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Award-winning singer/songwriter

Kathleen Edwards

shares the LOVE with the Shepherds of Good Hope

E-Catamaran — are these the coolest boats afloat or what! Stay Close to Home this summer by visiting Canada’s Ocean Playground.

Fighter Jets for Canada Ottawa is abuzz. The biggest procurement for the RCAF in decades has taken off. Everyone is waiting to see which company lands it!

Apollo’s Arrow — Don Maclean reviews a brilliant book that captures the complexity of human behaviour during pandemics.


Best Picks * Fashion * Banting and Best at 100 * Chinese Ambassador to Canada


ADVANCED CAPABILITIES. GUARANTEED WORK. The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet is the multi-role fighter to take on Canada’s most complex missions. Building on our 101-year partnership with Canada, Boeing and its Super Hornet partners could deliver almost 250,000 high-paying jobs and $60 billion to Canada’s economy over the life of the program. Equipped with advanced cockpit systems for accuracy and low-drag conformal fuel tanks for maximum range, the Block III Super Hornet is the technologically advanced, mission-ready solution to protect the peace of the Canadian people for years to come.






contents Deirdre Freiheit and David Gourlay of Sheperds of Good Hope with Ottawa songstress Kathleen Edwards.




May the best plane win!


A modern fighter jet fleet is essential for the Royal Canadian Air Force to defend Canada and meet its obligations to NORAD and NATO. Federal MPs and senior civil servants in Ottawa are assessing whether our pilots will fly Lockheed Martin’s F35, Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block III or Saab’s Gripen. The multi-billiondollar acquisition is the most anticipated procurement on the federal books and is the talk of Ottawa. The first aircraft is anticipated as early as 2025 with the fleet in service beyond 2060.

Kathleen Edwards shares the LOVE with the Shepherds of Good Hope


The Shepherds of Good Hope have been taking care of the poor and those who are struggling in Ottawa for decades. Covid made an already difficult job even harder. Then, acclaimed Ottawa singer and songwriter Kathleen Edwards decided to step up and share the love with those who struggle in her hometown.

Banting and Best 100 Years On


July 27th marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the reason why every Canadian school kid should learn the names Banting and Best. On that date in 1921 the duo isolated insulin in their lab at the University of Toronto. Prior to insulin, diabetes was a fatal disease.

E-Catamaran: boating has never been better


E-Catamaran is an Ottawa-based company that sells a French line of electric and hybrid peddle-powered boats that are as environmentally responsible as they are cool looking.

Travel: close to home, far from ordinary


With over 13,000 km of coastline, social distancing happens naturally in Nova Scotia. From cozy wilderness cabins to glamping in yurts, domes, oTENTiks, tipis and more, stepping out of your comfort zone is anything but uncomfortable in Canada’s Ocean Playground!

Alex Hunt shares the new trends for Summer 2021 and checks in with Ottawa fashion influencers.


Publisher’s message ............................... 4 Best picks ............................................ 5 Aristocrat of scent ................................. 6 Capital clip: Katrina Turnbull .................. 7 Food and wine: Hungarian gastronomy ....... 8 In search of style .................................. 10 Interview: Sonja Smits ............................ 12 Book review: Apollo’s Arrow .................. 14 Op-ed: Laurie Hawne ............................ 23 Op-ed: Sergio Marchi ........................... 46


Fighter Jet ........................................... 20 Business: Nicholson Gluckstein Lawyers ... 27 Banting and Best/diabetes ................... 28 Canada/China friendship ..................... 34 Canada/Kazakhstan friendship.............. 36 Close to home, far from ordinary: Rideau River ......................... 43

publisher’s messge by Dan Donovan

Share the love and salute the Shepherds of Good Hope

publisher/managing editor Dan Donovan art director & web editor Karen Temple social media manager Kat Walcott


n Ottawa’s rough and tumble Lowertown community, the Shepherds of Good Hope (SGH) have comforted fellow citizens who are experiencing homelessness with empathy and compassion. They see the person—no matter how much they are suffering—for their beauty and help them to cope with their individual tragedy. Much more will have to be done by our city leaders to deal with the homelessness crisis in the capital. Sadly, there is no long- or short-term plan, not even a vision to end the real homeless and drug-dependency calamity in our city. It is for this reason that the Shepherds of Good Hope’s work becomes even more meaningful, and hard. Drug dependencies poverty, crime, mental illness, prostitution, and homelessness are just some of the reasons the less fortunate may turn to the SGH. For over four decades, elected officials at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels have implemented a series of Kafkaesque policies that include providing free injection sites, free methadone, free syringes, and even free drugs to addicts along with a cup of soup and a bed at night in a homeless shelter. Many of the addicts and others suffering include homeless Inuit, Indigenous and minority people who require intervention. Petty crime, urination, defecation, theft, and harassment are all by-products of this public health crisis. Instead of a plan to truly deal with this mater, our politicians have served up decades of stop-gap solutions that have only served to normalize the behaviour. This failed approach erodes people’s faith spiritually, mentally, morally, and physically. Everyone deserves to live with basic dignity. Ottawa must be, and can be, better than this. It will take a caring, committed, and visionary leader with a plan to end the shameful plight of the homeless in our city. We need a ten-year plan like the National Homelessness Strategy model implemented in Finland, combined with mandatory rehab, to end this ongoing crisis once and for all. As citizens we must be prepared to commit upwards of halfa-billion dollars at the local level to implement a serious long-term treatment and transition program. If they did it in Finland, we can do it here. Such a plan would require shelter, programming, and counselling to help get homeless people and drug addicts off the streets and into rehab. The expensive yet short-term financial cost of this type of program will bring immense long-term benefits for the investment. If we do not do this, organizations like the SGH and the Ottawa Mission will continue to be stretched beyond capacity in helping the most vulnerable. We do not have this type of vision at City Hall. Instead, just this week we had councilors on the Finance and Economic Development Committee approve a community grant to waive tax increases for a Porsche dealership slated to be built and redeveloped on Montreal Road, in the Vanier part of the Rideau-Rockcliffe ward. Why Mrak Holdings, a private holding company, is getting $3 million to incentivize the company to build a Porsche dealership on Montreal Road is beyond me. It is embarrassing that councilors even thought twice about this decision. And therein lies the problem. n CORRECTION: On page 12 of the Winter 2021 issue of Ottawa Life Magazine, we failed to mention that

the images of the two pieces of jewellery that were included in the article Ground control to Major Disegno are the property of the Order of Canada. Images that incorporate the insignia of the Order of Canada are owned by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG). 4 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

cover photo by Sean Sisk Photography make-up: Samantha Caldwell, Corey J. Stone photographers Benjamin Celier, David Leyes, Winter Lotus Photography, Dan McCarthy, Sophie Narses Photographe, Salt 'n Streets Photography, Sean Sisk, fashion editor Alexandra Hunt accounts Joe Colas C.G.A bookkeeper Joan MacLean contributing writers Danielle Bartlett, Michael

Bussière, Sid Cratzbarg, Sofia Donato, Mckenzie Donovan, Grace Giesbrecht, Matt Horwood, Laurie Hawne PC CD, Alexandra Hunt, Dan McCarthy, Don MacLean, Sergio Marchi, Darcy Rhyno, Zoltán Tóth, Pam Wamback, Keith Whittier 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, Isabella Sanchez, Mona Staples, Kat Walcott, Keith Whittier social media Kat Walcott student intern Chloe Hayes 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 www.ottawalife.com call (613) 688-LIFE (5433) or e-mail info@ottawalife.com 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: info@ottawalife.com Web site: www.ottawalife.com Follow us on Twitter: @ottawalifers On Instagram: ottawalifemag Like us at www.Facebook.com/ OttawaLifeMagazine 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.

best picks

Travel the world from home with HARTLEYBEE destination bracelets

Ottawa-based artisan Jenn Hartley Boyce has a new way to inspire wanderlust while at home. HARTLEYBEE, Boyce’s small business, sells handcrafted travel-inspired wrap bracelets imbued with the all colours and emotions of destinations around the world, from Sedona to Naples, Turks and Caicos to San Fran, and London to Paris. The wide variety of destination-inspired wrap bracelets come in three sizes and can convert to anklets or necklaces. They are made with the best quality materials—glass beads and sterling silver clasps. HARTLEYBEE.com Follow Jenn on Instagram @HARTLEYBEE

Ottawa author Ellie Beals new psychological thriller set in West Quebec

In her darkly dramatic, quirky debut, Emergence, Ellie Beals invites readers into the Canadian wilderness. Emergence centres around competitive doghandler and recreationalist Cass Harwood, her dogs, her cousin Lori and the complex and enigmatic “wild child” Xavier. When the characters intersect in Lac Rouge in the woods of West Quebec, they begin a dangerous downward spiral set off by a tragedy in the bush that ends in a deadly cycle of fear, guilt, and hope. Beals’ extensive experience with dogs as a competitive obedience trainer and coach, as well as her love and knowledge of the laurentian backwoods where the story begins and ends, shine in this criticallyacclaimed debut. elliebealsauthor.ca Available at amazon.ca

Update your walls with art from Alex Hunt Studio

Our fashion editor has taken up her brushes and created canvases to help brighten up your space. Refresh your home with colourfull new art from Alex Hunt Studio. Use Code OLM20 at checkout to get 20% off a Spring Tulips giclee fine art canvas print! alexhuntstudio.com

Activate a brand new you!

Activation Product’s new line of Perfectly Pressed Oils are carefully crafted to help you activate a brand new you. The oils are 100 per cent natural, vegan, gluten-free and GMO-free and have the highest nutritional potency possible. Every bottle of Perfectly Pressed Oil contains the oil of thousands of organic seeds, pressed perfectly with the latest extraction technology. This versatile collection is packed with every element you need to thrive, delivered in a beautiful, lightweight formula. The oils are primarily therapeutic, but can be used as a finishing garnish to any meal, as a natural beauty remedy or as a daily supplement. $17 to $39 activationproducts.ca

78 % less damage than conventional hair straighteners

L'Oréal Professionnel Steampod 3.0 is a new and improved tool that uses a combination of heat and steam to straighten hair, with 78 per cent less damage than a regular straightening iron. Steampod is lighter, slimmer, and more convenient than ever with an integrated water tank and rotative cord. Hair is straightened 2X faster and results are 2X smoother than a traditional flat iron. $350 – Available at kerastase.ca


aristocrat of scent by Sid Cratzbarg

Spring scent that are guaranteed to


L ike so many of you, I have not been able to return to work due to the pandemic. How I miss seeing you and helping you choose your fragrance for the Spring season. Even though I am at home I still start my day with a spritz of my favourite fragrance! I can’t wait to discover and try new scents that are guaranteed to make a statement this Spring!


Hair mists and gels are everywhere this season! The new body gels are much lighter than the lotions. They are fabulous as they tend to be much lighter on the skin, particularly during warmer weather. The hair mists are lighter as well and they don’t weigh down hair at all. 2. TEA NOTES

During the pandemic nothing made me feel better than a nice cup of tea to relax me! Perfume companies realized and understood this and introduced the calming notes of black and white tea. 3. DISCOVERY SETS






fragrance sets which were introduced for the various holidays. Being able to try different fragrances from a specific line allowed me to try different scents before I purchased the bottle. Practically every fragrance house has created these miniature/discovery kits for the Spring 2021. 4. FLORALS AND CITRUS

Most fragrance brands this Spring season have developed new fresh and floral scents that allow us to imaginary escape to beautiful beaches, magical gardens, and idyllic cafés by the water! Notes of gardenia, jasmine, and Italian citrus are found in so many of the 2021 Spring fragrances. I personally love the floral notes and I am glad to see that

Sid’s Ti PS 1. Don’t wear a sensuous fragrance on your wedding day. You do not want an overly sexy scent but try and choose a romantic jasmine or floral scent. 2.Don’t wear an overpowering fragrance for your job interview but try to choose a fresh light scent. 3.If you are wearing light fragrances that don’t last long use the body cream or shower gel that goes with it, so the fragrance last longer. 4. Line your drawers with tissue paper that has been spritzed a few times to subtly scent clothing. 5. Pour the last of used perfume into an unscented lotion bottle to create a lotion that smells like your favourite fragrance.

they are being introduced to many men’s fragrances n

SID’S SPRING 2021 FAVOURITES Have fun fragrance shopping! These GHI (Got To Have It) scents are available at Shoppers Beauty Boutiques and Hudson Bay stores. OMNIA BY MARY KATRANTZOU This new fragrance is part of the Greek designer Mary Katrantzou’s capsule collection with Blvgari for 2021, and was developed by the master perfumer Alberto Morillas. This fragrance is now part of the incredible Omnia-gem-inspired collection. Top notes are fig leaf with Mandarin oranges with notes of gardenia, musk, and orange blossom. Ladies who have been using the Omnia collection will absolutely love this new scent. 6 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

COACH BLUE EAU DE TOILETTE The world of Coach known for its amazing leather goods has entered the fragrance market with wonderful scents. This new fragrance is inspired by cool breezes and wonderful fresh air. This fragrance is a masculine scent for daily wear with notes of lime and absinthe. It definitely is a winner with its pleasant smell — wear during this lockdown.

capital clips by Grace Geisbrecht


just the end of your marriage. Ottawa Influencer’s divorce TV series takes off!

are dozens of T.V. shows that centre on every Tshow,here glamorous facet of a wedding. There is only one so far, that examines, explains, and, yes, celebrates, divorce.

Ottawa influencer and T.V. producer Katrina Turnbell’s new T.V. show, A Modern Girl’s Guide to Divorce is a hopeful stepby-step guide to divorce. Turnbell shares advice from her personal experience and consults with a panel of experts to combat the stigma surrounding divorce and empower women to live their best lives after the difficult process. Turnbell’s own divorce process began in 2017. She soon realized the disconnect between her decision to leave an unhealthy relationship and the reactions of her friends and neighbours. “I basically was told ‘your life is over, you’re getting divorced… that’s it for you,” she explained. “And I didn’t accept that.”

LEGEND EAU DE PARFUM MONT BLANC The luxury brand Mont Blanc has created some of my favourite GHI (Gotta Have It) fragrances. I have loved Legend the Fougere fragrance for men and I was so excited to try The new Legend Eau De Parfum. This new fragrance is a leather fragrance for men with notes of violet leaves and Bergamot with Jasmine and Oakmoss. A truly sensual fragrance guaranteed to get you noticed!

“It was really important to me… to really live my truth.” Turnbell explained. A hopeful and positive chapter of life after divorce exists, no matter how difficult and messy the process. After discovering this for herself, Turnbell wanted to share it with others. “I wanted to show people that divorce is not the end of the world, it’s just the end of your marriage.” The first season of A Modern Girl’s Guide to Divorce aired in February, 2021 and is available to stream online on Bell Fibe TV1. Topics range from when to get a lawyer, selling your house, and even dating post-divorce with insights from a panel of experts and Turnbell’s own experience n

MOSCHINO TOY 2 BUBBLE GUM Toy 2 Bubblegum is the latest edition of the creative Toy Fragrance collection. This new one comes in the unique pink glass Teddy Bear Bottle. Jeremy Scott is the creative director is behind this fabulous launch for Spring 2021. Moschino Toy 2 Bubblegum is a sweet fragrance with candied citrus fruits and a bubblegum accord with notes of peach blossom and ginger powder. For all of you who love a sweeter fragrance, this new Toy 2 will be a winner! Have to say, the bottle will bring a smile to everyone.

