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Today's letters: Karlsson's departure, Ford's powers, LRT questions



Friday, Sept. 14: The Karlsson trade dominates talk in Ottawa, though Doug Ford comes a close second. You can write to us too, on these or other topics, at:

Erik Karlsson bids Ottawa an emotional farewell Thursday, after his trade to the San Jose Sharks was announced.

Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Sens couldn’t have made a worse deal

Re: ‘A sad day for me and my family,’ Sept 15.

The Erik Karlsson trade is the worst deal in the Senators’ history – and there have been some really bad ones. If a team is unable to rebuild around the likes of Karlsson, then it never will. Time for a new owner who is willing to pay for talent.

Go, Leafs, go.

Ken Donaldson, Manotick

Karlsson cried crocodile tears

The Sens should have traded Erik Karlsson to Las Vegas instead of San Jose in exchange for Vegas’s incredibly successful first-year front office and coaching staff.

It’s sad to see Karlsson go; he’s a great guy and superb hockey player. On the other hand, and pardon my naïveté, where is the gratitude for the Sens taking a chance on him and drafting him? Am I being unrealistic, thinking he should’ve accepted that reported $88-million, eight-year extension? In reality, just how much does he need? 

Karlsson is sad beyond comprehension. Sure; one is reminded of Wayne Gretzky’s crocodile tears when he left Edmonton for L.A.’s greener pastures.

In the trade engineered by Pierre Dorion, Ottawa got zero regular players with NHL experience. Not even a fourth-line player. Instead, developing youngsters, resulting in no playoffs for years. And Sens’ brass, with Eugene Melnyk at the helm, wonder why attendance is down and likely to continue declining.

Jacques Dufault, Orléans

Sens’ trade was best they could do

The incessant whining from so-called Sens’ fans is misguided. Erik Karlsson’s teary goodbye is disingenuous. General Manager Pierre Dorion offered him a contract to stay in Ottawa long-term. Karlsson turned it down and left the team no option but to trade him.

The value of Karlsson depreciated, as everyone in the hockey world knew he would be traded before training camp opened. Dorion did well to get what he did.

Forward Chris Tierney is a legitimate No. 2 centre, whom the Sens will need with Jean-Gabriel Pageau hurt. At least one of the prospects will make the Sens’ opening day roster and the draft picks lay the foundation for the future. 

Eugene Melnyk may not be the model owner. However, you buy a ticket to be entertained … and this team of young, fast and skilled players will be entertaining.

David Thompson, Ottawa

Can we please move on?

What a relief it is to know that the excessively tedious Erik Karlsson saga has finally come to an end. The way the media kept the story alive for months and fuelled endless speculation increasingly made it sound like his being traded was not only inevitable, but counted on in many circles. 

Did the subject deserve anywhere near as much column space and air time as was dedicated to it? I hope radio talk shows will find some other new topics to explore and that Karlsson will finally get a haircut. 

Frank LeClair, Ottawa

Trading away a superstar is crazy

“Rebuild” has been the buzz word for the Senators over the past week, and I am fully in agreement – with one important proviso: that the first people to go are owner Eugene Melnyk and General Manager Pierre Dorion. Trading away a superstar in the prime of his career during a rebuild is pure craziness.

Ray Dawes, Barry’s Bay

Bring Steve Yzerman home, please

Re: Steve Yzerman stepping down as Lightning GM, Sept. 11.

When I read that headline, I began to dream. My dream was that Ottawa native Steve Yzerman was coming home to head up a group of investors who would buy the Senators from Eugene Melnyk. And Stevie Y would run it like an NHL team.

Joe Spence, Ottawa

Only the courts protect our rights

Re: Doug Ford listens to ‘the people’ in Toronto, but not in Ottawa, Sept. 11.

I have no say or interest in Toronto municipal matters. Still, I was surprised by the judicial decision to nullify the law reducing the size of Toronto’s city council. I figured the decision would be appealed. I expected that the court was giving time to allow political tempers to calm and to allow the government to canvas on the issue more broadly.

