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					         May-18-PD04 5/17/04 5:58 PM
D4     T H E O T TAWA C I T I Z E N                                                                                                                                                         T U E S D AY, M AY 1 8 , 2 0 0 4

City Editorial
                      OUR VIEWS                                                                                                           LETTERS

  Proper jail,
                                                                                                                                                                                   peak use; purchasing, as they become
                                                                                                                                                                                   available, less-polluting hybrid and hy-
                                                                                                                                                                                   drogen powered buses (the city has al-
                                                                                                                                                                                   ready stated its intention to do this); and
                                                                                                                                                                                   increasing the length of the transitway.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Admittedly, these down-to-earth sug-

proper justice                                                                                                                                                                     gestions are not as newsworthy as a
                                                                                                                                                                                   light-rail system, but they are certainly
                                                                                                                                                                                   more effective and would benefit a
                                                                                                                                                                                   greater number of people.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         MICHAEL WHITE, Ottawa
      veryone recognizes that conditions at the

E     Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre on Innes
      Road are untenable. Everyone, that is, except
the Ontario government, which is responsible for
                                                                                                                                                                                         Wasteful road work
                                                                                                                                                                                      Starting last summer, Bank Street un-
                                                                                                                                                                                   derwent a major overhaul from the
                                                                                                                                                                                   Rideau Canal to the Rideau River, with
the facility.                                                                                                                                                                      holes many feet deep during the construc-
   The inmates know it. Some of          One cause of the overcrowd-                                                                                                               tion. For a cyclist, the area was akin to nav-
them skipped a meal in protest        ing in detention centres across                                                                                                              igating the Sahara’s dunes. By fall, the road
this weekend to show their            Ontario is the backlog in the                                                                                                                was paved. Then, parts of the “renovated”
frustration with the heat in the      court system. The overcrowd-                                                                                                                 street were dug up in the winter and
centre, according to a spokes-        ing also results from the                                                                                                                    patched for reasons I cannot fathom.
woman for the Ministry of             province’s restructuring of cor-                                                                                                                Now, the same stretch of Bank Street is
Community Safety and Correc-          rectional facilities, which has                                                                                                              being dug up again to raise the drains,
tional Services.                      made the Ottawa-Carleton facil-                                                                                                              and who knows what else. It is perilous
   The guards know it. They say       ity serve all of Eastern Ontario.                                                                                                            to cycle down Bank Street, trying not to
they’re unable to do their jobs          The problem is often not                                                                                                                  be upended on these raised metal traps.
properly. They just reached an        overcrowding of the whole                                                                                                                       Why was the work not finished in 2003
agreement with the province           centre, but certain units hous-                                                                                                              rather than going at it again? The argu-
for better training and help.         ing certain types of inmate.                                                                                                                 ment that there was insufficient time to
   Judges know it. Last week, a       Some inmates say they are                                                                                                                    complete the work in 2003 does not hold
judge gave a repeat offender          sleeping on mattresses on the                                                                                                                — there was time when little was hap-
three-for-one credit for part of      floor in crowded cells, and get-                                                                                                             pening on most of the road under con-
the time he served in the cen-        ting little exercise and fresh air.                                                                                                          struction.
tre. This extraordinary three-           Journalists and the public                                                                                                                   What is the cost of this new work and
for-one sentencing has never          have a historic right to know                                                                                                                its impact on our taxes? Not inconsider-
happened in Ottawa before, al-        the plight of prisoners, but                                                                                                                 able, I suspect.
though it has happened else-          when the Citizen asked to visit                                                                                                                                     BOB CUMMING, Ottawa
