GATINEAU, Que. – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada will release its report on the deadly Lac-Megantic train derailment later this month.
The TSB says it will hold a news conference in the Quebec town on Aug. 19.
BY THE NUMBERS: Lac-Megantic rail disaster
A train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic on July 6, 2013, wiping out dozens of buildings and killing 47 people.
Three employees of the now-insolvent Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, the company at the centre of the disaster, have each been charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death, one for each victim of the crash.
The MMA itself is also facing the same charges.
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With BBQ season in full swing, here’s hoping your summer so far has been filled with more good food and few food borne illnesses. It’s a fact that approximately one in eight people will get sick every year in Canada from poor food handling and preparation techniques. At 6:45 we’ll chat with Darren Leyte of Health Canada about tips for storing, cleaning, and grilling raw meat in order to prevent illness.
At 7:15 gardening expert Niki Jabbour will give us a tour of her own personal garden and provide us with some tips on how to keep plants growing throughout the summer months.
It’s a collection that will make sports fans rush to Costco and buy in bulk! Ontario based @PHGsports has set up shop at Costco in Dartmouth Crossing with hundreds of signed jerseys, helmets, and other items from some of the biggest names in sports past and present for sale for the next couple weeks. At 7:45 we’ll meet the man behind the memorabilia, Todd Rewakowski, who promises to bring along a replica of The Stanley Cup for us to check out.
At 8:15 we’ll get an update from Tim Rissesco from the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission who will tell us all about free fitness classes and other highlights planned for the rest of the summer.
Dylan Guthro is in it to win it! The musician just released a hot summertime single with Halifax rapper Quake and will be hosting a secret series of shows over the next eight weeks. Catch up with him while you can- Wednesday at 8:45!
TORONTO – Baby Gammy and his surrogate mom are garnering worldwide attention: an Australian couple allegedly abandoned the months-old baby with Down syndrome and a congenital heart condition, separating him from his healthy twin sister who they took back to Australia.
Now, Gammy’s in the care of his 21-year-old surrogate mom in Thailand.
“That could happen pretty much anywhere,” according to Sara Cohen, a fertility lawyer with Toronto’s Fertility Law Canada.
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“It’s a tragedy but it isn’t a widespread phenomenon – at least not in Canada,” Cohen told Global News.
READ MORE: Down syndrome baby boy abandoned by Australian parents in Thailand
Surrogacy involves a woman carrying an implanted embryo in order to give birth. It’s also expensive. There are medical fees, lawyer fees and other expenses you’re on the hook for when you look after a surrogate mom, fertility lawyer Sherry Levitan said.
Paying a woman to carry your child is illegal in Canada, but it is legal if rather than paying her directly, you cover any expenses related to the pregnancy: maternity clothes, multivitamins, health care services, child care, and time off work. Even small details are looked after – if the surrogate needs to drive across town to get to the doctor’s office, her gas mileage is covered too, for example.
“The only reason people go abroad is to save money,” Levitan said.
“It takes a lot of time and effort and there are protocols in place in Canada. If people want to short circuit the system, they’ll go abroad,” she explained.
READ MORE: Thai surrogate mom would be ‘happy’ to get twin back
In Pattaramon Chanbua’s case, reports say she was paid 300,000 Thai baht or $9,300. The entire process could cost couples at least $60,000 if they’re in Canada, Levitan said in comparison.
In the meantime, the 21-year-old food vendor says she didn’t receive the full payment she was promised. She told the Associated Press that she would be happy to have the boy’s healthy sibling returned to her.
“I want her back because she is my baby. She was in my womb,” Chanbua said.
“If she is happy, then I, as a mother, am also happy. I don’t want to bring her back to suffer or anything. A mother would never want her child in trouble,” she said.
Surrogacy involves placing some trust on both ends of the relationship, the experts say.
“I deal with the intended parents all the time and they’re always worried about the surrogate keeping the baby. Statistically, the worry is the other way around – she should worry,” Levitan said.
Under most provincial laws, the surrogate is presumed to be the child’s mother until the intended parents take custody of the baby. It’s a process they must initiate.
In Ontario, and depending on the case, the court can determine that a child was born through surrogacy, isn’t genetically related to the surrogate parent and has intended parents.
“The surrogate has to trust that no one is going to abandon her and they’ll take care of her. And the intended parents have to trust that she won’t want to keep the baby and will be making good choices all day, every day,” Cohen explained.
