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Plan to privatize Scarborough garbage collection goes before city council

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 19th, 2017

The public works committee have voted in favour of privatizing garbage collection east of Yonge Street.

After lengthy debate at City Hall, the committee deciding to take the idea to a full council vote in two weeks time where private companies, and the city’s own collectors – CUPE Local 416 – would all be asked to make a pitch to collect trash.

The union hasn’t decided if it will take part in the bidding process, insisting they’re still under contract for several more years.

Dozens of city waste collectors, wearing shirts with “Kicked to the Curb” written across the chest, were present for the meeting. Officials estimated that the privatization of garbage collection could result in the loss of 200 to 250 unionized jobs.

Wednesday’s decision came after a number of people had their say about the issue, including former premier Bob Rae, who called it was a bad idea. Rae says just because privatization worked in the west end doesn’t mean it is right for the east end.

While a city report insists millions could be saved, several councillors spoke out against the mayor, saying there are conflicting reports on whether or not this will actually save money. A three year old staff report – the latest to be made public – compared Etobicoke’s private garbage collection at $142 dollars per household to the City’s unionized garbage collection in Scarborough at $126 dollars per household.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who supported privatization in the west end when Rob Ford was mayor, says monopolizing the service will eliminate competition and lead to higher costs.

“We should not give the private sector a monopoly over our services, especially when the 2015 staff report said that the current mix provides the best value and lowest risk to the city,” he said. “So if there is no cost savings, why would we do it?”

Another argument surfacing Wednesday says privatizing garbage collection is having an effect on the environment. Based on city data compiled by the Toronto Environmental Alliance, there is less recycling happening in Etobicoke compared to Scarborough.

Canadian travellers appear undeterred by fatal shooting in Mexico

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 18th, 2017

Canadian travellers and expats appear undeterred by a fatal shooting at the popular Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen this week, saying the area remains safe despite what they consider an isolated tragedy.

A spokesman for the Quebec-Riviera Maya Chamber of Commerce says the Canadian expats and business owners he has spoken to are saddened by the attack that killed five people, including an Ontario security guard, but are not concerned for their own safety.

Michel Bédard says the shooting at the Blue Parrot nightclub was the first such incident at the 10-year-old venue, which he described as a cultural hub in the area.

He says Canadian snowbirds and tourists are unlikely to change their habits as a result of the attack.

The editor of a local English-language newspaper in Playa del Carmen says shootings are “very, very rare” in the Riviera Maya and almost never involve tourists.

Rebecca Page, who is American, says the general feeling among expats she has spoken to is that the shooting was “an isolated event and they have no plans to leave or change the way they are living their day to day lives here.”

“I feel no less safe today than I did before this happened,” she added in a Facebook message.

Maggie Bearden lives in Saskatoon and travels to Mexico once or twice a year, and says she feels as safe there as she does at home.

She sees no reason to change her plans to travel to Playa del Carmen in March, saying tourists are rarely the targets of crime.

“The people largely are warm and welcoming and so friendly, and it’s such an easy and economical destination, I will continue to go there, with no qualms,” she said in an email.

Mexican authorities said Tuesday they were investigating whether extortion, street-level drug sales or a murder plot was the motive behind the shooting at the nightclub where an electronic music festival’s closing party was being held.

The five people who died included 49-year-old Kirk Wilson, of Hamilton, one American, one Italian and two Mexicans. Fifteen people suffered injuries, including at least two Canadians and two Americans.

Kevin O’Leary to enter federal Conservative leadership race

The Canadian Press, News Staff | posted Wednesday, Jan 18th, 2017

Kevin O’Leary has announced he is running for the Conservative leadership, suggesting that as a businessman, he is better qualified than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to work with president-elect Donald Trump.

O’Leary said he intended to run in a video posted to his Facebook page Wednesday morning, moments before making the official announcement on a Toronto television station.

In a statement, O’Leary said Canadians need a prime minister who will kickstart the economy and support business – particularly in light of political changes in the United States.

“Now, with the election of Donald Trump to our south, Canada’s largest trading partner is headed by a businessman with an aggressive strategy that could hurt the Canadian economy. Trudeau doesn’t stand a chance, and we deserve better,” he said.

“Canadians are looking for a prime minister who is not a career politician; a prime minister who will fight for them, and is not afraid to tell them how it is. They also want a prime minister who will be inclusive and not lower themselves to use divisive politics,” he said.

“Since the start of this leadership race I have looked for a candidate with these qualities, but it has become clear that I am the only one that can defeat Trudeau.”

O’Leary – an author and financial guru who became known to many Canadians as a judge on the CBC-TV show “Dragons’ Den” – will be competing against 13 other candidates, including MPs Kellie Leitch, Maxime Bernier and Steven Blaney.

Those already in the race faced off in a French-language debate Tuesday night in Quebec City.

O’Leary, who does not speak French but is now taking lessons, was not at the debate, since he had not officially registered at the time.