where in the province. Judges         the centre, the province re-
have long given two-for-one
credit for detention centres, be-
                                      fused, saying such a visit would
                                      violate the confidentiality of in-
                                                                                                                                                                                     Let Crowe live in dignity
cause they are bare-bones facil-      mates awaiting trial, and also                                                                                                               RE: Heather Crowe’s life in limbo, MAY 16.
ities without the rehabilitative      that the centre doesn’t have the                                                                                                               I am appalled that the Workplace Safe-
and recreational programs of          staff to accommodate a visit.                                                                                                                ty and Insurance Board is forcing
other correctional facilities.           The court backlog is unlikely                                                                                                             Heather Crowe back to work. What a
They mainly house people              to disappear soon. The                                                                                                                       heartless and cruel decision!
awaiting trial or sentencing.         province should accept that its                                                                                                                Ms. Crowe is obviously too ill to go
                                                                                                                                                 PAT MCGRATH, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
   Last week’s ruling meant that      facilities are inadequate to                                                                                                                 back to work, let alone back to school for
a man with five spousal-abuse         house the inmates of Eastern             Frederick Osman, shown with his 18-year-old Persian Mini, says children, animals                    retraining. She developed inoperable
convictions will serve only sev-      Ontario and build more. The              and pets are all at risk when poisons are used to deter pigeons from roosting on buildings.         lung cancer and a permanent disability
en months after sentencing (af-       detention centre has seen one                                                                                                                through no fault of her own: she was just
ter having spent about five           new unit, with 192 beds, con-                                                                                                                doing her waitressing job at a restaurant
months in the detention centre,
which the judge counted as
about 14 months).
   This kind of sentencing may
                                      structed in the last few years.
                                      But that unit clearly has not
                                      solved the problem. Neither
                                      has the province’s stop-gap
                                                                                   It is inhumane and risky                                                                        where customers smoked.
                                                                                                                                                                                     She should be compensated because
                                                                                                                                                                                   every second of the day and night, she
                                                                                                                                                                                   endures the nasty side-effects of
be what the judge considered
necessary given the situation.
But it is not a long-term solu-
                                      strategy of shuffling certain in-
                                      mates off to other facilities —
                                      such as the correctional centre
                                                                               to use poisons to deter pigeons                                                                     chemotherapy — a severe decrease in
                                                                                                                                                                                   lung function, severe shortness of
                                                                                                                                                                                   breath, and chronic pain. Her body is
tion. Having convicted offend-        in Lindsay — if, for example,                                                                                                                damaged beyond repair.
ers spend less time in custody,       their court dates are more than            I am very concerned about the prac-          come maggot-infested within a matter of                We are all indebted to Ms. Crowe for
and less time in custody that         a few weeks away.                        tice of using chemical agents, such as         days, especially during the hot summer               her indefatigable work in educating the
includes rehabilitative pro-             Ontario should build another          Avitrol, in Ottawa to get rid of pigeons       days.                                                public about the dangers of secondhand
gramming, does not serve the          detention centre in our area.            from apartment buildings and shopping            We should also be concerned about in-              smoke, and for lobbying politicians to
offenders or the community            There are several communities            plazas. It is an inhumane and cruel            quisitive children getting very sick if              enact protective legislation for all work-
well.                                 that might accept a detention            method of pigeon control that should be        they were to play with the disoriented               ers. The value of her public service is im-
   It is especially troubling that    centre for the jobs it would             replaced with alternate ways causing           poisoned birds. Cats and dogs that attack            measurable. Workers’ Compensation
people awaiting trial, who may        bring. If we end up with a more          less harm.                                     and bite the poisoned birds could get                should give Ms. Crowe the money owed
never be found guilty, are            humane detention system it                 Pest-control companies claim that the        very sick, too.                                      to her so that she can live the rest of her
spending weeks and months in          would be money well spent.               products are a bird-dispersing agent;            There are many effective humane                    days in dignity and peace. Then, our
facilities that judges consider                                                they are actually a potent poison that         methods to deter the pigeons from                    Governor General should give her an
so deplorable.                        OTTAWA CITIZEN                           causes extremely painful deaths to birds       perching and soiling properties. They in-            award to recognize her valiant efforts to
                                                                               and severe, possibly fatal, effects to ani-    clude the use of dogs to patrol properties           protect the health of all Canadians.
                                                                               mals. The most common agents are a re-         as a deterrent; the use of sonic devices,                             CARMELA GRAZIANI, Ottawa

