Don’t give opioid-based cough, cold medication to children, Health Canada warns

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Young children and adolescents should not be given cough and cold products containing opioids, such as codeine, after a safety review found early opioid use « may be a factor in problematic substance use later in life, » Health Canada says.

In an advisory issued Monday, the federal agency said « as a precautionary measure, » those under 18 should not use products containing codeine, hydrocodone and normethadone — the three prescription opioids authorized to treat cough symptoms in Canada.

Health Canada said the safety review of cough and cold products « did not find any strong evidence linking cough and cold products that contain opioids with opioid use disorders in children and adolescents, » but found « early use of opioids may be a factor in problematic substance use later in life, » the advisory says.

The agency also found there is « limited evidence » to support the effectiveness of these products in those under 18, noting other products are available to help relieve cough and cold symptoms in children.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed its guidelines for such medication last year, saying the « risks … outweigh the benefits » for those under-18.

Health Canada noted the use of prescription cough and cold products with opioids has fallen among children and adolescents over the past five years: youth prescriptions represent only about four per cent of the total dispensed in Canada.

Non-prescription products containing codeine are already labelled to make it clear they should not be used by children.

Health Canada is also asking manufacturers to update their product safety information to reflect the recommendation.

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‘You don’t look like a lawyer.’ Female lawyers and lawyers of colour angered by mistaken identity in court

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During the early years of her career, Lori Anne Thomas would sit near the front of the courtroom, only to be told to move by court staff as the area was reserved for lawyers.

Except she is one.

“I’ve heard more than enough times, ‘You don’t look like a lawyer.’ I know exactly what that means, which is that I’m not a tall, white man,” said Thomas, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in criminal law and who recently became president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers.

“It hits at you and just on top of dealing with everything else, being a recent call (to the bar), trying to figure out how to do everything and navigate the legal community and also build a practice, to then also have that obstacle of being constantly reminded that you’re kind of not expected to be here.”

Thomas’s story is one shared by other female lawyers and lawyers of colour, some of whom have been mistaken in courtrooms and other legal settings for assistants, interpreters and even an accused person.

Toronto criminal defence lawyer Janani Shanmuganathan said she’s been mistaken several times for a Tamil interpreter at the Scarborough courthouse, where staff or a Crown attorney will approach her in the hallway telling her she’s needed in a courtroom.

Other times, staff will approach her in the courtroom, even though she’s seated in the reserved area for lawyers.

“I don’t think people are saying that to be mean or in a negative way, but I think the gut reaction for people is that I don’t fit the stereotype of who they think a lawyer should be,” she said.

“It’s very frustrating and sad. I’m a child of immigrants. I’m the first lawyer in my family. I worked really hard to get to where I am. It’s unfortunate that I have to constantly be demanding my space and the right to be recognized for the lawyer that I am. It’s disheartening.”

According to the Law Society of Ontario, which regulates the legal profession in the province, about 43 per cent of lawyers are women. And the final report released in 2016 from the law society’s Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group noted that the proportion of racialized lawyers in Ontario had doubled between 2001 and 2014, from 9 per cent to 18 per cent.

Ottawa lawyer Erin Durant, who specializes in civil litigation, said she’s become increasingly annoyed as the years go by, having been mistaken for a court reporter or an assistant.

“It’s tough. What I would like to say, especially if it’s an older male lawyer, is: ‘No, are you an assistant?’ But I haven’t grown the guts to say that yet,” she said. “I think it’s more of a societal change and letting the public know that not only are there female lawyers, but we’re actually pretty close to being the majority.”

Toronto lawyer Raj Anand, who co-chaired the law society’s working group, told the Star that the issue of unconscious bias, and people assuming who are lawyers and who aren’t, was something heard “loud and clear” during his group’s study.

“I think it’s part of a culture change,” he said. “One would hope that both court offices and judges would clearly recognize that we’re dealing with a changing demographic, and more than half of students graduating from law school are women, and something like 25 to 30 per cent are racialized in Ontario. That obviously plays a role in who appears in court.”

He said education and greater awareness for the judiciary and court staff could be helpful — something that his group recommended be done for lawyers.

Thomas said it’s a systemic issue, highlighting that the court staff in Brampton who told her she couldn’t sit in the lawyers’ area in the courtroom were also people of colour.

“It’s not just this perception of white or non-racialized individuals,” she said. “It is a systemic belief that is ingrained in all of us that people in certain positions look a certain way.”

The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for staffing and operating the courts, takes this issue “very seriously,” said spokesperson Brian Gray.

Staff and managers receive training on a number of topics, including “bias awareness, unconscious bias, diversity dialogues and anti-racism,” he said.

