Federal Modesty

Tomorrow, a government agency will expropriate Centretown. Then, they’ll bulldoze it.

Ottawa’s downtown area isn’t befitting a G7 capital. Ramshackle rowhouses and concrete condos aren’t built for a capital city. There’s nothing there that brings pride to a great nation like Canada. The government wants a Centretown that is built for all of Canadians. When tourists, not to mention foreign dignitaries, come to our city and make their way from Confederation Square to Confederation Boulevard, they don’t want to be confronted with haphazard development born out of an old logging town. Centretown as we know it isn’t really necessary anymore. The government will remake it into Confederationtown. There’ll be so much more pride.

This will cause the displacement of thousands of people, sure. It’ll be the destruction of a community, our heritage and maybe a bit of common human decency, but it’s necessary if we’re to build the type of capital that is sufficiently representative and reverential to our dominion. This is really what our true heritage is.

It’s not logging. It’s not the great fire. It’s not the flu epidemic. It’s not families struggling to survive as fathers are off “protecting the country”. It’s not about people who have made lives here, built this city or helped others in the community.

Ottawa is about Canada. The town is subservient to the crown. This city is to be used for the aggrandizement of the nation. Residents can move elsewhere. There are suburbs. And if you don’t like that, there’s the Glebe or Vanier (for now) or Hintonburg.

Tomorrow, Centretown–Confederationtown–belongs to this great nation. What patriot could disagree?

Next week, the federal agency will sell Confederationtown to the owner of a sports team…or maybe a circus. There will be nods to city-building (a few tastefully-erected residential units), but this will be about using this land–that clearly and rightfully belongs to the nation and the government–as a monument to our great land. We’ll have shopping! And cars! And maybe some weirdly-positioned amusement venues!

Confederationtown can’t possibly be thought of as anything to do with Ottawa, the city. Ottawa isn’t a city, really; it’s a capital, and to make a great capital, you have to make sure that the central, tourist-specific areas are built to attract tourists to the city (even if they never go to the car museum). It needs to look great from the sky. It must be majestic. Regal.

You may think there are flaws to this plan, but the government is tired of this whole in the centre of the city capital, which totally isn’t their fault. It would be a sin to scrap this corporate sellout and wait an extra day to build a greater city. It’s been a week!

Ottawa needs this. They need to build up in the crater than is Confederationtown. When else will we be able to make a great, monumental district. Something that will serve the approach to Parliament Hill. Something that will reflect so majestically, so monolithically on each and every Canadian. Every Canadian has an equal stake in this neighbourhood. The impact of the government agency’s decision affects each region of Canada equally, and so this city must be transformed into something it isn’t and never was.

This is Canada’s capital. In the next eight days, we’ll make it the capital we all deserve.

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