hours to answer the demands of COVID, and fell behind on school work in the process,” Hotte explains. Helping such students organize their studies around serving as a frontline worker has become a large part of her job in recent months. Like her students, Hotte’s working situation has changed during the course of the pandemic. Now mostly virtual, she notes that a large element missing from her job is the spontaneous aspect. Though she can still provide the same technical advice through a computer screen, it is harder to provide the same listening ear or answer a quick question from a student passing by. Even virtually, her favourite parts of her job remain so, and are sure to return in full force post-pandemic. “I really love… being at the end of an intervention or meeting with a student when the student is happy about their circumstance,” she says. “Sometimes, students will show up in my office and say ‘there’s no course to choose from. There’s no solution to my problem.’ Finding a solution for them is really rewarding. I feel like I’m in their corner, helping them.”g 31 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021


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OSSTF educators in Ottawa series by Grace Giesbrecht

His Students Call Him Professor:

Alp Oran on An Unfair Dichotomy between University Educators.


ll tomorrow’s innovators, doctors, and scientists start their higher education journey somewhere. For most, a large part of that beginning is in a undergraduate lab, learning the practical skills necessary to further their education. Who teaches these students these important skills? It varies from university to university, but often lab coordinators—administrative staff, not faculty—teach these courses. Alp Oran is one such lab coordinator at the University of Ottawa. He teaches 3rd and 4th year biology labs and enjoys instructing student in practical skills, but is troubled by the limitations lab coordinators face compared to their faculty counterparts. It is an unfair dichotomy, and one that Oran is working to change. Oran became a lab instructor after, during the course of his PhD, he realized that continuing on to a career in academia was not the right choice for him. Instead, he decided to apply education to education and sought teaching-oriented jobs after completing his doctorate. In Oran’s undergraduate teaching labs at the University of Ottawa, students learn best laboratory practices and relevant techniques in molecular and cellular biology. “They’re very authentic, experiential learning experiences…I like doing something that actually has value and a practical outcome,” he says. Oran greatly enjoys his work and is

grateful for the position. He considers teaching, developing, and passing his own skill set on to students a “noble endeavour.” That being said, the lab coordinator position limits how Oran can pass on these skills: “I do the best that I can with the opportunities presented to myself,” Oran explains. “We don’t have the same kind of resources that faculty members enjoy.” Though his courses provide the same quality education as his faculty counterparts, he plans them with limited resources. Beyond these limits, however, lies a deeper issue: though he and other lab coordinators design and teach quality courses, and many have similar qualifications to professors, they are not faculty and do not receive the benefits that faculty positions provide. Faculty members teach, research, receive recognition, have potential for advancement, and higher salaries. Administrative staff who teach courses, on the other hand, perform similar duties and scholarly activities as well but receive little to no recognition and are paid significantly less— “living wages less” according to Oran—than faculty doing the same work. “There are all these signs that point to that overlap,” Oran says. “[For example] my students call me professor.” This overlap forms the troubling grey zone between faculty and administration where lab coordinators and other such teaching administrators land.

One of the primary causes of this overlap is new teaching stream faculty, or professors with a higher ratio of teaching to scholarship—like lab coordinators. Oran explains that this addition creates accidental overlaps that form the unfair dichotomy. This frustration is shared among other administrators at the University of Ottawa and beyond. Many academic universities operate on similar unfair dichotomies. “It’s not a unique situation,” Oran says. But such an overlap cannot be admitted or changed without serious cost increases for the university. Not one to stand by while he and his colleagues are not treated fairly for the important work they do, Oran is working within the system to make changes. “I’m a big equity and fairness type of person,” he says. “That’s what I love about being part of a union—that we can call to task when we see instances of unfair practice.” Negotiating with administration from his position with the union is the way Oran intends to help dismantle the unfair dichotomy between faculty and administrators. His role in the union is to point out these overlaps for all members, not just lab coordinators, and help bargain for a better, fairer system. “This is the way I hope change will happen.” Oran says “Through the union, while highlighting the problem and, hopefully, arguing at the bargaining table.” g 33 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

ask a lawyer by Paul Riley

How much is this divorce going to cost me?


he question that divorce lawyers are asked the most, by far, is “How much will my divorce cost?” Unequivocally, the answer most often given is “It depends.” Rarely will a lawyer give you an answer other than that. In fact, if they do, I would suggest you hang up right away and call another lawyer. There are many factors that contribute to whether you will have an expensive divorce or an economically efficient (cheaper) one. Every couple seeking a divorce is different. They come with different issues, factors and concerns. When it comes to minimizing the costs of divorcing, the best thing couples can do is to try and settle as many of their issues as possible prior to hiring a lawyer. The less things that are left to fight over, then obviously the less time involved for the lawyer and therefore your costs will be lower. The cost of a particular divorce may be affected by numerous factors including where you live, as lawyers in smaller towns tend to charge a lower hourly rate than lawyers in larger cities. The amount of assets involved is also a key factor. Obviously, if a couple has trust accounts, multiple real estate properties and additional assets, there PHOTO: ISTOCK

will be more time demanded of the lawyer to sort things out. That is not to suggest that high net worth divorces always cost the most. Quite often, those couples spend more time negotiating with each other before retaining legal counsel. Conversely, sometimes it’s the couples with not a tremendous amount to fight over who end up having the most drawn out and vicious legal battles.