Lawyer Trevin David said he can’t even count the number of times he’s been confused for a Tamil interpreter at the Scarborough courthouse. He also recalls an incident at a Toronto courthouse where a Crown attorney confused him for an accused criminal.

“I was in the Crown’s office waiting to speak to somebody else and the Crown attorney runs in and starts yelling at me about how I’m late, and I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And it becomes very clear that he thought I was a self-represented accused person,” David said. “And he didn’t apologize. He just said he was really busy.”

David said it takes a few moments to process what is going on in such exchanges, and sometimes the conversation is over by the time he’s ready to react.

“Even when you’re confused with being the interpreter, you’re still ultimately there for your client, so sometimes it might not be in your client’s best interests to get really angry, even though that’s what your initial reaction is. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and laugh it off,” he said.

“It’s not that these are just other random members of the public. These are people that work in the courts every day. These are Crowns and clerks. If they can’t imagine that you’re a lawyer, what larger story does that tell?”

Jacques Gallant is a Toronto-based reporter covering legal affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @JacquesGallant

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Don’t allow cannabis edibles that look like candy, medical officer of health says

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Cannabis products made in shapes that appeal to children — such as gummy bears or lollipops — should be banned when the sale of edibles becomes legal later this year, Toronto’s medical officer of health says.

The city’s board of health should also urge the federal government to ban cannabis vaping liquids that are offered in “youth-friendly” flavours that mimic candy or soft drinks, Dr. Eileen de Villa said Friday.

“One of the major objectives of the legislation is to actually protect health and, in particular, to protect youth from the potential harmful effects associated with cannabis,” de Villa said.

“We feel the best thing to do in terms of protecting youth, is to avoid having these edible products in a gummy bear, lollipop or other shapes that might be appealing to youth.”

De Villa added that there’s a need for clearly defined labelling, which includes both dosing information and warnings about the risks of combining cannabis edibles with alcohol or highly caffeinated drinks.

Consultations on those amendments are set to end next week.

Villa also supports on how much THC — the primary active component of cannabis — is available in one-time-use vaping devices, and would like them to include a mechanism that limits the maximum quantity inhaled in a single puff.

“The federal regulations already have quite a bit in this regard,” she said.

Industry consultant Mitchell Osak commended Toronto Public Health for what he deemed a list of prudent suggestions ahead of the products becoming legal.

“The recommendations are consistent with the federal government’s objective around safe and responsible usage and protection of youth,” said Osak, a managing director of business consulting and technology services at Grant Thornton LLP, who advises companies in the Canadian cannabis industry including licensed producers, investors and governments.

Despite their illegal status, edible cannabis products are currently being sold at stores throughout Toronto.

A spokesperson for one dispensary visited by the Star this week said its customers are being given “childproof” bags to prevent youngsters from accidentally eating cannabis products that come in the form of a candy or a cookie.

That doesn’t go far enough, says Osak, who believes that restricting the colour and design of the products is the right approach.

During a visit to a Cannabis and Fine Edibles (C.A.F.E.) location on Harbord St. this week, the Star observed a wide array of edibles ranging in potency from 55 to 300 milligrams of THC.

All of them exceeded the government’s proposed limit of 10 milligrams, which Osak described as “a little too cautious.” He’s concerned that such low levels of THC will push customers towards the black market.

Information labels on products sold at C.A.F.E caution users to start with a small portion in order to determine one’s tolerance level.

C.A.F.E. spokesperson David Thompson said “childproof” bags and information on packaging are some of the ways the underground cannabis retailer — which has several locations across the city — is trying to improve safety for customers.

“We make sure to try to place our edible dosing guidelines on each and every package that leaves the store,” Thompson said, adding, “We believe Health Canada’s position to begin at ultralow dose concentrations is warranted.”

He said C.A.F.E. is advising edible producers to read the regulations that are being discussed and to begin implementing the recommendations.

“Health Canada has to be a beacon and a responsible steward to affect change over time,” he said. “We do not see any of this as a problem.”

Jason Miller is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Reach him on email: jasonmiller@thestar.ca

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3 Campari Cocktails You Don’t Need a Gazillion Ingredients to Make

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Tired of cocktail recipes that call for expensive, obscure bottles and fancy-pants techniques? We got you. Welcome to Happy Hour with Al, a monthly column where Al Culliton, Basically’s resident bartender, sets you up to get the most bang for your booze with the fewest possible bottles.

