Tailings pond breach has local eco-tour operators concerned – BC

Eco-tour operators in the area of the tailings pond breach at Mount Polley are raising the alarm about the impact on their business.

It is estimated ten million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of toxic waste — equivalent to 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools — has spilled into Hazeltine Creek, Quesnel Lake and Polley Lake.

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The exact quantities of water and tailings spilled have not yet been determined and according to Imperial Metals Corporation statement they are working to mitigate the immediate impact of the tailings breach. The company claims the tailings pond breach has now stabilized.

But some of the local residents are calling it an environmental disaster.

Gary Zorn owns an eco tourism business in the area.

Ecotours BC specializes in bear and wildfire viewing.

Zorn says they are already getting phone calls from concerned eco-tour operators who want to know the extent of the damage and potential risks for their clients.

“It is going to be like Chernobyl. What tourist goes there to visit?” says Zorn. “Quesnel Lake is likely going to have that name to it here. The area is just total devastation. It is a huge wilderness area, but what happened is going to be a stereotype, that is the problem.”

Zorn says he has been in tourism business for over 30 years and his business attracts eco-tourists from all over the world.

“When we went up there yesterday, we looked at it and saw dead fish floating. We just could not believe our eyes.”

Zorn says residents have been reassured nothing of this magnitude would ever happen.

“The sad part of this is – they can drive away from it and we are stuck with it.”

He says he wants government and mine representatives to begin the cleanup as soon as possible.

He says so far, there’s been no communication from either side.

“I would like to see the government and Mount Polley come forward and assess the damage. Nobody has spoken with us.”

While scientists and conservationists say the total extent of damage from the tailings pond breach at Mount Polley won’t be known for weeks, the impact could be widespread.

A report from Environment Canada issued last year shows the disposals at the mine included lead, arsenic, zinc, mercury and phosphorus among many other elements.

“It could take anything from weeks to decades to recover, depending on the scale of this,” says Phil Owens, a member of the Quesnel River Research Centre.

There are concerns around the debris and chemicals from the tailing ponds coming down into Quesnel Lake. Others fear the billions of litres of contaminated water could pollute other water ways in the area.

It came from Lake Erie: Why toxic algae’s a nightmare for Canada, too

It’s slimy, green and threatened the water supply for hundreds of thousands. Next year, it could be millions.

But this aquatic supervillian should be familiar to Lake Erie residents on both sides of the border by now: The toxic algae – which contains Microcystis, a cyanobacteria toxic to humans and wildlife – has been a menace of various degrees for years.

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And even though Canadians weren’t directly affected by the tap water ban in Toledo, Ohio – lifted on Monday  – they shouldn’t feel so relieved.

Canadian shorelines are just as vulnerable to the algae bloom, says Raj Bejankiwar, a physical scientist with the International Joint Commission, an agency made up of both Canadian and U.S. officials. He said Canada may yet be affected by algal blooms starting this month and next.

“It is a issue of concern for both Canadian and U.S. [citizens] who are withdrawing water from, especially on the Western basin, of Lake Erie.”

Just ask Pelee Islanders, who were forbidden from drinking, bathing or cooking with tap water contaminated by a toxic algae bloom in 2009.

What’s going on?

Lake Erie is the shallowest of all the Great Lakes, exposing it to algae blooms as it warms faster than deeper lakes. It’s also the second-most populous of the Great Lakes, according to the  Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, with 11.6 million people ringing its shores.

In warmer months the algae blooms create a thick surface layer in the lakes, choking the deeper water, creating a condition called hypoxia. As the algae decays it depletes the oxygen in the deeper water, creating a “dead zone”, making it impossible for most fish and wildlife to survive. Climate change can extend the time that hypoxic conditions occur as warmer weather starts earlier and ends later in the season than normal, according to the Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority (LEEP), which the International Joint Commission created in 2011 as a result of the largest algae bloom ever recorded – stretching 5,000 square kilometres.

Free-floating algae mats grow in its western basin; in its Eastern basin, large blooms along the shoreline clog water intake, decrease water quality and pose of health risk to humans, pets and wildlife.

Algae blooms can expose humans and animals to toxins causing skin rashes, headaches, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and liver failure.