At times, the lawyer with the higher rate has earned that rate based on their experience and can end up solving a matter more expeditiously, instead of spending many hours on it.

Where the divorce often gets derailed and subsequently becomes much more expensive is when it comes to kids, if there are any. That is when emotions tend to take over a proceeding as each parent is convinced that the person they have been parenting with, for however many years they have been together, is no longer a good fit to govern their child, or they want the opposing parent’s time with the child minimized significantly. On the low end, one person can expect to spend around $5,000 to $10,000 to divorce.

The average range, I would say, is about $30,000 - $50,000. Obviously, if it’s an uncontested divorce that can be done for as low as $2,500. If there is a lot of fighting and it’s very contentious, a divorce proceeding dragged out for years can end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and if it goes to trial, legal fees for the trial alone can be more than $100,000. If experts or forensic accountants are involved, that only further drives up the price by anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 or more. A low end, good divorce lawyer can be $250 per hour. A high end lawyer can cost up to $800 per hour. Some people think that going with the lawyer with a cheaper hourly rate will keep their costs down. That is not always the case. At times, the lawyer with the higher rate has earned that rate based on their experience and can end up solving a matter more expeditiously, instead of spending many hours on it. Obviously there are also court costs and fees for clerks who may spend time working on your file g Paul Riley is Managing Director at The Riley Divorce & Family Law Firm. The firm has offices in Toronto, Ottawa and Kawartha Lakes and focuses on getting you out of bad relationships, while protecting what’s most important to you. 35 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

close to home far from ordinary by OLM contributor

InspirinG Movement



a my in all r

China will work to build a new type of international relations, aiming at building an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.


n many ways, Ro seems larger than life, and anyone who has met her won’t soon forget her. As a yoga instructor and lover of life living and working in the Ottawa Valley, for Ro, community, family, and a strong sense of self are key to it all. Ro’s journey from a small maritime community of Newfoundland to the rugged whitewater region of the Ottawa Valley was pretty straightforward, and with a familiar tune many will recognize: she met someone and picked up and moved with them, landing in the Ottawa Valley. At the time, Ro was looking for a simpler life to put down roots and offer the same community focus she had come to appreciate with her own family. Ro explained that Nigerians in general are very community based, and while she may have been rebellious of this as


a teen, today she welcomes the strong sense of family and community that she was raised with. “Nigerian culture is very ‘people coming together and learning from each other’ as much as possible, working out

Community is a way to have an extension of your family with you, no matter where you are. – Ro Nwosu

problems in the village, celebrating together and more,” she explained. “When you have a community, whether it’s where you live or what you do, it’s a way to have an extension of your family with you, no matter where you are.”

At the time when she settled in Renfrew, yoga, self-exploration, and so many

other things that are now a pivotal part of her life were not even on the horizon. It was only after she delivered her now eight-year-old son, that she hit a hurdle that started her on that path, but it all started in the Ottawa Valley. “There were people I talked to in Renfrew who were so nice,” Ro remembered the period after first moving to the area, and the challenges it brought with it. “But I didn’t know anyone when I moved there, and I had postpartum depression hit me pretty hard.” Lacking a support system, and living almost two hours away from her mother, and in a strange and new community where she had already encountered some racism, Ro struggled with depression. Ironically, it was that same postpartum depression that helped her to find her focus and discover what would soon become one PHOTOS: BEN HEMMINGS MEDIA

of the biggest passions in her life: yoga. “I was always up late feeding my son and I found a yoga video that was playing on TV,” Ro explained. “It was very clear, interesting, and the things the person was saying made sense to me – they were talking about the breath, awareness, progress. When it was on the TV my son stopped crying and my mind wasn’t running in different directions either.” One day while Ro was struggling, someone from the local health unit came by to see her and Lincoln, and to see how Ro was managing post-delivery. The woman asked to hold the baby and told Ro to go take a shower, to do whatever she wanted for an hour. Ro showered and made herself something to eat, which may seem like small steps, but they had a tremendous impact for her. Shortly afterwards, she began practicing yoga at home, pushing herself to connect with her body and centre her mind. Previously, Ro had been cautious about entering the community, concerned that she wouldn’t be welcomed, but she realized she needed to make a change. “I started to do more, I started to connect more, I visited the library, I went to the early childhood centre, looked for work. I found my mood just improved and I thought to myself that “If I’m going to

be part of this community I’m going to let people know I’m here, and I’m going to let them know who I am so they have no reason to judge me because of my skin but my character good or bad.” This is when Ro’s Nigerian background really stood her in good stead. She explained that she would meet people at the Early Years Centre, or while dropping off resumes, and have a conversation with them, to find out how they connected in the community. “It’s a big family thing to understand people’s history and see how they’re connected, how they dig their community,” Ro explained. “I kind of let people know where I’m at and to be honest I think that helped me out in the end.” Meanwhile, Ro was continuing to practice yoga at every opportunity, and finally decided to take her yoga teacher training, and serve as an example for other members of the community. “It just sparked for me that I wanted to take the training and do more…it helped me mentally, emotionally and physically I felt like I had never seen a Black yoga teacher before,” Ro said. “In the Ottawa area I couldn’t find any at the time, in Renfrew there were none. I feel like community wise, I would like to see different types of people being reflected in the community in all

activities, clubs, jobs etc not just yoga.” Teaching fell in line with Ro’s calling of connecting with and helping others, but she also saw it as a way for Black people to see her actively involved in the community and maybe decide to move to the area, knowing there was a safe community space there for them. For Ro, teaching is more than just helping people to learn about yoga. It’s bringing people together and helping them to explore how they move, how they connect with the world around them physically, as well as mentally. “My calling is to help people, to help them see the way they move is so unique to who they are,” Ro said. “I want people to come to class, learn, and take it home and pass it onto others, any little bit of kindness I can give I hope gets passed on to someone else. Yoga has given me a tool to use when I notice my mental health isn’t doing well, and helped me see community from a different perspective.” g


close to home far from ordinary by Dan Donovan



museums, sport, social activities, and recreational activities.