Have we met? Because I think I know you. You want to figure out how to make nice cocktails at home for you and your friends. You don’t want to spend a ton of money, or buy a ton of weird ingredients just to make one drink, or end up stuck with a bunch of random bottles you’ll never use again. Well, you’re in the right place. Because in this column, I’m going to show you how you can turn three essential bottles of liquor and a handful of bodega staples into three delicious, distinctly different—and easy to make!—cocktails, so you’re set up for a whole weekend of fun, confident home bartending.

We’re going to kick things off with some Campari cocktails. Ah, Campari: brilliant red, bitter ambrosia. You’ve seen it before. You’ve probably even had it. Maybe in a Negroni? Or a spritz? It looks really great in just about any setting, and tastes even better. We’re going to learn how to make three pre-war classics with it: the aforementioned Negroni, the Americano, and the Milano-Torino.

But let’s back up for a second. What is Campari, anyway? Well, it’s one of Italy’s most iconic aperitivos—a word that refers to both a range of bitter liqueurs and aromatized wines as well as the pre-dinner hours in which they are habitually consumed—and was formulated in 1860 by a fellow from Novara named Gaspare Campari. (Save that fun fact for your next dinner party.) The 19th century was a hot time for aperitivos like Campari, many of which were originally created by monasteries and then by pharmacies—you know, for health purposes. It’s incredibly bitter, like old time-y medicine should be, but that astringency gives way to a really appealing citrusy sweetness. Okay, let’s get to it!

Basically Campari Ingredients

Photo by Chelsie Craig

Hit the liquor store, hit the bodega, and you’re good to go.

Your Shopping List:

1 750-ml bottle Campari
1 750-ml bottle gin (nothing fancy; Gordon’s or Beefeater will work great)
1 750-ml bottle sweet vermouth (don’t skimp on vermouth; spring for something like Carpano Antica or Cocchi di Torino if you can)
Club soda or seltzer
2 oranges
3 lemons
Ice

Basically Campari Negroni

Photo by Chelsie Craig

The Negroni

Up first: the king of Campari cocktails. The Negroni has gained a lot of traction in recent years, and it is completely deserved. With a handsome equal-parts structure, this triad of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth is nearly impossible to screw up. (But if you do, it’ll probably be delicious anyway.) It’s supremely balanced between the boozy, the bitter, and the sweet, with a beautifully silky texture that’s as appealing in hot weather as it is in cold.

If you want to do it up proper, get a mixing glass out. (If you’ve got a pint glass, that will do!) Pour in 1 oz. each Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin. Fill your mixing glass with ice and stir for a good 15 seconds. Presentation-wise, you’ve got two options. You can strain your Negroni into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice for a longer-drinking, slightly more refreshing drink—it’s ideal for porch sipping. In winter, though, it can be nice to get fancy and strain it into a coupe or other stemmed glass, sans ice, or “up.”

Almost done! It wouldn’t be a Negroni without an orange peel garnish—that peel is full of aromatic oils that will seriously enhance your cocktail drinking experience. Use a vegetable peeler to cut a wide piece of orange peel, avoiding the pith, or white stuff, as much as you can. Squeeze the oils out of the peel and onto the drink by pinching it between your thumbs, fore- and middle-fingers, peel side out, over the glass. (Both hands!) You should be able to see the oil droplets hitting the surface of your drink. Then drag the peel around the rim of the glass, twist it into a nice shape, toss it in the glass and serve. Yeah, you just did that! The thing that bartenders do! It’s not actually hard, and makes your drink look and taste like a million bucks. Cool, huh?

(Oh, and if you don’t want to do the whole stirring-and-straining thing, that’s okay. You can “build” the drink in a rocks glass, i.e. pour all of the ingredients over ice, give it a stir, and call it a day. The nice thing about stirring in a mixing glass is that you get consistent dilution—extra important when you’re serving it up—and it’s super-cold and silky from the first sip. Worth it, but not essential.)

Nerd Corner: The drink is supposedly named after one Count Camillo Negroni, who ordered an “Americano, with a bit of a kick” from a barman at Florence’s Caffè Casoni in 1919. I hate to imagine where we’d be if he hadn’t. Speaking of an Americano…

Basically Campari Americano

Photo by Chelsie Craig

The Americano

It’s on to drink number two! The Americano is fizzy and low enough in alcohol that you can throw back two or three in a sitting without falling off your chair. It’s ideal for when you want to feel like you’re lounging out on some cobblestoned piazza, laughing with friends, even though you’re actually drinking in the kitchen by yourself.

Take a tall glass, like a highball or Collins, and fill it with ice. Pour in ¾ oz. Campari and 1 oz. sweet vermouth. Top with club soda or seltzer. Garnish with a lemon peel using the technique we just learned; maybe throw in a nice-looking (i.e. non-plastic) straw.

