Most Canadians trust media, but a similar share worry about fake news being weaponized: survey – National

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Nearly three-quarters of Canadians profess trust traditional media, but the same share admitted to be worried about false information, and fake news being weaponized, said a poll released by a global communications firm on Thursday.

The Edelman Trust Barometer found 71 per cent of Canadians saying they’re increasingly concerned about fake news, with the share of worried respondents having climbed six points from last year.

Some of this anxiety may come from a lack of understanding about what “fake news” really is, Edelman CEO Lisa Kimmel told Global News.

WATCH: Edelman Trust Barometer






“What it’s now evolved to, that term, is if people don’t like coverage by the media, then it’s coined as fake news. The president of the U.S., who anytime there’s negative coverage around him, just terms it and deems it fake news,” she said.

This share is on par with the rest of the world, as 73 per cent of respondents in the 27 countries surveyed by Edelman reported their concerns about the weaponization of “fake news.”

Anxiety about the future may be driving an increase in news engagement among Canadians.

WATCH: Trump says public ‘loves’ border patrol, but ‘fake news’ does not







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The share of Canadians who claimed to consume news every day was 42 per cent, up 11 points from 2018.

Meanwhile, the share of people who have disengaged from the news has fallen from 54 per cent to 33 per cent.

Traditional media may be seeing an uptick in trust — but the opposite is true of social media.

In every market surveyed — Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific, Middle East and African regions — social media was considered the least reliable source of information.

In the U.S. and Canada, social media commanded the trust of only 34 per cent of respondents.


READ MORE:
Who do Canadians trust most? Their employers, apparently

“It’s not surprising, given the fact that fake news has been disseminated over social media, that social media is now the least trusted source for general news and information,” Kimmel explained.

However, it’s important to note that while trust in media rose in Edelman’s latest report, media organizations remained the least-trusted institutions among those polled in the survey.

In Canada, approximately 61 per cent of men and 53 per cent of women indicated that they trusted their media.

That was higher than the average of all 27 countries that were surveyed — there, 50 per cent of men reported trust in media, compared to 45 per cent of women.

See the full results of the poll here. 


METHODOLOGY

Edelman conducted an online survey of over 33,000 people in 27 countries. 

The margin of error was considered three ways.

There was a “27-market global data margin of error” which showed a margin of 0.6 per cent among the general population, 1.3 per cent among respondents considered the “informed public” and of  0.8 per cent among a “global general online population.”

There was also a “market-specific data margin of error” of 2.9 per cent among the general population and 6.9 per cent among the informed public.

Finally, there was an “employee margin of error” of 0.8 per cent across 27 markets, and an additional “market-specific” margin of error of anywhere between 3.2 and 4.6 per cent.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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TSB to share updates on B.C. train derailment at Tuesday news conference

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The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will release more details about a deadly train derailment in B.C. at a Tuesday morning news conference.

The conference, which will be held in Calgary at 11 a.m. MT, will be live streamed on GlobalNews.ca.


READ MORE:
3 Calgary men killed in CP Railway train derailment near Field, B.C. identified

The crash on Monday near the Alberta-B.C. border killed the train’s three-person crew, including Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer. All three men were from Calgary.

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) freight train was heading west when it went off the tracks, plunging into the Kicking Horse River just east of Field, B.C., at about 1 a.m. MT.

WATCH: Aerial footage shows the extent of the damage after a fatal train derailment near Field, B.C.






According to CP Rail president and CEO Keith Creel, the derailment happened between the Upper and Lower Spiral Tunnels, which were built in the early 1900s to accommodate the steep grade change on the stretch of railway.

“This is a tragedy that will have a long-lasting impact on our family of railroaders,” Creel said.

He added that recovery of the derailed cars will be “complex and challenging given the remote location and extreme weather.”

WATCH: Several damaged train cars lay beside the highway near Field, B.C., after a fatal train derailment






The circumstances that led to the derailment are being investigated by the TSB.

Sixteen cars of a CP Rail train derailed on Jan. 3 in the same area. No one was injured in that derailment.

— With files from 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Metrolinx continues to share Presto users’ data without requiring warrants

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Law enforcement officers are increasingly seeking access to personal information stored on transit riders’ Presto fare cards, with requests for the data spiking by 47 per cent in 2018 compared to the year before.

And while Metrolinx, the provincial agency that controls Presto, only acceded to a minority of the requests, in 22 instances related to law enforcement investigations or suspected offences the agency divulged card users’ information without requiring a warrant or court order, a practice that has troubled rights groups since its was first exposed by the Star two years ago.

“Broadly, the concern is that it’s very important that a mass transit system, a public transit system, doesn’t become a system of mass surveillance,” said Brenda McPhail, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s privacy, technology and surveillance project.

Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said in a statement the agency “appropriately balances the commitment to protecting the privacy of Presto card users and maintaining the safety and security of the transit system and its passengers.”

“Staff believe that the current process and policy provides the level of oversight and rigour that is required,” she said.

The figures on Presto information requests are contained in Metrolinx’s second annual report on its privacy policy, which will be discussed at the agency’s board meeting Thursday.

