Ottawa Sun fires a salvo

Before I get to the latest breaking news here’s a mystery photo:
Where is this? Hints: notice the 45-year-old flag and the coffee cups hanging in the tree. (answer at the end of this post)
So, where do YOU get your Bells Corners news? Check as many as you like.

The Ottawa Sun has shut down the Capital City News (formerly the Pennysaver and the Smart Shopper), which is no great loss. It was just a bunch of regurgitated stale news from the Sun, along with a bunch of generic lifestyle articles aimed at the very lowest common denominator. It was supposed to be covering Bells Corners news, but I didn’t see a single scrap of local info.

Rick and Alex liked it though – they spent a good chunk of the Chiarelli/Lewis BIA tax buying space in the Capital City News. One example is the 12-page insert advertising some local businesses while giving Alex and Rick ample opportunities to promote themselves with fake photos – Rick pretending to ride a bike! – and wretched writing.

Rick even got to write a column in the Capital City News just before it crashed and burned. He used the space to lecture residents – the cheeky Vox Fox wagged his finger at us for not coming come out to participate in his fake photo op events. Most of Rick’s doublespeak is self-congratulatory pap, and then he has the nerve to pose as a champion of democracy, transparency and public consultation! You gotta admit – Rick has chutzpah!
A citizen struck back:

“This is in response to Coun. Rick Chiarelli’s column in your Nov. 15 edition “Municipal Democracy needs 24/ 7 Attention.”

I wholeheartedly agree with the column’s premise and suggest if Mr. Chiarelli feels so strongly that he lead the council charge in performing “real” taxpayer public consultations.

The mayor’s office supposedly consults with councillors and staff then the budget document including all costing and tax increases (we never see a decrease) is for all intents and purposes finalized, then we have public consultations.

I’m sorry but this whole affair is a fraud. Do you seriously think that the mayor et al will redo the budget after public consultation?

The final series of votes happen a week or so after the public is talked down to.

The public consultations are really just smoke and mirrors.

Rick, practice what you preach and then you’ll have a bit more credibility.”

Ian Stewart, Ottawa
I’m not the only one asking the question – why is it okay for Rick to take money from the developers, the consultants, the big businesses and numbered companies while voting at council for overblown projects that fill their pockets and screw the taxpayer?
Thirty-two community associations are challenging councillors like Rick to clean up municipal politics and turn down donations from developers.

According to a story in the Ottawa Sun by Jon Willing, council’s planning boss (a politician who accepts money from developers) said with a straight face that he doesn’t believe that political decisions can be bought at City Hall.

Along with stopping campaign contributions from the development industry, the 32 community associations (none of them from Bells Corners) want City Hall to increase transparency on planning decisions.

Their federation has called on bureaucrats and politicians to stop hiring private planning consultants to approve applications and quit committing to zoning changes in secret pre-consultation meetings. They’re also calling for the city to make sure the blanket zoning bylaw jives with the official plan.
The demise of the Capital City News is good news for the EMC. Now that they corner the BC market for this type of “free” newspaper they’ll get more advertising and will maybe even hire more real journalists. Will the EMC do a better job of covering Bells Corners news? Something other than RC photo ops and press releases?

There is reason to be hopeful – the EMC has a crack rising-star journalist in Laura Muellar, and Jennifer McIntosh made a good start with her paean to Rick and Alex in the most recent edition of the EMC. At least it contains some new info: Alex’s “marketing research” fiasco cost $38,000 ($11,000 out of the businesses’ pockets, with the taxpayer picking up the rest).
Rick was also quoted as pointing out the advantages of plastering advertising all over the railway bridges as part of the “beautification” of Bells Corners. He promised to bribe us with our own money, a favourite tactic of most career politicians. Alex vowed to turn Bells Corners into a “one stop shop” which doesn’t even make sense.

The EMC should also put some money into home delivery of their ad-stuffed rag. It’s no wonder most residents of Bells Corners don’t even know it exists – would YOU want to do the job for a couple of dollars an hour?

The Ottawa Sun doesn’t like you getting Bells Corners news for free – they want to sell it to you, and they want to put their spin on everything. But it appears that they won’t be taking legal action against this blog any time soon. Phew! Here’s the correspondence:

From: Don Wilcox
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 2:55:43 PM
Subject: Important: Possible copyright violation

Hello Sir:

We noticed that your Bells Corners blog post about break-ins in the community includes a photo which was taken by the Ottawa Sun and published in our paper and on our website.
The Sun claims copyright on all our stories, images, video, etc. and we diligently protect that copyright. Anyone wanting to re-publish an image must have prior written permission and usually must pay a republishing fee.

Many people are not aware that they cannot just download images from the web and re-post them — nor can they simply “cut and paste” articles, etc. from other sites.

I would ask one of two things, please.

Either have the image removed from your blog, or credit the Ottawa Sun and provide a link through to the story on which it appeared about swarmings in the Ottawa region (

Thanks very much for your prompt attention to this matter.

Don Wilcox
Sr. Online Editor
From: “le hibou”
To: “Don Wilcox”
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 8:47:58 PM
Subject: Re: Important: Possible copyright violation

Hi Mr. Wilcox,

My Bells Corners blog is pretty popular* and I think I drive a fair bit of traffic to the Sun site, but I realize that I have to, of course, obey the law.