Montreal is a gem. It is historic, refined, beautiful, friendly, classy, vibrant, cosmopolitan, and cultured. Montrealer’s are surely the chiquest people in Canada and the streets of Montreal and Old Montreal have some of the best offerings in Canada when it comes to fashion, food, shopping,

For years I have always jumped at any opportunity to visit magnificent Montreal. Home of the Habs and the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada, Montreal is going through another period of transformation. A massive cross-town rapid transit project connecting either end of the island to the airport and downtown is scheduled to be completed in 2022 and Highway 20, from Ville Saint-Pierre all the way to the Ville Marie Expressway, has been extensively upgraded in recent years and is now being enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. It has never been easier to get around this great metropolis

ontreal’s Leonard Cohen has long been one of my favourite singers and this son of Montreal was known for his unparalleled love of his hometown. In describing the city that remains Canada’s greatest, he once said, “Some say that no one ever leaves Montreal, for that city, like Canada itself, is designed to preserve the past, a past that happened somewhere else.”


LEFT: The view of Montreal and Mont Royal from the Marriott Château Champlain. (PHOTO: OLM STAFF)

metro station running on an east-west axis to the Cours Mont-Royal. A second underground pathway runs between Gare Centrale, Place Bonaventure, and Place Ville-Marie and a third route takes you from Place des Arts to Complexe Desjardins, to Complexe Guy-Favreau, to Palais des Congrès, and Old Montreal. North-south axis. The easternmost entry is through Complexe Desjardins. An added bonus is that all visitors have free WiFi at the food courts in the system.

whether it is on the always impressive Montreal subway (le Metro), by bicycle the hundreds of kilometres of bike paths throughout the city, or on foot. As a winter city Montreal has become one of the world leaders in underground city walkabouts with their famous RÉSO network that is under the heart of the city, and links metro stations to shopping plazas for over 33 kms. Built in the 1960s it now connects to over 1,000 retailers and restaurants, including links to the Place des Arts and Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and brings together 60 residential and commercial complexes. The RÉSO network starts at the McGill

Obviously accommodation is important, and it is best to start by booking a stay in one of the many exceptional hotels to be found in the heart of the city. You can’t go wrong if you check into the Marriott Château Champlain in the heart of Montreal on De La Gauchetière Street, between de la Cathédrale and Peel streets. It is right next to Canada Place and is within comfortable walking distance of old Montreal and just blocks from Rue Ste Catherine. It remains one of Montréal’s most iconic hotels and is easily noticeable because of its iconic arch-shaped windows designed by Québec architects Jean-Paul Pothier and Roger D’Astous (who studied under celebrated American architect Frank Lloyd Wright) who wanted to complement the Romanesque arches of Windsor Station–the former Canadian Pacific train station across the street. The hotel opened to host the world as part of Expo67. Back then, at 38 stories it was the tallest hotel in Canada! Over the past two years the hotel has undergone a significant retrofit that has completely transformed its interior, setting the stage for it to remain one of Montreal’s destination hotels for another half century.

The Marriott Château Champlain has an elegant and warm vibe when you enter the lobby. The combination of wood and stone serves to retain the historic grandeur of the hotel’s past while pivoting towards the future with a new level of functionality. Comfortable and accessible open spaces, bright lighting with beautiful fixtures and exceptional contemporary furnishings scream comfort. There are 614 rooms and suites with exceptional views of Montréal. The 36th floor event space overlooks the St. Lawrence River and casts a clear view of Montréal’s skyline and Mount Royal. Renovations in the hotel also include a gym, a redesign of the lower-level grand ballroom, theater and the addition of twentyfour meeting spaces that can accommodate business meetings and small gatherings or larger events of up to one thousand people. Rooms are stylish and comfortable with views from the iconic crescent-shaped windows that overlook the downtown and feature lots of natural light. They come with all the expected amenities including WiFi.

We parked our car and walked or biked for the four days we were in Montreal. This is one of the best ways to really get a feel for the city in all its glory. First off was an afternoon visit to the McCord Museum (across from the 39 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021


main gates of McGill University) to see the exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience that bears witness to the still unrecognized knowledge of Indigenous peoples in Quebec and Canada, and the deep wounds they carry, their resilience. This exhibit features one hundred carefully selected objects form the Museum’s Indigenous Cultures collection: more than eighty powerful inspiring stories from members of the 11 Indigenous nations of Quebec. The second exhibit we visited Chapleau, Profession: Cartoonist highlights the drawings and cartoons of one of Canada’s most storied political cartoonist and satirists. It doesn’t disappoint. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the museum is offering 100 days of free entry. Visit for free until January 19, 2022. We spent one entire day in Montreal just cycling around the city. There are over 700 kms of bike paths and Montreal has been one of the most bike-friendly cities in North America by 40 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

