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Sunwing fined almost $700,000 for widespread service issues during April ice storm

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Apr 9th, 2019

Sunwing has been fined almost $700,000 after widespread service issues on a number of flights between Toronto and Montreal during a spring ice storm last April.

Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) inquiry found 77 Sunwing flights were delayed by more than four hours, and 43 flights were delayed by more than eight hours between April 14 and 18, 2018. Not all passengers were compensated for the delays.

The CTA also found Sunwing failed to properly communicate with passengers about delays, schedule changes and the status of lost luggage. It also said Sunwing didn’t inform all passengers of the option of disembarking from an aircraft if a delay exceeds 90 minutes and it is safe and practical to do so.

“The Agency finds that in 14 of the 15 flights, passengers were not provided the opportunity to disembark,” the report said.

Air travel was affected by a severe ice storm that hit Ontario and Quebec during the four days the inquiry covered, but the CTA said the inclement weather doesn’t fully absolve Sunwing.

Sunwing will have to compensate passengers for any “reasonable expenses” incurred during the delays. These include hotel accommodations, meal expenses, and expenses for lost, delayed or damaged baggage.

There were 574 active complaints filed by individual passengers and Sunwing is required to make every effort to contact the passengers and settle expense claims, whether they submitted complaints or not.

The airline has until May 10 to pay the penalty of $694,500 as well.

They will also be required to prepare a contingency plan to ensure it meets all its tariff obligations in future cases of “widespread flight disruptions,” by Aug. 30.

CTA CEO, Scott Streiner, called the determination significant for air passengers and air carriers.

“It underscores that passengers have rights and recourse when their air travel is disrupted, and that even when problems stem from events such as bad weather, there is a minimum standard of treatment to which all passengers are entitled,” Streiner said in a press release.

Groups believe not having children is a way to cut a person’s carbon footprint

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 9th, 2019

VANCOUVER — When Roy Sasano told his parents he was getting sterilized a few years ago to reduce his carbon footprint, he remembers they weren’t surprised.

After all, he had already taken other steps to fight climate change by becoming a vegan, “virtually” eliminating single-use plastic and reducing his consumption as much as is practicable.

“I think there was a brief moment of disappointment, but they just laughed it off,” said Sasano, 39, who lives in Vancouver.

“I know quite a few people, especially men, who have chosen to get sterilized and I know women who’ve done the same.”

Sasano is part of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement or Vhemt (pronounced vehement) that believes in “refraining” from reproduction.

“Why should we be creating more people to create more suffering for ourselves and the rest of the planet?” Sasano said in a recent interview.

There are other examples that show the argument against human reproduction isn’t happening on the fringes of the climate change debate anymore.

“There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the U.S. Congress recently asked in an Instagram video.

Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist and professor of political science at Texas Tech University, said individual decisions matter in the fight against climate change as much as collective action on things like carbon pricing and the Paris agreement.

But while each additional child adds more carbon, she said children are also tied to a sense of hope.

“Personally, I can’t advocate for people not to have children in order to fix climate change because why am I fixing climate change? I’m doing it because of my child and because of everybody else’s children,” she said. “So that’s what gives us hope. Again, I’m not having 12 children. I have one child.”

Hayhoe said the behaviour of people in developed countries like Canada is also a factor in climate change, noting that per capita, Canadians add much more carbon than Zambians.

“If the entire world were like Zambia we would not really have much of a problem,” she said. “If the entire world was filled with people with the carbon footprint of the average Canadian though, we would have a huge problem.”

Hayhoe said she knows people who’ve decided not to have children because of the environment.

“It’s very hard to bring a child into this world but if we decide not to then there’s no hope in the world,” she said. “It’s not black and white. It’s a very, very grey issue.”

Alistair Currie, head of campaigns and communications at the U.K.-based charity Population Matters, said choosing to have fewer or no children is essential to ensuring people have a “decent living” on the planet in 50 years’ time.

It’s hard to estimate how many people are choosing not to have children mainly because they feel judged, Currie said, although the perception is slowly changing.

“Particularly women,” explained Currie, whose organization campaigns to achieve a sustainable human population. “We get this all the time, women feeling judged somehow as being inadequate or selfish.”

The United Nations projects the world population will increase by more than one billion people within the next 15 years, reaching 8.5 billion in 2030, then increasing to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100.

Sixty per cent of the global population lives in Asia, 16 per cent in Africa, 10 per cent in Europe, nine per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the remaining five per cent in Northern America and Oceania.

“We can keep feeding people in their billions for a long time,” said Currie, who has one son. “But we cannot do it without the planet staying healthy and sustaining its soils … water and our forests.”

Currie said there are other factors that have an impact on climate, adding that an American produces about 160 times the amount of carbon as someone living in Niger. People in countries like India and China are also generating more carbon as they become more affluent.

“That sounds like a more concerning situation when you are looking at both sides … each person producing more carbon and there being more people.”

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

Bob Dylan whiskey distillery to open fall 2020 in Nashville

The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 9th, 2019

NASHVILLE — More information is being released about music icon Bob Dylan’s project in downtown Nashville in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of his “Nashville Skyline” album.

Dylan is set to help open a whiskey distillery in fall 2020 under the brand “Heaven’s Door.”

A news release says Heaven’s Door Spirits will transform the 160-year-old Elm Street Church into the Heaven’s Door Distillery and Center for the Arts, featuring the distillery, a whiskey library, a restaurant and a 360-seat live performance venue.

It will also feature Dylan’s paintings and metalwork sculptures.

The group unveiled the opening date and some facility details Tuesday to coincide with the anniversary of the release of Dylan’s ninth album.

