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All In Hand

Here you'll find the sum total of Miss Vicky's Remarks thus far.

Child Care panel

Miss Vicky Mon Mar 31, 2008

Here's an interesting event taking place tomorrow evening.

Corporatization of Child Care
It’s not as easy as ABC

Date: Tuesday,April 1st
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Location: Ottawa City Hall A.S. Haydon Hall (Council Chambers) 110 Laurier Avenue West

Multinational child care corporations, including Australian giant ABC Learning, are moving into Canada. Corporate-run child care will damage high-quality, communitybased non-profit early learning and child care –and threaten the future of a pan-Canadian system. Learn more and find out what you can do at this free event.


• Deborah Brennan, Professor of social policy, University of New South Wales Social Policy Research Centre: Australia’s experience with corporatized child care.

• Steven Shrybman, partner, Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell: the trade dangers of foreign corporate child care.

• Lynell Anderson, Project Director, Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada and Associate, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: the importance of child care as a publicly-delivered social program.

Panel moderator: Ottawa child care activist Jamie Kass

Accessible event
Refreshments provided

- Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada
- Code Blue for Child Care
- Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
- Canadian Labour Congress
- Canadian Union of Public Employees



Miss Vicky Sun Mar 30, 2008

Miss Vicky is not even sure she has the energy for some good vitriol today, despite the fact that last week's fun at city hall provides plenty of material. Really.... can things down at Laurier and Elgin get any more ridiculous? Last year, they used one-time sources of funding - like the contingency fund set aside for snow removal - to get as close to Mayor Larry's zero percent tax increase promise as possible. At the time there was all kinds of hand-wringing about this approach, and promises that it would be just for that year, and that they'd be doing long range financial planning to make sure future budgets were sustainable.

Yeah. Right. Sustainable. So this year, despite some bizarre off-site strategic directions discussions spearheaded by the Mayor, not to mention a pricey consultant's report (again, the Mayor's idea) which made all kinds of claims about potential cost savings yet was roundly criticized by city staff and council-watchers alike, council again they made all kinds of hasty decisions in last-minute attempts to keep the inevitable tax increase as low as possible. Like deciding to leave the finalization of the budget to last week, ostensibly to find some mythical "efficiencies" in city spending. Instead of cost savings, however, the last few months have only added to the pressures on the city's budget. Some of this was out of council's control (like, oh, the snowiest winter in decades). But much was the (predicable) outcome of council's own hastiness back in December - like the parking meter debacle. And those efficiencies? Nowhere to be found, apparently. Yet they're too cowardly to do what's most needed - pass a tax increase that helps the city meet the financial pressures it is under.

Enter the provincial government, who set aside funds in their budget for municipal infrastructure. Welcome funds indeed, as Ontario's cities are struggling to keep up with repairs to crumbling infrastructure. Now it would have been nice to see the province take back more of the social programs that were downloaded to municipalities during the Harris Era, but that didn't happen. And I don't think the hypothetical funding that councillors had already worked into their budget came through either. But rather than take the infrastructure money and apply it to the purpose for which it was intended, we're going to use it to cover the costs of snow removal. Another one-time source of funding used to keep tax increases low.

It's all so embarrassing. And the worst part? We have two and a half more years of a divided, narrow-minded council and an incompetent mayor. Goodness knows what kind of mess they're going to make of the transit plan, or Landsowne Park. Miss Vicky shudders just contemplating it. Perhaps she dodged a bullet, not getting elected. Who'd want to be a part of this disaster?

Spring Haiku Challenge!

Miss Vicky Thu Mar 20, 2008

In honour of the first day of spring, Miss Vicky has decided to announce the first annual Offhand Remarks Spring Haiku Challenge! What better way to celebrate the much-anticipated arrival of thawing season than short, concise poetry?

here are a few to get you going:

Another March squall
Another shovel broken
Tax this, your honour!

my snow-filled backyard
finally becoming slush
bring on the sump pump

green rubber boots donned
striped umbrella dusted off
time to go splashing

one stroller buried
the other purloined last month
poor G will get soaked

Yellow bags blossom
like so many crocuses
Yay, GT is back!

Connaught's Stone Soup Cafe

Miss Vicky Thu Mar 20, 2008

Miss Vicky Received the following notice in her email this morning:

You are invited to…

Connaught's 3rd Annual Stone Soup Café
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

at Connaught Public School
1149 Gladstone Aveune

Savour a delicious & easy supper for the whole family…
o pick a bowl, decorated by one of our students, fill it with your favourite soup, and keep the bowl! - $5 (minimum donation)

o or, have soup in a regular bowl (not to take home) - $2

o select some bread (included in price)

o try a tasty featured soup: Ethiopian Lamb, Pea, Lentil, Hot and Sour, Chicken Noodle, and more!

o enjoy hot and cold drinks, desserts and popcorn at a reasonable cost

…and support Right to Play at the same time!

an international organization that uses sports and play to improve the lives of children in disadvantaged areas of the world!

*Don't forget to check out our raffle for some wonderful prizes*

Organized by the Connaught Parent Council


Snow and Tax Hikes

Miss Vicky Wed Mar 19, 2008

Who was it that said that only two things are certain, death and taxes? Ben Franklin? Clearly he hadn't spent much time on Ottawa, where we also have the certainty of messy weather in the winter. So it comes as no surprise that the city is massively overbudget for snow removal this year. Or at least, it should. Our Mayor and council, who during budget time pulled the shades, chucked away the Farmer's Almanac and wished upon a star that spring would come early and no one would notice they'd spent the usual contingency fund the city keeps for nasty winters such as these.... all in the name of Mayor Larry's foolish zero tax increase promise.

