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Canada Curling

Canada defeats Switzerland to win gold in mixed doubles curling

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Feb 13th, 2018

The first Olympic gold medal in mixed doubles curling goes to Canada.

Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes beat defending world champions Jenny Perret and Martin Rios of Switzerland 10-3 in the gold-medal game.

Ottawa’s Morris and Winnipeg’s Lawes claimed the second Olympic gold medals of their careers and Canada’s third of the Pyeongchang Games.

Lawes was third for the Jennifer Jones team that won women’s team gold in 2014. Morris was vice for Kevin Martin when they took the men’s team title in 2010.

Mixed doubles curling made its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.

After trading deuces with the Swiss in the first two ends, the Canadians scored a pivotal four in the third to lead 6-2.

LCBO chooses Shopify to run online cannabis sales

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Feb 13th, 2018

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The Ontario government has inked a deal to use Shopify Inc.’s e-commerce platform for cannabis sales online and in stores as part of its plan to be the province’s sole distributor of legal recreational marijuana.

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, will use the Ottawa-based company’s online store software for its online and mobile sales portal.

“Our top priority is fulfilling the province’s framework for the safe and sensible retailing of recreational cannabis for when it is legalized by the federal government,” said George Soleas, president and CEO of the LCBO.

“We look forward to combining our expertise as a socially responsible retailer with Shopify’s world-class commerce solutions to deliver the safe, informed and reliable shopping experience that our new customers will expect.”

Shopify’s technology will also be used inside brick-and-mortar stores to process transactions on iPads and for digital screens displaying product and health information.

The OCRC said Ontarians will have access to the same product information, usage guidelines and social responsibility information — which adhere to federal marketing provisions — both in-store and online.

The public consultation for Health Canada’s proposed guidelines for cannabis regulation — which include limits on branding elements on packaging, as well as restrictions on marketing similar to tobacco — finished on Jan. 20, with a finalized version yet to be delivered.

The agency selected the tech darling to provide point-of-sale systems for in-store and online sales in late 2017.

“Bringing this differentiator to the LCBO on this historic project to consumers of legal age across Ontario, is a great example of a made-in-Canada innovation, which we are proud to be a part of,” said Loren Padelford, vice-president of Shopify Plus, the division that focuses on big clients.

Shares of Shopify in Toronto rose more than 7 per cent to close at $161.05 on Monday.

The OCRC is in the process of determining the design for the user experience, with the aim of having operations installed in time for the proposed federal marijuana legalization launch in July 2018, the agency said.

In addition to online sales, Ontario will roll out an initial wave of 40 stores which are expected to grow in number to 150 by the end of 2020

The government agency will also use Shopify’s platform to manage inventory, accounting and human resources operations.
Sales of the drug in Ontario will only be available through government-run online or in standalone stores, while some other provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia are allowing for some private sales of cannabis.

Canada’s Eric Radford, USA’s Adam Rippon make important Olympic history

Emily Sadler, Sportsnet | posted Tuesday, Feb 13th, 2018

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The sporting world witnessed an important piece of history on Day 3 of the 2018 Olympic Games when Canadian figure skater Eric Radford became the first openly gay male athlete to win Olympic Winter gold.

He and his pairs skating partner, Meagan Duhamel, helped Canada earn top honours in the team figure skating event.

Radford officially came out in an article in Outsports Magazine in December 2014, almost a year after helping Canada earn Olympic silver in the same event in Sochi.

The 33-year-old reflected on that time in an exclusive article written for Sportsnet last month.

“I had never felt compelled to talk about my sexuality before because I believed it was a non-issue,” Radford wrote.

“But I put myself in the position of a young kid, who might be afraid to follow their own dream. Or maybe they just want to get out of their own small town and do something in the world,” continued Radford, who skates with Sudbury’s Duhamel. “If that young kid was able to see someone on TV — someone similar to myself, who was openly gay and winning medals — then maybe that would give them the confidence to feel it was truly possible for them.”

Radford shared the podium with American skater Adam Rippon, who became the first openly gay male American athlete to medal in the Winter Olympics.

Rippon helped the U.S. to team figure skating bronze with a near-flawless performance, and won over the entire Internet in the process thanks to his skill, his story, and his refreshingly honest tweets and interviews.

Radford and Duhamel will hit the ice again in the short program, which will begin Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET.

Payday loans a growing part of Ontario’s personal insolvencies, study finds

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Feb 13th, 2018

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A study by a Toronto-based firm says the rate of insolvent borrowers using payday loans in Ontario has grown for the sixth consecutive year.