I was dumbfounded by the premier’s decision to cite the “notwithstanding” clause to overturn the judge’s decision. The government is showing that it will take major decisions without any consultations when it judges that it will not be able to obtain broad backing.

Citizens should remember that, in our system, the government does not protect our rights. Neither the police nor the army can prevent the government from stealing citizen rights through policy. It is the court, and only the court, that can judge for the citizen and against the government. It is the court that protects the ordinary citizen against arbitrary government decisions. It is the court that protects the citizen against a majority or even a plurality of voters who wish to deprive individuals or groups of their rights.

One would hope that if a court judged that citizen rights were at stake, the government would respect our Constitution sufficiently to make its case to the court that such rights were not threatened, or that the particular benefits at risk were not in fact rights. One would hope that at the very least, if our rights and freedoms were to be overridden, that the province would do so because of an issue of great importance to the entire province, for which action needed to be taken immediately. But this is not the case here.

It is not judges’ sinecures that are at risk, but our rights, as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I appeal to my fellow citizens to remember on Voting Day which MPPs stood up for your rights and which did not. Remember, too, to count the number of times they took away your rights between now and then.

Walter Hughes, Ottawa

A clause that serves oligarchs

I have no doubt that President Donald Trump will be contacting Premier Doug Ford regarding the notwithstanding clause. Both have trouble digesting democracies with constitutions and rules of law. The notwithstanding clause would be a boon for would-be oligarchs.

Paul Kavanagh, Ottawa

Ford follows the Duterte model

Premier Doug Ford’s reaction to the court ruling on cutting Toronto city council raises important questions about Ford and our democracy (or lack thereof).

First, in complaining that an appointed judge would overrule a democratically elected politician, is Ford in effect recommending the model practised in The Philippines, where the head of government (Rodrigo Duterte) has become judge, jury and executioner? If independent, learned jurists are not to rule on whether laws are being followed or broken, who will?

Second, Ford can at best claim to be elected by what passes for democracy in Ontario. Our perverse first-past-the-post electoral system has handed the Conservatives 100 per cent of the power with only 40 per cent of the popular vote. If Ford did not have a false majority of seats, the other parties would keep his more radical and destructive tendencies in check – and it is clear that he has such tendencies.

The majority in Ontario, the 60 per cent who did not vote for Ford’s party, have been robbed of any voice in government. Proportional representation is the only viable solution to the dysfunctional and hyper-partisan politics that has emerged in Canada, the United States and elsewhere.

There is good news though: The Greens and NDP in British Columbia will soon hold a referendum on PR; three of the parties in the ongoing Quebec election are committed to electoral reform; and PR won a referendum in Prince Edward Island last year, though the provincial government there has ignored the result.

David Fraser, Ottawa

If Ford can do it, so can Trudeau

Since the government of Ontario is so keen on the letter of the Constitution, I trust it wouldn’t object to the use of the federal power to disallow provincial legislation under the Constitution Act 1867?

Karl Salgo, Orléans

Ford should look at his own family

Premier Doug Ford is apparently so incensed about the ineffectiveness of Toronto Council during his single term there that he absolutely must pass Bill 5 right now. Assuming he is correct about the ineffectiveness of Toronto Council during 2010-2014, he is blaming the number of city councillors while ignoring the far more obvious reason – which is that his brother, Rob Ford, was the mayor.

The province clearly has the authority to adjust the number of councillors in cities. However, using the notwithstanding clause to run roughshod over Torontonians’ charter rights, when Bill 5 could be adjusted to take effect at the next city election, is simply petty and vindictive.

Mark Christopher, Nepean

Premier should avoid the ‘nuclear’ option

Re: Ford suggests Ottawans want smaller city council, Sept. 11.

There is no question that municipal councils can be overly political, often tribal, and sometimes out of touch with what the ordinary person wants. Doug Ford, though, is a bull in a china shop. If he does start pushing the Section 33 button of the Constitution, the notwithstanding clause, it might become his obsession, and a very dangerous one at that.