Why is this happening?

Phosphorous – found in fertilizer, among other things – is the leading factor behind growing algae blooms. It gets washed into the lake via fertilized farmlands, lawns and gardens, construction, stormwater runoff, deciduous tree leaves and pet waste.

But it’s not that people are using more of it, Bejankiwar says: Heavy bursts of rainfall – more common thanks to climate change -are overpowering agricultural and sewage infrastructure, meaning more phosphorous runoff.

This photo of the record-setting 2011 Lake Erie algae bloom was taken in August of that year along the southeast shore of Pelee Island, Ontario.

Tom Archer, handout

What are we doing about it?

A report this past February called on the U.S. and Canadian governments to come up with a joint plan to stop the algae blooms. The report’s 15 recommendations include regulations limiting the amount of phosphorus use and giving farmers a better alternative, as well as boosting monitoring.

There are mechanical ways to clean up the algae in small bodies of water -using using nets or chemicals, for example – but “that’s almost a band-aid approach,” Bejankiwar says. It won’t work in a body of water as big as Lake Erie.

Bejankiwar hasn’t seen any action from the Canadian government in response to the recommendations, but he’s confident that the government will act eventually.

Governments on both sides of the border have a lot on the line when it comes to cleaning up the lake, he said: The Great Lakes Restorative Initiative is a collaboration between the U.S. and Canadian governments to focus on the main threats to the Great Lakes’ ecosystem health. The Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative provides $16 million in funding to address recurrent algae problem in the Great Lakes and will focus on Lake Erie.

READ: The February 2014 report on how to reduce toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie

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What you need to know about concerns over Facebook’s Messenger app

Watch above: Here’s what you need to know about Facebook’s new messenger app. Sean O’Shea reports. 

TORONTO – If Facebook’s controversial emotion manipulation study didn’t have you up in arms about the site’s privacy practices, then perhaps concerns surrounding the social network’s Messenger app will.

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Over the past week, an article citing the invasive permissions listed in the Facebook Messenger app’s Terms of Service started going viral.

Though the article – written by marketing expert Sam Fiorella for Huffington Post – was published in 2013, its revelations spread like wild fire recently due to Facebook’s announcement that all users will be forced to download the standalone app if they wish to send and receive private messages on their mobile devices.

READ MORE: Is Facebook’s Messenger app as scary as it sounds?

But the app requests a number of “insidious” (in Fiorella’s words) permissions, including the power to make phone calls and send text messages without the user knowing.

Here are some of the most alarming permissions outlined in the app’s terms of service: 

Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others.

Other things listed in the permissions includes the ability to change the state of the network connectivity, ability to read the phone’s call logs, read data about contacts and access a list of accounts stored in the phone’s memory.

And while Facebook may have legitimate reasons for accessing something like your phone’s camera – let’s say, if you want to send your friend a selfie – the statement “this permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation,” does sound alarming.

READ MORE: Will Facebook lose users over its emotion manipulation study?

But these revelations aren’t new. In fact, if you have already installed the Messenger app on your smartphone you have already agreed to these terms.

The concern is that now Facebook is forcing users to download the Messenger app to send and receive messages from their Friends.

Those who have not yet downloaded the Messenger app will start receiving notifications on their devices asking them to download the app any day now.

Eventually, the social network will prevent users from sending messages through the Facebook mobile app – forcing the user to download Messenger if they chose to communicate that way.

But Messenger isn’t the only app with invasive terms.

According to the Washington Post, fitness app RunKeeper asks for permission to access your phone’s contacts and call logs, while WeatherBug wants permission to view your Wi-Fi network and other devices connected to it.

Even Kim Kardashian’s new app asks for personal data – Kim Kardashian: Hollywood tracks your location, device ID and incoming calls.

Yet despite this, some studies say less than ten per cent of web users actually read the terms of service agreements in full when downloading an app or signing up for a website.

UPDATE (Aug. 6): Many of the concerns surrounding Messenger’s app stem from the Android version.

On Android, users must agree to the permissions immediately after downloading an app – so the user sees requests for permission to “allow the app to record audio,” for example, before they may know there is an audio recording feature.

