Lost Heroes

As children, we see our police officers as heroes. 


My 4-year-old nephew is in love with police officers. My cousin, whom he has met only once, is a police officer, and he wants to grow-up to be just like her: a police officer. (By contrast, he sees me weekly and has never once suggested he would like to don a suit and become a lawyer). 

Our children’s books, our parades, and our lessons in early years of school teach children that police officers are our guardians, our friends, our trusted allies – protecting us from Danger.

The police officer George Floyd met, however, was not a friend, ally, or guardian. 

That police officer was the Danger. 

I have been a criminal
 defence lawyer for over 10 years now. When I began to practice, my relationship with police officers began to change. My responsibility to my clients is to keep law enforcement and the powers of the state in check. I work to make sure that people who come into contact with the police retain their rights. This means that my view of police officers also changed. I stopped casting officers as heroes and began to see them as people. 

We know police officer people are like every kind of people: unique and fallible. We have some amazing officers who are kind, talented, devoted and truly deserving of a hero title. On the other end of the spectrum, we have officers who are violent, racist and dangerously incompetent. 

The issue is not:
 are police officers as a group all violent, racist or dangerous?

The issue is:
 why are people who are violent, racist and dangerously incompetent particularly terrifying as police officers?

The answer? The job of “police officer” includes a huge amount of potential power
 including guns, squads, handcuffs, and authority. The duties of “police officer” place these people in contact with a lot of potentially vulnerable people who have little to no power. 

In the last week, we have seen a flood of examples of police
 officers unleashing the full brutality of their power against the humans they are duty-bound to protect. In these examples, we see some of the most marginalized people being hurt and killed by those officers who are violent and/or racist and/or dangerously incompetent. 

The images are sickening. The statistics are deafening. The reality is shaking.

None of this is new.

The Canadian Criminal Justice System is afflicted with racism. For years, we have seen report after report confirming that racialized people are more likely to be treated unfairly by officers than their white counterparts.


In Ottawa, Black drivers are stopped over 2 times as often as the dominant population. If an Ottawa Police officer believes a driver is of Middle Eastern decent, they are over 3 times more likely to be pulled over.  

Anecdotally, I once had a 19-year old young Black male client with no driving record whose interaction with police began when he was pulled-over for driving 105 km/h on the 401 Highway near Brockville. I
 asked him, how many times had he been pulled over before this without being charged. His answer? Nine.

Unfair profiling and illegitimate stops
 aren’t merely inconvenient, we know. They can be downright dangerous.

In its 2018 report, the Ontario Human Rights Commission revealed that a Black man in Toronto is 20 times more likely to be shot dead by police than a white person.
 In November 2019, the Globe and Mail reported that more than one-third of people shot to death by the RCMP were Indigenous. Less than 5% of our population is Indigenous.

Are all racist police
 officers who abuse their power obviously bad people?

Some of them may be outwardly violent, racist, dangerous and well-known for being “bad apples”. Probably, some of them are people who do not realize they are racist, who would not seem dangerous or violent in any other setting. Some may be people who become particularly dangerous only after they are given the powers of a police officer. 

Is this an individual officer problem? Absolutely not. It is systemic.

Let us turn to nearby Belleville where one officer
 publicly posted to his own Facebook page a picture of him wearing a Confederate flag shirt and commenting, “The South will rise again!” Belleville Police reported today that, when they became aware of the this public racism, they did not remove the officer from duty. Rather, they asked him to simply remove the post. He was told to keep his private racism private.

The scariest part of police violence is that dangerous
, racist police officers and heroic police officers do not physically look any different. Even if there is only one racist and dangerous police officer in a community, all police interactions for racialized community members become exceptionally dangerous. All police interactions become a sort of Russian Roulette.

In the force, one officer’s racist views and practices will inevitably lead to the spread and encouragement of those views and practices amongst others within the force. What begins as individual racism, left unaddressed, bleeds into a culture of racist complacency or, really, a culture of racism.

In simplest terms: racism infects a workplace like wildfire. Racism unchecked within the police force abets racism policing the community. When racism infects community policing, we end-up with racialized citizens being criminalized, injured and killed. 

, as a society, need to both limit the power of the police and reduce the marginalization of racialized groups. 

Here, in the Ottawa Valley, what can
 WE do about this? 

Limiting the power of police means ensuring that our laws and policies put proper limits on police powers.

 We can vote and choose leaders who promise to put responsible limits on the use of police discretion to minimize the power of racism in police encounters.
 We can support platforms and political candidates that would increase the budget of Legal Aid so that marginalized people who have suffered the unfair exercise of police power can properly contest that abuse in a criminal court. 

Reducing the marginalization of racialized groups sometimes means intervening. 

 We can pay attention and directly speak-up in person and on social media when someone utters a racial slur, cracks a racist joke or publicly makes a racist comment. 
 We can actively take part in learning about the different backgrounds of our friends and neighbours, how we can recognize our own racism, and how we can teach our children (including those who want to eventually be police officers) about racism. 

If we do not act, we accept the Danger of police violence into our society. 

If we do not act immediately and consistently against police violence, we have no choice but to teach our children that
 all police officers are potentially very dangerous. This is not the world any of us want for our children.

 must act on an individual and a societal level to ensure that our communities are safe for everyone. Only this way can our neighbours feel safe with police in their communities. Only this way can our children feel safe emulating and trusting the people we teach them are heroes.

Renting during COVID-19??

If you are a residential Tenant or Landlord, you know there are a lot of rumours around about changes to rent and evictions during this crisis. Here are three hard facts:

  1. Tenants still need to pay rent.
  2. If Tenant’s don’t pay rent, Landlords cannot evict them during the COVID-19 crisis.
  3. When the crisis is over, Landlords will be able to evict Tenants again, including for unpaid rent during the crisis.

What does that mean? Landlords and Tenants need to communicate and work together to find a way to keep Tenants in their home now and avoid evictions in the future.

Let’s go through this in more detail…

  1. Tenants still have to pay rent

Tenants are still legally required to pay their rent. This has not changed. The Ontario Government has asked Landlords to consider the reality that Tenants who are asked to self-isolate or who can’t work during this crisis may have difficulty paying their rent.  Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to talk to each other and find a fair solution that will keep Tenants in their homes with a plan for Landlords to be paid.

  1. What happens if Tenants don’t pay rent?

Normally, if a Tenant does not pay rent, a Landlord can go through a process to evict them. This process usually has 5 stages:

  1. NOTICE: The Landlord gives the Tenant a Notice of Eviction which gives the reason for the notice, for example, the Tenant has failed to pay their rent. The Tenant is usually given some time to fix the problem, for example, by paying rent.
  2. APPLICATION: If the Tenant does not fix the problem, the Landlord can bring an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board (“LTB”) to evict the Tenant. The LTB is a Tribunal that deals with disputes between Landlords and Tenants.
  3. HEARING: A hearing will be scheduled at the LTB where the Landlord and Tenant can each state their cases and have an LTB Board Member decide whether or not the Tenant will be evicted.
  4. ORDER: The Board Member will make a decision about the eviction in writing which will be sent to the Landlord and Tenant. If the Order is for the eviction of the Tenant, it will give a date by which the Tenant must move out.
  5. ENFORCEMENT: If the Tenant does not move out by the date on the Order, the Landlord can have the Order enforced through the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff is allowed to change the locks to rental unit. After that, the Tenant has 72 hours to arrange to remove their property or the Sheriff may remove the property. Landlords are NOT allowed to enforce eviction orders on their own. They must go through the Sheriff’s Office.

