How this woman became the queen of Jamaican black castor oil

Lois Hines is the co-founder of Tropic Isle Living, which produces Jamaican black castor oil. Her business sales have doubled every year since the company was launched in the early 1990s. (Photo: Courtesy of Lois Hines)

#BeautyDisruptors is a series in which Yahoo Lifestyle Beauty Editor Jacqueline Laurean Yates interviews CEOs, inventors, and other extraordinary individuals who have managed to shake up traditional norms, launch innovative companies, and change the stagnant conversation on beauty. 

In a trend-driven world of buzzy beauty ingredients that claim to have a plethora of skin, body, and wellness claims, it’s refreshing to come across one that’s an age-old essential that just keeps getting better with time. Jamaican black castor oil is one of those ingredients, and the co-founder of Tropic Isle Living, Lois Hines, has played a significant role in helping this Caribbean multipurpose product gain the international recognition it deserves.

Along with her late husband, Michael Hines, they brought their first gallon of Jamaican black castor oil to the United States in the early 1990s. Castor oils were already being sold in some traditional marketplaces, but according to Lois Hines, they were mainly cold-pressed and not the roasted nutrient-filled concoction they learned to create from the recipes of their late grandparents. “We pick the seeds, they come in little pods, and they burst out,” she told the Cobb Business Journal. “After we pick the seeds, we shell it off by parchment and the parching, we roast the seed, we boil the seed, then we skim off the oil. So it’s a tedious process.”

Fast-forward nearly a decade, and Hines recalls how Canada-based beauty blogger Valerie Bremang of Hairlicious Inc. was able to get her hands on a bottle of Jamaican black castor oil while vlogging about her hair-growth journey. From there, lots of curious women began inquiring about how they could obtain their own bottles of the oil.

“I remember a lady from California called and said, ‘Don’t you see what’s going on on the internet?’ I responded, ‘The internet?’ Of course, I knew what the internet was, but I didn’t understand what she was trying to tell me at the time” Hines tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “She pointed me to YouTube, and there it was. Needless to say, from there, we started with 1 gallon. One gallon became a 5-gallon bucket. Five gallons became a 35-gallon drum. That 35-gallon drum became a 55-gallon drum, and a 55-gallon drum became many drums into the future.”

Today, Tropic Isle Living’s Jamaican black castor oil continues to receive rave reviews from vloggers and has remained one of the most popular beauty-supply-store finds in a number of communities — making it a very lucrative business that continues to naturally keep its core ingredient at the heart. “With the onset of social media, we had to hurry and scurry and try to keep ahead of the wave,” says Hines. “We were kind of scared at first, but we acted fast and thought, ‘Oh my God, we need to now hurry up and plant more trees.’ Since starting, we have always doubled in business every year.”

Yahoo Lifestyle caught up with Hines to find out how this booming brand has changed her life forever.

 

Yahoo Lifestyle: Can you share some history behind using castor oil in Jamaica?

Lois Hines: When my ancestors came to Jamaica, they did not come as tourists. They were slaves that came over with many of their traditions from Africa. One of those traditions was making castor oil. There are many books that show that this particular seed, when pressed, was called “castor oil” in Jamaica. When slaves in Jamaica were physically punished by their masters, they didn’t have medicine to turn to and heal their scars, so they turned to this all-purpose oil.

Jamaican black castor oil has many different benefits, but what are some of the most popular key uses?

Jamaican black castor oil has like a million of uses. For babies that have constipation, you can rub the oil on the baby’s tummy, and gently massage. The hand friction allows the oil to seep in and gently massage the intestines — making it like an external laxative. It works the same way for women recovering from childbirth. By rubbing the oil on their stomachs, it helps to cleanse the reproductive system and eliminate waste through bowel movements. There are also bush grannies, midwives, and doulas that use the oil to massage a woman’s cervix before a baby is born. It can assist in expanding the cervix and keep everyone from having to run to a hospital. Once a baby is born, and the umbilical cord is cut, JBCO can also be used to help heal the belly button.

When it comes to hair, it can be used to treat thinning edges caused by tight braids, tightly pulled-back hairstyles, wigs, and more. In addition to the hair on your scalp, the JBCO formula also helps to grow eyebrow and eyelash hair.

There are a host of other uses that range from treating menstrual cramps to healing breast cancer-related scars. It’s truly an all-purpose healing oil.


How have social media and online reviews affected your brand?

With all the attention and demand for JBCO, the Jamaican government has really begun regulating and ensuring that farmers get fairly compensated for the oil. That’s a prime example of how powerful social media is. Thankfully, I’m on the right side because if you’re on the wrong side, it can also be your downfall.

What challenges has your business faced?

The challenge for Tropic Isle Living is growth. You have to figure out a way to control growth and sometimes it’s not easy. It’s a delicate balance. Sometimes you will have to store some raw materials, and all of a sudden those raw materials aren’t there. There are other times where people won’t pay you on time, but these are regular business challenges.

Also, you will have some employees that do not understand your vision and sometimes may not be on the same page as you. After talking to these employees, you usually come to the conclusion that this is not a good pairing. Those are tough decisions, but they have to be made when you run a business. 

What are some huge financial wins you’ve experienced within the last few years?

We’ve had a tremendous growth with our cocoa hair food products. There was a young lady that did a YouTube video about growing her baby’s hair back with JBCO Cocoa Hair Food. Now, we can’t make enough of that, and it is flying all out of here like there’s no tomorrow. As a whole, other products that Tropic Isle Living carries outside of JBCO, have finally begun to get their due recognition as well. Case in point: We just had a huge order for our Hair Therapy product, which was originally created for women with autoimmune diseases. We paired it with black seed oil, black walnut, and other stuff that helps to boost the immune system, as well as grow hair.


There have been quite a few new products adding Jamaican black castor oil as a star ingredient to their products. How does that make you feel?

Someone once said to me, “When they copy you, that is the best form of flattery.” With that, I just hope they are actually sourcing their oil from Jamaica so that the people of Jamaica can benefit from it. My thing is, if you’re saying you’re selling Jamaican black castor oil, make sure you’re selling pure Jamaican black castor oil — don’t put any fillers in there. Just like there is Colgate and Arm & Hammer, I understand that we all can eat when it comes to business. We all can have a piece of the pie, my only hope is that others being put out there are being authentic.

How important is to have more women of color owning their own companies within the beauty space?

It is absolutely so important. As an owner now, by myself, owning this company and understanding women of color, their struggles …  we give the young babies that are growing up great role models to follow where they can proudly say, “Yes, we can. Yes, we can do this.”  

I always say to my clients and to my employees, “I see myself in you and you can see yourself in me.” We are all here on planet Earth, this absolutely beautiful round spaceship in the galaxy as the human race. When you see a black woman at your side, that is one up for everyone. Black, white, brown, pink, or other. It moves humanity forward as a whole. I have a bias towards women because we are the givers of life. Like Mother Earth, we are tethered to it, if we choose to be. I think women have the most honest approach to business with a more humanistic or emotional look towards things.

Why has your brand been so positively disruptive within the beauty space?

We have always remained true to our core brand standards. I don’t make gels, I don’t make curl puddings, or anything like that. My products are the first line of defense when you use products to help to style your hair, and I’ve used these products, too, so I know they work. We approach beauty from a health and conditional point of view and I just stand in my truth. I do what I know is right as it pertains to honoring and celebrating the traditions of my ancestors. That’s what has helped Tropic Isle Living to really stand out from the rest. 


How do you plan to continually expand Tropic Isle Living?

Our products recently landed on the shelves of Target this past May, and we are thrilled our new Strong Roots Red Pimento collection is there. Outside of that, we want to start taking a 360-degree approach to beauty — meaning that we will also be eventually caring for the mind, body, and spirit. I can’t share all the details just yet, but more is on the way.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.


  • Conservatives stoke fear of NDP-Liberal coalition as Scheer pushes for majority
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Conservatives stoke fear of NDP-Liberal coalition as Scheer pushes for majority