A little more history: It’s called “The Americano“ because it was a favorite of boozing American expats and tourists during Prohibition. (Also, for all you 007 fans out there, it’s the first drink ordered by the man himself in Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s very first Bond book.)

Basically Campari Milano Torino

Photo by Chelsie Craig

The Milano-Torino

This last drink is super easy, and has the unassuming coolness of a well-dressed grandpa. The Milano-Torino is kind of like an Italian Rusty Nail—a cocktail made with Scotch whiskey and a sweet, herbaceous Scottish liqueur called Drambuie—but is brighter and lower octane. And you build it straight in the glass you’re drinking it out of like any good old man drink. Measure out ¾ oz. Campari and pour it into a small rocks glass full of ice. Then do the same with 2½ oz. of sweet vermouth. Stir well and garnish with both a lemon peel and an orange peel.

What’s that? That seems like a LOT of vermouth? It’s not. Vermouth is terribly misunderstood. It’s actually delicious, and the reason people think they don’t like it is because most have been using the same old, dusty bottle of cheap vermouth they’ve had for years. It’s made from wine, and it’s perishable! Which means you should always store it in the fridge, and ideally use it within a month. How the hell are you supposed to go through that much vermouth in a month, you ask? Make more Milano-Torinos, obviously!

And there you have it, folks: three Campari cocktails you can make with a mere three bottles of liquor. Go forth and make Negronis! Be Italian grandpas! Mix, drink, and be merry!

Al Culliton is a bartender and writer working in New York City. She is the general manager of the beloved Red Hook bar and restaurant Fort Defiance. Al loves poring over menus and cocktail books from bygone eras, visiting the New English countryside, and cooking for her partner at their home in Brooklyn.

Looking to upgrade your bar gear? We’ve got you covered:

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Don’t panic over Ontario’s looming health care overhaul, former top bureaucrat says

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A prominent member of Premier Doug Ford’s health advisory council is urging Ontarians not to panic over a looming overhaul of the health-care system, saying “relax” until the plan is made public.

The advice from Michael Decter, deputy health minister in former premier Bob Rae’s NDP government of the early 1990s, comes amid conflicting versions of the shape a “transformation” acknowledged by Health Minister Christine Elliott will take following the leak of confidential draft legislation.

While New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath, whose office has received other leaked documents related to the creation of a new health-care “super agency” with powers to increase privatization of medical services, Elliott flatly denies the charge and has insisted nothing is “finalized.”

“People should just relax a little bit and not see this as the start of a war,” Decter said Wednesday, noting he was speaking for himself and not for the council headed by Dr. Rueben Devlin.

“Nothing really moves that fast in health care.”

A “status report” from the second week in January warns of several risks, including moving home care from existing Local Health Integration Networks to new integrated care models could lead to “service disruption” during the transition period and “potential labour disruption” by care co-ordinators who are members of the Ontario Nursing Association, whose labour contracts expire in March.

“Ford and his government have been doing all this behind closed doors, in secret,” Horwath said in a statement.

Elliott’s office said earlier this week that “much of the material released by the NDP has ever even crossed the minister’s desk, let alone made it to the cabinet table.”

However, the super agency has been incorporated as the Health Program Initiative, as indicated in the documents released by Horwath, according to a search of public records.

Decter, who has advised governments of all three stripes on health-care matters over the last three decades, said health is a massive ministry and that opposition parties need to be cautious when receiving leaked papers.

“I’m sure all of the documents are real but when the minister says I never saw those ones I tend to believe her. I had a minister that used to say that to me fairly often: ‘where the heck did this come from?’”

In regard to the leak, an unnamed civil servant was fired Monday by acting secretary of cabinet Steven Davidson for breaking the oath of confidentiality, with the Ontario Provincial Police anti-rackets squad now considering whether to investigate. Horwath’s office said it has not been contacted by the OPP.

In the meantime, the bargaining agent representing civil service managers and professional staff is representing the worker in a grievance, as is “routine” in cases of dismissal.

“We have no comment on the concern expressed by some that the person dismissed is not the person who leaked material to the NDP,” the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario.

Horwath and others including former deputy health minister Dr. Bob Bell, who served under the most recent Liberal government, have raised concerns that the world-renowned Cancer Care Ontario would be subsumed into the super agency and lose effectiveness.

But Decter said this could be a way to use the cancer agency’s expertise and model to improve mental health and other forms of care.

“Rather than seeing it as cancer loses, maybe you see it as mental health learns from cancer how you run something province-wide and measure quality,” he added, noting Cancer Care Ontario is already helping improve kidney dialysis.

Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1

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What we know and don’t know about the alleged Kingston terrorist plot

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The city of Kingston, Ont., is still reeling after a young person was charged with terrorism-related offences following thousands of hours of investigation by multiple police agencies and raids on two homes. 