The report shows:

While experts agree that warrants shouldn’t be required in exigent circumstances such as when a rider is believed missing, McPhail said in other cases Metrolinx should require a warrant.

“A warrant provides people with the assurance that the validity of the request from a law enforcement body has been judicially reviewed” and that fulfilled requests “have reached a threshold that’s been adjudicated by a judge and not just a transit employee,” said McPhail, whose organization has formally provided feedback to Metrolinx on its privacy policy.

McPhail said that while Metrolinx is taking positive steps such as publishing the annual report and regularly reviewing its policy, there is a “big hole” in its reporting because the agency doesn’t say how many fulfilled requests lead to a successful outcome, such as charges being laid against someone suspected of a crime. She argued publishing that information would help determine whether law enforcement requests for Presto data are generally reasonable.

Aikins said the outcomes of fulfilled requests are out of Metrolinx’s control and consequently it doesn’t track them, but “we do know internally” that sharing Presto data has helped find missing transit users.

Aikins said Metrolinx will share Presto information without a warrant under certain conditions, such as when “there is a reasonable basis to believe that an offence has occurred” on Metrolinx’s property, such as if a rider assaults a GO Transit bus driver.

In those instances, the agency “will limit the amount of information it discloses to what is relevant and necessary relating to the specific offence,” she said.

According to the report, Metrolinx disclosed customers’ Presto travel records 32 times, and shared registered information such as their name and address 20 times. Because information was shared in only 35 instances, the numbers indicate that in some cases both a cardholder’s travel information and name and address were shared.

The report says Metrolinx rejected requests or asked that they be modified for reasons that included the request being too broad.

In most cases, law enforcement asked for information in relation to a suspected offence committed on transit system property, but in cases where the suspected offence took place elsewhere, Metrolinx requested a court order. The agency also requested a warrant when officers asked for financial transaction information.

The requests were made by Metrolinx transit officers and police forces in Durham, Peel, Toronto, York Region, Hamilton, South Simcoe, Waterloo, Ottawa and Montreal.

The report doesn’t break down on which Ontario transit system the Presto cards that were subject of the requests were used, but more than half of trips paid for with the fare card are on the TTC.

Metrolinx committed to publishing an annual report on law enforcement requests for Presto data in December 2017, after the Star revealed the agency had been quietly sharing customer data with police.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek referred questions about Metrolinx sharing Presto data to the office Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Sylvia Jones.

A spokesperson for Jones said: “Protection of privacy is an important priority for this government. Any decision to share information would be done directly with a police service.”

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation. Reach him by email at bspurr@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr

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Plan to buy more fighter jets puts Canada on hook for bigger share of F-35 costs

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Canada is being forced to shoulder a bigger share of the costs of developing F-35 fighter jets even though it has not decided whether it will actually buy any.

Canada is one of nine partner countries in the F-35 project, each of which is required to cover a portion of the stealth fighter’s multibillion-dollar development costs to stay at the table.

Each country pays based on the number of F-35s it’s expecting to buy. Canada has pitched in more than half-a-billion dollars over the last 20 years, including $54 million last year.

But that amount was based on the Stephen Harper government’s plan to buy 65 new fighter jets to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s, which the Trudeau government has since officially increased to 88.

Even though Canada has not committed that those 88 jets will be F-35s, the Department of National Defence says that change means it will have to pay more to remain a partner — including about $72 million this year.

« Canada’s costs under the F-35 (partnership agreement) are based on an intended fleet size, » Defence Department spokeswoman Ashley Lemire said in an email.

« Canada changed its fleet size within the F-35 (agreement) from 65 to 88 aircraft to align with government decisions on the size of the intended permanent fighter fleet to be acquired through competition and the payment increased accordingly. »

As each partner contribution is determined annually, based on the overall cost of the F-35 development program for that specific year, Lemire said she could not provide details on how much more Canada will have to pay.

The F-35’s development costs have been a constant source of criticism over the life of the stealth-fighter program, which Canada first joined under the Chretien government in 1997. The entire program is believed to have already cost more than US$1 trillion.

The Trudeau government says it plans to keep Canada in the F-35 development effort until a replacement for the CF-18s is chosen — partners in the development work can buy the planes at a lower price and compete for work associated with their production and long-term maintenance.

Canadian companies have so far won more than $1.2 billion in contracts related to the F-35, according to the government.

‘Biased toward performance’

The F-35 is one of four planes slated to participate in the $19-billion competition that the government plans to launch this spring, the others being Boeing’s Super Hornet, Eurofighter’s Typhoon and Saab’s Gripen.

The competition isn’t scheduled to select a winner until 2021 or 2022, meaning Canada will be on the hook for several more payments. The first new aircraft is expected in 2025 and the last in 2031, when the CF-18s will be phased out.

F-35 maker Lockheed Martin says more than 350 of the stealth fighters have been delivered to different countries, while Israel became the first country to use the plane in combat last year when two of the jets struck targets in neighbouring Syria.