He has said the crowded field has reduced the debates, in his words, to “just a bunch of sound bites.”

Tuesday’s debate often saw Bernier the target of his rivals, with Leitch and Blaney in particular taking aim at the former cabinet minister on different topics.

The other participants were Lisa Raitt, Deepak Obhrai, Brad Trost, Chris Alexander, Michael Chong, Erin O’Toole, Andrew Scheer, Pierre Lemieux, Rick Peterson and Andrew Saxton.

5 household items you need to replace right now

Winston Sih | posted Wednesday, Jan 18th, 2017


Replace a pillow every 18 months. Your pillow collects a ton of bacteria through sweat, mould, and dust mites. The average pillow collects up to 350,000 bacteria.



Dish cloth

Replace a dirty dish cloth every week. People typically place a dish cloth on a kitchen counter when damp – perfect for germs to multiply. 89 per cent of dish towels are contaminated with E. coli, according to a study.  Wash them at 60 C to extend their life, but remember to replace them regularly.




Replace sponges weekly. More than 10 million germs per square inch are on a used sponge.



Contact lens case

Replace every three months. Studies have shown that cases collect bacteria through the moisture in the solution – not good as your eyes are the most sensitive part of your body.




Replace every two weeks. Moisture, hair residue, foam encourage mould and bacteria to multiply. Instead, replace regularly, store them in a container, and wash with alcohol after every use.

Report: Blue Jays agree to one-year deal with Jose Bautista

Sportsnet | posted Tuesday, Jan 17th, 2017

The Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to re-sign Jose Bautista to a one-year contract that includes a mutual option for 2018, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

The deal, which has not been announced by the team, would complete a reunion that seemed highly unlikely as recently as last month. It’s valued above the $17.2 million qualifying that Bautista declined at the beginning of the off-season, according to Jon Heyman.

After joining the Blue Jays in a seemingly minor 2008 trade, Bautista became one of the game’s most feared power hitters. The 36-year-old ranks second in Blue Jays history with 265 home runs behind only Carlos Delgado and ninth in games played with 1,078.

Injuries limited Bautista to just 116 games in 2016, when he hit .234 with 22 home runs and an OPS of .817. He generated 1.4 Wins Above Replacement, his lowest total as a member of the Blue Jays.

A reunion provides a local boost for the Blue Jays after the loss of Edwin Encarnacion and an off-season that to this point is highlighted by the signings of Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce.

Bautista’s return seemed highly unlikely through most of the off-season as the Blue Jays extended him a qualifying offer and then did very little other negotiating with him.

Being tied to draft pick compensation surely impacted his market given that he’s entering his age 36 season after a pair of DL stints limited his production last year. The Blue Jays, who gained a first-round selection when Encarnacion signed with Cleveland, surrender the pick Bautista would have fetched them as they try to maximize their current window of opportunity.

Bautista was by far the best offensive player left on the free agent market and offered a significant upgrade for several teams.

That the Blue Jays seem to have slow-played him before making him a leverage add weeks before spring training is also intriguing.

Rather than come out aggressively in an attempt to re-sign him the way they did with Encarnacion and Brett Cecil, they left Bautista to linger, creating the impression they weren’t all that interested in bringing back one of the top players in franchise history.

The Blue Jays are believed to have in the area of $160 million to spend, and still need a backup catcher and left-handed reliever.

— With files from Shi Davidi

Toronto senior who killed fellow nursing home resident sentenced to life in prison

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Jan 17th, 2017

A Toronto senior who used his cane to kill a fellow long-term care home resident more than three years ago has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.

Peter Brooks, 76, was found guilty last month of second-degree murder in the death of 72-year-old Jocelyn Dickson.

He was also charged with the attempted murder of another fellow resident, 91-year-old Lourdes Missier, but was found not guilty on that charge.

Homicide Det. Sgt. Wayne Banks called the sentencing a “just decision.”

The judge in her decision “basically said that Mr. Brooks was a dangerous person to society a the time of the offence, he’s a dangerous person to society now,” Banks told a news conference.

“We can’t predict what the future will be but that will be up to the parole board to decide in 10 years’ time,” he said.

Orlando shooter’s widow has been arrested: U.S. official

The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, Jan 17th, 2017

A U.S. law enforcement official says the FBI has arrested the wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter.

The official says Noor Salman was taken into custody Monday morning in the San Francisco area and is due in court Tuesday in California. She’s facing charges in Florida including obstruction of justice.

The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Noor Salman moved to the San Francisco area after her husband, Omar Mateen, was killed in a shootout with SWAT team members during the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Forty-nine patrons were killed.

Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group during the standoff.

Healthy oils and their benefits

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jan 16th, 2017


These days it seems there are about a million cooking oils to choose from at the grocery store: Olive vs. avocado, unrefined vs. refined, and extra virgin are just a few things found on labels today. These details can make a simple selection very confusing! Andrea Donsky, label detective and founder of NaturallySavvy.com, breaks down each oil.