The Associated Press

The bans continue: Faith Goldy is banned from Facebook

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Apr 9th, 2019

White nationalist and former mayoral candidate, Faith Goldy, has been banned from Facebook and Instagram for extremist content.

Facebook and Instagram mark the latest in companies that have exercised a ban against Faith Goldy. Goldy has kept her Twitter followers up to date on the brands and services that have discontinued her service; Companies include Airbnb, PayPal, and Patreon.

In her only available social medium left, Goldy tweeted

 

“Individuals and organizations who spread hate, attack, or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are have no place our services,” a Facebook spokesperson explained in a statement on Monday.

“That’s why we have a policy on dangerous individuals and organizations, which states that we do not allow those who are engaged in offline ‘organized hate’ to have a presence on our services. The individuals and organizations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on our services. Our work against organized hate is on-going and we will continue to review individuals, Pages, groups and content against our Community Standards.”

Goldy’s personal facebook will be removed in addition to any groups or pages that share her views.

Ontario realtors advise government to end so-called ‘bully’ offers

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 8th, 2019

TORONTO — Ontario’s realtors say the province should ban so-called “bully” offers that they say give some home buyers an unfair advantage.

Ontario Real Estate Association President Karen Cox says the government should use its current review of the act that governs realtors in the province to bar the practice.

So-called “bully” offers are submitted by a buyer ahead of a seller’s established offer date, a move usually made to avoid competing with other buyers and pressure the seller into accepting the bid.

Cox says banning the practice will ensure all interested buyers are able to make a fair offer on a home and allow sellers to carefully consider all bids.

The recommendation is one of 28 submitted by the association — which represents 78,000 brokers and salespeople — to the government as it reviews the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act.

Last fall, realtors asked the province to review the act — which was put in place in 2002 — saying the legislation needed to be updated to allow for more transparency for buyers and sellers.

Cox says eager buyers have been using bully offers to crowd out other buyers in the market and that should change.

“It creates an unfairness in the home-buying process,” she said. “It doesn’t give all buyers a fair shot to make an offer and a seller a chance to consider all the offers.”

The association is also asking the government to ban escalation clauses in offers, which are aimed at defeating any competing bid by automatically increasing a purchase price over the next highest offer.

The practice opens the door for sellers to fill in an offer that may not reflect the next highest bid and can expose the seller to litigation, the association says.

“This makes it a very uneven playing field,” Cox says.

Realtors are also asking the government for education programs that require more in-class training to help raise professional standards.

“It would allow for more specialization so you can be recognized as an expert in that area,” Cox said, adding that the sale of condominiums, industrial and rural, or waterfront properties all require different expertise.

The recommendations also ask the government to give the body that regulates realtors — the Real Estate Council of Ontario — greater powers to proactively investigate agents who break industry rules.

“Our regulator should have the authority to investigate and kick out of our profession the worst offenders, the people who are unethical,” Cox said.

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

Toronto police targeting speeders in week-long blitz

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Apr 8th, 2019

Toronto police are targeting speeders in a week-long safety blitz, following a weekend that saw dozens of drivers nabbed at extreme speeds on GTA highways.

The “Slow Down Toronto Traffic Campaign” runs from Monday to April 14. It is part of the city’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.

Police say there are a lot of factors that cause crashes — speed, distractions, and impairment. But drivers going too fast will be zeroed in on during the blitz.

Police say 43 per cent of fatal crashes happened on roads where the speed limit is more than 50 km/h.

“Vulnerable road users are the pedestrians, school children, older adults, cyclists and motorcyclists who are most at risk when a collision happens. Speed is too often a factor,” police said in a release.

Last year, police issued more than 45,000 speeding tickets to drivers and around 380 summons to drivers for stunt driving.

From Friday to Sunday morning, Ontario provincial police nabbed 31 extreme speeders on highways across the GTA. In one incident, a 54-year-old man was caught going 190 km/h on Highway 403 in Burlington. The drivers had their vehicles impounded and licence suspended for seven days.

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques to be first Canadian to perform spacewalk in 12 years

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 8th, 2019

LONGUEUIL, Que. — Astronaut David Saint-Jacques will become the first Canadian spacewalker in 12 years when he embarks on a roughly seven-hour mission planned for today.

Canadian Space Agency robotics flight controllers will provide support to the Canadian astronaut while he performs his mission with NASA astronaut Anne McClain.

Saint-Jacques’ spacewalk comes on his first posting to the International Space Station.

It is scheduled to begin just after 8 a.m. EDT. It involves several tasks, including relocating a battery adaptor plate, upgrading the station’s wireless communication system and connecting jumper cables along the midpoint of the station’s main truss to give Canadarm 2 an alternative power source.

Canadarm 2 is a sort of robotic hand that is crucial to maintaining the space station, and the cables would allow the arm to make repairs in case of an outage without requiring a spacewalk.

The Canadian record for the most spacewalks is held by retired astronaut Dave Williams, who ventured outside the space station three times during a 2007 mission for a total of nearly 18 hours.

Rally planned to mark 10-year anniversary of Tori Stafford’s murder

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Apr 8th, 2019

It has been 10 years since little Tori Stafford was kidnapped and brutally murdered.

Her father, Rodney Stafford, will be making his way to Parliament Hill to push for changes to the justice system so the people who killed Victoria will stay behind bars for the rest of their lives.

Last year, Tori’s killers made headlines when Michael Rafferty was transferred to a medium-security facility, while his accomplice, Terri-Lynne McClintic, was moved to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan.

McClintic was later sent back to prison.

The eight-year-old Woodstock girl was abducted after leaving her school on April 8, 2009. Her body was later found in a wooded area near Mount Forest on July 19.

The demonstration on Parliament Hill is scheduled to go from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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