This is quite different from iOS, which asks the user to grant permission to use features as they try to access them in the app. For example, the first time the user taps on the audio recording feature in Messenger they receive a message that reads, “Messenger would like to access your microphone.”

Winnipeg school board candidate touts abstinence-only sex education – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – A Manitoba Progressive Conservative youth leader and school board candidate has ignited an online backlash for saying she supports abstinence-only sex education.

Candace Maxymowich issued several social conservative messages on 桑拿会所 on Monday and Tuesday, including mentions of pro-life organizations. The 20-year-old, who is running to be a public school board trustee in the Louis Riel school division in Winnipeg, garnered the most controversy with a tweet about sex ed.

“Personally, I do not support sex education other than abstinence,” it read.

Another tweet referred to the “moral integrity” of children.

The online response was immediate. Many commenters called her views backward and argued that teens need to be educated about contraception to prevent pregnancy and disease

“Are we going back to the Dark Age?” read one comment.

Maxymowich said she was not trying to campaign on the issue and was only expressing her personal opinion.

“There are certainly issues relating to family values and religious freedoms in schools that I think school trustee candidates shouldn’t really shy away from,” she said in an interview.

“If I were to be elected, I’m not necessarily going to be pushing for that in our schools.”

Manitoba’s public-school curriculum does tout abstinence as the safest method of prevention. But it also educates high school students about various contraception methods, such as the proper way to wear a condom. There is also a provision that allows parents to have their kids opt out of some material due to religious or cultural beliefs.

“Some school divisions in Manitoba refer to ‘abstinence plus’ education for students, as it is considered prudent to inform students of any birth-control methods … and address the advantages and disadvantages to maximize safety and reduce harm for those students who have or may become sexually active,” Rachel Morgan, press secretary to Education Minister James Allum, wrote in an email.

Maxymowich sits on the provincial Tory board of directors as the party’s youth representative. She took on the role in 2013, after her predecessor, Braydon Mazurkiewich was ousted for making racist comments on Facebook about aboriginals.

Mazurkiewich was criticizing a planned urban reserve on an old military base and said the area was being given to “freeloading Indians.” He resigned a few hours later after pressure from party officials.

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No need for exotic pets in province: N.B. SPCA – New Brunswick

FREDERICTON, N.B. – On the one year anniversary of the shocking deaths of two young boys in Campbellton, N.B., the executive director of the New Brunswick SPCA said he hopes a task force will spark some changes when it comes to keeping exotic animals as pets in the province.

Hilary Howe was asked last month to join the task force meant to review the province’s exotic pet rules and regulations.

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The task force was spurred after an African Rock Python claimed the lives of Noah and Connor Barthe; the brothers were killed when a python escaped its enclosure and asphyxiated the boys while they slept.

“The tragedy just struck home big time,” Howes said. “It was just such a surprise that anything like that could happen in New Brunswick.”

The task force’s mandate will be to review existing legislation in the province, including the Fish and Wildlife Act, to see if amendments are needed.

Howe said he’s looking to make it safer for people to be in a home where an exotic animal is being kept.

“I actually would like to see them all excluded from New Brunswick. There’s really no reason to own venomous snakes and lizards, scorpions and spiders,” he said. “There’s always too great a risk that these things can get out and hurt somebody.”

Liberal MLA Donald Arseneault says he would like to see an external review of the Department of Natural Resources and of everyone involved in the case.

“There’s no doubt in this situation, the owner had a reptile that was not allowed in New Brunswick, and he had it for quite some time,” Areseault said in a telephone interview with Global News. “So something, somewhere has faltered.”

“We owe it to Noah and Connor to make sure it never happens again.”

Since 1992, African rock pythons have been banned in New Brunswick unless a permit is obtained. Only accredited zoos can obtain such a permit.

A total of 23 reptiles banned in New Brunswick were seized from the pet shop after the boys’ deaths. Four American alligators that were also taken from the store were euthanized.

The task force is scheduled to meet for the first time August 21. The investigation into the Campbellton case is now in the hands of the Crown Prosecutor in Edmundston, N.B.

