Sunday, 15 July 2007

Christina rocks

Initially, we thought Toronto Sun op-ed columnist Christina Blizzard was in for a chilly reception on her next visit to Ottawa.

Heck, following her Friday column, reprinted Saturday in the Ottawa Sun, we thought she might require a passport and 10 other pieces of ID to return to a city she calls "a national disgrace."

But an Ottawa radio station's online poll says otherwise.

The CFRA poll asked: In today's Toronto Sun, columnist Christina Blizzard says Ottawa is fast becoming a cesspool - a national capital that is a blight on the country. Canada's capital city is a national disgrace infested with crack addicts. Do you agree our downtown is as bad as she says?

The latest numbers: 79.1% of the 2,637 respondents said yes and 20.4% said no.

So Ottawa media, police and politicians expecting an uproar from Ottawa citizens over Christina's comments might be kept waiting.

The Ottawa Citizen fueled the flames Saturday by rehashing Christina's barbed criticisms of downtown drug dealers and crack addicts and added rebuttal comments from Ottawa police.

The Citizen's headline: Toronto columnist slams Ottawa as "rotting at the core."

Roger Collier's lead: "Ottawa residents beware: you live in a crack-infested cesspool that may very well be the most dangerous city on Earth. At least, that's what one Toronto Sun writer believes."

Perhaps the Citizen expected the majority of Ottawa residents would disagree with Christina's blunt observations.

If her column sparks a police crackdown on drug peddlers in downtown Ottawa, Christina just might receive a bouquet of roses on her return to the capital city.

UPDATE: A TSF reader notes the Globe and Mail did a take out on the Ottawa crack scene in April. "They even had a web audio-photo slide show. It was a good job."

Toronto Sun, Globe and Mail. TSF wonders if Ottawa's downtown drug dealers and crack addicts have been issues covered by Ottawa media.


  1. She said she saw "dozens" of drug deals going on in the Byward Market.

    Dozens? So 24 or more.

    I hear they're hiring writers over at Fox News.

  2. Oh, come on, Darren. I'm a long-term Market girl. I lived there for years. But I, and many of my friends in that community, have abandoned the sinking ship due to the growing drug addiction problem making it unsafe for my 10-year-old stepson to leave the house. I've recently moved to Gatineau - I prefer to take my chances with bikers and strippers than with crackheads wandering my streets at night, breaking into my old car, chucking pipes and needles into my little plot of garden, pissing on my doorstep and beating up women on the corners. I'm glad to see some coverage of this - I knew the problem was increasing. The sad thing is that there are lots of nice folks trying to live downtown and make it a community, not just a haven for club-hoppers and people looking to score, and not just yuppie condo-dwellers bent on gentrification. But I could no longer stay in that neighbourhood. I'm a progressive and I support harm reduction measures such as the crack pipe program. But I also want to see the Market cleaned up before I would ever consider living there again.