So long to the Rolling Thunder

This weekend’s motorcycle protest never turned into a convoy 2.2, as the large police presence quickly tamped down the worst impulses of the crowd.

Robert Hiltz
02 May

Good morning!

Big week here in the city. Today, the municipal election officially kicks off as candidates can file nomination papers. Wednesday marks the official start of the provincial election, too. It’s going to be a busy time. Plus there’s a planning meeting about the new Lansdowne 2.0 proposal later this week.`

It’s really interesting because the exact future of the city is up in the air. There’s a lot of change over in city hall in particular, with Mayor Jim Watson and several councillors not running again. 

We’ve got some exciting things planned over the course of these elections, so stay tuned for that.

Anyway, on with your newsletter.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Monday: +14 🌡️ +8 | 🌧

Tuesday: +17 🌡️ +10 | ☁️

Wednesday: +18 🌡️ +4 | 🌦

Thunder Strikes

Better than before: The motorcycle protest rolled into town over the weekend, but unlike for the convoy, police seemed prepared. Ten people were arrested, most of them when protesters tried to block Rideau and Sussex Friday night, CTV reported. By-law officers were quite active, handing out more than 750 tickets for violating the downtown no-stopping exclusion zone, and towing 39 vehicles.

But still not great: Better doesn’t mean good, though. At one point on Saturday police escorted a walking protest through Centretown where, according to PressProgress editor Luke LeBrun, they “harassed residents in their homes and screamed deranged nonsense about vaccines and sex predators.”

The main event: The focus of the protest was a gathering at the National War Memorial, where about 3,000 protesters showed up, surrounded by hundreds of police, according to the Ottawa Citizen. Many of the speakers spoke of “freedom,” and against “elites.” They were there to ostensibly “take back” the monument after convoy protesters were kept from the monument during the winter convoy protest.

  • Read more: Vanier Church That Welcomed Protest Bikers Hit With Graffiti [Ottawa Citizen]

Council impressed: Councillors and the mayor seemed largely pleased with the police response this time. Centretown Coun. Catherine McKenney and Coun. Jeff Leiper toured the protests over the weekend.

  • “The no stopping/no parking zones are creating safe space for people,” McKenney tweeted.

Mayor Jim Watson told CTV he thought the police did a “very good job under really challenging circumstances.” And Coun. Mathieu Fleury said despite the anxiety of residents, this protest would turn sour, he woke up Saturday “relieved to see the work done by authorities to intervene effectively and protect our local residents and businesses.”

Unwelcoming party: A group of Centretown residents came together Friday to show their solidarity against another protest. Several speakers questioned whether the stated motives for the protest were really what was motivating people. 

  • “I think it’s a bunch of people who are angry that the world doesn’t conform to their own narrow-minded views, but they know that it’s socially unacceptable to say what they actually think, so, instead, it comes out as just rage and utter nonsense,” counter-protest organizer Brian Latour said, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

Ottawa By The Numbers

  • Three in six: Gatineau cannabis company Hexo has had three CEOs in six months, as the beleaguered company undergoes restructuring. [OBJ]
  • 25: The number of council seats up for grabs when the election kicks off this week. The city is adding one new ward because of the growing population. [CTV]

LRT Stage 2 Seeing Major Delays

Ron Dennis/Lookout Reader

The late show: Both the western and southern expansion of the LRT is well behind schedule. The biggest delay is in the south, where construction is a year behind schedule, CBC reported. In the west, that delay is only about three months behind schedule.

Southern problems: Council wasn’t provided with any details about the cause of delays in the south, according to the Ottawa Citizen. Previously, when the project was thought to be only months behind, the pandemic was blamed for scheduling issues. This part of the system is now expected to be up and running in 2023.

Western woes: In the west, supply chain issues and a labour shortage has put the completion of the three-kilometre tunnel behind schedule, according to the Citizen. It’s now expected the west end of the system will be completed in late summer 2025. 

Eastern excitement: The good news in the east was confirmed to council to be on time, with the new line to Trim Road on schedule and expected to be done in November 2024.

Jobs Around Town

  1. Executive Director at Federation of Canadian Municipalities
  2. Director, Investor Relations at Calian Group
  3. Manager, Communications at Payments Canada
  4. Manager, Media Relations at Canada Post
  5. Director, Issues Management and Media Relations at the University of Ottawa

Want to reach 22,000 Ottawa residents with your job? Reply to this email and a member of our team will contact you

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Grief Sweeps Royal Military College

Four dead: Four cadets at Royal Military College died last week when their vehicle ended up in the St. Lawrence River late at night. It’s not clear what happened—few details have been released—but the names of the fourth-year cadets have been announced: Jack Hogarth, Andrei Honciu, Broden Murphy and Andrés Salek were all killed in the crash, according to CBC

Investigation underway: The incident is being investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Services, a part of the military police. A military lawyer told CBC it would be unlikely details of what caused the cadets' death would be made public unless charges were laid.

