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Trudeau sommé de produire des documents en vue du procès du vice-amiral Norman





La nouvelle a été révélée vendredi lors d’une nouvelle journée d’audience préliminaire dirigée par la juge Heather Perkins-McVey, au moment où le gouvernement Trudeau est aussi soupçonné d’ingérence politique dans le dossier de SNC-Lavalin.

L’ancien secrétaire principal de M. Trudeau, Gerald Butts, sa cheffe de cabinet, Katie Telford, le greffier du Conseil privé, Michael Wernick, et la cheffe de cabinet du ministre de la Défense Harjit Sajjan, Zita Astravas, ont également reçu des assignations à produire des documents.

Les documents sont réclamés par l’avocate de Mark Norman, Marie Henein, qui souhaite faire tomber l’accusation visant son client lors d’une requête qui doit être débattue en mars. Elle compte plaider que le dossier a fait l’objet d’ingérences politiques.

Si cette requête devait être rejetée, le procès du vice-amiral irait de l’avant cet été, et il pourrait se poursuivre en pleine campagne électorale fédérale.

« Ces requêtes sont pendantes depuis un certain temps », a expliqué Me Henein lors de l’audience. « Je veux simplement m’assurer que le matériel, qui pourrait être pertinent pour la requête en arrêt des procédures, se retrouve au sommet des priorités. »

Depuis que les audiences préliminaires ont commencé, l’automne dernier, l’avocate du vice-amiral Norman se bat pour obtenir des milliers de documents du gouvernement, susceptibles, selon elle, de prouver l’innocence de M. Norman.

Les avocats du gouvernement ont assuré vendredi qu’ils sont toujours en train de récolter l’ensemble des documents réclamés, mais n’ont pu dire quand ils pourraient être remis à la défense.

« Nous en avons fait une priorité, parallèlement à d’autres tâches prioritaires », a déclaré Robert MacKinnon, l’avocat du ministère de la Justice qui supervise le processus. « Je crois que vous pouvez comprendre que tout le monde travaille à pleine vitesse. »

Le bateau de ravitaillement Astérix construit par le chantier naval DavieLe navire Astérix a été converti en bateau de ravitaillement pour les Forces canadiennes par les travailleurs du chantier naval Davie. Photo : Radio-Canada

Le vice-amiral Mark Norman a été accusé d’abus de confiance en mars 2018, plus d’un an après avoir été suspendu de ses fonctions de commandant en second de l’armée canadienne et de commandant de la Marine.

La Couronne avance qu’il a divulgué des secrets du Cabinet aux dirigeants du chantier naval Davie de Lévis en novembre 2015 pour sauver un contrat de 668 millions de dollars visant à convertir le porte-conteneurs civil « Astérix » en navire de soutien pour la Marine.

Ce contrat avait été accordé à la Davie par le gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper, mais le gouvernement Trudeau, élu quelques semaines plus tôt, avait annoncé qu’il voulait revoir le tout.

Le contrat a finalement été maintenu et l’« Astérix » a été livré à la Marine en novembre 2017.

Un fonctionnaire qui travaillait pour l’Agence de promotion économique du Canada atlantique, Matthew Matchett, a été accusé la semaine dernière d’avoir divulgué illégalement des secrets du Cabinet à des parties non autorisées dans cette affaire. Il doit comparaître en cour le 5 mars.


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Dreessen: Ottawa has to shed its image as a town that doesn’t like fun





Ottawa has long held a reputation as a place that fun forgot. People who live here know that there is a lot to love about the city: its history, the Rideau Canal, proximity to parks and rivers, excellent clubs, museums and galleries all make Ottawa a great place.

More spontaneous fun things are harder to come by. We’ve created a process that makes it hard for small businesses to thrive and where the process is more important than the outcome.

In 2016, a local artist planned to give away free T-shirts celebrating Ottawa 2017 on Sparks Street, until the local Business Improvement Association (BIA) asked him to move, squashing a fun event to bring people together.

In 2017, business proposals to the NCC executive committee made a business case to open cafés at Remic Rapids, Confederation Park and Patterson Creek. In the summer of 2020, two opened; the Patterson Creek location, opposed by neighbours, has yet to see the light of day, though the NCC website indicates it may happen in 2021.

In each case, the cafés are only open for a few brief summer months. Despite the fact that Ottawa celebrates itself as a winter city, we can’t, somehow, imagine how people might want to enjoy a café in the spring or fall, or during winter months while skiing along the river or skating along the canal. Keeping public washrooms open, serving takeout and, yes, using patio heaters, could make these cafés fun additions to our city for most of the year.

More recently, Jerk on Wheels, a food truck with excellent Caribbean chicken and two locations, has run intro trouble. The one on Merivale Road continues, but the Bank Street location in Old Ottawa South has to close. According to social media posts from the owners, despite the business having all permissions in place, local restaurant franchises of Dairy Queen and Tim Hortons have objected to its presence.

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Ottawa businesses frustrated with slower pace of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen plan compared to other provinces





OTTAWA — As Canada plots its roadmap to reopening, each province is choosing their own path to reopen the economy and lift the COVID-19 restrictions.