Since the COVID-19 crisis, the Government of Ontario has changed the process to thwart a Landlord’s ability to properly evict a tenant right now.

  1. Can Tenants be evicted right now? In the future?

The evictions process during this crisis has temporarily changed. The goals of these changes are to protect Tenants who cannot pay rent from homelessness, and to protect the community by ensuring people have somewhere to stay so they can socially distance and help decrease the spread of COVID-19.

New Eviction Rules:

No new eviction orders related to unpaid rent will be issued until further notice.  Sheriff’s offices will postpone any scheduled enforcement of eviction orders unless the grounds relate to serious illegal acts or safety concerns. In short, if a Tenant is just not paying rent, they cannot be evicted right now.

If Tenants do not pay rent now, Landlords can evict… later. Landlords can still give eviction notices. This means that, when this crisis ends, Landlords will be able to enforce eviction orders and pursue Tenants for unpaid rent during the crisis..

What does this mean?

The COVID-19 pandemic will be a financial crisis for many Residential Landlords and Tenants alike. Landlords and Tenants should communicate with each other and work to find a fair arrangement that keeps Tenants in their homes and allows for ultimate (even deferred) repayment for Landlords.

How? Tips and Resources:

For both Landlords and Tenants, a main concern right now is how to make sure you have enough money to meet your payment obligations. Like Tenants, Landlords have bills to pay too and often rely on income from rent to meet their obligations.

The Government of Ontario has recently announced some funding sources and other resources for both Landlords and Tenants. Please find some helpful tips and links below.

For Tenants

If you need financial help you can:

The Emergency Response Benefit is in the process of being made available through an online portal. Further information is available at https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html

For Landlords

  • talk to your municipality about help with property taxes and municipal service fees. Information is available through the following websites:





This is a confusing and scary time for everyone. If you are a Landlord or Tenant and have further questions about your legal obligations and rights, please feel free to contact Primeau Law at 613-584-4884 to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

Courtroom vs. Classroom

My kid? A registered sex offender?”

Talking about sex with kids is hard enough. Having the sex offence talk might seem unfathomable.

Still, refusing to think or talk about a problem does not cure it. Ignoring an issue does not dispel it. Paradoxically, keeping students in the dark about sexual offences is exactly what our teachers are supposed to do this year.

On one hand, talking about sex crimes might seem too sophisticated and too dark for children.

However, sexual crimes range in severity. They can seem trivial at first glance. Indeed, many sexual offences have euphemisms:

  • A stolen kiss
  • Surprise butt slap
  • Drunk sex
  • Sexting
  • Peeping Tom

What makes these offences even trickier is that they are not always crimes. Is all sexting criminal? Of course not. Is sex after consuming any alcohol always rape? Nope. Do all students know where the law draws the line?

Does your child?

Here is the problem. Criminal law dealing with sex offences is complex. Sex offences are not just about stranger rape. Sex offences happen online, on phones, in grocery stores, at parties, amongst friends.

Courts and lawyers are still grappling with issues of consent, inebriation and sex, child pornography and texting, and sexual bullying.

All-things-sex are getting more complicated every year. This year, Ontario educators are being told to provide even LESS information on the topic of sex.

Pop quiz!

  1. When Johnny sexts a naked picture of himself to his girlfriend, is he breaking the law?
  2. When a high school senior hooks-up with a junior, is it a sexual assault even with clear consent?
  3. Is the explicit Sailor Moon cartoon that kids googled on the internet “illegal pornography”?

If you fail this quiz in real life, there is no re-test. A failing grade when it comes to breaking the law is a conviction. The punishment? Sex offender registry, minimum jail sentences, probation, prohibition from internet/parks/pools…

Surprised? With proper sex education you wouldn’t be.

Lack of information is a wicked trap. You can easily commit a crime you did not know existed. You can easily be found guilty of a crime you did not know existed. It happens all the time.

In the eyes of the court, the fact that a person did not know what they did was illegal makes them ignorant, not innocent. Ignorance of the law is not a defence to a crime.

Closing our eyes does not stop sexual offences, it abets them. The #MeToo movement aimed to open the public’s eyes to sexual offences we had been blind to. Shutting down reality-based sex education places the blindfold back on.

In every subject, students need to know material before they are tested on it. Educators must have an up-to-date and accurate curriculum to navigate these difficult and complicated issues.

The time to learn about the legal landscape of sex is not in the courtroom – it is in the classroom.

The Juggle

“Girls can do anything!” got translated somewhere along the line into “Women must do everything.” – Kristi Coulter.

I will begin with an apology. I am sorry that your Cup of Jo may have runneth dry lately.

To be honest, this is the fourth time in a month that I have started this very column. I was unable to find enough time to myself to write a piece on work-life balance. Now that, Alanis Morisette fans, is ironic.

Juggling the Work-Social-Health trifecta can be an exasperating trick.

As with juggling balls, maintaining a rhythm between just 2 items is fairly simple. You focus on the first item until you feel confident. At this moment, you divert your eyes and focus on the second item. You focus on the second item long enough to feel confident. Once you are confident you’ve handled the second item, you return your attention to the first – just in time. Repeat.

Bringing-in that third ball adds complexity. You have to think two steps ahead. Your margin of error is smaller. You need hyper-focus and very quick reaction times just to keep the act going. If you divert your eyes too early: disaster. If you lose focus: big flop. If you get stuck on one item: everything goes to hell in a handbasket. What pressure!

Soon, it feels like you don’t have enough hands to manage this trick. You become exhausted from trying to do everything and be everything. At a point, you realize, you cannot do this forever. Even if you could, would you want to?

Trying to balance Work-Social-Health concerns in our lives is just as tricky. Having two of the three focuses allows us to feel accomplishment, but we seem to flake out on the third item.

  • We can be a kickass professional in excellent physical condition year-round. However, push-ups on money-stacks can be a lonely activity when your friends and family are out enjoying life.
  • We can spend our days at the spa with our friends, but neither our banks nor our friends are going to finance a life full of play.
  • We can work hard and play hard and ignore our health. The enjoyment, like our time on this earth, would be short-lived.

Even though Health-Work-Social are equally important areas in our lives, we feel we can only do two and lose our work-life balance. How is it that we have all gotten here?

I have three ideas.

First: we have set the bar too high. In the not-so-distant pass, we lived in small communities. At work, we competed locally. At home, we socialized privately. Our health was nobody’s business but our own. With the internet, communities have expanded to include the entire world. We compete against global conglomerates like Amazon. Our private moments are posted for approval on social media. Our fitness is judged by online postings of race times.