    OTTAWA — Andrew Scheer is raising the spectre of a reckless, tax-and-spend Liberal-NDP coalition government to urge Canadians to hand the Conservatives a majority on Oct. 21.The Conservative leader warned Monday that such a coalition would lead to out-of-control spending, "massive" new taxes and "endless deficits" that would drive away investment and throw thousands of Canadians out of work.Scheer played the fear card even though Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau refused to contemplate forming a coalition and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh walked back his earlier speculation about joining forces with the Liberals to prevent the Conservatives from forming a minority government.With only one week to go and polls suggesting the Liberals and Conservatives remain locked in a dead heat well short of majority territory, all three leaders were peppered with questions about a hypothetical coalition as they campaigned in three different provinces.Singh opened the can of worms Sunday, saying his party would "absolutely" consider a coalition with the Liberals to ensure Scheer does not become prime minister.During a campaign stop Monday in Windsor, Ont., Trudeau dodged multiple questions about a possible coalition, repeatedly responding that he remains focused on winning a majority."My focus is on electing a progressive government and stopping Conservative cuts," Trudeau said.But Scheer pounced on what he portrayed as Trudeau's failure to rule out a coalition."Now, he's even leaving the door open to coalition government with the NDP in a desperate attempt to cling to power, a coalition that will lead to even higher taxes, less jobs, more deficits and bigger household bills," Scheer said during a campaign stop in Winnipeg."So my message to Canadians is this: only a Conservative majority government can prevent a government with Justin Trudeau as the spokesman but the NDP calling the shots."Scheer asserted that Canadians have "a crystal clear choice between a Trudeau-NDP coalition that will raise taxes, run endless deficits and make life more expensive and a Conservative government, a majority government, that will live within its means, lower taxes, put more money back in your pockets."Minority governments have been common in Canada, both at the federal and provincial levels. Generally, minorities have operated with the informal backing of another party or with the backing of different parties on different issues.Formal coalitions have rarely been struck in Canada, although there is nothing in constitutional law or convention to preclude them.Shortly after the 2008 government gave Stephen Harper his second consecutive Conservative minority, the Liberals and NDP negotiated a plan to form a coalition, with the support of the separatist Bloc Quebecois. Harper portrayed the plan as effectively a coup and prorogued Parliament to avoid a confidence vote. By the time Parliament resumed, the Liberals had backed out of the arrangement, which had proved unpopular.Scheer seemed bent Monday on stoking the same fears. Yet he refused to condemn coalitions in principle, saying his objection was to Trudeau's alleged plan to form a coalition with the NDP.Nor would Scheer say which party he would turn to for support if the Conservatives win a minority, saying only that he is campaigning for a majority.He did rule out entering into "any type of negotiations" with the Bloc Quebecois, whose support in Quebec has surged. But the Bloc could support a Conservative minority without negotiating any formal agreement or coalition.Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has said his party would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to support initiatives proposed by either a Liberal or Conservative minority.Green Leader Elizabeth May, who took a break from the campaign trail Monday, has said her party won't support any minority government that doesn't meet her high standards for combating climate change. She has denounced the Tory climate plan and maintains the Liberal plan doesn't go far enough.On Sunday, Singh was unequivocal about his willingness to form a coalition to prevent a minority Conservative government. "Oh absolutely, because we are not going to support a Conservative government. We are going to fight a Conservative government. We are going to fight it all the way," he said.But Singh would not repeat that sentiment Monday during a campaign stop on Vancouver's Granville Island, dodging repeated questions about how legitimate a coalition government would be or whether he'd insist on some NDP slots in a Trudeau cabinet."We're not talking about a coalition government ... I'm not negotiating the future today," he said.Singh, whose party has enjoyed a bit of a bounce since last week's leaders' debates, said he's still running to be prime minister but that regardless of the election outcome, the NDP will stand firm on its priorities."You're not stuck with two choices," he said. "You can go beyond that. You can choose New Democrats who will fight for you, who have always fought for you and that's what we offer in this election."With the Bloc and NDP eating into Liberal support, Trudeau ramped up Monday the message he's expected to hammer home every day until voting day: progressive voters must vote Liberal to stop the Conservatives.He pointed out that the Liberals, NDP and Bloc all had strong contingents in the House of Commons during the almost 10 years that Harper was prime minister and they couldn't stop him from cutting programs and services, attacking unions and retreating from Canada's climate change commitments in the Kyoto protocol."The progressive opposition couldn't prevent Stephen Harper's cuts," he said.With the Detroit skyline behind him, Trudeau also argued that Canada needs a strong, stable progressive government to stand up to mercurial U.S President Donald Trump.He accused Scheer of urging Canada to "cave" in to Trump's demands during renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. And he said Singh would scrap the new trade deal and reopen negotiations with Trump, creating instability and uncertainty."We need to continue to have a strong government with a clear focus on standing up for Canadians, standing up to Donald Trump, standing up to the forces of populism and chaos around the world and focus on investing in Canadians and promoting our values at home and abroad."Singh accused Trudeau of lying about his stance on the new NAFTA. He said he does not want to scrap the deal but, rather, work with Democrats in Congress to strengthen the labour and environmental standards in the pact to make them enforceable.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 14, 2019.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

  • Prince William, Kate kick off five-day Pakistan tour
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Prince William, Kate kick off five-day Pakistan tour

    ISLAMABAD — Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate kicked off a five-day tour of Pakistan on Tuesday amid much fanfare and tight security.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan. They were scheduled to attend a cultural event later in the day.Authorities deployed more than 1,000 police and paramilitary forces to ensure the royal entourage's protection, setting up checkpoints and roadblocks in parts of the capital, Islamabad.Alvi and his wife welcomed the couple, releasing a statement saying the president "commended" them for raising "awareness about mental health, climate change, and poverty alleviation."Prince William thanked the president for his warm welcome and the hospitality extended to him and his entourage, the statement said.The royals were accompanied by British Ambassador Thomas Drew, the Duke's private secretary, Simon Case, and Christian Jones, communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, according to a government statement.The royal couple's first engagements were visiting a school for girls in the capital followed by a tour of the nearby national park at Margalla Hills.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who are strong advocates of girls' education, were greeted by teachers and children on their arrival at the Model College for Girls.Wearing a royal blue traditional kurta — a loose collarless shirt — and trousers, Kate sat with children in a classroom as Prince William shook hands with a teacher.According to the United Nations' annual Human Development report, most Pakistani girls will drop out after primary school and on average go to school for seven years. Barely 27% of girls in Pakistan attend secondary school, the report said, compared to nearly 50% among boys.Taliban militants in Pakistan violently oppose girls' education and infamously shot Malala Yousafzai — now a leading girls' education activist who attends Oxford University in Britain. Militants in recent years have damaged girls' schools in the northwest, including the Swat Valley, which is home to Yousafzai.The royal couple arrived in Islamabad Monday night.William's mother, Princess Diana, visited Pakistan in the 1990s to participate in a fundraising event for a cancer hospital built by Khan, who took office last year. Diana died in a car accident in 1997 and many Pakistanis still remember her for her charity work.Khan's office later said the prime minister's meeting with the royal couple was held in a "warm and cordial atmosphere."It said Khan "recalled the love and affection among the people of Pakistan for Princess Diana, because of her compassion as well as commitment to support charitable causes."Britain's Press Association reported that Pakistan's cricket star-turned-politician Khan during his meeting with the royal couple recalled a conversation with William some 22 years ago about his ambitions of becoming prime minister.On Tuesday, Pakistan Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan took to Twitter to note the visit is taking place months after British Airways resumed flights to Pakistan, over a decade after they were suspended in the wake of a truck bombing of a hotel in the capital, which killed dozens.Pakistan has witnessed scores of attacks in recent years, though the security situation has improved recently.While the royal couple was in Islamabad, a roadside bomb went off near a police vehicle in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing a police officer and wounding 10 people. The couple had no plan to visit that region.For security reasons, authorities shared limited details about William and Kate's itinerary, which is expected to include a visit to the country's scenic northern provinces and the historic eastern city of Lahore.___Associated Press writers Kathy Gannon in Islamabad and Abdul Sattar in Quetta contributed to this report.B.K. Bangash And Munir Ahmed, The Associated Press

  • Rise in RCMP pursuit collisions prompts policy review
    News
    CBC

    Rise in RCMP pursuit collisions prompts policy review

    Ten months after worrying he would lose his life in a police chase, RCMP Sgt. Stephen Browne returned to the quiet suburban street in Airdrie, Alta., just outside Calgary, where he and his partner had ended the pursuit. "I received a crushed tibia plateau on my left leg, torn knee cartilage on my left leg as well," he recalled, surveying the stretch of road where he was injured. "It hurts when you get run over by a car."Browne is one of three RCMP officers seriously injured in pursuits across Canada in 2013-2018.Watch the pursuit that injured Browne:Data obtained by CBC through an access to information request reveals the number of collisions in that time period has grown, too, in the country and particularly in Alberta. Fleeing motorists rammed or damaged 16 RCMP vehicles in Canada in 2013. That number rose to 45 last year. In total, 197 vehicles have been struck in the six-year period. A majority of those vehicles, 87, were hit in Alberta. The RCMP's national command refused to speak with the CBC about the subject, and said the data in question is a "very small sample size," making it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions without examining "each individual incident." However, the force considers the problem serious enough that they are reviewing their training and policy.'I wasn't going to win that one'On Dec. 1, 2018, Browne and his partner spotted a motorist driving erratically while they were on duty."We attempted a traffic stop," Browne said, but it did not work.Dramatic police dash-cam video shows the driver, Skyler Stevens-Rose, speeding away instead. Browne and his partner took off after him, eventually joined by a second police car. Stevens-Rose got his Subaru stuck on an embankment and stopped.Thinking the chase over, Browne hopped out of his car and reached for his sidearm, intending to ask Stevens-Rose and his passengers to step out of theirs.That's when Stevens-Rose reversed, striking both police cruisers, as well as the sergeant, dragging him over a length of pavement before he stopped for good. "I tried to back away from the vehicle as best I could," Browne said. "But, time and distance and speed, I wasn't going to win that one." He underwent surgery followed by several months of physiotherapy.Trend difficult to understand Nobody CBC News spoke to could explain why there are more collisions now, though they offered some theories about how they happen. "Some of these guys think they're cool, some of these guys have a different mindset than you and me,"  said Alain Hepner, a criminal defence attorney in Calgary. Watch a driver try to ram his way out of a McDonald's drive-thru in Alberta:Hepner represented Stevens-Rose in court. His client pleaded guilty, admitted to being high on cocaine and drunk at the time of the event and expressed what Browne has accepted as genuine remorse.But Hepner said that is not always the case."Often it's because there's a ton of drugs in the car, often. Or contraband of some kind. Or guns."Between 2013-2018, British Columbia's RCMP had the second highest number of vehicles struck, following Alberta.The two provinces have the largest RCMP contingents in Canada, and, unlike Quebec or Ontario, no provincial police of their own.Alberta also has few municipal forces, leaving large swaths of territory in the Mounties' hands.Better data needed, expert says"We should be concerned about the police officers' safety, the public's safety," said Terry Coleman, an independent public safety consultant.Coleman had a long career spanning many police forces, including a stint at the head of the Moose Jaw Police Service in Saskatchewan.Back then, he instituted a policy banning pursuits."I got a lot of pushback from police officers," he said. "I said, 'I don't want to go and knock on your family's door and tell them that you died chasing a stolen vehicle.'" Coleman is not suggesting the RCMP go as far as banning chases, but he wants the Mounties to collect better data about them."I would also like to know, if I were going to do the analysis, not just how many there were in total, but how many were called off, and why they were called off. Now the usual answer to that is public safety, but I would like to know more about the circumstances," Coleman said.Changes coming, Mounties sayThe RCMP's national command declined multiple interview requests for this story, saying they had no subject matter experts available. But acting Sgt. Caroline Duval provided statements indicating police acknowledge there is an issue and they are working on it. "The RCMP has dedicated a project team to review our Emergency Vehicle Operation training and policy," she wrote in an email.The team has been around since 2017 and includes both traffic and use-of-force experts. Duval did not disclose what prompted the team to begin amending the force's pursuit policy or when it decided to do so, but she did write it wants to adopt "a guiding principle for initiating and/or continuing pursuits, rather than listing a series of offences as pursuable or non-pursuable." Non-pursuable offences on the current policy include vehicle theft or violations of provincial regulations and municipal bylaws.The team also wants to "enhance training for all RCMP officers," she wrote.As for data collection, Duval said "all incidents that meet the threshold of a police pursuit must be noted in a mandatory reporting form," including pursuits that are called off. But forms are not filled out if an officer never decides to initiate a pursuit in the first place.   The changes, both to the policy and training procedures, are expected in the coming months. For Stephen Browne, more training is a good idea.But he believes he had few options last December in Airdrie."Truly, there's nothing that I can think of that we could have done better to enhance our safety or the public safety, outside of not doing our job and trying to apprehend a dangerous driver," he said. Only recently back at work after his traumatic experience, Browne is grateful and considers himself lucky. But the 20-year veteran recognizes the job may never be the same again."I may have pain or a degree of pain for the rest of my life," he said.