But the experts, both with decades of experience in their field, say that intended parents walking out on their child and surrogate mom is an anomaly.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the cases are happy,” Levitan said.
MADRID, Spain – Spain’s Defence Ministry says a medically-equipped Airbus 310 is ready to fly to Liberia to repatriate a Spanish missionary priest who has tested positive for the Ebola virus.
The ministry said Wednesday preparations for the flight are being finalized but it is not yet known at what time the plane would take off.
The priest, Miguel Pajares, is one of three missionaries being kept in isolation at the San Jose de Monrovia Hospital in Liberia who has tested positive for the virus, Spain’s San Juan de Dios hospital order, a Catholic humanitarian group that runs hospitals around the world, said Tuesday.
READ MORE: 2nd American with Ebola is weak but improving, her husband says
The other two infected aid workers were identified as Chantal Pascaline Mutwamene of Congo and Paciencia Melgar from Equatorial Guinea.
Three other missionaries tested negative.
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KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S. officials prepared Wednesday to fly the body of a two-star general slain in an Afghan “insider attack” back home, as a similar attack saw an Afghan police officer drug and shoot dead seven of his colleagues, authorities said.
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The investigation into the killing of Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, the highest-ranked U.S. officer to be slain in combat since 1970 in the Vietnam War, continued Wednesday without any clear answers into why a man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire. The shooting wounded about 15 people, including a German general and two Afghan generals.
In a statement, NATO said Greene’s body was being prepared to be flown to the U.S. via Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
READ MORE: Afghan attack kills US major general, wounds 15
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Maj. Gen. Greene’s family, and the families of our soldiers who were injured yesterday in the tragic events that took place in Kabul,” NATO said. “These soldiers were professionals, committed to the mission.”
Greene, a 34-year U.S. Army veteran, was the highest-ranked American officer killed in combat in the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. About half of the wounded in Tuesday’s attack at Marshal Fahim National Defence University were Americans, several of them reported to be in serious condition.
Early indications suggested the Afghan gunman who killed the American general was inside a building and fired indiscriminately from a window at the people gathered outside, a U.S. official said. There was no indication that Greene was specifically targeted, the U.S. official said. The official was not authorized to speak publicly by name about the incident and provided the information only on condition of anonymity.
The site of the attack is part of a military compound known as Camp Qargha, sometimes called “Sandhurst in the Sand”- referring to the famed British military academy – because British forces oversaw building the officer school and its training program.
The attack at underscored the tensions that persist as the U.S. and NATO troops’ combat role winds down in Afghanistan – and it wasn’t the only assault by an Afghan ally on coalition forces on Tuesday. In eastern Paktia province, an Afghan police guard exchanged fire with NATO troops near the governor’s office, provincial police said. The guard was killed in the gunfight.
A third “insider attack” happened late Tuesday in the Uruzgan provincial capital of Tirin Kot, where an Afghan police officer killed seven of his colleagues at a checkpoint, then stole their weapons and fled in a police car, provincial spokesman Doost Mohammad Nayab said.
A doctor at a local hospital told The Associated Press it appeared the police officer drugged his colleagues before the shooting. The doctor spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to release the information. Nayab later denied that the police officers had been drugged and said the officer involved had Taliban connections, without elaborating.
Asked if the shooting was linked to the attack that killed the U.S. general, authorities in Uruzgan said they had no information about it.
So-called “insider attacks” in Afghanistan rose sharply in 2012, with more than 60 coalition troops – mostly Americans – killed in 40-plus attacks that threatened to shatter all trust between Afghan and allied forces. U.S. commanders imposed a series of precautionary tactics and the number of such attacks declined sharply last year. In 2013, there were 16 deaths in 10 separate attacks.
Such “insider attacks” are sometimes claimed by the Taliban insurgency as proof of their infiltration. Others are attributed to personal disputes or resentment by Afghans who have soured on the continued international presence in their country more than a dozen years after the fall of the Taliban’s ultra-conservative Islamic regime.
Foreign aid workers, contractors, journalists and other civilians in Afghanistan are increasingly becoming targets of violence as the U.S.-led military coalition continues a withdrawal to be complete by the end of the year.
On Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid praised in a statement the “Afghan soldier” who killed Greene. He did not claim his group carried out the attack, although in the past the Taliban have encouraged such actions.
