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Début du procès historique des dirigeants indépendantistes catalans

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L’audience, qui se limitera à des questions de procédure, a commencé vers 10 heures (heure locale). Assis sur quatre banquettes au centre de la salle de la Cour suprême, la plus haute instance judiciaire espagnole, les accusés font face à sept juges.

Ce procès, retransmis en direct et pour lequel plus de 600 journalistes espagnols et étrangers sont accrédités, doit durer environ trois mois. Le verdict ne devrait pas être rendu avant juillet. Des centaines de personnes vont y témoigner, dont l’ancien chef de gouvernement conservateur Mariano Rajoy.

Carles Puigdemont, le grand absent

La principale figure de la tentative de sécession, l’ex-président catalan Carles Puigdemont, qui a fui en Belgique, est le grand absent de ce procès; l’Espagne ne jugeant pas en absence pour les délits graves.

Le principal protagoniste sera donc son ancien vice-président Oriol Junqueras, contre lequel le parquet a réclamé 25 ans de prison.

Des peines allant de 7 à 17 ans ont été requises contre les onze autres accusés, dont l’ancienne présidente du parlement catalan, plusieurs ministres régionaux et les responsables des puissantes associations indépendantistes ANC et Omnium Cultural.

Neuf accusés sont poursuivis pour rébellion, aggravée du délit de détournement de fonds publics pour six d’entre eux, et sont en détention provisoire, pour certains depuis plus d’un an. Incarcérés près de Madrid le temps du procès, ils ont été transférés au tribunal dans des fourgons des forces de l’ordre.

Plusieurs dirigeants catalans – dont le président régional Quim Torra qui assiste à l’audience -, se sont rassemblés près du tribunal avant le début de l’audience avec une banderole clamant « décider n’est pas un délit ».

Dans le même temps en Catalogne, où une manifestation indépendantiste est prévue en soirée à Barcelone, plusieurs routes ont été coupées temporairement par les militants radicaux des CDR, dont l’autoroute entre Gérone et la capitale catalane.

Après avoir organisé le 1er octobre 2017 un référendum d’autodétermination interdit par la justice, les séparatistes avaient proclamé le 27 octobre une république catalane indépendante, déclenchant la plus grave crise politique que l’Espagne ait connue depuis la fin du franquisme.

La question de la violence au centre du procès

Y a-t-il eu alors violence? C’est la question qui sera au centre du procès, le chef d’accusation contesté de rébellion supposant un soulèvement violent.

Pour le parquet, la réponse est oui, les accusés ayant notamment « appelé les citoyens à participer au référendum du 1er octobre en étant conscients de [son] illégalité et du fait que des explosions de violence pouvaient se produire ».

Les indépendantistes, qui dénoncent un procès politique, affirment quant à eux que la seule violence a été celle des policiers le jour du référendum, dont les images ont fait le tour du monde.

« Le jugement qui commence montrera la vérité au monde entier », indique un tweet publié sur le compte d’Oriol Junqueras.

Les juristes sont divisés, au point que le représentant des intérêts de l’État lors du procès n’accuse les prévenus que de sédition et réclame des peines de 12 ans au maximum.

Des élections anticipées?

Près d’un an et demi après les faits, la question catalane reste un brûlot politique en Espagne.

Dimanche, des dizaines de milliers de personnes ont manifesté à Madrid à l’appel de la droite et de l’extrême droite de Vox contre le chef du gouvernement socialiste Pedro Sanchez, accusé de « haute trahison » pour avoir dialogué avec les indépendantistes.

Le procès sera une tribune politique pour Vox, qui grâce à une particularité du système juridique espagnol, représentera dans le prétoire « l’accusation populaire ».

Pedro Sanchez est arrivé au pouvoir en juin, grâce au soutien des indépendantistes, avec la ferme volonté de reprendre le dialogue. Mais les discussions se sont vite transformées en dialogue de sourds avant d’être rompues vendredi.

Dans ce contexte, les indépendantistes, sans lesquels M. Sanchez n’a pas de majorité, sont prêts à bloquer le budget mercredi, ouvrant ainsi la porte à la convocation d’élections anticipées.

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Ottawa Book Expo Author Boot Camp: What’s in it For You?

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Would you love to attend a writers’ book camp? If yes, then check out this upcoming boot camp on meetup.com organized in conjunction with the Ottawa Book Expo. The boot camp seeks to boost the commercial success of authors while providing a convivial atmosphere for social networking among authors. There you would learn what you need to do to boost the sale of your book. The goal of the group asides social networking is to empower authors to make money while also saving money.

What’s in it for you?

Whether you are a new writer who hasn’t published any books yetor you are a veteran writer who has been publishing for decades, a writers boot camp could still be extremely beneficial to you in a couple of ways. There, you would get to meet other writers, you would be motivated to start up your book or continue your writing journey. Ways you can benefit from a writers boot camp include:

  • You get to ask questions and have your questions answered.

The book camp is not just a place to make new friends and link up with old ones; you also get to learn new ideas. You could ask questions about any topic on writing and have these questions answered by professionals. You would also get to see other writers ask their questions, and learn from them. Your questionsare more likely to be answered directly by someone who knows their onion in the field.

  • Network with other writers

At the boot camp, you would get to make friends with other writers who would be in attendance. A lot of writers are introverts who would rather not make small talk; however, you have to remember that putting yourself out there, is what’s going to help you sell your books. You could also come along with a business card that has your name, what kind of author you are, and the links to your social media. Networking with other writers is definitely worth the time and money you’re spending at the Expo.