Here is what we know (and much of what we don’t) about the case.

What is the young person actually charged with?

Police have laid two charges against the young person, who is accused of knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and counselling another person to « deliver, place, discharge or detonate an explosive or other lethal device … against a place of public use with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury. »

« It’s interesting to me what they didn’t charge [the youth] with, » Leah West, who practices national security law and previously worked in the Justice Department’s national security litigation and advisory group, told CBC Radio’s The House.

« They didn’t charge him with S. 83.2, which requires affiliation with a terrorist group to be proven. Because there’s no reference to a terrorist group, that could tell me that perhaps they don’t think he’s associated with a group like ISIS, or they believe he may be self-radicalized or self-inspired. »

What did the alleged plot entail?

​During a press conference Friday, the RCMP said it received a « credible » tip from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in late December 2018 that there were individuals in Kingston planning a terrorist attack, which led to the police raids at two homes in the area Thursday.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CBC News the alleged terrorist activity involved a plan to use an explosive device, but a specific target hadn’t been chosen yet.

Watch: security experts discuss Kingston investigation

Former CSIS senior strategic analyst Jessica Davis and former RCMP deputy commissioner Pierre-Yves Bourduas joined Power & Politics to discuss the latest developments in the terrorism investigation in Kingston, Ontario. 9:28

The source said the person or people involved had the intent, began acquiring the potential to create an improvised explosive device and formulated a plan, but the arrests came before a target had been chosen, the source said.

« There was no specific target identified but there was an attack planned, » RCMP Superintendent Peter Lambertucci told reporters.

After the arrests, the RCMP found « elements » and « trace elements » of homemade improvised explosive devices in an unspecified residence. The explosive substance was later neutralized, Lambertucci said.

What do we know about the suspect?

The identity of the accused has been withheld by police as the person is a minor and protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Because of that publication ban, little can be reported on about who the suspect is. Details about their family, which could reveal the identity of the subject, are also protected.

The person will be back in court on Monday.

A second individual, an adult male CBC News has identified as Hussam Eddin Alzahabi, was also arrested Thursday but has not been charged.

Police officers carry evidence from one of the homes in Kingston, Ont., that were raided. Two people were arrested and a minor has been charged with a terror-related offence. (Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

Police described the relationship between Hussam Eddin Alzahabi and the person charged as an « informal friendship. »

Hussam’s lawyer, Mohamed El Rashidy, told CBC News that his client maintains his innocence and will continue to co-operate with the security services as the investigation unfolds. 

« He’s exercising his legal rights and he cares about Canada’s safety as much as the next person, » said El Rashidy. « He’s here studying, he’s doing everything that he can to be a contributing member to society and there is no reason to malign him or treat him differently than anybody else. »

Could there be more charges?

Former CSIS senior strategic analyst Jessica Davis said she wouldn’t be surprised if more charges were laid against other individuals as the investigation continues.

« What we know about terrorism in Canada is that individuals rarely act alone, » she told CBC’s Power & Politics. 

« They generally have people who they’re getting materials or financial support from or encouragement. » 

What was the motivation?

Despite repeated questions during Friday’s news conference, police would not comment on the ideological motivations of the people apprehended or say if they had any ties to foreign elements.

Davis said in order to lay the terrorism charge, officials would have had to have had a clear ideological link, so police are likely remaining silent because it relates to an ongoing investigation. 

« The individual would have had to been motivated by political, religious ideological considerations so they know what that is, » she said. 

« Whatever the motive is could tip off other individuals. »

Some of those details could come out when the case heads to trial and the Crown has to argue its case.

Was Kingston ever at risk?

While police believe an attack was considered imminent, officials maintain there was no credible threat to the people of Kingston.

RCMP officer Peter Lambertucci speaks to reporters in Kingston on Jan. 25, 2019. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)

« I want to reassure the citizens of the greater Kingston, Ont., area and all Canadians that during the investigation, our primary focus was the safety and protection of the public, » said Michael LeSage, a chief superintendent with the RCMP’s « O » Division.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the operation has not changed the country’s threat level. It remains at « medium, » where it has hovered since late 2014.

« The number one sentiment that I’ve been hearing is that people are reassured. They feel that law enforcement has done a good job and are on top of the situation, » added Mayor Bryan Paterson.

Why is FINTRAC involved?

The RCMP said they were supported by both Kingston police and FBI officers with support from the Ontario Provincial Police, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

That last agency stood out to some national security watchers.

As Canada’s financial intelligence wing, FINTRAC’s job is to detect, prevent and try to stop money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

It’s unclear at this time what role they played.

