The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on June 25, 2002 · 52
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The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · 52

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
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(1 The City Editorial page D4 THE OTTAWA CITIZEN TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2002 OUR TOWN When in doubt, try a belly laugh ? . . - 1 ... . . .; t ..." " " ' . - ? . t" 1 ' ..-.v. -. . . CHRIS MIKULA, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN Vanessa Simmons Vanessa Simmons is getting ready for the volleyball party of the summer in Ottawa She's one of the most enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers with the HOPE volleyball tournament, to be held at Mooney"s Bay on July 13. Ms. Simmons has volunteered her exper tise in communications and marketing for seven years. The daylong event was founded in 1981 and has raised more than $4 million for community organizations. The tournament is sponsored by Catena Networks and attracts about 10,000 players. EDITORIALS Duck boats too dangerous The drowning of four people in the Ottawa River on Sunday, two of them children, was tragic. The accident was especially heart-wrenching because it was foreseeable. The Lady Duck, which was carrying 12 people, was already under investigation for a sinking accident last year, in which no one was hurt. The vessel's owners initially denied that the craft sank with passengers on board during that incident. But this is not just about this boat and these owners. The Lady Duck, a tour bus that converts to a boat, is not the first of its kind to sink. These boats have raised safety concerns across North America, yet they continue to operate. In the last three years, at least four duck boats have sunk: in Arkansas, Milwaukee, Seattle and now Ottawa. There is a common theme in the eyewitness accounts: shock at the speed at which these boats go down. They sink in seconds. We don't yet know what caused the Lady Duck to founder, but, in the words of captain Larry Harper, "the boat sank extremely fast" There's a simple reason: they are very heavy. These boats are buses, too, so they contain a heavy automobile chassis. They have little buoyancy. They usually have roofs or canopies that can trap passengers inside while the boat sinks like a rock. In May 1999, a Second World War-era amphibious boat, used for tours, sank in Arkansas, killing 13 people. That disaster triggered a U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigation. The board released its conclusion in April 2002: Amphibious boats have serious safety problems. The report recommends increasing the buoyancy of duck boats through extra flotation devices, for example. It also urges boat operators, in the meantime, to remove canopies, and to make their passengers wear life-jackets. In Canada, the Transportation Safety Board is still looking into the lady Duck's accident last year. It will also investigate Sunday's accident. It should go further and, with Transport Canada, make a decision about the overall safety of duck boats. The solution may be simply to educate the public. It may be to create a specific certification process for duck boats, and to adopt the U.S. safety board recommendations as mandatory prerequisites. Or, it may be to ban duck boats. Meanwhile, owners of duck boats should remove the canopies, make their passengers wear life-jackets, be very careful to keep water from leaking into the boats, and look for ways to increase buoyancy. This must not happen again. Ottawa Citizen An unlikely political fight in Sandy Hill Action Sandy Hill is trying to block a new pub from opening. This a baffling thing for a community association to oppose. The property, at the corner of Lauri-er Avenue and Nelson Street, was the Dunvegan pub until last fall. The new tenant, Arthur Taillon, wants to make it into a pub with a full menu, patio, and an emphasis on sports. Action Sandy Hill, led by Peter Mar-witz, says the new bar will attract too much traffic and a noisy, rowdy clientele. Mr. Taillon says more than half his clients will be students from the nearby University of Ottawa. He says he's hoping to create a local pub, not a city-wide attraction. Mr. Marwitz does not oppose the Royal Oak, a couple of blocks down Laurier, where patrons drink beer, eat and watch sports on TV. Nor does he oppose the Moon Dog Pub and Grill, across the street from the proposed Ox Head. Both places have patios. Communities need associations to fight for their real needs, not against legitimate local businesses. Ottawa Citizen .4,- -v y Charles Gordon The Gang of 8 are meeting here in June. They will put themselves inside a small cocoon. Though they talk about democracy, This is sheer hypocrisy. They might as well be meeting on the moon. Raging Grannies song, sung to She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain. 'Di iversity of tactics" has become the Achilles heel of the protest mo vement, coming to stand not only for window-breaking and rock-throwing but for the tolerance of window-breaking and rock-throwing. It has been said a number of times by people sympathetic to the cause that protest leaders are doing it and themselves harm by refusing to disavow violence. Those who say that run the risk of being lumped in with neocons who fawn on big corporations, but it's a risk that needs to be taken. A particularly intelligent statement on this came last week from Ottawa city councillor Alex Munter, whose radical credentials are impeccable. "Leaving the door open to violence will doom citizens' demonstrations and will dissuade huge numbers of people from being involved in the campaign to question globalization," Munter wrote last week to an anti-globalization e-mail discussion group. He asked a question that should have been asked long ago namely why thousands more people have not participated in recent demonstrations. The answer should have been obvious: "People who are worried about what globalization means for our environment or health-care system are willing to stand up and be counted, but they do not want to be standing next to someone throwing rocks. If violent actions against individuals or institutions are an acceptable part of the protest, then it sets the tone for the protest and people do not feel safe participating." Despite the fact that the benefits of globalization are still dubious, and despite the fact that many people in the world share that view, the anti-globalization movement has not grown in influence in recent years, after a strong beginning, and