MCM UNISEX FRAGRANCE MCM Worldwide is a luxury leather goods brand that makes a statement with its hip back backs, travel bags, and belts. This unisex fragrance has just been launched with its flacon modeled after the iconic backpack. As the creative director Dirk Schoenberger says “This fragrance is youth-inspired to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z.” This new fragrance is composed of apricot,raspberry, sandlewood, with white moss and vanilla. Discover and experience this new scent from the luxury world of MCM!.


food and wine by Zoltán Tóth


A Hungarian food and wine discovery we are stuck at home, we Jsmallustneedbecause not deprive ourselves of life's pleasures — a good meal with

a carefully selected, matching wine might be just what we all need. I invite you to embark on an imaginary trip to Hungary by preparing the following recipes and sharing them with your friends and family.Although the options are limitless, I have carefully chosen a few recipes that are rich in Hungarian flavours, but can be prepared from locally available ingredients, so there is no excuse to not try something new. Hungary is a Central European country with an extraordinary history spanning over 1,100 years, a history that has shaped its amazingly rich and exciting gastronomy. Over the course of several centuries, different cultures have contributed to its culinary heritage and this amazing eclectic mix continues to be enriched by new epicurean influences. It is likely that you have heard of Goulash or perhaps have even tried a chimney cinnamon cake but there is so much more to Hungarian cuisine to be discovered that you could literally spend months trying to cook them all. With its abundance of fresh water fish, delicious game dishes, its famous Mangalitsa pork, and its worldrenowned duck, goose and rabbit fare, Hungarian cuisine is one of the most diverse and colourful in Europe.


No Hungarian meal is complete without a glass of carefully paired wine. Hungarian wines, which I can proudly say are the crown jewel of Hungarian gastronomy, are not only acclaimed by wine connoisseurs all over the world, but are also highly awarded internationally. They are particularly famous for their elegance and the subtlety of their flavours. The worldrenowned Tokaji Aszú, is a silky wine made from mainly endemic botrytized Hungarian Furmint and Harslevelu varieties of grapes. The exquisite taste of Tokaj and its golden colour is so prized that it has been known by European royals as “liquid gold”. Luckily, those living in the Ottawa area can find these wines in local wine and spirits shops during certain times of the year. The Tokaj/Tokaji geographical appellation is officially registered in Canada, which ensures quality for the Canadian buyers. Given its unique location in the Carpathian basin, home to a nutrientrich soil and a terrain dissected by vast rivers, this fertile land is known throughout Europe for its agricultural wealth, which translates into an abundance of sun-drenched organic vegetables, juicy fruits, and exquisite grapes. Numerous Hungarian writers, poets and philosophers have written about the country’s culinary delights and its

exquisite wines.There are even distinct literary genres and poetry dedicated to them. One of its most famous writers and philosophers was Béla Hamvas, in his book, “The Philosophy of Wine”, wrote: “In each wine there lives a little angel who, when a person drinks it, does not die but makes its way among the innumerable little fairies and angels who inhabit that person.When the wine is drunk, the little genie is welcomed on arrival by those already within with songs and a deluge of flowers. . . .This joyous fire streams through and carries away the drinker.” Today’s Hungarian cuisine is steadily reinventing itself to new generations of aficionados and newcomers alike, bringing back long forgotten dishes and ingredients, and gaining new appreciation and recognition in contemporary culinary arts. Hungarian legislation provides for the purity of essential Hungarian grown crops by mandating zero tolerance for growing genetically modified organisms (GMO) in the country. Dining together and sharing culinary experiences helps to bring people together, even in times of social distancing. So let’s get cooking! n Zoltán Tóth is the chef of the Embassy of Hungary in Ottawa.

Fillet of Pickerel, Hungarian sausage crumble, puree of “Lecso” (Hungarian “ratatouille”)


Goose liver on brioche with grilled apple and Tokaj raisins Wine pairing: Tokaji Furmint dry or Tokaji Aszú 5 puttonyos (sweet wine) Servings: 4

INGREDIENTS: 4 small slices of Brioche (around the same size as the foie gras) 4 slices of Hungarian goose foie gras (slices should be 2-3 cm thick) 10 dkg of golden raisins 0,5 l 2 cups of Tokaji Furmint wine 1 tbsp of butter 2 apples 1.5 tbsp of honey 1 tsp 1-2 dkg of cornstarch PREPARATION: 1. Soak the sultanas in 2 dl of wine for 30 minutes, then drain the raisins and keep the liquid. 2. Combine the rest of the wine and the wine used in step 1. Gently simmer on medium heat until its quantity is reduced in half. 3. Put the sultanas back in the wine and simmer together for one minute. 4.Add cornstarch to thicken the sauce. 5. Add honey to your flavor. 6.Core the apples and cut them into thick slices or wedges. 7. Grill the apple slices gently using two tbsp. of melted butter and set aside. 8. Sear the foie gras slices in a hot dry pan for 40 seconds on each side. Depending on its thickness, finish baking it in the oven at 180 C/350 F for 2-3 minutes and let it rest for 1-2 minutes. 9. While the foie gras rests, grill gently the brioche slices. 10. Put the brioche, the apple slices and the foie gras on a plate and pour some Tokaj raisins on top. If you have Quince compote or puree, scoop some around the plate for decoration.


Wine pairing: Hungarian Kadarka, Rosé or Pinot Noir or a Canadian Pinot Noir Servings: 4

INGREDIENTS: Olive oil 2 lb 1kg Pickerel fillet 1 piece of Hungarian style dry smoked sausage 1 kg 2 lb yellow & red sweet pepper or Hungarian wax pepper 0,7 kg 1,5 lb tomatoes (preferably Beefsteak tomatoes) 2 medium size onions 5 cloves of garlic 3 tbsp of corn flour 1 cup of polenta 2 cups of water 2 cups of milk A few small cubes of cold butter 2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika powder (Please try to find the original Hungarian brand, it will elevate your dish to another level) Salt and pepper to taste Green shoots for decoration PREPARATION: 1. Debone the Pickerel filets, cut them into 15 dkg slices and sprinkle with salt. 2. Heat oil and butter in a pan, fry the skin on the side of the fillet for 2-3 minutes. Pour 4 tbsp of melted butter into a baking tray lined with parchment paper and place the fillets with their skin facing up; bake 3-5 minutes on 180 C (350 F) Set aside and keep warm. 3. In a large saucepan bring water, milk and salt to a boil; add polenta slowly, whisk constantly until all the polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps. 4. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stir every 1-2 minutes with a wooden spoon. 5. Turn off heat and gently stir 2 tablespoons of butter into the polenta until it melts. Taste for additional salt if needed. 6. Pour the cooked polenta into a baking pan, cover in parchment paper and chill 2-3 hours until firm. 7. Cut the sausage into small pieces and stir-fry in 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat. You will know it is ready when the crumb gets crunchy but it does not burn. 8. When ready, separate the crumb from the remaining oil and set it aside on a kitchen paper. Use this oil to cook the „Lecso”. 9. Sprinkle additional 3 tbsp of olive oil in the pan and toss in the sliced onions. Sauté the sliced onions for 5-7 minutes or until they are translucent. 10. Stir in the crushed garlic and cook for a few seconds. 11. Add the peppers, sprinkle with paprika powder and salt, cook for about 15 minutes (until they soften). 12. Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer over mediumlow heat for about 25 minutes. 13. Taste and add more salt if needed. 14. Blend it to a puree adding a few cubes of cold butter. 15. Spoon some of the Lecso puree on the plate and place the polenta and the grilled fish on top, decorate with green shoots.

Sweet cottage cheese noodle pie with white chocolate and raspberry Wine pairing: Tokaji Aszú 5 puttonyos or Tokaji Szamorodni Sweet Baking pan: 6” X 12” rectangular or a 12” round cake pan. Servings: 4


INGREDIENTS: 30 dkg pressed cottage cheese 12,5 dkg granulated sugar 10 dkg butter 1 vanilla pod 30 dkg sour cream 1 whole egg Zest of half untreated lemon 5 dkg white chocolate pastilles 8 dkg raspberries 15 dkg Phyllo pastry 7 dkg angel hair pasta (cérnametélt in Hungarian) 2 tbsp melted butter Pinch of salt Melted butter for greasing the pan

PREPARATION: 1. Preheat the oven to 160 C (320 F) 2. Butter a small square or round baking dish. 3. Bring a pot of water to a boil, ad d some salt and cook the noodles according to the package's instructions. Drain well, pour over 2 tbsp of melted butter and set aside. 4. Beat the egg yolks with the granulated sugar until it is fluffy and add the cottage cheese slowly. Then add the vanilla seeds, lemon zest, and sour cream. Beat for a few minutes until all the ingredients are well mixed and then carefully fold the cooked noodles into this mixture. 5. Beat the egg whites and fold in the mixture. 6. Place the pastry sheet on top of a baking pan, making sure a part of the pastry sheet hangs to the side of the baking pan. (This part will be used to cover the top of the cake at the end). Brush each layer with some of the melted butter and cover it with another pastry sheet. Place at least 3-4 layers of Phyllo pastry and always pour some butter on it. 7. Pour the mixture in the filo pastry covered baking pan. 8. Sprinkle the top with the fresh raspberry and the white chocolate chips. 9. Fold the baking sheets that were hanging to the side so it covers the pastry, this will create a top layer. 10. Place it in the oven, depending on its thickness bake for 50 minutes. It will be ready when the middle of the cake is still a bit wobbly but the top layer is golden coloured and crusty. Let it rest and cool to lukewarm. Serve it with homemade raspberry coulis or just dust it with confectioner’s sugar. 9 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

in search of style by Alexandra Hunt

Find Alex Hunt on Instagram @ottawastyle and Twitter @alexhuntstudio

THE Updated


Traditional workwear has been turned on its head as many of us continue to make the best of the work-from-home life. By now, you will have mastered a smart-looking outfit, but with the changing seasons, an update is needed. Blazers are the fashion chameleon of any women’s wardrobe.They pair with everything from skirts, summer dresses and jeans. This season, designers have made a slight change to the overall design by removing the lapel. Seen on the runways at Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, and Michael Kors, the collarless blazer adds instant polish to any work look. Seen in a variety of hues from bright pops of colour to muted tones and often belted at the waist, this subtle update is one you won’t want to ignore.


Signal the turn of the season by opting for a crisp white blazer. Equally as versatile and classic as your go-to black blazer, a white blazer is a timeless staple and a key to building a timeless, pulled together closet.


RUNWAY Michael Kors Louis Vuitoon





Dominique Baker

er @dominique.bak

TOP TRENDS: Right now, I am still loving tie-dye for summer! It is bright and fun, and if you can't do the full, head-to-toe tie-dye sweats look, try a tie-dye bikini. Miniskirts and mini-dresses are back with a vengeance too. Time to show off those legs! MUST-HAVES: Pillow bags are a great way to freshen up your look or elevate your outfit. From the Chanel 19 to Coach's Pillow Tabby Bag, it's a modern and cool take on the handbag.





Marie Ernst


MUST-HAVES: This summer I had to get a pair of chunky white sneakers, like the ones I picked up from Trend Savvy. They work for casual summer outfits and the extra heel height works well with maxi dresses as well.

TOP TRENDS: I am loving the sweetheart neckline trend right now. I find it so feminine, timeless and flattering. I’m also loving midi dresses, which are a staple for the summer months. Right now, I am gravitating towards light colours, like sage green or pale pink. Those look gorgeous with a tan too!

Katrina Turnbull

SEASON. TOP TRENDS: I’m really pleased to see the biker short make an appearance in denim, activewear and loungewear. It’s such a flattering length on all sizes.

MUST-HAVES: I tend to keep my outfits simple and don’t accessorize much, but I would say definitely a nice pair of shoes and some lipstick. I loving strappy sandals, clear heels, or even sneakers. They all bring a different vibe to the outfit you are putting together. It’s important to really have fun and play with your style. 11 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

interview by Keith Whittier

Sonja Smits



onja Smits is an icon. I don’t say S that lightly, it’s very much deserved. She has been a fixture in Canadian entertainment for decades. In addition to an acting career that has spanned decades, Smits and her husband run Closson Chase Wineries in Prince Edward County. But perhaps one of the coolest things about her is that she’s from Ottawa. The well-respected Smits is starring in a new movie called Drifting Snow. We caught up with her for a chat. OLM: What is it that attracted you to Drifting Snow’?

Ryan (Noth, the director) approached me, and I didn’t know him. He wanted to talk to me about this project and I met him and his partner Tess (Girard), who was the cinematographer, and they just struck me as wonderful, smart people, and Ryan wanted to do a very personal film. When I read the 15-page treatment, that was it. I said to my husband, ‘there is something quite lyrical about the




treatment’ and I couldn’t quite explain it. Nothing big happens action-wise but it’s a very reflective piece and a beautiful opportunity to work on a small project. Small as in very intimate: small crew, and work very directly with Ryan, who would always ask for my input. It was a nice challenge and opportunity.

do you go on?’ I think a lot of people are in that place. I am hopeful that the film has, for lack of a better word, a positive kind of thing about moving on and making choices that are maybe a bit scary, but your future isn’t over just because change has happened and there are other possibilities if you’re brave enough to take those steps.

OLM: The film is very touching and intimate and deals with grief. When you think of the audience, what is it that you would like them to get out of this film?

OLM: One of the aspects of the film that I liked is very subtle; you have these two strangers who come together over the course of this car accident and they befriend each other­ —I thought ‘this is very Canadian’.

I think ultimately, we have all suffered loss. The irony was this film was made before the pandemic hit in stride and we were a day and a half away from premiering at a film festival in Kingston, all very excited, and then it got shut down. It speaks to a lot of things that people can relate to. I can talk about my character, ‘Joanne’, she has the loss of her husband and those changes in her life. ‘How do you adjust?’ ‘Do you stay in the same place?’ ‘Do you make a change?’ ‘How


(Laughs) It is! It was also set in Prince Edward County. There’s also something about being in a more rural area too. You go ‘Oh I probably know your brother or your uncle’ or something like that, so there’s a bit of a trust that’s more enhanced in a smaller community.


OLM: Switching gears, you have a laundry list of fantastic roles and I would remiss if I didn’t ask you

about Traders, one of my all-time favourite shows. What are some of your experiences from that show?


(Laughing) You know, I never made that connection but thank you for that. That’s so funny.

OLM: I want to take you through something I call rapid fire. What is your favourite movie of all time?

Well, that is actually kind of interesting because when I first heard of Traders I thought this sounds like a really fantastic opportunity to explore that world and also as a woman in finance too. You go back to ‘Drifting Snow’, how many people are interested in a mature woman and to follow her story where there isn’t a big drama happening, it’s just life. And, so I was attracted to Drifting Snow because of that opportunity. And with Traders it was the opportunity of, ‘oh, women in finance’. At that time there were not that many women in the high levels of finance and it was exciting. It was pretty cool.

No it didn’t. The winery thing just sort of evolved but it was one of those happy things where ignorance was bliss and you didn’t quite know what you were getting into.



OLM: It seems like a very exciting project.

One of the reasons for that and it’s kind of cool because I have always


OLM: No one has ever given me ‘Old Yeller’. Sonja Smits you consistently stand above the rest. Because I am talking to a Canadian icon, I have to ask what is your favourite Canadian TV show of all time? And with your resume chances are you were probably in it. SS:

(Laughing) Sure, I am sure the Duchess will kind of help even that out when she comes back to Canada.



OLM: Years ago, you were on a show called Falcon Crest (Note: It was an evening drama where the main characters ran a winery) and you played a character called ‘Lydia Boulanger’. Did being on Falcon Crest lead you to want to get into the wine business with Closson Chase Vineyards?

I’ll say Street Legal, for me.

OLM: That’s another great show. Over the past few years there was a show that came on that was based out of Toronto but the show was set in New York, but we know where they filmed and it was called Suits. There were a lot of parallels between Suits and Traders. Do you agree with me that the people from Suits owe royalties to the good people from Traders?

OLM: One of the things that I truly admire about you is that you have been consistently acting for a while. What are some of your secrets for maintaining such a long career? It’s a very impressive thing.

That is always a challenge, especially quite frankly for actresses. Actresses, generally your thirties is the height. After 40, and those are just the stats, your employment opportunities kind of plummet and that was the case years ago and that is still the case now so I feel quite fortunate that I have been able to continue in my forties with other series and it keeps your hand in. But things go in ebbs and flows right? It’s nowhere near the same. I have to search long and hard or wait for roles to come along that are interesting at this point in my life, quite frankly because they just don’t exist to the same extent as when I was in my thirties or forties. It becomes more challenging to find that are actually exciting to you.