  • One last thing

There’s no better way to gain some exposure as a writer than starting local. The boot camp would feature experts on all types of writing. This is one of the most efficient ways to connect with other local writers who would are likely to keep in touch with you through social media or in person, you can also connect with your fans and readers who would be likely to purchase your books. If you’re thinking about attending a writers’ festival, start local, with the Ottawa Book Expo.

The event is open to all writers and publishers locally and internationally. The Expo is a grassroots-oriented author, publisher, bookseller and literary services festival which supports authors and publishers who seek to promote marginalized voices such as those of different cultural backgrounds, gender and LGBTQ communities.The Expo would hold at the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park on the 20th of October 2019.

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Virtual farmer’s market comes to Ottawa

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Ottawa first-ever virtual farmer’s market has begun delivering food from local farms straight to people’s homes.

Farm to Hand is making it easier for people who cannot access their local farmer’s markets to find local, fresh organic food by bringing ordered food right to their doors. 

“The difference between us and the farmers market is really just the convenience and the on-demandness,” Sean Mallia, the co-founder of the business, told CBC Radio’s In Town and Out.

“[Often times a] person wants to make the purchase but they don’t have the time on Saturdays to go to the farmers market. Everyone wants to eat local … so when it’s easy for them to do it, it just happens.” In Town and Out No time to drive to the farmer’s market but really want to eat local?

Connecting farmers with people 

The online platform allows farmers to list all their own products, and buyers can have the goods delivered. 

“What we really are trying to do is build that connection between farmer and consumer,” Mallia said. “When people fill up a cart … they’re not just filling a cart full of food, they’re filling a cart full of farmers and farms and their stories.”

Mallia said the aim is to connect people to the “vibrant food ecosystem” around them, and to local support farmers.

The virtual market is currently limited to the Ottawa area as a pilot project, but Mallia, 21, said the company is looking to expand.

“[We chose Ottawa because] Ottawa really cares. Ottawa really thinks about local [food] and thinks about sustainability,” he said. “It just made sense to come out of Ottawa.”

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Denley: Stonebridge and Mattamy show compromise is possible over development in Ottawa

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In Ottawa, development proposals too often end up in acrimony and trips to the provincial planning tribunal. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see Mattamy Homes and residents of the south Nepean suburb of Stonebridge work together to resolve a dispute in a way that’s likely to lead to a victory for both sides.

A little over a year ago, Mattamy created an uproar in the golf course community when it announced a plan to build 158 new homes on golf course lands and alter the Stonebridge course to make it shorter and less attractive to golfers. To residents, it looked like the first step in a plan to turn most, or all, of the course into housing.

It’s easy to see why residents were upset. When people pay a premium for a lot backing onto a golf course, there is certainly an implication that the lot will continue to back onto a golf course, but without a legally binding guarantee, it’s no sure thing.

Mattamy’s situation was understandable, too. This is a tough time to be in the golf course business in Ottawa. There are too many courses and not enough golfers so it’s no surprise that golf course owners would find the idea of turning a course into a housing development to be attractive, doubly so when the golf course is owned by a development company.

This is a tough time to be in the golf course business in Ottawa. There are too many courses and not enough golfers so it’s no surprise that golf course owners would find the idea of turning a course into a housing development to be attractive.

In the face of the local opposition, Mattamy withdrew its development application. When things cooled down, the company, the neighbours and the city started to work together on finding a solution that would satisfy everyone.

With the city-sponsored help of veteran planning consultant Jack Stirling, they came up with an unusual idea that will still let Mattamy develop its desired number of homes, in exchange for a promise to operate the course for at least 10 years and redesign it so that it remains attractive to golfers.

At the end of the 10 years, Mattamy can sell the course to the community for $6 million. To raise the money, the community working group is proposing a special levy to be paid by Stonebridge homeowners starting in 2021. The amount will range from $175 a year to $475 a year, depending on property values.

If the deal is approved by a majority of homeowners, Mattamy gets its development and a way out of the money-losing golf business. Homeowners get certainty about no future development. They can choose to keep the course going or retain the 198 acres as green space. It’s not a cheap solution, but it keeps their community as it is and preserves property values.

If a majority of homeowners backs the deal, both the levy and redevelopment will still need to be approved by the city, something scheduled for late this fall.

Stonebridge Community Association president Jay McLean was part of the working group that prepared the proposal and he’s pleased with the outcome. The community’s number one goal was preserving green space, and the deal will accomplish that, he says. Mattamy division president Kevin O’Shea says the deal “gives the community the certainty they are looking for.”

As useful as this deal could be for Stonebridge residents, it doesn’t provide a template to resolve a somewhat similar dispute in Kanata North, where the owner of the Kanata Lakes golf course wants to work with a group of local developers to replace the course with housing. In Kanata, a longstanding legal agreement saying the community has to have 40 per cent open space strengthens residents’ situation. In Stonebridge, there was no legal impediment to developing the whole course.

Golf course communities have become an anachronism in a city intent on intensifying within the urban boundary. Redeveloping those lands for housing is in sync with the city’s planning goals, but it’s not politically saleable to homeowners who thought they had a deal. If it goes ahead, the Stonebridge plan shows there is a reasonable middle ground.

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