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Is America ‘unhinged’, or does its case against Meng Wanzhou have merit?

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Welcome to a sneak peek of the Maclean’s Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

As the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou expands into a diplomatic crisis for Canada, which arrested her in Vancouver on Dec. 1, opinion on her arrest remains divided.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs says Canada is being “used and manipulated” by the U.S. which is “unhinged” by the rise of China and is creating “a new Cold War.” (CBC News)

Writing in the South China Morning Post, Ankit Panda argues the case against Meng appears to have merit, but that Washington has jeopardized the rule of law with President Donald Trump’s offer to intervene in her case. “The U.S. should stand with Canada and affirm that Meng’s arrest is legally justifiable and will be handled as any other bank fraud prosecution might be, without being prejudiced by broader geopolitical factors.” (South China Morning Post)

Here’s a question: Can Trump even follow through on his offer to free Meng in return for China agreeing to a trade deal? It turns out, the answer is yes. But the result could prove disastrous for both the U.S. and Canada. (Maclean’s)

To say NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had a heard time being heard in 2018 would be an understatement. Speaking with Maclean’s Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes, Singh sketches out his plan to get heard in 2019:

Singh doesn’t deny that he has struggled. “There were some challenges that I faced this year, absolutely,” he said in an interview. “And they took away from the things that I wanted to focus on.” Beyond media attention to his positions on Indian politics and his handling of the Weir affair, Singh suffered from trying to lead his party from outside the House. He jumped from Ontario politics to win the leadership in 2017 and isn’t an MP. Although Singh announced he will run in the vacant Burnaby South riding, just east of Vancouver, Trudeau has delayed calling that by-election, but it is expected to take place in February.

That will leave Singh, who is from Toronto, spending a lot of time working to build his presence in B.C.—away from the fray in Ottawa. But he told Maclean’s he plans to put distinctive NDP policy positions in front of Canadian voters well before next fall’s campaign. In the past, federal parties have sometimes released their platforms far in advance of elections, sometimes just before or even during the campaign. While he wouldn’t be pinned down on precise timing, Singh said he’s firmly in the “release it in advance, in its entirety, camp.”

Before reconciliation is possible, Canadians must admit the truth about the country’s relationship with Indigenous people, writes Riley Yesno:

 The truth is, there is no Canada without Indigenous people; they are the original, foundational, fundamental parts of this land. Instead of trying to make room for them in colonial systems and institutions that were never meant for Indigenous people to exist within, we need to find the willingness to tear it all down and reimagine what a nation that respects truth might look like—and then build that nation. (Maclean’s)

Forget Liberal talk about Canada’s respect for the rule of law, writes Tom Parkin. Late last month, the Trudeau government tabled a bill ending the charter-protected freedom of postal workers to form and act in association. It’s been tried before and it ended badly. (Maclean’s)

In a year-end sit down with Evan Solomon for CTV’s Question Period, Trudeau said Canada is still looking at whether it can cancel the sale of Canadian-made armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, in the wake of the regime’s killing of a journalist. “We’re  engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” Trudeau said. (CTV News)

In the same interview Trudeau also ruled out an early election, so now we know Canadians are going to the polls on Oct. 21.

Oh, and the Prime Minister’s biggest regret this past year? “The India Trip.

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Future of Ottawa: Chefs with Kathryn Ferries

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This week in the Future of Ottawa series, we’re taking a deep dive into the bar and restaurant industry—what it’s like now and where it’s headed. Read on for a guest post from Kat Ferries on the future of chefs, or read posts from Quinn Taylor on bars or Justin Champagne on fine dining.

Kat Ferries is Sous-Chef at Stofa Restaurant and a 2020 San Pellegrino North American Young Chef Social Responsibility Award Winner.

Apt613: What is the current landscape for chefs in Ottawa?

Kat Ferries: There is such great talent in Ottawa with so many chefs either being from here originally or have returned after traveling and have since opened some incredible restaurants. Many chefs have focused menus that really highlight their strengths, their heritage, and their passion for food. Dominique Dufour of Gray Jay, Marc Doiron of Town/Citizen, Steve Wall of Supply & Demand, Daniela Manrique Lucca of The Soca Kitchen, and so many more are all cooking up beautiful and delicious food in this city.

If you care to make a prediction… Where is the food industry in Ottawa going for chefs in 2021?

The industry right now is, unfortunately, in a really tough spot. The pandemic has been so devastating on mental, physical and emotional levels for so many and I know that many of my friends in this industry are burning out. There are many discussions happening on work/life balance and what is healthy for everyone. Some may never return to the long, hard hours we are expected to put in day after day and instead opt for a more flexible schedule or hire more staff to lighten the load on everyone, with some even leaving the industry indefinitely. Some may throw themselves back into this industry 10x as hard and create some of the best restaurants and concepts we’ve yet to see. I think all that will happen after the pandemic though.

For this year, it’s mostly about survival and finding happiness in creating what we can in the spaces we have while following all the laws and guidelines from public health officials. I think we will see more chefs creating experiences for guests that we otherwise wouldn’t have: think pop-ups, virtual dinner clubs, cocktail seminars, collabs, etc.

Where in your wildest dreams could the Ottawa culinary community grow in your lifetime?