Old Yeller

OLM: You’ve collaborated with tons of people, is there someone you’d like to collaborate with that you haven’t yet.

been interested in Canadian culture and as an actor involved with the union you fight for more Canadian stories on our screens, etcetera, etcetera, and with the vineyard in Prince Edward County, we were one of the first ones to start there. People said ‘you’re crazy’ and then you’re making arguments for people to understand Canadian wine can be wonderful. When I first started in Canadian series, they said ‘Oh it’s Canadian and it’s really good’ and you go ‘Yeah, because we can do good stuff!’ And the same with the winery and I think ‘You’re making the same argument’ which is kind of interesting and fun and now people are coming and appreciating Canadian wine so it’s kind of cool that evolution.

SS: She’s an old dame but one of my favourite actresses is Vanessa Redgrave. OLM: Last question for you. There are a lot of wonderful emerging filmmakers and actors in the Ottawa area. For someone like yourself who went to Bell High School. Woodroffe and South Carleton and has done well what advice would you give them? SS:

Be collaborative.

OLM: Thank you for your time

You are great and all the best to everyone in beautiful Ottawa n


fifthtownfilms.com/drifting-snow 13 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

book review by Don MacLean

A most consequential virus Apollo’s Arrow by Nicholas A. Christakis PUBLISHED: October 27, 2020 PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company ISBN: 13:9780316628211

n Apollo’s Arrow, Nicholas A. Christakis Iabout tells an essential, if incomplete, story Covid-19 and the pandemic through which we are still living. 1. A Novel Virus Spreads

A bat flaps its wings in China and the world shudders. Reports of atypical pneumonia in Wuhan, China in December 2019 was among the earliest signs that something was amiss. Not long thereafter Dr. Wienlina Li, an ophthalmologist living in Wuhan, alerted fellow Chinese doctors of this ominous development. Be aware, he pleaded. Chinese authorities reacted swiftly to Dr. Li’s pronouncement. He was charged for spreading malicious ‘rumours’ and forced to recant his professed alarm. Such a response on the part of the Chinese government betrayed an elementary truth: viruses do not cease to spread in the face of censorship or bullying. Sanctioning a doctor alerting his colleagues of a new virus would not somehow make the virus disappear. Dr Li’s unexpected prominence would grow, but for the most tragic of reasons. Only weeks later he would catch this novel virus while treating a patient. He would develop the sort of severe symptoms about which he warned only weeks earlier and die of the disease in the first week of February. He was 33 years old. That he was so young and a doctor would be another sign of what had been set in motion, another portent of what was to come. A novel virus was circulating that not 14 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

only put the general population at risk. The virus in question would be called SARS-CoV-2 and the disease to which it could give rise Covid-19 or, Covid for short. In treating those stricken with this unknown pathogen, doctors and nurses and other health care providers would also be at risk of infection, serious illness and death. Many health care systems around the globe would soon be under severe strain and often overwhelmed. SARS-CoV-2 and the pandemic it has spawned is the subject of Nicholas Christakis’s Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live. Christakis is well suited to the task he sets for himself. He’s a medical doctor and a sociologist with a keen interest in the relationship between social networks and the spread of disease. He was also working collaboratively with Chinese scientists when the virus was identified. The result is a significant, if occasionally dull, book written at breakneck speed about Covid and the pandemic through which we are still living. It’s broad in scope but thus hardly exhaustive. Christakis anticipates, as the title suggests, Covid’s impacts into the not too distant future. One intriguing possibility is that the prolonged burdens of physical distancing and isolation will usher in a period of increasingly licentious mores. People will crave that which has been so long denied: the experience of crowded spaces, the freedom to speak to strangers without fear of exchanging a potentially deadly pathogen. Yet it’s his insights into the

pandemic as it has thus far unfolded that are most relevant. So much of both the virus and the pandemic remains fiercely, often absurdly contested: its origins, the nature of the threat it poses and the appropriate response to its spread. Fumbled pandemic responses and the emergence of more virulent variants, moreover, have left many feeling as though we are groping our way through an endless darkness. In Apollo’s Arrow, Christakis walks us through the facts, provides urgently required perspective and, in so doing, sheds some necessary light. Dr Li’s death was revealing in other ways. Both his humiliation at the hands of the Chinese state and death due to the virus made him a hero to Chinese citizens. A martyr who dared to speak scientific truth to power. His death alone was almost enough to create a crisis of legitimacy for the Chinese government. More urgently, to treat SARS-CoV-2 and the health care workers in so cavalier a way risked a pandemic of catastrophic proportions within its own borders. To begin with, a culture of fear between scientists and political authority was hardly conducive to transparent communication in the early stages of the virus’s spread. Yet transparency is precisely what is required to detect emerging patterns and potential outbreaks. Moreover, China is a vast country of 1.4 billion people with many densely populated cities and regions. The country’s late January lunar New Year celebrations were fast approaching. Chinese citizens would be traveling across the country

in greater numbers than any other time of the year. One would be hard pressed to imagine more propitious conditions for the virus to spread. In short order the Chinese government changed course. The scope of the threat was acknowledged, including to the World Health Organization, among other international institutions. Authorities now insisted that only a highly coordinated, epidemiological inspired response could quell the virus’s transmission rate and contain the pandemic. That is to say, only a combination of strictly enforced isolation and an appropriate amount of testing for the virus could get the transmission rate to below one. Quarantines were established and strictly enforced. Roadblocks prevented people from travelling. Government papers were issued. Hospitals for those rendered sick with Covid-19 were built in a matter of days. By the end of January, the virus wasn’t completely contained, but worst case scenarios were averted. In so doing, the country was shedding important light on how politics could affect the pandemic’s trajectory. In particular, the authoritarian nature of China’s regime helps to explain both the failure to initially contain the outbreak and then to so decisively get it under control. A picture, incomplete but revealing, started to quickly form as to the origins of this novel virus. SARS-CoV-2 is part of the coronavirus family, a series of viruses that more typically cause the common cold but which which was also the source of SARS in 2003. The coronavirus spike shaped protein is adept at latching onto a receptor — the ACE2 — on human cells. Once latched, the virus is able to access cells and use the cellular machinery for the singular purpose of reproducing. Many of the earliest victims of Covid-19 had a connection to a wet market in Wuhan. It’s a market at which live animals are traded, purchased and butchered for human consumption. Bats are the original host of the virus, making Covid a zoonotic based disease. Bats are not, however, sold at the market in question. It is believed that the virus was passed on to another animal —

likely a pangolin — that acted as an intermediate host and which are sold at the market. (Pangolins are highly sought for their uniquely scaly skin and their perceived medicinal value.) Bats, as Christakis explains, are often hosts for human disease causing viruses. The bat, from their perspective of the virus, is a good partner with which it can co-evolve. Scientists continue to speculate on the various reasons for this apparent affinity and why the bat might occasionally shed the virus. Flying for bats is, as another scientist describes, “metabolically expensive.” Flying, in other words, requires a lot of energy. Normally the energy expended does not render the bat susceptible to illness caused by the virus. Scientists speculate, however, that when bats are forced to expel even more energy — during lactation or if bats are food deprived — the virus may cause illness. The bat’s immune system responds. Included in this response is an attempt to shed the virus, thereby making the bat infectious. For all of Christakis’s insight, he says little about the wider context in which a virus would spread from a bat to potentially a pangolin and then to a human. Wuhan and the surrounding regions have been subject to a combination of deforestation and the introduction of manufacturing hubs. Thousands of small scale farmers have, as a result, been driven to urban slums. One enduring consequence has been to fuel the dynamic of often poor urban dwellers moving between city and and increasingly denuded countrysides in search of wild animals to sell at wet markets such as those found in Wuhan. Such a dynamic, in turn, elevated the chances of a pathogen, hitherto contained, making a fateful jump from one species to another. This is among the reasons why scientists were warning about the potential for a zoonotic based pandemic beginning in this part of the world. Now that’s it has happened, it’s among the reasons why the pandemic has prompted reassessments of our relationship to the natural world. 2. A Global Pandemic

Beyond China, scientists looked on with the sort of concern that quickly

transitioned to alarm. As the number of infections grew insideWuhan,infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists believed the virus was likely already seeded outside of China. By early February of last year, it was understood that a Covid pandemic was inevitable. Its severity and duration, however, remained an open question and would revolve around the complex interplay between the virus’s epidemiology and the politics of each country in which the virus would have a presence. The more the political response followed the scientific response, the more effective a country or subnational jurisdiction would be at stemming the tide of infections. Although Christakis’s purview is global, the focus of his analysis is America’s experience with the virus. What’s most striking is the almost immediate disconnect between the effort of scientists and the hopelessly uneven, inadequate and indifferent political response.The inevitable discovery of the virus’s presence in America happened in February when a young man living in Seattle experienced symptoms we now associate with Covid. By quickly discerning its genome, microbiologists were able to identify variants of the virus in places outside of Seattle, such as California. That discovery was another crucial sign: community transmission of the virus was already happening. Many scientists sounded the alarm. SARS-CoV-2 could spread exponentially, giving rise to a deadly pandemic. Alas, warnings were scarcely heeded by too many of the country’s political leaders. Italy’s experience, moreover, was a terrifying harbinger of what was to come. For reasons that remain unclear, by February 2020 Italy became the pandemic’s epicentre. Nevertheless much about the country was conducive to the aggressive spread of the virus, including its multigenerational living arrangements. Soon, one of the pandemic’s recurring and defining features was also manifest. Hospitals were overwhelmed by unrelenting streams of those severely sick with Covid. There were severe shortages of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds. Life saving ventilators were in such 15 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

short supply doctors were forced to make choices as to who to save and who to allow to die. There were so many dead that churches were used as makeshift morgues. The risk of further transmission from the sick to the healthy meant that those gravely ill with the virus had to die in the absence of family and other loved ones. Many doctors and nurses themselves would contract the virus and die from the disease. For others, the psychological toll was like nothing they had ever experienced. Timing is critical in a pandemic. In America, there was a tragic lag between the introduction of the virus in places like Seattle and California and the sort of coordinated, fulsome response necessary to curtail its spread. Testing capacity was almost non-existent. In those early days the combination of contact tracing and isolation could have severely interrupted Covid’s transmission patterns. Alas, before too long that window of opportunity was closed in much of America, as well as elsewhere. The virus was too widespread for contact tracing to be a viable and effective response. The more strictly political response only exacerbated the spread of the virus. If China’s federal government was guilty of initially censoring the scientific community’s early warning signs, the Trump administration was guilty of a combination of wishful thinking and gross, even criminal negligence. Instead of insisting on the pandemic’s potential severity, the country’s president repeatedly contradicted the administration’s own infectious disease experts such as Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. The president repeatedly insisted the virus would ‘disappear’ or that the country had a ‘turned a corner’ when every indication was the worst was yet to come. He emboldened Covid skeptics by dismissing the importance of mask wearing and physical distancing. He encouraged states to open their economies — ‘liberate’ Michigan he once tweeted — as experts warned of staggeringly high infection rates. Indeed, the administration abdicated its federal responsibility at precisely a time when a national pandemic strategy was required. America is 16 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

the home of the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention as well as some of the best resourced and most advanced science institutions in the world. Nevertheless, the country has consistently experienced over a quarter of global cases of Covid infections. By December of last year, thousands of Americans were dying every day of the disease. Viruses do not discriminate on the basis of skin colour or class. At first and even second glance, it’s reasonable to think that SARS-CoV-2 would afflict populations with the same range of possible symptoms and outcomes. Yet as the pandemic unfolded patterns of infection, illness and death quickly emerged. Race and class shape to a significant extent the virus’s trajectory, both within populations and within individuals. As Christakis makes clear, Covid’s spread in America is a case in point. In cities like Detroit and New York the virus proliferated much more aggressively among Black communities. Blacks are much more likely to die from the virus, too. Such discrepancies between the Black population and their mostly white counterparts were initially mysterious. The mystery was quickly solved. A significant portion of the Black population suffer from the sort of co-morbidities that renders them susceptible to more severe experiences with the disease: diabetes and high blood pressure. This alone renders those within the Black community more susceptible than their white counterparts to the severest reactions to the virus, including death. But the susceptibility is made worse by the combination of poverty and substandard housing. They are thus likely to live in over crowded housing; more people living in close proximity is, of course, conducive to spreading the virus. Finally, the poor and working class are more likely to have to work during the crisis and more likely to have to take public transit. For this reason, they are less likely to be able to self isolate when that is the surest way to protect oneself and one’s family from infection. The tragic and absurdist political theatre surrounding America’s botched pandemic response made it the focus

of much of the world’s attention. Yet virtually every country has been subject to horrors caused by the virus. Every country has had to strike a precarious balance between competing imperatives: disease prevention, on the one hand, and sustaining the economy and maintaining civil liberties, on the other. In Canada, Covid spread like brushfires through nursing homes in places like Bobcaygeon, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. A funeral in Newfoundland and Labrador was a ‘super spreader’ event. In India, when the pandemic struck millions of landless labourers working in Delhi and other urban areas were suddenly without work and thus without an income. Without either, there was no money to transfer to families residing in rural communities, many of which can be hundreds or thousands of miles away from where the loved one was working. The hardship was compounded by the national government’s decision to announce at 8 p.m. on a March night that a lockdown would come into effect four hours later at midnight. A country of over a billion people was thus given only four hours notice to prepare to not only isolate but to cease all travel. Landless labourers were, without warning, thrust into a no-man’s land. The only way out was to attempt to walk hundreds of miles to the communities from which they came. Malnourished and dehydrated, many succumbed on such journeys. In Ecuador, Covid took such a swift and severe toll that public health authorities did not have the resources to retrieve all of the dead in a timely fashion. Bodies were left on sidewalks. A son talked to a journalist for The Guardian of having nowhere to put his deceased father after having succumbed to the virus in the home they shared. He remained with him for four days before his body was at last picked up. A late but tiny mercy. 3. A Question of Perspective

The world SARS-CoV-2 burst onto was one already characterized by various crises of truth and authority. In the information eco-system social media has wrought, the virus and the pandemic has only served to amplify

these crises. Legitimate questions and debates have had to compete in the public imagination with conspiracy theories no longer embraced by only a radicalized few. Almost immediately suspicion and mistrust of both science and political authority became a crucial feature of the pandemic. A combination of misinformation and disinformation started to spread as rapidly as the virus itself. For example, the relatively close proximity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology to the wet market where it is believed SARS-CoV-2 was introduced into the human population was treated as evidence of a nefarious scheme. The virus was a manufactured Chinese bio-weapon accidentally or intentionally released onto an unsuspecting world. The experience of mild or even non-existent symptoms after a Covid infection suggested to many that lockdowns and calls for physical distancing and mask wearing were excessive, if not altogether pointless. Covid wasn’t nearly as fearsome as the dire warnings predicted.Worse, such efforts were part of a more insidious campaign to take away personal, political and economic freedom. Alternatively, the virus’s lethality was proof of a campaign of population control. Intentionally initiating its spread was an attempt at human culling. That so many of the misconceptions were contradictory did nothing to diminish their corrosive and divisive power. “Truth is another casualty of plague. Some of the most damaging and self-injurious responses to an epidemic are denial and lies,” Christakis writes. The distrust of science grew more fervent the closer scientists got to developing Covid vaccines. For Covid skeptics, the accelerated development of vaccines means, at the very least, they are not safe for humans. At worst, administering the vaccines is in fact a strategy for the stealth injection of a ‘micro chip’ into every recipient. Vaccines do not constitute a vital public health measure, from this perspective. Like the other measures ostensibly used to disrupt the spread of the virus, vaccines are instead part of an insidious campaign of surveillance and social control, led by the likes of Bill Gates.

