Former chief Peter Sloly speaks about the convoy for the first time

The former Ottawa police chief spoke to a parliamentary committee, for the first time since he stepped down. Plus, Doug Ford wins a huge majority.

Robert Hiltz
03 Jun

Good morning

This will be my last newsletter at the helm for a couple weeks, as I head off for a vacation. I’ll still have a (light) hand in the newsletter behind the scenes, but Geoff will be taking over the bulk of the work for the next little while. 

I think he did a great job last Friday, and expect he’ll do more of the same for you folks in the coming days.

In the meantime, whew. The provincial election has come and gone. It was a strange month, and in the end, the premier came out well ahead.

In any case, let’s get to the newsletter before I fly on outta here.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Friday: 24 🌡️ 11 | 🌦/⛈

Saturday: 19 🌡️ 8 | 🌦

Sunday: 22 🌡️ 10 | ⛅️

Monday: 25 🌡️ 13 | 🌦

Former police chief Sloly breaks convoy silence

Unprepared: Former police chief Peter Sloly told a federal parliamentary committee the Ottawa Police Service wasn’t ready for the convoy. It was the first time Sloly has publically commented on the four-week occupation since he resigned in February. 

  • “It was unprecedented. It was unforeseen. … That doesn't necessarily mean it couldn't have been predicted but the totality of the intelligence, the totality of the experience within the Canadian policing and national security agencies had never seen and dealt with a demonstration, occupation, illegal actions of the nature … of the freedom convoy. We were unprepared for it,” Sloly told the committee, according to CBC.

The former chief defended his response while he was still in command, telling MPs the force did not have enough officers to take care of the occupation. He said his plan was to wait for reinforcements from other jurisdictions, then move in to clear out the protest. “That is what happened,” Sloly said.

Recommendations: Sloly advocated for restricting traffic around Parliament and expanding the boundaries of the precinct, CBC reported. These were sentiments echoed by former Ottawa police chief, Sen. Vern White, who said Wellington Street should be closed off to vehicles, according to CTV.

Ottawa by the numbers

  • 1.5%: The Bank of Canada raised its overnight interest rate to 1.5%, a 50 basis point increase to try and curb inflation. The bank has said it may raise rates further. [CTV]
  • 16: The number of seats the Progressive Conservatives gained in last night’s election. [CBC]

Doug Ford wins huge majority government

Doug wins: Premier Doug Ford will be keeping the job. His Progressive Conservative Party won at least 83 seats in Queen’s Park, well above the necessary 63. His party won about 41 percent of the popular vote. Last election the PC’s won 67 seats. 

Time for new NDP leadership: The NDP of Leader Andrea Horwath maintained official opposition status, but failed to make any serious breakthroughs. The orange party ended up with 31 seats — well below their 38 after the last election. Horwath announced in her concession speech she would be stepping down as leader of the party. Here in town, Chandra Pasma was one of the party’s few bright spots in the evening, flipping the Ottawa West - Nepean riding to the NDP from the PCs.

And for the Liberals, too: Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca failed to reclaim his own seat. His party didn’t win enough seats to become an officially recognized party in the legislature, falling four short with just eight seats, one above their 2018 total. Del Duca announced in his speech he would be stepping down as leader. The Liberals and the NDP received almost the same share of the popular vote.

Local ridings: Across the city, here are the winners in local ridings, via CBC.

  • Kanata - Carleton: Merrilee Fullerton, PC
  • Ottawa West - Nepean: Chandra Pasma, NDP (The only non-incumbent to win in the city.)
  • Nepean: Lisa MacLeod, PC
  • Carleton: Goldie Ghamari, PC
  • Ottawa Centre: Joel Harden, NDP
  • Ottawa South: John Fraser, Liberal
  • Ottawa Vanier: Lucille Collard, Liberal
  • Orléans: Stephen Blais, Liberal

Storm cleanup carries on

Hundreds, not thousands: Power has been restored to 99 percent of customers throughout the city, with only about 200 still suffering outages, according to Hydro Ottawa’s outage map yesterday evening. 

One of the hardest-hit areas was Grenfell Glen, where power was restored after 12 days, but had to be shut off again to protect workers removing trees, CTV reported.

One resident of the neighbourhood had five trees fall on their house. Thankfully, the family was out of town. The house is so badly damaged the family is staying in a rental, and likely will have to stay there for several months.

  • “It’s been frustrating to wait so long but these guys have been working day and night. … And it’s been dangerous, the stuff they’re doing. So we’re super grateful for it,” the home’s owner, Jeremy Luke, told the broadcaster.

Debris on your property? The city has put together guidelines on how to get rid of the mess left by the storm. The key points:

  • Bundle or stack organic debris from trees and brush and leave it by the curb;
  • Broken furniture, shingles, and other non-organic debris should also be put to the curb, separate from the organics. Be sure to label any sharp objects like broken glass;
  • Hazardous waste, even if it is from storm-related damage, cannot be picked up at the curb. To find out where to dispose of it, see the Waste Explorer.

