Ottawa's bright lights and dim bulbs of 2009 - Metro US

Ottawa’s bright lights and dim bulbs of 2009

Our holiday publishing schedule being what it is, this will be the last Urban Compass of the year, and our annual shoulder-check. So, that was 2009, eh? My boots have more miles and less polish on them, but you’re looking good.

This time last year, as you’ll hardly need reminding, we were bogged down in a 53-day transit strike, which stretched cruelly over Christmas. Mercifully, this year’s walkout by workers at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum has ended before the workers and their families had to face a similarly bitter holiday. Early in the new year, though, Algonquin College’s faculty union will hold yet another strike vote.

After Mayor Larry O’Brien’s acquittal this summer on charges of attempted bribery and purported influence peddling, much of our civic attention was captured by the future of Lansdowne Park, and that one is far, far from over. If you were suffering a little Lansdowne fatigue by fall, you weren’t alone. I almost ran over poor Clive Doucet in my haste to get out of yet another bloody press conference on Lansdowne Live.

The highlights of this year for me were almost always the people I met. When I outlined my discomfort with proposed Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) legislation, which would have made it easier to shut down crack houses and evict undesirables, I heard from my class act MPP, Ottawa Centre’s Yasir Naqvi, who had sponsored the bill. Over coffee, he explained his intentions and tried to address my concerns about due process and potential abuse.

This, it turns out, is very much Naqvi’s style. He also participated in a meeting organized by SCAN’s fiercest local opponents. I know a lot of politicians who balk at entering a room where a contrary opinion is likely to be heard.

I was also impressed by Ryan Kostiuk, a commerce major at Carleton, whom I photographed sliding with fellow first years down a watered, oiled tarp on a steep hill during frosh week.
What the picture didn’t show, and the story, edited for space, didn’t reveal, was that to join in, he first had to get out of his motorized wheelchair.

“I’m affected by cerebral palsy,” he told me. “I’ve had it my whole life but it’s never stopped me from what I want to do and I’m here to enjoy Carleton and see what I can bring to the table.”

Here’s to another year of bringing it, Ryan.

As for you, Metro reader, please accept my sincere thanks for walking with me. See you in 2010.

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