       A hot pitch to be cool                                                  pellent intended to make the birds sick
                                                                               and scare them away from a location,
                                                                               and strychnine, a poison, which comes
                                                                                                                              or even installing slinky coils available at
                                                                                                                              most dollar stores.
                                                                                                                                               FREDERICK OSMAN, Ottawa
                                                                                                                                                                                   Find market for plastic bags
                                                                               soaked in corn kernels.                                                                               I am disappointed that Ottawa will no
   It’s disappointing to see On-
tario’s government alcohol com-
                                      written cautions about alcohol
                                      use and abuse on its website, in-
                                                                                 The chemical in Avitrol is poisonous
                                                                               to all vertebrates and the birds suffer for
                                                                                                                               Focus on bus, not light rail                        longer recycle plastic bags. I have always
                                                                                                                                                                                   had a warm feeling that the used bags
pany going after the youth mar-       cluding a warning about binge            days and die in a lot of pain and agony. Its   Re: $600M for rail line now, another $1.5B           would become some practical product
ket with its latest sales campaign.   drinking on prom night.                  use is restricted by the Ministry of Nat-      later, MAY 15.                                       through recyling. Now my dilemma is
   The Liquor Control Board of          So the cooler-promoting cam-           ural Resources during the nesting sea-           The $600 million in municipal, provin-             that when I ask for paper bags at the gro-
Ontario has a new marketing ef-       paign under way at the LCBO is           sons for birds of prey (falcons, pere-         cial and federal funding for expansion to            cery store, I am killing trees.
fort, titled “Groove-a-licious,”      a bit of a puzzler. The company          grines, eagles, hawks, etc.) that control      the O-Train would be better spent im-                  Surely there is a market somewhere for
featuring coolers, which will ap-     has identified the children of           the pigeon population naturally. A ban is      proving the existing bus system. For bet-            the plastic bags. Do we have a part to play
peal to teenagers. These coolers      baby boomers, aging into their           imposed on its use within a 71⁄2-kilome-       ter or worse, we already have a bus sys-             in the game to find new buyers?
are alcohol disguised as usually      20s, as some of its best, highest-       tre radius of Ottawa's downtown area.          tem using transitways, whereas the                                            G.H. MCGILL, Nepean
sweet fruit drinks. “These cool-      spending customers for the next            I am not so concerned about the cen-         grand design for “sexy” light-rail transit
ers are wild and juicy. Yeah ba-      few years. And there’s been a            tral core, but I am concerned about sub-       would involved major work such as
by,” says the advertisement.          big jump in the sales figures for        urban areas of Ottawa where there are          twinning the existing rail lines and elec-
   The LCBO has made a big ef-        coolers.                                 many high-rise apartment buildings as          trification.                                          OTTAWA CITIZEN CITYDESK
fort to be socially responsible:        But there’s no getting around          well as shopping centres that could be           We can get better bang for the buck                 Are you gay, lesbian, bisexual or
checking young people for iden-       the fact that teenagers are drink-       using this bird-dispersing method.             ($600 million worth) by reducing transit              transgender? Are you being treated with
tification, working with Moth-        ing coolers when they shouldn’t            Song birds can eat the broken pieces of      fares and thus increasing ridership; in-              respect by your doctor? The Ottawa
ers Against Drunk Driving,            be, and a youth-oriented mar-            the poisoned seeds and die. Their off-         creasing the hours that the buses oper-               GLBT community wants you to have
training hospitality business         keting campaign that promotes            spring would be left to die of starvation      ate; increasing the number of routes; re-             access to appropriate health care.
workers on handling customers,        their consumption won’t help.            in the nests. This is cruel and could lead     ducing the wait between buses in off-                 Tonight at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Rogers
and rejecting some products.                                                   to a public-health hazard. Once the            peak hours; purchasing smaller, more fu-              Television Cable 22.
The company also has crisply          OTTAWA CITIZEN                           squabs are dead, their carcasses will be-      el-efficient, less polluting buses for off-