Section 33 was meant to be a very last-resort mechanism (that probably, in hindsight, should never have been included in the first place). If Ford cuts the size of Toronto council, then other Ontario city councils will surely follow, and Ottawa won’t be immune. Section 33 is the nuclear red button that should never be used; once it’s looked on as simply another convenient, manipulative political tool, it will be pushed endlessly. Perhaps governments should think of amending Section 33.

Unfortunately, the premier of Ontario is not a Lincoln, he’s a Ford.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

Ontario’s under tyranny and despotism

Doug Ford received 40 per cent of the votes and yet got 60 per cent of the seats in Ontario. This means 60 per cent of the voters have zero influence in government.

No wonder only 58 per cent of registered voters bothered to vote. So the new Ontario government is supported by 23 per cent of the eligible voters. Now, Ford is going to run the first government in Ontario to use the notwithstanding clause to over-ride the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is truly tyranny and despotism.

Eric Scheuneman, Maberly

Ford has no mandate for this

Re: The notwithstanding clause has always been like an unexploded bomb. In Ontario, it just went off, Sept. 10.

Thank you, Andrew Coyne, for raising the question: As Doug Ford only received 40 per cent of the vote, and reducing the size of Toronto Council was not mentioned in the run-up to the election, how on Earth can Ford state that he has a mandate to ram this bill through using the notwithstanding clause?

The nickname Doug Trump is surely going to stick to the premier like glue well into the future.

Roger Webber-Taylor, Ottawa

Now is the time to appreciate loved ones

Re: How Paul Dewar is living and dying with love and community, Sept. 8.

Thank you, Paul Dewar and Ottawa Citizen, for sharing the many notes and letters printed in last Saturday’s paper.

More importantly, thank you for the reminder to say it now. Now is the time to say, “I love you.” It is now that one should express thanks, appreciation and gratitude to those who have guided, supported and inspired. Perhaps, too, now is the time to say, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”

Why wait for those final few days, in the midst of machines, palliative drugs and sterile surroundings, to say what could have been said in the warmth and comfort of private conversation? Say it now!

Susan Buller, Ottawa

City is right to delay LRT opening

Re: Revelation about LRT delay came after bus route changes, mayor says, Sept. 12.

While it is disappointing that the LRT opening has been delayed, I’m pleased that city staff are insisting the line be complete, especially the testing, before the launch. Sticking with the November date might have helped the incumbents in the municipal election, but residents and the next council could have been left with another Phoenix disaster to deal with.

Along with this, I hope Transpo staff are taking a close look at the long-term viability of the missing computers to ensure adequate spares are available on-site and future replacement needs can be met. OC Transpo may not be responsible for maintenance, but it will have to deal with any train shortages.

Jeff Reeves, Kanata

Stop shoving LRT down our throats

Here we go again: another delay in handing over the keys to the LRT project. For the last few years, the city and OC Transpo have been trying to shove LRT down our throats. We are getting fed up with it.

OC Transpo then goes ahead and changes bus routes, saying it will streamline service, without public consultation. We don’t need LRT.

Barry Curran, Ottawa

Questions on LRT go unanswered

Re: Ottawa LRT construction received numerous fails from city building inspectors, documents reveal, Sept. 12.

Jon Willing reports some interesting items on the fine to be imposed on the Rideau Transit Group (RTG).

RTG “avoided” a fine of $1 million earlier this year. “The penalty didn’t apply” as RTG notified the city appropriately. Costs of retaining current services then were more than $10.8 million. Where were these “savings” found, I’d like to know? Who is going to pay for the current failure? We all know who pays in the end.

Willing reports that on Aug. 29, Mayor Jim Watson called a meeting because he “wasn’t satisfied with the progress of construction.” That is 16 days after “the city notified council on Aug. 13 that RTG was confident in the Nov. 2 handover.” Really? On Aug. 17, another report said otherwise. Somehow a lot happened in 16 days, that remains untold. How could this all change in a little more than two weeks?

There appears to be reason to ask how this file is really being managed. Perhaps this is about lack of transparency of those holding office, from the mayor,  to council to OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi.

In the private sector, this might cost you a job. It still could here, as there is an election coming. It appears that it is time for a mayoral change.