When every sale needs to be a “deal”, when every post needs to be a “like” where every race needs to be a PB, life is exhausting. We either need to have hyper focus, or we need to bear the burden of faking it until we make it.

Second: we have added in extra tricks. If all of these things weren’t enough, we sabotage ourselves by artificially making our juggling act harder. Imagine if Cirque du Soleil had to start a pack of cigarettes and finish them by the end of each show? We add all kinds of extra hurdles to our already packed lives: cigarettes, booze, serial shows, and Candy Crush, to name a few.

These distractions only make our work-life balance harder. Not only do they take extra time, but they make us less productive, healthy and social. If you thought a half marathon was hard, try training for it alone with a hangover and the black lung.

Third: we need to give ourselves a break, for heaven’s sake. In trying to do everything and be everywhere, we easily forget that this is supposed to be fun. Although life isn’t supposed to be easy, it is supposed to be enjoyable.

We have chosen wherever we are because, at least at some point, it seemed like a fun option. We owe it to ourselves to enjoy the lives we have. We only each get one (except cats – which is why they are allowed to be so damn unpleasant).

What should we do with these? Well, we can’t take down the internet. But we can choose to take time away from it on a regular basis. We can disconnect our lives from the competition and start trying to support one another locally, again.

We can kick the bad habits in our lives. The habits that, like YA fiction vampire villains, ask to be your boyfriend then suck the life out of you. We can re-prioritize our busy lives by ignoring things that claim to artificially relax us and using that time to get things done or, even better, to actually relax.

Finally, if we don’t like what we are doing, it is imperative that we act to change it now for the better. Maybe we can be on one baseball team fewer. Maybe we do not need to be the bodybuilding champion of the world. Maybe we can be happy just because we get to live here in sweet, sweet, Deep River Ontario.

We cannot change the world that we live in, but we can choose how we move within it. We can step away from our screens, kick an unhelpful habit and focus on the fun and relaxing parts of life.

We cannot juggle three flaming knives all of the time. We can, however, simplify the trick and remember that juggling is supposed to be fun.

Little Theatre, Big Issue

The controversy surrounding Confederate Monuments and Sir John A. MacDonald tributes has come to Deep River with the local production of Anything Goes.

What do we do about historical nuances that we wish were not a part of our past?

As a society, we recognize the importance of remembering and accurately depicting defining historical moments of our culture: in war, in politics, and in art. We have filled history books, compiled museum exhibits and erected statues to help us recall and, in many instances, revere important historical events and persons. We remember and celebrate theatre in a specific way: by re-creating and performing it.

In the last few years, we have re-examined the way we pay tribute to more complex parts of our history – specifically, the aspects that are marred by racism and prejudice. What does it mean to pay tribute to a known racist? What does it say about us to erect a monument that inspired racism?

If we memorialize racism, are we condoning racism?

Nobody could dispute that erecting a statue of Hitler sends a very chilling and aggressive message about racial and religious intolerance. When we name a bar after a former racist prime minister, the argument is muddier. What about if we perform a play that did not intend racism, but is racist nonetheless?

The 1930’s musical theatre piece, Anything Goes, by Cole Porter, premiers April 13 at Mackenzie Highschool by the Deep River Players. The play itself has innocent intentions. The action is set onboard a cruise ship where the antics and blunders of celebrities, criminals and crew result in love triangles, intrigue and comedy. The musical is light-hearted, a little cheesy and extremely dance-y. At first blush, one senses Porter simply meant to engage the audience in a “good time” for a couple hours.

The play, however, is undeniably racist.

Anything Goes has been written and re-written multiple times. The first version was sickening. The show’s signature song lyrics included racist slurs so derogatory that I have removed them from this column. (Adam Feldman has reproduced them in his Time Out, New York opinion piece on the play, if you wish to seek them out).

At the time the play was written, America was ripe with racism. The 1930’s may have been the time of swing dancing and Hollywood glamour, but it was also the time of the Nazi rise to power, of the Ku Klux Klan and the perpetuation of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Now, as the lyrics say, “Times Have Changed”. Society is much more progressive – and less racist – albeit by no means clean of all racism . The show, too, is less racist, having many of its lyrics replaced.

Nevertheless, Anything Goes still features a highly controversial scene where the main characters engage in a lengthy vaudeville portrayal of demeaning racist stereotypes for comedy. Porter wrote the scene to feature actor William Gaxton, a specialist in comedic disguise. The play is built around the racism inherent in this disguise and, as such, cannot be removed.

Herein lies the dilemma. The play is an accurate portrait of the 1930s. While the time was a fun, care-free, and silly time of luxury for some, it was not that way for all. Prejudice ran so deep at the time that it was embedded not only in the dark shadows of society, but in its brightest emblems.

Anything Goes presents an ethical and cultural dilemma at the feet of a small-town theatre troupe. Like the cities re-considering Confederate statues or establishments questioning Sir John A MacDonald’s namesake on their windows, the Deep River Players had to decide what to do with a great musical that had a big racism problem.

The way I see it, there are two options: ignore the issue, or deal with it.

The Deep River Players could have ignored the racism issue by proceeding without acknowledging the racism in the show or could have chosen not to do the show altogether. Either way, the Players would have been side-stepping the issue: choosing not to engage with it. This cannot be the way forward. How do we learn from our past if we allow it to continue or pretend it simply did not happen?

The Deep River Players chose to deal with the racism head-on. I cannot imagine this was a decision to be taken light-heartedly. After all, this is a play produced and performed by a predominantly white cast. The play will be received by a predominantly white audience. They had to wrestle with the possibility – or even probability – that their own experience and background may allow some offensive material to pass or even slip-by, unnoticed.

The production team always needs to make choices in a play. For this play, they had to make many difficult and nuanced choices.They determined that acknowledging the racism meant including a sincere apology and warning in the program about the challenging content. They determined that addressing the racism in the show meant changing the script, where they felt they could.

Even before the dress-rehearsal, we have already seen this conversation about racism developing in the many questions it has brought up for everyone: production, cast and audience.

The production team had to ask themselves : what is wrong with this joke? Do we want the audience to laugh at this? Do we leave the scene in? Is writing an apology in the program enough?

As a cast member, we have had to ask ourselves similar questions: what does my participation in this musical mean? Am I condoning the racism inherent in the show? What part can I play or should I play to stand-up to racism?

The final questions will be left to the audience. It is my hope that our friends and family choose to not side-step the racism issue but similarly choose to confront it head-on by attending and considering. Anything Goes presents an opportunity to open-up a dialogue, to ask one’s self hard questions, to sit with an open but critical mind: How do we feel about the racism in this play? Have times changed enough?

While I cannot say I agree with each and every decision production made about this issue, I nevertheless applaud their willingness and courage in attempting to address this very divisive subject. Whether Deep River Players wanted to produce Anything Goes despite its darker side or whether it had the intent to open-up a discussion about racism, it certainly has a small controversy waiting at its feet at the premier.

The choice to engage a play with a racism issue was made months ago, when the Deep River Players decided to produce Anything Goes. The subsequent choices about how they were going to address the racism issue (what jokes would be kept in, what pieces would be left out) have been numerous and have at least indirectly affected all aspects of the show from costumes, to dialogue, to plot.