Watch above: SickKids doctors first in North American to perform a special non-invasive surgery. Crystal Goomansingh reports.
TORONTO – Doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto have removed a benign tumour from a 16-year-old boy’s leg bone using a cutting-edge heat procedure that does away with any form of invasive surgery.
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Jack Campanile of Brampton, Ont., is believed to be the first pediatric patient in North America to be treated using high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, to destroy the tumour, called an osteoid osteoma.
The procedure uses magnetic resonance imaging to precisely pinpoint the tumour, which is then zapped with heat-destroying ultrasound beams
“What’s unique about MRI-guided ultrasound is it’s completely non-invasive, so there’s no incisions,” said Dr. James Drake, who leads Sick Kids’ Centre for Image Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention.
“We can actually see what’s happening to the tissue adjacent to the bone, so we know we’re on target, and we can also tell the temperature we’re achieving is sufficient to destroy the lesion, but also not damage anything that’s nearby.”
READ MORE: How Canadian doctors are using an incisionless surgery to remove tumours
For almost a year, Jack had been suffering with severe pain in his upper leg, which woke him up in the night and often made it difficult to play some of the sports he loves: hockey, wakeboarding and snowboarding.
“It was like somebody Charlie-horsing me over and over again or somebody having my femur bone over top of their knee and trying to shape it into a hockey blade,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “I couldn’t sit still and on a scale of one to 10, it was definitely an eight or a nine.”
Prior to his July 17 ultrasound procedure, the Grade 11 student said he had been taking three or four ibuprofen tablets a day, and estimated he downed about 700 of the painkillers over the course of the year.
“It was like a painkiller schedule that I didn’t ask for.”
When he was presented with the idea of being treated with HIFU, he and his dad, Tony Campanile, embraced the idea because it was non-invasive. Jack’s mom, Robin Shupe, was initially unsure about the procedure, but said the team of specialists provided all the information she needed to quiet her concerns.
Treatment for the non-cancerous bone tumour used to involve open surgery to remove the tumour; that gave way to a less invasive treatment that uses radio frequency waves or laser energy delivered through a needle inserted though the skin and into the bone. But that widely used technique carries the risk of side-effects, including infection, burning of surrounding tissue and bone fracture.
HIFU has been employed for some time in Europe to treat osteoid osteoma, but in North America it is mostly used to remove uterine fibroids and malignant tumours that have spread to the bone.
Dr. Michael Temple, an interventional radiologist who led the team that performed Jack’s procedure, believes MRI-guided focused ultrasound represents a key step in the evolution of treatment for osteoid osteoma.
“The fact that we’ve moved from an open surgical procedure to a minimally invasive procedure to a completely non-invasive procedure is really why I think this treatment is important,” Temple said.
“We can now treat these tumours without making an incision. It’s actually our hope that we’ll be able to advance this technology to use it in different types of both benign and malignant diseases in children.”
Waking up at home the day after his procedure, Jack discovered his pain was gone – and it hasn’t come back.
“And that was it,” he said. “It felt like somebody flipped a switch, and it was gone.”
Shupe said after a year of seeing Jack in pain, the procedure restored her son to his old self almost immediately.
WATCH: The 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza is holding so far. The Egyptian-brokered truce, now into its second day, has remained intact, unlike several others before.
Israel’s PM blames Hamas for heavy civilian death toll in GazaTemporary cease-fire lasts through second dayEgyptian mediators shuttling between Israeli, Palestinian delegations in Cairo for talksGaza residents return to survey damage to their homes1,900 Palestinians reportedly dead; UN and Gaza human rights groups say over 75 per cent civilians, but Israeli military spokesperson suggests 900 Palestinian militants killed67 Israelis reportedly dead, all but 3 were soldiers
CAIRO, Egypt – Indirect Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over extending a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and ending a blockade of the battered territory got underway in Cairo on Wednesday, with both sides taking hard-line positions and much jockeying expected ahead.
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Israel wants the Islamic militant Hamas to disarm, or at least ensure it cannot re-arm, before considering the group’s demand that the territory’s borders be opened. Israel and Egypt imposed a closure after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, although Egypt allows individuals to cross intermittently.
“The two sides have reviewed what they consider as issues of concern,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said at a news conference, describing the matter as “complicated and not easy.”
Hazem Abu Shanab, a member of Fatah, one of the main factions involved in the talks, said disarmament would require Israel to pull out from occupied Palestinian territory.