Acting U.S. defence secretary Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, nonetheless criticized the program on Monday, saying it « has room for a lot more performance. »

« I am biased toward performance, » he was quoted as saying when asked if he is biased toward Boeing. « I am biased toward giving the taxpayer their money’s worth. And the F-35, unequivocally, I can say, has a lot of opportunity for more performance. »

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‘Discouraging. Dumbfounded. A sad reality.’ Star story on LCBO thefts prompts readers to share their eyewitness accounts

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Shared outrage. Shared anger. Shared frustration. And maybe, just maybe, a few good ideas on how to stop, or at least slow, the spiralling problem of theft at the LCBO.

That’s the thrust of reaction to the Star’s revelation Saturday that LCBO outlets in Toronto have sustained a surge of theft, hit more 9,000 times since 2014 — often in high-volume heists in which teams of thieves fill backpacks, duffel bags and suitcases with premium liquors and then simply walk away.

The Star’s call for eyewitness accounts, a number of which we are publishing below, included input from a surprising range of people on both sides of the till: customers who’ve seen it happen, all over the city and well beyond; and long-suffering LCBO workers, past and present, who confirm the morale-crushing reality of feeling helpless and insecure as they try to do their jobs.

One female LCBO worker reached out from rural Ontario, asking that we not publish her name nor that of her town, citing fear of retribution. “I work in a very little store and I can tell you the theft is worse here. I am a young single mom and often work alone, which is very scary. I have unfortunately served drunk males because they are too aggressive and I’m afraid of what may happen if I deny them.

“We’ve asked for more and better security cameras because the ones we have don’t cover the store. We were denied. I’d love to see the LCBO ‘suits’ make more of an effort to show that employee safety is taken seriously.”

The Star’s crunching of Toronto Police Service theft data produced sobering numbers: more than 9,000 thefts at LCBO outlets in the past four-and-a-half years (Jan. 1, 2014 to June 26, 2018). That makes the Liquor Control Board of Ontario far and away the most targeted retail entity in the city. And though retailers as a whole have reported a major spike in shoplifting incidents in the city — 11,010 thefts in 2014 versus 16,667 in the first 10 months of 2018 — the spike in liquor theft appears to be the single biggest driver.

Read more:

LCBO thefts surge in Toronto, often as staff stand and watch. ‘They’re literally just walking away’

The LCBO declined a request for an interview on the Star’s findings. Instead, the provincially owned liquor retailer responded in writing to a summary of the troubling data, acknowledging, “We can confirm that the LCBO is seeing an increase in shop theft, with the majority taking place in urban areas.”

As the Star reported Saturday, no single explanation unpacks the whole of the LCBO problem, which, in Toronto, some observers say, is made worse by new police policy to not respond to the scene of liquor theft unless the suspects are still in the building. And nowhere in the wide range of responses is there any hint that front line LCBO staff are at fault. The broad consensus is they deserve protection, not blame.

One signal we are able to read from the responses — the public has a voice in this and when it is sounded loudly enough, action follows. Though there is not yet any citywide police effort to staunch liquor theft, a new pilot program underway involving 14 Division’s Community Response Unit only exists because the public — LCBO customers who witnessed theft — asked for it.

Likewise, east Toronto resident Jane Archibald, a self-described “angry citizen and taxpayer” after witnessing thieves fill “large pieces of luggage” with liquor and flee the LCBO near Carlaw Ave. and Gerrard St. in November, shared with the Star on Saturday her correspondence with Councillor Paula Fletcher, the LCBO, Mayor John Tory, Premier Doug Ford and the Toronto Police Priority Response Command.

“The LCBO responded the following day (adding) security guards. I was told they were working to staff up on security. Thefts have decreased in the Gerrard location as a result,” said Archibald, who intends to continue agitating. “This is a policing issue which leaves retail employees ridiculously vulnerable.”

Here follows a cross-section of responses to the Star’s request for eyewitness accounts of theft at the LCBO. Some anecdotes involve customers taking it upon themselves to engage in levels of risk that ignore police advice. We can only add our voice to those calling for maximum restraint when shopping for liquor:

“About two years ago I was at the LCBO on Davenport near Dupont and I saw a guy loading up his backpack with vodka from a display near the entrance. We all stood and watched as he strapped the bag to his back and walked out the door. I asked the (cashier) if he’d ever seen anything like it. “It happens,” I recall him saying.

— Mary Kirley

“I was at the LCBO at Warden and Eglinton in the summer. This guy cruises through the checkout with a 60-ounce vodka in each hand, pretending to be talking on the phone. One cashier said, ‘Sir, did you pay for those?’ He ignored her. Myself and a gentleman in front of me offered to go get them off the guy but they told us not to. Then they proceeded to write the incident down in a book and continued on like nothing had happened. The customers were dumbfounded as to the level of apathy and the lack of any attempt to stop the person. When I left the guy was strolling down Eglinton without a care in the world. Pretty sad when the civilized, law-abiding customers are seemingly the only ones who care about theft, and stopping it.”

