Saturday, November 27, 2010

OpenFile: Dahlia's First Published Article on the Site and Your Chance to Suggest News Stories!

Hi Everyone!

Here's the link ( to my first OpenFile article, which was published yesterday.

OpenFile is a collaborative community news site in the capital.

If readers believe there is a local issue that should be covered, they can make their suggestions by visiting (surprise surprise), signing up and opening a file. A journalist will then be assigned to write the story. After all, journalists are meant to be "the voice of the people," right?

I attended OpenFile's launch party at the Spin Bar & Kitchen (at the bottom of The Marriott at 100 Kent) last night and spoke with founder Wilf Dinnick (a former CCN correspondent who has also worked at news outlets such as ABC News and CBC) who said that while 10% of Torontonians were suggesting stories at one point, that number has now risen to 40%! Wilf is hoping the number will go up to 80%, so his freelancers will suggest the remaining 20% of ideas.

I wholeheartedly agree with him: we, as journalists, SHOULD be covering stories that aren't being told and doing so from angles that haven't yet been thought of! And what better way to do that than with the help of you, our dear readers and fellow Ottawans?!

I'm so happy that OpenFile has arrived in the Capital and look forward to penning more stories that matter for the site.

I also think that my editor Nick Taylor-Vaisey's business card sums it up best: "Your story is the news"!

Power to the people!

Monday, November 22, 2010

OIW's Book Fair (Nov. 20th-21st): Jim Watson's Visit Symbolizes Appreciation and Support of the Arts and Culture

Ars longa, vita brevis (Art is long, life is short) - ANONYMOUS

I had a wonderful time at the Ottawa Independent Writers' (OIW) Book Fair (Nov. 20th-21st) at Dominican College yesterday .

I helped my client sell one of his earlier self-published books and caught up with a writer/editor friend (I hadn't seen her in a while!). I networked with fellow writers and met two potential clients.

In addition, I met mayor-elect Mr. Jim Watson who dropped by the event!

Watson's (who takes office Dec. 1st) pleasant banter with writers and book-buying enthusiasts and mere presence sent a clear message to the arts and non-arts communities: I support culture and believe it is an important part of Ottawa.

After all, we know that our current Mayor Larry O'Brien (who Watson beat with a landslide victory in the Oct. 24th election) would have never considered attending such an event because it wasn't corporate enough. Sorry it wasn't focused on Landsdowne, Larry boy!

Thank you, Dominican College, for allowing the OIW to host its book fair on your humble premises.

Thank you, dear writers (and book-buyers!), for making the day so enjoyable!

And last but not least, thank you, Mr. Watson, for reminding us that we will finally have a mayor who supports and appreciates the value of the arts!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Those Who Fought for Freedom!

Happy Remembrance Day, everyone!

Today is the day we remember and silently give thanks to the (mostly) men and women who willingly gave their lives to fight for freedom. Such a sacrifice must not be disregarded.

According to CBC News (, this November 11th marked the first time there were no surviving World War I veterans.

It was also a first for Gov. Gen. David Johnston to preside over a Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa, which drew over 30,000 people. Johnston is the Armed Forces' new commander-in-chief.

Ceremonies were held throughout Canada as well as abroad.

At the cenotaph at Kandahar Airfield, relatives of fallen soldiers were among more than 200 people who gathered to pay their respects.

Wreaths were placed and flags lowered to half-mast to honour the 152 Canadians killed in Afghanistan since 2002.

The commander of the Canadian mission in Kandahar, Brig.-Gen. Dean Milner told the crowd it is worth recalling that the soldiers being honoured died for the "common cause of freedom and human decency."

"It is important that we take the time to mark this day, especially here in Afghanistan," Milner said. "[It is] a place which is so close to the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who fought in this theatre"

Milner's colleague, Lt.-Col. Doug Claggett, welcomed the families to the base.

"It's obviously hard for them, but the fact is they are able to come over here and meet the serving soldiers," said the chief of staff of Canada's Task Force Afghanistan. "This is our way to extend our thanks to their sacrifice"

Prime Minister Stephen Harper marked Remembrance Day in Seoul, Korea, where he is attending the G20 summit. He placed a wreath at the Korean War Memorial to pay respect to the 516 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives between 1950 to 1953.

"Today we honour and remember those members of the Canadian Forces who fought in one of the toughest wars in our history, to defend South Korea against an oppressive communist invader," Harper said in a statement. "Our forces fought bravely alongside our allies to defend South Korea and played a pivotal part in ending the hostilities"

Whether or not someone supports war is irrelevant. We, as Canadians, all value and cherish peace, freedom and democracy.

For people who want to replace the red poppies with white ones, I say shame on you for wanting to end an age-long tradition. Remembrance Day honours the war dead - those who gave their lives of their own volition for freedom and justice - not the act of war itself. There is nothing wrong with honouring bravery and valour!

As for Premier Dalton McGuinty whose priorities were introducing HST and creating then cancelling a flawed eco tax over making Remembrance Day a statutory holiday in Ontario? Don't get me started. I expect this situation to occur in Quebec not in Ontario; however, I will refrain from going off on a rant about our incompotent weasel of a premier.

After all, my blog is about the courageous soldiers not the anything but brave McGuinty.

Thank you, dear soliders! We will never forget!