Or, at the very least, a manufactured opportunity to create obscene profits for the pharmaceutical companies tasked with developing vaccines. Such thinking masquerades as skepticism, but is, in fact, deeply ahistorical, unscientific and dangerous. Apollo’s Arrow is a much needed corrective. Indeed the book’s chief virtue is the desperately required perspective - both scientific and historical - it provides on the Covid pandemic. When Christakis employs the language of infectious disease experts and epidemiologists the effect is to both clarify and counter many of the misconceptions about Covid. In writing of the difference between the latency period and the incubation period, for example, he goes a long way to explaining why a virus with only a 1 per cent lethality rate would require such a severe response - a lockdown global in scope - to stem its spread.The latency period is the time between infection and infectiousness; put more simply, the time between infection and being able to infect others. The incubation period is the time between infection and the onset of of symptoms, if one has any symptoms at all. Understanding the relationship between these two epidemiological variables helps explain, for example, why the SARS pandemic of 2003 was so effectively contained but the Covid pandemic has been so fiendishly challenging to wrestle to the ground. People who acquired the SARS virus were generally not infectious until they were sick themselves. Although the virus was ten times more lethal than SARS-CoV-2, its spread was thus largely confined to health care settings. This is in stark contrast to the virus fuelling Covid: the considerable gap between the latency and the incubation periods contributed to conditions ideally suited to the virus’s global and exponential spread. As Covid has demonstrated, for such a virus a relatively tiny lethality rate will still have ominous implications. Although the pandemic is far from over, the number of deaths due to Covid is closing in on three million. It’s thus the combination of the virus’s epidemiological traits that have

rendered it such a grave threat. Yet Christakis’s aim is not simply meant to offer a Covid timeline or a primer on how and why SARS-CoV-2 so aggressively spreads or why it warrants the attention it has received. His more fundamental aim is to locate the Covid pandemic within the context of humanity’s history with infectious disease. That history is as long as humanity itself. Christakis repeatedly refers to the Plagues of Athens in 430 BC, the Justinian Plague of 541 AD and the Black Death of 1347. Ancient scourges have, of course, more recent parallels: the Spanish Flu pandemic of 191819 and the still ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic, among many others. As if to remind readers of what’s at stake, he describes the toll pandemics take on human communities. The social divisions and prejudices they exacerbate. The often sudden, lonely and excruciatingly painful deaths pathogens can cause. As will eventually be true of Covid, vaccines (as well as antibiotics) have done much to shield humanity from the worst such scourges can inflict. Nevertheless Covid reminds us that when confronted with a novel, highly infectious and potentially deadly virus, humanity will always be playing catch up. The threat of pandemics a part of the human experience.This surely must be one of Covid’s enduring lessons. Christakis also uses metaphor to provide perspective on this bewildering moment. Among the most resonant he invokes is that of a butterfly flapping its wings in one place and causing a hurricane in some other distant part of the world. The far fetched notion is meant to highlight an increasingly germane idea: the most innocuous seeming event can initiate a series of effects at once unpredictable, upending, far reaching and profound. In the case of Covid, the butterfly metaphor resembles something quite literal. A bat flapped its wings and shed, as Christakis describes SARS-CoV-2, a most “infinitesimal thing.” Not for the first time, a virus would change the world n 17 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

fighter jet series by Michael Bussière


s e i m Dum FOR





Is it interoperable? NATO and NORAD forces must be interoperational, and therefore, so must their equipment. Like computers, military hardware is only useful if it can exchange data, effectively and reliably with other gear regardless of manufacturers. Shared data is critical and carefully protected, but beyond that interoperability for things like jets means refuelling, parts, maintenance, support facilities, etc. Buy a car, go to any gas station, put any brand of tires on it. NATO and NORAD achieved interoperability standards during the Cold War, so you’re good to go unless you’re ordering from N. Korea.

Is Artificial intelligence (AI) included? Just about everything digital these days does employ AI to some degree. Early tests recently had AI co-pilots working alongside their human counterparts. There is scary research in this field aimed at increasing that role to almost completely remove humans from all flight and firing control. Next generation fighters include the capability to automatically control a number of drone wingmen through AI. Don’t expect the Schwartzinator to appear naked from the future to save us. 18 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021



Is it stealth? Stealth includes the shaping of the airframe to reduce radar cross-section and heat signature and a high-tech coating that keeps you from being detected by enemy radar. That design means that weapons must be carried internally in high threat environments, limiting total carriage. The coating must be carefully monitored and maintained to avoid blistering. Stealth technology must be designed in from the start and there will always be efforts to negate the stealth advantage through technology.



Is it good in a fight? Speed and maneuverability are only part of it. You need to be able to detect, track, engage, and target, and that requires advanced sensors, radar, and weapons. An Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Electro-Optical Tracking Systems (such as Infrared Search and Track (IST) system), passive and active electronic warfare systems, advanced 360-degree cameras and advanced datalink systems make your opponent more detectable while keeping you less detectable. Most fights today will be Beyond Visual Range (BVR) but your choice should also be capable in a knife-fight-in-aphone-booth Within Visual Range (WVR). That is also the most fun for fighter pilots, - in training.


What about different roles and conditions? That’s where Canadian Forces, especially the RCAF, are far more challenged than our allies. We defend the biggest domestic territory of all NATO members, with a high arctic, plus North America, plus Europe, plus international conflicts who knows where.Airbases are pretty standard and most fighters fall into the Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) category. But, overseas deployment can mean makeshift runways that cannot handle some jets and the same goes for aircraft carriers. Short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft can use a runway of only 300 metres. STOVLs can take off on a very short runway and land vertically, but that limits the amount of ordinance and fuel they can carry. They use Thrust Vectoring (TV) and a pointable engine, making them very pricey, limiting their range, and requiring a special pad that can bear the heat of the landing.

One or two engines? A single engine fighter is lighter and has less enginerelated maintenance; and advanced engine technology has yielded safety records that compare with twin-engine fighters. In the now-less-likely event of ejection far from a rescue effort, personal survival will be compromised. Weapons loads and mission radius vary from aircraft-toaircraft and there is no rule-of-thumb that differentiates single and twin-engine fighters. Either configuration can be loaded with external fuel and weapons and employ air-to-air refuelling for maximum range and payload.


What about cool displays? There are several options. Cockpit displays are now like giant iPhones that are flexible and touch-controlled. A helmet-mounted display projects flight, targeting and defensive data directly onto the pilot's visor, and weapons systems are slaved to and follow the pilot’s eyes. This gives the pilot 360-degree visibility. More basic head-up displays project data onto a glass plane directly in front of the pilot. See the air space ahead of you and the display at the same time.



And then there’s the matter of weaponry. You want a wide range onboard to deal with whatever might be out there. Is your adversary within visual range (WVR) or beyond visual range (BVR)? There are air-to-air and airto-ground missiles for both. Some are radar guided, optically guided and heat seeking; and some are Lock-On After Launch (LOAL) that allow built-in terminal guidance with progress being data-linked to a pilot’s displays. No matter what, you’re going to want advanced Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems that allow you and your pals to differentiate yourselves from the bad guys.


fighter jet series by Michael Bussière


ou’d think a country with a vast Y arctic frontier sitting on top of the 2nd-largest geographical footprint on

the planet would make defence and territorial surveillance, and therefore military procurement, a top policy priority. Not this country. The sad tale begins with the Ross rifle, the Canadian-made preference to the British Lee-Enfield rifle that would have equipped Canadian forces similarly to other troops from the Empire during WWI. Sir Sam Hughes, minister of Militia and Defence, was an ardent supporter of the Ross, but the Ross had the unfortunate tendency of jamming and failing in battle, resulting in hundreds of thousands being withdrawn from service in 1916 and replaced by the Lee-Enfield. Laurier’s government established the Royal Canadian Navy in 1909. It chugged along underfunded for decades until WWII when our fleet topped 471 fighting vessels that dominated the North Atlantic. 110 vessels and 10,000 men landed in Normandy in June 1944. Things skidded off the runway again with the legendary Avro Arrow, the often-cited example of world-


leading Canadian innovation that failed to launch due to government apathy. Then there was the DEW (distant early warning) line, a string of 63 radar stations from Alaska to Greenland that left a toxic mess, requiring $575 million to clean up the chemicals. Or Canada’s on again/off again flirtation with nuclear weapons. Or Paul Hellyer’s integration and unification of Army, Navy and RCAF into a single green uniform. Or Mulroney’s disintegration with a wardrobe makeover of said forces in 1984, before he torpedoed DND’s nuclear submarine hopes. Is your head spinning yet? There’s more. In 1993, Jean Chrétien won a general election in part thanks to his promise to scrap the Mulroney/Campbell purchase of the EH-101 helicopter, the replacement for the Sikorsky CH124 Sea King, a twin-engined antisubmarine warfare helicopter designed for shipboard use by Canadian naval forces, based on the US Navy's SH-3. Chrétien called the EH-101 a "Cadillac" helicopter, especially relative to a federal deficit the size of Hudson Bay, making the purchase politically and fiscally untenable, even though the Sea Kings were 30 years old back

then.They served the Canadian Armed Forces from 1963 to 2018. Equipping military forces is extremely expensive. Healthcare tops the list of government budget lines here at home, compared to defence, homeland security, and veterans affairs in the US. We don’t wrap our identity in military might as do our benevolent neighbours, so frigates and jets are a hard sell when hospital wait times affect us all. We’re also a country that is letting the prime minister’s official residence degrade into an historical ruin. There’s also the naive question by some regarding who exactly we are defending ourselves against. Russia may seem a very far ways away on the far eastern frontier of Europe, but it is in fact sitting up there just over the horizon from Ellesmere Island where arctic ice is giving way to an abundance of resources. At an April policy convention, the NDP's Spadina-Fort York riding association put forward a resolution which stated “An NDP government will commit to phasing out the Canadian Armed Forces. All members … will be retrained … into civil service roles that help expand

Boeing Block III Super Hornet

Lockheed Martin F-35

Canadian, provincial and municipal social services, such as expanded health care, education, community services, public transit and parks.” The ludicrous resolution was rejected.

since Billy Bishop went to war? Canada came oh-so close to purchasing F-35s stealth fighters from Lockheed Martin under a contract issued by the Harper government. The government had already sunk $637 million US into F-35 development contracts with 33 Canadian companies, beginning with the Chrétien government, no purchasing strings attached. So did

purchasing countries run for political cover when technical issues emerged? It was Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page who suggested that the price tag was lowballed and did not factor in “life cycle costs” that included all related expenses over the lifespan of the fleet. That’s when it all became yet another procurement election issue, with the neophyte Trudeau promising to cancel it. Shots were fired from all sides, underscoring one of the big stumbling blocks to military procurement in this country. It’s political.

Canada needs new fighter jets. They come with a numbingly complex set of requirements. They have to operate here at home, where temperatures during northern operations could render them useless. They have to be compatible with the current CF-18 infrastructure We don’t wrap our identity and refuelling systems, both on in military might as do our benevolent the ground and in the air, and with our NATO partners and UK PM Boris Johnson recently neighbours, so frigates and jets are a commitments. They have to and casually announced that his hard sell when hospital wait times affect country is boosting its nuclear be affordable to purchase and repair, and quick on delivery. us all. We’re also a country that is letting arsenal to stave off foreign The RCAF cannot settle for threats. He’s prepared to bolster the prime minister’s official residence anything less, any more than Britain’s stockpile of Tridents you’d purchase a prototype by 40 per cent raising the cap degrade into an historical ruin. autonomous vehicle, not from 180 to 260 warheads. God knowing the delivery date, the knows what the price will be, garage bills, the warranty, or whether other countries, all maneuvered by or how this will play out with the the thing is going to plug into standard sexy claims by the Pentagon. Harper demise of the Reagan/Gorbachev charging stations or drive itself into moved to purchase, and then came the 1987 intermediate-range treaty, or the ditch during a snowfall. So if we questions. with Russia parked on Ukraine’s front know the requirements, why has the door. But it doesn’t matter, because procurement of new jets flummoxed Why did we need such stealthy it’s jolly good hubris in a post-Brexit bureaucrats and ruling governments gizmo-laden planes? Why did other nation whose champions took back 21 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

The three companies vying for the latest jet contract are all stressing how their domestic contracts will dovetail with the Liberal post-COVID economic recovery plans.

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control; and will again, with weapons that will never be deployed, and if they are, well bugger the cost. Fascinating it happens in the UK with no real debate, by a majority government who is not fighting for reelection. If they can do it, why can’t Canada just build the ships and buy the jets? Post-COVID economic stimulus may finally provide the political rationale. Military procurement is entangled in domestic economic spinoffs and the political capital contained therein. Canada does have an aerospace industry that can supply parts and assembly, so long-term post-procurement considerations include lucrative repair and maintenance contracts. The three companies vying for the latest jet contract are all stressing how their domestic contracts will dovetail with the Liberal post-COVID economic recovery plans. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s first budget allotted $100 billion in stimulus spending over the next three years, intended to give the economy a post-pandemic shot in the arm. The government’s Future Fighter Capability Project has already allocated the estimated $19-billion needed for the purchase, meaning it does not add to the national debt and hopefully will not be politicized. The stimulus would be big. Federal officials are now reviewing three fighter jet proposals, with a final decision expected sometime in 2022. The companies in the running are the American giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and Sweden’s Saab AB. All do faithfully swear to include Canadian parts manufactures and software developers at the core of their supply chain, and in adherence to the government’s industrial and technological benefit (ITB) policies. All three are touting the numbers. Boeing’s twin-engine Block III Super Hornet is compatible with the RCAF’s existing pilot training, as well as 65 per cent of its current infrastructure and all of the current weapons stores. It

will work in the Arctic on NORAD duty, and can refuel other Hornets, multiplying its effectiveness. Boeing has already delivered 800+ Super Hornet fighter jets tallying more than 10 million flight hours. According to Boeing, it would inject $61 billion into the Canadian economy over the 40year life of the program. Lockheed Martin is pitching its latest F-35 as being the answer, with a bonus $16.9 billion into the Canadian economy.Lockheed has supplied aircraft to the RCAF for more than 80 years. The F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multi-role combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. It is also able to provide electronic warfare intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Finally, there’s the SAAB Gripen E, which boasts plenty of sophisticated onboard technology of its own, such as a large touch screen display that immerses the pilot in a virtual world of fused data that is constantly updated via a fighter-to-fighter link. No wonder it comes with an investment in a new research and development facility in Montreal specializing in artificial intelligence and related fields, plus a sensor facility in British Columbia. The world is a very difference place since Canada purchased the CF-18s, especially in the Arctic. Alliances are shifting and defence concerns exist as much, if not more, in the cyber realm. Governments have goofed up before and costs have gone sky-high, as recently noted by the Parliamentary Budget Office, which reports that the first of those 15 frigates we are building will now arrive in 2030 at the earliest, five years late, with the price tag ballooning with each turn of the calendar. It never fails, but that’s military procurement for you n

Stop the impossible and unnecessary estimations of lifecycle costs anada’s first fighter acquisition C program was in September 1914 when we bought the Burgess-Dunne for

$5,000. The life cycle cost was pretty much zero as it was taken to Salisbury Plain and never flown. Times have certainly changed. Since then, we’ve had a few high-profile fighter programs, some successful and some unsuccessful. The CF-105 Avro Arrow had a “staggering” sticker price of CAD $12.5 million and we never got to a life cycle cost before the program was cancelled in February 1959. The CF-18 Hornet program has been wildly successful in peace and war since the first aircraft arrived in Cold Lake in October 1982. The unit cost then was CAD $14.54 million FY 79/80 and the latest Cost Factors Manual per hour figure is CAD $32,763 for pure operating costs and CAD $51,773 for full cost of operation. Be careful that any figures quoted for other aircraft are “des pommes à des pommes’’. For several decades under both brands of government, defence procurement has been fraught with baffling delays and uninformed political interference and gamesmanship. Think EH-101 and CAD $500 million in penalties and decades of delay before new helicopters are on the backs of Navy ships. Speaking of the Navy, it took careersacrificing work by Vice Admiral Mark Norman to get long-overdue fleet support to the RCN. It also required undisclosed millions of taxpayer dollars in recompense for the Liberal government’s disgraceful treatment of him.