What is it made from: Avocado oil is one of Andrea’s favourite oils. It’s made from avocados (the fleshy part that surrounds the pit). This oil is now being used in many products including mayonnaise and potato chips and is one of the few oils we can eat that doesn’t come from a seed.

Smoke Point: 500F (highest smoke point of all oils).

How to use: You can use avocado oil for everything from frying eggs, to baking cookies and roasting veggies. It can also be used on salads.

Health Benefits: Avocado oil is high in “good fats” such as oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. Avocado oil is good for our heart, our eyes, is a good source of vitamin E, it also helps our body absorb nutrients (certain nutrients like carotenoids need fat to help with absorption).


What is it made from: “Camelina” oil comes from the “camelina sativa” seed—an ancient oilseed grown in Saskatchewan. The seed is part of the brassica family (which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and kale).

Smoke Point: 475F It has a high smoke point so it’s this oil is a good choice for roasting vegetables, searing fish and topping pasta. It’s a cold pressed oil which means the oil isn’t heated when it’s produced.

How to use: You can use it to roast vegetables, in soups, and drizzled on pizza.

Health benefits: Camelina oil is high in omega 3’s and vitamin E. It contains a unique type of vitamin E called “Gamma Tocopherol” that allows the oil to stay stable when cooking with it. It comes in three different flavors: original, roasted onion and basil and garlic & chilli.


What is it made from: Canola is a popular vegetable oil that is made from the rapeseed plant. It was developed in Canada and is used in many packaged products as well as restaurants.

Smoke Point: 400F (refined canola oil, unrefined is 225F)

How to use: Canola is a good choice for cooking and baking with. It can also be a good substitute for olive oil if you want to cook with higher heat. Canola oil comes unrefined and refined. Opt for unrefined because refined may contain chemicals such as bleach and hexane.

Health benefits: Canola contains omega 3’s and oleic acid and is mostly made up of monounsaturated fats. Keep in mind that many Canadian canola crops can be GMO, so looking for an organic brand can be critical if using this oil.


What is it made from: Coconut oil is known for its numerous health benefits and is made from coconuts.

Look for cold pressed and virgin on the label. Some companies are making flavourless coconut oil by removing the “coconut” taste and smell so people can still enjoy its health benefits, be weary of chemicals used to deodorize the oils.

Smoke point: 350-375F

How to use it: Eat coconut oil straight from the jar with a spoon and add it to your shakes and morning coffee or use in baking or on popcorn.

Health benefits: Coconut oil is a good type of saturated fat that contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). It is being studied for brain health (Alzheimer’s), it increases our metabolism (so it’s great for weight loss), and it lowers bad cholesterol.


What is it made from: Olive oil, also called “liquid gold,” is made from olives and comes from different parts of the world (Greece, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain and Portugal and Italy).

Smoke point: 320- 425F

Here is what you need to know about olive oil:

  • There are different types of olive oil available at the grocery store: Extra virgin, virgin light and pure. Andrea warns to stay away from olive oils that says “pure” on the label as these are often the lowest quality.
  • Extra virgin is the gold standard. It means there are no defects* in the olives used to produce the oil. It is the least processed and contains the most nutrients (antioxidants, polyphenols, tocopherols, etc. *Defect examples: muddy, fusty, vinegary.)
  • First cold-pressed is a must! Cold pressed, or expelled pressed means the oil is extracted without heat and refers to the first pressing of the oils, meaning it is the least processed type.
  • There is a big sensory component to olive oil. If it smells like crayons or smells rancid don’t eat it.

This is a great example of you get what you pay for. Less expensive olive oils can be “cut” with cheaper oils. To avoid buying a fraud, buy organic and make sure there is a production date and a 2-year expiry date.

How to use it: Use expensive olive oil for dipping bread, dressings, dips and cold dishes. Use less expensive olive oil for cooking, but still make sure it is extra virgin or virgin (i.e. to make kale chips).

Health benefits: Olive oil contains antioxidants that help to reduce oxidative stress (free radicals). It has a compound called “oleocanthal” that mimics ibuprofen and can help reduce inflammation and pain (so it can be a great choice for people who suffer from painful conditions like arthritis), it’s good for your heart (it reduces cholesterol).


What is it made from: Sunflower oil is made from sunflower seeds.

Smoke point: 220-325F Sunflower oil has a smoke point of 225-320F so it is not a great option for cooking.

How to use it: It’s great in dips, topping your cold pasta, or on a bean salad.

Health benefits: Sunflower oil can be high in linoleic oil (a polyunsaturated fat) or oleic oil (monounsaturated fat). PUFAs can be pro-inflammatory so look for a sunflower oil that is high oleic, which means it contains higher amounts of monounsaturated fats. This means that the oil would be similar to olive oil in that it is good for your heart, is anti-inflammatory and is high in vitamin E.


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