There was already a link through to the Sun article but I made it explicit.

I also credited the photographer and the Sun.

Hope this is okay, and thanks for letting me keep the picture there.

From: Don Wilcox
To: le hibou
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 7:26:38 AM
Subject: Re: Important: Possible copyright violation

Hello Craig:
Thanks very much for this. We don’t want to restrict folks who have localized blogs from being able to share our coverage, but obviously we have to be careful.
Appreciate the response and the links.
In future, if you stick with this format and a brief synopsis of the information all should be well.
Have a good day.

Don Wilcox
Sr. Online Editor
Hi Don,

I guess the position of online editor will become more and more important as online revenues increase and the industry evolves.

I used to subscribe back in the days when Earl was kicking shins, but, no offence, the paper has gone steadily downhill ever since Pierre Karl took over, and I hate the thought of contributing to his bottom line.
But I’m going to have to bite the bullet and reactivate my Sun subscription because of the pay wall. I’m not griping about it – fair is fair. The Sun still has some great writers with fire in their bellies and ink on their fingers, and the more local news the better.

I’m not saying PKP is a bad guy, but many journalists have been screwed by him, and some of them are friends of mine.

A paper with a point of view is great, but there still has to be some balance, no? Some fair play?

Don’t take it personally – I’m just ranting here, and, to be frank, I’m still a bit pissed at Rick and Doug Hempstead that my previous blog was shut down a few days before the last municipal elections. That was DEFINITELY a very dirty trick. One of Rick’s many nasty-but-brilliant black ops.

I’m not REALLY pissed – it was just politics the way it’s played these days, and I was flattered that Rick would go to such trouble to swat a small fly.
Anyway, have a nice day, and thanks again for treating me fairly – I’d hate to have a Bells Corners community blog shut down again or fend off yet another threat of a lawsuit. The last one came from the Paradise “Spa” in Bells Corners – it was just bluster but it sure got my attention when the well “connected” owners claimed to have Lawrence Greenspon ready to pounce.
hi-khawaja-852-8colLG Ride for Dad
Lida Chiarelli tried too. Don Robertson and a few others had a crack at it too, but I’m still on the job.
* Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 8.29.51 PM
We’re lucky to have such a great library in Bells Corners!

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5 Responses to Ottawa Sun fires a salvo

  1. wanderer says:

    Glad to hear none of the above mentioned have been able to shut you down (excepting one).

    We desperately need to keep this blog going – we get a lot more Bells Corners news here than from anywhere else, and we can comment on it as well. We can get a load off our minds, and publicly express our opinions on anything blog-worthy, with feedback from others.

    Keeping RC’s feet to the fire is almost a full time job, and this blog is doing is spectacularly well at that as well as with the BIA gang.

    Thanks to Craig, and all the responders for your input, news, opinions etc.

    I’ve been commenting less lately, I see. I’ll have to get back on the ball again :>). Sometimes family illnesses and such prevent me from spending as much time on the computer as I’d like.

    Hopefully the New Year will be better.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

  2. wanderer says:

    PS – I forgot to mention that your dealing with the Ottawa Sun was spectacular – good work! You were very civilized. Like you, I enjoyed the Sun more when the shin-kicker was around – I sure miss him!

    I didn’t realize that the blog had been shut down for a few days prior to the elections. I must have missed that. Congrats on your stats as well – it shows how important your presence is in Ottawa.

    Don’t ever let the b-st-rds get you down – with all your followers backing you, you’re going to be here for a long, long time.

    Cheers, Craig !!

  3. ottawaowl says:

    Thanks, wanderer, you’re exaggerating quite a bit, but I don’t mind.

    I recently got a very nasty anonymous comment (almost certainly from the last hard-core Rick supporter left on the LVCA board) so it’s nice to have something to balance that.

    Her bottom-line opinion was that I’m just a crabby old fart and this blog is sh*t.

    I’m delighted when something goes wrong in Bells Corners, she writes. I don’t support the troops and I’m soft on Quebec.

    This person wouldn’t be so vitriolic if she didn’t have something to hide.

  4. margaret says:

    WOW !!!! I WON …. #1 comment maker …. LMAO

    all I can say is that if it wasn’t for you … ok what you post sometimes is ??? … but without it we wouldn’t know anything about our community

    EMC – it’s a sometimes thing and rarely has anything about BC – it’s mostly Barrhaven
    I do read the OTHER council/mayor/school trustee columns – just to find out what’s going on

    the other paper was a sad rag … nothing worth reading when it was delivered

    unfortunately BC is that island that gets attached to whatever or wherever …. and because of that we often get lost or forgotten

    in the same way the community has been forgotten in amongst the BIA stuff … who will really dictate the success of business in this area? let’s start with the community that is is part of

    happy/merry/healthy/joyful/blessed CHRISTMAS

  5. zebra says:

    I find that the EMC has zip about BC.

    It’s ALL about BBQ Barrhaven, not a whit about BC apart from the odd lame photo.

    Now Barrhaven has the paper all to itself!

    – Maybe we should build a security fence on our southern border to keep those Barrhaven barbarians and their sleazy politicians out of Bell Corners. Rick claims that he was born in College ward but in reality he’s Barrhaven born and bred.

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