Wednesday August 6th on The Morning News – Halifax

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!

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Transport Safety Board’s Lac-Megantic report due in August

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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  • Lac-Megantic’s ‘train from hell’ goes on the auction block

  • 3 people, rail company face charges in Lac-Megantic railway disaster

  • Montrealers remember Lac-Megantic tragedy

  • Quebec gives more money to help Lac-Megantic

©2014The Canadian Press

Could a Canadian family abandon their baby carried by surrogate mom?

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.

– With files from the Associated Press

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Alberta’s household debt skyrocketing: BMO report

WATCH ABOVE: Household debt in Alberta is tens of thousands above the national average. Kendra Slugoski looks into why that is.

EDMONTON — A BMO report shows household debt in Alberta has exploded over the past year.

According to the report, Alberta’s household debt increased to $124,838 in 2014, up 40 percent from the previous year, and the highest in the country.

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“Albertans are facing serious consequences if they continue to increase their reliance on debt,” said Jeff Schwartz of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

“We have all seen the roller coaster economy in Alberta. A sudden job loss or reduction in income could seriously impact their ability to service their debts.”

The study also shows 50 per cent of Albertans carry credit-card debt; 53 per cent have mortgage debt; and 17 per cent have student loan debt.

“These statistics take into account homeowners and those people who don’t own a home,” said Schwartz. “Also, we must consider that these are just averages. So, that means there are a lot of Albertans who are dealing with a lot more than $125,000 in debt.”

Those nearing retirement age are in particularly danger, he said, because their incomes will soon decline, but debt-servicing costs  will remain the same.

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada offers several tips:

Use automatic payments: Taking the thought process out of paying your bills will allow you to stay on track and avoid missed payments.If you can afford to, increase payments to help pay down debt. It will help get you out of debt faster, and lower overall interest charges.Make a plan to get out of debt by creating a detailed budget. Track every nickel you spend and be frugal. Look for deals and discounts and refuse to purchase items you don’t need. Make budgeting and saving money a hobby and a habit.Change your lifestyle: Downsizing your home, selling your second car or even reducing your cable package will allow you to direct more money towards paying off debts.Avoid acquiring new debt.

Average Household Debt:

Province                                     2013                  2014            % change

Alberta                                      $89,026          $124,838            40.2
British Columbia                      $79,089          $99,834              26.2
Manitoba/Saskatchewan           $82,100          $68,437             -16.6
Ontario                                      $76,970          $67,507             -12.3
Quebec                                      $56,860          $59,805               5.2
Atlantic Canada                        $47,237          $64,120              35.7
National average                       $72,045           $76,140               5.7

Danish tourists say they are ‘horrified’ by Canadian car culture

Watch: The Morning Show discussion on an open letter by a Danish tourist saying Canadians are dependent on cars.

TORONTO – Two Danish tourists are honking mad with Canada over what they perceive as a dependence on motor vehicles and what they describe as “unfulfilled communities.”

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  • To bike, or not to bike?

  • City opens new downtown bike lanes on Richmond St. and Adelaide St.

  • City admits ‘we could have planned better’ before implementing bike lanes

English-born Holly Chabowski, 30, and her Danish girlfriend Nanna Sorensen, 23, are calling out Canadians after a recent trip left them “horrified to see great oceans of car parks deserting the landscape and 12 lane high ways (sic), rammed packed with huge SUVs, with people going nowhere.”

Chabowski sent an open letter to the Ottawa Citizen and several politicians –including Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt – after a recent trip to Canada left them with memories of traffic congestion, concrete landscapes and choking, smoggy air.

INTERACTIVE: Why College Street is Toronto cyclists’ ‘dooring zone’

Chabowski said she was inspired to write the letter because she feels strongly on the issues of sustainability and sustainable transportation.

“It is not just a car thing. I think it was more the lack of options that kind of struck me,” Chabowski told Global News, via Skype. “We did rent a car to go to the parks, but there didn’t seem to be any other options that were safe, convenient, or cheap.”

Chabowski and her girlfriend, who live in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, said she hopes her letter inspires others to speak out on issues they care about.

“I think people should stand up for the things, where or not you disagree. I hope people channel those energies into speaking with politicians,” she said.

The duo visited Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax during their five-week vacation.

Although Chabowski  says the trip was an “incredible adventure” where they met “the most wonderful Canadians” the couple were left with the impression they were “treated like second class citizens compared to cars.”

Along their journey they also compiled a few testimonials to back up their observations.