Dig deeper: What to know about the insurance process after the storm [Ottawa Citizen]

City Hall update

LRT legal fight rolls on: The city is accusing Rideau Transit Group of trying to avoid the consequences of last year’s derailments. The filing is part of a court case to have a judge declare RTG in default of its contract to operate and maintain the light-rail system. In response, RTG said the city was trying to use the derailments as leverage. [Ottawa Citizen]

Track maintenance postponed: A delivery delay of new rails has postponed planned maintenance on the LRT system. The maintenance was set for night work this weekend and next. New dates for the work will be set when the materials are delivered. [CTV]

City Hall says no to Russian flag: A request from the Russian embassy to fly its country’s flag on June 12 to celebrate that country’s independence day was rejected by the city. Mayor Jim Watson said in a tweet, “until the Russian army leaves Ukraine we will not have anything to do with the Russian government and their illegal invasion.” [CTV]

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County Bounty is a soda worth craving

Stack of soda cans
Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

By Ralf Joneikies

Originally from Ottawa, Dodie Ellenbogen sat down with me to talk about her five-year business venture, The County Bounty Artisanal Soda Co. She kindly provided me with a range of flavours and in the interests of you the reader, I'll admit it was no work whatsoever to taste through this rainbow so that you might discover what, I feel, are the finest sodas available on the market.

I first came across one of her bevvies a few years ago and was immediately struck by the bright flavours, but also by the nominal use of sugar which made the soda even more quaffable. If you consider that a supermarket soda has from 38 to 42 grams of sugar per 355 ml can, you'll be delighted to learn that CountyBounty sodas range from 13 to 28 grams per can.

Stories you might have missed

Rising food costs squeezing restaurants: Prices of staple goods, from rice to oil are rising fast, and it’s hurting the food service industry. Some have even doubled in price. Some restaurants are even having to downsize portions to deal with rising costs. [CBC]

Swimmer saved: A good samaritan helped save a swimmer from drowning at Britannia Beach this week. The bystander swam out to a person suffering from exhaustion and helped them to a buoy, where fire crews were then able to bring the pair to shore.

Small sewage leak into Canal: A quick blast of rain while workers were doing emergency repairs on an isolation gate along the Rideau Canal led to a sewage spill of about 18,000 litres. The city said the repairs were necessary to prevent future overflows, and because of the rain, it’s believed the spill was very diluted. [CTV] 

Eganville Leader saved: The eastern Ontario weekly paper has found a new printer, after its previous printing press wrapped up operations at the end of the month. Papers will now be printed by a Montreal printing company for the Leader and several other regional weeklies. [Ottawa Citizen]

Community highlights

  • Had I known ahead of time, I might have cast a ballot for Chapeau, a local candidate for the Meow Party.
  • For Pride Month, the Ottawa Citizen is highlighting nine members of the city’s queer and trans community, starting with long-time activist Lyle Borden.
  • The Redblacks have a woman coach with them for the first weeks of the CFL season as part of a new program to bring more women into the game. [CBC]
  • Is one of your kids missing a stuffed dalmatian? One was found on Hilson Avenue yesterday evening.
  • Starting next week, firefighters will be going door-to-door to inspect smoke alarms across town and give fire safety tips. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • Did you happen to see a woman chasing a baby crow? Not to worry, the little guy is off to get care for a hurt wing.

What to do this weekend:

  • To celebrate National Health and Fitness Day on Saturday, the city is offering two-for-one passes to city-owned gyms and pools.
  • This weekend is Doors Open Ottawa! Get tours of buildings around town you wouldn’t normally see, including Old City Hall, the Embassy of Denmark, and Rideau Hall. 
  • This Sunday is the CHEO Telethon, where you can help the children’s hospital raise money to help the half-million families they help each year. [CTV]
  • Two great chances to see the spaces where local art is made, with the West-End Studio Tour and the Red Trillium Studio Tour both taking place this weekend.
  • The Vegans Who Snack Food Festival is tonight at the Parkdale Market from 5 pm to 9 pm. 
  • Books are for the dogs (and the cats, and the other animals) at a charity book sale at 1162 Dorchester Ave. tomorrow from 9 am to 1 pm.
  • If you’ve got an old skateboard, or want to help clean a skate park, head to Charlie Bowins Skatepark on Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm to help the Ottawa Skateboard Association help kids in need.

Today's top photo

A lovely garden shot
Joanne Reyes/Ottawa Lookout Reader

Today’s photo comes from Joanne Reyes, who sends us this lovely image. “After dealing with the first major storm of the season, we all need a little beauty to pick us up. These are our garden lupine to share. Enjoy,” Joanne said in her email.

Have any great photos of Ottawa? Share it with us and it'll be featured in our newsletter and social media. 

Daily COVID stats

All infection and vaccination data via Ottawa Public Health. You can find the status of the wastewater tracking here. And you can find vaccination stats here.

  • Active Cases: 404 (+69)
  • Deaths: 812 (+1)
  • Ottawans In Hospital: 14
  • Ottawans In ICU: 2
  • Acute Beds Occupied: 101% 
  • ICU Beds Occupied: 73% 
  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 30% 

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