Greyhound leaves gap – Canada News

Greyhound leaves gap – Canada News

July 12, 2018 0 By news club

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Package delivery firms say they are prepared to fill the gap when Greyhound Canada closes most of its Western Canada operations this fall.

The company says its Greyhound Package Express service will no longer be available in most parts of B.C., northern Ontario and all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba after it ends passenger service at the end of October.

“It might create some opportunities for us on our small package delivery side of things,” said Dennis Steele, owner of Steele’s Transfer in Calgary.

Transport companies like his compete with Greyhound’s lower prices by offering services tailored to customer needs, he said.

Steele said his company, started by his parents in 1957, has about 30 drivers who mainly serve the Edmonton-Calgary corridor, but it offers a wider range of delivery points through interline and third-party carriers.

David Butler, Greyhound’s regional vice-president for Eastern Canada, said the areas being closed accounted for about 1.15 million of the 1.2 million packages Greyhound delivers each year, adding about two-thirds of the shipments were made under contract by commercial customers.

Greyhound’s freight service cost less than most, but its schedule was also usually less convenient as it depended on the passenger bus schedule, Butler said.

“It’s a very competitive marketplace and there’s a lot of options for the customers from the package business to look at,” he said.

Greyhound said it was ending passenger service after years of adjusting schedules and prices because ridership had fallen by nearly 41 per cent across the country since 2010. Butler said the package service is down 35 per cent in the same period.


Jul 11, 2018 / 9:03 pm | Story:

About half of pediatric doctors surveyed about cannabis say they’ve encountered a young patient who had used marijuana for a medical reason.

The questionnaire for the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program found 419 of 835 respondents had a patient who had used either authorized or unauthorized cannabis for some sort of medical relief.

The one-time study did not detail how many cases involved unauthorized use, the nature of the condition being treated nor the ages of the patients. But principal investigator Richard Belanger says he’s surprised by the number of young cannabis users and says it points to the need for more information for doctors, parents and patients.

The Quebec City pediatrician, also a professor at Laval University, notes that more than a third of respondents — or 316 doctors — said they had been asked by a parent or adolescent patient to prescribe cannabis.

Only 34 doctors said they had done so, with many expressing reservations about efficacy, impacts to developing young brains, and concerns about abuse and dependence.

The one-time survey was conducted in the spring of 2017 as part of the surveillance program’s larger look at a host of hot-button issues including Lyme disease, Zika virus and eating disorders.

Belanger says researchers were surprised by how many kids and adolescents appeared to be turning to medical marijuana: “We thought it was less than that.”

“We really want to make clear that cannabis is not only an adult issue, either for recreational but (also) medical purposes,” Belanger said of the findings.

“Sometimes when we look at treatment we tend to forget kids and it should not be the case.”

He suspected younger kids received authorized use for conditions including refractory seizures, cerebral palsy, and chronic pain, while adolescents were more likely to be unauthorized users and to treat other conditions “such as sleep problems or anxiety.”

Belanger says the higher-than-expected usage could also be because the doctors surveyed generally treat kids with chronic and severe conditions that may require alternative treatments, and because most respondents came from urban and academic centres more likely to handle severe cases.

The survey response rate was also just 31 per cent, which “may under or over represent the knowledge and/or experiences of Canadian pediatricians,” said the study, released Thursday.

Still, the findings raise questions about how impending legalization of recreational marijuana could impact unauthorized medical use.

“We’re a bit anxious regarding that,” said Belanger, pointing to “mixed perspectives” among doctors.

“From a pediatric perspective there’s seldom reason to authorize cannabis and maybe seizure is one of them but still, there’s no clear, no big evidence regarding that.”

The survey found a clear majority of respondents had no knowledge or minimal knowledge on why cannabis might be prescribed for a child or youth and what products and dosages may be authorized.

“Paradoxically, they have a fairly positive view regarding cannabis use for medical purposes for certain conditions, despite the lack of solid scientific evidence regarding its safety and efficacy,” said the survey, noting that could be due to difficult cases with limited therapeutic options.

Although medical marijuana has been legal since 2001, many questions remain, says Belanger: “It’s a burning issue.”

“There’s a large space for the (Canadian Paediatric Society) or any other association or authorities to give more information on what are the clear facts regarding the possible benefits and the likely adverse events that can be related to medical use of cannabis.”

Belanger notes the data was gathered prior to the publication of a pivotal study evaluating the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat epilepsy among children with Dravet syndrome reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in the spring of 2017.

Still, he bemoans a dearth of material to offer guidance. While more studies are underway, he says they mostly look at CBD and its effects on seizures and severe conditions.

“There are still problematic issues of studying cannabis with kids,” notes Belanger. “I won’t counsel anyone from entering a study exposing someone to cannabis if they don’t have severe conditions…. On the contrary, in the adult field there are many more studies regarding cannabis either for pain related to arthritis, pain related to fibromyalgia, or spasticity regarding multiple sclerosis.”

In the meantime, many parents and adolescents are asking for cannabis prescriptions.

“I think that everyone right now is aware that cannabis is not a simple thing,” said Belanger.

