Ottawa Election 2018

The municipal election is still a couple of months away (Oct. 22), but it’s time to be hearing from candidates about their plans for a greener Ottawa.

Ecology Ottawa has a useful tool to help understand candidates’ positions on environmental issues. They’re doing a survey of mayoral and councillor candidates about their plans for climate change action and an active and green city, and are posting the answers.

So far more than 50 candidates have answered the questionnaire, but more than 60 have yet to reply. You can help by contacting the candidates to ask them to make their views known by Friday Aug. 10.

There are additional questions that candidates need to be asked—about plans for cleaner rivers, and for restoring Chaudiere Falls and the islands, for example—but the survey covers a wide range of important issues.

“For example, in the last budget round, the city committed only $500,000 in new money for Energy Evolution while committing over 80 times that amount – $43 million – on new road building and expansion. …Environmental leadership is needed at City Hall. Ottawa needs a greener city council and the 2018 election on Oct. 22 is an important opportunity to make it happen.” – Robb Barnes, Executive Director, Ecology Ottawa in the Ottawa Citizen

See more about Ecology Ottawa’s municipal election campaign on their website.

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Town Hall in Ottawa on KM Pipeline

The recent heat wave is a reminder that climate change is contributing to more extreme weather events here in Ottawa as well as around the world.

All the more reason to focus on sustainable energy alternatives. With the federal government’s subsidy of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and the Ontario government pulling the plug on cap and trade and the green energy programs it funded, getting to sustainability is going to require a lot of people power.

Ecology Ottawa, 350.org and the Council of Canadians are hosting a community town hall on Canada’s investment in the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The event includes a discussion and a screening of Directly Affected: A Pipeline Under Pressure, a short film by B.C. filmmakers.

The town hall takes place at the Ottawa Public Library Main branch auditorium on Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 at 7 p.m. See the Facebook page for details.

Directly Affected: Pipeline Under Pressure from Directly Affected on Vimeo.

Welcoming Ottawa Week 2018

African Caribbean Canadian Multiculturalism Day Festival in Strathcona Park, WOW 2017 – D. Deby photo

Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) is an annual festival of arts, cultural, sports and other activities that celebrate the city’s diversity and the contributions of the many newcomers who have made Ottawa home.

This year’s WOW includes more than 75 free activities across the city from Monday, Jun. 18-Saturday, Jun. 30, 2018. They include photo exhibits, soccer and basketball tournaments, a community picnic, a barbecue and bike fest, the design of a community mural, “myth-busting” events about immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and several multicultural celebrations. The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival and the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival are also participating.

Other events of note:

Check out the WOW calendar for more events.

With one in four Ottawa residents having been born outside Canada, it’s more important than ever to embrace our diversity and get to know each other.

WOW is organized by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership in collaboration with 50+ partners across the city.

Walk for Akikodjiwan

All are welcome to join the Spirituality Is Unity: Walk For Our Sacred Site, Akikodjiwan on Friday, Jun. 22, 2018.

The Walk will bring Indigenous leaders, settler faith leaders and other community members together to reinforce the call for the restoration of this important site at the heart of Ottawa.

“Akikodjiwan—the Chaudière Falls and the Albert, Chaudière and Victoria islands—is a sacred site for Anishinaabe and many Indigenous peoples. It was publicly promised to be returned to Indigenous Peoples for a natural sacred site and public forest by all levels of government.

…The walk on June 22, 2018 is to remind the government of its promises and responsibilities towards Indigenous Peoples and to bring together all faiths in Ottawa to support the right of Indigenous Peoples to their sacred sites and ceremonies.”

from It Is Sacred website

Read more here: http://www.itissacred.ca/

The Walk starts at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jun. 22 on Victoria Island, Booth St. entrance. See details on the Facebook event page or Anishinabe (Algonquin) Elder Albert Dumont’s website.

Indigenous Knowledge and Cultures

Learn more about the unceded Algonquin territory we call home, and the people of these and neighbouring lands.

Indigenous Knowledge: What Does it Offer Human Beings?

At this talk, Dr. Lynn Gehl, Algonquin Anishinaabe, will share Indigenous knowledge and teachings, drawing from her book Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit. This free event is on Saturday, Jun. 23 from 4-6 p.m. at the Biblio Wakefield Library. Find details on the event page.

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Culture Night at The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health

Every Monday in June, The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health hosts an evening of cultural activities. Marie Wilson is featured on Monday, Jun. 18, and Albert Dumont on Monday, Jun. 25. (See above poster for details.)

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Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival 2018

Don’t miss the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. This annual festival celebrating the cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples offers an array of arts and cultural activities, food, music, family activities, a competition Pow Wow and much more. From Thursday, Jun. 21 through Sunday, Jun. 24 in Vincent Massey Park.

What Next?

Image via pxhere.com creative commons

Federally, we have a government that talks about addressing climate change, and wants to lead in addressing plastics waste—but is investing billions of Canadians’ dollars in subsidizing the private fossil fuel industry.

Ontario just elected a party to power whose leader has promised to eliminate the provincial cap-and-trade program designed to reduce carbon emissions and cut gasoline taxes—and who has previously spoken out against public transit and bike lanes.

Locally, Ottawa’s finance committee is recommending spending citizens’ money to clean up industrial pollution so a private developer can create a contested development on spiritually and culturally significant Algonquin lands; while residents are being evicted by a developer in another neighbourhood.

It’s enough to lead many of us to despair and cynicism.

What to do?

Stay connected, seek out others, look for small wins, keep the long view. Let me know your thoughts.

 

Doors Open Ottawa 2018

Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre – Doors Open Ottawa 2018 image

Doors Open Ottawa invites you to visit places of interest in Ottawa, many of which are not normally open to the public. See architecturally significant, historic buildings, interesting community spaces, sites of scientific and technological interest, embassies, gardens, centres of religion, and more. The annual, free event happens Saturday, Jun. 2 and Sunday, Jun. 3, with more than 140 sites taking part this year.

A few examples:

There’s a free shuttle bus between 50 of the buildings; some (downtown) are walking distance apart.

See the full list of participating sites, an interactive map, and a downloadable mobile app on the City of Ottawa’s Doors Open Ottawa website.