Ron Grossman, Blackburn

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Quebec election: Climate change becomes focus of party rivals in Gatineau




It’s important to put politics aside to show support for victims of the tornado in Gatineau, François Legault says.

Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault cut short a visit to Ste-Anne-des-Plaines and cancelled a scheduled visit to the Eastern Townships on Saturday afternoon to visit Gatineau.


GATINEAU — Two of the five worst rainstorms in 90 years, the worst floods on record and, on Friday evening, a tornado — this western Quebec town has seen all four in less than 18 months.

For Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin the cause is clear: climate change.

“Are we going to take this threat seriously? It’s not a theory, it’s people who are displaced, people who suffered, people who have lost everything,” Pedneaud-Jobin said on Saturday. “In Gatineau, we’ve suffered a lot, we’re continuing to suffer and one of the main sources of that, it’s clear, is climate change.”

Standing beside Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Massé and François Legault, the Coalition Avenir Québec leader, it was the second time in a few hours the mayor had appeared alongside two rivals for the premiership of Quebec who had temporarily put aside their difference to show their support for the tornado-ravaged community.

“It’s important for citizens that are going through very tough times to understand that all the leaders are together,” Pedneaud-Jobin said said of the visits. “I think it’s a show of solidarity and it does count when you’re going through tough times. It’s also an occasion to speak about real problems that will need real solutions in the future.”

Earlier in the day, it was Parti Québecois Leader Jean-François Lisée and Philippe Couillard — who temporarily suspended his campaign to act more as premier than Liberal leader — who visited victims of the storm.

By 4:30 p.m., the mayor said, the majority of people who had been displaced by the tornado, and spent the night in a temporary shelter in a CEGEP, were in the process of returning to their homes. While many would be returning to broken windows and rooms still without electricity, the buildings were at least structurally sound, Pedneaud-Jobin said.

For those whose homes were damaged, it could take much longer, he said.

The area most affected by the storm is a poorer one, Pedneaud-Jobin added.

The next step, according to Legault, is to compensate victims.

“We’re talking about many poor people and they may have lost all the assets that they’ve built in their life, so it’s important that they know as fast as possible how much will they get back from the government,” he said.

For Massé, it has to go further than money — community support is needed for the victims, she said, many of whom are new arrivals and may have lost everything all over again.

“For me, it’s very important to be here all together, to show solidarity, but also at the same time to acknowledge we have problems with climate change and we have to do something,” she said.

Legault also talked about showing support for the community.

“It’s not the time for politics,” Legault said earlier in the day. “It’s important that we’re all united today behind the premier.”

The CAQ leader said he also sees a connection between extreme weather and climate change.

“There have always been tornadoes, but it’s obvious that now, because of climate change, there are more extreme events,” Legault said.

However, one CAQ candidate, Éric Girard told HuffPost Québec he isn’t sure about the link between extreme weather events, including heat waves, and human-caused climate change. According to the article, which was published on Monday, Girard describes himself as a “climate skeptic.”

“He said we cannot attribute one specific happening to this but, clearly, we see the numbers, it’s clear that the climate change increased the kind of situation we see here today,” Legault said.

For Legault, the largest contribution Quebec can play to fighting climate change is exporting hydro power — which will allow for the shutdown of coal and oil plants in other party of North America.

“There’s no wall,” he said. “We’re all on the same planet.”

But while Legault has called for more electricity exports from Quebec, he has opposed the Apuiat wind farm on Quebec’s North Shore.

He said Quebec needs to sign more export agreements — and build transmission infrastructure — before it builds additional power-generation facilities, adding a dam can store energy in a way a wind farm can’t.

Legault’s climate plan has faced criticism from other parties.

“We have a credible plan to fight global warming. And the parties that don’t are on the wrong side of history,” Lisée said.

Before heading to Gatineau, Legault met with the mayor of Laval and other mayors from Montreal’s North Shore,

In Laval, Legault was scheduled to talk with local mayors about transportation — he wants to expand the Réseau express métropolitain train network in Laval and extend Highway 19. Legault has called for the expansion of other highways and the building of a third connection — a bridge or tunnel — between Quebec City and Lévis.

Massé said politicians can’t talk about fighting climate change and expanding highways at the same time.