Did this Troupe err in choosing to re-create this theatre piece? Did it take a big step forward in addressing racism by choosing this piece? Did it manage to play this difficult hand right? Like any great production, the audience’s reaction to the production’s decisions big and small can only be known once the curtain opens.


happy christmasIsn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different… – C.S. Lewis
I like to imagine the newly elected Town Council sitting around in their big chairs in 2014 just staring at each other. Starry-eyed and hopefully grinning, thinking about all of the great things they were about to do. This venture, they must have thought, is going to be phenomenal.

We must have thought so, too. Each of the Council members were so well-liked, so well-respected, we voted them in over many other very popular, capable and revered community members.

Fast forward four years later to 2018. References to Town Council are met with a sneer, personal insults are thrown at members of Town Council in public and in private, nearly every Council decision becomes divisive and includes at least one gossip controversy. Deep River Townspeople have become suspicious of our Town Council.

Are Deep Riverites all wrong?

Is Town Council out to screw us over?

How can both of these statements be untrue?

Plenty has changed over the last few years. Even in 2014, politics looked a little different. The increasing popularity of 24-hour news cycles, Twitter, memes, online blogs and Facebook pages mean that lay people have become more political than ever. We have easy access to information and we want more of it.

In the past (when social media was more about sharing photos than opinions), municipal news came from two sources: live Town Council meetings or NRT articles. Honestly, I used to skip municipal politics articles and go straight to the NRT Lost and Found column. Match-Up was sassy. Town Council meetings and articles were targeted to those who were actively interested.

In a new and more accessible world, Deep Riverites now have access to a quick and sassy Coles-notes version of municipal politics: other people’s online posts. Angry, excited and surprising posts are most likely to catch other people’s attention. Objective first-hand materials on the town website tend to be skipped-over. Which would you chose:

(a) A seven-paragraph explanation of a complex financial proposal and presentation?



You have my attention!

In Deep River, where social media does not reach, the social gossip does. Conversations that begin with “Did you see what so-and-so posted about…” are regularly overheard Saturday afternoons at the Legion.

Our newfound access to municipal politics begs the question: what’s the problem?

Contrary to the cliché, all publicity is not good publicity. Headline-driven news funnels out success. Opinions and drama make social media news. Competence and stability do not. Exposing supposed blunders and conspiracies happening in our own municipal government is a great way to lure people into caring about municipal politics. Using this tactic means, however, that Town Council members get caught in the net. The municipal news stream reads like a tabloid, and the Town Council is the favourite target.

Who should we blame for our biased municipal news stream?

Well, we could blame the townspeople for failing to read the town website and be objectively informed. However, the minutes are no John Grisham novel: they are boring and long. Tedium is why we never got interested in municipal politics in the first place.

We could blame our little NRT. Having solid hard-hitting investigative news stories that uncover newsworthy tips before the event happens would be amazing. In this day of SunMedia and a dying press, we are lucky to have a local paper at all – especially one of this calibre. Funding for “Spotlight” likely is not in the cards. Besides, who would be left to write the sassy Lost and Found?

Unfortunately, it seems Town Council takes the blame on this, too. In an information age, it is helpful to provide candid and timely updates to residents in formats they can understand and in formats that appeal to them. Our town likes to be updated and in the know so they can participate or at least feel like they can participate in a meaningful way.

The good news is that Town Council can change its lot. It can move from tabloid target to public ally by repurposing social media to its advantage.

By jumping ahead of the social media opinions and divulging the story before it becomes a story, the Town has a way of explaining itself. Deep Riverites can feel like they are working alongside Council in addressing the problems that affect us all. Social media can even invite participation for many who do not have the time or the confidence to otherwise share their views. Transparency alone can quell suspicion.

Town Council is not poised against us, the people. We are not the United States of America. Cobden did not meddle in our election, Mayor Lougheed is not antagonizing Bruce Township about the relative size of its nuclear reactors, Terry Myers’ children are not posting fake news on Twitter. While we will not always agree on the decisions Council make, we must all agree that they are doing their best for us.

Suspicions naturally arise when people feel they are being left in the dark about important decisions. If the Town wants the trust and confidence of the townspeople, they need to turn on the light early so we can easily perceive their best intentions.

Mean Behind The Screen

I was an amateur ballerina for eight years. I did not have a bright future as a dancer, but I did know the rules of the classroom. At the beginnings and ends of lessons, we had to acknowledge our teacher with a curtsy. Why an open-legged squat is a sign of respect remains a mystery to me. The rule, however, makes sense: in every interaction, we must begin and end with respect.

Outside of the mirrored walls of the ballet class, we see a handful of ways we show courtesy for one another in our communication even before we start: handshakes at meetings, warm greetings to start conversations, using formal prefixes for people we are just meeting. These symbols of courtesy have evolved alongside our communication and are practically intrinsic in any exchange- unless we are speaking through screens.

Chatting changed with the advent of e-mail, followed quickly by messaging, texting, then posting. We are less formal, we are more expedient. “You” becomes “u”, we omit punctuation entirely, we abbreviate “in my opinion” to IMO. We want to hurry-up and say our piece. Our fast-tracked communication has lost more than just grammar, spelling and full words. Somewhere along the line, we dropped basic courtesy.

Courtesy, at its plainest, is defined as behaviour marked by respect for others. In our community, it is on regular display outside.  A grocery line is not complete without a routine battle of the “sorries” between kind customers (“Were you here? I’m sorry, you go ahead” “No I’m sorry, you first, please”). Even a brief conversation downtown starts with a quick inquiry about our health (“How’re ya now?”) These exchanges, like a curtsey or a handshake, show our general respect for each other that transcends whatever the eventual conversation subject may be.

When we move behind our screens, our small-town familiarity and mutual respect is lost. Instead of assuming the best of people, we can assume the worst. Instead of looking out for one another, we can fall into the trap of throwing each other under the bus. Whether it be a garbage debate, the firefighter debate, or even a Tim Hortons debate, online conversations about “hot topics” can divide even the tightest of little communities.

In recent community discussions on several social media pages, a “thread” (group of typed posts) begins with one neighbour’s take on a hot topic. People respond by posting their own hot takes on the topic: usually brief, rarely without typos. In too many cases, the conversation devolves into mockery, name-calling, blocking and sometimes even aggression. On both sides of the battle: upstanding and kind members of our community.

How can we be so kind on the streets but so mean behind a screen?

On the streets in Deep River, we are not anonymous: we are recognizable, we are public. When we are behind a screen, it gives us the illusion of anonymity and privacy. We can say things we otherwise would not say. We behave as though our online personalities exist in a bubble. We have forgotten that we are still accountable for the things we say from the privacy of our smartphones. We ignore that the people receiving our words are our neighbours, colleagues and friends.

The benefits of aggressive posting cannot outweigh its problems. It is foolish to think that a single post or reply to a post will drastically change a complex issue on its own. It is very unlikely that a post can even change one person’s mind. However, an aggressive threat or mean-spirited joke can certainly have a detrimental effect on the typist’s own reputation, on the recipient’s sense of well-being, and on the general feeling of inclusivity and respect in a community.