« The only reason that drew it to my mind would be if they were transferring money to an area that was flagged or receiving money that was flagged from an area that was of concern to FINTRAC or the banks, » said West.

West also pointed to CBSA’s shout-out in this probe as interesting, but it’s unclear what role they played.

Again, more details about the scope of the investigation are likely to trickle out in court as both sides build their arguments. 

Leah West discusses what the details of the investigation reveal. 9:43

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Many pregnant women don’t think cannabis is harmful, UBC study finds

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A new report by researchers at the University of British Columbia has found that up to one-third of pregnant women believe it is safe to ingest cannabis during pregnancy.

The study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, pored over data from six U.S. studies and found that some women considered cannabis safe because their health-care provider hadn’t communicated to them that it wasn’t.

Lead author Hamideh Bayrampour, assistant professor in the UBC department of family practice, said the study is important for public health officials to understand perceptions of cannabis use, especially since the drug became legal in Canada.

« What we looked at was perception, not actual risk, » Bayrampour said. 

When women were asked about their perception of general harm associated with cannabis use, 70 per cent of both pregnant and non-pregnant cannabis users responded that they perceived slight or no risk of harm.

In one study, when asked if they believed cannabis is harmful to a baby during pregnancy, 30 per cent of pregnant women responded « no. » When women were asked to identify substances most likely to harm the baby during pregnancy, 70 per cent chose alcohol, 16 per cent chose tobacco, while only two per cent chose cannabis.

« One of our review findings revealed that some people don’t consider cannabis to be a drug, » said Bayrampour.

Treat morning sickness

« With this in mind, it’s especially important for health-care providers to ask specific questions about cannabis use during pregnancy and breast feeding to help spark a productive conversation about the potential health impacts. »

The research found pregnant cannabis users were more likely to be under 25, unemployed, single and African American. Anxiety and depression were also associated with cannabis use while pregnant.

« Based on what we found, their motivation for use was … they wanted to treat their morning sickness, » Bayrampour said.

Health Canada requires cannabis companies to have warning labels on all their products. (Canada.ca)

In an effort to get ahead of marijuana legalization in Canada last October, earlier in 2018 the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) warned pregnant and breastfeeding women that legal pot doesn’t mean safe pot.

The society says THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, crosses the placenta into fetal tissue and can also accumulate in breast milk — whether from vaping, smoking, or eating.

Potential effects, according to the SOGC include:

  • Pre-term labour.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Lower IQ scores.
  • Impulsivity and hyperactivity in childhood.

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‘I don’t know how I did it’: Mom saves daughter, 4, from sinking car after crash

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As her car skidded across black ice and began rolling down an embankment toward an icy pond, Ashley Holland thought she was going to die.

But moments later, the Hantsport, N.S., woman found the strength to not only save herself, but also her four-year-old daughter who was strapped in the backseat as freezing water rushed in. 

« When something like that happens, it’s like your parental instincts just kick in, right? And you do what you need to do to get your child to safety, » Holland, 24, told CBC Radio’s Mainstreet on Monday, a day after the terrifying ordeal.

The mother of two managed to haul her daughter free from the sinking car and swim to a nearby embankment. 

‘A miracle’

« How they were even able to get out of that car was a miracle, » said Capt. Ryan Richard of the Brooklyn volunteer fire department, who arrived at the scene shortly after the pair made it out of the water. 

« To be able to swim to shore and get up over that embankment is totally unheard of, » he told CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon

« I’ll be honest with you, in my last 26 years I’ve been to many similar incidents and unfortunately they’re usually very fatal. »

Holland had been taking her daughter to a birthday party around noon Sunday when she struck black ice just a few minutes away from her home.

Ashley Holland and her daughter Macy were in the car when it crashed. Holland’s youngest child, 14-month-old Nyla, was at home at the time. (Submitted by Ashley Holland)

She lost control of the vehicle and it ended up rolling down an embankment.

« Terrifying, completely terrifying. My daughter just started screaming and I was just thinking in my head, ‘The water, please just don’t go in the water, like please,' » said Holland.

« Then we hit the water. »

As the car rolled, her daughter Macy kept screaming, « Mom, I’m going to die! » The car initially landed on its roof and both passenger side windows smashed to pieces on impact. 

Water started gushing in, filling up the Toyota Corolla. 

Struggling to open door

Holland unbuckled herself, falling onto the roof of the car, and crawled out a window into the water. She tried to open her daughter’s door from the outside.

« I finally did get it open, but I had slush and ice all over my hands and everywhere and my hand slipped and the door slammed shut. So I’m freaking out trying to think, what do I do? » 

For the briefest moment, Holland thought she wouldn’t be able to save Macy. The car was sinking too fast. Her numb hands and legs were working too slowly.