— Graham Kritzer

“At the LCBO in the Junction, I saw two men with backpacks fill them up with liquor and walk out the door as the staff stood by and did nothing. I asked and they said they were not allowed to pursue anyone caught stealing! This makes sense for personal safety reasons but it’s clearly a huge problem.”

— Sue St. Denis

“I saw it at the LCBO at Oakwood and St. Clair. A guy in a hoodie, filling his jacket with liquor bottles. I advised the unaware employees and the staff told the guy to give back the bottles and leave, which he did. I’m sure this result is rare. If we’re going to continue this ‘unique’ monopoly system in this province, I think going back to the pre-’80s order-desk format would be the best way to stop this. Rather than paper, digital screens or your phone would presumably be the selection tool. Encouraging more online purchases and in-store pickup and discouraging/minimizing their fancy merchandising is another thought. After all, the purpose of the latter surely isn’t to stay ahead of the competition when there isn’t any.”

— Jason Dear

“I guess that because the cost of the liquor is so low relative to the retail price, which includes a large amount of tax, that the actual losses are minimal. If the perpetrators were arrested and convicted these costs would far outweigh the losses, so it looks like the present solution is working and costing the public less to allow them to continue to shoplift. Also, the police cannot be involved in such small amounts with no violence.”

— David Franklin

“Considering the costs of thefts, why not hire off-duty undercover police with tasers, at least at the most often-hit stores? Or maybe have a security guard make customers check their bags at the front desk? We need to muscle up to this problem, soon and quickly. The response so far seems to be pure apathy at taxpayers’ expense. Where’s bold leadership on this problem?”

— C.L. Cateshaw

“Here in Mexico where I spend my winters, many businesses post guards with assault rifles, machine pistols or combat shotguns at the door. They don’t get many visits from smash-and-grab punks.”

— Tom Philip

“Four young people walked into the (Beaches LCBO) store with bandanas over their faces, loaded up backpacks and reusable shopping bags with anywhere from 6-15 bottles of wine and liquor and just walked out. They were inside for maybe 30 seconds. Nobody did anything. When I blocked the exit with my arm to try and block one of them, an employee told me not to so I dropped my arm and let the person go. This was a couple of years ago around this time of year, but it was very organized and completely bizarre.”

— James Di Fiore

“I live in Saskatoon, where the government-run liquor stores (have) high-security guards to prevent theft. And they catch shoplifters. I’ve seen people tackled to the ground.”

— Ellen Armstrong

“Interesting article about LCBO thefts in Toronto, but having worked for The Beer Store for over 10 years I feel compelled to mention that this happens every day at The Beer Store as well. The amount of stock that goes out the front door is staggering. And usually in brazen fashion as most times the perpetrators know there is nothing we can or will do about it. The unfortunate thing is we too are threatened on a daily basis.”

— Name withheld

“I worked for the LCBO for over 38 years. I’ve seen shoplifting. The staff were told do not interact with shoplifters — just watch them and report. Management would tell employees to try to kill the shoplifters with kindness. A lot of time, employees would just turn and walk away, knowing that nothing is going to come of the incident. It is discouraging for staff. I hope more employees tell their story so that the LCBO will act.”

— Kenny McGillvary

“A couple of summers ago at the LCBO at Bayview and Millwood, I watched some guy fill a duffel bag with booze and elbow past me as I opened the door. …Exactly a week later I get out of my car near the same spot and the same guy lumbers past with another full bag. He’s got to be going somewhere — so I get back in the car and trail him from a distance to a side street where a car is waiting. I pull behind and make like I’m checking out house numbers or something. Meanwhile, I’m taking the plate number and later give that to staff. I’ve always wondered if anything concrete came of that. I have to think the police did, in the end, do something. The point is the thieves are always heading somewhere with 50 pounds of bottles over their shoulder. So where? I asked the question and carried it through. Although police may have a different opinion on whether that was the wisest choice.”

— Christopher Childs

“Summer of 2017, I witnessed a robbery just like this at Coxwell and Queen: perp had a basket loaded with large bottles of premium liquor. Walked past the cash and right out the front door. We all saw it, customers and staff. I pulled out my phone and filmed it. Ran out and followed him across Queen toward the rear parking lot of Harvey’s. He calmly unloaded the bottles into his SUV and sped off. I called the police and reported it. From reading this article, I know he got away and nothing was done about it. I’m shocked to hear the LCBO is the biggest retail target for theft and so little is done to stop it, since taxpayers eat the cost … I’m also astounded that police won’t respond unless the thief is still on the property; since these are basically smash-and-grabs, law enforcement has a negligible impact in deterring these crimes. What now? LCBO stores are just sitting ducks? As a Toronto resident and taxpayer, I’d like to hear what (Toronto police Chief) Mark Saunders and (Premier) Doug Ford have to say.

— Pamela Capraru

“I work at LCBO. I’ve witnessed three thefts in the last month. It’s sad but a reality that we can’t do anything about it. I say this because the thieves return because there is no threat to combat their actions. Yes, we see them on CCTV but we can’t stop them from leaving or even touch them. They could sue us back since they have rights preventing these actions. What can we really do, any suggestions? Bottle locks can be removed by screwdriver. The truth is theft will continue and the taxpayer will pay for it. We become witnesses to the perfect crime. How ironic.