“As long as there is occupation, there will be resistance and there will be weapons,” he said.
“The armament is linked to the occupation.”
Egyptian mediators have been shuttling between the delegations. An Egyptian airport official said the Israelis were back in Cairo Wednesday evening after flying out earlier in the day. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.
READ MORE: Israel, Hamas to negotiate Gaza border deal after truce
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri (R) meets with Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair (L) at the Foreign Ministry in Cairo on August 6, 2014. Blair, who represents the European Union, Russia, United Nations and United States, will hold talks with Egyptian officials to press for an end to the conflict.
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Israeli leader blames Hamas for heavy civilan death toll
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended Israel’s intense bombardment of Gaza, saying that despite the high civilian death toll it was a “justified” and “proportionate” response to Hamas attacks.
Speaking to international journalists, Netanyahu presented video footage he said showed militants firing rockets from areas near schools and Hamas deploying civilians as human shields.
“Our enemy is Hamas, our enemies are the other terrorist organizations trying to kill our people and we have taken extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties,” he said.
WATCH: Netanyahu blames high civilian death toll on Hamas
Conflicting death toll
The cease-fire is the longest lull in a war that has killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians. Israel has lost 67 people, including three civilians.
The UN and Gaza human rights groups monitoring the death toll have said more than 75 per cent of those killed in Gaza were civilians.
But an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said Tuesday that about 900 Palestinian militants had been killed by Israeli forces during the war.
Another military official had earlier told the AP that at least 300 militants were killed. Asked about the sharp jump in figures over just two days, Lerner said the figure of 900 militants killed was an approximation, based on reporting from individual Israeli units.
Hopes for extension of cease-fire
The Palestinian delegation in Cairo is composed of negotiators from all major factions, including Hamas, and is meeting with Egypt’s intelligence chief for briefings on Israel’s demands.
“The most important thing to us is removing the blockade and starting to reconstruct Gaza,” said Bassam Salhi, a Palestinian delegate. “There can be no deal without that.”
Shukri said he hoped the cease-fire, set to expire at 8 a.m. Friday (0500 GMT), would be extended, and an Egyptian security official said Cairo was pressing Israel for an extension.
There has been no official Israeli response, though an official at Netanyahu’s office said Israel has “no problem” with “unconditional extensions of the cease-fire.” He, like the Egyptian security official, spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Izzat al-Rishq, a senior Hamas member, told the Palestinian news agency that the delegation has yet to receive an answer to their demands and would condition any acceptance of an extended cease-fire on how the talks progress. “Our finger is on the trigger,” he said.
WATCH: Israeli troops continued to pull out of Gaza on Wednesday as a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that ended a month of fighting was holding for a second day
Possible solution emerges
While negotiations are still in the early stages, the outlines of a possible solution have emerged, including an internationally funded reconstruction of Gaza overseen by a Palestinian unity government led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Western-backed Abbas lost control of Gaza in the Hamas takeover of 2007.
In a step toward reconstruction, Norway is organizing a donor conference, tentatively set for the beginning of September.
Regarding an easing of the blockade, a statement by the Egyptian intelligence agency indicated Egypt would not agree to major changes at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, and the onus of lifting the border closure would fall on Israel.
“Israel is the one that sealed all the crossings from the Israeli side and it doesn’t allow commodities and goods or individuals to cross, aiming at besieging the strip and throw the whole responsibility on Egypt,” the statement said.
Cairo also refuses to open its border fully as long as Hamas, not the Palestinian authority led by Abbas, controls the Gaza side of the terminal.
The statement took aim at Hamas, saying it was not permitting its own wounded population to cross into Egypt. Hamas “continues to put obstacles in front of the families, allowing only its foreign members to cross while barring its Palestinian members under the pretext that Egypt is barring them,” it said.
Rafah is closed to commercial traffic and only individuals are permitted to cross, but Egypt has sharply restricted travel of Gaza residents over the past year and waiting lists have grown.
Shukri, the Egyptian foreign minister, said the talks were giving priority to the Israeli-controlled crossings and how to operate them to “meet the demands of the Palestinian people.”
Returning to damaged homes in Gaza
In Gaza, people took advantage on Wednesday of the calm to return to their devastated homes and inspect the damage.