Nova Scotia man hopes rocket company lifts off – Halifax

HALIFAX – A Nova Scotia man is shooting for the stars and trying to develop the country’s first orbital launch vehicles to deliver satellites into outer space.

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On Tuesday, 22-year old Tyler Reyno of Halifax launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Open Space Orbital, a private company to be based in Halifax — with a manufacturing and engineering hub in Alder Point, Cape Breton — that would send satellites into space, via a rocket, in a cost-effective manner.

“I noticed there was this very large gap in the growing space industry,” said Reyno, who is the founder and CEO of Open Space. “We have all these satellites being developed and plan to be developed and no real rockets to deliver them into space.”

Reyno wants to raise $100,000 to develop and design a prototype of a rocket, which would be called Neutrino 1, conduct market analysis and cover costs related to permits.

He estimates the final price tag on his venture to be approximately $50 million.

Reyno said the company is meant to appeal to anyone interested in sending a satellite to outer space.

“We’re really the transportation that gets [the satellites] there,” he said, adding the functions of the satellites could include taking pictures of Earth, remote sensing, surveillance and communications.

“It’s very, very difficult for universities, small companies private institutions, public institutions to get devices, instruments into space these days at a reasonable cost,” said Tony Goode, an aerospace consultant and board member of Open Space.

“We do have a lot of great academic institutes, great companies developing these satellites but what typically happens is they either can’t afford the costs associated with launching into space or they have to piggy back, so to speak, on another satellite’s launch into space, which doesn’t guarantee it will be placed in the right orbit,” Reyno said.

Tyler Reyno is the founder and CEO of Open Space Orbital Inc.

Julia Wong/Global News

Reyno said he wants Open Space to make space accessible to the public.

“What we’re trying to do is lower the cost of a launch, such that it will be more in reach for people,” he said.

He thinks the company can help fill the void left by government.

“We’re very confident we can do this. We have the expertise it takes to make this happen. We know exactly how we’re supposed to achieve our goal and like most things in the space industry, it really comes down to money,” Reyno said.

“I know more than enough about the industry to understand there is a huge gap at the moment in terms of delivery systems up into space,” said Goode.

“The joy of private enterprise is you can do it efficiently and cost effectively without all the bureaucracy, without all the overhead that goes into having to deal with a government department.”

Reyno said the venture could make Canada more competitive in space.

“When a nation has this sort of capability, I find it really demonstrates dominance. It’s indicative of technological advancement, indicative of innovation and it’s definitely a sign that country is willing to take risks,” he said.

James Drummond, a physics professor at Dalhousie University and Canada Research Char in Remote Sounding of Atmospheres, has two satellites in orbit right now.

Drummond, who is in the research, not commercial, side of the space business, worked on the MOPITT and SCISAT satellites. Both were launched with the help of NASA.

He said a company like Open Space may draw interest from academics.

“It would be nice if we had our own capability,” Drummond said. “It’s certainly an exciting possibility to launch satellites from Canada.”

“Launches are extremely expensive and only come around occasionally. If launches were plentiful and satellites were easier to get into orbit then…if you did lose a satellite then you could quickly replace it with something that worked.”

But he said launching a satellite is just one part of a large equation.

“The launch comes at the end of a long development sequence. You have to construct something that will actually fly in space,” Drummond said, adding maintenance is also something that must be considered.

Open Space expects to be ready for launch by 2018.

Quebec’s municipal employees ready to go to Supreme Court – Montreal

WATCH ABOVE: As pension protests heat up, Quebec’s municipal workers said on Tuesday they have no plans to back down on pension protests. Rachel Lau reports.

MONTREAL – Quebec’s municipal workers said on Tuesday that they have no plans to back down and are committed to amping up pressure tactics against Quebec’s controversial pension reform bill.

READ MORE: Unions slam Liberals’ pension plan bill

“The target is our pension funds,” said Marc Ranger, spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“We are disgusted by this. People are angry like I’ve never seen before.”

Watch: Full interview with Marc Ranger on union position

Bill 3 would see city employees across the province take on more responsibility for helping to pay off a nearly $4 billion deficit.

“Right now, it’s going too far,” said Ranger.

“Maybe our pressure tactics are going too far but the government right now is going way too far.”