  • Canadians must think like investors in oil and gas: Don Pittis
    News
    CBC

    Canadians must think like investors in oil and gas: Don Pittis

    There is lots of money to be made in oil and gas stocks.In a world where most trading is short term, shares as volatile as those in the petroleum business can be cash cows for those who repeatedly get it right.On Friday, oil prices and petroleum stocks rose sharply after a what appeared to be a missile strike on an Iranian tanker. Historically, Middle East conflicts have been good for the price of oil and for the stocks of non-Middle-Eastern producers, at least in the short term. But as Koch Industries and the Norweigian pension fund unload shares in Canadian oil properties, it is fair to ask whether they know something the rest of us don't.If you are saving for retirement with a 30-year buy-and-hold strategy, should you be investing in oil and gas? The question is important even for those Canadians who don't have their own portfolio of stocks to manage, because as taxpayers that is what the governments are doing with your money.Displacing 'OPEC dictator oil'As part of his recent guest appearance in the national election campaign, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has been touting the advantages for Canada of fossil fuel extraction. And as one of Canada's most articulate political salesmen, he made a strong case, including during last week's interview on CBC Radio's The Current, that other provinces should support the industry."If they want to benefit from the resource wealth created in Alberta, then please help us to get that to global markets, get a fair price for it and displace OPEC dictator oil, both in Eastern Canada and around the world," he told guest host Kathleen Petty.But as he championed the fossil fuel sector Kenney appeared to be discounting a powerful new movement that has declared fossil fuels and the carbon they produce Public Enemy No. 1, dismissing youthful protesters as wild-eyed political radicals. "There were communist hammer-and-sickle flags out there — I wouldn't go to a rally with a hammer-and-sickle flag any more than I would to one with a swastika, quite frankly," said Kenny.While mentioning your opponents in the same breath as communists and Nazis may be good politics that will appeal to the conservative-minded and those whose livelihood depends on the oil industry, it may not be good investment advice.Plenty of thoughtful conservative voices, including the editors of the Economist magazine, Bank of England governor Mark Carney and corporate leaders have warned that long-term investors in fossil fuels must beware. If pressure to cut carbon output continues as sea levels rise, crops fail and more species go extinct, they have warned, oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels must be left in the ground.Many conservative economists have supported the carbon pricing that Kenney has adamantly opposed.As an investor it does not strictly matter if you believe in the forces that will make your portfolio rise or fall. But for your self-interest, you simply cannot ignore them.And many independent observers say it is very likely that the fossil fuel industry's days are numbered. The debate is mostly how long it's got.Mark Kamstra, a finance professor at the Schulich School of Business, a specialist in risk, is skeptical that society will quickly abandon fossil energy."Everyone can see the future and, sure, it's not really bright for oil 50 years from now, or even maybe 30 years from now," said Kamstra.He compares oil companies to Kodak, which faded away due to changing technology and new consumer needs. But he sees investment opportunities in the meantime. Rather than investing as much in exploration, oil and gas producers will return profits to shareholders resulting in higher dividends yields. Also, psychology can play a part.Oil stock embarrassment"You can't go to a party and boast about making money on oil stocks right now," jokes Kamstra.As shareholders divest to demonstrate their disapproval, they may have the unintended effect of making fossil fuel share prices lower than returns would justify, something observed with so-called sin stocks such as tobacco and liquor companies.But despite warnings of a climate emergency, the "extinction rebellion" and the student marches following the example of teenage climate champion Greta Thunberg, Kamstra believes the petroleum industry is simply too entrenched in economic life for the world to make a speedy pivot. "I just don't think people will be willing to make personal sacrifices. It's got to be win-win," said Kamstra.Matthew Klippenstein, a chemical engineer with a long history in the clean-energy sector, sees a win-win for the Alberta oil and gas industry as the world moves to low carbon.Kodak went bankrupt partly because it was terrified of undermining its own principal business that depended on film. But Klippenstein sees a way around that conundrum. Sophisticated players in the oil and gas sector including Suncor are already looking for ways to avoid the Kodak mistake, for example by installing high-speed electrical vehicle chargers in the company's Petro-Canada service stations.   Klippenstein, who recently worked on an innovation report for Zen Clean Energy Solutions, told me last week that Alberta's high-tech energy sector should use its skills and wealth, for example, in the young but growing hydrogen sector, which David Layzell at Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research says is already feasible. It's a low-carbon technology that will grow as oil and gas gradually declines.  "Yes, [Alberta's] energy sector and infrastructure are for now fossil-focused," wrote Klippenstein in a recent tweet.  "But that's incidental, not intrinsic."Like Kamstra, Klippenstein sees the demand for Canadian oil and gas continuing for decades. But the companies that survive and prosper will not be those that dig their heels in and refuse to change.If the low-carbon revolution actually happens, the companies that will still be worth owning in 30 years and the places that will attract investment will be those now making the effort and the investment to find ways to adapt.Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis

  • California regulator criticizes utility over power outages
    News
    The Canadian Press

    California regulator criticizes utility over power outages

    SAN FRANCISCO — California's top utility regulator blasted Pacific Gas and Electric on Monday for what she called "failures in execution" during the largest planned power outage in state history to avoid wildfires that she said, "created an unacceptable situation that should never be repeated."The agency ordered a series of corrective actions, including a goal of restoring power within 12 hours, not the utility's current 48-hour goal."The scope, scale, complexity, and overall impact to people's lives, businesses, and the economy of this action cannot be understated," California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer wrote in a letter to PG&E CEO Bill Johnson.PG&E last week took the unprecedented step of cutting power to more than 700,000 customers, affecting an estimated 2.1 million Californians. The company said it did it because of dangerous wind forecasts but acknowledged that its execution was poor.Its website frequently crashed, and many people said they did not receive enough warning that the power was going out."We were not adequately prepared," Johnson said at a press conference last week.PG&E said in a statement Monday that employees found more than 100 spots where parts of its systems were damaged during the strong winds, including downed power lines and places where trees had hit the lines. Repairs were either completed or underway at those sites."It is possible that any one of these instances could have been a potential source of ignition" for a wildfire if the outage hadn't taken effect, the statement said.However, the utility didn't specifically comment on the regulatory sanctions.In addition to restoring power faster, the PUC said the utility must work harder to avoid such large-scale outages, develop better ways to communicate with the public and local officials, get a better system for distributing outage maps and work with emergency personnel to ensure PG&E staff are sufficiently trained.She ordered the utility to perform an audit of its performance during the outages that began Wednesday, saying the utility clearly did not adopt many of the recommendations state officials have made since utilities was granted the authority to begin pre-emptive power shutoffs last year. The review is due by Thursday, and she ordered several PG&E executives to appear at an emergency PUC hearing Friday.Gov. Gavin Newsom has also criticized PG&E for its performance during the outage, blaming what he called decades of mismanagement, underinvestment and lousy communication with the public. On Monday the Democratic governor urged the utility to compensate affected customers with a bill credit or rebate worth $100 for residential customers or $250 for small businesses.Newsom said the shutoffs affected too many customers for too long, and it is clear PG&E implemented them "with astounding neglect and lack of preparation."Johnson, the PG&E CEO, responded in writing to Newsom's letter Monday, noting that no fires occurred during the power shut-off. He said he welcomes the PUC review."We know there are areas where we fell short of our commitment to serving our customers during this unprecedented event, both in our operations and in our customer communications, and we look forward to learning from these agencies how we can improve," he wrote.Batjer's letter also said that PG&E's service territory, design of its transmission lines and distribution network and "lack of granularity of its forecasting ability" mean it can't do pre-emptive power shut-offs as strategically as some other utilities, but she said it must work harder to reduce the number of customers affected by future outages.In a separate filing with the PUC on Monday, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties and the city of Santa Rosa complained about PG&E's communications with local governments and emergency management agencies ahead of planned outages. For instance, attorneys wrote, the weather forecasting website that it uses to communicate with local agencies and emergency services is inadequate and not aligned with commonly used public emergency standards."It appears never to have occurred to the utility to confirm with its local public safety partners that the tool would meet their needs, nor did PG&E show the website to the local governments who had long been asking for situational awareness information before launching the website publicly," attorneys wrote.Juliet Williams, The Associated Press

  • Police look for man after they find vehicle in Scarborough hit and run that hurt baby
    News
    CBC

    Police look for man after they find vehicle in Scarborough hit and run that hurt baby

