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  • Candice Vetter

Letter to Ottawa City Council asking the Ward Boundary Review decision to be deferred

Good morning, respected Members of Ottawa City Council,

Re: the upcoming City Council meeting on December 9, I request the "Ward Boundary Review" item be deferred to a future meeting, to allow for public consultation about "option 7" which was recommended by FEDCO at their meeting of December 1 2020.

"Option 7" as recommended by FEDCO bisects the rural portion of Cumberland Ward along Russell Road, and differs by thousands of hectares from "option 6" which was preferred in city-wide public consultation. Option 7 was presented to FEDCO without maps to support an informed decision. Option 7 was never presented to the public throughout a year of consultation events. Option 7 explicitly contravenes the recommendations of the Ward Boundary Review professional consultants.

The public was consulted on every option EXCEPT the one chosen by FEDCO, "option 7". The Ward Boundary Review planners should schedule meaningful public consultation on the novel ward configuration recommended by FEDCO, so City Council can have confidence they are fully informed of the public's views when they take their decision in the future. Please defer this agenda item beyond December 9 2020.

Additionally Carlsbad Springs and Vars have a large French population, numerous French active social clubs and similar history with the former Cumberland Township and with other Cumberland ward villages. Back in 2010 Carlsbad Springs, Vars and Sarsfield developed amazing networking community relations with the former CASAVA group to advocate for the east end on various common issues. Those community relationships that were created in the past are still active today.

Vars has an active French elementary catholic school with almost 300 students (St-Guillaume) and two francophone parish in the south-east end of Cumberland (re: St-Laurent in Carlsbad Springs, and St-Guillaume parish in Vars), many French social clubs (two very active Club Optimistes) in both communities and a very active francophone population.

Additionally the proposed map also cuts the community of Bearbrook in haft which is a nonsense as Bearbrook residents live on both the north side and south side of the Russell Road. The community centre is on the south side while the main village is on the north side.

Merging Carlsbad Springs and Vars into a more predominant Anglophone ward such as Osgoode will have an impact on our francophone community and services at every level.

Regarding the impact to the Francophone community in Carlsbad Springs and Vars as a reference I would like to point out the Montfort Hospital decision by the Supreme Court:

Montfort is important to the survival of the minority francophone community of Ontario. The Court referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in Reference re Secession of Quebec. In that decision, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that respect for and protection of minorities is a fundamental structural feature of the Canadian Constitution. This explains and goes beyond the minority rights specifically guaranteed in the Constitution in s.16(1) of the Charter which proclaims French and English to be official languages of Canada, and Section 23 which guarantees the general right to primary or secondary school education to English or French minorities of a province. Respect for and protection of minorities is a “bedrock principle” which influences the interpretation of laws.

The Court looked to the French Language Services Act and stated that the underlying purposes of the Act included the protection of the Ontario francophone community, advancement of the French language and the promotion of its equality with English. These purposes go together with the unwritten principles of the Constitution. Under the French Language Service Act Montfort was named as a French language service provider. The Commission’s decision would endanger the ability to train health professionals in French and would increase the assimilation of Franco-Ontarians. The Court found that the negative effects of this decision were contrary to the purpose and objectives of the Act.”

Based on these values and on the Supreme Court decision above many residents and Francophones in our community feel we in Carlsbad Springs and Vars are being betrayed by our municipal decision makers if you vote in favor of this option 7 without any public consultation in both Carlsbad Springs and Vars.

Please respect our democracy and our language rights,

Sincerely,

Denis Labrèche

Resident of Carlsbad Springs

and

Carlsbad Springs Community Association – Board Director

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