“Trying to solve traffic problems by building more roads is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger trousers,” said one unnamed Ottawa source.

The couple did note as they explored more of the country it appeared some cities were “making an effort to make life livable” through bike lanes, small businesses, and more accessible streets for pedestrians.

“It felt like a token gesture rather than a genuine effort to make Canada a healthy, happy and sustainable country,” Chabowski wrote. “We heard that the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, is actually tearing up bicycle lanes to make way for more cars!”

READ MORE: ‘I flew over his door and hit my head’: Your dooring horror stories

Chabowski will perhaps be encouraged to learn Toronto has recently launched a pilot project adding bike lanes to the Richmond-Adelaide area.

Denmark is well-known for its cycling culture with roughly 10,000 kilometres of national biking routes according to a Danish government website.

And while Canada may not have a comparable national cycling strategy, Quebec has “La Route Verte” a network of over 5,000 km of bike paths across the province.

Chabowski’s letter also makes no mention of western Canada, where Calgary, for example, has unveiled plans for more cycling infrastructure. Vancouver already has a series of separated bike lanes.

The letter ends by encouraging Canada to take “radical steps” to turn itself into “the healthy, happy and sustainable country we were expecting.”

“When tourists visit Canada make sure they remember it for for its parks rather than parking,” she said.

But Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson suggested it’s impossible to compare Canada to Copenhagen.

“We’re 32 times the land mass of Copenhagen. So a lot of us use cars and we need parking spots and you can’t put public transit in every square inch of a city as large as Ottawa,” Watson said.

*With files from Global’s Jackson Proskow

Below is the full text of the open letter:

An open letter to the people who hold power and responsibility in Canada,

My girlfriend and I (Danish) were tourists in your country for 5 weeks this summer. We had the most incredible adventure and met the most wonderful Canadians, who welcomed us warmly into their homes.

Apart from these people, who sincerely do your nation credit, our overwhelming memory of Canada is one of cars, traffic, parking and the related obesity and unfulfilled communities. It is an impression that we have since shared with other tourists who have visited Canada.

Before arriving in Canada we had a genuine impression of a clean, healthy and sustainable first world country. Upon arrival in Toronto we were horrified to see great oceans of car parks deserting the landscape and 12 lane high ways, rammed packed with huge SUVs, with people going no where. A greater shock came when we discovered that this kind of infrastructure is not reserved just for the sprawl surrounding towns and cities but that highways actually run through city centres too. As humans trying to enjoy Canada’s major cities (Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Halifax) we were treated like second class citizens compared to cars. The air was dirty, and the constant noise from horns and engines was unpleasant.

An observation that was especially noticeable in Halifax was the sheer amount of land in the city centre given to parking. Ginormous swaths of prime locations for living (parks, shops, cafés, market squares, theatres, playing fields etc – human activities which are key to quality of life) concreted over as homes for an ever increasing number of SUVs (most trucks and SUVs we saw contained only one person. The most SUVs we saw in a row were full of singular people driving through Tim Hortens). We asked the Canadians that we met how they felt living in such a car culture, here are a few of their responses:

‘Trying to solve traffic problems by building more roads is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger trousers.’ Ottawa

‘It’s only 10km to my work place. I would love to cycle, it would only take 30 minutes but it is simply not possible. I don’t feel safe. Instead I park and sweat, meaning after 25 minutes stuck in traffic I drive my car to the gym and waste another 25 minutes of time I could spend with my family.’ Quebec City

‘I hate cars in the city so much that I actually find myself slowing down as I cross the road, in a tiny effort to exert my authority as a human being over all that metal.’ Toronto

‘It seems to me that birds fly, fish swim and humans walk. Except in North America where you are expected to drive-everywhere. You wouldn’t put a fish in a submarine!’ Montreal

‘I am obese. My children are overweight and most of the people who live around here. I am surrounded by fast food chains, car parks and highways. I would love to ditch the car. My neighbourhood doesn’t even have sidewalks.’ Levis

As we explored more of the country we tried to console ourselves that at least a few cities were making an effort to make life liveable for humans – small local businesses, cycle infrastructure and pedestrianised streets. However, it felt like a token gesture rather than a genuine effort to make Canada a healthy, happy and sustainable country. Pedestrians were squeezed onto narrow pavements and forced to stop every 100m to cross the road, bike lanes were little more than paint on the ground for the cyclists to help protect the parked cars lining every street. We heard that the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, is actually tearing up bicycle lanes to make way for more cars!