People made their way over buckled roads, through dangling power lines and overturned trees to inspect their neighbourhoods. Along the way, rows of flattened buildings alternated with moderately damaged structures – and the rare unscathed building.
Utility crews were working frantically to repair downed electricity and telephone lines. Gaza’s only power plant was shut down after it was badly damaged by an Israeli attack and repairs are expected to take months, leaving the densely populated strip with only two to three hours of electricity a day, via Egypt and Israel.
Palestinian electricity company workers inspect power lines destroyed following an earlier Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 6, 2014, while Israeli and Palestinian delegations prepared for crunch talks in Cairo to try to extend the 72-hour truce.
SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images
How the most recent conflict started
The current round of confrontations began with the June 12 abduction-killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank, which Israel blamed on Hamas before launching a round-up of hundreds of its activists, a move followed by barrages of Gaza rocket fire on Israel.
Israel launched airstrikes on July 8 it said were aimed at stopping the rocket fire before expanding the operation on July 17 by sending in ground forces to destroy a network of tunnels used to stage attacks.
On Wednesday, Israel’s Justice Ministry said it had arrested Hussam al-Qawasmi, the suspected mastermind behind the killing of the Israeli teens, in July. He allegedly led a three-man cell, all of whom were affiliated with Hamas. The militant group has not claimed any connection to the teens’ abduction and killings.
TORONTO – If you want to improve your odds of getting a high-paying job after finishing your education, forget that English degree.
A new report by Workopolis suggests that nursing and pharmacy students are most likely to land employment in their field after graduation.
The study, which analyzed more than seven million resumes on the job search website, found that 97 per cent of those who studied nursing, whether it was at the bachelor, masters or PhD level, are working in jobs related to their education.
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Other degrees that showed the highest return included pharmacy (94 per cent); computer science (91 per cent); engineering (90 per cent) and human resources (88 per cent).
Although health care jobs may be the most plentiful, the study also looked at data from Statistics Canada and found that engineering jobs were the highest-paying.
Engineering graduates, on average, earned $76,000 as a starting salary, followed by healthcare graduates with $69,600; computer science graduates with $68,000 and law and math graduates with $67,600.
Tara Talbot, vice-president of human resources at Workopolis, says students need to follow their passions but should also be aware that their choice of study could affect how easy or difficult it will be to get a job.
READ MORE: How parents can help save for their child’s post-secondary education
“It’s an awareness,” Talbot says. “You want people to follow their passion, dig into something that energizes them. But I think they need to have a good sense of where that could lead.”
She says that it’s no wonder the jobs in highest demand are skilled positions in the health industry, given the age of the baby boom generation.
“With engineering, math and the financial field, those degrees tend to have a much more direct link to a career path.”
But Talbot adds that it’s also important to keep in mind that along with hard skills – like a specific degree or ability to operate certain programs and equipment – employers also value graduates with “soft skills” such as communication, teamwork and problem solving abilities.
“What I believe is that employers may not look just for someone with a degree in engineering,” said Talbot. “They look for people who have critical thinking skills, communicate well, and can problem solve. Often you get those through an education system… but also through experience.”
READ MORE: Need cash for university? How to budget and where to find free money
Meanwhile, the study also suggests that Canadians are more educated now than they were in 2000, even though the majority say their degrees are not relevant to their current jobs.
Workopolis found that 16 per cent more people list a bachelor’s degree as their top level of education on their resumes in 2014, compared with resumes in 2000. Forty-three per cent more Canadians have master’s degrees listed on their resumes versus those in 2000, while 25 per cent have listed a PhD than 14 years ago.
Despite spending longer in school, 73 per cent of those who recently answered a poll on the job site say their degrees are not related to their jobs. While more than half (56 per cent) believe they’re overeducated for their position.
More than 3,600 people participated in the poll, which was up on the job site from May 15 to June 2.
The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.”
WATCH: Big fears remain over the impact of the chemicals released into BC’s pristine waterways from the Mount Polley Mine tailings breach. John Daly has an update.
LIKELY, B.C. – The company that owns a gold and copper mine in British Columbia where a tailings pond burst, sending a massive wave of water and potentially toxic silt into surrounding waterways, has been formally ordered to clean up the site and prevent more material from escaping.
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Likely residents wait for water samples from Mount Polley mine disaster
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Residents calling it an environmental disaster: tailings pond breach at Mount Polley Mine near Likely, BC
But government officials acknowledged Wednesday they still didn’t know exactly what spilled out or how the breach will affect surrounding lakes and rivers, where salmon spawn, locals get their drinking water and tourism operators take their customers.