the Copenhagen Design Index. You can rent a bike, bring your own or try out or try out Montreal’s BIXI system which is linked to the city’s public transit system and is meant for short commutes. Since we were going for the day, we rented bicycles, helmets, and locks from Ça Roule bike shop in Old Montréal. The shop provides excellent bikes and service (highly recommend). It also offers twice-daily bike tours during the summer that are very popular, so it’s best to book ahead. Over the course of the day, we biked along the south shore of the St. Laurence then headed back into town along the Lachine Canal. We stopped at the Atwater Market to refuel and then zig-zagged through the downtown core until we hit Lafontaine Park. Then, we headed South through the hip St Denis area, and Chinatown before making our way back to Old Montreal. Six- or seven-hours of cycling really gives you a sense of a city and is invigorating.

We returned in time to take the Montreal Ferris Wheel in the port of Old Montreal. It is cheesy, wonderful, and worth doing. With a panorama sixty metres high, four seasons a year, it is the largest observation wheel in Canada– equivalent to a 20-storey building. We were lucky because we had a cloudless day and with the 360-degree panorama you could see Montreal far into the distance on all sides-including the Saint Lawrence to the south and Mont Royal to the north. If you are adventurous, pair your ferris wheel experience with the zip line experience next door! We enjoyed a fabulous dinner in Old Montreal at Tavern Gaspar (89 Rue de la Commune E), located across the street from the harbour in a 19th century warehouse. They serve comfort food and pub-style cooking along with

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The entrance to the exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience that runs until January 9, 2022 at the McCord Museum. Even on a cloudy day, Rue St-Paul in Old Montreal looks charming. Once the home to George Stephen, the president of Bank of Montreal and the Canadian Pacific Railway, Le Mont Stephen is now a boutique luxury hotel. A seemless extension leads from the mansion to the modern 90-room hotel built behind the home—a national historic site. Whimsical sculputure of a frantic student on Sherbrooke St W across from McGill University’s Roddick Gates. Cycling through the beautiful Lafontaine Park on the east side of downtown.

numerous architectural styles found here defined the creativity, wealth, and lifestyles of the Montrealer’s who built much of Canada in the 19th and 20th century. Some say that 80 per cent of Canada’s wealth was concentrated in this one area in the early part of the last century.

great wines local beers and spirits. We lucky to go on a Wednesday when they had an exceptional live jazz/pop band playing. The ambiance, the food, the music Ahh, Montreal. A guided walking tour is a great way to get to know a city. We spent an afternoon with guide Francoise Baby discovering Montreal’s Golden Square Mile which was established in the late 18th century as a peaceful homestead near the Old Port. This section of Sherbrooke Street remains one of city’s most storied neighbourhoods. Many of Canada’s most iconic business families of Scottish descent, including the McGill’s, Eaton’s, Ogilvie’s, Redpath’s, Smith’s, Stephen’s, built Victorian mansions in this one-mile area between the 1850s and early 20th century. They gave back to their new home by funding universities, hospitals and more. The

You will pass by buildings that feature Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic, Romanesque, and Art Nouveau designs. Also referred to as Museum Quarter: with Golden Square Mile includes the McCord Museum, Montréal Museum of Fine Arts and Redpath Museum. Today, this area is a nerve centre in Montreal–home to McGill University and the excitement of downtown–the main campus of Concordia and the many high-end fashion and luxury boutiques including Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, Tiffany & Co., Swarovski and Escada shop among others. After taking the tour we were sure to return the next day to visit Canada’s oldest art museum, the worldfamous Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The front steps of the original museum building on the north side of Sherbrooke Street is adorned by a beautiful glass sculpture by American artist Dale Chihuly. The museum has a massive collection that includes 45,000 paintings, sculptures, and photographs and over 80 exhibitions that span five pavillions. The museum remains one of Canada’s leading publishers of art books in French and English. The installation we visited was Ragnar Kjartansson’s Death is Elsewhere, a haunting yet meditative immersive video graphic by the Icelandic artist. Seven screens project a video of twin

The hotel staff are professional polite, knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. Off the lobby is one of Montreal’s best new restaurants, LLYOD, a nod to architect Frank Llyod Right’s influence on the design of the hotel. The ambiance is “comfortable chic,” and the service is attentive yet relaxed. Executive Chef, Kevin Mougin has devised a unique culinary menu that is a feast for the eyes and your appetite. We tried the ‘Rose Prick’ and ‘Secret Garden’ cocktails and are anxious to return and try the others. The food is delightful–the shrimp satay appetizer and the beef tenderloin were scrumptious and duck main is heavenly. The dessert menu, of course, is to die for. Our server was hospitable and attentive without “hovering”. This made for a relaxing and enjoyable evening.

