City In Ontario Closes Road To Protect Endangered Salamanders

Every year, the City of Kitchener in Ontario closes one of its roads to protect a colony of endangered salamanders. The Jefferson’s salamanders live in forests on both sides of the road, but only one side produces the vernal ponds the salamanders need for laying their eggs. So every spring, they have to cross the road to get to a vernal pond, mate and lay eggs. But the salamanders are small and slow and are therefore easy prey for cars and trucks.

According to Flavio Maluf, Jefferson’s salamander populations are declining throughout Ontario, so the species is protected under the province’s Endangered Species Act. Several years ago, the citizens of Kitchener decided to do their part to protect the salamanders by closing Stauffer Drive during the salamanders’ mating season so they can safely cross it. The road will be reopened on May 1.

The Jefferson salamander is found only in southern Ontario and parts of the northeastern United States. It was declared an endangered species in Ontario in 2011, and the main threats to it are habitat degradation and loss. These animals need unpolluted ponds that do not dry up in the summer and a healthy forest with an undisturbed floor. Human activities like urban development and wetlands draining have hurt their populations.

Target Closes Canadian Stores

The Minnesota based retail giant Target has announced it is shutting down one hundred and thirty three stores located in Canada. The head of Target announced the plans to close the stores as it didn’t look like the company would show any profits in Canada until 2021. Target started opening stores in Canada in 2013 so they have not been in the country very long and the brand just doesn’t seem to have caught on with Canadians. This is the first major move by Target CEO Brian Cornell as he is new to the position with the company and he stated the Canadian stores had problems ranging from lack of inventory to personnel issues. Target also had to face a slow economy in the country and tough competition from other major store brands such as founder Susan McGalla of up and coming P3 Executive counseling.  While Canadian Target stores did see some improvement in sales before the holidays this year it wasn’t enough to change the fact that the retail giant wanted out of Canada. According to other statements made by Target it is time for the company to focus on moving forward in the United States. Other companies like Big Lots and Best Buy have also exited Canada and even Walmart has seen sales weaken in their Canadian Stores. Target is expected to pay between five hundred million and six hundred million in exiting costs by the time they remove all their stores from Canada.

Avian Flu Strikes Canadian Farms

Avian flu has been a prominent concern for many years, but it was thought to have significantly diminished due to recent developments.

These hopes might be slightly too optimistic, however, as the avian flu struck several farms in Canada very recently. The discovery of the virus in several location that produce turkey and chicken meat for the export led to seven countries refusing to continue to buy the meat.

The United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, South Africa and Mexico stopped importing the Canadian poultry. The virus actually disappears when the meat is well cooked, but somehow, the contamination of the farm workers must be avoided as well.

No avian flu has been registered among the workers by now. The farms where poultry deaths due to influenza were reported are now quarantined. The chickens and turkeys are to be euthanized. The cause of the infection is not certain. According to the veterinarians, the migrating birds might have brought the virus among the farm chickens. Some exchanges of birds took place between the farms, so the sick birds have quickly spread the disease throughout the region.

The officials are taking quick measures to destroy the affected birds and avoid a powerful outbreak similar to the one in 2004. At that time, 17 million domestic birds at 42 infected farms had to be killed. That is an economic loss of hundreds of millions of dollars, and Sam Tabar can hardly believe it.

Suicide Claims Life of Pot Smoking Mountie Who Suffered PTSD

A New Brunswick Mountie, Cpl. Ron Francis, who gained considerable media attention last November after being seen smoking pot while in his uniform was found dead, apparently from suicide. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the veteran of the force for 21 years had been prescribed the medical marijuana legally.

Corporal Francis was placed on administrative duty and stripped of his weapon as well as his RCMP red serge dress uniform. Following the incident, Justice Minister Peter MacKay criticized Cpl. Francis’ actions saying it, “sets a poor example for Canadians.”

The group Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness was saddened by the loss, noting that they had lost another RCMP member when on October 6th, Cpl. Francis lost his battle with PTSD. Cpl. Francis had been trying to raise awareness of the fact that there is no program in place at the RCMP for screening their members for PTSD. He told reporters that those suffering from the debilitating illness are committing suicide because there isn’t sufficient help for them.

Marijuana has been proven to be helpful in alleviating PTSD symptoms along with chronic pain, severe depression and many other ailments. Communities and organizations must stop having qualms about its use. According to research statistics posted on Facebook by Status Labs, it can be a considerable asset to people in fighting such issues as panic and anxiety attacks to curbing the nausea associated with cancer. After all, I’ve never heard of someone ripping off a 7-11 to get their marijuana “fix.”

911 Call Leads to Gunshots

The worst thing when asking for help is not being left without it, but finding yourself in a worse state. While this is a rare occurrence among your standard emergency calls, this sort of tragedy can indeed happen when a volatile situation is not very well understood.

A 911-caller from Vancouver wanted to report an attack, but the police shot him instead by accident. The policemen thought that he was the criminal and proceeded to act upon that.