This photo was taken soon after Holland and her daughter escaped the car. (Submitted by Ryan Richard)

But she didn’t give up.

Holland climbed over the car and went back in through a window and worked with her daughter to free her from the car seat. Macy undid the top straps while Holland unbuckled the bottom ones. 

« I just grabbed her and pulled her out and I tried to keep her above the water. I didn’t want her to be hypothermic. So from the waist down she was soaked, but I mean her hair didn’t even get wet and I don’t know how I did it. »

She managed to carry Macy to shore and push her up onto the embankment, but Holland’s body had reached its limit.

« It was really icy and slushy and I was having a really hard time because I thought I was going to pass out. I was freezing so I was having a hard time getting up the hill, and I just said to her, ‘Run, you need to run, go,’ because I saw there was a car coming our way and I didn’t want them to miss us. »

It took some time to haul Holland’s car out of the pond. (Submitted by Ryan Richard)

As Macy flagged down the passing car for help, Holland managed to haul herself to the top of the embankment. The woman in the car wrapped Macy and her mother in a jacket and called 911 while the pair warmed up in the vehicle. 

At about the same time, a fire truck from Brooklyn drove by on its way to assist another fire department. Richard spotted something sticking out of the pond and had the truck turn around. 

They gave Holland and her daughter warm clothes and blankets while they waited for the paramedics. Richard said Holland and her daughter were hypothermic, in shock and disoriented. 

As a precaution, two firefighters put on diving suits and went into the water to make sure no one else was on board, but the car was empty.

Holland said she was lucky she didn’t take her 14-month-old with her or things could have been much worse. 

« You see stories like this on the news all the time, you know through winter and even in the summer, and it’s like a lot of them don’t make it, » she said. « So I’m just thankful that, you know, we did. »   

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Revitalize Ontario Place but don’t raze it, residents say at rally for waterfront park

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A theatre showcasing the work of local playwrights. A giant organic vegetable garden. A series of art studios. A world-renowned research facility.

The blue-sky ideas for Ontario Place abounded Saturday during a standing-room-only event at Metro Hall, where non-profit group Waterfront for All hosted a rally to share ideas for the park’s future and reflect on its unique importance to residents.

Amid the positive tone and memories associated with the waterfront public space — first dates, open-air concerts, movies at the Cinesphere — was an acknowledgment that Ontario Place is “at a critical decision point,” as urban designer Ken Greenberg put it.

“Let’s not underestimate the vulnerability of this particular moment,” he said, noting the recurring suggestion that the entire park needs a “big bang” revamp, rather than simply an improvement on what’s already there.

A razing of the park does not appear to be off the table, according to comments made by Jim Ginou, the new Ontario Place board chair and a friend of Premier Doug Ford. Ginou, who will oversee the park’s redevelopment, told QP Briefing this month that the park’s current state is “disgraceful.”

Opinion | Keenan: ‘Nothing can be saved’ at Ontario Place? That’s simply not true

Since the 155-acre park opened in 1971, Ontario Place has been celebrated as a beloved waterfront public realm that showcased Lake Ontario and drew crowds for concerts, movies at the Cinesphere and more. But when low admission led to financial problems, the previous Liberal provincial government in 2012 closed its main attractions, including its storied movie theatre.

Recent years, however, have seen improvements, including the reopening of the Cinesphere after renovation and the opening of a parkland section that features a 1.3-kilometre trail named after Bill Davis, who was premier when Ontario Place opened its doors.

For these reasons and more, it’s a “myth” that nothing’s happening on the site, Greenberg said. He emphasized to the crowd that improvements should build on existing assets, and should strengthen the idea of the park as a waterfront public realm, accessible to all.

“There’s a whole array of things that could happen … with clever use of what we find on the ground, taking inspiration from the original creation,” Greenberg said.

Mark Mattson, an environmental lawyer and president of water charity Swim Drink Fish Canada, called Lake Ontario “the most valuable” body of water in Canada, with nine million people drinking from it. There is more industry, business and real estate development happening on the lake than anywhere else, he said.

“People downplay Lake Ontario. Well, let me be very clear: this is the most important water body in the country, and we need people to …connect with it, to understand it, and this is an opportunity for that type of experience,” Mattson said.

He cited as an example Kingston’s newly opened Gord Edgar Downie Pier, which was unveiled last year and has unlocked the city’s waterfront for residents and visitors, enabling them to wade, jump or even flip — “a Canadian thing to do” — directly into the water.