A tailings pond dam at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley Mine, about 600 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, failed on Monday, sending 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of toxic silt into Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake.
The breach prompted a ban on drinking or bathing in water from surrounding lakes and river, which was still in effect on Wednesday, though the company has insisted the water in the tailings pond was safe and the solids that spilled out were “relatively benign.”
The province’s Environment Ministry announced Wednesday that the company received a “pollution abatement order” a day earlier.
Under the terms of the order, Mount Polley Mine was required immediately take steps to prevent more waste from escaping into nearby creeks and lakes. The company was also ordered to conduct an environmental assessment and submit a clean-up action plan by Wednesday, with a more detailed plan due by the end of next week.
The province also ordered the company to provide a detailed assessment of the materials that were released, including the anticipated impact on the environment.
Mines Minister Bill Bennett said it was still too early to assess the potential impact of the spill, though he said that may change Thursday, when the first water-testing results were expected to be released.
“I am hopeful the company is correct in terms of what they say their records show (about what was) in the tailings and that will lead us to positive results, but I don’t know that,” said Bennett.
The minister promised a thorough investigation that will look at both the actions of the provincial government and the company.
“If the company has made some mistakes and is the cause of what happened, it will have to acknowledge that and it will have to bear the costs and responsibility for that,” said Bennett.
A summary of material dumped into the tailings pond filed last year with Environment Canada listed 326 tonnes of nickel, over 400,000 kilograms of arsenic, 177,000 kilograms of lead and 18,400 tonnes of copper and its compounds.
On Monday, the same day as the breach, the company sent the provincial government data about the tailings pond water, B.C.’s Environment Ministry said.
Tests indicated that levels of selenium exceeded drinking-water guidelines by almost three times and organic carbon concentrations exceeded guidelines for chlorinated water. The ministry also said nitrate, cadmium, copper, iron and selenium had exceeded aquatic life guidelines at least sporadically in recent years.
“The ministry would not say that (the water in the tailings pond), based on the characterization, had satisfied drinking water requirements,” said Jennifer McGuire of the B.C. Environment Ministry.
Company president Brian Kynoch apologized to local residents on Tuesday and appeared to downplay the potential dangers posed by the spill. He said the water released from the pond was very close to drinking water. He also said mercury had never been detected in the water and arsenic levels were low.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said the presence of heavy metals in the tailings could be devastating to salmon.
“I don’t think there’s any question that it’s absolutely catastrophic —it has the potential to devastate the wild salmon stock.
Quesnel Lake and the Quesnel River are considered important breeding grounds for wild salmon, as are other nearby creeks. The system eventually reaches the Fraser River.
“It couldn’t happen at a worse time: the Quesnel salmon run is expected to pass by in a couple of weeks,” said Phillip.
Craig Orr, the executive director of the group Watershed Watch, said he was skeptical of the claims by the company and the province.
“It’s a disaster, no question about it,” he said in an interview.
“There have been a lot of concerns about human health and drinking water, but a lot of concerns I’ve heard have been about the fish,”
Orr said debris could impede salmon migration, while heavy metals such as copper could either kill the salmon or harm the fish.
Sharon Borkowski and her husband own Northern Lights Lodge in Likely, offering cabin rentals and fly fishing trips. Last year, they began renting out the cabins to mine workers after officials with the Mount Polley Mine approached them with the offer of steady, year-round rentals.
The miners went home this week and Borkowski isn’t sure fishing tourists will return to the site of a major industrial accident to take the workers’ place.
“This affects us double,” said Borkowski.
Borkowski said she’s optimistic with the company’s statements that the water is safe, but she’s still waiting for the results of water quality testing, expected Thursday.
“When you see those aerial photos, it’s pretty devastating,” said Borkowski.
“Then (when the results are in) I will feel a little better, but long-term, I just don’t know. Until they get those results in, I don’t think they can tell you what effect it has.”
WATCH: After several deaths at music festival around the country, what should be done about so-called ‘party drugs’? Julia Foy reports.
Should B.C. change their approach to regulating “party drugs” at music festivals?
“We don’t seem persuade people to stop taking the pills,” laments Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall.
“People who take them run a risk because they don’t know what they’re getting, or what the components or dosage is.”