we can attribute some of that to the violence associated with protests. That should not discredit every protester or every protest message. The overwhelming majority of those who will demonstrate here this week are thoughtful people dedicated to peaceful change and peaceful demonstrations. They do not deserve to be called, as they were called in a Southam editorial last week, "a loose mix of idealistic undergrads, attention-seekers, zanies, unrefor-med Trotskyites, anarchists, thrill-seekers and the well-intention dupes Lenin called "useful idiots.'" Do you recognize yourself in any of that? Do you recognize your neighbours, who marched in Quebec City last spring or during the G20 meetings here in November? Do you recognize any of the teachers, environmentalists, church members, senior citizens, parents and children, all of whom have been quite visible participants in demonstrations, had critics bothered to look? The problem for those marchers is that nobody can see past the violence. Whether the violence is sparked by a handful of anarchists or by repressive police tactics is beside the point. The point is that it hurts a good cause. The protests have become ritual. A march, a confrontation with police, rocks, teargas. Soon even the violence won't get news coverage. Something new is needed. Many anti-globalizers said as much after the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil in February. They spoke of the need for solutions, rather than just marches. Laughter is worth trying, too. Look at it: Here are the leaders of the most powerful nations in the world, spending, on security, millions of dollars that are desperately needed by the poor people of the world. From behind closed doors and high walls, the leaders emerge to tell the poor people of the world, kept at a safe distance by fences and troops, how much is being done for them. You don't throw rocks at that. You throw pies. The Raging Grannies, who have been all over the protest scene and have never thrown a rock, have the right idea. Do it with songs, do it with jokes. In the long run, no politician survives being laughed at. Whatever the G8 leaders come up with this week could have been decided in a conference call, probably at special rates. You might as well laugh at that. Laugh and nobody gets hurt except where it counts. The Citizen's Charles Gordon writes here on Tuesdays. i HOWTO CONTACT US We welcome suggestions for the photographs on this page, which highlight people who have made special contributions to community life. We also welcome opinion articles on local matters or personal experiences of interest to other readers. Contact: Patrick Dare, City Editorial Pages Editor, at 596-3718. E-mail: Fax: 596-8458. Mail: City editorial page, 1101 Baxter Rd.,, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2C3M4. G8 SUMMIT A PROTESTER'S VIEW (I) We take to the streets because we want our voices to be heard is, . THE OTTAWA CITIZEN Raging Granny Ria Heynen plans to participate in Thursday's peaceful march. The following are edited excerpts from an interview with Ria Heynen, 64, a long-time peace and environment activist, and a member of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade and Raging Grannies. She plans to protest through marches, street theatre and a "revolutionary knitting circle" in Ottawa this week, while G8 leaders discuss Africa and other issues in Alberta. She was interviewed by Kate Heartfield, of the Citizen's editorial board. By Ria Heynen Wednesday is the day that "diversity of tactics" will be used. I'm not saying it's violent at all, (but) certainly I don't come from the point of view that many young people are coming from. I can see the way they think. I wouldn't do it myself but I'm not condemning them at all So, that day I will not really participate in the snake marches but I will be there as a witness. Then on Thursday, there is the big (peaceful) march,"i,ooo Flags." I will participate in that and the Grannies will go in it as a group together with other women's groups. Personally, I would have a very difficult time even to kick a trash can, but I don't want to condemn anyone. I have children who grew up and when they look around their world, they see things that are so absolutely wrong. And their way of dealing with those issues is different than mine. I've heard African people speak from the civil society level from different African countries, and their message is: If we are empowered, we will find a way, we will build it up. It has to be building from the bottom up and not from the top down. Personally, also being in environmental issues, I cannot see that global trade is going to save our planet. I find it very scary, all this going back and forth it's not sustainable as far as I can see. In a direct way, ice are the cause of a lot of misery inAfrica. We have to look at our own, sustainable strengths in our own communities and strengthen that. Not only is it good for the planet, but for human beings. I feel that debt is a terrible thing for the African people. That debt has been paid over and over and over and I would like to turn it around and say, now, western countries pay your debts to Africa. We are indebted to them. I want to say, as a Canadian, what I would push my government to do is forgive the debt completely and to increase aid with no strings attached. That is public money in a sense, so in that way I contribute to their betterment. It is just dreadful how our government can allow the big corporations, for example the mining industry in Africa, to continue to bring such extreme, abhorrent, deplorable devastation, not only the environment, but to people. Because of the mining industry, thousands upon thousands have been displaced. These are Canadian companies. Canada does not set real strict rules at alL They close their eyes, so we are directly the cause of so much misery to people, and also the cause of so much damage to the environment We shouldn't forget we all live on the same planet. In a direct way, we are the cause of a lot of misery. The "structural adjustment programs" have as a result the privatization of electricity, water, education, health things that most Canadians are very worried about and do not want But we allow it to happen in other countries. It's our doing that causes it. Our government should speak out and we should speak out That's why we're making briefs and reports and presentations to government. For years and years we've been doing it. We are not heard enough. That's why I'm in the streets. " 1 ' " " . . . . . , J

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