— Gloria Hunter

Mitch Potter is a reporter and feature writer based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @MPwrites

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Sixties Scoop survivors share their stories with Saskatchewan government – Saskatoon

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The Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society is making its way across Saskatchewan this fall and was in Saskatoon on Saturday.

A non-profit society formed by a group of First Nations, Metis and non-status individuals, Sixties Scoop survivors had the opportunity to share their stories with members of the Saskatchewan government.


READ MORE:
Sask. minister hopes ’60s Scoop apology can come by year’s end

“The Sixties Scoop era was a time where Indigenous children were apprehended either from their reserves or apprehended in the city centres,” said Rob Belanger of Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan.

“It has impacted our people greatly as far as separating the child from the family.”

The society provided sharing circles over the weekend to encourage substantive and respectful conversations.


READ MORE:
Métis ‘60s Scoop survivors work toward reconciliation with government at Winnipeg symposium

Between the 1950s and the 1990s, an estimated 20,000 Indigenous and Metis children were taken and sent to live with white families.

Regina will host the last sharing circle at the end of November, where Premier Scott Moe, along with other provincial dignitaries, are expected to attend.

The Saskatchewan government is planning to hold a ceremony by the end of the year to officially apologize to Sixties Scoop victims.

WATCH: Alberta government’s Sixties Scoop Apology Engagement series






© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘We share that pain’: Muslims form rings of peace at GTA synagogues in wake of U.S. shooting

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In the wake of a deadly attack on a U.S. synagogue last week, people of faith from across the Greater Toronto Area gathered at Jewish places of worship throughout the city Saturday in an act of defiant solidarity. 

More than 200 attendees from various religious backgrounds formed « rings of peace » around 10 synagogues throughout the region on the Sabbath, a weekly day of observance in the Jewish faith.

The events were organized by several Muslim community groups and included prayers, hymns, statements of support and an opportunity to meet neighbours. 

« It is our faith that keeps us together. When one person is hurt in our community, through our moral and religious obligation, we are supposed to help, » said Osman Khan, spokesperson for the Imdadul Islamic Centre, one of the groups behind the show of solidarity. 

Last Saturday, a gunman opened fire in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 Jewish people, many of them elderly.

Six people were also injured in the attack, including four police officers.

The accused shooter, Robert Bowers, allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks during the attack, according to police. 

It was just the latest of a series of a high-profile shootings at places of worship on both sides of the border. 

Joanna Sadowski said she was a ‘little bit overwhelmed’ by the show of solidarity at seven GTA synagogues Saturday morning. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

Khan said it only made sense for his community to express its condolences and support for Toronto’s Jewry. In February 2017, some 300 Jewish people from across the GTA, along with many from other faiths, formed rings of peace around local mosques in the wake of a deadly attack inside a Quebec City mosque. 

« It gave consolation to us in that difficult time, and now are doing the same, » Khan said. 

« Not because we feel we have to reciprocate, but because we feel a need to be with our brothers and sisters to ease the pain that they feel, because we share that pain. »

Joanna Sadowski, a member of the Holy Blossom Temple on Bathurst Street in York, said the public display of compassion was deeply emotional for her.

« It was very moving and very, very beautiful. I think I felt a little bit overwhelmed by the support of all the people who came out to show their solidarity, » she said. 

Muslim community leaders recite an opening prayer and a welcome to all those who showed up at Holy Blossom Temple. The assembled group spoke about the kinds of violence that various religious groups face. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

« I think the message is that people want to feel safe in prayer and in community, no matter your religion, no matter your background. That’s a value that we share as Canadians, as Torontonians — that we care and respect each other’s differences. »

Phyllis Denaburg, also a congregate at Holy Blossom, took part in the circles of peace around GTA mosques last year. She said that beyond offering support, the events help connect people who might otherwise not have a chance to meet. 

« It’s definitely a message of solidarity and that we aren’t alone. It’s a shame that these things still continue to happen, because it’s not something new. But it does warm our hearts, » she said. 

Holy Blossom Temple’s rabbi, Yael Splansky, has said that Toronto native Joyce Fienberg, who was killed in the Pittsburgh shooting, was a member of Holy Blossom Temple.

Fienberg spent most of her career as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, retiring in 2008 from her job studying learning in the classroom and in museums. Before that she was a member of the Holy Blossom Temple community, which is one of Toronto’s oldest Jewish congregations.

Splansky said Fienberg was a « very special person » who was married at the temple and whose confirmation photo is on its wall of honour.

« I know there’s a whole generation of Holy Blossom members who grew up here with her, who went to school with her and celebrated her wedding day here at Holy Blossom, » said Splansky, who said she didn’t know Fienberg personally.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Manitoba burn survivors share struggles, hope at annual conference – Winnipeg

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It was the first time 18-year-old Dawson Blahey from Arborg, Man., shared his life-changing story with a large group.

