Thu. May 26th, 2022

The town proposes to change the parish name to Rideau-Jock after the names of the rivers that run through the area.

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Coun. Scott Moffatt continues to hear opposition to his, and now the city’s, call to change the name of the Rideau-Goulbourn ward, though he has been trying for more than a year to convince voters that it is out of touch with having a the name of the slave owner attached to a municipal constituency.


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The town proposes to change the parish name to Rideau-Jock after the names of the rivers that run through the area. The idea for the name came from a resident of the community.

It is one of six ward names that staff recommend changing for local elections in 2022, after the Ottawa City Council and the Ontario Land Tribunal approved boundary changes to more evenly divide populations into 24 wards.

Moffatt began researching Goulbourn while making some podcasts to explore the area’s history and quickly found out that Henry Goulbourn, a British undersecretary, had been a slave owner and, as Moffatt described for ingredients, “the absent owner of one of the the most notorious plantations in Jamaica ”, which eventually lost an election in 1826 because voters found out he owned slaves, even after Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807.


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Moffatt said there was no deep reason why Goulbourn name was chosen as the name of Goulbourn Township in 1818. It was just the name of one of the prominent people at the time, he said.

In an interview Friday, Moffatt said dropping Goulbourn from the ward name should be an easier decision compared to other historical figures whose legacy has been questioned.

“Henry Goulbourn is not Sir John A. Macdonald and is not George Washington. He does not have a history in Canada. He does not have a story here. He has nothing to do with our area at all, ”Moffatt said.

“There’s nothing I can really do here to justify the name.”

Moffatt said it was “just a parish name” that in modern times came from a municipality that ceased to exist when the city of Ottawa was merged.


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While Moffatt expected both support and opposition to his idea of ​​changing the parish name, he was surprised by what he called a “who cares?” attitude that Henry Goulbourn is a slave owner.

“I would not say it was large, but there was certainly a segment of the population that had ‘who cares?’ mentality, ”Moffatt said.

According to Moffatt, a person found out that there was once a slave owner named Moffatt in Jamaica and suggested the councilor change his name.

Longtime resident of the Richmond area Hank Helleman is one of Moffat’s voters trying to convince the council to keep Goulbourn in the ward name.

“There are probably people who are very, very, very sad about what he is trying to achieve without having the right interaction and feedback from his constituents,” Helleman said.


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Helleman, who did not deny that Goulbourn was a slave owner, said Moffatt only looked at one side of Goulbourn’s legacy, which Helleman argued included a role in helping win the war in 1812.

(In an exchange of letters with Helleman, Moffatt downplayed Goulbourn’s contribution to the war and questioned how Goulbourn was worthy of contemporary honor.)

“I’m ready with other people to make sure that when (Moffatt) runs next time he’s out,” Helleman said, acknowledging that he has had other disagreements with Moffatt over ward issues.

Moffatt’s answer? Came with it.

“I have never been afraid to run on a decision I make,” he said.

At least one other organization has followed Moffatt’s advocacy business and changed its name.


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The West Ottawa Basketball Association changed its name from the Goulbourn Basketball Association last spring after learning more about the organization’s namesake.

Dan Case, president of the basketball association, said management members quickly moved on to “rebrand and separate our basketball club from this legacy.”

Case said the feedback he received supported the name change.

“One family commented on how they valued the gesture of promoting equality and racial understanding, and how they look forward to seeing more and more of this in the Ottawa region,” Case said. “That kind of support was incredibly meaningful and shows that we made the right decision to re-label.”

The other ward names suggested for change are:

• Orléans (becomes Orléans East-Cumberland)

• Innes (to become Orléans West-Innes)

• Barrhaven (becomes Barrhaven West)

• Cumberland (becomes Orléans South-Navan)

• Gloucester South Peanut (becomes Riverside South-Findlay Creek)

The city is adding a new department at the 2022 local election, and staff are proposing to call it Barrhaven East.



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