Insolvency trustee firm Hoyes Michalos & Associates says 31 per cent of insolvent borrowers used the loans in 2017, up from 27 per cent the year before.

The study suggests payday loans are a growing factor in personal insolvencies in Ontario, with struggling debtors are taking out fewer but larger loans despite recent changes to lower borrowing rates.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, the provincial government reduced the maximum amount lenders can charge for a payday loan to $18 for every $100 borrowed, down from $21 for each $100. Earlier this year, the rate was further reduced to $15.

Hoyes Michalos & Associates says they looked at 3,500 insolvency cases and found the average number of payday loans outstanding at the time of insolvency declined to 3.2 in 2017, but the average payday loan size was $1,095, an increase of 12.4 per cent from the year before.

In total, insolvent borrowers owed an average of $3,464 from all their payday loans, the study says, or $1.34 for every dollar of their monthly take-home pay.

Man stabbed in face at College Station in random attack: police

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Feb 13th, 2018

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Police believe a stabbing that took place at College subway station on Monday afternoon was an unprovoked attack.

“By all accounts at this point it appears that it was … a random attack,” Constable Allyson Douglas-Cook told CityNews.

Douglas-Cook said police received a call around 12:40 p.m. on Monday for an altercation on the subway platform.

When officers arrived on scene they found the victim suffering a serious stab wound to the face. Police recovered an ice pick.

The victim was sent to hospital with serious but non life-threatening injuries while a suspect was apprehended after a brief foot chase with TTC officers.

A witness told CityNews it appeared that the stabbing took place on a subway train. “We seen some guy get off the train, there was a trail of blood,” said Justin Morency. “He just dropped to the floor, you could tell he got stabbing in the face.”

College Station was closed for several hours while police investigated, but has since reopened.

More than 500 scientists demand improved pollution laws in Canada

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Feb 12th, 2018

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OTTAWA – When Miriam Diamond’s son was a competitive gymnast, she tried to get toxic flame retardants removed from the foam blocks and landing mats her son was exposed to for 20 hours or more every week.

Diamond, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Toronto, was able to show the concentration of the chemicals in the air and the dust in the gym, was 20 times higher than in the average home.

Europe and the United States recognized the chemicals were toxic. Canada, however, did not, and thus nobody would fund her attempts to get rid of the materials. Without a federal government toxic designation, nobody would listen to get them removed.

It is with that in mind that Diamond signed her name to a letter which will be sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today, asking him to seriously consider making changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act that would put the onus on companies to show their products are safe before they’re ever put on the market.

Currently, Diamond says, chemicals can be approved for use based on relatively flimsy, sometimes even incomplete data, provided by the manufacturer.

“It always amazes me how little data can be submitted,” said Diamond.

The letter is signed by more than 540 scientists and doctors from across Canada, telling Trudeau this is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to curb pollution, save lives, protect the environment, boost the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians.”

“Canada has a serious pollution problem that is a threat to both human health and the quality of our environment,” it says.

The act, known as CEPA, must be reviewed every five years and that was done in 2016 by the House of Commons environment committee, which then last year made 87 recommendations to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. She said last fall she would notify the committee by June what actions will be taken as a result of the report.

The scientists are asking the government to focus on the most important of the recommendations, including prohibiting substances that are of “very high concern” unless a company can prove they can be used safely in specific circumstances. They also want the act to require assessments of substances to take into account cumulative affects of repeated exposures, as well as what is known as synergistic effects, or the impact that can be had from exposure to two or more substances at the same time.

They also want national, enforceable air quality standards.

Canada, says the letter, is the only industrialized country in the world without legally binding, and enforceable, air quality standards. Canada sets ambient air quality standards under CEPA, including objectives for substances like ozone and sulphur dioxide, but the standards are voluntary and don’t make mention of some of the most troubling pollutants like cadmium and benzene.

Diamond said there are standards at the provincial level, but they are very uneven and it shouldn’t be that someone in one province has less protection from polluted air than someone in another province.

— follow @mrabson on Twitter.

Canada’s Justine Dufour-Lapointe wins Olympic silver in women’s moguls

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Feb 12th, 2018

Justine Dufour-Lapointe, of Montreal, celebrates after competing to her silver medal finish in the freestyle skiing event at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Sunday, February 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Justine Dufour-Lapointe was anything but disappointed after losing her Olympic moguls title Sunday at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

On the contrary, she believes her silver medal is worth more than the gold she won at the ’14 Sochi Games.

In the middle of a snowstorm, the youngest of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters made a quick and aggressive run to earn 78.56 points in the super-final. France’s Perrine Laffont captured the gold with 78.65 points.

Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva won the bronze with 77.40 points.

“I feel like I’ve given everything I could,” said the emotional 23-year-old Canadian. “I gave my heart, my fire and the passion for my sport.

“I skied like a real tigress.”

The nine-hundredths gap that separated her from a second consecutive gold medal – which would’ve tied Dufour-Lapointe with Alexandre Bilodeau as the only ones to have successfully defended an Olympic moguls title (2010-2014) – didn’t seem to bother her.

In fact, the presence of her mother at the base of the slope was a victory in itself since only a year ago, Johane Dufour-Lapointe was sharing her cancer diagnosis with her daughters.

She is currently in remission, and will undergo a new series of tests upon her return home.

“I’m prouder of this medal than gold in Sochi, because I worked even harder to get there,” Justine Dufour-Lapointe said. “This was one of the most difficult years of my life, so no, I don’t want to be disappointed.

“This silver medal is worth more than that, it’s gold for me.”

The competition was especially difficult considering the heavy snow, which worsened as the evening progressed. As a result of the reduced visibility, super-final organizers decided to add a tree to the track to help participants find their bearings.

Regina’s Andi Naude, who was considered a medal hopeful, missed the landing of her first jump and did not complete her run.

Justine’s sister, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, was eliminated in the first final after finishing 17th out of 20. Only the top-12 reached the small final.

Audrey Robichaud of Quebec City finished ninth overall.

A visibly emotional Chloe Dufour-Lapointe recognized she was “emptied” both physically and emotionally by the events of the past year, and suggested she may take some time off.

“It’s been a difficult year, and I’m a girl who’s very emotional in life,” the 26-year-old said. “I need a little mental break. I need to think of myself in order to come back stronger.

“You know, making ‘comebacks’ every time isn’t easy, but I’m the ‘resets’ pro,” she added with a laugh.

She said she hadn’t decided yet if she would end her season and would discuss the matter with her trainers in the following days.

“But I’m a person of feelings, and my feelings tell me I need to go home,” she said.

Far from being disappointed in her performance, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe said she was touched by the love showed by her family Sunday night.

“I’m really proud of my sister,” she said. “It’s a family medal, one we didn’t even think about a year ago.

“But everyone is here, healthy, and that’s the best gift in the world.”

Back in the crowd, her parents and family members, including older moguls-skiing sister Maxime, lacked the words to express their pride.

“Tonight was a relief,” said Johane, who is also the agent for her daughters. “Given the last year when I was seriously ill, I realized how much my daughters have been affected by this.

“The two of them (Justine and Chloe) said to me: ‘Mom, I gave everything, I have no more juice, I’m empty.’ I’m glad it’s over.”

Patrick Brown says he can disprove sexual misconduct allegations against him

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Feb 12th, 2018

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Patrick Brown says he can disprove allegations of sexual misconduct that led to his abrupt resignation as leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party late last month.

Brown said in a Facebook post Sunday that he has been investigating the allegations reported by CTV News last month. He said specific details of the accusations from two unnamed women, which date back to when he was a federal MP, contain discrepancies that prove their accounts are false.

Brown also alleged both of the accusers know CTV reporters socially, and that the broadcaster left out a contradicting account from a witness to one of the alleged incidents.

“CTV is aware of the claims made in Patrick Brown’s Facebook post (Sunday) and those reportedly made in his interview with the Toronto Sun. CTV News stands by its story,” Matthew Garrow, communications director for the broadcaster, said in a statement.

Brown, whose resignation came months before a spring election, said he will clear his name.

“The #metoo movement is important. I support it. I embrace it. My drive to public service includes creating a safer and more respectful world for women. The #metoo movement is too important to allow outrageous allegations like these to derail it,” he wrote.

The allegations reported by CTV have not been verified by The Canadian Press.

The broadcaster reported on Jan. 24 that one of the women, who is now 29, said she was still in high school when Brown allegedly asked her to perform oral sex on him.

CTV reported the alleged incident happened in Brown’s bedroom with the door closed, but Brown said in his Facebook post that at the time of the alleged incident, he lived in an open concept apartment and the bedroom didn’t have a door.

CTV also reported the second accuser was a university student working in Brown’s constituency office when he allegedly sexually assaulted her at his home after an event she helped organize.

Brown alleged in his post that the accuser actually tried to kiss him that night, while the woman he was seeing romantically was in another room.

“I stopped her immediately and offered to drive her home, which I did,” he wrote. “There are at least three witnesses, one of whom even spoke to CTV, that refute the details of her allegations.”

He said CTV left the witness’s account out of their report.

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