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Olympians, artists, and ‘The Doctors’ among 103 added to Order of Canada





Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

Published Thursday, December 27, 2018 6:08AM EST

Last Updated Thursday, December 27, 2018 11:54AM EST

OTTAWA — When Beckie Scott left behind her competitive cross-country ski career in 2006, the Olympic gold medallist didn’t foresee the path she would take next.

A dozen years later, Scott has become a leading international voice to root out doping in sports and heads a charity that runs programs for Indigenous youth to use sports and play to improve social and economic outcomes.

For that work, Scott is among the 103 newest appointments to the Order of Canada, the cornerstone of the Canadian honours system whose ranks are now closing in on 7,000 members.

“I ended up reflecting on this quite a bit and dedicating it to my dad, who was an immigrant himself, but really one of the more proud Canadians that I can think of,” Scott said.

“He would have been incredibly moved and emotional to know I was getting this.”

Scott made a name for herself in 2002 when she captured Olympic gold in Salt Lake City. When she retired from competition following a silver medal win at the 2006 Turin Olympics, she didn’t set out with any political ambitions.

“Once I had stuck my foot in that arena, I realized the importance of people in that world and … the value of people who could advocate on behalf of clean sport,” she said.

“I stayed and have tried my best for many years to be an advocate for that because I care very deeply about it.”

The list of new appointments being unveiled this morning by Rideau Hall includes former politicians, such as one-time New Brunswick premier Camille Henri Theriault and Frank Lewis, who served as P.E.I.’s lieutenant-governor.

There are researchers like Geoffrey Hinton, a world expert in artificial intelligence; journalists like Lyse Doucet of the BBC; and trailblazers in sport like Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele, the twin sisters who comprised the Canadian alpine ski team at the 1948 Olympics.

Greg Zeschuk and his friend Ray Muzyka took a winding path to the Order of Canada. It started in medical school in the 1980s when the two became friends, and grew as they combined their mutual interest in software development to create the Edmonton-based firm BioWare in 1995.

Eventually, the two gave up family medicine for gaming, and after 17 years, BioWare as grown into a leader in role-playing games and won industry accolades for the two men, known as “The Doctors.”

Zeschuk now runs breweries and a restaurant in Edmonton that focuses on hosting charitable events. Muzyka heads ThresholdImpact, a firm he founded to help mentor socially-conscious entrepreneurs hoping to grow their businesses.

Both men said they have no plans to rest on their laurels in light of the new honour.

“I find it in a way sort of motivating in that OK … now, I’ve got to do more,” said Zeschuk.

Muzyka joked in a recent interview that he’s still not sure what he’s going to do when he grows up.

“I hope I continue to figure out something interesting to do. I like learning, I like helping people — those are common themes,” he said.

Helping people is also a theme in the work of painter Maxine Noel. The Indigenous artist has tried to use her work to help raise awareness about issues facing Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Her painting called “Not Forgotten,” which recognizes the lives of Indigenous women and girls, hangs in the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.

Noel’s art helped her survive her time at a residential school, and stayed with her when she was a legal secretary for Bay Street lawyers in Toronto. But about 40 years ago, she dedicated herself to art full-time.

All these years later, Noel said she sees herself as an activist first, and her art as a vehicle for her advocacy.

“When I speak to children or students, quite often I tell them that one day, one of you — or many of you — will become very well-known in the world, and at that time you can help make major change. I live on that (and) work on that,” Noel said.


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Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling





So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

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Top environment official urges Canadians to back Ottawa’s ambitious plans to tackle plastic trash





The second in command at the federal Environment Ministry challenged Canadians to continue to speak up about the problem of plastic pollution and push elected officials, scientists and businesses to do more.

Quebec MP Peter Schiefke, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, made the comments online at Vancouver’s annual zero waste conference on Friday.

He said most Canadians want solutions to curb the tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic garbage that ends up as litter each year on the country’s beaches, parks, lakes and in the stomachs of animals. 

“Making sure that message is heard with industry stakeholders, elected officials and make sure that they are constantly putting pressure on it … so we notice that this is something that Canadians want, the backing of Canadians to go and undertake these huge challenges,” he said.

Schiefke filled in for  Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson at the last minute after Wilkinson was called away to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass one of the most expensive fares in Canada





OTTAWA — OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass is one of the most expensive passes in Canada, and transit riders are facing another 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares on New Year’s Day.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Transit Commission meeting on the 2021 budget, CTV News Ottawa looked at the cost of a monthly adult bus pass at transit services across Canada. Ottawa ranks behind the TTC in Toronto, Mississauga’s “MiWay”, Brampton Transit and Vancouver “TransLink” Zone 2 access to the suburbs for most expensive transit fares in Canada.

The cost of an OC Transpo adult monthly bus pass is currently $119.50 a month.

The 2021 City of Ottawa budget includes a proposed 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares. If approved, an adult monthly transit pass will increase $3 to $122.50, while a youth pass will increase $2.25 to $94.50 a month.  The cost of an adult single-ride cash fare would rise a nickel to $3.65.

The TTC is the most expensive transit service in Canada, charging $156 a month for an adult fare. MiWay charges $135 a month, and the cost of an adult monthly pass with Brampton Transit is $128.

Metro Vancouver’s transportation network “TransLink” has three fare zones. The monthly bus pass cost for “Zone 1”, which covers Vancouver, is $97 for adults. The “Zone 2” fare, which covers Vancouver and the suburbs of Richmond and Burnaby, is $131 a month.

Edmonton Transit Service, which includes a Light Rail System with 18 stations on two different lines, charges $97 a month for an adult monthly bus pass.

An adult monthly bus pass in Calgary costs $109 a month.

The survey by CTV News Ottawa of transit fares across Canada shows Gatineau has higher transit fares than Montreal and Quebec City. The STO charges $99 a month.

A monthly adult bus pass costs $88.50 in Montreal and $89.50 in Quebec City.

The cheapest adult monthly bus fare is in Charlottetown, at $58.50 a month. A monthly bus pass in Whitehorse costs $62 a month.

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