Walking and cycling are human activities that bring great life, health and economy to communities. Streets that prioritise cars over humans are bad for business, bad for health (mental, social and physical), unsafe and break down communities.

I write this letter to appeal to you to take radical steps to transform Canada into the healthy, happy and sustainable country we were expecting. You are a nation of the most fantastic people, we know because we met them everywhere! As citizens they deserve much, much better.

Come on Canada! When tourists visit Canada make sure they remember it for for its parks rather than parking.

Sincerely yours,
Holly Chabowski

Paralympic champion Valerie Grand’Maison retires from swimming – Montreal

MONTREAL – Canadian swimmer Valerie Grand’Maison has announced her retirement after winning nine Paralympic medals, including four gold.

The 25-year-old from Montreal also earned three gold medals and a silver medal at last year’s International Paralympic Committee world swim championships in her hometown.

She retires holding world records in the 200-metre individual medley and 400-metre freestyle for the S13 classification, which is for visually-impaired athletes.

Canada’s Valerie Grand Maison celebrates her gold medal in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S13 final at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games in Beijing Wednesday Sept 10, 2008.

Greg Baker/The Canadian Press

“After much soul searching, I am confident that my swimming career has come to an end,” Grand’Maison said Tuesday in a statement from Swimming Canada.

Grand’Maison struggled through a shoulder injury prior to the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, yet she won gold in the 200 I.M. in world-record time. She also collected silver in both the 100-metre and 50-metre freestyle.

She led a Canadian sweep of the 100-metre butterfly at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. She also won the 100-metre and 400-metre freestyle.

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©2014The Canadian Press

Edmonton’s growing population helping local festival – Edmonton

EDMONTON – The 39th annual Servus Heritage Festival is being deemed a major success by those responsible for putting the event together.

Organizers estimate 360,000 to 380,000 people attended this year’s festival, which is equal to last year’s record breaking number.

“Day one and day two were on par with last year. Day three looks like it’s going to be on par too,” said Jack Little, Servus Heritage Festival Executive Director.

Sixty pavilions filled Hawrelak Park for this year’s festival.

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    Heritage Festival’s many offerings

    Lorraine on Location: Servus Heritage Festival

Little believes there is still room to grow the quality of the event but not the size.

“People want to add an extra tent in here, and they got to realize we’re in a park, and we have trees and stones and roads. So that’s been a huge problem. So the growth has really stymied now. We’re pretty well finished growing.”

Little said festival-goers did their part to make it a more enjoyable experience this year by purchasing tickets in advance which helped them avoid long lines.

“They seemed to have really smartened-up.”

The three day festival also serves as the largest donation drive for Edmonton’s Food Bank, and the organization believes they surpassed their donation goal of 50,000 kilograms of food.

“People tend to think of us at Christmas or festive times of the year, but the need for Food Bank services is all year round. So the food that’s collected at this particular event helps stabilize us, provide us with those non perishable food items that we need heading into the fall,” said Marjorie Bencz, Edmonton Food Bank.

Planning has already begun for next year’s Servus Heritage Festival which will mark the 40th edition.

UPDATE: Accident sends two to hospital, shuts down Highway 97 for 7 hours – Okanagan

LAKE COUNTRY, B.C. – UPDATE 12:30 p.m. to include witness account:

An accident involving high speed on Highway 97 shut down the route for more than seven hours early Tuesday morning.

The collision between a Cadillac and Chevy truck hauling a trailer happened on a four lane stretch near the Beaver Lake Road intersection at Lake Country at 10:15 p.m.

RCMP say the Cadillac lost control on a curve and crossed into oncoming lanes. Alcohol was not a factor, according to RCMP.

According to witnesses, the white Cadillac was seen travelling northbound on the highway at a high rate of speed right before the crash, say police.

“That Cadillac passed us around Duck Lake, going at least 150-160 km/hr,” says a comment from Nicky Dooley Brown on the Global Okanagan Facebook page. “(He was swerving in and out of traffic). We were in the right hand lane, and he came up behind us and swerved out into the left lane, speeding past us and back into our lane. Then he did the same to the other vehicle ahead of us.”

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Dooley Brown goes on to post, “Approximately 45 seconds later we came into Winfield where the speed limit drops to 70 and then 50 and saw he had crashed into the pick up. A tire was rolling in the middle of the road, and the vehicles were still steaming/smoking and leaking fluids. He was driving like an asshat, so we hope no one in the truck was injured. His vehicle is clearly totaled, but he needs his license revoked. There’s no reason to drive like a maniac. He’s lucky he didn’t kill someone — but we still don’t know what happened to the person/people in the pick up truck.”