In a community where we thrive on our mutual support, our reputations for kindness, and our heightened respect for one another, we must keep courtesy at the forefront of every interaction we have. The upside to the internet is that we have a moment at the end of a typed rant to reflect before we click “post” or “send”. We can choose to edit and amend to ensure we have shown respect to one another throughout the post. Online communication may not have a shortcut to show respect, it does not mean that we should forget about courtesy altogether.

In Deep River, our community members are too nice on the streets to be mean behind the screen. We need to hold our online communication to the same kindness standards we have in public exchanges.  Whether it be a ballet class, a Town Hall meeting, or an online exchange, we must begin and end with courtesy.

A Costly Cup of Tim’$

coffeeEarly in the morning this summer, I enjoyed a sweet workday start: sitting in my office chair, drinking what’s left of my Tim Horton’s coffee, and browsing Deep River Discussions. One post warmed my heart: “Huge shout out to Cody (not sure of his last name) from Deep River Tim Hortons”, it read, “…some of the friendliest service I’ve ever had.” The post blew-up with Likes, Comments and Shares: locals agreed.

I looked down at my coffee and remembered the smiling face and cheery greeting of the young man that served me. I DID enjoy my experience there. I SHOULD go back tomorrow. No sooner did the thought cross my mind that I realized that Cody from Deep River probably makes Tim Hortons an extra chunk of change, and that my Large Regular would not profit Cody at all.

Apart from our drive-thru run-ins, I have never spoken with Cody. I am willing to bet, however, that he makes little more than minimum wage. Having worked at that same Tim Hortons years ago, I have a small idea of what his workday looks like. He arrives work-ready in his work-mandated uniform at least 15 minutes before the start of his shift. He puts his phone away.

Cody’s work day is packed: he has regular chores that need to be finished before shift’s end, he has additional chores to do if he finishes the mandatory chores (if you can lean, you can clean), he focuses on each person’s experience while simultaneously meeting the corporate time requirements for maximum customer flow, and yet he still probably gets publicly criticized by one customer or co-worker once or twice in the day. His day is strictly regulated with conversation time being limited to 1-2 breaks of 15 minutes, during which he can eat by himself in a small back room. Cody earns every penny he is paid. The smile and cheery attitude is a bonus he throws-in for us.

Minimum wage jobs are extremely difficult. Personally, I have worked in over 20 different workplaces through high school, university, and law school. With the possible exception of articling, I have never found work as draining as when I worked minimum wage jobs – particularly, in the fast service industry.  The pace, the lack of recognition, the monotony of forced routine, the high number of tasks and lack of any real control in your day requires massive amounts of energy and leaves the worker with little to nothing left at the end of a shift. This is not to say that people who work at Tim Hortons do not like their jobs, nor that minimum wage jobs are devoid of reward. This is to say that they are damn tough.

As a capitalist society, we endorse reaping what you sow. The harder you work, the more you stand to profit, right? Not so for minimum-wage employees: they hit the glass ceiling hard, regardless of profit creation or capability. Cody is rocking it from the drive-thru window making even us locals want to buy into the Tim Hortons’ overpriced drip coffee enterprise. Cody realizes almost none of the additional profit he makes for his store. When the minimum wage was $11.25, the average Tim Horton’s employee earned $11.50. That average accounts for seniority! What about Cody’s boss? The Executive Chair of Tim Hortons, Paul D. House (even with credit for working double-double hours), makes approximately $945/hour. Is Paul D. House working 80 times harder than Cody per hour? No way, Housée.

Tim Hortons Corporation is structured so that, after franchise royalties, mandatory costs, mandatory expenses, etc., even our local franchisee will only see a small fraction of any profit Cody makes. Our Deep River Tim’s money is not local. It gets funnelled straight to the Big “Paul D. House” on the top: the CEO and all the coffee bean counters.

The Liberals have made a small change to the minimum wage that impacts us in a big way in Deep River. The minimum wage increased to $14 this January (annual salary of $29K before taxes). Prior to this, those making minimum wage lived on a wage sitting directly atop the poverty line at $22K (below the poverty line if they had even one kid). Since most minimum wage workers live locally and spend most of their time in the area, nearly 100% of their paycheques are funnelled back into Deep River: into town-run community services, local establishments, landlords and taxes. $14 per hour does not land anyone into the lap of luxury, however, it may mean that someone working at Tim Hortons can live (frugally) on one job alone. Minimum wage hike: good news for Cody, good news for Deep River.

Local franchises and businesses, however, may not see the minimum wage increase as all sunshine and ice caps. Minimum wages hit franchisees and small business owners hard: they expose the thin profit margin that differentiates local business persons from Paul D. Houses. The natural inclination is to look at minimum wage workers and blame them for the squeeze. This anger is righteous – but misdirected.

The $14 that goes into a skilled, minimum wage worker is money well-spent: it pays for a loyal employee, working hard under direct supervision, promoting the business locally, being taxed locally and spending their money locally. The tight squeeze in profitability is likely not from Cody’s extra $3 an hour, but rather in the exceptionally high costs of globalization, franchises, and large corporate retailers who inflate the bottom line expenses of Maw and Paw shops.

With the minimum wage hike, Deep River Discussions has seen some angry posts. The brewing rage focuses on how over-paid minimum wage workers are. Some rants directly blame those minimum wage workers for their own unemployment. The out-of-town corporations who regularly price us out of small businesses and franchises somehow avoid all blame.  This logic is backward. The local minimum wage workers are not driving the franchise royalties and mandatory costs. The local minimum wage workers are not relying on out-of-country production and services to drive down their costs and price local vendors out of business. The local minimum wage workers want local businesses to succeed and have a vested interest in their success.

As a small community that relies on local business, on local support, and on a thriving population, we must be thankful. An increase allows our neighbours, who work for the least amount of money, to receive a fraction closer to what they have earned through hard and dedicated work. We need to focus our frustration not on the Codys, but on the Paul D. Houses, Galen G. Westons, and Stephen G. Wetmores. The middle-initial corporate barons not only hold our extra spending money on their Tim’s Card, PC Card, or Canadian Tire Cards, but also the key to the profit handcuffs on our local businesses, and the rightful earned wages of our community members.

White Screen Christmas

What was the best part of your day? My little four-year-old friend considered the question. On a busy holiday Sunday, she had a lot to choose from: sitting on Santa’s lap, carolling in the pub, gymnastics, a birthday dinner… The winner? Playing on mom’s iPad.

Internet, social media, and our screen devices have revolutionized the way we live. From everyday bedtime reading to planning your latest gala, technology is the backseat driver on our fun. During the Christmas holidays, our tech makeover is more galling than ever. Screens run rampant live-broadcasting our social events, taking pictures of our holiday food, filling the rare silent moment, and offering us guilt-free last-minute Christmas shopping.

This is not a Holly, Jolly reality. It is more of a Nightmare Before Christmas. Our obsession with screens creates some real privacy concerns, makes us anti-social, and can be downright depressing. My iPad-loving four-year old friend is lucky to have a very attentive mom who actively limits her access to and use of screens. However, after 18, we are on our own to monitor against our own screen-obsession.

