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Ottawa launches online public consultation on plastic, marine waste

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 23rd, 2018

The federal environment minister says she’d like to see Canada move toward zero plastic waste _ and she wants to hear what Canadians think.

Speaking from the seaside community of Eastern Passage, N.S., Catherine McKenna announced Sunday that the federal government has launched a public online consultation to help pinpoint ways for the country to eliminate plastic waste and reduce marine litter.

“We want to hear from Canadians about how we tackle pollution and waste,” she said, flanked by Nova Scotia Environment Minister Iain Rankin and Nova Scotian MPs Darrell Samson and Andy Fillmore.

“It’s not just cleaning up after the fact: it’s actually being thoughtful about how we reduce, how we recycle, how we compost.”

The announcement was made shortly before dozens of volunteers flocked to McNabs Island in the Halifax Harbour and McCormacks Beach in Eastern Passage to pick up litter as part of an Earth Day shoreline cleanup event.

According to the federal government, more than 150 million tonnes of plastic waste is clogging the oceans worldwide. It’s estimated that plastic could outweigh fish by 2050.

McKenna said much of the waste ending up in the country’s waterways is from single-use plastics, such as shopping bags and disposable drink bottles.

“I hear from Canadians every single day saying they want to figure out how we can reduce marine litter, how we can reduce single-use products, how we can take a more life-cycle approach,” she said.

“That’s why I get up every day and I’m so motivated. I look at my three kids, and I think about what kind of future I want for them,” she said.

Monique Breau showed up Sunday morning with her 5-year-old son Jonas to help clean up litter at McCormacks Beach.

She said it’s never too early to teach children about the importance of protecting the environment.

“I want him to be able to eat fish when he’s an adult,” said Breau. “I want him to be able to play on a beach and not worry about plastic waste everywhere.”

Jonas, who was armed with a trash grabber nearly as tall as he was, seemed to already have a good idea about how plastic recycling works.

“We throw it in the plastic bin and we make it (into) new stuff,” he said.

The event was organized by Nova Scotia-based environmental charity Ecology Action Centre, in partnership with Friends of McNabs Island, Oceans North, and Ocean Conservancy.

Heather Grant, the centre’s marine communications coordinator, said the event presented an opportunity for Nova Scotians to learn what they can be doing better to protect the environment.

“As a coastal province, Nova Scotia obviously has a huge stake in the health of the marine environment,” said Grant. “So having people come to clean up the beaches is a great way to get local people engaged and invested in the health of the oceans that the province depends on.”

Louie Porta, vice-president of operations and projects for Oceans North, said garbage in the ocean can literally work its way up the food chain as bigger marine animals eat smaller ones that may have eaten plastic.

It can also contaminate the water and create health risks for people.

“The environment doesn’t know how to process plastic and waste. All of the waste going into the ocean isn’t coming back out,” said Porta. “We need to stem the tide of the waste going into the ocean.”

As of Sunday afternoon, Porta estimated roughly 60 garbage bags were removed from the beaches.

He said all sorts of items were found, including some that couldn’t even fit in the garbage bags: “A table, tires, twisted steel ropes, and all sorts of things in between.”

Porta hopes McKenna’s announcement will give Canadians a chance to provide their solutions about what kind of leadership they want to see when it comes to marine plastics.

Canadians can take part in the online consultation through the government of Canada’s website.

World’s oldest person dies at age of 117

The Associated Press | posted Monday, Apr 23rd, 2018

The world’s oldest person, a 117-year-old Japanese woman, has died.

Nabi Tajima died in a hospital Saturday evening in the town of Kikai in southern Japan, town official Susumu Yoshiyuki said. She had been hospitalized since January.

Tajima, born on Aug. 4, 1900, was the last known person born in the 19th century. She raised seven sons and two daughters and reportedly had more than 160 descendants, including great-great-great grandchildren.

She became the world’s oldest person after the death in September of Violet Brown of Jamaica, also at the age of 117. Video on Japanese television showed Tajima moving her hands to the beat of music played on traditional Japanese instruments at a ceremony to mark the achievement.

Tajima’s town of Kikai is a small island of about 7,000 people halfway between Okinawa and Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

The U.S.-based Gerontology Research Group says that another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, is now the world’s oldest person. Miyako lives in Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo, and turns 117 on May 2.

Guinness World Records certified 112-year-old Masazo Nonaka of northern Japan as the world’s oldest man earlier this month, and was planning to recognize Tajima as the world’s oldest person.

Raptors’ series lead disappears after 106-98 Game 4 loss to Wizards

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 23rd, 2018

The Toronto Raptors saw their playoff series lead disappear on Sunday.

Bradley Beal scored 31 points, while John Wall had 27, and the Washington Wizards beat Toronto 106-98 to tie their opening-round Eastern Conference series at two games apiece.