    Toronto police are looking for a man who they say abandoned a vehicle involved in a weekend hit and run in Scarborough that seriously injured a baby boy and two women.Police say the vehicle, a grey Dodge Journey, with the Ontario licence plate ANXC 265, was found near St. Clair Avenue East and O'Connor Road at 6:24 p.m. on Monday.In a news release on Monday, police said officers obtained security camera footage after the vehicle was abandoned, and that footage enabled police to capture an image of the man who left the vehicle before fleeing on foot.Police said they are appealing to members of the public for help in identifying the man. The hit and run happened at the intersection of Pharmacy Avenue and Ellesmere Road on Sunday.At 10:48 a.m., the SUV was headed eastbound on Ellesmere Road, near Pharmacy Avenue, when the driver failed to stop at a red light, crossed the intersection and mounted the curb, hitting the two women, aged 57 and 37, and the baby boy, 20 months old.The women were standing on the sidewalk on the southeast corner of the intersection and the baby boy was in a stroller.Police said two people got out of the vehicle, had a look around, then one got back into the vehicle. One left the scene on foot, heading south of Pharmacy Avenue. The driver then fled eastbound on Ellesmere Road, police said on Sunday.The front licence plate of the vehicle fell off due to the impact of the crash and was left at the scene. Toronto paramedics took the two women and baby to hospital with serious injuries. Initially, police said the baby suffered life-threatening injuries, but his condition has been upgraded to serious.Police are continuing to look for three people: Cory Munroe, 49; Derek Desousa, 34; and Amanda Rioux, 30.Anyone with information is urged to call police at 416-808-1900, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Owl killings spur moral questions about human intervention

    CORVALLIS, Ore. — As he stood amid the thick old-growth forests in the coastal range of Oregon, Dave Wiens was nervous. Before he trained to shoot his first barred owl, he had never fired a gun.He eyed the big female owl, her feathers streaked brown and white, perched on a branch at just the right distance. Then he squeezed the trigger and the owl fell to the forest floor, adding to a running tally of more than 2,400 barred owls killed so far in a controversial experiment by the U.S. government to test whether the northern spotted owl's rapid decline in the Pacific Northwest can be stopped by killing its aggressive East Coast cousin.Wiens grew up fascinated by birds, and his graduate research in owl interactions helped lay the groundwork for this tense moment."It's a little distasteful, I think, to go out killing owls to save another owl species," said Wiens, a biologist who still views each shooting as "gut-wrenching" as the first. "Nonetheless, I also feel like from a conservation standpoint, our back was up against the wall. We knew that barred owls were outcompeting spotted owls and their populations were going haywire."The federal government has been trying for decades to save the northern spotted owl, a native bird that sparked an intense battle over logging across Washington, Oregon and California decades ago.After the owl was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990, earning it a cover on Time Magazine, federal officials halted logging on millions of acres of old-growth forests on federal lands to protect the bird's habitat. But the birds' population continued to decline.Meanwhile, researchers, including Wiens, began documenting another threat — larger, more aggressive barred owls competing with spotted owls for food and space and displacing them in some areas.In almost all ways, the barred owl is the spotted owl's worst enemy: They reproduce more often, have more babies per year and eat the same prey, like squirrels and wood rats. And they now outnumber spotted owls in many areas of the native bird's historic range.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's experiment, which began in 2015, has raised thorny questions: To what extent can we reverse declines that have unfolded over decades, often partially due to actions by humans? And as climate change continues to shake up the landscape, how should we intervene?The experimental killing of barred owls raised such moral dilemmas when it first was proposed in 2012 that the Fish and Wildlife Service took the unusual step of hiring an ethicist to help work through whether it was acceptable and could be done humanely.The owl experiment is unusual because it involves killing one species of owl to save another owl species. But federal and state officials already have intervened with other species. They have broken the necks of thousands of cowbirds to save the warbler, a songbird once on the brink of extinction. To preserve salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest and perch and other fish in the Midwest, agencies kill thousands of large seabirds called double-crested cormorants. And last year, Congress passed a law making it easier for Oregon, Washington, Idaho and American Indian tribes to kill sea lions that gobble imperiled salmon runs in the Columbia River.In four small study areas in Washington, Oregon and northern California, Wiens and his trained team have been picking off invasive barred owls with 12-gauge shotguns to see whether the native birds return to their nesting habitat once their competitors are gone. Small efforts to remove barred owls in British Columbia and northern California already showed promising results.The Fish and Wildlife Service has a permit to kill up to 3,600 owls and, if the $5 million program works, could decide to expand its efforts.Wiens, who works for the U.S. Geological Survey, now views his gun as "a research tool" in humankind's attempts to maintain biodiversity and rebalance the forest ecosystem. Because the barred owl has few predators in Northwest forests, he sees his team's role as apex predator, acting as a cap on a population that doesn't have one."Humans, by stepping in and taking that role in nature, we may be able to achieve more biodiversity in the environment, rather than just having barred owls take over and wipe out all the prey species," he said.Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, finds the practice abhorrent and said humans should find another way to help owl."There's no way to couch it as a good thing if you're killing one species to save another," Bekoff said.And Michael Harris, who directs the wildlife law program for Friends of Animals, thinks the government should focus on what humans are doing to the environment and protect habitats rather than scapegoating barred owls."We really have to let these things work themselves out," Harris said. "It's going to be very common with climate change. What are we going to do — pick and choose the winners?"Some see a responsibility to intervene, however, noting that humans are partly to blame for the underlying conditions with activities like logging, which helped lead to the spotted owl's decline. And others just see a no-win situation."A decision not to kill the barred owl is a decision to let the spotted owl go extinct," said Bob Sallinger, conservation director with the Audubon Society of Portland. "That's what we have to wrestle with."If the experimental removal of barred owls improves the spotted owl populations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife may consider killing more owls as part of a larger, long-term management strategy. Enough success has been noted that the experiment already has been extended to August 2021."I certainly don't see northern spotted owls going extinct completely," Wiens said, adding that "extinction in this case will be much longer process and from what we've seen from doing these removal experiments, we may be able to slow some of those declines."___This Associated Press series was produced in partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.EDITORS NOTE: Heroic efforts to revive ecosystems and save species are being waged worldwide, aimed at reversing some of humankind's most destructive effects on the planet. "What Can Be Saved?," a weekly AP series, chronicles the ordinary people and scientists fighting for change against enormous odds _ and forging paths that others may follow.Phuong Le, The Associated Press

  • News
    Reuters

    Kimono runway show lights up Tokyo fashion week

    Rock met kimonos as Tokyo kicked off its fashion week with a dazzling runway show that put a modern twist on the traditional Japanese garment. Models hit the runway in kimono-inspired outfits ranging from colorful shoulderless minidresses with tall boots to full-length animation-print kimonos with traditional "geta" clogs, as rock star-turned-designer Yoshiki played the piano. Yoshiki, whose family once ran a kimono fabric store, launched his Yoshikimono brand about 10 years ago, aiming to fuse tradition and innovation to widen the garment's appeal.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Polyamorous families face stigma in pregnancy care, researchers say

    Polyamorous families face stigma during pregnancy and birth because of attitudes and policies in health care that are built around monogamy, Ontario researchers say.The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study Tuesday based on interviews with 24 polyamorous Canadians — 11 who had given birth in the previous five years and 13 partners — recruited through ads posted on social media groups.The researchers with McMaster University's midwifery program say their inquiry was motivated in part by some team members' personal involvement in the polyamory community and a shared interest in inclusive health care.Co-authors Erika Arseneau and Samantha Landry say their findings suggest that while participants reported both positive and negative health-care experiences, all faced some form of marginalization rooted in "mono-normativity," the assumption that romantic relationships are limited to two partners."There's a lot of people that are engaging in polyamory and a lot of them are having children, contrary to popular belief, and their experience is very similar to monogamous families in a lot of ways," said Arseneau."In other ways, it's enhanced by the fact that they have multiple relationships and multiple support people in their lives."While there's no universally accepted definition, polyamory is typically characterized by engaging in multiple intimate relationships with the consent of all parties involved.Statistics on the prevalence of polyamory are hard to come by, but there are numbers to suggest that non-monogamous relationships may be on the rise in Canada.According to a study of more than 2,000 Canadians published in the Journal of Sex Research last April, four per cent of Canadians who are romantically attached reported being in an open relationship, and 20 per cent said they had previously engaged in the practice.In 2016, the executive director of the Calgary-based Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family used social media to ask polyamorous Canadians to take part in an online survey. Of the 500 people who responded, more than 40 per cent said there were children living in their homes full- or part-time.It appears the law is slowly catching up to this evolution of Canadian families. Last year, a court in Newfoundland and Labrador recognized three unmarried adults as the legal parents of a child born within their "polyamorous" family.Arseneau and Landry say their study — dubbed the "Polybabes" project — is unique in that it investigates what it's like for polyamorous parents to navigate the health-care system.They found that while participants expressed that having multiple partners provided more support during the childbearing process, these relationships often went unacknowledged by the health-care system.Due to fears of discrimination, many participants opted not to disclose their polyamorous status unless it was medically relevant, said Landry.Those who revealed they were polyamorous encountered an assortment of interpersonal and administrative challenges.For example, some health-care providers would refer to a third partner as an "uncle" or "aunt" rather than their preferred title as a parent, said Landry."A lot of the time, health-care providers... would kind of validate the people who were biologically related to the child, rather than kind of opening up the focus to everyone and giving everyone the same treatment.Arseneau noted that intake forms often only provide spaces for two parents, which can restrict a partner's access to the delivery room and involvement in medical decisions.She said some barriers could be as small as the fact that identification bracelets linking a child to their parents come in sets of threes. As one participant told researchers: "It's become this huge ordeal about who is getting bracelets. It's like 'The Bachelor,' I think. Who gets a rose?"Arseneau said these slights can add up to put a damper on what should be a joyous occasion — the addition of a new family member.She said she hopes the study helps health-care providers educate themselves about polyamory so they can acknowledge and accommodate the full spectrum of family structures."If you're creating a respectful, inclusive and accessible space for conversations to take place, whether it's about health care or social ideas, then that allows more room for difference and acceptance," said Landry.This report was published by The Canadian Press on Oct. 15, 2019.Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Where the federal leaders are Tuesday, Oct. 15