Fixed Wing Search and Rescue took extra decades to get airborne and the Canadian Surface Combatant Program continues to be bogged down. The only timely defence procurements recently have been meeting wartime requirements in Afghanistan under Prime Minister Stephen Harper – Leopard tanks, M-777 artillery, C-130J Hercules, C-17 Globemaster, CH147 Chinook, LAV III Upgrade and drones. Let’s talk about Next Generation Fighters. After mission effectiveness, costs are the obvious key part of any defence acquisition and big numbers will always attract attention. There are some perspectives of those numbers that are getting lost with all the dithering about F-35 Lightning II or F-18 E/F Super Hornet or J-39 Gripen. F-35 cost estimates previously quoted by the Parliamentary Budget Officer were all based on a purchase calculation of dollars-per-kilogram of fighters since 1950.We don’t put fighters on a weighscale at Superstore and scan them at checkout. His F-35 numbers bear no resemblance to actual costs.

2025. Based on other contracts, flyaway cost is about USD $110 million for Super Hornet and USD $85 million for Gripen, but that does not include all the other equipment required for go-to-war. Operating costs for Super Hornet are increasing as the aircraft ages and little is known about operating costs for Gripen, with only three aircraft produced. Contentious comparisons were exacerbated with rules changes by the Auditor General when he estimated life cycle costs for everything remotely associated with the aircraft and for the entire life of the program, 42 years for F-35. That resulted in false accusations of massive escalation being hidden by DND. This served only to inflame fearful opinions and generate irrational opposition to defence spending. No one can predict the costs of things like fuel several decades down the road. In any event, the numbers being thrown around are not all new money but are being spent today. Cost Factors Manual figures are being spent today on CF-18 operations and that will simply transition to F-35.

We don’t know specific cost figures that have been included in official submissions from Lockheed Martin, Boeing or Saab but we do have figures from public information.

We’ve done our own past detailed options analyses along with many other countries and with the same conclusion – F-35. I’m somewhat confident that the latest evaluation will say that it’s just time to get on with it n

F-35 flyaway and go-to-war cost has fallen, as predicted, to USD $77.8 million and operating costs will decrease to USD $25K per hour by

Laurie Hawn is a retired Colonel in the Canadian Air Force and a former Member of Parliament for Edmonton Alberta. 23 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021


fighter jet series/op-ed by Laurie Hawne PC CD

cover There’s a lot of love in Lowertown thanks to The Shepherds of Good Hope

cover by Michael Bussiere

Heffernan was a kind-hearted Jandack man with a great sense of humour a deep sense of community. He

grew up in Montreal’s Saint-Henri neighbourhood where working class francophone and Irish families lived in the shadow of Westmount.After serving in the RCAF during the Second World War, Jack became Father Heffernan. He was posted to Assumption parish in Eastview (now Vanier) to serve the Irish


community there with Frs. Devine and Brennan. Friday nights Father Heff played with the parish bowling team. I remember when my dad caught hell from a church lady for giving Father a carton of smokes for Christmas. “Oh, don’t listen to her, Oscar!” was his spiritual advice. Fr. Heffernan was assigned to St. Brigid’s Church on St. Patrick Street, which

LEFT: Sheperds of Good Hope — David Gourlay with songstress Kathleen Edwards.

Player’s cigarette between his fingers. And so began the mission of The Shepherds of Good Hope. A lot has changed since that time 40 years ago when the Shepherds would provide a temporary roof and a meal to people who were down on their luck and may have just needed a bus ticket home. What hasn’t changed is that an amazing team of staff and volunteers devotedly do the job of administering charity under very difficult conditions. The original building provided by the Archdiocese is still in use, with others purchased over the years along the street where clients crisscross through traffic. The scene today is one of desperation, a population ravaged by substance abuse disorders and mental illness, tossed away like disposable humans who could fall no further. It’s all deeply heartbreaking. When you’ve landed at the Shepherds, you've pretty much hit bottom.

now stands as the Irish Centre for the Arts. He appeared on the television news one evening, answering questions as to why he was allowing a few guys to sleep in the basement of the church on cold nights. A few donated cots were set up, interfering with bingo night and displeased parishioners. Fr. Heffernan’s response was less than reverent. "Where the hell are these people supposed to go?” he asked the reporter with a

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. “Homelessness is not an identity, it is an experience, and it can happen to someone we know and love.” The 2020 Impact Report documents the numbers. 239,377 meals were served in the soup kitchen. 2,532 people used the shelter programs at

some point during the past year. 40 days was the average stay. 747 volunteers gave of their time. What began as a soup kitchen and shelter has grown into a range of programs that focus on recovery and housing. The Shepherds operate four supportive residences around Ottawa with plans in the works for a new building where its community kitchen will relocate, topped off by several storeys of housing. Its safe supply trailer averted 718 overdoses at a time when deaths were up by 25 per cent over the previous year due to COVID, which had a terrible overall impact on the most vulnerable individuals living in Ottawa. “We’re really working to raise the profile of our work in the city,” David says. “We have all these innovative programs for the chronically homeless. Trauma, mental health, it’s all connected, and we feel it’s really important to find new ways to share these stories and inspire support from the community.” And that’s when he hit upon an idea. David believes music is a great motivator. He’s seen Eric Clapton in concert 25 times (and deserves honourary roadie status!), so one night last November while watching Clapton on YoutTube, David came across an organization called Playing for Change, a foundation that operates 15 music programs in 11 countries. “They recreate and reimagine very popular songs by filming musicians all over the world and put them all together in a wonderful collaboration to use the power of music to inspire change,” David says. And inspire him it did. 25 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

The staff and volunteers of the Shepherds of Good Hope are able to provide the care they do because of the generosity and kind hearts of donors like you.

Enter Ottawa’s awesome Kathleen Edwards. The acclaimed singersongwriter has stepped up with gusto to perform John Lennon’s LOVE in a video that features members of the Shepherds family. “I felt compelled to learn the song and record it for the purpose of benefiting people in our community who so desperately need our support, further compounded by the COVID pandemic,” Kathleen says. The video is available on YouTube and at www.sghottawa.com/sing/ Edwards’ rendition of LOVE is the prequel to a live-streamed concert taking place on June 17th at 6:30 pm. Sing for Hope! will showcase more than 10 musicians led by Kathleen in a collaborative re-imaging of an iconic Beatles tune that will shine a bright light on our community and those experiencing homelessness. “We've all been asked to stay home. Imagine if you didn't have one, have any hope of work, safety, support, friendship,” Kathleen points out. “All of us can support our most vulnerable citizens by donating to the Shepherds of Good Hope.” Father Heffernan might not recognize the street these days, but he would recognize the warm hearts, the loving kindness, and the outstretched hands of the shepherds that make for good hope in the lives of so many. The staff and volunteers of the Shepherds of Good Hope are able to provide the care they do because of the generosity and kind hearts of donors like you. Your gift of support ensures that guests who seek a brighter tomorrow shall receive it. Many have, and they are deeply thankful for your compassion. Your donation can make all the difference in the lives of so many people who have lost so much hope.

ABOVE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP): Diedre Freiheit, President & Chief Executive Officer; David Gourlay, Director Philanthropy; Yousra Gilmore, Administrative Coordinator; Goeff Smith, Food Service Coordinator; Volunteers Aksay Mudgal and Sharon Adunmo; Ugonma Joy Onuigbo, Human Resources Coordinator. 26 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

You can help restore that hope by contacting the Shepherds at 613789-8210 or by going to www. sghottawa.com/ where you’ll find more information about the Sing for Hope! virtual concert, coming up on Thursday, June 17th at 6:30 pm n sghottawa.com

should I hire a lawyer by Danielle Bartlett, Nicholson Gluckstein Lawyers


The rise of electric “e-scooters” in Ottawa


lectric “Kick-Style” scooters or e-Scooters have “rolled” into Ottawa, with riders zipping through the downtown core streets. The release of e-scooters in Ottawa follows the Ontario government’s five-year pilot project launched in November 2019 to find more “sustainable” means of transportation.Individual municipalities are responsible for where scooters can be driven, parked and managed. The province also released “best practices” for cities welcoming e-scooter fleets. As the popularity of e-scooters rises, many advocates, doctors and lawyers are cautioning riders and questioning the safety and legal liability aspects of electric scooters in Canada. Are e-scooters safe?

Since e-scooter companies have launched in major cities like Calgary, injuries to riders have been reported in hospital emergency rooms. Dr. Eddy Lang, one Calgary ER doctor, said an influx of injuries of scooter riders, after its pilot launch in spring 2019, with injuries including fractures, head and facial trauma. In fall 2018, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Austin,Texas, released a comprehensive study of e-scooter injuries. In Ottawa, the scooters are set with maximum speeds up to 20 km/hr and can only be driven on roads. This means scooter riders are riding along with motorized traffic, potentially a danger in and of itself - particularly as

By choosing to ride an e-scooter, you could be waiving your right to any potential claim against the company, even for defective machines. motorists adapt to e-scooters. While the e-scooter companies recommend wearing helmets, they are not mandatory for e-scooter users in Ottawa. Ottawa e-scooter rules: • E-scooter riders must be 18 and older; • Passengers are not permitted on the scooters; • Scooters are not permitted on sidewalks, National Capital Commission pathways, in the City of Gatineau, in OC Transpo facilities, on buses and trains, and streets with a posted speed limit of more than 50 kilometres per hour; • Scooters must be equipped with a bell, brakes and lights; • Scooters can be used between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. We recommend that riders opt for wearing protective gear such as elbow and knee pads and helmets to reduce the chances and impact of any injuries. Ensure the scooter is equipped with a working bell, brakes and lights before riding. Do not carry any passengers.

What are the Rules of the Road?

According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Highway Traffic Act rules will apply to the operation of e-scooters similar to bicycles. There could also be penalties, including fines, for breach of the pilot’s regulations. Do you need Insurance to ride an e-scooter?

As of now, there is no e-scooter insurance available to users. People commonly have two types of Insurance: auto and home (property) insurance. It is important to note that your car insurance will likely not protect you if you hurt another person while operating a scooter. This could leave you personally liable. If you are injured by a vehicle on the roadway while using a scooter, you may have protection under your statutory accident benefits (auto insurance). However, we advise that you consult with a lawyer or your insurance company to understand your rights first before riding. If you are protected by home or property insurance, you may have liability coverage if you hurt another person while using an e-scooter. We recommend checking with your respective insurance companies before operating an e-scooter to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage. 27 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

Banting and Best diabetes series by Michael Bussière



Banting and Best literally gave life to type 1 diabetics very Canadian school kid learns the E names Banting and Best. July 27th marks the one-hundredth anniversary

of the reason why. On that date in 1921, surgeon Dr. Frederick Banting and his assistant, medical student Charles Best, isolated insulin in their lab at the University of Toronto. The duo first successfully isolated the hormone in dogs, inducing diabetes symptoms, which were eliminated in the canines by insulin injections. On November 14th of that year, the Toronto Daily Star headline proclaimed “Toronto Doctors on Track of Diabetes Cure.” Two months later, Banting and Professor John Macleod prepared treatment for the first human subject, 14-year old Leonard Thompson.

dramatically, and Leonard survived another 13 years. The University of Toronto issued royalty-free licenses to pharmaceutical companies to produce insulin. Banting and Macleod won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, the first Nobel awarded to any Canadian in any field. Diabetes occurs in two ways. Both relate to how the body struggles to control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Type 1 accounts for roughly 10 per cent of cases and develops early in life, but can also occur in adults. It requires the introduction of insulin

some instances, insulin production may stop altogether.Type 2 can be triggered by lifestyle factors, like excessive weight, poor diet, and lack of exercise. Contrary to what might seem obvious, consuming refined sugar is not a direct cause of diabetes, although there is an association with negative effects on the liver or increased weight. Fructose found in fruits and vegetables is not linked to increased risk. In both diabetes types, dangerously high blood glucose levels can lead to serious complications, like eye damage, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and nerve damage that can require amputation. In both types, a healthy diet, proper weight control, and exercise are key to controlling the condition and reducing the risks. Early warning signs in both types include lack of energy, persistent thirst and the need to urinate frequently, blurred vision, frequent or recurring infections, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, and tingling in the hands or feet.

Prior to insulin, diabetes was a fatal disease. Scientists were honing in on the role of the pancreas in the digestive system, its malfunctioning being the suspected cause. The only solution at the time was to adopt a low MAX DOMI COURTESY CANADIEN DE MONTRÉAL carbohydrate, high fat and protein diet, which delayed mortality for the short term only. We know it today If a super elite athlete as the controversial Keto diet, in which low carb consumption like Max Domi can train, . . . and get causes blood sugar levels to drop on the ice and win games, then and forces the body to convert fat he is living proof that Type 1 diabetes to energy. Leonard Thompson had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years prior to being admitted to Toronto General Hospital. The poor fellow was drifting in and out of a diabetic coma and weighed about 30 kilos. His dad agreed that the experimental insulin treatment was his only hope. His condition improved 28 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

Like other chronic diseases, monitoring and control are a daily habit, and come with special needs and inconveniences. A blood glucose meter is a simple and reliable tool for checking the ups and downs of levels. A quick can be managed and conquered. jab to the finger produces just enough of a sample for analysis. into the body either by injection or Other less accurate monitors can the use of an insulin pump because the take a sample from the palm or arm body does not produce its own supply. to reduce the sting. A person with diabetes has to eat regularly to keep Type 2 is far more common. The body an equilibrium between rising glucose cannot supply enough insulin, or does levels and the counterbalance of insulin not properly use what it does supply. In intake. A chocolate bar or cookie

Should I hire a lawyer >> from page 27 Giving up your Right to Sue?

Major e-scooter companies like Bird and Lime in Ottawa require users to agree to their lengthy user agreements terms before riding. Users may not always take a closer look before clicking to ride.

unanimously voted to opt-out of the e-scooter pilot, citing concerns with safety and accessibility. Toronto’s e-scooter ban will continue to apply to both “pay for use” as well as privately owned e-scooters.

Recently, the City of Toronto council

On their website, The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance (AODA) hailed Toronto’s decision as a “victory”. AODA has been working steadily to oppose lobbyist efforts to increase the use of e-scooters. They cite that the e-scooters endanger public safety, particularly seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people cannot tell when the e-scooters (which are silent) whiz by at high rates of speed. When left unattended on sidewalks, the scooters also pose tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility issues for wheelchair users. AODA also believes that e-scooters will impose costs on taxpayers for additional

accompanies the person wherever they go, providing a little boost if hypoglycaemia occurs and an energy crash comes on. If kept in check, the only outward sign of diabetes may be a little bruising resulting from even a modest bump against a hard surface. Otherwise, an active life can be fully enjoyed with care and good habits.

the interstitial fluid. An adhesive patch holds the wire in place so the sensor can measure glucose levels. A small, reusable transmitter connects to the sensor and sends real-time readings wirelessly to a read-out device. The G6 CGM System is compatible with Android, Apple, and Huawei phones, or an optional Dexcom receiver.

Dexcom is a company that develops, manufacturers and distributes glucose monitoring systems for diabetes management. Their products differ from the occasional jab method by continuously tracking glucose levels 24 hours a day, taking and recording regular measurements to indicate glucose direction and rate of change. Data like this helps the user manage glucose highs and lows, and see the impact that meals, exercise and illness may have on glucose levels. It’s easier to plan snacks, meals, or more demanding activities when changes are mapped into patterns rather than snapshots.

Living with a chronic disease requires constant devotion to health practices. There’s also the anxiety that comes from knowing that even the most vigilant individual cannot have 100 per cent control over the outcomes from one day to the next. But, like any complex problem, the more data that comes in more often, the better the chances for success. In this way, the Dexcom G6 CGM System is a game changer, and if your game is hockey, then you’ve got a better than fighting chance to beat the odds.

By choosing to ride an e-scooter, you could be waiving your right to any potential claim against the company, even for defective machines. These tricky conditions could potentially leave a rider without any protection if their scooter is defective, injuring themselves or another. You may also agree to resolve any legal disputes through a final arbitration and waive your right to file a lawsuit in court. Will Ottawa Ban E-Scooters?

