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Hereditary chiefs in B.C. stand opposed to Coastal GasLink pipeline despite injunction





Hereditary chiefs and their supporters are standing their ground in a remote area of B.C., despite a court injunction saying they must move and grant access to a company trying to build a pipeline in the area.

“We want them right off Wet’suwet’en territory,” Chief Madeek said Sunday of the proposed Coastal GasLink project, which would carry natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to a plant near Kitimat.

TransCanada has said it signed agreements with all First Nations along the proposed pipeline route to LNG Canada’s $40-billion liquefied natural gas project on the coast.

But the hereditary leaders say those agreements don’t apply to the traditional territories. 

Madeek, speaking during a news conference in front of checkpoint gates on Sunday afternoon, was among the hereditary leaders from the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation who spent much of the day on site. They gathered at a checkpoint erected in traditional territory, determined to stop the pipeline company from doing construction without their consent.

Hereditary leaders’ opposition to the proposed pipeline ramped up in December, after the company secured an interim injunction  in B.C. Supreme Court that calls on people to stop blocking a remote logging road the company says it needs to access.

The injunction was initially made against a group within the Wet’suwet’en known as the Unist’ot’en, which has maintained a presence along the logging road for years.

When news of the injunction spread among the Wet’suwet’en, the hereditary leadership from all five of the nation’s clans showed up to stand in support of the Unist’ot’en to show they weren’t alone in objecting to having a pipeline built through the nation’s traditional territory.

“This is what we’re here for, is to protect the 22,000 square kilometres and this section of the territory for our grandchildren and our great-great-grandchildren that aren’t even born yet so they can enjoy what we enjoy today out on the territory,” said Madeek. 

‘I think it’s really uplifting’

After the company won its case, the Gidimt’en​ checkpoint was established. The population at this second camp has grown in recent weeks, with people coming from across Canada and elsewhere to show their support.

Karla Tait, a member of the Unist’ot’en house group, said she’s been glad to see the Gidimt’en come together to build a second checkpoint along the route.

“I think it’s really uplifting … I really hold up my hands to our next-door neighbours who are upholding their own responsibilities, to protect their rights and title,” she said.

With news of the RCMP potentially coming into the area to enforce the injunction in the near future, she said people at the Unist’ot’en camp have been increasingly afraid about what might happen next.

“Our historic relationship with police forces of Canada and of the province have been contentious in the past,” she said.

RCMP have offered few details about how they plan to proceed. But police have said their main concern around enforcing the injunction are “public safety, police officer safety, and preservation of the right to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction.”

‘They’re not the title holders’

The protest is not without complications.

Supporters at the camps remain opposed to the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in the territory, despite the fact elected band councils along the route have made agreements with the company.

Alexander Joseph gifted a talking stick to Gidimt’en member Molly Wickham and the camp on Sunday. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

But the hereditary chiefs said that under Wet’suwet’en law, the band councils don’t have authority or jurisdiction over what happens in the nation’s traditional territory.

“They’re not the title holders or the caretakers of the land. The hereditary chiefs are,” said Madeek​.

The elected chief and council only have authority over reserve lands, he said.

The Wet’suwet’en territory covers a sprawling area that was part of the landmark Delgamuukw case: the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed the Indigenous nation’s land rights and title had never been extinguished.

The volunteers at the small but growing camp, meanwhile, have been enforcing the wishes of hereditary leaders, even with the looming worry over potential arrests at the site. With large red gates set up on a bridge along the service road, it’s impossible to drive through without someone opening the gates to let you pass, if they do at all. 

B.C. minister visits camp

Among the visitors on Sunday was Doug Donaldson, the NDP MLA and B.C. minister of forests, lands, and natural resources operations, who along with his wife came to the camp and donated a box of goods.

News of his arrival spread quickly through the camp and he was greeted by Gidimt’en​ member Molly Wickham, who asked him to go through the camp’s protocol before coming further in.

“What is your purpose of coming to the camp?” she asked.

“The purpose today is to support and recognize that the hereditary chief have a responsibility for stewardship of the yintah [land],” responded Donaldson.

“Are you willing to offer your support publicly?” she asked him.

“Yes, I’m going to be talking to the hereditary chiefs,” he said.

She replied it’s important that he came, and he was welcome.

But what the B.C. government plans to do about the project and the protest isn’t clear. 

NDP Premier John Horgan said it was a “great day” for northern B.C. when he learned the companies backing the LNG project in Kitimat would proceed.

Donaldson didn’t shed any light on Sunday — he left without speaking to reporters, as volunteers continued to guard the checkpoint. 

Protests are expected to take place across the country this week as various groups call for people to express support for those in the camps.


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Future of Ottawa: Chefs with Kathryn Ferries





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





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





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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