    OTTAWA — The party leaders' scheduled public appearances on Tuesday, Oct. 15. All times are local.Liberal Leader Justin TrudeauFredericton8:30 a.m. — Campaign stop to talk about health care, and media availability. Studholm and Lynhaven streets.Riverview, N.B.Campaigning in a park with candidate Alaina Lockhart. No timing or location details provided.Cumberland-Colchester, N.S.Campaigning at a restaurant with candidate Lenore Zann. No timing or location details provided.Masstown, N.S.Campaigning at a business with candidate Lenore Zann. No timing or location details provided.New Glasgow, N.S.3:30 p.m. — Visit to cafe with candidate Sean Fraser. Coffee Bean Kitchen, 168 Archimedes St.Halifax, N.S.7 p.m. — Rally. Halifax Brewery Farmers' Market, 312-1496 Lower Water St.\---Conservative Leader Andrew ScheerQuebec City11 a.m. — Announcement and media availability. 100 Quai Saint-AndréTrois-RivieresCampaigning with candidate Yves Levesque. No timing or location details provided.Saint-Marc-sur-RichelieuCampaigning with candidate Mathieu Daviault. No timing or location details provided.La Prairie7 p.m. — Speech. Plaza Rive-Sud, 500 Golf Ave.\---NDP Leader Jagmeet SinghToronto8:45 a.m. — Greeting commuters. Broadview transit station, 769 Broadview Ave.3 p.m. — Stop at candidate Paul Taylor's campaign office. 2962 Dundas St. W.\---Green Leader Elizabeth MayKamloops, B.C.1 p.m. — Announcement on tax policy. Iain Currie campaign office, 135 Victoria St.\---People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime BernierPlans not availableThe Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Suds and stories: New campaign gives beer drinkers a literary buzz

    Jason Lee Norman has brewed up a new way for Alberta writers to get published, by pairing micro-fiction with micro-brew. Norman, an Edmonton publisher and author, is behind a new campaign that prints short stories on beer cans. His collaboration with Lacombe-based Blindman Brewing was born this spring. Custom cans for the brewery's limited edition summer ale featured short stories from 14 local writers."I've been known for publishing stories in interesting places, and I just had this idea to have stories on beer cans and beer bottles," Norman said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.Beer and literary samplings make the perfect pairing, Norman said. Customers were thirsty for a patio beer with added reading material. 'People loved them' "I think people loved them," he said.  "Local writers definitely loved seeing it because it's just another way to get your writing out into the world. "I think it went really well. They were hard to find for a while." Edmonton's former writer-in-residence, Norman has been working to bring the printed word to unlikely locations for years. He was behind the coffee-sleeve story project and helped create a vending machine at the Edmonton International Airport that spews out short stories on demand.  The first round of literary beer cans came out early in the summer. Norman and Blindman are about to brew up another batch for winter and need some fresh prose.Anyone in Alberta can submit their stories for consideration. Short stories of 250 or less are best, Norman said. Even on a tall can, there is limited real estate."It definitely helps when the beer can is this tall. It gave us more room to work with. "It's really about painting a picture in a short amount of time.You want the story to stay with you after you've finished reading it." The selected stories will be printed on another limited edition brew. They're hoping Alberta's winter can serve as the muse for the story and the suds. "I'm really happy that we can do it again for the winter time," Norman said. "I would love to get more submissions than last time. You know, 24 is a nice round beer number."

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    B.C. school districts target vaping, call for increased regulation

    KELOWNA, B.C. — A British Columbia school board says it has "serious concerns" about the risk of vaping and is asking all levels of government to take action.In an example of how school districts are grappling with the new products amid shifting regulatory frameworks, the Central Okanagan School District outlined in a letter to parents on Friday how it is working to curb the use of e-cigarettes by students.Since May, the school district says it has met with local municipal governments to encourage the development of bylaws to prevent advertising and targeting sales to minors.It also says it supports proposed new provincial regulations, and the school board voted to write to local federal candidates asking how, if elected, they would address the "serious danger" posed by the electronic devices.The board specifically asked how candidates would address the marketing of vaping products to children.Vaping products are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid solution to create an aerosol and typically contains nicotine or THC, the active psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, but Health Canada has warned people who vape to monitor themselves for symptoms of pulmonary illness."The Central Okanagan School District continues to have serious concerns about the impacts of vaping on human health," the letter from Superintendent Kevin Kaardal says to parents.School staff are focusing education on middle school students and will continue to enforce a "no-vaping zone" on school property, it says.School principals have been instructed to confiscate any vapour products they see on campus."If staff see vaping products on school property, they may confiscate them and turn them over to the RCMP," the letter says.In B.C., the rules around the sale of vapour products are the same as cigarettes and it is against the law to sell to someone under the age of 19.Health Minister Adrian Dix said this month that a plan will be released in "the coming weeks" to deal with regulatory change and suggested licences would be required for vendors to sell the products.The Central Okanagan School District isn't alone in trying to address teen vaping.The Sooke school district said vaping is becoming an "epidemic" among teens, ahead of an information session it held in May.In August, the Vancouver school district issued information handouts to teachers and parents."Teachers are in a unique position to provide unbiased information about the adverse health effects of vaping to students and their families," the package for teachers says.The parents' handout says the long-term health effects of vaping remain unknown."As caregivers, you can connect and discuss issues around vaping products with your child," it says.Two teenagers filed a lawsuit in the B.C. Supreme Court Sept. 30 against popular vape brand Juul alleging they suffered "adverse health conditions" after using the company's e-cigarettes beginning in 2018.Juul has not yet filed a response with the court.— By Amy Smart in Vancouver.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 14, 2019.The Canadian Press

  • First Nations displaced by storm share concerns with Scheer campaign
    News
    The Canadian Press

    First Nations displaced by storm share concerns with Scheer campaign

    WINNIPEG — Families forced to flee the Lake Manitoba First Nation are expressing frustration around evacuation efforts following a recent snowstorm that's left thousands of people in the province without electricity for days.Babies and seniors alike were crowded into a Winnipeg hotel lobby on Monday waiting for buses in what one woman described as a maddening series of events that have left people feeling like animals.They said they weren't sure where the buses would be taking them.By coincidence, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's campaign arrived at the hotel and some of the evacuees asked for a chance to express their concerns to the media.Margaret Missyabit's voice broke as she described walking out of her home on Saturday when the power went out to try and find out what was going on, saying the community was given little time to gather the things they needed before leaving.She said no one had received any government assistance."Give us our funds, and quit shuffling us around," Missyabit said. "We're not animals to be shuffled around like this. It's frustrating."Approximately 20,000 Manitoba homes and businesses remained without power Monday in the wake of a snowstorm that the province's Crown energy utility said had left an unprecedented amount of damage to transmission lines, towers and more, and now says could take more than a week to repair."I wish I had better news to share," Manitoba Hydro president Jay Grewal said in a statement.The Canadian Red Cross opened a warming shelter at the RBC Convention Centre in downtown Winnipeg over the weekend for up to 11 First Nations, which it said was necessary because of the potential number of evacuees as well as a lack of available hotel rooms.Premier Brian Pallister declared a state of emergency early Sunday morning.The move makes it easier for Manitoba Hydro crews to access private land and invokes help from neighbouring provinces and states — Ontario, Saskatchewan and Minnesota — that were being asked for workers, poles and even transmission towers."While many Manitobans are preparing for a return to work after a long weekend, there are areas of the province still feeling the impact of the storm and much restoration and cleanup work remains," Pallister said in a news release Monday afternoon."The cities of Winnipeg and Brandon will also host a number of evacuees for several days."Relief came in two forms Monday for residents of Portage la Prairie, a city of 13,000 people, who were urged throughout the weekend to avoid flushing their toilets because of a lack of power at the city's sewage lift stations.The city tweeted that power to the stations has been restored, and that Hydro crews are expected to have electricity restored to the vast majority of the city by late Monday.Winnipeg, meanwhile, is facing the cleanup of thousands of downed trees, which it said could weeks.The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said Indigenous Services Canada and the province haven't done enough to help the First Nations evacuees, with Grand Chief Arlen Dumas stating in a news release that the governments' policies may work in an urban setting where alternative resources are available, but they fail in remote Indigenous communities."People have been without heat and water for days, including babies and children. We need to get them help immediately," Dumas said on Sunday. Missyabit, meanwhile, aimed some frustration at Scheer, saying he shouldn't be campaigning in the area."If he wants to campaign he should help the people," she said.The Scheer campaign said they were unaware the hotel was being used to host evacuees, and they had not asked for them to be moved.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 14, 2019. The Canadian Press

  • Keep your eyes on the road, say paramedics — not the leaves
    News
    CBC

    Keep your eyes on the road, say paramedics — not the leaves

    A county west of Ottawa is asking leaf-lovers to use common sense and focus on the road when they're hunting for fall colours.Emergency crews attended three serious crashes Sunday in the Ottawa Valley and Algonquin Park and treated seven people for injuries, said Michael Nolan, chief of the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service, on Monday.There were no fatalities, but some of the injuries were serious and required hospital care. "Yesterday was an early warning," Nolan said."We need to remind people to be safe on the roads and enjoy what is arguably one of the most beautiful times of the year — but [one that] comes with risk."Along with the three serious crashes, there were several others that didn't need ambulances to attend. Most occurred along Highway 60 between Huntsville and Barry's Bay, Nolan said."[It's] not only those looking at the leaves, but people that are half pulling off the road, maybe doing a U-turn after they've pulled off the road and — in some cases — just stumbling into traffic to take that picture," he said. Algonquin Park, Gatineau Park both overrunPart of the issue is the sheer number of vehicles in the area, often driven by people unfamiliar with the sometimes narrow and winding roads.There were about 4,000 cars and 23 coach buses in Algonquin Park Sunday, an official said.Closer to Ottawa, the National Capital Commission had to temporarily close one of the Gatineau Park entrances on both Saturday and Sunday to manage the number of visitors.Along with asking drivers to concentrate on the road and not the trees, Nolan suggested stopping in small towns or going to parks to get photos rather than stopping on the side of the road, no matter how bright or vibrant the colours are.He also urged leaf-seekers to plan ahead and pick stops where it's safe to park and get out."Look on your map, figure out where your best shots will be," Nolan said."And recognize that with increased cottage traffic, Thanksgiving traffic and people out enjoying the leaves, that that's going to take a bit of planning ahead."