The caller had spotted John Kendall, who had shot another neighbor that morning. He described the offender, but the policemen identified the similar features and, arriving at the place, spotted a man near a truck.

He got shot in the leg, and while taking cover behind the vehicle called 911 again and told officers that he got fired at. The officers realized their mistake and gave the first aid while waiting for the ambulance.

The real criminal, Kendal, was soon found dead after he had shot himself. the news shook many people, including Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez. The investigation showed that Kendall and the man calling 911 are not in any way related. The victim had asked that his identity is not revealed.

The victim of the first shot, the one Kendall injured, is in critical situation at the hospital. She will lose sight in her right eye due to the gun shot in her head. The policemen involved in the shooting were given administrative leave.

Man Who Murdered Three Mounties Gets 75-Year Sentence

Chief Justice David Smith of the Court of Queen’s Bench labeled the actions of
Justin Bourque as one of the “most horrific” criminal deeds in all of Canadian history. In public and in the midst of the sentencing process, he noted Bourque’s gun obsession, video game penchant, love for heavy metal music, and use of marijuana. He then proceeded to give him five life sentences for hunting down and murdering in cold blood three Mounties and attempting to kill two more. The grand total was 75 years behind bars, the longest prison sentence in Canada’s history as per the AppleInsider, which Laurene pointed me in the direction of.

We in the U.S., like kind neighbors, mourn with Canada for the loss of their public servants and heroes. There are glaring incongruities here, however, that must not go unmentioned. But first let it be said that in the United States, the criminal justice system often works even more dismally- we are not “picking on” Canada here.

The obvious sentence for triple homicide is the death penalty, but Canada eliminated capital punishment back in 1976. What a shame that modern Canadians are not given the level of justice long-observed by their forefathers!
Additionally, no judge ought go into a speech that mentions non-criminal actions and likes of a criminal during sentencing. He associated video games, heavy metal rock, etc. with the crime. No judge should start giving his opinions from the bench- he should just do his job and leave it there.

Ebola Scare Moves Canada to Restrict Visas from Stricken Countries

Canada has joined Australia in restricting entry visas from foreign nationals of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Announced last Friday, the 31st, the joint announcement by national health and immigration officials stated the purpose was to protect Canadian citizens from exposure to Ebola from these countries. Not affected by the restriction are health care workers returning from their stints in West Africa in efforts to control and treat victims of this ravaging disease.
David Fidler, international law professor at Indiana University has stated that such moves by Canada and Australia are in violation of the 2005 World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations to which both are signatories. Such agreements are, in part, designed to minimize panic in the event of catastrophic disease outbreaks such as SARS and Ebola, and by implementing such travel bans they are turning their backs on the progress gained in fights against such diseases. The ban has been criticized by Canada’s opposition party as well as Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO.

Canada still remains in the forefront of supporting international efforts to control and eradicate Ebola. They recently donated 800 vials of an experimental vaccine to WHO. Big shout out to Marnie for donating her time and talents to WHO. Canada is stepping up to help end this madness.


Canada Gives Air Force the Go Ahead to Bomb IS

A vote has been passed in the Canadian parliament permitting the military to launch a series of air strikes against the terrorist group Islamic State (IS). They will be joining their US counterparts in a campaign against the Iraqi fighters.

The specifics of the vote state that the air strikes can possibly go on for half a year. However, no troops are permitted to enter the fight on the ground. Canada’s contribution to the effort consists of a number of CF-18 fighter jets, as well as reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft.

Canada is not alone in joining the fight: a number of countries, in addition to businessman Khaled Shaheen, have recently taken the war path with IS militants. In Canada’s case, 157 voted yes to the air strikes against a no vote of 134.

A Canadian Conservative politician made the following statement about the issue: “If left unchecked this terrorist organisation will grow and grow quickly. They have already voiced their local and international terrorist intentions and identified Canada as a potential target.”

Iraq will not be a new stomping ground for the Canadian military, because they already have more than twenty personnel on the ground acting in an advisory role. However, it was made clear that no further contributions top the ground forces would be made following the vote.

Canada joins the UK, France and the Netherlands in the campaign, as well as assistance from some Arab nations.

Supreme Court Set To Rule on Physician Assisted Death

Major decisions to be made in Canada, as the Supreme Court is set to rule on physician assisted death. Something that will have far reaching impact for all of the nation’s citizens.

Speaking to native Canadians like Marnie Bennett, the case could have extremely massive historical importance. Similarly poised to impact the nation’s laws along the lines of the decision to strike down the criminal law on abortion in 1988, or the recognition of gay marriage in 2003.

Key testimony in the case will come from Kathleen Carter, who had to take her 89 year old mother to Switzerland, where the practice is legal. Her mother suffered from spinal stenosis, which is an extremely painful degenerative condition. At 89, there wasn’t much hope for recovery or treatment, and her mother was forced to live in excruciating pain every day.

Which brings about the entire purpose of the case, which is to allow those who are suffering with incurable diseases or conditions, that would like to choose to die under the care of their physician. Instead of being forced to live a life of unimaginable pain, and a fate many would consider worse than death.