“It’s clear that it’s incompatible, except for questions of safety and I don’t think that’s the main reason Mr. Legault wants to extend highways,” Massé said.

She said her party’s climate plan isn’t about winning the provincial election, it’s about saving the planet.

Christopher Curtis contributed to this story.


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'WAR SCENE': Capital region still reeling after intense tornado rips through




OTTAWA — Parts of Canada’s national capital were still reeling Saturday after a powerful tornado carved paths of destruction through residential neighbourhoods — snapping huge trees, tossing cars and obliterating homes along its way.

The tornado inflicted heavy damage late Friday as it churned across pockets of Ottawa’s west and south ends, as well as densely populated sections of the neighbouring Quebec city of Gatineau.

The storm’s bite continued to be felt across a wide swath of the region many hours later, with more than 150,000 customers still without power Saturday afternoon. Hydro Ottawa CEO Bryce Conrad compared the magnitude of the damage to the power grid to the debilitating ice storm of 1998.

The human toll was also significant. Authorities said dozens of people suffered injuries, however there were no reports of fatalities or of missing people.

The Ottawa Hospital tweeted that two people were in critical condition, one was in serious condition and two others were stable. Officials established shelters for those who couldn’t return home and they said crisis counselling would be available.

On the north side of the Ottawa River, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said more than 700 of his citizens were impacted by the storm and about 100 people took refuge in a shelter Friday night at a local college. More than 215 buildings suffered damage or were destroyed in his city — affecting a total of 1,686 housing units, he added.

In areas lashed by the tornado, scenes of the havoc were everywhere. The winds tore the roofs from numerous large buildings, bounced large sections of metal bleachers across soccer fields, knocked over hydro poles and cracked thick trees like twigs.

“It looked like it was something from a movie scene or a war scene,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told reporters Saturday recalling what he saw in the area of Dunrobin, where some 60 buildings were wiped out or partially destroyed.

“Literally, it looks like some bomb was dropped from the air.”

Much of Dunrobin, a semi-rural community about 35 kilometres west of downtown Ottawa, remained cordoned off by police Saturday afternoon.

It was eerily quiet inside the police perimeter of one of Dunrobin’s most-damaged neighbourhoods — and only a few trees were still standing. Personal items were strewn everywhere — a baby blanket, a life jacket, mattresses, lawn mowers, a fridge, a kitchen sink lying on the grass and even a love seat wrapped around a telephone pole.

A car, windows shattered, lay on its side in front of a house. Fluffy, pink insulation — sucked out of ravaged homes — covered the neighbourhood.

Looking at one house, the blue sky could be seen through an open door. Its roof had vanished.

Some houses had nothing left at all and lay flat on the ground, covering their vehicles.

Officials warned people not to re-enter their homes until they had been deemed safe as firefighters went door-to-door to determine whether structures were still sound. In Dunrobin, authorities said many buildings that had emerged from the tornado partially intact would likely have to be torn down.

Conrad informed people in the Ottawa area to brace for a multi-day power outage following what he described as a “cascading failure” of hydro resources.

“Last night’s storm was devastating to our electrical infrastructure, arguably as bad if not worse than the ice storm in 1998,” Conrad told reporters.

He said there were 200 separate outages across the Hydro Ottawa network and 147,000 customers without power. Hydro Ottawa only serves some of the people left without power because of the tornado.

To put it into perspective, Conrad said the electrical load that comes into Ottawa on any given day this time of year is about 1,000 megawatts. The storm took away about 400 megawatts from the supply.

“That’s what we’re working with — that’s why we are dark,” he said, listing off communities around the western, southern and some central parts of Ottawa.

Environment Canada confirmed Saturday that indeed a tornado struck the capital region. Meterologist Simon Legault said there was evidence of powerful winds between 180 and 220 kilometres per hour, which would correspond with an EF2 category tornado.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a statement Saturday on the tornado.

“On behalf of the government of Ontario, I want to tell the people of Ottawa that my thoughts are with them as they work to recover from the tornado and storm that impacted the Ottawa area yesterday; especially to the people of Dunrobin who saw immense damage to their homes and community,” said Ford, who also thanked first responders and hydro crews.