Watch: Pension proposal has city workers up-in-arms

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Blue-and-white-collar workers have not been shy to show their opposition.

“They need to be as visible as they can — and be creative,” he said.

“That’s what they’re doing, and I will certainly not condemn them.”

READ MORE: Police union to pay for mass sick day tactic, says Denis Coderre

The City of Montreal said that it is standing by the provincial government.

For now, officials told Global News that they are going to stay silent and let city workers say what they have to.

Yet, as protests go on, some municipal employees are getting a little more creative.

Charles Ledoux took a video of several Laval police officers racing their vehicles through the mud in order to dirty their cars.

The coalition said that they did not sanction this type of pressure tactic.

Watch: Quebec City wonders why Montreal didn’t crack down on city workers protest

“Our word was stickers: be visible, disturb the administration, not the citizens,” said Ranger.

The coalition said it won’t back down, and is ready to take the battle to the Supreme Court if they have to.

Don Cherry blasts auction house claiming he lived in Mississauga mansion – Toronto

TORONTO – An auction house is apologizing to Don Cherry for erroneously promoting a mansion as having belonged to the hockey commentator.

Ritchies Auctioneers says in a statement the “trusted” owner had told them Cherry previously owned the home in Mississauga, Ont.

Cherry took to 桑拿会所 Tuesday to say he never lived there, calling the auction house “liars” and saying it was “pretty low” to use his name to sell a home.

The television personality called it “ridiculous” for anyone to think he would live in a 975-square-metre (10,500-square-foot) home.

Ritchies issued a retraction and removed any mention of Cherry from the listing for the mansion – up for bid Aug. 17.

The home is described as having five plus three bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a tennis court and a pool on a hectare (2.5-acre) lot overlooking the Credit River ravine.

Watch: A virtual tour of the Mississauga mansion. 

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Gunman shoots, pistol-whips man; five people step over bleeding body – National

ABOVE: Five people calmly walked over a victim lying on the ground after a gunman shot him repeatedly in a Bronx convenience store. WARNING: Discretion is advised. 

Graphic surveillance video released by the New York Police Department (NYPD) shows an unidentified man shooting a victim multiple times before pistol whipping him as he lay on the ground of a Bronx convenience store Saturday.

When the man’s attack has subsided, five people then step over the twitching body without stopping to help.

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The NYPD released the video on Monday with hopes of identifying the shooter, but Detective Kelly Ann Ort said Tuesday afternoon police were still looking.

The New York Daily News quoted the store owner as explaining the violence was spurred by a music video film shoot.

“They were fighting over who’s the star, who’s better. They were drunk. They spit at each other then one guy pulled out a gun and shot the other guy five times,” owner Ali Abdul reportedly said.

Ort had no comment on the owner’s account of the incident.

Emergency workers arrived shortly after the six men left the store, according to the Daily News, and the victim was rushed to Lincoln Hospital. Ort said the victim remained in critical condition in hospital Tuesday afternoon, “as far as I know.”

Police urge anyone with information to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS.

Investigation into missing Calgary family moves to Mexico

CALGARY- The investigation into the disappearance of a Calgary family has made its way to Mexico.

Calgary Police confirm to Global News that investigators are following up on leads in that country,  into the disappearance of Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, and their five-year-old grandson Nathan O’Brien.

The trio hasn’t been seen since the end of June, and police believe they were murdered. Douglas Garland, 54, has since been charged with three counts of murder in connection with the case.

The Liknes’ had purchased a home in Mazatlan, where they planned to live for part of the year. Neighbours say furniture was moved out of their Parkhill home recently.

“The moving truck was here and I came over to talk to the man, and he said ‘would you like to see the inside of the house?’” says Al, who didn’t want to give his last name. “He showed me around, and I noticed that rug was picked up and there was a lot of cleaning on the wall.

“The reason he was here, in his words, were the sale didn’t go that well and he was moving this stuff out.”

Police aren’t saying when the investigators left, or where they went. However, they did confirm that there were ongoing searches in the Calgary area over the long weekend.

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    Allen Liknes continues searching for parents, Nathan O’Brien

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    Police investigate if Douglas Garland has links to other violent crimes

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