With a designated elevator in the main lobby that services the RÉSO, the Marriott Château Champlain is accessible to Montreal’s underground network. Rain, shine, snow or sleet, hotel guest have direct access to the tunnel system. yulcc-montreal-marriott-chateauchamplain/ 41 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

When you visit make sure to take in the exhibit The World of Yousuf Karsh. One of the greatest portraitists of the 20th century, Karsh, who called Ottawa home for a large part of his career, took portraits of Albert Einstein, Fidel Castro, Audrey Hepburn, Winston Churchill, Mackenzie King, Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt, PE Trudeau, and the Kennedy’s among others. The late Karsh’s wife recently donated the works to the museum. Step outside the museum and look south down the street and you’ll see the Leonard Cohen Crescent Street Mural – a tribute to the Montréal icon. The larger-than-life mural depicts Leonard Cohen gazing tenderly down upon Crescent Street sporting his signature fedora with his hand over his heart and, in the background, his highly symbolic Unified Heart icon. Led by Montréal artist Gene Pendon and internationally renowned American 42 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

street portrait artist El Mac, “Tower of Songs” took two muralists, 13 assistant artists, 240 cans of paint and thousands of hours of work to replicate a photograph taken by Cohen’s daughter, Lorca. This immense 10,000 square-foot mural rising 21 stories above the city can easily be admired from the Mount Royal Lookout as well as from the glass court of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. In the evening, the mural lights up with a soft lighting, but no less spectacular, just like the great Leonard g


sisters singing with Bjork-like voices, each accompanied by a musicians as they circle around you. The piece is both haunting and meditative. It forces the viewer to reflect on life.

FROM TOP LEFT: Dale Chihuly’s glass-blown sculpture, The Sun, adorns the front steps of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion. When you visit the museum make sure to take in contemporary Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s Death is Elsewhere. Montreal’s famous son, Leonard Cohen watches over his beloved city.


RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUR VISIT TO MONTREAL Time-Out Market at the Centre Eaton de Montréal A selection of MTL’s best restaurants, including Toqué!, Le Red Tiger, Foxy, Moleskine,Le Taj, P’Tit Diplomate, and Casa Kaizen, all offering curated plates under one roof. Modelled after Time Out Portugal. Bar George: Le Mount Stephen 1440 Drummond Street A modern English restaurant in the national historic site. Les Enfants Terribles Restaurant: On the 44th floor of Place Ville Marie The restaurant offers a classic upscale brasserie menu and stunning views. Boris Bistro: 465 McGill Street Amidst the concrete skyscrapers and cobblestone streets of Montréal’s historic district rests a delightful bistro with one of the most enchanting terraces.


e dam b n w o t r e w o L

we’re reducing harm! WARNING: This article contains language and scenes that some readers may find disturbing and offensive.

My cover story in the OLM summer issue was written in support of a fundraiser for the Shepherds of Good Hope that featured Kathleen Edwards. It began with an origin story set in the basement of St. Bridget’s Church on St. Patrick Street, in which, back in the 1970s, cots were first provided for homeless men. Or rather, persons experiencing homelessness, as I was dutifully advised to correct, because language is important and can apparently house people with a mere turn of a phrase. Anyway, what began as a shelter in more innocent times has become a civic calamity. Here’s an excerpt from that article (the Edwards event was a great success, btw): Ambulances and police arrive at the scene day and night bringing people to the emergency transitional shelter program where staff do triage and intake. David Gourlay is Director of Philanthropy. “We work really hard to dispel stigma. People see police cars and they think, ‘there’s a crime, there’s violence,’ but that’s not what’s happening,” David asserts. Triage and intake occur 24/7 in order to save lives, and for that, the Shepherds are to be commended. There may or may not also be crime and violence at the corner of Murray and King Edward, but there sure as hell is in the surrounding neighbourhoods. Before I go any further, I hereby, and for the record, emphatically state that we at OLM steadfastly support safe injection programs and harm reduction, as does the neighbourhood at large. Bear this in mind as you read on, thank you. This is not about persons experiencing homelessness, who have been served by shelters in this part of town for more than a century. This is about haphazard mismanagement on multiple levels that has resulted in a very dangerous situation. It’s been three years since the Lowertown Community Association commissioned a study into the soaring crime rate in the neighbourhood. Graduate students in Criminology at the University of Ottawa spent the summer asking Lowertown residents about their perceptions of the situation. 53 per cent

ranked crime and public disorder as the top concerns, with drug use seen as the principal cause. At the time, and remember that was well before Covid lockdowns, crime causing bodily harm was three times higher in Lowertown than neighbouring communities like Centretown, Sandy Hill, and Vanier. Crimes against property were twice as high. The ByWard Market specifically saw two and a half times more crime than the rest of Lowertown, the study found. Concerns have skyrocketed with the announcement that the Shepherds of Good Hope plans to construct a mixed-use eight-storey residence that would include a drop-in centre, kitchen and “48 supportive housing units for chronically homeless” Indigenous women. There is no solution in the plan for individuals who avoid the Shepherds’ supervised injection site (SIS) but who do congregate in the neighbourhood seeking dealers and drugs. Therein lies the crux of the problem. Shepherds President and CEO Deirdre Freiheit was on the defensive last spring in an Ottawa Citizen editorial, publicly pre-empting any opposition campaigns from neighbourhood residences and 43 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021


Ottawa city hall by Michael Bussière

businesses. “If we don’t build this new facility to help people, the worries of our neighbours in the ByWard Market will only grow,” Freiheit wrote. She offered no evidence to support her claim. The neighbours beg to differ. Four years ago, Ottawa Inner City Health (OICH) established the SIS at the Shepherds to replace an illegal pop-up in a Lowertown park run by volunteers. At the time, Rideau-Vanier councillor Mathieu Fleury endorsed the SIS and faced plenty of vitriol for demanding that the pop-up be phased out, going so far as to threaten police action. The belief was that the SIS could meet the demand safely and effectively. OICH director Wendy Muckle voiced concern about police harassment of clients, but no concern about drug dealers or related crime in the surrounding neighbourhoods once the floodgates opened. The Citizen Coalition for Compassionate and Safe Communities is a determined collective of residents and business