DeMar DeRozan had 35 points to top Toronto, but it wasn’t be enough. Kyle Lowry had 19 points and seven assists, Jonas Valancunas had 11 points, Jakob Poeltl finished with 10 and Serge Ibaka grabbed 10 rebounds.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Toronto, where the Raptors lost just seven games in the regular season, then the series returns to Washington for Game 6 on Friday.

The Raptors raced out to an early 12-point lead, and held on until midway through the third quarter of what turned into a nailbiter. A Mike Scott basket at the third-quarter buzzer sent the game into the fourth all tied up at 80-80.

Toronto opened the fourth with an 8-0 run capped by a steal and basket by Delon Wright. But the Wizards responded, and when Marcin Gortat threw down a huge dunk — and then beat his chest and roared — it tied the game with 5:40 to play.

The Raptors caught a break when Beal fouled out with five minutes to play. Wizards coach Scott Brooks was livid at the call, and the crowd chanted “Ref you suck!” Wall pounced on a Raptors turnover with 1:57 to play and his basket gave the Wizards a three-point lead.

With the noisy crowd on its feet, Wall calmly drained a jumper that gave the Wizards a six-point lead with a minute to play. Kelly Oubre iced the victory with a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left, while a stock photo of a sad-looking Drake flashed on the jumbotron.

Turnovers proved costly for Toronto for the second straight night, with the Raptors coughing up 19 points on 18 giveaways, including 11 in the first half.

The towel-waving Capital One Arena crowd was dotted with pockets of Raptors fans, and included Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and Toronto rapper Kardinal Offishall.

They were treated to an entertaining game that even featured some comedic relief from Lowry. Gortat lost a shoe in the first half when his shot was blocked by Serge Ibaka. Lowry picked up Gortat’s shoe and helpfully untied it before handing it back with a friendly pat on Gortat’s backside.

The Raptors had expected the Wizards to put up a fierce fight on their home court, where they pulled even with Boston after trailing 2-0 in last year’s playoffs. The Celtics went on to win the series.

The Raptors dominated Washington in Games 1 and 2, winning by scores of 114-106 and 130-119. But they lost Game 3 122-103, giving up 56 combined points to Wall and Beal, and 28 points on 19 turnovers.

DeRozan scored all nine of his first-quarter points on free throws, and OG Anunoby started with the same steely nerves he’s shown all series. During a 16-second stretch, the rookie had a layup, a steal and a dunk that gave the Raptors a nine-point lead. The Raptors would lead by 11 and took a 30-22 lead into the second.

Early through the second, Wright blocked Wall with such force it knocked the all-star on his back. Wright then fed a sprinting Pascal Siakam who finished with a huge dunk, bringing the players on the bench to their feet roaring their approval. The sequence put Toronto ahead by 11 points, and the Raptors took a 51-40 lead into halftime.

Otto Porter Jr. had eight points in three-and-a-half minutes to start the third, and the Wizards tied the game 58-58 with 8:10 left in the quarter. Beal drained a three to give the Wizards their first lead of the game three minutes later.

Mother of three year old swept into river says search for her son has ended

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 23rd, 2018

The mother of a three-year-old boy who was swept into a swollen river in southern Ontario two months ago says the search for her son has ended after a child’s body was found nearby.

Provincial police say a fisherman found the body on Saturday afternoon near Orangeville, Ont., 13 kilometres downstream from where Kaden Young was torn from his mother’s arms as the family van entered the Grand River.

Investigators say they’re awaiting confirmation from the coroner to identify the remains.

But in a Facebook post Sunday morning, Kaden’s mother Michelle Hanson writes that two months of searching for her son “has finally come to an end.”

Hanson says funeral arrangements are being finalized this coming week:

Good morning.
We are wanting to thank everyone that has helped in the efforts to bring our Son Kaden home. It has been a long extremely draining two months of searching and now has finally come to an end. The amount of support was absolutely incredible and we really can’t thank everyone enough. Funeral arrangements are being finalized and I will post the details this coming week.

On Feb. 21, three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms when their vehicle entered the Grand River during a flood.

TTC installs additional barriers outside Queens Quay streetcar tunnel

Dilshad Burman and Nitish Bissonauth | posted Monday, Apr 23rd, 2018

Residents are likely rejoicing after the TTC installed what appear to be barriers outside the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel on Sunday.

Six bright yellow bollards have been placed along the streetcar tracks near the intersection of Queens Quay West and York Street.

The move comes in response to several incidents of cars driving down the tunnel and getting stuck — forcing crews to drag them out with massive swing cranes and causing delays to streetcar services.