“The same thing could be done here, which would ultimately get more people down to Ontario Place,” he said, noting the water samples done on the site show it’s clean.

Suzanne Kavanagh, a director of the newly created Waterfront for All organization, said Saturday’s event was intended to be proactive.

“We’re not militant. We don’t have a petition, because we don’t know what we’re up against,” she said.

However, Ginou’s recent comments about Ontario Place set off “alarm bells,” she said, and served as an incentive to organize those who support the park and want to enhance it.

“We’re saying, don’t blow up the gem — polish the gem,” she said.

The bigger picture concerning the future of Ontario Place is about access to the water, said city Councillor Joe Cressy, who represents Spadina—Fort York. Over two generations the city lost the waterfront to industrialization, the railway and the Gardiner Expressway, “but we are finally starting to reclaim the waterfront,” he said.

“If you want to build a great city, you invest in waterfront revitalization. And what’s the opposite of waterfront revitalization? Mega-malls and casinos,” Cressy said, referencing concerns about what the Ford government might propose for the site.

Attendee Beverley Thorpe said she is concerned about the future of Ontario Place, a park she walks through regularly for “spiritual rejuvenation.”

“I think Toronto is sitting on a gem, the lake itself,” she said. “I would love to see how we could celebrate the lake more here.”

With files from Jennifer Pagliaro and Edward Keenan

Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and policing. Reach her by email at wgillis@thestar.ca or follow her on Twitter: @wendygillis

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Measures to protect victims’ rights don’t go far enough, federal watchdog says – National

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OTTAWA — The new federal watchdog for victims of crime says rules meant to give victims and their families louder voices in the justice system have fallen short.

The previous Conservative government introduced what it called a victims’ bill of rights almost four years ago that allowed victims of crime to get information about offenders in the corrections system and have their views taken into account when decisions are made about them.


READ MORE:
Cut down on court delays in Canadian justice system by supporting victims of crime: ombudsman

The regime to enforce those rights doesn’t go far enough, says Heidi Illingworth, who late last year became federal ombudsman for victims of crime.

In an interview, Illingworth says she wants to see the regime strengthened to give victims “legally enforceable” rights because “we still are not there yet.”

“To me, it doesn’t go quite far enough,” Illingworth said. “If we’ve given rights in legislation, there has to be a remedy to that right otherwise it’s not an actual right. That’s what the problem is right now, is that there is no way to enforce the rights that have been given to victims.”


READ MORE:
Federal ombudsman calls for changes to fund for parents of murdered, missing children

She used the example of how relatives of Tori Stafford weren’t able to provide their thoughts on transfer decisions for the two people convicted in the eight-year-old’s 2009 murder, finding out only after the killers had been moved.

Terri-Lynne McClintic had been moved to an Indigenous healing lodge, which corrections officials later reversed, and Michael Rafferty from a maximum-security prison to a medium-security facility.

“It’s a second victimization to many folks when they’re dealing with these big systems,” Illingworth said this week. “They’re not able to give input. A decision is made and then they’re informed after the fact.”

WATCH: Stafford says McClintic is out of healing lodge and back in prison






Illingworth plans to launch a special review of the victims’-rights framework to highlight the issue and provide recommendations for the government to consider.

In late September, Illingworth became the third person to hold the post of victims watchdog, after the Liberals took months to fill the position vacated by Sue O’Sullivan, who had held the post for seven years.

Prior to her appointment, Illingworth spent two decades at the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, having become interested in victim services during her post-secondary studies when she did a placement with a victims agency.


READ MORE:
‘I don’t understand’: Indigenous advocates question why non-Indigenous offenders in healing lodges

Her corner office has the usual pictures of friends and family, but there is also Indigenous art Illingworth brought home after a victims conference nine years ago in the Northwest Territories.

Indigenous people are over-represented in the justice system as both victims and offenders. Illingworth said the artwork reminds her of the need for more holistic services for Aboriginal victims, such as access to elders for traditional treatments, and provide better supports on- and off-reserve.

Those and other victims’ services need more money, she said.

ARCHIVES: Harper unveils victims’ rights bill

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a law requiring people convicted of crimes to pay fees for victims services. The surcharges have existed since 1988, but the previous Conservative government removed judges’ authority to waive or lower the fees when they deemed them inappropriate in particular cases.

The Liberals introduced legislation in 2016 to return discretion to judges, but later folded the measure into an omnibus justice bill now before the Senate.

Illingworth is hopeful the bill, C-75, will soon become law, restoring most of the money stream but allowing judges to make exceptions.

“The judge needs to have some discretion, but it’s really, really critical that victims’ services get funded properly and not just after-thought funding. We have groups and communities who don’t have enough,” she said.

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