To turn your phrase, Mme CEO, Lowertown does not create crime. And it too is trying to reduce it. It has never been a haven for drug use, any more than the Glebe, Sandy Hill, Vanier, Hintonburg, or any other old neighbourhood in the city. Lowertown has been home to families for its entire history. The Shepherds’ first building

Break-in at a

Lowertown has become “ground zero for crime in Ottawa and has been described by health professionals as a ‘psych ward without walls – with unlimited drugs.”

owners in Lowertown. As they see it, “the main issue is that they [OICH] do not see themselves as part of the broader community but feel that the services they provide to their clients [of whom they regularly refer to as ‘the community’] are urgent and override any externalities that befall the Lowertown/ByWard Market residents and businesses.” As a result, Lowertown has become “ground zero for crime in Ottawa and has been described by health professionals as a ‘psych ward without walls – with unlimited drugs,’” making any expansion completely unacceptable. One sentence jumps out from the Freiheit Citizen dismissive: “Shepherds of Good Hope and organizations like ours don’t create homelessness [obviously]. We are trying to help reduce it, by meeting people where they are without judgment and moving them into permanent homes.” 44 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

was a school, as was the Routhier Community Centre around the corner, appropriated during the height of COVID, to allow for more physical distancing for men seeking shelter, and still off limits to the community at large in case it’s called into service again. Furthermore, you are not, to a large extent, “meeting them where they are,” you are attracting them. People who suffer with addiction issues are not strolling over to the Shepherds from St. Andrew’s Street, or Guigues, or Boteler where families reside. Your safe injection site is a magnet, and will become evermore magnetic with every storey you build. Many of those tragic lost souls come, in ever-increasing numbers, from across the city and from as far away as North Bay and Sudbury and Iqaluit. I know this because I ask them. Toronto is experiencing an identical situation with desperate individuals flooding in from surrounding cities where services

are not provided. Dealers signal their presence by placing a bicycle in a certain location, among other variable clues, knowing their victims are hanging around looking for supplies. Users tell those of us who don’t merely “walk to and from work” through the neighbourhood, as do you Mme

y Street.

ra shop on Mur

CEO, that this is how it works. I repeat: you have created a magnet for drug use and dealers right smack in the middle of Ottawa’s oldest neighbourhood and prime tourist district, without anticipating the fallout. That’s pretty lousy risk analysis. Try to imagine a parallel universe in which the Glebe, or Westboro, or Rockcliffe, or Kanata, or Jim Watson’s Old Ottawa South experienced a sudden spike in crime due to the presence of one of Ontario’s largest injection sites, plus 3 others only blocks away, plus dealers in plain view. When confronted with the issue of crime in Lowertown or the eightstorey expansion at the Shepherds, the agency’s response is always the same cut-and-paste sermon. Well, here now is Lowertown’s response: eight stories in a single block. Identities are being protected. A young woman was accosted in her apartment by a robber who ransacked the place and barricaded her and himself in her bedroom. The assailant was very high and very violent. She was forced to exit onto a very narrow ledge outside the window to scream for help. Neighbours

serial flasher is known throughout the neighbourhood by his first name. Days later, he treated tourists and families with small children who were enjoying brunch on a Market patio to a XXX show of masturbation. It’s not known if Shepherds outreach workers scolded the kids for being prudish.

e on Murray

stor Theft at bike


captured video of her in a terrified state as she waited for Ottawa Fire Services to rescue her. Police arrived promptly and apprehended the man when he left the apartment and broke through the front window of an adjacent business. The apartment was left in a shambles, as was the woman’s sense of wellbeing in her own home. A couple of doors away, a new coffee take-out recently opened for business. Its proprietor is also a Lowertown resident. He doesn’t dare take his young daughter to the park, which now serves as a toilet and needle disposal, as do ATMs, garages, sidewalks, backyards, alleys, lobbies, the Andrew Fleck Child Care Centre, and pretty much anywhere other than the toilets and safe injection site at the Shepherds. After months of hard work, the owner hired and trained his first server. Her first Monday on the job alone was going to be his first day off with his family in what seemed like forever. At 8h15 his phone rings. A shirtless man had entered the shop and exposed his junk. When she finally had him removed by the police, she promptly quit, locked up, and never returned. The owner was back on duty by noon, and has never hired another employee. The flasher returned the next day. The owner retrieved his dog from the back of the store, restrained him with a leash, and commanded him to bark to scare the individual from the premises. Not long after, Shepherds outreach workers chastised the owner for traumatizing their client. Here’s the kicker: The

A specialty store reports a litany of criminal incidents. Windows in the rear courtyard are regularly broken as individuals try to enter the business and the apartments upstairs, typically between 22h00 and 4h00. Drug use is common in the concealed space, which is constantly littered with needles. The users don’t want anything to do with shelters, they say. Many don’t, according to the data. The owner has invested thousands in unexpected costs to upgrade the premises with security gates, additional video cameras, and security glass. The building and lot next door have been vacant for years

these crimes. The situation has become very disruptive to my business and I often worry about the safety of my staff and customers. We have encountered countless other situations which are threatening our ability to operate in a safe and productive manner. This includes, among other issues, aggressive panhandling, intoxication, rampant drug sales and use, feces, urine and vomit dumped at the front entrance of my business, broken windows, garbage all over sidewalks and streets, and general mayhem.” This, from a business owner who employs 18 hardworking people and generously donates to shelter programs in the city. Across the street, a restaurant employs many fine servers who were out of work during months of lockdown. Upon reopening, a man entered while customers were waiting for takeout. He announced he was robbing the place and demanded cash, which is not

