Weakening city council
The provincial government wants to make city council less meaningful.
The big story today came as more than a bit of a surprise. It involves Ford, democracy, and local decision-making, or the lack of it. And it could have huge consequences for how our city is run. I’ve done my best to break it down. As you’ll probably be able to tell, this won’t be the last time we cover it.
So, let’s get into it.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
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Friday: +1 🌡️ -6 | 🌤️/🌨️
Saturday: +1 🌡️ -7 | 🌨️
Sunday: -2 🌡️ -12 | 🌤️/🌨️
Monday: +1 🌡️ -7 | 🌨️
Provincial government will give mayor the power of minority rule
What happened: The provincial government announced it would further erode local decision-making by expanding the strong mayor powers in Ottawa and Toronto to allow for votes of one-third-plus-one to pass bylaws. In Ottawa, nine votes would be needed to pass new laws, on a council of 25 members.
What were the strong powers? Only in force for a brief time, the initial strong powers were strictly about blocking new laws with a veto (which could be overridden by a two-thirds council vote).
What we don’t know: The province said the powers only apply to “provincial priorities.” In its press release, the province said those areas “include building more homes” but gave no other examples of what areas the powers will apply to. It seems the province can add more areas as they go.
The good news: New Mayor Mark Sutcliffe reiterated his position against using strong mayor powers. “I have been clear that I will not use strong mayor powers. This includes the new provisions announced [Wednesday],” Sutcliffe said according to CTV.
What it means: While framed as a measure to build more housing,the actions by Premier Doug Ford’s government further erode local decision-making and democratic control. It’s also not a policy he ran on in the last election. Given the province’s vague response about using it for “provincial priorities” local voters should be concerned about just how much more the Ford government will override local elected officials.
The announcement was made just one day after the new council was sworn in.
OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
💲 6.9%: The national inflation rate stayed steady at this figure, despite expectations it would rise. [CBC]
🏠 $127,900: The annual income homebuyers needed in October to afford a home with a 20 percent down payment, down $1,900 from $129,800 in August month. [CTV]
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👮♂️New Police Chief Eric Stubbs took over yesterday, and the former RCMP commander comes with plenty of baggage, from this time in BC. In particular, Indigenous leaders have questioned the Mounties’ use of paramilitary tactics in Wet'suwet'en territory under Stubbs’ command, as well as the RCMP’s tracking and arrest of two journalists. [CBC]
🛣️ The City released its environmental assessment of the plan to twin the Airport Parkway. The report said the LRT extension being built beside the parkway will take pressure off the roadway. But at the very same time, the report said not enough people would take the new transit line to take pressure off the roadway. It includes a section on “how Bronson Avenue heading into downtown is full, so the additional cars the expanded parkway will carry will disappear when they get there,” journalist David Reevely tweeted.
Baby in need of heart surgery has procedure postponed
What happened: Because of the immense pressure on children’s hospitals because of RSV and other respiratory illnesses, a local nine-month-old had heart surgery postponed.
Alfie Brouillard-Mungur was born at CHEO but was scheduled to have surgery at CHU Sainte-Justine in Montreal. They specialize in the procedure to correct the double-outlet right ventricle heart defect he has, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
The hospital doesn’t have enough available ICU beds, which he will need after surgery. Baby Alfie is now in danger.
What it means: Alfie’s story is one that’s playing out at CHEO and at children’s hospitals throughout the region. Emergency rooms and ICUs are overwhelmed to the point hospitals must cancel surgeries for increasingly serious conditions.
More money: The province announced new money yesterday for hospital infrastructure and maintenance — to do things like fix roofs, and upgrade back-up generators — but doesn’t address the current crisis. The $182 million will go to almost 200 hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the province.
Your weekend guide
St. Paul’s Christmas Bazaar, 4 pm-8 pm: Gifts, decorations, baked goods, a kid’s shopping room, and more. Chilli supper tonight. Tomorrow, the bazaar runs 11 am-1 pm with a luncheon. Free admission.
C*4 presents DEEP RISING, 7:30 pm: To celebrate their 15th anniversary, C*4 wrestling is hosting a main event at 523 St. Anthony’s St. Tickets start at $30 in advance.
Middle East Soirée, 6 pm: A fundraising event at Lansdowne’s Horticulture Building to raise money for LGBTQI+ refugees settling in the region. There’s also a virtual edition with meal delivery. Tickets start at $12.
The Ottawa Chocolate Show, 9:30 am: Chocolate makers from across the country come together at the Nepean Sportsplex for this one-day event. Presentations, workshops, and pairings are all on offer. Tickets start at $15.50. We also wrote about a great chocolate shop in Ottawa.