Both men in the Cadillac were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, with the passenger sustaining more serious injuries.

A 24-year-old Alberta man could face potential dangerous driving charges.

Police spent the night investigating the accident scene, keeping the highway closed until about 6 a.m.

WATCH: UFC champ Jon Jones brawls with opponent at pre-fight press conference – National

Under normal circumstances, the headline “Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier engage in wild fight” would make UFC brass very happy.

Unfortunately, those “normal circumstances” involve said fight happening live on Pay-Per-View – and not at a pre-fight media event.

But that’s exactly what happened Monday at the MGM Grand when a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) press conference ended in a wild brawl.

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UFC Light-Heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Daniel Cormier were on hand to promote their upcoming world title fight in Las Vegas on September 27.

The formula for these type of events is simple: following questions from the media, champion and challenger generally pose for a “face-to-face” photo op for the gathered cameras.

It’s tough to determine exactly where the event went off the rails, but Cormier evidently didn’t like Jones’ proximity during their faceoff, forcefully shoving him backwards.

That set off Jones, who responded by lunging back at Cormier.

Caught in the fray was UFC Director of Communications Dave Sholler, who tried desperately to separate two men.

Unfortunately for him, Sholler was swatted aside with ease by the 6’4, 220-pound plus UFC champion, and sent tumbling into the banner behind the stage with enough force to send the whole thing crashing down.

Jones then tore into Cormier, with both men throwing punches and falling to the floor as security tried to separate the two men.

Speaking to ESPN shortly after the brawl, Jones apologized for the incident, but said his actions were justified.

“I’ve never had a fighter but his hands on me while squeezing my throat,” Jones said. “I reacted in self-defence by beating up Daniel.”

Cormier, who openly snickered throughout the champion’s remarks, accused Jon of instigating the fight and of being insincere in his apology.

“Hey I’m glad he apologized, and I apologize for our actions, but it’s so fake,” Cormier said. “Jon Jones is a fake individual and a fake person.”

Jones (20-1) is the most dominant champion in Mixed Martial arts today. He is currently riding an 11-fight winning streak, including nine straight victories in world title fights.

But the undefeated Cormier (15-0) may be his toughest test to date. An elite amateur wrestler, Cormier has been a member of two US Olympic wrestling teams, as well as winning two gold medals in freestyle wrestling at the Pan Am games.

The two men have taken plenty of shots at each other over social media and in interviews in recent days, since it was announced Cormier would be stepping in for the injured Alexander Gustafsson as Jones’ next title challenger.

And it didn’t stop post-brawl either, with both men continuing the trash talk on 桑拿会所.

Lost in all the hubbub was the usually-vocal UFC President Dana White, who happened to be taking the first day of his vacation Monday when the brawl took place.

Ontario will treat children injured in Gaza, Health Minister says – Toronto

TORONTO – The Ontario government is willing to provide medical care to 100 injured children from Gaza, it said Tuesday – several days after a Palestinian-Canadian doctor made a public plea to bring kids to Canada for treatment.

Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins issued a statement Tuesday morning arguing the province has a “moral responsibility” to help the injured children, whether Israeli or Palestinian.

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  • Israel, Hamas to negotiate Gaza border deal after truce

“We received a formal request from Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish to make the necessary resources available to allow our hospitals to support kids who need medical attention due the conflict,” Hoskins said in the statement.

“We have engaged with our partners in the health system and are pleased to do what we can to help meet the needs of any child, whether Palestinian or Israeli.”

Abuelaish is a Palestinian-born doctor who worked at an Israeli hospital. He’s the author of “I Shall Not Hate,” a book written after three of his children were killed in 2009 from the shelling of an Israeli tank in Gaza.

He’s now an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and wants to bring 100 injured children from Gaza to Ontario for medical treatment.

Watch: (Aug. 1) Sean Mallen talks to Dr. Abuelaish about trying to bring wounded children to Ontario. 

The McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, the Kingston General Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, The Hospital of Sick Children and the London Health Sciences Centre have all offered to treat the children.

Israel and Hamas paused cross-border attacks Tuesday as a three-day ceasefire took effect at approximately 8 a.m.

Sixty-seven Israelis and 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in almost a month of fighting in the region, according to Israeli and Gazan health officials, respectively.

It’s not yet clear how the children would be transported from Gaza to Ontario.

Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement it is “consulting with our partners to determine how best we can provide assistance to victims of Hamas.”

Watch: 16×9 story on Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.