We’ve been broken into four times . . . There are no consequences at all, I’m sorry to say that I don’t think it will ever change. We want out of the Market as soon as we can. We’ve had enough. and resemble the aftermath of a bomb blast. Non-emergency police calls are made regularly to deter trespassing, drug use, and defecation on the site, all in plain view of stores, restaurants, and apartments. Next door, customers of a café tell the owners, whose work day begins at 6h00, that they feel that the market is dying and that they will only come during daylight hours with their families because it at least feels a little safer. That is until they are verbally abused and intimidated by individuals in a violent, deranged state, who enter yelling obscenities in front of children while grabbing the tip jar. It’s a familyowned and operated business that was closed for months during lockdowns. Further down the block, a specialty food retailer is robbed regularly by a man who is arrested on every police call, only to be back at it two days later. The owner reports that, “this has been a huge frustration for us, the victims of

kept on site. He then reached over the counter and tried to grab beer jugs. An employee grabbed them back and the man made his way to the patio to demand money from customers. The building has a back gate that is secured with a chain and industrial lock. It was smashed and removed one night. The following day, the owner encountered an inebriated man smashing the replacement lock with a large rock. The back alley has become a toilet. One day the hydro was out. The manager went to the electrical room to investigate. Multiple people were passed out on the floor surrounded by dozens of needles. They had set up utility shelves, lamps, and used discarded foam as mattresses. They had urinated on the electrical transformers and caused $16,000 in damages. The 911 operator asked the owner to physically examine the individuals to determine if they were still alive. He angrily refused. A newly installed double-bolted door has since been dented by forceful kicks. An 45 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

upstairs apartment neighbour reports that individuals scale the outer wall to use balconies as injection sites. Another restaurant sums up the frustration of the entire block. “To be honest, we are completely fed up with the Market altogether. We had our speakers stolen right off the walls last week from our back patio. The gate was locked so they had to jump the fence. We also had our chalkboard smashed Friday night as well. We’ve been broken into four times. TV stolen. Cash stolen. Liquor stolen. There are no consequences at all, I’m sorry to say that I don’t think it will ever change. We want out of the Market as soon as we can. We’ve had enough."

withdrawal, which is a life-threatening condition.

ever happened to him. Today, he’s sober, working, and living in a nice apartment.

Here’s the 911. Individuals who arrive at the Shepherds are typically not arrested for possession because that discourages them from using the SIS. Illicit dealing is another matter and is regularly curtailed by police, but there’s an endless supply line entangled in organized crime. Users who acquire safe supply from the SIS are commonly

The bottom line for residents is that they are sick and tired of feeling that the threats they face are just not as important as the SIS program and that they need to just suck it up. The Citizen Coalition has a few questions regarding the expansion of services in what is already the greatest concentration of such services anywhere in town, all within d

e ByWar e alleys in th rnalia litter th he rp pa s. ug street edles and dr fecate on the Discarded ne and addicts de n, w to er w Market and Lo

You had enough? Here are three more quickies to drive the point home. One

The bottom line for residents is that they are sick and tired of feeling that the threats they face are just not as important as the SIS program and that they need to just suck it up. resident reports sexual acts regularly take place in the lobby of her apartment, located immediately to the south of the safe injection site. A woman couldn’t enter her office building because a naked man was passed out in the hallway. He had defecated on the floor and was found with a bag full of stolen mail. An elderly woman was punched in the face and her purse stolen by a wellknown assailant who was followed to the Shepherds by an outraged bystander while speaking with 911. Everybody knows the puncher. He does it all the time. Opioids are a group of drugs that include morphine, heroin, oxycontin, codeine, and methadone. They are used for severe pain management, and as a psychoactive substance that produces euphoria. Men are four times more likely to suffer from addictions, die of an overdose, be chronically homeless, or commit suicide. Both the police and the courts recognize that addiction is a traumatic health issue, and not a criminal one. Incarceration for major crimes includes treatment for opioid 46 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

known to sell that supply for cash to buy harder – and unsafe – drugs from dealers, despite the risk of being banned from SIS if caught. Police constantly make arrests for crimes reported by businesses and residents, like those described above, but the court may go with conditional release in 24 hours for minor offences. Individuals without a fixed address are recorded as residing at a shelter. The Shepherds cannot incarcerate people upon their return. A breech of court-ordered conditions results in more severe consequences, but the mental health or desperation of the individual may inhibit judgement. And around and around it goes. There are success stories. I once interviewed a young man whose chances in life were severely damaged from childhood by a family history of violence and alcohol abuse. He turned to drugs and crime, finally landing before a judge who offered him a choice: court-ordered addiction treatment and rehabilitation, or jail. It was a turning point in his life, and one that he described as the best thing that