Glebe Craft and Artisan Fair, 10 am-5 pm: The first of two weekends of this market, filled with high-quality local goods for your shopping pleasure, at the Glebe Community Centre, 175 Third Ave. Free entry.
613Flea, 10 am-4 pm: The flea market is back inside at the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park with all the assorted goodies on sale you know and love. (Their holiday market is coming soon!) Free admission.
Help Santa Toy Parade, 11 am: The Santa Claus parade returns, with a route running from City Hall toward Bank Street, then down to Lansdowne. Unwrapped toy donations are being accepted at fire stations across the city.
Old-Fashioned Christmas Market, 10 am-3 pm: This outdoor market at the Goulbourn Museum at 2064 Huntley Rd. in Stittsville has plenty of handmade arts and crafts, plus Christmas goats, photos with Santa, and marshmallow roasting. Admission is free.
The Original Navan Holiday Market, 10 am-3 pm: This is the last day to support local vendors and stock up on your holiday buying at 1279 Colonial Rd. Free admission.
Food and Events (Insiders Only)
How to get them: Insider members get a curated food event list in our Thursday Insider email, as well as early access to restaurant reviews. Try an Insider membership for only $1 for your first month - there’s no risk and you can cancel anytime.
🪧 CUPE education workers issued another strike notice, and could walk off the job Monday. The Ottawa Catholic School Board will close schools if they do. [CTV]
🚧 Baseline Road will be closed this weekend between Woodroffe and Constellation, and drivers will be detoured north toward Carling and then east/west toward Greenbank and Pinecrest.
🚊 Line 1 of the LRT will be closed on Saturday for testing, as part of an investigation into train wheel hub failures. Replacement bus service will run along the line. [Ottawa Citizen]
❄️ The first snow of the year led to chaos on the roads, with 58 crashes reported Wednesday, well above average. [CTV]
🔌 Following the deadly derecho storm, Hydro Ottawa plans to bury more hydro lines despite the cost because it expects more frequent serious storms. [CBC]
🚔 An Ottawa police officer was acquitted of a sexual misconduct by a police tribunal. [CBC]
🚨 A woman and a child were seriously injured, and a dog was killed by a driver in Gatineau. Police said charges were possible. [CTV]
💰 The owners of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs and Oshawa Generals have teamed up for a bid to buy the Senators. The two owners are one of several groups looking to buy the team. [Ottawa Citizen]
🏒 Longtime Sens defenceman Wade Redden was the first player named to the new Ring of Honour at the Canadian Tire Centre.
🥅 It’s unlikely that former Sens defenceman Erk Karlsson will be traded back to Ottawa from the San Jose Sharks. [Ottawa Citizen]
🏈 Redblacks defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin IV was the only Ottawa player named to the CFL all-star team. [Ottawa Citizen]
Senators vs Devils | Saturday, 1:00 pm | At home | Tickets
Soccer and Portuguese food on the menu at Olitos Cafe
Here’s just a taste of this week’s Capital Eats, by our food editor Ralf Joneikies, where he takes a trip east to find a Portuguese restaurant to fill a craving.
Just a few months old and Olitos Cafe has its fans in Blackburn Hamlet. It’s also bound to be a major destination for watching the upcoming World Cup.
Speaking with co-owner Dinis Oliveira, it’s clear that his vision was to create a soccer-centric destination for all fans of the sport. Soccer jerseys and large screen televisions adorn the walls and at one end of the room sits one of the greatest games ever invented: the foosball table.
I was in the mood for some Portuguese flavours and stuck with a few favourites: cod cakes (pasteis de bacalhau), shrimp cakes (pasteis de camarao) and a bifana sandwich.
Flapjack's Canadian Diner on Preston Street will say goodbye this weekend after eight years in business.
A Ukrainian refugee in Ottawa is helping pets in need in her home country. [Ottawa Citizen]
(Members only) This local chocolate producer doesn’t just make great products, but puts on great tours of their factory.
If you’re a fan of the film, you’re going to want to check out Pretty Woman: The Musical at the NAC, Apt613 said in this review. [Apt613]
Check out the tacos at Mexigo Cabana while you can, their lease runs out soon and they’ll need to relocate.
Noireau is a friendly and independent cat up for adoption at the Humane Society. [CityNews]
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André Martin/Ottawa Lookout Reader
Afraid today’s photo of the river seals it. As reader André Martin puts it, “Summer's officially over!”
Send us your winter shots! We love sharing reader photos with the Lookout community.
Congrats to Joe, Ron, Colin, Michele, Jean, and everyone else who knew the OttawaGuesser was of Byron close to Woodroffe.
No hints, but we don’t think you’ll have too much trouble with today’s Ottawa Wordle. Play now.
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