Blahey suffered third-degree burns to his face, legs, chest and feet after a campfire explosion when he was just four years old.

“My dad was pouring fuel, and it was humid out and it blew up,” Blahey said.

But the large group to whom Blahey spoke on Saturday is one that can understand what he has been through.

Dawson Blahey suffered third-degree burns on his body when he was just four years old.

They are members of the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society, which gathers for an annual conference every year. The society hears from doctors and other health professionals about ways to cope with their injuries, and they also get a chance to share their stories with others in the same boat.

RELATED: Volunteers rally to help family of worker burned in grain elevator fire

“There’s a bond when you can talk to someone else who went through a similar experience,” Mamingwey chair Barbara-Anne Hodge said.

“When you’re burned, there’s physical pain, permanent scars, and to meet with others who have walked that path is very powerful.”

Mamingwey is an Ojibway term meaning “butterfly.”

“A butterfly starts as a caterpillar and emerges out of the cocoon. We apply that to our burn survivors, and the white bandages are the cocoon,” Hodge said.

Blair Lundie came out of those bandages three years ago after he was burned in a high-voltage explosion.

“A panel fell over on a high-voltage system, and the panel arced like a lightning bolt, and I turned away just in time to block the impact,” Lundie said.

Blair Lundie was burned in a high-voltage explosion.

RELATED: Crash in North Dakota covers Manitoba man in hot tar

While he still struggles to deal with his new reality, groups like Mamingwey are a huge help for him.

“They are my support because I can talk amongst them, and they understand what I’m feeling on an everyday basis,” Lundie said.

For Blahey, breaking out of his cocoon for the first time is an experience he doesn’t regret.

“Don’t be scared to talk about it,” said Blahey. “Talking about it is the best thing you can do,”

WATCH: Edmonton-area teen returns from unique camp for burn victims






© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Cannabis companies jockey for share of Ontario’s pot shops

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A battle is brewing over how Premier Doug Ford’s government will divvy up the private sector’s share of Ontario’s retail cannabis market.

Legislation that would allow companies to operate pot shops in Canada’s largest province is now under scrutiny at Queen’s Park and businesses are trying to influence key details of the bill. 

Once crucial aspect of the retail regime that’s still to be decided: how many cannabis retail licences any one corporation can hold. Government officials say there will be a limit, but that limit has not yet been set. 

This coming Wednesday, when the prohibition on recreational pot ends across Canada, the only legal way to buy it in Ontario will be through the government-run online retailer.

Storefronts selling pot will not open until April 1. That’s because the Ford government this summer scrapped the Wynne government’s plan for provincially-owned pot shops, instead opening up the market to the private sector. 

When the prohibition on recreational pot ends across Canada on Wednesday, the only legal way to buy cannabis in Ontario will be through the government-run online retailer. Storefronts will not open until April 1. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

The Ford government is proposing to limit licensed marijuana producers and their affiliates to just one retail outlet, and that clause is drawing attention. 

Licensed producers should not be allowed to own any interest in cannabis retailers, says Jean Lepine, managing director of BlackShire Capital, a Toronto-based private equity firm that invests in privately-held cannabis companies. 

« Some of Canada’s biggest licensed cannabis producers … are stealthily working behind the scenes to ensure they have a position of power in cannabis retail in Ontario, » Lepine told a legislative committee looking at the bill last week.

He said the government should not give large producers an advantage that will allow them to dominate the retail side and shut out small businesses. 

Lepine cautioned the government against allowing what he called « a Beer Store model » — giving the big breweries control of retail and limiting craft breweries’ ability to reach customers — to take shape in the cannabis industry. 

Bret Mitchell, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp., gives a preview of the cannabis section of one of its stores in Halifax. (Aly Thomson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

One of the world’s largest producers of medical marijuana and the pot retailer that it partially owns are urging the government to do the exact opposite of what Lepine suggested. 

Aurora Cannabis has three pot production facilities in Ontario and will provide recreational supply to the Ontario Cannabis Store. The company also owns 25 per cent of Alcanna, one of North America’s largest alcohol retailers, now about to become a cannabis retailer: Alcanna owns five pot shops granted interim licences in Alberta as legalization begins. 

They fear that Alcanna will be shut out of Ontario by the proposal to limit licensed marijuana producers and their affiliates to just one pot shop at the producer’s facility. 

« Creating a retail system designed exclusively for small independent operators risks being a recipe for failure in the face of what we expect to be fierce competition from organized crime in the black market, » Alcanna’s senior vice president David Crapper told the committee hearing this week. 

« We are concerned that an overly narrow definition of ‘affiliate’ will eliminate several innovative and forward-looking retail partnerships from the Ontario market, including the one that exists between Aurora and Alcanna, » said Andrea Paine, Aurora’s national director of government relations. 

Paine is urging the government to allow producers who have multiple facilities to have multiple retail licences. She is also raising a red flag about municipalities’ powers to opt out of pot shops. 

« If the city of Markham opts out, we may not be able to operate our store at our Markham facility, » said Paine.