 WHERE EVERY TEEN HAS HER PROM NIGHT                                                                                                                  Were there any silver shoes in
                                                                                                                                                      this girl’s size? Had anyone
                                                                                                                                                      seen that great little red dress?
                                                                                                                                                        It was infectious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 those of us without a closet full
                                                                                                                                                                                                 of handbags, getting dressed up
                                                                                                                                                                                                 is special, a symbol that some-
                                                                                                                                                                                                 thing important is happening.
                                      dresses to girls who can’t afford     on the planet could do justice in     Melissa Shabinsky runs Fairy          I’ve always been divided on                 And it can be fun. Especially
                                      them.                                 quite the way Tania Pilon does.     Godmother of Ottawa with              the subject of proms. At their             when it’s free, and the only rule
                                        When Ms. Pilon stepped out            “I was going for white and        Catherine MacGregor. Ms.              worst, they can be ridiculously            is that you have to return the
                                      of the dressing room in the           poofy, but I came with an open      Shabinsky says many of the            conformist, a celebration of the           dress after the night is over.
                                      black lace dress, she couldn’t        mind,” she says. “Now I can’t       women who have donated                mainstream that can make                      So I got into it. I got down on
                                      wipe the massive grin off her         wait to tell everybody what a       dresses say they still regret not     most teenagers feel inadequate.            my hands and knees and hunt-
                                      face.                                 great dress I got.”                 being able to go to their own         I was a prom skeptic in high               ed for shoes. I zipped up girls, I
        KATE HEARTFIELD                 Ms. Pilon, who is 17, lives in        And she can’t wait for the        proms for lack of money.              school. But eventually I decid-            rifled through the rack of dress-
                                      Embrun. She had decided               prom. She’s a little over-            On Sunday morning the do-           ed to go. I put away my combat             es looking for the perfect fit,
                                      weeks ago not to attend her           whelmed at the prospect of the      nated downtown office space           boots and put on a little pink             and I talked undergarments.
      he smiles are what got me.      prom.                                 end of high school, the change      was packed with dresses. There        dress with crinoline and flow-                The Fairy Godmothers are

T     Sudden, unstoppable
      smiles. Goofy smiles.
Smiles so big they take up a
                                        “Everything costs so much,”
                                      she explained. “It’s unbelievable.
                                      Everybody else is always talking
                                                                            in her life. She’s moving on to
                                                                            the journalism program at Al-
                                                                            gonquin College.
                                                                                                                were shoes covering the floor,
                                                                                                                and purses, lip gloss, gloves,
                                                                                                                jewelry and scarves on the big
                                                                                                                                                      ers. And I had a great time.
                                                                                                                                                        Proms do not have to be a
                                                                                                                                                      mere showcase for the spoiled
                                                                                                                                                                                                 fitting girls again on June 6: call
                                                                                                                                                                                                 232-PROM to book an appoint-
teenage girl’s whole face.            about their dresses, so it’s hard.”     This is the second year Fairy     table.                                and the pretty. They’re a rite of             And they still need dona-
  It was those smiles that got          But then she saw a television       Godmother of Ottawa has               With the help of the girls’         passage, and those are impor-              tions, which can be dropped off
me down on the floor, hunting         advertisement for Fairy God-          dressed up girls for the prom,      friends and families, a volun-        tant for every teenager. So it’s a         at any Browns cleaners.
for just the right strappy shoe       mother. Then she heard a radio        with the help of a growing and      teer, and honorary godmother          shame when girls who aren’t                They’re especially in need of
for a girl on her way to the          ad. Then a friend told her she        impressive list of donors, both     Catherine Clark, Ms. Shabinsky        treated like princesses all year           accessories, such as handbags,
prom.                                 should look into it.                  businesses and individuals.         and Ms. MacGregor were flit-          round say to themselves, “that             jewelry, wraps, and gloves.
  Tania Pilon is a tiny person,         And then, on Sunday morn-           Last year, the godmothers           ting around the room, making a        isn’t for me.”                             Shoes and dresses are always
but she had the biggest smile at      ing, she found herself doing a        dressed 56 young women; this        hundred decisions a minute.             Not every girl has a closet full         welcome too.
Sunday’s “boutique day” for           pirouette in front of the mirror      year, they’ve already dressed 50    Would a corset top work for           of handbags to choose from.
Fairy Godmother of Ottawa,            in a long, black, strapless num-      and plan to dress about 100 by      this girl? Should this girl           But every girl has eyed a dress            Ottawa freelance writer KATE HEARTFIELD
which collects and lends prom         ber — a dress that no one else        the time prom season ends.          choose the black or the mauve?        on a hanger and wondered. For              appears in this space every Tuesday.

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                             Mail: City editorial page, 1101 Baxter Rd., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2C 3M4.      Citizen Online: . Letters Editor: Kurt Johnson, 596-3785.

            May-18-PD04 Page 1 5/17/04 5:58 PM

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