Ottawa mayoral contender leans on Nunavummiut .’s backs

Canada’s capital must be its brother’s keeper and welcome the new Larga Baffin facility

Ottawa mayor-wannabe, Diane Deans, appears to be bolstering her supporters at the expense of the well-being of Nunavummiut, who needs Larga Baffin’s services.

Deans is a councilor for the Ottawa area where Larga Baffin plans to build a new 220-room guesthouse for Nunavummiut to stay in when they head south for medical treatment.

According to news reports, Deans will run for mayor this fall. There will be a wide-open race to replace longtime mayor Jim Watson, who is no longer participating. Candidates can officially register from Monday to put their name on the ballot.

Deans threw cold water on Larga Baffin’s proposal at a virtual public meeting Tuesday, saying she objected to the plan “as it stands”.

That’s the politician’s code for ‘No… but I don’t want to be seen if I say no. And I want to leave some leeway.”

She objects to the height and how much space it would take up.

She sided with some residents who said Larga Baffin’s proposal is too large, has too many rooms and will create too much traffic in the immediate area, which is mainly residential.

The opposition is the classic not-in-my-backyard syndrome.

Deans’ opposition could be a hurdle for Larga Baffin. A thumbs down from the well-connected councilor could set the tone when the proposal comes to a vote at a planning committee meeting, and ultimately when it’s time for the city council to make a final decision.

Deans could even be mayors by then.

Her opposition could be a cynical political move, but a smart one. Larga Baffin users do not vote in Ottawa. Local residents do. In a busy mayoral race, she needs the support of people in her own neighborhood.

As the capital, Ottawa takes credit for housing national institutions such as the National Arts Center and National Gallery of Canada, which other Canadian cities do not have.

Not to mention the more than 100,000 high-paid federal officials who isolate the city from unemployment, ensure a high quality of life and ensure a steadily rising real estate value.

Ottawa thus benefits from being the capital of Canada. In return, there must be a willingness to be his brother’s keeper when it comes to providing services that other communities cannot.

It would be great if Nunavut’s healthcare infrastructure was robust enough to meet Nunavut’s needs at home. The reality, of course, is that it isn’t.

As Nunavut’s population grows and the demand for health services increases, it will be decades before the area will be able to meet those needs on its land.

Welcoming a new Larga Baffin building is one small thing Ottawa can do to help Nunavummiut.

Leave a Comment