In Gatineau, leaders of major political parties took a pause from the province’s ongoing election campaign to visit areas walloped by the tornado.

Setting aside their political differences, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard and Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee visited one of the most devastated parts of Gatineau together. Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault and Manon Masse, a co-spokesperson for Quebec solidaire, were scheduled to arrive in the area later Saturday.

“It’s so surprising and terrible to see the disaster the way it struck the homes,” said Couillard, as he toured Pontiac, Que.

Couillard added he was moved when he heard a story about a man in the community who had built his house with his own hands.

“And it’s completely vanished, almost completely vanished.”

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'It's like a war zone': Ottawa power outages could last for days




Ottawa officials also said there had been six ‘traumatic’ injuries in Ottawa, in addition to 25 minor injuries reported so far

Power outages caused by a tornado and vicious storm that tore through this region could take days to resolve, say officials with the city of Ottawa.

The outages are being compared to those witnessed in this area during the infamous 1998 ice storm.

“It will not be hours. It could be days,” Mayor Jim Watson said Saturday at city hall, where top city officials provided a briefing.

“There are no fatalities, I’m pleased to report. There are no reports of missing persons.”

Six people suffered traumatic injuries because of the storm. Five of them were from the Dunrobin area and taken by paramedics to hospital. One person was transported from the Craig Henry community near Hunt Club and Greenbank Roads. The Ottawa Hospital said Saturday that two of the patients were in critical condition, one was listed and serious and two were in stable condition. Twenty-five others received less-serious injuries.

On Saturday afternoon, 137,000 Hydro Ottawa customers and 2,000 Hydro One customers were without power in the City of Ottawa. (Here is Hydro Ottawa’s service update page  giving status of outages and estimated restoration.) Hydro-Quebec, meanwhile, said it had 114,000 customers in the dark, noting the regions hardest hit had been the Outaouais, Laurentides and Abitibi.

Power was returning gradually in pockets across the city late Saturday afternoon and was restored at the Civic Hospital after 4 p.m.

By the afternoon, the city of Gatineau had begun an organized return for about two-thirds of displaced residents. Firefighters and engineers had determined that most of the buildings in the hardest hit area of Gatineau, north and west of the intersection of Lucien-Braille and the Gatineau Autoroute, were safe, even though they were still without power. The water service there, though, was said to be fine. Residents were being asked asked to register at the emergency centre before boarding buses to travel to the buildings. Officials said the buses were expected begin at 3 p.m. and expect the operation to last four or five hours.

Meanwhile, in the light of day, the scale of the damage done was revealed, from roof-less buildings in Gatineau to flattened homes in Dunrobin, to the tree- and branch-strewn properties around Ottawa.

Firefighters climbed over downed trees to get into homes to check on residents in Nepean’s devastated Arlington Woods neighbourhood.

Dozens of 100-year-old white pines were snapped like matchsticks and trees had crashed through roofs, windows and on cars.

“It is like a war zone,” said Parry Patton who lives in the neighbourhood and was looking in on a friend’s damaged home.

At one home on Parkland Crescent, a tree pushed through the front window into the living room.

Nearby, a section of Greenbank Road remained closed where utility poles snapped in half, in one case, sandwiching a truck and a car underneath.

Premier Doug Ford said in a statement he would be visiting the capital Sunday.

“I want to tell the people of Ottawa that my thoughts are with them as they work to recover from the tornado and storm that impacted the Ottawa area yesterday, especially to the people of Dunrobin who saw immense damage to their homes and community,” he said. “I especially want to thank the first responders and hydro crews who have been working around the clock to help people.”

“I’ve told my officials that the provincial government will provide whatever resources are required to support Ottawa as they work to recover.”

Bryce Conrad, the president and CEO of Hydro Ottawa, underscored the magnitude of the damage to the local power system.

“Last night’s storm was devastating to our electrical infrastructure, arguably as bad, if not worse, than the ice storm in 1998,” Conrad said.