  • Officer who shot naked man found not guilty of murder
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Officer who shot naked man found not guilty of murder

    DECATUR, Ga. — A former Georgia police officer who fatally shot an unarmed, naked man was found not guilty of murder Monday but was convicted of aggravated assault and other charges that could send him to prison for more than 30 years.Robert "Chip" Olsen's face turned red and he squeezed his eyes shut tightly as the verdict was read. His wife, Kathy Olsen, began sobbing and had to be led from the courtroom.DeKalb County Superior Court Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson set bond for Olsen at $80,000, ordered him to wear an ankle monitor and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in effect until his sentencing Nov. 1.Olsen, now 57, was a DeKalb County police officer in March 2015 when he responded to a call of a naked man behaving erratically outside an Atlanta-area apartment complex. Shortly after arriving, he fatally shot 26-year-old Anthony Hill, a U.S. Air Force veteran who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. A grand jury indicted Olsen nearly a year after the shooting. Olsen is white and Hill was black.Hill's parents objected to Olsen being released on bond while he awaits sentencing."It's been four years that we've been waiting for this," said his mother, Carolyn Giummo. "My son is no longer here. ... I just feel like it's time now."In addition to aggravated assault, Olsen was convicted of two counts of violating his oath of office and one count of making a false statement. The assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years; each of the other three counts carries a sentence of up to five years.The jury acquitted Olsen on two counts of felony murder, charges that would have carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison. A felony murder charge doesn't imply intent to kill but rather that a death occurred as a person was committing another felony, in this case aggravated assault or violation of his oath.DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, whose office prosecuted the case, said she appreciated the time the jurors spent and respected their verdict."I think all of you know that these cases are very difficult, not just here in Georgia but across the United States," Boston told reporters. "It is very difficult to prosecute a police officer for murder under these circumstances."One of the jurors, who asked that his name not be used because he didn't want to be linked to the high-profile case, said the fact that Olsen was a police officer made the deliberations difficult, noting that about half the jurors believed Olsen was acting in self-defence.By the time they reached a verdict, jurors were pretty evenly split — largely along racial lines — between those who wanted to convict Olsen of murder and those who didn't, with most white jurors wanting to acquit, he said.Ultimately, the juror said, he was afraid they wouldn't be able to reach a unanimous verdict, the case would end up in a mistrial and a subsequent jury wouldn't convict on any of the counts. So he and some of the others agreed to acquit on the murder charges as long as they reached a guilty verdict on the aggravated assault charge."I felt good about it knowing that I got some justice out of it," he said.Monday's verdict came on the heels of a Texas jury finding a white former Dallas police officer guilty of murder in the shooting death of a black man in his home. Amber Guyger, who testified that she mistook Botham Jean's apartment for her own, was convicted on Oct. 1 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.Another Texas police officer shot and killed a black woman in her Fort Worth home early Saturday morning while responding to a call about an open front door. That officer, Aaron Dean, resigned before he could be fired and was charged with murder Monday in the death of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson.In the Olsen case , the apartment complex property manager testified that she saw Hill, a resident, wearing shorts but no shoes or shirt and behaving strangely on March 9, 2015. After maintenance workers got him to go to his apartment, he reemerged a short time later without any clothes.The property manager, who testified that she was worried for Hill's safety because he was behaving so bizarrely, called 911 three times.Olsen was told by dispatch there was a naked man who was "possibly demented." Hill was squatting in a roadway when Olsen arrived but jumped up and ran toward the patrol car, according to testimony from several witnesses.Olsen got out of his car and yelled, "Stop! Stop!" Hill didn't stop, and Olsen shot him twice, witnesses said.Prosecutors argued that Olsen unreasonably and unnecessarily used deadly force to deal with the unarmed, naked man who was suffering a mental health crisis. Defence attorneys countered that Olsen had limited information about the situation, was scared to death, had only seconds to make a tough decision and acted in self-defence.During closing arguments, lawyers for both sides told jurors they needed to decide whether Olsen's actions were reasonable given the situation.The verdict finally came on the sixth day of deliberations.Attorneys for Olsen didn't immediately comment and didn't respond to an email seeking comment on the verdict.Kate Brumback, The Associated Press

  • 'Save the kids!' Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his wife's death
    News
    The Canadian Press

    'Save the kids!' Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his wife's death

    TORONTO — Cialin Dany knew he was in trouble when he saw a massive palm tree laying on the ground next to the Abaco Lodge.As hurricane Dorian whirled at the door, Dany, 32, took his Canadian wife, Alishia Liolli, and two of their children and hunkered down in a room at the fishing resort where he worked. Then another tree slammed into the building."The bolts start popping, like popcorn, pop, pop, pop, pop," Dany said. "Then whoosh, the roof flew off."The family and a friend who was with them ducked for cover under the bed and prayed. They watched as the wall in the back of the room swayed."Then the wall came down," Dany said as he recalled the events of Sept. 1.The wall pinned all five underneath the bed. Their 18-month-old son Evans and Dany's 11-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, Kescianna, wailed with fear.Dany's breathing laboured — the bed frame dug into his neck and right shoulder."Daddy, daddy, you don't sound too good," his daughter said."Count to 500 and I'm going to figure something out," he said."I say to God, 'if you give me 45 minutes, I swear to you I can save them.'"He grabbed a piece of wood that flew into the room, jammed it under the bed frame and hit it repeatedly. The pressure on his neck eased. He moved a bit and grabbed another errant piece of wood and smashed the wall. He kicked his way through the rubble and slipped out from underneath the bed.He scrambled to his feet, grabbed another piece of wood to lever the bed, but the wood broke. "I need help," he said to his family.Liolli told him to get a sledge hammer that was in another room. Dany slammed the tool into the wall, trying to break it up, but the handle snapped in two."I'm in really big trouble now," he thought to himself.He tried lifting the bed near his friend, Luke Saint Victor, figuring if he could get another adult out, the two of them could save the rest. "I ask God for one pound of strength more," he said.He moved the bed up a bit, enough for his daughter to get out, then he turned to his wife, who was pinned under the wall."I say, 'Alishia, come on baby, it's your turn,'" Dany said."She threw me Evans and said 'save the kids!'"Meanwhile, the water outside the one-storey building continued to rise."I'm going for help," he yelled.He took the children and got into his car, but glass in the doors began to burst. A shard lodged near baby Evans' eye. Blood flowed."Everything was flying, shingles flying, wood flying," Dany said.The water rose fast. The car doors would not open, and his daughter started screaming."You are a track star," he told her. "You can do it, just run. When I tell you to move, we move."Dany crawled out the window, took the kids and sprinted to a dumpster that had been blown on its side. They hid there for hours as maggots crawled everywhere.A slight reprieve came when dawn broke and the sun peeked out. He returned to the lodge to try and save his wife and friend, but he couldn't lift up the wall.Liolli told him to go get help.Dany dropped his children off at their pastor's home, found a chainsaw that he hoped would free his wife and friend, and headed back to the lodge, which by then had been flooded.He called out to his wife and heard his friend, Luke Saint Victor, say in a faint voice "the water came up, the water came up.'"When the chainsaw failed, Dany used an axe to cut the wall into pieces and finally removed the bed.Underneath, his wife wasn't breathing. He performed CPR, but it didn't work."The problem was when she went under the bed, she went on her belly and Luke went on his back," Dany said. "The water came up, not much, like an inch or two, but it was enough."Liolli had drowned."My head went blank," Dany said. "I was crying like a crazy man, just freaking out. I held her in my arms."But there was no time for a long embrace. He flagged down a passing power truck, placed Liolli and Saint Victor on the flatbed and then rushed to the clinic. The chief of police, who was there dealing with a flood of bodies being brought in, saw Liolli."She's already gone," he told Dany.Dany said he had to get back to his kids. He left Liolli there and prayed Saint Victor would pull through. His friend would die a few days later in Nassau.After reuniting with his children, Dany called Liolli's family in LaSalle, Ont., to deliver the news.Dany later returned to the clinic to figure out how to get Liolli's body off the island. The authorities moved it to a courtyard along with dozens of other bodies, hidden from the public, but it took a while for Dany to figure that out."Nobody would give me an answer, nobody was helping," he said.Time was a problem. A body doesn't last long in the Bahamas heat."The smell was starting to rise up on the island," he said. "I needed to get the boy out of there. It was crowded, dark, and I didn't trust anyone."The airport and docks were overrun with crowds, so he drove to Treasure Cay where he and Evans spent two days outside, getting bit by spiders and bugs, as they waited for a flight off the island. His daughter Kescianna stayed with his ex-wife.The pair got to Nassau, where Dany was faced with a bureaucratic nightmare that went on for days. Back in Canada, Liolli's mom, Josie Mcdonagh, tried frantically to get the authorities to help. About a week later, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called the family."She helped a lot," Mcdonagh said.Liolli's body finally made it to Nassau on Sept. 11. Dany had to identify it."I did not want to see her like that, but I had to," he said. "I had to."Liolli's body was too decomposed to be transported, so he and the family decided on cremation.It took 20 days to get her remains to Canada."I just wanted her family to have something, so they could go somewhere and know where she is," Dany said.The family held a funeral and placed Liolli's remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont. Afterward, they held a wedding for Liolli and Dany — they were common law wife and husband for years — complete with open bar."She's home now," her mother said.Last week, Liolli's family and friends gathered at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto to celebrate her life. Her former sociology professor, Jean Golden, has launched a fundraising campaign to help rebuild Every Child Counts — a vocational school for children with special needs in Abaco that Liolli helped build and run. The school was destroyed during the hurricane."Alishia's dream will never be destroyed," Golden said through tears.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2019.On the web:https://www.gofundme.com/f/every-child-counts-school-in-abaco-bahamasLiam Casey, The Canadian Press

  • Lives threatened in Syria as armies advance on both sides
    CBC

    Lives threatened in Syria as armies advance on both sides

    Russian-backed Syrian forces pushed into Kurdish-held territory after U.S. troops withdrew — setting up a potential clash with Turkey’s forces and threatening the lives of those caught in the middle.

