Cham­plain cel­e­bra­tion con­tro­versy

Heated de­bate over 400th cel­e­bra­tion

Orleans Star - - LOCAL NEWS - Cather­ine Kitts cather­ Twit­ter @catkitts

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.

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