walking distance of each other. “There is talk of health care being provided, but no details. Will it provide after care (onsite) for the users of the SIS who visit up to 11 times a day? Who will provide the healthcare? Will it be an extension of the emergency hospital operated out of their present facility? We are so short on details [from OICH], that the only reasonable response comes from our current experience: NO MORE!” Hyperbole and broken record repetitiveness are the cause advocate’s weapons of choice; hence, Canada’s interminable ‘Crisis crisis’. There’s the “concussion crisis”, the “ADHD crisis”, and the “White supremacy in veganism crisis” (I couldn’t have made that one up). The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) recently declared a “rabbit crisis” (as in, ‘they breed like’). They should donate them to a soup kitchen and kill two crises with one stove. And, since a superlative just isn’t what it used to be, OHS recently released this cry for help: “A Crisis in a Crisis in a Crisis”, forewarns that “As of today, there are six dogs, 29 cats and six small animals in

need of a temporary home. It’s a crisis.” Ottawa City Council’s everso oft cited “housing crisis and emergency”declaration puts our sweet little burb in the same dire category as post-explosion Beirut, a city of similar size where there are 300,000 “persons experiencing homelessness.” But, by rational comparison, Ottawa has nowhere near a crisis or emergency. Not even remotely close. Anybody who argues that it does needs to travel from first-world privilege to Lebanon to acquire a little perspective. There hasn’t been an official “crime crisis” declared in Lowertown because cause advocates are mighty adept at suppressing dialogue. That’s the thinking behind the Freiheit PR editorial in the Citizen, and the scolding outreach workers, politicians and activists who tell us that we all need to be part of the solution. No, we don’t. This is not our field of expertise; it’s yours. Rideau-Vanier councillor Mathieu Fleury is pushing the City to adopt three urgent measures: • 24/7 on-the-ground City presence: coordinating outreach services and mental health responses, integrating urgent housing response to encampments, responding to drug dealing and drug use in the community, organizing needle hunters, and integrating the Ottawa Police Neighbourhood Resource Team. • Doubling of funding for the Safe Supply program. A program that went from a pilot of 25 users to now 355 has shown its success, but the need is much greater. The focus should be to ensure that everyone has a safe supply. Safe supply removes many of the drug use impacts in our community. A clean prescribed drug means no need to commit petty crime to pay for illicit drugs, no need to access from dealers, and reduces the sometimesdeadly effects of these illicit drugs. • Investments in permanent housing, including flooding the City, and every community with affordable housing investments under the Housing First and Supportive Housing models. This includes rethinking the old model, close temporary shelters by attrition, and open doors to homes.

Fleury has called on concerned parties to bring pressure to bear on all stakeholders, including his fellow councillors. Well, here’s pressure for you. Lowertown has just declared a crisis! The Citizen Coalition for Compassionate and Safe Communities has brought the

ter to the ledge af Woman clings Street. y ra k-in on Mur a violent brea

Ottawa Mission, and Cornerstone combined. A single agency and executive administration for all four shelters would free up millions of dollars for front-line services and programs. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a merger. There’ll be some excuse. Mme CEO, Ottawa City Council, Ottawa Inner City Health, you are responsible for a very, very serious situation, and the collateral damage to the community at large must finally be factored into your strategy. Your work in harm reduction is noble and courageous, but it’s very difficult to feel compassionate at knife point, so if you’re in the business of harm reduction, then please reduce it. Do not continue to transfer it with myopic, half-assed solutions. Reduce the harm to the elderly woman who was punched in the face. Reduce the harm to the woman who had to be rescued from a ledge.

Reduce the harm . . . . People just want to open their shops, employ their staff, welcome tourists, and enjoy their neighbourhood.

matter of the Shepherds’ eight-storey expansion up with the Ontario Lands Tribunal, blaming “the City of Ottawa for outsourcing their responsibility for the mental health and social welfare of citizens to organizations that are incapable and unwilling to see problems beyond their property lines. We are repeatedly told that whatever happens off their properties is not their problem. The CEOs of these orgs are highly paid [see sunshine list] to deflect complaints away from the Mayor and the City and scold and condescend to neighbours who worry about the safety of their homes and their children. We know of no publicly available independent audit of the value for money related to the $9 million+ tax dollars that are spent on these services.” FYI There are three other shelters who receive city funds and who have staff doing redundant work among them at executive-level pay grades. If one CEO can oversee Shopify, its 7000+ employees, US$7.76 billion (2020) in assets, and over a million international clients, then one CEO can lead The Shepherds, The Salvation Army, The

Reduce the harm to the woman who hides a baseball bat in her boutique. People just want to open their shops, employ their staff, welcome tourists, and enjoy their neighbourhood. Perhaps money talks. Tour groups are cancelling visits. Buses that used to drop off groups of 50 for overnight stays are now skipping Ottawa. Tripadvisor reviews are getting worse. Lonely Planet recommends avoiding the ByWard Market. It’s no surprise. During Canada 150, some American tourists asked me if there were any parts of town that they should avoid. At the time, I smugly thought, in that oh-so-Canadian way, that this was an American view of cities and that we had somehow done better. Apparently, I was wrong g Michael Bussière was born in Lowertown. His grandparents owned the Windsor Smoke Shop on the corner of Rideau and Dalhousie Streets in the 1930s and 40s. His dad was a police officer, and his parish priest was Fr. Jack Heffernan, who started the Shepherds of Good Hope as a humble shelter and soup kitchen in the basement of St. Bridget’s Church with the support of neighbours. 47 OTTAWALIFE FALL 2021

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