  • News
    CBC

    Saint-Laurent mayor's Orange Line extension ideas gaining traction

    Saint-Laurent mayor Alan DeSousa has been pushing for an extension of the orange line for years. Now, he has garnered the support of some federal election candidates in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville riding. DeSousa would like to see the line extended north-west toward Bois-Franc, a neighborhood in the Saint-Laurent borough. The extension would connect to the future site of the area's REM station.Though the extension would technically be located in the Saint-Laurent borough, DeSousa said people living in Ahuntsic-Cartierville stand to benefit from it. "There are benefits because it'll provide for intermodal access, it'll serve the larger region, not just in Saint-Laurent but in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Laval and the West Island," he said. He said the western portion of the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough is under-served by public transit, and having the Orange Line extension would solve issues of congestion on both roads and buses in the area. Two federal candidates agree. Mélanie Joly, incumbent Liberal candidate for the Ahuntsic-Cartierville riding, said the Orange Line extension would be a priority for the party. "I've already had good conversations with Chantal Rouleau, the minister in charge of Montreal, and also with the city of Montreal. And both are really seeing this important infrastructure investment as a priority," she said. Zahia El-Masri, the NDP candidate for the same riding, said she supports the project because it would serve a high-density population. "Having this here would make our lives much, much more easier, and would make the transportation even more accessible to everybody," she said. CBC News reached out to the Conservative Party candidate for the riding Monday afternoon but did not receive a response.Security measureDeSousa also said the Orange Line extension would be good as a safety measure in case any issues with the REM arise. "It makes sense to consider the extension of the Orange Line from Côte-Vertu to Bois-Franc, if for no other reason than to act as a safety valve in the event that there would be a blockage of the tunnel," he said. Earlier this year, a report commissioned by the city and the Transport Ministry recommended the project. A spokesperson for the city told CBC News the extension is being studied by Montreal's regional transport authority, the ARTM. The eastern part of Ahuntsic-Cartierville is already serviced by the Henri-Bourassa metro station and Saint-Laurent is currently serviced by both the Côte-Vertu and Du Collège stations.

  • Ships are illegally dumping plastic trash at sea, study suggests
    News
    CBC

    Ships are illegally dumping plastic trash at sea, study suggests

    Thousands of plastic drink bottles are washing up on a remote, uninhabited island in the South Atlantic, and researchers say they're evidence of illegal dumping from cargo ships.Ships have been strictly banned from throwing trash overboard for more than 30 years.Nevertheless, "ships are responsible for most of the bottles floating in the central South Atlantic Ocean, in contravention of International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships regulations," concludes the new international study published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."It's a surprise in that it makes us rethink the source of the garbage in our oceans," said Robert Ronconi, a Halifax-based researcher, currently with the Canadian Wildlife Service, who co-authored the new study. "One of the common assumptions is that most of the garbage in the oceans is flowing out of rivers on land."A commonly cited estimate is that 80 per cent of plastic in the oceans is washed into the seas from land-based sources, and much of the rest is fishing gear.Ronconi was part of a team led by Prof. Peter Ryan, director of the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, that tracked and examined trash washing up on Inaccessible Island from over more than three decades. The island is close to halfway between South Africa and South America.In 2018, the team collected 2,580 plastic bottles from about a kilometre of beach, plus another 174 that washed up over 10 weeks. They found that 73 per cent of accumulated bottles and 83 per cent of newly arrived bottles had been manufactured in China and had date stamps indicating they had been manufactured in the past two years — not enough time for them to travel from Asia without the help of ships.Ronconi and Ryan are seabird researchers who visit the island primarily to study the millions of seabirds that live and nest along the tall cliffs that wrap around it on all sides. Some of them breed nowhere else in the world — including the great shearwater, which Ronconi was studying during his postdoctoral research at Dalhousie University."Without hesitation, it's the most fantastic place I've ever been in my life," said Ronconi.Researchers land at one of the only flat spots at the edge of the island — a beach of pebbles and boulders scattered by crashing waves. Behind them washed-up logs are jammed up among tall grasses. And scattered about it all flash yellow, orange, blue and red fishing buoys, floats, trays, bottles and other garbage."They do stick out," Ronconi recalled.Growing amount of garbageRyan noticed the litter on his first visit to the island as a master's student in 1984. It took him about three hours to scoop it all off a kilometre of beach.But the amount has grown dramatically since then.In 2018, several researchers collected everything from the same stretch of beach, and it took them two days."What was really striking was just how bottles had come to dominate," said Ryan. In 1984, they were a tiny fraction of the trash on the island, and most appeared to have drifted on the currents from South America.In 2018, they made up one-third of the litter that had accumulated on the beach, and three-quarters of what arrived during the 10 weeks the researchers were there.While the researchers initially wondered whether they might have come from fishing fleets, their Chinese origin made that unlikely, since there isn't much Chinese fishing in the area, and fishing overall has declined slightly in that part of the ocean.However, the growth in bottles coincided with an increase in shipping traffic between Asia and South America, leading the researchers to conclude the bottles had been thrown off cargo ships plying that route.Martin Thiel is a professor at Universidad Católica del Norte in Chile who was not involved in the study, but researches the composition and abundance of marine litter. Thiel said the growth in plastic bottles in particular was notable. But he cautioned against blaming ships from any particular country, since they would all be likely to buy bottled water in China when making stops there."The finding of these bottles does not indicate that the Chinese are the guilty ones — it could just as well be European or North American ships coming from China," he wrote in an email.Unfortunately, this isn't the only study suggesting that littering at sea is contributing to the plastic pollution problem.Ryan said he's been involved in surveys in South Africa, Kenya and Australia that all found similar results. Debris from passing ships was found in the the Paranagua Estuarine Complex in Brazil in 2013 and a study in the early 1990s found 75 per cent of observed fishing vessels along Canada's east coast threw debris into the sea.Possible solutionsThe International Maritime Organization says it has adopted an action plan on marine litter to get more data about marine plastic litter from ships, enhance regulations, and introduce new measures to tackle the problem.The International Chamber of Shipping has acknowledged that one problem is that the quality of waste facilities at ports is highly variable."Indeed, some developed countries actually provide poorer facilities than their developing nation counterparts, or offer services based on varying tariff structures which often do not encourage their use," says a statement released by the group this year.In response to the study, Stuart Neil, the group's communications director, said the industry takes this issue "very seriously."He said illegal dumping of garbage may result in criminal convictions and heavy fines.However, a previous study of this problem noted that enforcement is a challenge because it's hard to detect violations at sea and often impossible to link debris with a particular ship.Ryan suggests the shipping industry needs to be more proactive about enforcement of regulations by conducting waste audits of ships when they return to land.He added that the right incentives can also help. He gave the example of a South African trawl fleet where managers used to reward skippers for having a clean ship. "That just promoted people sweeping everything over the side," he said.When a friend of his became the company's operations manager, he decided instead to reward skippers based on the amount of litter they returned to port. "And all of sudden they were bringing back bags of rubbish. It's just little things that can really change behaviour."He added that since the study was published, two shipping companies have contacted him saying they want to work to solve this problem.

  • Papua New Guinea police seeking to arrest ex-PM O'Neill
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Papua New Guinea police seeking to arrest ex-PM O'Neill

    CANBERRA, Australia — Papua New Guinea police said Tuesday they were seeking the arrest of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill for official corruption but the former leader of the South Pacific island nation was refusing to co-operate.But Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported from Port Moresby that O'Neill said he was co-operating with police and looked forward to proving his innocence in court.Police have released no detail of the allegations against a prime minister who led the country for seven years.Acting Police Commissioner David Manning said in a statement that O'Neill had been found in a hotel in the capital Port Moresby on Tuesday but was not co-operating."Whilst I cannot reveal any specific details at this point in time due to the sensitivity of the investigations, I can confirm that police investigators in an ongoing investigation applied to the district court for the arrest warrant for Mr. O'Neill which was granted last Friday," Manning said."The warrant was obtained upon the weight of the evidence brought forward by the investigators," he added.O'Neill resigned as prime minister in May following weeks of high-profile defections from his government to the opposition.O'Neill said at the time recent movements in parliament have shown a "need for change."He was replaced by former finance minister James Marape.The Associated Press

  • Windsor woman says she can't find a place to live because she owns a dog
    News
    CBC

    Windsor woman says she can't find a place to live because she owns a dog

    Jenna Williams never expected that by adopting her dog Babe, she'd be denied a place to live — more than a dozen times. Williams and her partner live with her partner's parents right now. They've been turned down to rent more than 15 properties. It's been a month of looking, applying and repeatedly hearing, "no.""It is really frustrating because I feel like we did a really good thing by adopting a dog from the Humane Society, but unfortunately we're kind of being punished for it," Williams said. "Every time we try to move out or rent a place, we're not allowed to because of the dog ... I think it's really unfortunate that it might deter people from adopting rescue dogs."Legally in Ontario, a landlord can't to tell tenants they're not allowed to have pets in the rental unit. However, before signing a lease, landlords are allowed to refuse applicants with pets. They can do so without explaining why."You're under no obligation, I would argue, to ... really disclose that information," said Jonathan Scott of the Rental Rights and Information Association."To me, it's the equivalent of saying, will your mother sleep over on Sunday nights after Sunday dinner, or do you have a boyfriend who will be here three days a week. That's not really any of the landlord's business."Contracts with clauses that state "no pets" are not valid, but condo buildings are a different story — they can make their own rules. Windsor-Essex County Humane Society's Executive Director Melanie Coulter said this is a problem that comes up again and again."Unfortunately most times when we [hear about this issue] is when people are thinking about surrendering an animal because they're having issues with their landlord, or difficulties finding a place they can live with their pet," she said.There are a number of pet-friendly rental properties in Windsor, Coulter said, including some high rise apartment buildings owned by large companies."The tenants should weigh how they want to approach this on a case-by-case basis," Scott said. "I think it's one of those things where you don't have a duty to tell the landlord everything you plan on doing with the property."Landlords have told Williams they're worried about damage a dog weighing more than 25 pounds could cause. Her dog, Babe, is a two-year-old shepherd mix. "I'd like to see the stigma of having a dog as a renter be taken away," Williams said. "I'm not sure why it's relevant how many pounds my dog weighs."Williams has tried to be honest with every landlord they've applied to rent from."I know myself ... I'm a responsible dog owner," said Williams, who is in her late 20s and works for the school board."When I think about people you might want to have living in your property, we're excellent candidates ... despite the fact we have a dog."