“These tunnels aren’t all over the city, it’s not a common scenario for drivers to see this type of road configuration” said TTC Spokesperson Jessica Kosmack. “It’s obviously confusing and we are trying to reduce that confusion”

After the two most recent incidents in March, the TTC said a gate mechanism would be installed in addition to the signs, rumble strips, flashing lights and raised track already in place to warn drivers not to enter the tunnel.

Staff has to be paid overtime, delays have to be dealt with, detours have to be set up and alternate modes of transport have to be mobilized. In addition,expensive heavy machinery needs to be brought in to remove the cars.

TTC spokesman Brad Ross tweeted that the bollards are meant to make it obvious that “streetcar tracks are a no-go zone” for cars, adding that a mechanical gate closer to the tunnel will also be installed in the coming weeks.

Despite the recent incidents of cars in the tunnel, the TTC says the number of incidents has, in fact, gone down.

“Since 2014, we’ve had around 25, maybe a couple more but the numbers have actually been going down” explained Kosmack.

“That’s a good sign but obviously even one car going in is too many”

Their goal now is to reduce that number to zero.

Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge in labour with 3rd child

The Associated Press | posted Monday, Apr 23rd, 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge entered a London hospital Monday in labour with what will be the third child for her and husband Prince William, Britain’s Kensington Palace said.

The 36-year-old duchess travelled by car to the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in central London. The palace said she was in “the early stages of labour.”

William and Kate married in 2011 and have two other children: Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, who turns 3 next month. Both were born at the same hospital, as were William and his younger brother Prince Harry.

The baby, whose gender has not been announced, will be Queen Elizabeth II’s sixth great-grandchild and fifth in line to the throne, after grandfather Prince Charles, father Prince William and the two older siblings.

The new arrival bumps Prince Harry to sixth place in the line of succession.

The 36-year-old duchess, formerly Kate Middleton, carried out her last official engagement on March 22 before going on maternity leave.

No exact due date has been given, with officials only saying that the baby was due in April.

As in her previous pregnancies, Kate suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness. Officials announced both her previous pregnancies before the traditional 12-week mark because she was too unwell to attend public engagements.

Television crews, journalists and royal fans have set up camp outside the hospital for the “royal baby watch” since early April in anticipation of the arrival.

Many are betting on a traditional royal name for the baby, with bookmakers saying Mary, Alice, Arthur and James are the most popular guesses.

How Facebook will be a battleground in the upcoming Ontario election

Cynthia Mulligan | posted Friday, Apr 20th, 2018

If you’re a Facebook user living in Ontario, there’s a strong chance you’ll see an ad from one of the provincial party leaders as we head into election season.

But you won’t see a random advertisement. It will likely be specifically catered to you based on your gender, age, where you live and what you do.

It’s called ‘microtargeting’ and political war rooms are getting more and more sophisticated at the practice. They can find you with laser precision and send you a tailor-made ad.

Here’s how it works: political parties can use the information from your profile and determine your age, where you live, and can assess your likes and shares to pinpoint your interests.

Facebook has 23 million users in Canada

Tom Yawney, with Toronto-based The Influence Agency, has experience buying ads and placing targeted advertisements on Facebook. He says advertising on Facebook is cheaper than traditional media and the messages also have the potential to be shared.

“It puts a lot of power in the hands of politicians and, apples-to-apples, it costs less typically than television, radio, billboards, and it’s more targeted,” said Yawney.

“Often times, whether it’s television, radio or newspapers, it’s one mass message to everybody, regardless of male, female, age, interests, it’s one mass message. So this is to really segment that message, make it more specific.”

Studies have shown that users are more likely to trust a post shared by a friend or family member.

Yawney believes after the fallout from the U.S. election, this style of advertising on social media will have to be regulated. The problem is: how do you regulate something that is global?

“A lot is known about us through Facebook… they say that if you aren’t paying for something you may be the product. So I think people need to keep that in mind when putting something online, if you’re not paying for the service, no monthly fee, then the info you willingly share is used as a mechanism to run advertisements.”

CityNews has checked to see how each party is using Facebook in this election.

Doug Ford’s Conservatives:

  • 65,000 people follow their page
  • It has live streaming video with reporter style stand-ups from the campaign and dozens of ads, including one specifically addressing healthcare for people in Brockville


Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals:

  • Nearly 12,000 people follow their page — the lowest of the three parties
  • There is video but none of it is live. As for ads, there are quite a few including one for Mitzie Hunter and targets people concerned about healthcare in Scarborough


Andrea Horwath’s NDP:

  • About 21,000 people follow their page
  • They have no ads but they do have video content

‘Dining of the future:’ Vegan restaurant boom fuelled by meat eaters

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Apr 20th, 2018

Foodies say Canada is in the midst of a renaissance in plant-based dining as vegan restaurants sprout up across the country and traditional establishments update their menus to make them more animal-friendly.