Let’s talk privacy. Our smart devices smack of Orwellian predictions about our future. We record, track and disseminate our private lives through social media. One SnapChat program provides a live-feed GPS to track your every movement. On Facebook, I can see the events my Facebook “friends” have attended, what they were wearing, and who they were with. The fitness apps track when we sleep, heart rates, what we ate, even our measurements. Right now, these private broadcasts may not seem like a big deal. However, our informational world is still evolving.

How would your Health Insurer feel about the MacDonald’s diet you have been faithfully reporting to your Fitness app? Would your stalker ex-boyfriend like to see your live GPS feed? Would you like your boss to have access to your twitter opinion on a controversial topics? Everything you put on your device is available to any user with the right technology. We need to stop confiding in our phones like they were our best friends and start treating them like the frenemies they are.

Speaking of friends, our smart devices have become the stage-five clinger in our lives. Screens drive us away from the important people in our lives, constantly demand our attention, and then pit us against the people in our real-life social networks. A recent study reveals that one third of people admit they communicate less with their parents, partners, children and friends because they can just “follow” them on social media. Our smart devices also create divides between people: 42% of people felt jealous toward their friends who received more “likes” than they did. The nerve!

Spending our lives on our devices watching the best-of reel of our acquaintances’ lives on social media can be downright depressing. We spend less time outside, we have less human interaction, and we can easily feel like we are trying to keep up with an unlimited number of The Jones’. The sad reality of screens and social media calls into question why we use them at all.

Unless you hide away in a camp out in the Wylie Road backwoods, we are all stuck with screens. We use them out of necessity. Screens and social media do, of course, have a helpful, informative, and entertaining side. They are a guilty pleasure we all revel in. All of us have undoubtedly heard of a friend who publicly boycotts the modern world of screen technology and social media. We have all equally bit our tongues when the same friend returns back into the screen world quietly a few weeks later.

The key to harnessing the best parts of screens and social media has got to be informed moderation, not abstinence. We cannot ignore the positive or negative reality of social media. Hiding from technology leaves the non-user ill-equipped to participate in our modern world. Our best defence against the phone is informing ourselves of the dangers and adjusting our use accordingly.

I simply cannot end a pre-Christmas Cup of Jo as a Grinch. To turn things around, I have written a little parody of what I believe to be the most entertaining part of social media: Deep River Yardsale Facebook Group. At the request of Katie Roblin, please enjoy this little Carol, set to the tune of “My Favourite Things”. Merry Christmas, Deep River!


One grass stained prom dress,

‘80s cassette player,

Used size-C brazier,

Four blades for your razor,

Kombucha Scoby,

Sad engagement ring:

These are some Deep Ri-ver Yard-sa-le Things!


Lulu Lemon Pants,

One actual rooster,

Old beat-up couches,

Broken baby booster.

What in the heck is a “Fingerling”?

These are some Deep Ri-ver Yard-sa-le Things!


Stolen road bike!

Gross homemade soup!

Shirt with a breast hole!
Once your friends buy your impractical things,

You, too, can mark them…


The Grape Debate

Quick! Name three luxury items you would love to be able to afford.

  1. Infinity pool.
  2. Yacht with a slide.
  3. ValuMart grapes.

Since A&P closed its refrigerator doors over 20 years ago, ValuMart found itself with a grocery store monopoly in a small town, with plenty of fairly affluent folks. Combined with high shipping fees to traverse fresh produce down the 17, taxes, and inflation, the cost of food meant that sub-$100 grocery trips were a thing of the past.

Staring-down the hefty ValuMart receipt, you notice something startling. The first half of your grocery trip, through the produce and meats section, is much more expensive than the later jaunt through pre-packaged, processed foods aisles.

The grocery price disparity weaves its way into the food-decision-making process. “My kids like the $2.39 canned vegetable soup more than the vegetable soup it cost me $17.56 and a Sunday morning to make.” The temptation to eat canned is financial. Eating “clean” is expensive.

My friend experienced the grocery dilemma first-hand. Since she started eating clean (basically, eating real food with no additives, sugars, fillers), her grocery bill has doubled. “No wonder people don’t eat this way!” she complained. She felt her food bill was jacked-up because it was fresh.

Fairly or unfairly, this is the repeating chorus I’ve heard since I moved back to Deep River: ValuMart produce is too costly to make eating fresh food a financially smart decision.

I disagreed with my friend. All food is expensive. Real food at any grocery store still gives way more bang for your buck than the cheaper aisles. Here is how I proved it to her:

Fresh Soup and Chicken Breasts (Meal A)


Canned Soup and Kraft Grilled Cheese (Meal B)

The cost of our real food, Meal A, is approximately $30. Feeding the canned soup, Kraft Singles on white bread, Meal B, to a family of four costs less than $8, all-in. However, Meal A’s price per nutritional unit is actually cheaper.

The real food in Meal A packs important vitamins, nutrients, and protein into everyone eating it. 100% of the foods will be helpful to the body. Bodies will not only “feel full”, but will actually be satiated. Later that day, when bodies want to exercise/think/sleep/function, real food can only help.

Meal B’s nutritional value is miniscule. In the canned vegetable soup, we see that only a fraction of the ‘meal’ has real ingredients. The rest: salt, refined sugar, water, and chemicals I struggle pronouncing. The white bread and butter leaves little for a body to capitalize on. Do not get me started on the Kraft Singles. After Meal B, you’ll be hungry again in an hour, so you need to price-in an inevitable post-dinner snack.

Eating is fuel. Cheap processed food is like burning chemicals and garbage in your woodstove. Sure, this fire is quick and easy, and will flame bright and hot at the start. However, it will burn out quickly, you will be constantly replenishing it, the chemicals from the garbage can impact your health, and you’ll end-up reeking of its by-products. We are better-off to use quality wood to fuel a lasting, useful and pleasant fire.

Let’s turn to price per unit. If we say that 15% of canned Meal B ($8) is giving you nutrition vs. 100% of real Meal A ($30), then we can figure out what the food actually costs. To get the same 100% nutrition from the pre-packaged foods in Meal B, I would need to buy more of it, to the tune of $53 ($8 ÷ 15% … do I have that right, Mrs. Van Wagner?)

The worst part of pre-packaged food is life imposes additional extra costs to eating garbage. The remaining 85% of non-beneficial ingredients in canned Meal B will make a body lethargic, cause weight gain, and maybe even contribute to medical problems. We must add-on costs like gym memberships, Spanx, and sick/unpaid leave from work.

Adding-up costs: $53 in product for same nutrition + $100 gym membership + $15 Spanx, cheap food is the more expensive alternative.

I am not a mathematician. I suspect my numbers need tweaking. I’m also not an investigative journalist. I have no idea why groceries cost what they do, why Food Basics is cheap, or why I can’t afford to eat grapes most weeks at ValuMart. I suspect that the reasons are far more complex and boil down to logistics, franchise agreements, and the quality of the produce. In fact, this might be a great piece for the NRT to investigate…

I am a realist. Bailing on nutrition isn’t going to make your life less expensive, no matter what grocery store you shop from. Food is expensive. Good food is no exception. My friend will have to find an alternative to lighten the grocery load: potlucks, sending the kids to friend’s houses for dinner, waiting for the infamous $1.99 grape sale week at ValuMart.