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Lynn Tolocka, a 24-year-old from Leduc, Alberta, collapsed and died from a suspected drug overdose during the Boonstock festival in Penticton last weekend. Last month, a 21-year-old man died at the Pemberton Musical Festival, where testing is still underway to determine cause of death.
READ MORE: Boonstock overdose victim identified
“People may think these party drugs aren’t drugs are addictive, they’re safe drugs,” says coroner Barb McLintock.
“They’re not safe drugs, because of people’s individual reactions, and they’re basically made by chemists at home, and you don’t know how good your chemist is.”
With the Squamish Valley Music Festival taking place this weekend, McLintock is warning people to stay hydrated.
“Some of the rave drugs, ecstasy in particular, the problems can exacerbated if you get dehydrated or very hot. And when you think about how hot it was last weekend, and maybe this weekend, the chances of heat making things worse are very high.”
Kendall says an experiment underway in New Zealand, where manufacturers can create synthetic drugs for “legal highs” if they’ve been clinically tested, is worth watching.
“Their concept was, if they can do that for alcohol, maybe we can do that for psychoactive drugs that are mildly stimulant…but where an appropriate dose won’t kill anybody.”
Kendall says anyone feeling sick or lightheaded during this weekend’s festival in Squamish should head to a medical tent right away.
WATCH: The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is underway in Edmonton. Tom Vernon has more.
EDMONTON – Some of the best female soccer players in the world are in Edmonton for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which kicked off on Tuesday.
Venue GM Trisa Zimmerman says it has been a long couple of weeks turning Commonwealth Stadium into a FIFA soccer venue. Now, that the work is done, she says the feedback has been very positive.
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Could Canada host the 2026 FIFA World Cup (and do we even want to)?
“The teams are very excited by the environment they’re going to be in, they’ve all done their official training now, so they’ve all had their opportunity to be on the pitch, be in the stadium, and I think we’re going to see some awesome soccer,” Zimmerman said.
Team USA, who will play two group stage games in Edmonton, certainly seemed impressed.
“It was gorgeous, it was absolutely gorgeous, and the girls loved the colour of the seats especially,” gushed head coach Michelle French.
“It was stunning,” added Andi Sullivan. “The field was amazing, the stands are beautiful, obviously the weather here in Edmonton is perfect for playing.”
This isn’t the first time this tournament has been held here. In 2002, Team Canada, led by Christine Sinclair, finished in second place, losing to the Americans in the final in front of more than 47,000 fans. It was a game widely viewed as a turning point for women’s soccer.
“Definitely the level of international soccer for women has increased since 2002,” said Zimmerman. “And I think Edmonton can take claim for this..it basically sky-rocketed women’s soccer onto the world stage.”
You can find more information about the event here.
The CN railway that passes through the Gitxsan First Nation territories will be shutting down, according to the Hereditary Chiefs’ negotiator.
“We have no choice but to go through with the eviction,” said Gwaans (Beverly Clifton Percival), the Gitxsan negotiator.
“We were being reasonable, we were allowing time to pass. The result was more of a non-response. This shows why this reconciliation is needed.”
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An eviction notice was given on July 9 to sports fisheries, forest companies and CN Rail, and Hereditary Chiefs voted unanimously on July 30 to enforce the notice.
At issue is the provincial negotiating agreements with the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum bands. The Gitxsan say those treaties took away land from their territory.
“Minister Rustad claims they are working with the Gitxsan on this, yet we have received what amounts to a non-response to our solution to the impasse” said Gwaans in a statement. “This is why the reconciliation process is not working in British Columbia. Despite court rulings there seems to be no willingness to follow the law.”
Gwaans would not say where they were planning on blocking rail lines, or how they would do so, only that “it will be seen in the coming hours.”
The Gitxsan also believe the provincial and federal governments need to do more to respect last month’s Tsilhqot’in Nation ruling by the Supreme Court, which broadly recognized aboriginal title to land.
READ MORE: Top court grants land title to B.C. First Nation
The Gitxsan territories comprise 33,000 square kilometre in northwestern B.C. They are roughly bordered by Smithers to the east, Terrace to the west, Iskut to the north, and Thudade and Bear Lake to the northeast.
Last month, the province offered $14 million to the Gitxsan to secure a pipeline right-of-way.
An outline of the 33,000 square kilometres of Gitxsan territory in B.C.