Continuous monitoring devices employ a tiny sensor wire that gets inserted just beneath the surface of the skin where it comes in contact with

Max Domi is a 26-year-old left winger for the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s swift and agile and built like a cinderblock wall. He’s also a person who lives with Type 1 diabetes, and Max credits the Dexcom G6 CGM

law enforcement, OHIP expenses for e-scooter injuries and resulting lawsuits. Ottawa has seemingly taken measures to address the public’s safety concerns. According to Ottawa Transportation Committee Chair Tim Tierney, these measures include a duty on e-scooter vendors to pick up misplaced scooters in a short window of time or potentially lose the opportunity to be included in the next pilot program. There is also a “two-strike system” for riders who leave e-scooters outside of designated drop-off areas resulting in bans. It remains to be seen whether Ottawa will follow Toronto’s lead in opting out of the e-scooter pilot program. Ottawa is continuing to participate in the pilot, creating a by-law to regulate e-scooter use, and e-scooters are set to roll out again in 2021 n

System with saving his game. He’s become a Dexcom warrior. “Just as I would invest in what I have to do for the hockey side of things . . . I’m investing just as much, if not more, in my own health and ensuring that my sugar levels are as stable as they need to be to perform at my highest level,” Max says in a Dexcom video. “I probably had to prick my finger 10 to 20 times a day, but once I got my Dexcom G6 I was able to fully take control of every variable I had control over.” If a super elite athlete like Max Domi can train, train some more, attend practice, travel with his team, and get on the ice and win games, then he is living proof that Type 1 diabetes can be managed and conquered. “I couldn’t necessarily tell you that I’d be at the top of my game without being able to monitor my glucose levels,” Max says. “Dexcom is making this disease so much more manageable for everyone.”n To view Max Domi’s inspiring video and to learn more about Dexcom products, go to: www.dexcom.com/ en-CA 29 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

Banting and Best diabetes series by Michael Bussière Mathew Voss with his sister Catalaya and brother Noah.


diabetes assistive devices funding for families like the Voss’s indy and BenVoss live in Saskatoon C with their three beautiful children. Mathew just turned 13 and is in Grade

7, Noah’s 11 in Grade 5, and daughter Catalaya just turned 9 and is in Grade 3. Together they are the epitome of a happy family. Mathew was 10 years old when he started to exhibit what turned out to be early signs of Type 1 Diabetes. An athletic growing boy, Mathew was a competitive swimmer and full of energy, spending his leisure time training at the pool, which mum and dad thought might have been the explanation for a bit of weight loss. It was during a family vacation that something else came to light. Mathew would make a couple of trips to the bathroom every night, which was new behaviour, but having had a tall glass of water or milk before hitting the sack was a reasonable explanation and a change of routine seemed to solve the problem. It was while everybody was heading off on a cruise, waiting in the airport in fact, when Mathew was making several trips to the bathroom. Cindy told Ben that, “Mathew looked different to me and I was worried something was wrong,” an observation of subtlety that only a parent could make. Off they went and boarded the ship, and once again there seemed to be a correlation between Mathew’s consumption of liquids and trips to the bathroom. It was upon returning home and at a swim meet that Mathew’s energy and 30 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

speed appeared to wane. Symptoms can creep in, and what feels normal can gradually change. Mathew insisted that he felt fine, but made four trips to the bathroom that night. A visit to the family doctor and a ketone test came next. Type 1 Diabetes was suspected, so she ordered further blood work which confirmed the diagnosis. “The next day, our lives changed,” Cindy says. The news required Mathew to immediately leave school to meet with an endocrinologist who was waiting at the hospital. “We were so scared. Of course all we wanted to know was, how can we get rid of this?” Cindy recalls. “When we were told there is no cure, our next question was can we give Mathew our pancreas to which we were told no.” What followed were days of tests, sleepless nights, finger pricking, training, more tests, fear, and upheaval. The trepidation came at having to administer insulin injections, of getting them just right. “I remember wondering as my hands were shaking how I was going to be able to do this at home without a nurse’s set of eyes and expertise.” Diabetes is one of those conditions that requires an equilibrium between the body’s needs and the replacement of what the body cannot provide. Needs are determined by regular tests several times every day for the rest of a person’s life. Drawing blood from the finger is quite literally a constant pain and a trauma. New continuous glucose

monitors like the Dexcom make living with diabetes much more manageable, as it can map trends and sound the alarm when necessary, perfect for an athletic boy like Mathew who loves so many activities. “Now that Mathew wears a Dexcom he can do all these things and we know he gets the alarms and so do we. We can monitor him very closely and we do this especially when we know he is active to prevent any dangerous situations,” Cindy says. MPP Taras Natyskak recently tabled a bill in the Ontario Legislature, calling for OHIP coverage of devices like the Dexcom. Diabetes Canada tweeted its support on April 2. “We commend… Natyshak for tabling his private members’ bill 272 that would see continuous and flash glucose monitors covered under the assistive devices program.” The bill was rejected by the Ford government, in effect, according the Natyshak, “condemning more kids to more finger pricks…condemning more people to live with less freedom, and more health emergencies caused by Diabetes.” For the Voss family and so many other Canadians who live with diabetes, devices like the Dexcom not only save lives, but raise the quality of life of the wearer and those who stand by them n

feature by Michael Bussiere



A healthy, eco-friendly alternative for boating fun hen I was a kid going to W family cottages at Lac Simon, I remember a scent in the air that just

Ottawa. Taking care of them while enjoying the health benefits is almost a sacred creed to Canadians. Smaller lakes ban wake boats and the bigger ones curse that noisemaker who spends all day on a gas powered jetski. That’s why any activity that is fun

and ecologically sound is a winner all around. Introducing E-Catamaran, an Ottawa-based company that sells a French product line of electric and hybrid peddle-powered boats that are as environmentally responsible as they are cool looking.

summed up those blissful summer days. Later in life, I discovered it was a blend of lake air and outboard motor exhaust. We kids were also mesmerized by splashing around in the rainbow colours left on the surface of the water by spilled fuel. That was an Canada’s aggressive era when we drank out of hoses federal carbon tax is going to have and went off exploring for hours without being tethered to adults. an impact on gas-powered recreational That being said, we probably boats, and strict new regulations shouldn’t have been exposed to oil slicks and air pollution. concerning the use of combustion There are thousands of lakes within a short drive from

engines on waterways are on the horizon.

The company was founded by Hanna and Arnaud Prati. Hanna settled in Canada from Poland with her family in the 1980s and, after years of traveling back and forth for nostalgia’s sake, decided to take one last flight to Poland to visit her brother and his newborn son. It was on that transatlantic flight that Hanna met a very charming fellow named Arnaud. 31 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

E-Catamaran’s product showroom is located just west of Kanata in Dunrobin, situated on a private lake where you and family can go and try them out.

“It was like a movie,” Hanna recalls with sunshine in her voice. “I promised myself this was my last trip to Europe. I was seated near someone and we chatted and I thought ‘hmm, he seems friendly’ so we sat together the whole way over. The next thing I know we exchanged emails and then met for a very romantic walk and Arnaud showed me Paris.We visited the Museum of the Navy, if you can imagine, and we had a brilliant time. And here we are!” After settling in Paris, the Pratis moved together to Canada in 2016, and then, like so many Europeans, Arnaud discovered what Hanna already knew, that Canada’s greatest heritage is to be found in nature. And so, they decided to be out on water as much as possible, renting boats here and there, but found nothing that could be described as eco-friendly, let alone stylish and comfortable. Family fun and exercise would be a bonus.


“I suppose I describe myself as a serial entrepreneur,” Arnaud says, seeing an opportunity in a country with more fresh water than any other in the world. His friendship with Montpellier-based French designer FlorentVitiello inspired the establishment of KHAP Rêve, the Pratis’ North American distribution company for Vitiello’s innovative line of electric boats and catamarans. It was a natural partnership. Arnaud’s other venture called MAXP Electric develops solutions for anything motion-driven by electric power, everything from race cars to heavy vehicles. Canada’s aggressive federal carbon tax is going to have an impact on gaspowered recreational boats, and strict new regulations concerning the use of combustion engines on waterways are on the horizon. “We have I think a real synergy between our products and these coming regulations,” says Hanna, “so I think it is quite favourable for



The ORIGINAL Hybrid – Electric hybrid catamaran has a powerful electric motor that engages as you pedal, or if you prefer, you can just use pedal without the power. New for 2021, The CECLO-JETKIDS is designed for kids up to 32 kg and has a maximum speed of 7 km/h. The ORIGINAL

Hybrid – Electric hybrid catamaran has an optional sun shade called the Bimini.

The Fun X2 is a foldable two-person craft that packs into two bags for an easy fit into the back of your SUV, and light enough to be carried to the water without having to locate a boat launch. Set it up, use the electric pump to fill the pontoons, install a couple of components and you’re good to go in about five minutes. The Fun X2 has two sets of pedals which are electrically assisted by a Yamaha electric outboard motor. Start peddling and between muscle and motor power you’ll be cruising at a top speed of 4.9 knots, enough to explore even the big lakes on a long summer’s day. If you’re looking for a bit more of a workout, the Original Hybrid may be the perfect boat for you. A plush comfy seat accommodates two at the pedals with the option to venture forth on the water under your own sweat, or with the assistance of a 36V lithium battery and a powerful electric engine. Once you’ve had enough floating aerobics, the battery can provide several hours of power to get you back to shore. The Original Electric version is powered up with every turn of the pedal. Get fit, chill out, your choice. And get fit you will! Pedalling provides the same kind of workout as cycling, with headwinds creating the same kind of resistance demands as a hilly road. If we’re lucky, we’ll be visiting with friends and family at the lake this summer. E-Catamaran offers several boats that accommodate up to four people who crave social isolation from


our endeavour and people’s awareness of the environment.” E-Catamaran products are all as green as can be, very cleverly designed, and easy to operate. Here are some options.

ABOVE: The FUNX2 – Foldable electric boat is an compact, inflatable e-boat that takes five minutes and no tools to set up — no boat launch required! The CECLO Cruise comes with an

option for either two or four seats.

the rest of the world, vodka coolers in hand (better to go with your best smoothies or fruit juice – we don’t want to encourage drinking alcohol on the water). The Ceclo Cruise is a real beauty. It comes two or four seats, a centre console, cupholders, and even a USB plug for charging electronics, but maybe leave the iPad at home. Two sets of pedals engage the Yamaha electric motor. The ORIGINAL Boat is pedal-free and all electric, for lazing during those hazy, crazy days of summer. The powerful 3 hp Torqueedo motor does all the work.There’s a table in the middle so you can pack a meal and spend the day reclining under the optional canopy. And for the youngsters there’s the Ceclo Jetkids, a smart little craft that’s equipped with aYamaha electric engine that will propel a lucky kid up to a blazing 7km/hour and make you the greatest parents on the lake. (perhaps something more like happy kids – stay focus on kids)

E-Catamaran’s product showroom is located just west of Kanata in Dunrobin, situated on a private lake where you and family can go and try them out. Delivery, set-up and instructions are all arranged to ensure a positive experience from start to finish. “We think these are wonderful products,” Arnaud say. “ We want our clients to really feel good about their purchase, and the pleasure and good health it will bring them.” E-Catamaran has ‘ambassadors’ throughout North America, satisfied customer who are happy to invite you to peddle with them and get to know what these amazing watercraft are all about. E-Catamaran’s products are designed and crafted from high-quality materials in France, and carefully assembled here in Canada.They come with a two-year warranty. All the information you need before you visit the Pratis in Dunrobin can be found at www.e-catamaran.ca n 33 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

Canada/China friendship series by Cong Peiwu

China’s successful practice in eliminating extreme poverty IS A GREAT CONTRIBUTION TO THE CAUSE OF GLOBAL POVERTY ALLEVIATION

have noticed that people from all Iinterested walks of life in Canada are very in the issue of sustainable

development. Poverty eradication is the top priority of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a common challenge for the whole world. In the context of the arduous task of global poverty reduction and the widening gap between the rich and the poor in some countries, China will remain an advocator, facilitator, and contributor to the international cause of poverty reduction. While committed to eradicating its own poverty, China has made significant contributions to the global cause of poverty alleviation as well as human development and progress. China’s success in eliminating extreme poverty has greatly accelerated global poverty alleviation. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, China has fought a decisive battle against poverty that is unprecedented in scale, intensity, and the number of people it has benefited throughout the human history. At the end of 2020, China achieved the goal of eliminating extreme poverty — a key goal for the new era of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The 98.99 million people in rural areas who were living below the current poverty threshold all shook off poverty; all the 128,000 impoverished villages 34 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

(China has) completed the arduous task of eradicating extreme poverty — an outstanding and historic achievement. China is home to nearly one fifth of the world’s population. and 832 designated poor counties got rid of poverty. China has eliminated poverty in these regions. In February 2021, at the National Poverty Alleviation Summary and Commendation Conference, General Secretary Xi Jinping solemnly declared that China had secured a comprehensive victory in the fight against poverty, and had completed the arduous task of eradicating extreme poverty — an outstanding and historic achievement. China is home to nearly one fifth of the world’s population. By eradicating extreme poverty, China realized a century-long aspiration of the Chinese people. It is a milestone in the history of the Chinese nation and the history of humankind. China has achieved the poverty alleviation goal set on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, significantly reducing the world’s impoverished population. China attaches importance to ex-

ABOVE: Solar panels with a view of Chongqing, China. (PHOTO: ISTOCK)

changes and cooperation in poverty reduction and has strongly supported the global cause of poverty alleviation. China has taken an active part in global poverty manegement, furthered exchanges and cooperation with other countries, and promoted a new model of international exchanges and cooperation on poverty alleviation, with mutual respect and mutuallybeneficial cooperation at its core. This is how China contributes to building a global community of shared future that is free from poverty and blessed with common prosperity. Over the past 70 years and more, China has provided assistance in various forms to over 160 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Oceania, and Europe, and international organizations, provided debt relief for relevant countries, and helped a vast number of developing countries with their poverty alleviation. China has joined hands with various countries in a large number of international poverty alleviation cooperation projects that benefit local people. The country has also carried out exchanges and cooperation on poverty reduction in various forms, including building platforms, organizing training, and conducting think tank exchanges. Since 2012, China has held over 130

You belong here Discover a healthy community and a sense of belonging at the Y! JoiN todAY! ymcaywca.ca

international training sessions, attended by officials from 116 countries and organizations. China has made unremitting efforts in poverty alleviation and explored a poverty reduction path with Chinese characteristics, offering enlightenment to the international community’s battle against poverty. China’s successful practice and valuable experience in eliminating extreme poverty have deepened human understanding of poverty alleviation, enriched and extended the theory of international poverty alleviation, and has served as the reference for other countries to choose a suitable path of poverty alleviation. The precious experience includes: people-centered philosophy; highlighting poverty alleviation in the governance of China; eradicating poverty through development; pressing ahead with poverty alleviation based


(China) has served as the reference for other countries to choose a suitable path of poverty alleviation. on reality; letting the poor play the principal role; pooling all resources to create synergy. A World Bank report suggests that by 2030, Belt and Road Initiative could help lift 7.6 million people from extreme poverty and 32 million people

YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region

from moderate poverty across the world. The world today is experiencing a scale of change unseen in a century. The Covid-19 pandemic is still spreading around the world. And poverty, hunger and disease are undermining people’s pursuit for a better life. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the world population living in extreme poverty will exceed 1 billion by 2030 due to the epidemic.Thus, realizing global poverty eradication is still an ongoing battle. China and Canada have a lot to share in eradicating poverty. It is our common aspiration to pursue a better life. China is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in poverty reduction with other countries, including Canada, and to jointly promote international poverty reduction n Cong Peiwu is the Chinese Ambassador to Canada 35 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

Canada/Kazakhstan friends series by OLM staff

Reforms are transforming Kazakhstan


2019, Kazakhstan’s new President ItonKassym-Jomart Tokayev committed bring the country to a path of

political and economic reforms, enhancing dialogue between the state and its people and implementing a series of significant political and social reforms. A year and a half later, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic Tokayev is making progress on his reform agenda. Kazakhstan 's Supreme Council for Reforms met on April 21, 2021 with President Tokayev chairing the meeting. The council discussed five main areas of reform: judicial, justice, digital, agricultural, and national projects. Their work is considered of the utmost importance for President Tokayev as the nation prepares to celebrate its 30th Anniversary of independence in December of this year. The key reforms Tokayev continues to push for are based on three main principles: 1. The continuation of the legacy and work that the first President of the Republic, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was leading the country through the tumultuous post-soviet era where Kazakhstan became a symbol of regional stability. 2. Justice by equality of rights for all citizens, regardless of their social, ethnic, religious, or other affiliation. 36 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

The president stressed the importance of the reform packages’ focus on shifting the role to a system where private enterprise plays the leading role in the economy.

