Connect with us


Ontarians, we’re all living in a Dukes of Hazzard show now




Lately, whenever I see Ontario Premier Doug Ford on TV I think of Boss Hogg, the villain in The Dukes of Hazzard, a TV series that was popular in my youth.

Boss Hogg was a larger-than-life loudmouth, the sole lawful authority in Hazzard County, a self-dealing villain who was always out to get the good-hearted moonshine-running Duke brothers.

Boss Hogg’s only redeeming feature was his incompetence, which allowed the Duke boys to get the better of him every week, often leaving him in a manure pile or some other undignified position while the Dukes sped off in their souped-up Dodge Charger.

Many of Boss Hogg’s unethical plans came apart when his flunky, Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, his naive and bumbling sidekick, somehow messed up, allowing the Duke boys to get away.

RELATED: Premier to Ford Nation: You voted for this, and eventually we’ll tell you what ‘this’ is

Rosco came to mind this week when Ford made his friend Ron Taverner the commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, while denying that he had any role in the process.

Taverner is no Rosco Coltrane, of course. He has had a perfectly fine 50-year career on the Toronto Police Service, but his appointment is such a bad idea that I am filled with wonder at the crude thinking that brought it about.

Police have a monopoly on the lawful use of violence. They are uniquely empowered to stop citizens on the street, snoop on their phones, search their cars, homes and offices, arrest, prosecute and lock them up. Because of that, we cannot afford to have the slightest question about what motivates them.

But there are plenty of reasons to worry about what motivates Taverner, particularly in the very sensitive political files that are waiting on his desk at the OPP’s headquarters in Orillia.

Taverner is a Toronto Police Service superintendent in Etobicoke, in the heart of Ford Nation, where last year he made $186,662.92. At 72, after many years in the same job, he is getting a huge promotion and a $90,000 raise. (The last OPP commissioner made $276,000.)

Taverner must be very grateful to Boss Ford for arranging his late-in-life rise to prominence.

Ford told reporters that he had nothing to do with the decision, but there is no reason to give that statement any weight. He and Taverner are old friends, which raises questions about Taverner’s judgment, given that Ford’s brother was the subject of repeated high-profile police investigations. The Toronto Star reported that police brass did not ask Taverner’s officers to play a role in that investigation although it was taking place on their turf, and Taverner backed a a casino project at the Woodbine Racetrack that the Fords were pushing. Boss Ford says that the committee that selected Taverner was independent, but two of its members report to him and the third was a hired headhunter. Ford did not recuse himself from the cabinet decision to appoint Taverner. And Taverner only qualified for the appointment because the job requirements were mysteriously lowered.

We learned later in the week that Taverner lives in a home that he bought from a Ford associate in a private sale. Why did Taverner get the job?

It does not seem to be as a result of his academic qualifications, which do not compare favourably with his predecessors, or his management experience, which wouldn’t seem to provide him with the experience necessary to run an organization with 7,383 employees, a $1.1-billion budget and serious challenges providing services in remote and Indigenous communities, subjects that Taverner will need to quickly master.

He will also need to study up on the best way to handle sexual harassment complaints from dozens of members, preferably without telling any of them to have a “tough skin,” which he is alleged to have told a female officer who reported to him.

The one obvious thing going for him in the competition was his close friendship with Ford, which raised questions during the police investigation into Rob Ford.

The long friendship between Ford and Taverner is now a matter of urgent public concern, given the enormous power the two men wield and the potential for serious conflicts of interest.

Consider the important role that the OPP played in the prosecution of David Livingston, Dalton McGuinty’s chief of staff, who was sentenced to four months in jail for illegally deleting email records related to the disastrous billion-dollar decision to cancel two gas plants in the middle of an election campaign.

Boss Ford has only been in office for five months, but he is accumulating scandals quickly enough to warrant comparison with the 15-year Liberal regime he ousted, incurring steep costs by forcing out people he doesn’t like.

Getting Alykhan Velshi pushed out of Ontario Power Generation only cost $500,000, but forcing out the CEO of Hydro One messed up the planned acquisition of a utility in Washington State, which will cost $185 million.

With these kinds of moves, Ford seems to be trying to wrest control of arm’s length bodies staffed by qualified people and replace them with loyalists, treating Ontario as if it were Hazzard County.

Given his seeming disinclination to properly consult with lawyers before he tears up contracts, he may end up violating some law he doesn’t know or care about—like the record-retention law that Livingston violated—and the file may end up on the desk of Sheriff Rosco P. Taverner.

The public must have confidence in the impartiality of the OPP but can’t have confidence in Taverner. This is not how Ontario ought to be governed.

Taverner can either refuse the job or accept that he will always be viewed with deep suspicion.



Source link

قالب وردپرس


List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa




With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

Continue Reading


Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV




A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

Continue Reading


COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence




Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

Article content

“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

Continue Reading