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Netflix plie l’échine devant Riyad en retirant une émission critiquant la monarchie saoudienne

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L’émission supprimée est un épisode de Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, dans lequel l’humoriste américain critique directement le prince héritier Mohammed ben Salmane dans la foulée du meurtre du chroniqueur saoudien Jamal Khashoggi.

Il se moque aussi des velléités réformatrices de celui qui est le véritable homme fort du pays, et critique la guerre menée par le royaume au Yémen.

« Nous appuyons fortement la liberté artistique à travers le monde et avons retiré cet épisode seulement en Arabie saoudite après avoir reçu une requête légale valide et pour nous conformer à la législation locale », a confirmé un porte-parole de Netflix, confirmant une information d’abord publiée mardi par le Financial Times.

La société américaine précise que cette requête provenait de l’autorité saoudienne des télécommunications, qui appuyait sa requête sur un article de la loi contre les cybercrimes.

L’article en question stipule que « la production, préparation, transmission ou conservation de matériel qui empiète sur l’ordre public, les valeurs religieuses, les moeurs publiques et la vie privée via le réseau télévisé ou informatique » est passible de cinq ans de prison et d’une amende maximale de trois millions de riyals saoudiens (1,1 million de dollars canadiens).

La plateforme de diffusion en ligne a cependant fait savoir que l’émission en question demeure disponible sur son canal You Tube.

Les autorités saoudiennes n’ont pas commenté la situation.

MBS, faux réformateur, vrai dictateur

« Il y a quelques mois, le prince héritier Mohammed ben Salmane, aussi connu comme MBS, était acclamé comme le réformateur dont le monde arabe a besoin », affirme Hasan Minhaj dans l’épisode visé par les autorités saoudiennes. « Mais les révélations entourant le meurtre de Jamal Khashoggi ont détruit cette image. »

À la fin de l’épisode, l’humoriste revient à la charge en déclarant sans détour : « Je milite vraiment pour le changement en Arabie saoudite. Je milite pour la population de l’Arabie saoudite. Il y a des gens en Arabie saoudite qui se battent pour un vrai changement, mais MBS n’est pas l’un d’eux. »

« Et à ceux qui continuent à travailler avec lui, sachez qu’avec chaque entente que vous concluez, vous aidez simplement à solidifier une monarchie absolue sous le couvert du progrès parce que, ultimement, MBS ne modernise pas l’Arabie saoudite », assène en outre Hasan Minhaj. « La seule chose qu’il modernise, c’est la dictature saoudienne. »

Le moment est peut-être venu de réévaluer notre relation avec l’Arabie saoudite. Et je dis ça en tant que musulman, et en tant qu’Américain.

Hasan Minhaj, dans l’épisode censuré
Plan rapproché de Mohammed ben Salmane. Le prince héritier Mohammed ben Salmane, lors d’une conférence organisée par le fonds souverain saoudien, le 23 octobre, à Riyad. Photo : La Presse canadienne / AP/Amr Nabil

Une décision clouée au pilori par le Washington Post

La position de Netflix a été sévèrement critiquée par Karen Attiah, qui supervisait les contributions au Washington Post de Jamal Khashoggi. Dans un message publié sur Twitter, elle a qualifié la position de la société de « scandaleuse ».

M. Khashoggi a été assassiné puis démembré dans le consulat de son pays à Istanbul au début du mois d’octobre. Il a d’abord été un proche collaborateur de la famille royale et des services de renseignement avant de devenir un adversaire du prince héritier saoudien.

Riyad a démenti toute responsabilité pendant plusieurs jours, avant d’imputer le tout à des éléments rebelles qui auraient agi de leur propre chef, sans coordination avec MBS.

La CIA a conclu que ce meurtre ne pouvait pas avoir été commis sans l’aval du prince héritier. Le président Trump a décidé de faire fi de cette conclusion pour préserver l’alliance entre les États-Unis et l’Arabie saoudite, et les retombées économiques que cela entraîne aux États-Unis.

Cela lui a valu une rare rebuffade des sénateurs républicains.

Netflix accusé de nuire à la liberté d’expression dans le royaume

Amnistie internationale a aussi dénoncé la censure de Netflix exercée par le gouvernement saoudien. Il s’agit là d’une « preuve supplémentaire d’une campagne de répression sans répit contre la liberté d’expression », affirme dans un communiqué Samah Hadid, directrice des campagnes pour le Moyen-Orient.

Les autorités ont déjà utilisé les lois contre le cybercrime pour faire taire les dissidents, créant un environnement de peur pour ceux qui osent parler en Arabie saoudite. En se pliant aux demandes des autorités saoudiennes, Netflix risque de faciliter la politique de tolérance zéro du royaume envers la liberté d’expression.

Samah Hadid, directrice des campagnes pour le Moyen-Orient à Amnistie internationale

« Depuis que le prince héritier Mohammed ben Salmane a pris le pouvoir [de facto, NDLR] en juin 2017, plusieurs défenseurs des droits de la personne, activistes et critiques ont été détenus arbitrairement, ou injustement condamnés à de longues peines de prison simplement pour avoir exercé leur droit à la liberté d’expression », poursuit-elle.

Netflix essuie également de nombreuses critiques pour sa décision sur les réseaux sociaux.

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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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