More than two dozen witnesses made presentations to the committee considering the bill during two days of hearings. 

Convenience store owners are concerned the government will design regulations that will stop them from moving into the retail pot market. 

« Please do not set a minimum size limit on a cannabis store, » said Steve Tennant, chief operating officer of Gateway Convenience Stores, at the committee hearing. « We do not want to be excluded from the option of selling cannabis simply because of the size of our store. »

« I don’t think you need to fear licensed producers taking over the industry, » said Terry Lake, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Hexo Corp. — a licensed producer of medical cannabis, currently operating in Quebec, poised to open a warehouse in Belleville.

« You can put restrictions on ownership, as Alberta has, » said Lake. Alberta is limiting each company to 15 per cent of the province’s retail cannabis licences. 

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What Happens When Five Sober Chefs Share a Kitchen? | Healthyish

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Fifteen minutes into my conversation with bartender Evan Zimmerman, I realize he isn’t going to eat half of the tomato focaccia square I purchased at Ellē in Washington, D.C., so I slide the plate back toward me and listen to him while I finish the rest. He can’t eat because his hands are occupied, mimicking how he might pulverize salted peanuts and use them to season the creamy head of nitrogen-charged Coca-Cola.

Zimmerman will serve the drink he’s describing, or something like it, at a highly anticipated non-alcoholic-cocktail-paired dinner in Portland this weekend, alongside a roster of some of the most well-regarded chefs in the country. (All 72 tickets for the dinner were purchased within two minutes of going on sale, at a price of $225 each.) Sean Brock, Gregory Gourdet, Gabriel Rucker, Michael Solomonov, and Andrew Zimmern will each prepare a course, and Zimmerman will create a non-alcoholic cocktail to match.

The chefs share high achievements: altogether over a dozen restaurants, 13 James Beard awards, three Top Chef appearances (including one competition finalist), a hugely popular food and travel show, and multiple cookbooks. They also all share a lifestyle: sobriety.

Brock, whose name was once used as a verb by line cooks in need of a few beers post-shift (“Let’s get Brocked”), now starts his day with a meditation session followed by a bowl of berries with macadamia milk. Gourdet, who hit bottom freebasing cocaine for three days with no sleep, runs marathons and maintains a strict gluten- and dairy-free diet. When I visit Solomonov, a former crack addict, at his restaurant Zahav in Philadelphia, he asks if I brought running shoes and tells me to meet him at 8:30 the next morning. We take a brisk walk before his all-staff meeting.

These are, by all accounts, changed men. And with the upcoming dinner, part of the Feast Portland food festival, they’re joining forces for the first time.

Rucker, the Portland-based chef and owner of Le Pigeon and Little Bird Bistro and organizer of the dinner, wants to challenge assumptions about what the life of a successful chef looks like. “A lot of young cooks look up to chefs in the press, and the common stigma is, ‘I need to be a badass, I need to be able to drink and hold my liquor and then work through the hangover.”

Rucker is lucky: He maintained a marriage and a business through years of using alcohol to come down and cocaine to stay up, and his bottom—the term used to refer to an addict’s lowest point—was relatively high. One morning, after an evening spent passed out on the couch at home when he was supposed to be dining with his family and neighbors, he decided it was time to make a change. He called his father, who is sober, and asked to go to an AA meeting with him. “He said, ‘I’ll take you down the path with me, but you don’t get to go back now.’ And I haven’t gone back.” Five years into his sobriety, Rucker goes goes to AA once a week, talks to his sponsor every day, and hits the gym most mornings.

“My oldest son is seven, and he doesn’t remember me drinking,” says Rucker. “He’s not gonna grow up remembering me as a drinking dad.”

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the highest rates of illicit drug use are found in the accommodations and food services industry, and workers in that industry have the highest rates of substance use disorder: 16.9 percent compared to 9.5 percent on average across other industries. The highest rates of heavy alcohol use are in the mining and construction industries, with accommodations and food services coming in third.

« How do you even gauge what’s appropriate when partying is part of the culture of your business?” says Solomonov.

Of course, substance abuse and mental health are linked. Last year, Mental Health America (MHA) published the results of its Work Health Survey across 19 industries in the United States. The healthcare, financial services, and the non-profit industries scored in the top 10 percent; manufacturing, retail, and food and beverage scored in the bottom 10 percent.

« This industry can tear you down if you let it, » says Brock, founding chef of Husk restaurants in Charleston, Nashville, Greenville, and Savannah. « It tore me down. » Alcoholism and workaholism were problems for him in equal measure, and he says that industry culture rewarded those behaviors. « It’s almost like you leave society a little bit. There was a period in my life where I didn’t have a TV, I didn’t have a couch–I didn’t want a TV or a couch. I was working seven days a week, nonstop, I had no idea what was going on outside—I couldn’t have told you who the president was, probably—and that’s what I thought my happy place was. Well, that wasn’t true. »

Brock entered a rehab clinic in Arizona in January 2017 and credits the six-week program with not only getting him clean, but also opening him up. “I used to walk into the kitchen and no one would say a word, » he says. « They were scared to death, which is the way I wanted it, but once I started showing vulnerability, everything changed.”