Instead of crunching numbers, consider treating yourself to a little luxury once in a while. Dine on expensive ValuMart grapes! Go for broke: enjoy some fermented ones at the LCBO at the same time.

Who The Heck Is Larry Dumoulin?

treesEvery country needs its whistleblowers. They are crucial to a healthy society. The employee who, in the public interest, has the independence of judgement and the personal courage to challenge malpractice or illegality is a kind of public hero. ― Fuad Alakbarov

Deep River is a different place than when I left it in 2002: Centennial Rock has a new landscape, Mackenzie is now a Community School, and everywhere I look I see a name I did not know before: Larry Dumoulin. In the North Renfrew Times, in Counsel Meetings, on Social Media, in the aisles of Giant Tiger, on the CBC: Larry Dumoulin’s name and his opinion call out for change to everyone who will listen.

I had no idea who Larry Dumoulin was. Through my extensive research (Google, my friends and family), I understand Larry has lived here for a long time and even worked for the Town as Treasurer when I was still in elementary school. Mr. Dumoulin has had his spoon in the pot for years. With the advent of Facebook “Discussion Groups”, Larry Dumoulin is a household name. Larry regularly disrupts the status quo of our small town and is not afraid to do it.

Living in a small town, we wrestle with social dynamics that spill into all aspects of our lives. A medical professional who does our physical in the morning might sit beside us at church that evening. The police officer who confiscated our underage booze backpacks on the way to Summerfest might be the parent who invited us over for our friend’s birthday party the week before.  A councillor that we face-off against about municipal decisions one night might also be the teammate who wins the face-off for our hockey game the following night. Awkward? Ya. Surprising? Nah.

Close social ties in an isolated town makes a community stronger. Your doctor can fill a prescription quickly, the police officer might give you a “you’re a good kid” break, and our municipal officials consider the nuanced concerns of the townspeople. We all go-along-to-get-along in our non-social activities to allow for smooth and harmonious social lives.

The problem with going-along-to-get-along is that we maintain the status quo. Change does not happen. Systems that never worked are never fixed. Problems within an organization bloom into catastrophes. Small biases turn into systemic unfairness. Like the junk drawer in our kitchen, ignoring annoyances and problems can result in a heaping mess that nobody is willing to address.

Enter Larry.

I have never met the fellow. I understand that most of the bees in his bonnet are with the functioning of the Town. Whether it be an under-researched proposal to switch police forces, or the neglected decision of what to do about our fire services, Mr. Dumoulin is not content to go-along-to-get-along. Instead, Mr. Dumoulin asks hard questions. Mr. Dumoulin demands answers. Most importantly, Mr. Dumoulin incites the public to take an active concern in the town politics that affect us all.

We are not always happy with town decisions. Complaining to one another over brunch may feel great, but does little to change anything. Many of us cannot or choose not to publicly share our opinions on town issues because of our work, our social circles, or even our own ignorance on the topic. Having a town adjitator keeps everyone accountable, promotes change and certainly adds to our conversations around the water cooler.

For anyone who has yet to read one of Mr. Dumoulin’s indictments on the town issues, I urge you to get out your dictionary and have a stab at one. They are well-written, sophisticated submissions that easily put the President of the United States’ correspondence to shame. When you reach the end of the submissions, you may not agree with them. You will admit, however, that they are persuasive.

Mr. Dumoulin’s regular advocacy can seem intrusive, overbearing and, in short, annoying to some. Mr. Dumoulin’s positions on issues can be polarizing. Mr. Dumoulin’s methods can be controversial. Many do not agree with the arguments he makes or the creative ways he chooses to make them. Mr. Dumoulin’s voice on Facebook can be loud – so loud, in fact, that a new Facebook Group was required to discuss the issues he has taken-up.

Being a lawyer by trade, I recognize that speaking-up for change can be unnerving, isolating, and even punishing. Nevertheless, the most important discussions are often the most challenging. We are all very lucky to have someone in the town who is willing to have those discussions – whether we agree with him or not.

I began my year here wondering “who the heck is Larry Dumoulin?” I am left now wondering where our town would be without our favourite pot-stirrer. I propose a toast! Here’s to Larry Dumoulin: a man we can all count on to speak-up on our issues, even if we disagree with him, and even we have never actually spoken with him before.


She’s All That

silhouetteAn outsider might believe the Ottawa Valley would be a hard place for a woman to succeed.

It can be hard to succeed anywhere as a woman

We are far from progressive, urban cities

…we are soooo small…..

Notwithstanding all that – the outsider’s perception could not be further from the truth.

This past March 7, 2018, on the eve of International Women’s Day, over 100 women and men gathered to celebrate women’s achievements and to bring awareness to women’s issues.

The event raised thousands of dollars for a local women’s shelter (one of only 2 shelters in Canada to be accredited), was hosted by a woman, included five female speakers from different backgrounds and professions, was organized by a five-woman committee, and was sponsored by many local businesses – many of whom are owned or operated by women.

The best part? One maven put it all together.

Carolyn Arnold, chef and owner of Maven Catering, exemplifies Deep River and Laurentian Hills’ successful investment in women. Carolyn pulled from the community to find her gift. Once she harnessed and refined her culinary skills, she returned to the Valley where she created a small social empire. We could not be luckier.

Carolyn is different from many Deep River success stories. If you speak with an engineer at the Plant, a successful journalist or even a lawyer, many will begin by attributing their success to the strong scholastic program they endured and even thrived in at Mackenzie High School.

While our Renfrew County Board of Education is nothing to turn up one’s nose at, Carolyn’s story takes a different turn here. She recalls an esteemed science teacher advising her parents that “Carolyn needs to spend less time on her extra-curricular activities and more time on her studies”. Well-intentioned? Yes. Wrong? Absolutely.

While academics were not a comfortable fit, the community was. In hindsight, Carolyn attributes her success in business to the strong inter-personal relationships and community connections she developed while volunteering, working as editor for the school yearbook, and participating in our community events. As the chef and owner of a highly successful and unique homegrown catering company, the skills she honed right here in Deep River were the magic ingredient to make her business a massive success.

What makes Maven different from many home-based start-ups is its incessant support of the community and community events. Heck, she organizes half of them. Open mic nights, yacht club band nights, food and wine pairings, pub crawl and, of course International Women’s Day: Maven, Maven, Maven, Maven, Maven. It isn’t always financially advantageous on a micro-level for a business to be a town social convenor, but that does not seem to bother Carolyn.

Speaking with Carolyn, I asked why she does all of these events, if a strong profit is not guaranteed. Carolyn believes that it is important to make where you live a place that you want to live. While we are enjoying a catered concert, Carolyn typically spends the first half of the evening in the kitchen, before jumping out to crack a cold one with the rest of us.

This column is not to simply tell Carolyn she’s fantastic. I can probably just find a card for that. This column is to talk about the importance of investing in women.