I would love to see the Ottawa community support more small, local restaurants so our streets are bustling late into the nights like they are in Montreal, New York, or Europe. Having a local restaurant to frequent should be so much more commonplace, where you can enjoy a night out more often than just Friday or Saturday night. I would also love to see many more of our local chefs highlighted for the amazing food they create!

What is the best innovation to take place in your industry since the pandemic started affecting Ottawa?

Turning all our restaurants into mini-markets for customers to enjoy the food and wine of their favourite places at home. We have bottle shops for all your wine, beer and cocktail needs as well as menus that reflect what each restaurant does best. Some have even pivoted to a point where they are 100% a store and have paused any type of “service-style” dining.

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Future of Ottawa: Fine Dining with Justin Champagne

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This week in the Future of Ottawa series, we’re taking a deep dive into the bar and restaurant industry—what it’s like now and where it’s headed. Read on for a guest post from Justin Champagne on the future of fine dining, or read posts from Kathryn Ferries on chefs or Quinn Taylor on bars.

Justin Champagne went to culinary school at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver. He got his start in fine dining restaurants at C Restaurant under Chef Robert Clark, then at Hawksworth Restaurant under Chef Eligh. He staged at three-Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn under Chef Dominque Crenn before moving to Ottawa and spending five years at Atelier, working his way up to Sous-Chef. He’s now the Head Chef of Bar Lupulus.

Apt613: What is the current landscape of fine dining restaurants in Ottawa?

Justin Champagne: Ottawa punches well above its weight class when it comes to quality restaurants in general. Fine dining is no exception to that—we have some amazing chefs here that are doing really great things. We also have some phenomenal sommeliers in town that are a huge factor when it comes to a guest’s experience in a fine dining restaurant. While there are some fantastic fine dining restaurants in town I do believe there’s room for more, and definitely room for more creativity and unique styles of cooking! I think we’ll see more small fine dining restaurants opening up, “micro-restaurants” where there’s maybe 20 seats. This will be over the next few weeks as the industry did take a big hit financially with COVID-19, but we still have a lot of great young chefs who have the fire inside of them to open their own location!

If you care to make a prediction… Where is fine dining going in Ottawa in 2021?

I’m not sure it’ll be 2021 or 2022 with the way the vaccine rollout and stay-at-home order is going, but I do expect there to be a wave of people looking to go out to fine dining restaurants. We’ve been cooped up cooking for ourselves or ordering takeout for over a year now. People are getting antsy and ready to go out and have fantastic meals again with exceptional wine and not have to worry about doing all the dishes afterwards!

Where in your wildest dreams could fine dining go in Ottawa in your lifetime?

That’s the fun part about “fine dining,” it can go anywhere and it can mean many things. Fine dining is about amazing service and well thought out, unique food that the kitchen spent hours fussing over, being meticulous in execution. Outside of that, you can have a lot of fun and be creative in different ways. My wildest dream I guess is that fine dinning restaurants begin to thrive and are able to charge without backlash the kind of prices that they need to charge in order to keep the lights on and pay their staff a proper living wage!!

What is the best innovation to take place in your industry since the pandemic started affecting Ottawa?

I’m not sure if I would really say there’s been a best “innovation” in my industry during the pandemic, but I will say that seeing the “adaptability” by all the restaurants in Ottawa has been incredibly inspiring. Ottawa’s food scene has always been a tight-knit community, “everyone helping everyone” kind of mentality. And this pandemic has really helped show that—restaurants helping restaurants through all of this!

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Ottawa’s Giant Tiger chain celebrating 60 years in business

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OTTAWA — An Ottawa staple, along with what might be the most famous cat in Canada, are celebrating a milestone Monday.

Giant Tiger is 60 years old.

“It all started with a very simple idea,” says Alison Scarlett, associate VP of communications at Giant Tiger. “Help Canadians save money every single day. Bring them products that they want and need. When you focus on those core principals, it really is quite simple to succeed.”

In 1961, Gordon Reid opened the first Giant Tiger in Ottawa’s ByWard Market. The company now has more than 260 locations across Canada and employs roughly 10,000 people.

“If you were at our store on opening day 60 years ago, the in store experience would be a little bit different from your local Giant Tiger store today. So that’s changed. A lot of our products and offerings have changed or expanded as Canadian consumers wants and needs have changed or expanded,” says Scarlett.

The homegrown department store continues to be a favourite for many shoppers looking to for the best deals on everyday products.

Helen Binda has been shopping here for decades.

“Many years. I can’t remember when. I’ve always loved Giant Tiger. It’s always been a good store for me.”

“I think its amazing and I think that we need more department stores,” says shopper Fay Ball. “And if it’s Canadian, all the better.”

The Canadian-owned family discount store carries everything from clothing to groceries, as well as everyday household needs. They’ve also expanded their online store and like most retailers provide curbside pickup during the pandemic.

“Doing what is right for our customers, associates, and communities. That has enabled us to be so successful for all of these years,” says Scarlett.

To celebrate, Giant Tiger is hosting a virtual birthday party at 7 p.m. Monday with live musical performances from some iconic Canadian artists.

You can visit their Facebook page to tune in. 

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