As the #metoo movement has made waves from film sets to boardrooms and beyond, the food industry is having its own reckoning, and drinking is a big part of that conversation. « How do you even gauge what’s appropriate when partying is part of the culture of your business?” says Solomonov. He doesn’t offer his staff shift drinks anymore. “And you’re obviously never going to see me fucked up at the bar with my employees.” Solomonov got sober in 2008, five years after the death of his brother. During the time in between, the chef had cloaked himself in a miasma of crack cocaine, heroin, and Scotch so thick it repelled the grief.

Andrew Zimmern, the four-time James Beard Award winner and host of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel, remembers the day his own life changed: January 28, 1992. « I was trying to kill myself in a flophouse hotel after being homeless for a year and thinking that I was a loser in life, » he says. He ended up waking up in a treatment center in Minnesota instead. During the first five years he was sober, Zimmern thought a lot about patience, tolerance, and understanding. « Those are the things that were making a difference in my life, and it hit me like a ton of bricks one day that I was working in an industry that needed help with that. And then I realized, the world needs help with that. »

« It’s people who have been in the program and other sober chefs who showed me that life can be better, » says Gourdet.

For those struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, resources are increasing. Indigo Road Hospitality owner Steve Palmer and Mickey Bakst of the Charleston Grill founded Ben’s Friends, a kind of Alcoholics Anonymous for people working in the food and beverage industry, in 2016. There are now chapters in Charleston, Atlanta, and Raleigh, which is run by chef Scott Crawford of Crawford and Son. Palmer and Crawford managed a no-alcohol-allowed “chill space” at last year’s Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

Brock teaches Talking Boundaries and Listening Boundaries, a communication structure he learned at the Meadows, to his employees. « The idea is to still be compassionate and empathetic toward that person even though they called you an asshole, » he says. He wants to write a guide on surviving the restaurant industry, and he may soon have time. Brock recently announced that he will no longer be involved with Minero, McCrady’s, or McCrady’s Tavern, but will stay on at all Husk locations as a culinary advisor.

Matthew Jennings, a Boston-based chef who lost 175 pounds and « regained [his] addiction to fitness » after getting sober two years ago, closed his restaurant Townsman in July to launch Full Heart Hospitality, a consulting group that will tackle restaurant menu engineering, recipe development, design, and internal strategy with wellness and social responsibility in mind. « What I’m really trying to do is write a new manifesto for operations that stresses focusing on people first and productivity second, » says Jennings, who is not part of the dinner but is outspoken about his newly healthy habits. « Empathy will dictate the whole conversation. »

Zimmern says he finds more Fortune 100 CEOs quoting University of Houston research professor and author Brené Brown these days than Tony Robbins’ Personal Power program. “She really equates empathy with happiness: If you want to be truly happy, then you have to live life on an empathetic basis,” he says. “When you apply that to the workplace, you end up with a healthier environment in which morale and productivity are increased. » At his own companies, that means one-on-one meetings and transparency at all levels. “Everyone has the same financial awareness and strategic awareness of the business, from interns to board members.”

Gourdet, a former Top Chef contestant and the culinary director for the Departure restaurants in Portland and Denver, tried rehab a couple of times before he got finally sober through Alcoholics Anonymous nine months after moving to Portland. « It’s people who have been in the program and other sober chefs who showed me that life can be better, » he says. « So for me, it’s extremely important that people who are sober are very vocal about their sobriety and how life can change. »

Alcohol wasn’t the problem for bartender Zimmerman—it was heroin, which he kicked on his own with the help of suboxone and a tightly shut bedroom door—but, as a bartender, he finds not drinking freeing. « It allows for the ability to really fine-tune a drink to better line up with a dish, » he says. September will be high time for plums in Oregon, so he might balance their sweetness and tartness with seaweed for Rucker’s trout course. He’ll pick some meadowsweet flowers and infuse their flavor into carrot juice for Brock’s summer vegetable and cornbread salad. Zimmern’s on the fish course; Zimmerman will juice Granny Smith apples and lightly smoke the results with grapevines, a tart but earthy compliment to shrimp with a Sichuan-style vinaigrette. Solomonov’s lobster-wrapped ribeye cap will be met with the clarified juice of caramelized onions with houjicha, a Japanese green tea, and a touch of molasses. « I know onion juice sounds weird, but with the tea and the molasses, it almost tastes like Madeira, » says Zimmerman. Finally, he’ll serve that carbonated Mexican Coca-Cola with Gourdet’s chocolate and peanut dessert. Too often, he says, non-alcoholic “cocktails” lean on acidity alone. « I want to show that it doesn’t have to be all about shrubs and citrus and fruit. »

None of the men involved in the dinner know what the effect will be, but “if one chef de partie in the US decides to get clean and sober after this, that’s enough of a reason to do it,” says Solomonov. According to Brock, “I want [sobriety] to be something people are proud of rather than shameful of. The simple fact that you have made the decision to take better care of yourself? That should be the proudest moment of your day.”

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