Champlain celebration controversy
Heated debate over 400th celebration
Tension rose last week between Cumberland Councillor Stephen Blais and Ottawa-orléans MP Royal Galipeau when credit for the Samuel de Champlain’s 400th anniversary of his arrival in Ottawa celebration came into question.
"Mr. Galipeau was complaining that he should be getting more credit for the Samuel de Champlain celebration because he gave a speech five years ago," said Blais. "I’m not sure what world Mr. Galipeau is living in where he thinks giving a speech does anything, but the Mayor and I are actually acting and delivering. He’s had five years to secure federal money for the celebration of Samuel de Champlain and he’s given a speech."
But, when the Orléans Star spoke to Galipeau earlier this week, he said he was more than happy to work with Blais on the project.
"Councillor Blais and I both agree we should celebrate this historic milestone," said Galipeau. "We’re both on the same wave length and I’m there to help in every way I can."
Blais brought the idea forward to city council and it was seconded by Mayor Jim Watson in December before the Finance and Economic Development Committee. The plan was officially adopted on May 1.
Blais said that the 2013 celebration will focus on youth and educating them about Canadian and Ottawa history through a theme of discovery and exploration.
"It will have significant educational, tourism and economic potential for Ottawa," said Blais.
Galipeau said he agrees, "He has a job to do and I have a job to do. We will work together."
In the summer of 1613, Samuel de Champlain ventured west from Québec City to discover a great western sea. Champlain was the first explorer to describe and document what would become Bytown, aided in his discovery by Algonquin guides that inhabited the area.