During Maven’s Second Annual International Women’s Day Dinner, I heard four extremely talented and very unique speakers explain the kinetic power we unleash when we support women. We heard that the world still puts-up barriers that can block, specifically women’s, success. The barriers can be overcome, however, by recognizing the importance of small achievements, by gathering and fostering support, creating opportunities in traditionally male-dominated trades and teaching women to confidently stand, hands on hips, to face that adversity.

Intentionally or not, Deep River did that for Carolyn.

She was bolstered by her community in even the smaller leadership roles she took in the town as a young woman.

She relied on the strength and guidance of her friends and other women in the community as well as on the continued support and empowerment of the townspeople – male and female.

She sought out and found a career in a traditionally male-dominated field and makes it work as the sole breadwinner in her home.

She is tough as nails. Culinary work has got to be one of the most stressful careers there are (have you SEEN Gordon Ramsey?) – but Carolyn pushes through, dusting off her chef jacket, smiling and ready for the next challenge.

Looking around the Dinner at all of the mavens Carolyn brought together, it is clear Deep River and Laurentian Hills’ successful investments with women neither started nor ended with Carolyn.

In a Country where only 23% of mayors are female, two of our last three mayors have been women. We have a large and thriving group of Women in Business. And, if the rest of the upcoming generations are half as talented as the 16 year-old speaker and humanitarian, Morgan Campbell, the Ottawa Valley can continue to expect greatness.

Outsiders may be surprised by the success of the Ottawa Valley: both in its men and women. For us, however, we know the value of hard work and great investments. I’m proud that my hometown innately knew to invest in Carolyn the way it has invested in so many of my friends, family and colleagues.

The next time someone seems shocked at the great little town we have here, you can tell them it is no surprise. When you invest in strong women, you strengthen your community.

Ann Hind & Loralie Cochrane

Ann Hind – Real Estate Clerk

Ann.jpgAnn Hind moved to Laurentian Hills in 2014. Before moving here, Ann graduated in 2007 with a Social Sciences Diploma and moved toward a business-driven career, working in Insurance, Administration, Accounting and Law Offices for the last eight years.

Ann loves the fast-pace and energy of Real Estate. Her enthusiasm and dedication ensure our clients’ matters move efficiently and that problems are solved quickly. Ann has been appointed to be a Commissioner of Oaths and she is also fluent in French and English.

When Ann is not working at Primeau Law, she enjoys gardening, taking care of her chickens, dogs and cats, and camping.

To Contact Ann Hind, please call 613.584.4884 or email Ann@DeepRiverLawyer.com


Loralie Cochrane – Office Manager

Loralie Cochrane was born and raised in Chalk River. Loralie’s experiences bring the Loralie2.jpegbenefit of two careers to our practice.

Loralie completed her Diploma in Corrections before moving her career to Education. After over 20 years of working in local schools, Loralie completed her certificate in Office Administration and began working with Jodie in 2018 as her Legal Assistant. Loralie has also been appointed by the Attorney General of the Province of Ontario to be a Commissioner of Oaths.

Loralie’s positive outlook and dedication to Primeau Law, as well as its clients, improves the experience of attending a lawyer’s office less intimidating and more accessible.

When not working at Primeau Law, Loralie enjoys being with her family, skiing, camping and reading.

To Contact Loralie, please call 613.584.4884 or email Loralie@DeepRiverLawyer.com

Jane Mundy, B.F.A., J.D.

Jane grew up in Kingston and attended Ryerson University where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Studies. Following her graduation, Jane attended Queen’s University to earn her Juris Doctor from the Faculty of Law.

While a student at Queen’s, Jane participated in the Queen’s Law Clinics, including Queen’s Legal Aid Clinic (QLA) and Queen’s Prison Law Clinic (QPLC). Through her work with QLA over three years, Jane represented clients in criminal and provincial offences court, small claims court, and before social justice tribunals. Through QPLC, Jane represented clients at disciplinary court and before the Parole Board of Canada. Jane completed her articles with Queen’s Law Clinics and was called to the Bar in June 2019.

Jane was one of two students chosen to represent Queen’s in the Arnup Cup Trial Advocacy Moot in 2017, arguing a street racing causing death case. Jane’s team was one of three to advance from the provincial Arnup Cup to the national Sopinka Cup in 2018. Outside of work, Jane enjoys reading, gardening, and working on puzzles of any kind.

Jane will be working primarily out of Pembroke at a new Primeau Law satellite location starting August 6, 2019.

Jodie Primeau, B.A.(Hons), LL.B.

Jodie graduated from Brock University in 2006 with a B.A. (Honours) in Psychology . She earned her LL.B. from the University of Ottawa, in 2009 and was called to the Bar in June 2010 after her articles at Webber Schroeder Goldstein Abergel.

Jodie’s passion for criminal defence began before law school, when she began volunteering with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa and the Circles of Support and Accountability in Ottawa. In law school, Jodie was on the executive of the Criminal Law Students Association and was a Division Leader in the criminal division at the uOttawa Community Legal Clinic where she represented clients facing criminal and provincial offences. After working at the Legal Clinic in the summer of 2008, Jodie began working part-time at Webber Schroeder Goldstein Abergel while completing her final year of law school. She then went on to article with the firm in 2009 following her graduation.

Jodie worked with the same firm after her articles until her move to Kingston in 2011. In Kingston, she practiced for another 2 years, taking on clients in the federal penitentiaries charges with Criminal Code offences and offences under the Correctional and Conditional Release Act. In 2013, Jodie accepted a position at Queen’s Law Clinics where she co-taught Clinical Litigation and mentored and supervised law students. Jodie was also elected to the Board of the Elizabeth Fry Society. Bringing together the two organizations, Jodie founded the Bail Support Program which worked toward the de-incarceration of female accused persons on remand in custody.

Jodie has been practicing law for 9 years. She has represented clients charged with drug offences, sexual offences, assaults, impaired driving and “over 80,” robbery, weapons offences, theft and fraud, among others, and has also assisted senior counsel representing clients charged with murder. She has experience assisting clients in Youth Court and the Mental Health Court. Jodie brings her experience and dedication to each client file and diligently defends all of her clients.

Jodie Primeau also has a thriving Real Estate and Wills practice in the area. Growing-up and living in Deep River has given her a love and appreciation for the area and for the people in the area. She works closely with local real estate agents and her real estate team to ensure smooth sales and purchases for first-time buyers and returning clients alike.

Outside of work, Jodie enjoys training for triathlons, having recently qualified to compete on the Canadian Age Group Triathlon Team at the World Triathlon Championships in Rotterdam, 2017. Jodie also enjoys public speaking and performing in local community theatre.

Jodie is a member of a number of legal and community organizations including the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the Renfrew County Law Association, the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa, Toastmasters International, Ironstride Triathlon Team, the Canadian National Age Group Triathlon Team, the Deep River Players and Elizabeth Fry Society in Kingston, Ontario.

To Contact Jodie Primeau, please call 613.584.4884 to schedule your first appointment. For Station Calls and emergency matters, use 343.369.7444.