A major portion of the power outages relate to a loss of supply from the provincial electrical grid coming in through Hydro One, Conrad said. A Merivale transformer station owned by Hydro One has been crippled.

“It will take multiple days to restore that station. When that station comes back online, power will flow. In the meantime, we are working to try to redirect power to try to restore power where we can, but that transformer station is a problem for us at the moment.”

Damage to Hydro One’s power grid was “extensive and widespread” across the province, Hydro One spokeswoman Alicia Sayer said.
“This our biggest challenge and it could be several days before power is fully restored to Ottawa and surrounding communities,” she said.

Click here for complete tornado coverage

Hydro One can reroute power, but most of Ottawa’s power will still have to go through the Merivale station, she said.
“Our crews are still assessing damage and looking at what needs to be done to make the repairs.”

Hydro Ottawa needs that Hydro One station to power other Hydro Ottawa stations so that communities can get their power back.

“It is the top priority for Hydro One. It is our top priority. We will actually allocate our resources to help restore that transformer station as quickly as we possible can because it is a cascading thing,” Conrad said.

On top of that, there are between 80 and 90 hydro poles down across Cedarview, Greenbank, Meadowlands and Albion Road. Crews are working on restoring those polls.

Conrad asked for the city’s patience as hydro workers try to restore power. The expectation is power will come on in communities at different points in time, he said.

Amid the outages Saturday, there were long lines at some of the gas stations and restaurants that were open.

At Drummond’s Gas on Bank Street, customers were bringing portable cans for generators and the like.

One man said he’d run out of gas right at the entrance. He had been driving for an hour and 10 minutes from Barrhaven.

Drummond’s on Bank Street.

Bruce Deachman /


Watson said MPP Lisa MacLeod and MP Catherine McKenna have offered support but the city doesn’t require help from the other levels of government at this time.

The mayor said the city doesn’t require any volunteers in the storm-damaged areas, since they are well-staffed with city emergency services. Later this weekend, the city will have a contact number for residents to make donations.

Watson toured the Dunrobin tornado site Friday.

“You could see that it looked like it was something from a movie scene or a war scene,” Watson said. “Literally, dozens and dozens, my understanding is 60 buildings, destroyed or partially destroyed in the Dunrobin area.”

Residents in Dunrobin needing shelter can go to West Carleton High School on Dunrobin Road.

In the Hunt Club-Riverside area, there’s an emergency reception area at the Canterbury Recreation Centre on Arch Street.

The city is working on establishing a welcome centre in Knoxdale-Merivale ward.

The centres will remain open for as long as they’re needed, Watson said.

Watson said the hardest-hit areas include Dunrobin, Craig Henry, Arlington Woods, the Hunt Club-Riverside area and the Paul Anka-McCarthy area.

Cleanup continues following a tornado in Dunrobin, Ont., west of Ottawa, on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The storm tore roofs off of homes, overturned cars and felled power lines in the Ottawa community of Dunrobin and in Gatineau, Que.

Justin Tang /


Knoxdale-Merivale Keith Egli said it’s going to be difficult to get updates to residents without electricity.

“The difficulty is people having no power, nobody has old-school radios, your phone might not be working, your internet might not be working, but we’ll continue to put out information as best we can. I’ll be on the street talking to people and passing it on as well,” Egli said.

Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said extra police resources were called in where the power was out. Extra police presence will continue throughout the outage.

Pierre Porier, head of emergency management, encouraged people to stock up on supplies if they’re able to. There will be information from the city about what services remain available. Services in the downtown and east-end of the city are still available, he said.

A tree crashed into the kitchen of the home of Jolene Dickson and Jason Nicholson near Kinburn.

Joanne Laucius, Postmedia /


Firefighters are going door-to-door assessing building damage in storm-affected areas.

The city says people can call 311 for any information they need. In the event of life-threatening situations, people should call 911.

The O-Train is not running. A replacement Route 2 bus service has been activated.

In the aftermath of the storm, dramatic images and stories were emerging.

This video was taken by a Gatineau resident:

The Redblacks said this afternoon’s game would go ahead as planned.

With files from Blair Crawford and Elizabeth Payne, Norm Provencher

More to come . . .

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