Letter from the Editor: January 2023

Godwin Ifedi Editor Photo by Darren Goldstein/DSG Photo.

2022 That was the year that was

It’s hard to believe that 2022 has come and gone! Seems like a few days ago we were not only pre-occupied with the pandemic, we had other serious stuff to worry about. Like the truck convoy in February, which occupied and paralyzed Parliament and downtown Ottawa for a month. Now with the hindsight provided by the subsequent inquiry into the use of the Emergency Measures Act, we now know how alarmingly disjointed the planning and communication within and between the various levels of government and the different law enforcement agencies. And how the motley group of protesters successfully exploited the ensuing protracted chaos, sometimes with connivance of the very people paid by taxpayers to protect us. Yes, according to reliable sources, some police officers evidently made donations to the illegal protesters, while some prominent opposition politicians posed for selfies with the truckers. Yes, this was an image of Canada that many did not see coming and what a revelation it turned out to be!

Next on the list was the Ottawa municipal elections in October, which saw the exit of fully one third of the previous council and the election of political neophyte, Mark Sutcliffe, as the new mayor of Ottawa. And yet, Ottawa’s Black community remained in the same political quagmire as in the past, having only one successful Black candidate, Rawlson King, the incumbent councillor for Rideau Rockcliffe. The other five Black candidates sadly fell by the wayside, with most barely registering on the electoral register. Another lesson learned, that we as a community, need to come up with a more effective strategy, if we are to increase Black representation at different levels of government.

Another pivotal event in 2022 was the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, which resulted in thousands of refugees arriving in Canada from the beleaguered country. But one striking feature of this event was the extremely preferential treatment given to Ukrainian nationals, while the thousands of African students who had been studying in that country, were completely ignored by the government of Canada. The perception therefore is that the eligibility for refugee status is one’s skin pigmentation. Kudos to our city’s two dynamic Black community organizations: the African Canadian Association of Ottawa (ACAO) and Equal Chance, both of which stepped up and raised funds to aid the abandoned and helpless students. Another lesson learned!

Probably one of the biggest and most serious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is when the inflation rate hit a 40-year record high at the start of 2022. Both goods and gas have become significantly pricier, and a larger chunk of people’s wages and budget haven’t been able to keep up with the changes. According to some experts, the increasing demand, concerns with the supply chain, swaths of relief funds, and costs of production all played a key role here. Aside from these, some analysts also put the blame on the distribution of numerous stimulus packages in 2021, in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. There have been predictions of an upswing in the country’s economic well being in the new year but that remains to be seen.


In other news

Our Top Story for January 2022 is the appointment of Michael Tulloch as Chief Justice of Ontario. Other significant news is appointment of former star athlete, Hugh Fraser to head the embattled Hockey Canada. Guest columnist, Hector Addison, takes on the pivotal role played by the African Canadian Association (ACAO) over the years, while Ruth Aman gives her insight into the low participation of Black youth in Black History Month events. The death of global soccer icon Pele, has shaken the entire world and Nduka Otiono gives readers a thoughtful insight into this great but humble man’s relationship with Africa.

We also feature a profile of one of our unsung community heroes Doreen Katto, Refugee Services Coordinator. On a sad note, we join the family, in mourning the passing of community advocate Edwin Sherwood, so soon after the passing of his wife Nessa.

Here is the result of the December 2022 poll: Were you satisfied with Canada’s performance at the on-going soccer World cup? Yes 60% No 40% Thank you to all who voted.

Here is the poll for January 2023: Did the winter snow-storm affect your Christmas travel plans?

All these and more in the January 2023 edition of Black Ottawa Scene.

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous and peaceful New Year.

Godwin Ifedi Editor

This edition of Black Ottawa Scene was funded in part by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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