  • India looks into Flipkart, Amazon festive discounts after retailer complaints
    News
    Reuters

    India looks into Flipkart, Amazon festive discounts after retailer complaints

    The Indian government is looking into whether hefty discounts offered on Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon.com during their online festive sales violate foreign investment rules, a commerce ministry official told Reuters. India introduced new rules in February aimed at protecting the 130 million people dependent on small-scale retail by deterring big online discounts. While Amazon and Flipkart say they've complied with the federal rules, local trader groups say the two companies are violating them by burning money to offer discounts - of more than 50% in some cases - during the ongoing festive sales.

  • Windsor-area Indigenous disappointed in lack of election attention
    News
    CBC

    Windsor-area Indigenous disappointed in lack of election attention

    Local Indigenous people aren't pleased with how election campaigns have paid attention to their issues — issues they say aren't just specific to Aboriginal people. Rebecca Major, assistant professor of political science at the University of Windsor, said she expected more dialogue around issues Indigenous people face."I'm surprised it's been so quiet," said Major. "A lot of it is that many Canadians are not aware of the issues [Indigenous] face. I don't think the media has [addressed] the issues Indigenous people face."Major said this current election cycle is mostly a battle for attention.'We don't exist in a box'According to Major, candidates need to understand Indigenous people aren't a "subject matter.""We're people," said Major. "We're treated as though we're a problem or an inanimate object."Local Indigenous poet Daniel Lockhart agreed."Every Indigenous issue is a Canadian issue," said Lockhart. "They don't exist in a vacuum."Major said she thinks there's an assumption that Indigenous people don't deserve the same respect as the rest of Canada."We don't exist in a box, but we're compartmentalized," said Major. "I think a lot of times our people are overlooked and underestimated. I think Indigenous people are more aware of politics and some of the rights, roles and responsibilities."Lockhart said the candidates could be doing a lot more to address Indigenous people in the region."Indigenous voices [in Windsor] have been silenced over the years. We're often left on the back burner, ignored. Much more could be done," said Lockhart. "I'd like to see the candidates engage specifically with the Can-Am Centre. Most of Indigenous folk, we are outside of the academy. We have to look more toward the working, everyday Indigenous people."Lockhart and Major both said major issues include drinking water, housing, the foster care system and climate change. "Windsorites and southwestern Ontarians need to understand, we have a lot of Indigenous in this area," said Lockhart. "Go to them, talk to them."Rebecca Major spoke with Windsor Morning's Tony Doucette about the issues Indigenous Peoples are facing with the federal election.

  • Scarborough councillor wants to send bill for emergency services to people who get stuck on Bluffs
    News
    CBC

    Scarborough councillor wants to send bill for emergency services to people who get stuck on Bluffs

    An east end city councillor is suggesting that daredevils who get stuck trying to climb the Scarborough Bluffs should be billed for the cost of the rescue.Paul Ainslie told CBC Toronto he's frustrated with the number of people who continue to ignore warning signs — and a potential $5,000 fine — to try their luck scaling the cliffs.There's parts of it where you want to climb down and it doesn't look too bad, but there's trees in your way, and when you pass the trees,  you might have another drop," Ainslie, who grew up playing near the Bluffs, said. "Next thing you know, you're on your cell phone calling 911 and screaming for help."In addition to those who intentionally try to climb down the cliffs, or up from the bottom, Ainslie said he also worries about sightseers who wander beyond fences and warning signs to take in the breathtaking view over Lake Ontario from the cliffs' edge."The Scarborough Bluffs often erode from the bottom...and you could be standing on an overhang not knowing it's an overhang," he said. "That gets eaten out, and over you go."That's a reality that wasn't lost on sightseer Lillian Taylor, who was walking through a park behind the Guild Inn last week. Ainslie watched as she went beyond the signs and yellow "no trespassing" tape to take in the view from the edge."You can't help but see that view...it's very tempting," she told CBC Toronto later, adding she agrees with Ainslie's attempt to do more to discourage people from straying too close to the brink."It's a good idea because you're going to lose that part (of the bluff edge) sooner or later anyway, if everybody keeps going on it."There are other areas that I go to, down Brimley, where you can enjoy it safely."Ainslie said he is not sure how much people who are rescued should be charged. But he estimated that it costs "in the hundreds of thousands of dollars" for emergency services to mount a rescue operation.He said the average call requires eight emergency vehicles and 25 staff."There's much better things they could be doing," he said. "You're taking eight trucks out of service, which covers a good chunk of Scarborough."In July, the city launched a social media blitz aimed at keeping people a safe distance from the cliffs.Twitter posts noted that in 2018, there were 16 rescues at the bluffs. Those operations tied up a total of 413 staff and 123 trucks for almost 400 hours.Since 2011, at least two people have died on the bluffs. There has been at least one rescue this year — in July — although exact numbers are not clear. The Toronto Fire Service declined to speak with CBC Toronto for this story.The bluffs run for 15 kilometres, from the city's Eastern Beaches in the west to East Point Park in the east, and include 11 public parks. Ainslie estimates they range in height between 30 and 60 metres.Until recently, knee-high bollards connected by cables were all that separated the public from the cliffs' edge. Staff are now in the process of replacing those barriers with waist-high fences.Ainslie's motion, dubbed "Cost Recovery for Emergency Service Rescues Due Misadventure at Scarborough Bluffs," is due to be discussed at Wednesday's meeting of the economic and community development committee.If the committee passes his motion, staff will be asked to look into the feasibility of charging people costs, and return with a report at the committee's April 8, 2020 meeting.

  • Eugene Melnyk's organ transplant charity 'on hold' until April
    News
    CBC

    Eugene Melnyk's organ transplant charity 'on hold' until April

    Its social media presence has dried up, its phone number is out of service and its annual gala didn't happen in 2019. But Eugene Melnyk insists his charity, The Organ Project, is still alive, and is refocusing its efforts for a relaunch next year.The Ottawa Senators owner launched The Organ Project in 2017, after undergoing a successful liver transplant that followed a public appeal for a living donor, who remains anonymous.The idea behind the charity was to raise awareness for organ donation and encourage people to sign their organ donor cards. But according to its former chief operating officer, Catherine Shaw, measuring the charity's success proved difficult because of the way online registration works in Ontario.In a written message to CBC News, Shaw acknowledged the charity's operations are "on hold.""Rather than move forward with initiatives that could not be properly measured, we chose to put them on hold until we found a way to make them as effective as possible," Shaw said.Trillium network withheld data, Melnyk claimsAccording to Melnyk, The Organ Project helped boost organ donor registration. But he said Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN), the provincial government agency that delivers and coordinates organ and tissue donation in Ontario, has been less than forthcoming with any information that would give credit to his charity."Despite enormous efforts to attempt to get confirmations from Trillium that we deserved credit for the spike in organ donation registration, we were disallowed that information," Melnyk wrote in an email to CBC News. "We felt that there was therefore no other choice other than to suspend efforts for mass registration."Trillium denies it withheld information from The Organ Project. "Since The Organ Project's inception, TGLN worked cooperatively with the organisation to provide all available registration statistics and other relevant data in Ontario to help advance the organisations' collective mission," the agency wrote in an email to CBC.Small tweak would have solved problemTGLN said a small tweak to The Organ Project's website would have solved the problem. "The Organ Project's website directs visitors to Ontario's online registration site, which is not owned or managed by TGLN. Therefore it was not possible for TGLN to provide metrics on web traffic generated from The Organ Project's website directly to the registration portal."In other words, had The Organ Project's "register now" button linked to beadonor.ca, the information would have been available to the charity. Melnyk said The Organ Project is planning to refocus on assisting individuals with finding living donors through social media, starting next year. He said the results will be "directly and efficiently" measured. 'No financial difficulty'Asked about his current financial situation, in light of multiple examples of civil litigation against him, Melnyk said: "I can assure you that I am very happy with my state of financial affairs and no, there is no financial difficulty."In a subsequent email, Melnyk added: "I never speak about my wealth or net worth to anyone. To try to somehow paint a picture (as some reporters try) that there are any financial challenges is simply not true."Melnyk is being sued by both an aviation company and a U.S casino. He's also involved in a reciprocal lawsuit with his former partners in a failed bid to build an NHL arena on LeBreton Flats.Melnyk told CBC that as a policy he doesn't comment on litigation.Charity to relaunch next yearMelnyk is promising to resurrect The Organ Project in April 2020 — the next Transplant Month — as a free service to help gravely ill people find their own living donors. It will be modelled after the liver transplant program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which provides transplants for patients that other medical centres deem too high-risk or unfit for the operation."In this scenario we have a tangible, measurable impact on the transplant community," Melnyk said.The Senators owner said he's "eternally grateful" to the anonymous living donor who came forward to save his life, and believes it's the duty of all organ transplant recipients to spread the word.When Melnyk's family, friends and Senators staff launched the appeal to find a living liver donor in 2015, some felt he was using his public profile to jump the queue for transplants. But some believe it may have helped the cause.Appeal for living donorsAccording to recent liver donor and transplant advocate Heather Badenoch, there aren't enough deceased donors for everyone on the waiting list. She believes Melnyk's new focus could help generate more living donors and help close the gap."People on the transplant list are waiting for a deceased donor. There's no waiting list, or queue, to get a living donor," Badenoch said. "If someone can find themselves a living liver donor, then they get off the list for a deceased donor and everyone behind them moves up by one. This is the opposite of jumping the queue." I want to, and am, giving back. \- Eugene Melnyk She said encouraging living donation helps generate multiple matches."I responded to a little girl's public appeal, she got a different donor, and I stayed in the process to give to another child."    Ninety-six per cent of living liver donors who give at Toronto General Hospital, where Melnyk received his liver transplant, decide to give only because a family member, friend or colleague needs an organ."Most people give directly to someone they know. Just four per cent of living liver donors give to strangers," Badenoch  said.In Melnyk's case, at least 20 potential donors who answered his appeal asked to remain on the donor list."I want to, and am, giving back," Melnyk said. "If I only saved one other life through my effort, I am happy and feel I have done something. I don't ask for a thank you, I only ask that anyone that has a transplant, please pass on the message."