Provincial Election Update

PC budget cuts education funding: The provincial government spent $1.3 billion less than planned on education. An earlier third-quarter fiscal update had estimated there would be $30.8 billion spent on schools, but last week’s budget said only $29.5 billion had been spent. It’s a figure the government blamed on a decrease in fundraising over the last year. [PressProgress]

Campaign unofficially kicks off: The leaders of the three main parties started their campaigns over the weekend. PC Leader Doug Ford unveiled his campaign tour bus. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath accepted the nomination for her riding and unveiled its bus. And Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca launched his campaign at his riding nomination meeting. [CP24]

Liberals promise to cut HST on food: If elected to government, Del Duca’s Liberals would expand the HST exemption on prepared food to $20. Right now HST is waived only for prepared food at $4. They promise to pay for the lost revenue by an increase in taxes on the wealthy and highly profitable corporations. [CBC]

Stories You Might Have Missed

Municipal campaign starts today: The day has finally arrived! Candidates can officially file their nomination papers to run for council and mayor. Once the paperwork is complete, they can also start collecting and spending money. Three people have said they’re running for mayor so far: former mayor Bob Chiarelli, Coun. Diane Deans, and Coun. Catherine McKenney. Outgoing Mayor Jim Watson has some advice for aspiring politicians in the Ottawa Citizen. [CTV]

OPS officer charged: An Ottawa police officer is facing four charges — sexual assault, assault, criminal harassment, and voyeurism — over alleged incidents of intimate partner violence. The incidents allegedly took place between 2014 and 2022. The officer has been suspended, but is not being named to protect the victim’s privacy. [CBC]

Record turnout for CN Cycle for CHEO: The first running of the charity ride since 2019 drew a record crowd of 4,300 participants. They also raised a record $1.4 million for CHEO. The money will go to equipment, programming, and support for families. [CTV]

Residential schools monument planned: A monument to the survivors and victims of the residential school system is planned for a “highly visible location” in the city. The exact site and timeline for the monument have not been decided yet, but the federal government has pledged $21 million to the project. The first meeting of the committee in charge of the monument will take place this month. [CBC]

Community Highlights

  • Apt613 and the Vanier BIA are teaming up to digitally preserve murals from across the neighbourhood, many of which are going to be removed. Here’s the  map.
  • Unlock more value in your home. How? With a free home price evaluation from Basia Vanderveen. Sign-up for a free home evaluation today.*
  • Ottawa’s Jesse Luketa was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in this year’s NFL draft. Congrats, Jesse!
  • Helen Gordon is 95 years old, and has volunteered at the Queensway Carleton Hospital for 40 years! She’s in charge of getting every newborn their own hat.
  • The season finale of the Ottawa Pizza Podcast is out. Interested in listening to two friends try out a pie? This is the podcast for you. [Apt613]
  • Avocado tea? Avocado tea. A local entrepreneur is turning unwanted avocado seeds into tea. [CBC]
  • Looking for somewhere to cool those tastebuds now that the warm weather has arrived? Narcity has the goods on a rolled-up ice cream spot, Roll’d Up Dessert Lounge, which you’re going to want to check out.
  • One Reddit user found some Wok With Yan cookbooks, from his show in the 80s shot at CJOH. Quite the throwback!

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Today's Top Photo

Ron Dennis

Deepest apologies to Ron Dennis last Friday. We ran the wrong photo. This is the correct photo of ducks in the Ottawa River. Apologies, Ron. (Though, we are sticking with our pro-duck, anti-goose stance.)

Have a photo you want to share with the Lookout community? Reply to this email with your favourite shots from around town. We’re always looking to run reader photos!

Lookout Wordle Challenge

Ottordle? Ottawordle? We’re still workshopping the name. 

In the meantime, please enjoy our newest feature, Ottawa Wordle. It’s a word associated with our city. If you enjoy it, please let us know! Play Ottawa Wordle.

Previous Lookout Editions

  • The motorcycle protest comes to town - read more
  • Where to find Ottawa’s best Pho - read more
  • Stage 2 LRT update - read more
  • A new survey shows lack of trust with Ottawa police - read more
  • Coun. Rick Chiarelli accused of inappropriate conduct again - read more

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Written by managing editor Robert Hiltz and food and wine editor Ralf Joneikies

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