3. Progress as a policy focusing social renewal in all spheres of society; implementing constructive changes for the benefit of people to become one of the world's leading countries. Earlier, the president stated that political reforms in Kazakhstan will be implemented consistently and in stages. Since December 2019, the first package of reforms has been fully implemented in Kazakhstan, showing the truthfulness of his words. During the first stage, the following democratic changes were introduced into constitutional law including: the liberalized procedure for organizing and holding peaceful assemblies in the country, the minimum required 30 per cent quota for the participation of women and young people in the electoral party lists of parties participating in elections was established, the registration barrier for the creation of political parties in the country was reduced from 40 thousand

to 20 thousand people, the concept of the institution of the parliamentary opposition was established, the position of the chairman in one of the standing committees and the position of the secretary in two standing committees of the Parliament were allocated to the opposition parties represented in the Parliament, article 130 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan "Slander" has been decriminalized and the death penalty has been abolished. The second package of political reforms was announced by President Tokayev on September 2, 2020, and these measures focus on the development of civil institutions at the local level. In particular, the government was tasked to develop a concept of local selfgovernment, to adopt a law on public control, to create institute of online petitions, to introduce amendments to laws on combating torture and human trafficking and to implement new measures in the field of human rights protection. In addition, in 2021, direct elections of mayors (akims) of rural settlements were announced. The third stage of political reforms was announced on January 15, 2021 at the opening of the first session of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan of the VII convocation. As part of the third stage of political modernization in Kazakhstan, the following measures will be implemented: reduction of the threshold for political parties to enter Parliament from

7 per cent to 5 per cent, introduction of the "Against all" column in ballots for all future elections, introduction of electability of district mayors, adoption of the law on the institute of online petitions, adoption of the law on the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) and the creation of its regional offices, introduction of the “Youth Development Index” as well as expansion of measures to promote charitable activities.

The policies are a shift towards liberal democracy but include adequate measures to protect the country from predatory business practices and to deal with modern problems such as climate change. Plans to “green the economy” and ensure fair distribution are part of the proposed reforms. These reforms will shrink the Kazakhstan civil service by up to 25 per cent by the end of 2021. Along with these deep cuts to the bureaucracy, President Tokayev hopes to refocus the government’s departments into a system to serve the people first. As part of this plan, he stressed the need for national projects to be taken more seriously. As President Tokayev stated during the April 21st conference: “It is important to have a clear methodological basis for selecting projects. This base should take into account the complex socioeconomic effect of a particular national project, be clear, and, of course, nonsubjective.”

Soviet Republics and its unique and positive relations with China, Russia, the EU and Canada and the United States. The country is a global middle power with a professional judiciary and internal rule of law system and a strong reputation as a place to do business and where the business sector that is viewed as attractive to investors on the worldwide market. Tokayev’s reforms remain ambitious and are not risk free. If they work, Kazakhstan could become the central Asian economy ubiquitous with success and transformation, in a vein like Japan or China’s previous economic transformation and success in the last 50 years.

The Kazakhstan’s legal system will also be reformed. It is expected that these changes serve to will attract more legal professionals into the countries judicial system to make it more competitive and western-styled. Prosecutors and defence According to opinion polls, as lawyers will have a more adversarial President, Tokayev enjoys a high level relationship with extra checks and of trust (74.9 per cent) and direct balances, including a strengthened support (70.3 per cent) among the appeals process. A study of Kazakhstan’s population of Kazakhstan. In addition, legal systems by lawmakers (with the more than 70 per cent of respondents involvement of legal professionals in believe that the presidential initiatives the Mazhilis Kazakhstan's parliament) can help increase the well-being of is expected to be passed the population and the later this year. Additionally, development of the country. An EPS research excellence division informs a According to the study the criminal justice system reforms are coming to ensure community solutions accelerator that works with of the state of corruption the constitutional rights of in Kazakhstan for 2020, those accused of committing private-sector partners to prototype and deploy conducted by the public crimes and those convicted, foundation “Transparency solutions to reduce crime. are protected. Kazakhstan”, the President leads the five official President Tokayev said, “This reform is These cuts will effectively remove the institutions that deserve the most very important, in fact, it is a priority red tape in the country, forcing the trust from the population, with an area of all work aimed at transforming civil service to be more effective and indicator of 70 per cent. Moreover, in Kazakhstan into a modern and effective efficient. However,Tokayev stressed that comparison with the results of a similar state”. He noted that the legal reforms the government's projects will remain a study in 2019, the rating of trust has would be instrumental in attracting top priority and will be allocated the increased by 9 per cent. It is important further foreign investments to the required funding to succeed. that in all cases the studies under country by ensuring property rights consideration were conducted by nonunder the law. By making these drastic changes in the State structures. country, Tokayev is hoping that he can Economically, the president stressed further the legacy of former President President Tokayev ended the April the importance of the reform packages Nazarbayev who took Kazakhstan from 21st meeting by stating: “We need focus on shifting the role to a system a former Soviet republic in the early a qualitative breakthrough, which where private enterprise plays the 1990s’s to the 53rd largest economy by means we need a well-coordinated and leading role in the economy. Other 2019. It became a "very high" category effective work, which I urge everyone proposed business reforms include new country in the Human Development to do”. regulations regarding fair competition Index, placing it among Western and upgrading the technological Europe and North America for literacy, The implementation of reforms sector in the country, along with the child mortality, GNI per capita, and life will become an important stage in infrastructure to develop “human expectancy. Clearly, Tokayev is hoping ensuring the progressive development capital” by creating educational to secure Kazakhstan as a state which of Kazakhstan in the field of human opportunities to expand who can grows into a global leadership role. rights protection, development of civil partake in the economic shift to a society, strengthening parliamentarism, more private business-based economy. Kazakhstan is well positioned. It can developing a multi-party system and In doing this, Tokayev hopes to better leverage diplomatic goodwill between its further democratization of the country the everyday lives of Kazakhstanis. fellow Turkic countries and the former and modernization of its economy n 37 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

close to home far from ordinary by Darcy Rhyno

Terroir de Mer:


the centennial anniversary Ttimehisyeartoisofmarvel the Bluenose, so it’s a perfect at the bounty of the sea

in Nova Scotia, the birthplace of the world’s greatest schooner.We’re talking more than seafood here, although of course there’s no better place to enjoy it than the lobster capital of the world. The influence of the sea permeates everything, right down to a glass of fine Nova Scotia wine. Like every great wine region around the world, Nova Scotia has a distinct terroir, although in a place where you’re never further than 60 kilometres from the sea, it could be called terroir


de mer. The Annapolis Valley—the province’s main wine growing region—produces some of Canada’s finest wines, in particular méthode classique sparklings. It’s the climate moderating influences of the Bay of Fundy that make bubbly perfectly suited to Nova Scotia’s growing conditions. In summer, cooling breezes flow through the Annapolis and the smaller Gaspereau valleys extending the growing season late into the fall. Those same breezes keep temperatures relatively moderate in winter. Wineries like Gaspereau, Avondale Sky, Lightfoot & Wolfville, Blomidon Estate, Luckett Vineyards and l’Acadie Vineyards

produce sparkling wines as respected as any in the world. One of Canada’s leading wineries, Benjamin Bridge has perfected classical method bubbly, as well as creative ways to share it. Enjoy superior wines like Nova 7, Brut Rosé and Brut Reserve on their new open-air vineyard terrace or through one of their intensive tasting experiences either onsite or online. Better yet, join the BB Club to have specially selected vintages not otherwise available shipped to your door. The l’Acadie blanc grape has become

Wineries like Gaspereau, Avondale Sky, Lightfoot & Wolfville, Blomidon Estate, Luckett Vineyards and l’Acadie Vineyards produce sparkling wines as respected as any in the world.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Tidal Bay Wines is one of 24 wineries in Nova Scotia—and counting!. Hop aboard the Magic Winery Bus to discover the Nova Scotia terroir. The Flying Apron Cookery offers guest a tour of the ocean floor and then a sit down meal with a view of the incoming tide.

synonymous with Nova Scotia wine and is a key building block in the province’s sparkling wines and its appellation, Tidal Bay, named for the influence of the world’s highest tides in the Bay of Fundy. Offered by many local wineries, Tidal Bay is entirely blended from Nova Scotia grown varietals. It’s characteristic fresh liveliness and distinct minerality makes it a perfect pairing for that fresh Nova Scotia seafood. On the opposite coast from the Annapolis Valley in Lunenburg, centuries of sailing knowhow earned aboard fishing schooners went into the construction of the Bluenose in 1921 and later the Bluenose II. Learn all about the great ship in the just opened Bluenose gallery at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.Taste the same level of fine craftsmanship in every sip of spirits from Ironworks, the micro distillery on the Lunenburg waterfront

located in a former blacksmith shop where parts for the Bluenose were hammered into shape. Bluenose Rum is a mellow sip on its own, but it’s even better paired with Lunenburg Rum Cake from the company of the same name. The briny ocean is also brewed into Nova Scotia beers like Beth’s Black Oyster Stout made with, yes, oysters. The maker, Sober Island Brewing in Sheet Harbour on the Eastern Shore, is named for an island near the oyster farms where some hapless sailors ran out of beer. On the South Shore in Mahone Bay, local lobster goes into every batch of seasonal Crustacean Elation Lobster Ale at Saltbox Brewing, making for an easy drinking, summer ale with a distinct brininess. In the province’s southwest corner, Boxing Rock Brewing—named for a boulder in Shelburne Harbour where captains would strand quarreling crew to settle

their differences—Tantoaster porter takes its name from the local term for a storm brewing along the coast and was conceived when Hurricane Dorian swept through in 2019. Along Nova Scotia’s North Shore, the influence of the ocean is steeped into one-of-a-kind, personalized two-litre batches of gin. At Steinhart Distillery’s weekend-long GINstitute by the Sea, participants get to create their own recipes from ingredients like juniper berry, coriander, citrus peel, cinnamon, cardamom and orange flowers, then infuse those flavours into a starter gin using miniature stills. The on-site workshop, accommodations and German themed restaurant are all located at the award-winning hilltop craft distillery overlooking the sparkling waters of the Northumberland Strait. You can’t get any closer to the sea than when you’re on an ocean-themed culinary experience. When those enormous tides retreat into the Bay of Fundy, Flying Apron Inn & Cookery sets a communal table for their “Dining on the Ocean Floor” experience and serves up a seafood feast paired with local beers and wines including, of course, Tidal Bay. In Prospect near Halifax, join an East Coast Outfitters’ guide on a kayak paddle that transforms into a tour aboard a real lobster boat before getting dropped off at a dock for a locavore feast called the “Sea to Table Lobster Adventure.” In Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, kayak to a lighthouse and a gourmet feast beneath the full moon with chef Bryan Picard and host Angelo Spinnazola, an accomplished East Coast musician who provides the entertainment on their “Lighthouse Bites” adventure. When it comes to food and drink beside the ocean, there’s so much more, but the best way to get to know Nova Scotia’s culinary adventures that include world class wines, spirits, beers, ciders and meads is to hit the Good Cheer Trail. Grab a GCT passport virtually from the website or in person when visiting Nova Scotia and head out on a tasting tour of Canada’s Ocean Playground where the influence of the sea is there in every glass n novascotia.com 39 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

close to home far from ordinary by Pam Wamback


Stay for the view

ith over 13,000 km of coastline, W social distancing happens naturally in Nova Scotia.There’s lots of

room for everyone to spread out and carve out their own unique getaway. We know that Nova Scotia isn’t your typical vacation destination and where you stay doesn’t have to be your typical lodging either. From cozy wilderness cabins to glamping in yurts, domes, oTENTiks, tipis and more, Nova Scotia is home to many exciting and unusual places to spend the night. Stepping out of your comfort zone is anything but uncomfortable! Glamping is one of latest travel trends and offers the perfect combination of nature and luxury without sacrificing the comforts of home. If you are new


to the glamping scene, Cape Breton Island is a great spot to introduce yourself to it. In recent years, several locations have introduced geodesic domes, each with their own unique appeal such as Archer’s Edge Luxury Camping or Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort. Tanya Hinkley and her family opened True North Destinations in her hometown of Pleasant Bay. She says guests are amazed by the size and space inside their luxury domes and love the coastal views — especially while relaxing in the private hot tub. “I think our dome experience is something guests enjoy because the structures have a touch of simplicity

but are finished inside with a touch of luxury. Combining the two makes it very unique.” Nothing says “Nova Scotia” like a lighthouse. There are over 160 lighthouses dotting the coastline that capture the attention of travellers and locals alike... and there are almost as many ways to turn this fascination into an incredible overnight stay. At the Lightkeepers' Kitchen & Guest House in Cape d'Or near Advocate Harbour, stay in the original lightkeeper's residence and dine in the on-site restaurant while overlooking the world's highest tides churning in the Bay of Fundy below. Or for something a little more modern,

the Vicar’s View in Baddeck are lighthouse-themed units attractive to active and adventurous travellers. Each historical room overlooks the lovely Bras d’Or lake and includes a secure attached garage for storing visitors’ specialized vehicles (like motorcycles or snowmobiles) and equipment they might have taken along with them.

is that that tower is above a popular cocktail bar and distillery in one of Halifax’s trendiest neighbourhoods and mere steps to even more bars, restaurants, cideries and breweries. Compass Distillers have been running the Agricola Street Airbnb for three years now and guests love the unique

How about staying in a yurt for the night on your own private island? Pleasant Paddling owner Karl Marsters has worked as a sea kayak guide for nearly 15 years, and he turned his love of the ocean into a way for guests to paddle to paradise and spend the night on the edge of the Atlantic — without a soul in sight. With amazing views of Blue Rocks, which has more islands per paddlestroke than anywhere else in Nova Scotia, the wooded two-acre island off the coast of Lunenburg has bayberry and juniper bushes, a tidal pool, lots of birds and complete privacy. “People have an affinity with islands — they love travelling to them, standing on them, sleeping on them — so this is a pretty unique experience,” says Marsters. Fall asleep stargazing through the yurt's skylight and wake up to the sounds of waves lapping, birds calling and a delicious local-sourced breakfast. Nestled within a lush Acadian forest near the shoreline of Kejimkujik Lake, visitors can now stay overnight among one of Canada's natural and cultural treasures without having to lug around the traditional amount of camping gear. Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site has no shortage of traditional front and back country camping sites, but they are also home to 18 o’Tentiks, a spacious blend of tent and rustic cabin equipped with beds and furniture on a raised floor. New in 2021 are five Oasis pods ­— tear drop-shaped accommodations on stilts offering a convertible table/bed with cushions on the main level and a suspended hammock loft above – perfect for a couple’s retreat to spend a night away under a natural canopy in a dark sky preserve. Sleeping in a tower sounds straight out of a fairy tale, but the modern spin

ABOVE: The Train Station Inn & Railway Dining Car is a unique boutique hotel within the historical village of Tatamagouche. PREVIOUS PAGE: (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP) Keji Oasis

Pods at Kekimkuji National Park and National Historic Site. True North Destinations’ Boreal Domes offer incredible ocean views in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Stay in one of Vicar’s View’s three ‘lighthouse-themed’ cottage suites.

