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Château under siege: a case for nationalization

By Ken Grafton      

Built by the Crown on Crown land and adjacent to Parliament Hill, the Government of Canada nonetheless decided to privatize the Château Laurier in 1988. That decision can be reversed. It may now be time to bring it back under Crown stewardship. It belongs to Canadians, perhaps they deserve to own it.

Completed in 1912 by the Grand Trunk Railways in conjunction with Union Station, the Gothic Revival Châteauesque-style hotel has been an iconic symbol of the nation’s capital ever since. A pet project of prime minister Wilfrid Laurier, the hotel bears his name today. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

WAKEFIELD, QUE.—If architecture is indeed frozen music, as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once declared, the proposed addition to Ottawa’s landmark Château Laurier hotel is extremely discordant to many ears. Ross and Macdonald must be rolling in their graves. Toronto condominium architect Peter Clewes, commissioned by building owner Larco Investments, defended his design as bridging the cultural divide between past and future. Some feel that it more resembles a bridge abutment. Now known popularly as “The Radiator,” it does bring back the 1970s; it resembles the Manulife Tower at 220 Laurier Ave. West (completed in 1975). The Radiator would fit in next door. While Manulife Tower is not an unattractive structure; it is an office building, not a national treasure. The standards are different.

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Central votes ‘balloon’ under Liberals, a ‘misuse’ of the spending tool, says Conservative MP

MPs are right to question the ‘trend’ towards central votes that give government’s flexibility on spending, says PBO.

Indigenous Affairs Committee votes down motion to call Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

'It’s a question of the Crown and its relations with Indigenous people and chiefs. It’s not a question of getting their views to a parliamentary committee,' says Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May.

Guilbeault says feds ‘absolutely prepared’ to make tweaks to feds’ media aid package

News|By Beatrice Paez
Plus, the heritage minister says recommendations made by an expert broadcast review panel will be used to inform a forthcoming government bill, which he expects to table before the House rises this summer.

Canada returns to ‘complex’ spending system, after ‘failed’ attempts at reform 

The current budget system is an ‘embarrassment’ still in need of a revamp, say critics who hope a minority Parliament will give opportunities for opposition feedback and a better system.

Feds eyeing ‘social-distancing’ measures in response to growing concerns over coronavirus outbreak, health official says

News|By Palak Mangat
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne says there's no plan to repatriate those asking to be repatriated from Iran amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Lead up to Buffalo Declaration ‘disingenuous’ to Alberta, national caucus, says Conservative MP Kusie

News|By Mike Lapointe
Pollster Nik Nanos called the release of the declaration 'a bit of a veiled threat, especially considering no one was given a heads up and it just came right out of the blue.'

‘A fundamental reset’: pollsters, Indigenous experts call for re-examination of feds’ approach to reconciliation

'There’s no solution here that gives the hereditary chiefs what they want that doesn’t blow the underpinnings of the Canadian regulatory process for reviewing infrastructure,' says pollster Greg Lyle.

MPs still figuring out feedback, as key decisions await Centre Block renovation project

The three-member working group set up by the House Board of Internal Economy in 2019 to oversee Centre Block’s renovation was disbanded with the last Parliament, and discussions are now underway on its successor.

American presidential election could define new U.S. envoy Aldona Wos’ time in Ottawa, say analysts

News|By Neil Moss
Aldona Wos is the second straight top Republican donor from a southern U.S. state that U.S. President Donald Trump has nominated as ambassador to Canada.
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