But restaurateurs say the proliferation of options is being driven not by observant vegans, but by dabbling omnivores looking for appealing meat-free fare.

“I think we’re living in kind of a boom of veganism,” said Eva Lampert, director of vegan operations at the 5700 Inc., an events and hospitality company. “People are more curious about it, and thankfully, that has meant there’s more demand for it.”

Lampert is part of the team pushing to rebrand a stretch of the Parkdale neighbourhood in Toronto’s west end as “Vegandale,” which she describes as a “little mecca” of vegan businesses that will help redefine plant-based dining as far more than just “rabbit food.”

Vegans go beyond vegetarians in banning meat from their plates, also abstaining from animal products including eggs, dairy and honey.

The 5700 Inc. co-owns Doomie’s Toronto and Mythology Diner, side-by-side restaurants that serve veganized comfort classics made by two different chefs. Across the street is the company’s vegan retail boutique The Imperative.

Mythology’s menu includes faux Reuben sandwiches, eggs Benedict, and polenta poutine, while Doomie’s serves imitation chicken sandwiches and mac ‘n’ cheese balls. Soy, wheat and vegetables are used as substitutes for meat and dairy.

By the end of the year, Lampert said “Vegandale” plans to expand to six storefronts from three, with restaurants offering a range of cuisines and price points including diner fare, desserts and meat-free fast food.

“With our business model, we’re looking to get the non-vegans in first and foremost,” she said. “We’re really looking to bring in the skeptics and the people who are unsure of vegan food so they can kind of have that ‘aha’ moment and realize a lot of the things they already are enjoying are vegan.”

At the soon-to-be-opened Rosalinda in Toronto’s financial district, co-owners Max Rimaldi and Jamie Cook set out to create a Mexican vegan restaurant that could compete with any steakhouse in the city’s cutthroat dining scene.

“We take care of all the elements that are required for a good restaurant, period,” Rimaldi said. “It just happens to be vegan.”

More than a decade in the making, Rosalinda was borne out of what Rimaldi and Cook, who eat a largely plant-based diet, had perceived to be a sparse and uninspired vegan dining scene.

The partners behind the Pizzeria Libretto chain teamed up with restaurateur Grant van Gameren, whose portfolio of meat-heavy establishments earned him a reputation as Toronto’s “charcuterie king,” said Rimaldi.

While perhaps an unlikely partner, Rimaldi said van Gameren’s palate-pushing culinary approach was key to designing an eclectic menu that appeals to the meat-eating masses, not just “granola-eating people.”

“The people who come into the restaurant and say, ‘I typically eat at … a meat-based restaurant, and I love coming here because I don’t miss the meat,’ that’s going to be the biggest compliment we can hear.”

A vegan burger to be served at the soon-to-be-opened Rosalinda restaurant is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alexa Fernando

A vegan burger to be served at the soon-to-be-opened Rosalinda restaurant is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alexa Fernando

In Ottawa, there are more than 232 vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes, up from 186 last year, according to Ethical Tree, an online directory that tracks socially-conscious businesses in a few Ontario cities.

Co-founder Frank Ferris, who consults with businesses about targeting ethically minded consumers, said as plant-based diets become more popular, particularly among young people, non-vegan restaurants are adding animal-friendly options in a bid to regain market share.

He pointed to a recent study conducted by a Dalhousie University professor that showed more than seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians, and 2.3 per cent identify as vegan. The survey also suggested people younger than 35 were three times more likely to consider themselves vegetarians or vegans than people 49 or older.

Ferris said diners with diet restrictions can have disproportionate sway in group decisions about eating out, so for every vegan customer a restaurant can accommodate, the returns are often multiplied by all their omnivorous friends.

“These are deeply held beliefs,” said Ferris. “If a customer goes into your store or restaurant because they’re vegan … and you cater to that ethical preference, then they’re likely to stay loyal.”

Andrew Infantino, marketing director of Montreal-based Copper Branch, said his fast-casual franchise sees ethical concerns about the environment and animal welfare as “secondary benefits” of its vegan menu, instead emphasizing how plant-based “power foods” can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

With 17 locations in Ontario and Quebec, Copper Branch is on track to add eight more locations by the end of the year, Infantino said, and next year expects to double the size of its empire to 50 restaurants in other provinces.

Infantino said plant-based diets have emerged as “the new cool,” attracting endorsements from celebrities and athletes including Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel, who partnered with Copper Branch to talk about how her vegan diet fuelled her training for this year’s Olympics.

“There are so many benefits that I don’t see how a movement like this can just be a fad,” he said. “I hope it’s the dining of the future.”

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