Some are moving towards loosened restrictions at a faster pace than Ontario, which is frustrating for business owners who say they are ready to receive customers safely.

Patio season is upon the city, and at Banditos Restaurant on Bank Street, owner Matt Loudon is staging the large outdoor dining area to prepare for the summer rush. But the patio will have to remain closed until at least June 14, when it is expected Ontario will move into Step One of the three-step Roadmap to Reopen plan

“I hope they push it up a little bit,” says Loudon. “It’s beyond frustrating all the other provinces are opening up before us, we’ve been locked down longer than anybody else.”

Loudon, who owns two restaurants, says their outdoor seating has always been safe and that they have invested in added measures like sanitization stations and personal protective equipment for the staff. Indoor dining will continue to remain off limits in Ontario until Step Three. When patios do open, tables will be limited to four people. 

Unlike British Columbia’s four-pronged approach that began May 25. Residents in the province are now allowed to dine both inside and out, with a maximum of six per table, not restricted to one household.

Quebec will enter into its first step Friday, where outdoor dining will be available for two adults and their children, who can be from separate addresses per table. This applies to red and orange zones in the province. The curfew will also be lifted. 

In Gatineau, hair salons opened their doors to customers last week. Ten minutes away at Salon Bliss in Ottawa, all owner Sarah Cross can do is hope she can reopen sometime in July.

“Most people think that government funding covers all the bills but it’s far from it,” says Cross. Her upscale salon has nine chairs and over the course of the pandemic, in order to comply with regulations and keep staff and patrons, safe, only three chairs can now be filled. She says the hardest part is that the rules constantly change and vary in each region, adding it doesn’t make sense how one is better than the other.

“Our livelihood is dependent on what the decisions are made and if they were aligned with one belief system then I think they would have the trust of the public to follow these protocols.”

Many Ontario business owners say it’s not only a matter of necessity they open, but can do so safely. Infectious disease physician Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti agrees, and says the province needs to expedite its timeline.

“Especially with the fact that we are in the post vaccine era,” says Chakrabarti.

“It’s important for us to remember that we have been following this case count very closely for the last year and certainly we’ve had some experiences with opening things, especially with the second and third waves we have to remember that as we go forward now vaccines are a huge difference maker to the situation. Cases may go up but that doesn’t mean the most important thing will go up which is hospitalizations.”

Chakrabarti says while people will still get infected with COVID-19, with the reduced risk of hospitalization in large numbers there is no reason to restrict the community. He says while it’s not time for packed stadiums, it’s also not time for lockdowns and Ontario should re-think its strategy.

“We have to faith in the vaccines. We have seen in the other parts of the world like Israel, the U.K.,and the U.S. our neighbours to the south,” says Chakrabarti. “They are very safe and effective and our ticket out of this pandemic. We really should be taking that.”

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$2.9 million tax break for Ottawa Porsche dealership receives the green ligh





OTTAWA — Ottawa city council has given the green light to a $2.9 million tax break for a new Porsche dealership in Vanier.

Council voted 15 to 9 to approve a grant under the Community Improvement Plan initiative to build a Porsche dealership at the corner of Montreal Road and St. Laurent Boulevard.  The project by Mrak Holdings Inc., a.k.a. Mark Motors of Ottawa, would be built at 458 Montreal Road.

Under the Community Improvement Plan approved by Council, business owners can apply for a grant equal to 75 per cent of the municipal tax increase attributable to the redevelopment. A report says the goal of the Montreal Road Community Improvement Plan is to “stimulate business investment, urban renewal and property upgrades in the area.”

Coun. Catherine McKenney was one of nine councillors who opposed the tax break for the Porsche dealership.

“I agree with the Community Improvement Plan, but I know and what people see here is that this application does not meet the criteria,” said McKenney about the CIP proposal for the Porsche dealership.

“A car dealership, no matter whether it’s Honda, or a Porsche or a Volkswagen, it does not first off belong on a traditional main street. This does not the meet the criteria of a CIP, it will do nothing for urban renewal.”

Approximately 70 people gathered at the site of the proposed Porsche dealership Tuesday evening to oppose the tax grant.

Coun. Diane Deans told Council she doubted any councillors who supported the Community Improvement Plan when it was developed in 2019 thought it would support a luxury car dealership.

“I don’t think it fits. I don’t think a clear case has been made that this incentive is required for the Mark Motors project to move forward at all,” said Deans. “I don’t believe there’s a clear community benefit.”

Coun. Riley Brockington, Deans, Jeff Leiper, Carol Anne Meehan, Rick Chiarelli, Theresa Kavanagh, Keith Egli, McKenney and Shawn Menard voted against the tax break for the Porsche dealership.

“It will lead to a $17 million investment on Montreal Road, it will create about 20 jobs in that neigthborhood,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

Watson noted auto dealerships were not excluded from the Community Improvement Plan when approved by committee and Council.

A motion introduced by Watson was approved to use property tax revenue generated by the redevelopment for affordable housing.

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