experience of sleeping above a distillery. Guests can chat with staffers about their spirits, like Noon Gun Gin and Fort George Genever — an early ancestor of gin. The two-level unit called The Tower sleeps six, with amazing views of downtown Halifax and even a rooftop deck with a BBQ. Growing up next to the old Tatamagouche train station, Jimmie LeFrense spent his childhood delighting in the trains and making friends with the stationmaster. He was just 18 years old when he purchased the train station, which was set to be demolished, and it wasn’t until he was 32 that he was finally cleared to turn it into a B&B. The novelty of sleeping in a restored train station put the Train Station Inn on the map, and soon LeFrense was buying up vintage cabooses and rail cars so he could add to the B&B. Every car has been renovated into deluxe accommodations reflecting its age and

also carries historical significance. The dining car once carried immigrant passengers out of Pier 21 and the lobby car once belonged to Earl Grey, former Governor General of Canada. “As soon as our guests arrive, it’s like they’re entering another era,” says LeFrense. “We saw a lot of train buffs in the early years, but now it’s a lot of families with children who love trains, and people looking for something new and different.” Tripadvisor listed the Train Station Inn as the fifth most unique hotel in the world, and Tatamgouche itself has developed into a thriving quaint community with a bustling farmers’ market, pottery studios, yarn shops, breweries, distilleries and even a meadery. You deserve more than just the four walls of a standard hotel stay.Visit www. novascotia.com to begin planning your next getaway today! n novascotia.com 41 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021


close to home far from ordinary text and photos by Dan McCarthy


Five days in a canoe on the Rideau Canal Travel restrictions over the past year have sharply curtailed vacation options that feed our appetite for natural beauty, for escape and for discovery, to learn about history, and for friendship through shared adventures. As Canadians and Ontarians, we’re fortunate to have destinations in our backyard that check all these boxes. And so it was on a warm, sunny but breezy Monday last September, my friend Bill and I slipped our canoe off the dock at Kingston Mills Lock to begin a five-day journey up the historic Rideau Canal system to Poonamalie Lock, a few kilometres below Smiths Falls. In socially-distanced Ontario, this was the perfect vacation, and September was the ideal time with river traffic light, and the bugs few and far between. Led by Colonel John By of the British Royal Corp of Engineers, workers carved the 202 kilometre nautical route out of the wilderness. In the anxious period following the War of 1812, the waterway would allow troops and supplies from Montreal to reach Kingston and other communities in Upper Canada without being subject to possible American attack along the St. Lawrence River. The waterway is now the Rideau Canal National Historic Site, received a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 2007, and remains the only full operational early 19th Century canal in North America. As Parks Canada further articulates its commitment to Reconciliation, it will be interesting to see more interpretation of the lives lived by Indigenous people in this region over the millennia. The canoe perspective highlights the dramatic landscape changes as the marshy creeks of the St. Lawrence Lowlands transition quickly to the rock of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere; a spine of Precambrian rock of the Canadian Shield that

ABOVE: On day three of their adventure, Dan and Bill approach Opinicon Lake. RIGHT: Opinicon Lake looking to the N.W. by Thomas Burrowes, 1840, www.archives.gov.on.ca. BACKGROUND IMAGE: Mr. Samuel Clowes, "Map of the proposed Canal for uniting Lake Ontario with the River Ottawa“ surveyed in the years 1823 and 1824", 1824, Library and Archives Canada, H1/410/Rideau Canal/1824, NMC 11962 .

gives way once again to farmland below Smiths Falls. The canoe route meanders through narrow river channels, across small lakes and thence on to the larger Rideau Lakes. The first third or so of the route follows the rough outline of the Cataraqui River system. Colonel By didn’t just build a canal; he created a mosaic of lakes by flooding swamps and changing the courses of waterways. Day 1 took us 18 kms north from Kingston Mills, to the Upper Brewers lock. Padding against a stiff breeze and chop 43 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021



on Colonel By Lake, we passed Joyceville prison poised high up on the bank; I envisioned prisoners facing the river, amidst the drudgery of prison life actually appreciating their water view. Passing through a narrow serpentine gut, we entered the River Styx. Steering around stumps and deadheads (a vertically floating log), we re-entered the Cataraqui River, portaged at Lower Brewers, and landed at the upper lock station. With the exception of two other paddlers, and a large cabin cruiser tied up at mooring, we had the lock to ourselves. Pitched our tents, we prepared an easy-to-fix dinner, and talked until the mist started to rise from the water. For the first 100 years or so of Confederation, Canal administration fell first to the Department of Railways and Canals and then to the Transportation ministry. Parks Canada took responsibility in 1972, and their friendly and knowledgeable staff does an outstanding job. Canada’s best kept secret, camping reservations can be made by bike or water-travellers at the lock stations for $5 per night per person - including real washrooms with hot water! Reservations for this paddling season now open. Further information is available at Paddling - Rideau Canal National Historic Site (pc.gc.ca)

walking alongside, but from the vantage point of a canoe, the granite blocks and wooden gates soar fifty feet in the air. I felt we’d been transported back in time. The Jones Falls locks were designed to bypass a 20-metre waterfall, so rise in three tiers, with a fourth lock in behind. The stone arch dam completed in 1831, was once the largest such dam in what is now Canada, and the 3rd highest in the world. Granite blocks that comprise the dam were hauled to the site by oxen from Elgin, 9 kms away. Imagine this spectacular engineering project in the 1830s far from nowhere. The station also includes a blacksmith shop and perfectly preserved defensible blockhouse guarding the approaches. A highlight for me was watching Bill portage the canoe classic-style on his shoulders uphill for nearly 300 metres! We were blessed with beautiful sunny days - mid to high teen temps for paddling- but it was getting colder at night!

Day 3 was the shortest paddle of the trip at about 11 km but perhaps the prettiest. We entered Sand Lake; a small lake but scenic with many islands. More serpentine turns took us into the windy middle of the lake. The beauty of the canoe is that you don’t need to follow the navigational The fog burned off quickly channel. So, we tacked west There’s a majesty to the locks that on day 2, as the waterway in behind Birch Island to find transitions from Cranberry smoother water. Exploring you can’t fully appreciate when walking Lake, to Little Cranberry the island’s tip, we found a Lake. Once known as short causeway with rusty alongside, but from the vantage point of Cranberry Swamp; Colonel culverts running underneath. By nearly died from the ‘fever’ Rather than paddle back a canoe, the granite blocks and wooden contracted in this area. At the down the lake or unpack top of Little Cranberry, the the canoe for a portage, we gates soar fifty feet in the air. I felt channel narrows again, and pulled ourselves through we found ourselves amongst one of culverts. I prayed that a series of islands. Directional we’d been transported. culvert would hold for 2 signs pointed east to Seeleys minutes more! Much to our Bay, and though tempted by chagrin, we later discovered an ice cream, we decided to forgo the additional kilometres that if we had gone another 100 metres, we would have that would add to our day. Another narrow gut brought us found a safer water passage! Lunch was at Davis Lock, a very into Whitefish Lake, at the top of which off to the east, looms pretty spot. From Davis, it’s a short paddle through a series Rock Dunder, one of the highest elevations in the area and of islands into Opinicon Lake. We were met halfway across a popular hiking destination. We paddled in around Deans the lake by our host for the evening in his pontoon boat, and Island but confronted by a near sheer cliff, we couldn’t find a shielded from the wind, were escorted into the canoe dock spot to hike in from, so we continued on to Jones Falls. at Chaffey’s Lock. Rounding a bend to our left, the front triple-locks at Jones Falls rose into view like a cathedral of the wilderness. Off to our right were a collection of cottages and with paintpeeling but still stately, the Hotel Kenney. The locks date from the early 1830s, and the hotel from 1877. There’s a majesty to the locks that you can’t fully appreciate when CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Brass Pointe Bridge is the location of one of only four remaining wooden swing bridges on the Rideau. Lunch on the sand at Murphy Point Provincial Park. A memorial to the labourers who died building the Rideau Canal. Paddling out of the locks at the Narrows. Sunrise on Colonel By Island. Approaching the fourth lock at Jones Falls.

Rick and his wife Celine have skillfully restored the 1870s grist mill by the lock; the new copper roof gleams in the sunshine.The Mill houses an art gallery featuring original oil and watercolour paintings by Ontario artists. Artists appear throughout the season to showcase their works. Lockdowns haven’t stifled artistic creativity - be sure to check it out this summer! Dinner was fresh Rick-caught lake bass, and the evening ended with our feet up, and heads nodding in front of a crackling fire. Chaffey’s Lock village is perfect for a walking tour. From the Mill, you cross a swing bridge with the old Lockmaster’s House on your left. Straight ahead, the green sweep of the lawns of the restored Opinicon Hotel beckons with its 45 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

Canadian politics/op-edyby Sergio Marchi

Enhancing political and civic leadership arlier this month, the Ottawa E Pearson Centre, a leading Canadian think tank, sponsored the

Change Conference; Planning for the Unpredictable. It was a timely initiative, given the ravages of the pandemic, and it brought together a cross section of participants, including federal political leaders. The discussion focused on ideas for rebuilding a number of our country’s critical sectors, including the economy, energy, transportation, Canadian culture, the future of work, and political leadership and democracy. When governments and businesses talk today about the post Covid-19 era, a popular refrain is the need for “building back better”. The label has a catchy, positive ring to it. The critical word is ‘better’. However, the key questions are; what defines better? And who does the defining? As a former elected representative, I asked myself, how might this apply to political leadership in preparation for the next crisis? Let me share with you a number of thoughts. First, at the appropriate time, the Canadian Parliament must conduct a thorough and objective postmortem on how Canada responded to the coronavirus crisis. No political theatre, just the facts. All of the facts — good, bad, and the ugly. A special parliamentary committee, comprised of both MP’s and Senators, should be established, with relevant 46 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

The Canadian Parliament must conduct a thorough and objective postmortem on how Canada responded to the coronavirus crisis. No political theatre, just the facts.

witnesses being invited to openly discuss their views and proposals, including provincial government representatives. The politicians should not fight to block certain witnesses from coming forward. The committee must be exposed to the most competent of experts, if we are to get this right. The committee proceedings should also be televised for the benefit of the public. As well, the committee should examine whether the Canadian Government, in a national pandemic, should not lay down a robust nationwide plan, with the cooperation of the Provinces, so as to harmonize standards and goals. Many have been critical of the checker board approach that has been taken across the breath of our nation in combatting the coronavirus. In other words, do we require a united Team Canada approach? Second, based on the input, the committee would draft and release a public report with specific recommendations on how the next

crisis can be better tackled. This will no doubt spur additional debate in Parliament and across the country, thus generating more thoughtful evidence and options. Moreover, each party leader should be expected to embrace the key proposals in their respective party policy platforms. We don’t want, nor can we afford, such a report gathering dust on some bookshelf. Third, all political parties must commit to following the prevailing scientific and health evidence during any future pandemic. This simply has to be at the center of any public action plan, despite how painful the truth may be to public policy makers. One only has to look at the province of Ontario, during this third phase of Covid-19, to understand the ramifications of free wheeling it. Fourth, in any future calamity, political parties must refrain from playing political gamesmanship as they develop a strategic plan. Of course, politicians will disagree and offer alternative solutions, but this needs to be done in a constructive manner. Differences of opinion should only be in the best interests of the country and not, to further any political ambition. After all, a successful response to a national crisis must be all about the welfare of our nation and its people, and not its political entities. Furthermore, the government of the day must establish a working group of political representatives from all parties, in order to consider advice from beyond government ranks, and ensure that

everyone is informed of all the details and circumstances, as soon as they break. Full transparency of information and facts is critical, as ignorance will end up costing us dearly. Finally, we Canadian citizens also have an obligation. If governments are to base their decisions on scientific evidence, then the public must respect and obey government protocols. It’s about civic duty. If we are to be truly ‘in this together’, then there can’t be exceptions to the rules. Surely, a public health crisis must insist that everyone plays by the same rules. And failure to do so, should have significant consequences. Personally, I would go one step further. If vaccines are deemed to be the solution, then I would make them mandatory. No ifs, ands, or buts! The only exception would be people who produce a valid medical certificate for why they can’t take a shot in the arm. This suggestion will strike some as extreme. But in a crisis where people are potentially transmitters of the disease, this measure is just common sense. It safeguards the individual, while respecting the health and safety of one’s fellow citizen. Is that not the definition of all of us ‘pulling together’? In closing, dealing with a global pandemic is no easy feat. We see how difficult and complex this has been in Canada, and around the world. The images of a suffering and chaotic India, for example, are heartbreaking. As a global community, we must learn well the lessons from our battles with Covid-19, and execute the solutions they dictate, if we are to have the chance of quickly defeating the next invisible enemy. When Winston Churchill was working to build the United Nations after WWII, he famously said; “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. So true! Now, the very same applies to us today. Will we be up for it? n The Hon. Sergio Marchi served as a Canadian Member of Parliament, Minister, and Ambassador.

Five days in a canoe on the Rideau Canal >> from page 45

Nearly two centuries on, we can experience these rivers and lakes in a very intimate fashion; not just as tourists but as citizens, and custodians. outdoor pool overlooking the lake.The pioneer cemetery includes the graves of nearly 80 labourers, primarily Irish who died building the Canal. I thought of young Irishmen disembarking ships in Quebec City, travelling to the wild forests of Upper Canada. Dying in their hundreds from malaria, black powder blasting, rock falls and the cold, they were then laid in graves marked only by a rock. Unknown in their new homeland, with their families on the Emerald Isle never to know of their fate. Day 4 brought us fully into lake country; Indian, Clear and Newboro Lakes. Punctuated by islands, bays, points and rocks, this stretch is especially scenic. Newboro Lock marks the summit of the Rideau Canal, and is the division between the Cataraqui and Rideau Rivers. Paddling through Upper Rideau Lake. the pretty town of Westport lies off to the west. We had fortuitous timing at the Narrows as we were able to avoid a short portage by piggybacking a float through the lock with a larger boat. From there, we hugged the western shore of Big Rideau Lake for 90 minutes, and arrived at Colonel By Island Lying in a cluster of islands several kms northwest of Portland, it was previously owned by American Daniel Arnstein, then a co-owner of Yellow Cab in New York and Chicago. He built a sprawling ‘cottage’ with large stone chimneys that leave one imaging the size of the indoor fireplaces. Once a magnet for celebrities, the building has fallen into disrepair. Now owned by Parks Canada, the island is a beautiful place to camp whether paddling the Rideau or coming over from Portland for the night. With the exception of one cabin cruiser, and a curious raccoon, we had

the island to ourselves. The stars were out in full force that night, with the Milky Way brilliant in a fashion unseen in Ottawa. Friday was the longest, most strenuous day of the week, traversing the remainder of Big Rideau Lake, past Rideau Ferry into Lower Rideau Lake. The navigation channel distance for the day is about 25kms but with the wind in our face most of the day, it felt like 30! The day’s paddle challenged us as we wove our way through islands and narrow channels with thousands of J strokes, seeking some relief from the wind in our face. Passing Murphy Point Provincial Park, the shoreline is alternately rocky with sandy beaches, one of which was a perfect stop for lunch. Following a quick stop at Rideau Ferry and a Coke, we plunged into the final stretch of Lower Rideau Lake, which is incredibly marshy at its upper reaches. Flocks of cormorants accompanied us. The final paddle strokes to Poonalmalie were leisurely and allowed us a very relaxed finish to the day, and our trip. The Rideau waterway remains an engineering marvel, and its locks and buildings endure as architectural inheritances. But its full value transcends historical and environmental significance. Nearly two centuries on, we can experience these rivers and lakes in a very intimate fashion; not just as tourists but as citizens, and custodians. Pierre Elliott Trudeau wrote 80 years ago that, “I know a man whose school could never teach him patriotism, but who acquired that virtue when he felt in his bones the vastness of his land, and the greatness of those who founded it”. In this Covid-year, five days on the water brought me much closer to the land we call Canada n 47 OTTAWALIFE SPRING/SUMMER 2021

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Ottawa Life Magazine Spring 2021  


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