Now the Mayor is all up in arms about the cost overrun and paying our bills on time. Let's set aside the fact that he should have thought of this back during budget season and increased taxes accordingly. He didn't. So now he wants to impose a $50 flat tax on each household to pay for the cost of this year's snow removal. Others have already weighed in about what a boneheaded and unfair move this is. A regular reader wrote to Miss Vicky earlier to share his note to our councillor, in which he describes the flat tax as "a tax increase for lower income homeowners. This tax should be a percentage of of the assessed value of the property, not a flat tax", he says.

Miss Vicky is not entirely sure which is the best solution to our snow woes... it's not like the property tax system is fair as it stands, as assessments in downtown wards, where residents are less likely to be driving their SUVs to corner stores to buy milk, not to mention commuting to work, are more likely to be inflated, thanks to a ridiculous housing market. We get the tax hikes, plus we get to pay for the suburbanites' clear commuting routes. Oh, joy.

Now, Miss Vicky hates to say she told council so, but she, along with many other reasonable folks, pointed out the dangers of the short-term thinking that has characterized the two budgets passed by this council. Unfortunately, there's little satisfaction in being right, since we're all going to be $50 poorer... until the next time another ridiculous cost-saving scheme blows up in council's face and they have to stick it to us yet again with another unfair levy or user fee.

How are you liking your tax freeze now, Ottawa?

Edited to add this gem, another in a long line of screwups in the Mayor's office.

And while I'm at it

Miss Vicky Fri Mar 14, 2008

Mayor Larry was on Ottawa Morning this morning, talking about transit. Of course host Stu Mills could not resist asking him about yesterday's surprise press conference, where the Mayor revealed that a story was about to break in the Citizen that his ex-wife is (allegedly) soliciting funds from companies who do business with the city to help pay for the mayor's legal bills. Of course last night Mayor Larry told the media that the accusations against his wife are "patently untrue".

What got Miss Vicky's goat this morning was the Mayor's declaration (when asked about the Citizen article) that he doesn't read the Citizen. What?!?! Where the heck does he get his local news? CFRA? Isn't it kind of his job to know what folks are saying about municipal issues? Wouldn't he want to make sure he's up on pretty much all the local media? That he feels it is perfectly acceptable to ignore any of the major local news outlets is quite shocking... and it gives us a glimpse at the respect the Mayor has for the public (or his job for that matter). That would be, in Miss Vicky's opinion, not much at all.

Elmdale House!

Miss Vicky Thu Mar 13, 2008

Our new local, the Elmdale House Tavern, has finally launched their new website! Yay!

GT grand re-opening

Miss Vicky Wed Mar 12, 2008

Finally! The long-anticipated re-opening of Giant Tiger is this Saturday, March 15. We've all really missed the place since the fire in December, so come on out and let the staff know just how much we're glad to have them back.

The opening ceremonies and ribbon cutting will take place this Saturday at 8:45 am. The store officially opens at 9:00 am.

Miss Vicky is not entirely sure about the significance of the re-branding of the store as "GT Express", but she sure will be happy to have them back in business!

Comings and Goings - the snowbound edition

Miss Vicky Sat Mar 8, 2008

Miss Vicky is looooong overdue for a post about what's happening in the 'hood. Aside from a heck of a lot of shoveling, of course. Here's the scoop:

as reported by a reader, the former location of the Pizza Zone is now Vina del Mar, a Chilean restaurant. Miss Vicky has yet to check it out, but would welcome reviews from others!

Bridgehead has, apparently, put a hold on the Hintonburg plans for the time being... it was reported in the Citizen the other day that they are finding the landlords resistant to upgrading their properties. Well, duh. And you wonder why we have so many vacant storefronts in the 'burg? So, Cyclelogik it is for our immediate coffee needs. I only wish they would make their brew a little stronger. Hint, hint.

The For Lease signs are down at the property on the corner of Stirling and Wellington (the former Anything Goes/Sueno Salsero) and the former Scissor and Comb. Word has it Westboro's FabGear 64 is going in on the corner and some kind of men's jeans store (we're a little fuzzy on this one) will be in the other one. So get ready to stock up on your bowling shirts, straw hats and rock n roll gear, Hintonburg! Wee G can get a new Johnny Cash t-shirt to replace the onesie he's outgrown.

Speaking of Westboro retail refugees, Westboro Bakeries has opened up its new location for soup, sandwiches and Francesco's coffee, the 'Allo 'Allo Cafe, on Hinton, just north of Wellington West.

Furniture Habitat on Wellington near Parkdale, has a big for lease sign. We chatted with the owner; he's been in business for 38 years and is ready to move on. Wants to pass it on to a good, small retailer. Doesn't want a restaurant as he feels it would devalue his property. Miss Vicky figures it would be a good location for Retrotown Music, which is apparently shopping for a new spot as, like FabGear 64, they're being ousted from their current Westboro location to make way for the new Bourk's development (see the latest issue of the Kitchissippi Times for more on that story).

We also noticed a for lease sign for the lower level property currently housing the Weekend Reader. Not sure if they are closing or moving or what. This is unfortunate, as it's a great place to poke around.

In the arts scene, the Parkdale Gallery has extended the showing of winners of the Neighbourhoods in Motion photography exhibit until March 16. The Cube's new show, "Routes to Freedom", which celebrates the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, opened yesterday. Artist Patrick Mills has opened a new gallery on Hinchey (284-286 Hinchey). Visiting hours are 12-5, Thursday-Saturday.

And finally, the Ottawa Chamber Theatre Company is getting ready for its new production, Keith Reddin's "All the Rage", which will take place at the end of this month at the Elmdale House Tavern!

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