“When someone starts using cannabis for a long period of time at an early age, it’s probably at that time that the greater impact is likely. But at the same time, if your kids have seizures several times a day, what’s the worse issue? It’s kind of a tricky question for parents.”

Jul 11, 2018 / 8:30 pm | Story:

A southern Alberta man with mental health issues has been sentenced to five years in jail for stabbing his parents.

Nigel Vermeulen, who is 29, had pleaded guilty in Lethbridge court to one count of attempted murder and another of assault with a weapon.

Court heard he stabbed his 72-year-old father in the neck and his 62-year-old mother in the leg.

The sentence was recommended as part of a joint submission by the Crown and defence.

An assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre determined that he was fit to stand trial and did not meet the criteria to be found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

Vermeulen has been diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder, selective mutism, delusional disorder and an unspecified personality disorder.

“It seems to me there is no rational explanation for the perpetration of these crimes by Mr. Vermeulen,” Provincial court Judge Eric Peterson said Wednesday before delivering the sentence.

“He is mentally ill, but not to the extent that it would excuse his conduct.”

Court heard that Vermeulen’s parents became aware of his mental health problems when he was still very young.

He continued to live with them as an adult, having quit school early and never got a job.

Vermeulen would only leave the house to go for walks with his father or to get groceries with his mother.

On Feb. 11, Vermeulen’s mother woke to her husband screaming and a sharp pain in her knee.

She called out to Vermeulen but then found her husband bleeding heavily from the neck and called 911.

The Crown says he was lucky to survive the wound.

Lethbridge Police later found Vermeulen not far from home and took him into custody.

During an interview in which he would only respond by writing, Vermeulen said he felt the only way he could start his own life was by killing his parents.

Police also found a journal entry that Vermeulen had entered into his computer before the stabbing attacks.

“Can’t sleep, hungry, so might as well kill my parents,” he wrote according to the agreed statement of facts. “Going to knife them and hope it works … all that matters is killing them.”

The Crown also noted that aside from the remorse demonstrated by entering a guilty plea, Vermeulen hasn’t shown any other signs of empathy towards his parents. (LethbridgeNewsNow)


Jul 11, 2018 / 12:49 pm | Story:

Transport Canada says they will soon require all newly built highway buses to have seatbelts.

The federal department says they will make seatbelts mandatory on medium and large highway buses starting Sept. 1, 2020.

They say seatbelts have a strong and proven record of saving lives.

The department says it first proposed the change in 2017.

Mandatory seatbelts on buses has been discussed since April 6 when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 others were injured in the crash.

A lawsuit filed by the parents of one of the players this week asked for a court order requiring all buses carrying sports teams in Saskatchewan to be equipped with seatbelts.

Transport Canada says medium-sized buses are defined as having a weight over 4,536 kilograms.

They say small buses, with the exception of school buses, are already required to have lap and shoulder belts. The department says the new rules won’t apply to school buses, because they are already designed to protect children in a crash.

Operators can install them voluntarily if they meet Transport Canada’s requirements.

Jul 11, 2018 / 12:46 pm | Story:

Officials with the United States Coast Guard say they will work with Canadian officials to investigate the death of a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read says the 73-year-old man who died was a American citizen.

A release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard said the man was recovered Tuesday afternoon and he was later pronounced deceased at a facility in Washington State.

The victim was found in the water at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca by search crews less than 12 hours after a camera aboard the Seven Seas Mariner recorded his plunge from a stateroom balcony on Tuesday morning.

Read says a U.S. investigation could examine issues including the cruise ship’s initial response to the man overboard, but Canadian officials will lead the investigation, in part because the vessel’s next ports of call were in Victoria and Vancouver.

The Seven Seas Mariner was docked in Vancouver Wednesday, preparing for an evening departure on another trip to Alaska and officials with the cruise line and Transportation Safety Board had not returned requests for information.

Making your way across Canada can be a daunting task at the best of times, but try doing it with no arms and no legs.

Earlier this week, Chris Koch began his journey from Calgary to the East Coast of Canada – relying completely on the kindness of fellow Canadians. So far, he has not been disappointed.

Born with no arms or legs, the Alberta farm boy was never treated like he was disabled.

“It was clearly established early on in my life that I would not be raised with pity or sympathy. Within hours of when I was born, my grandma was informed that my parents gave birth to a healthy baby boy, however, I was missing both arms and both legs. Without any hesitation whatsoever, she simply pointed out the fact that ‘Bruce (my father) never did finish anything he started,’” he said on his webpage.

“I attribute that dry and quirky sense of humour as the reason why I can honestly say that growing up without arms and legs was quite easy.”

Koch has become an international traveller and motivational speaker, appearing as such events at TedX.

Using a skateboard to move around, he’s already made it well into Manitoba and hopes to be in Ontario soon.

Koch is posting his journey on Facebook and it’s starting to gain attention.

“I was grabbing a Booster Juice before heading out to the highway and was chatting with a guy named Matt while he was waiting for his smoothie. I was telling him about my trip, and he offered to take me as far as Indian Head, Sask.,” he posted Wednesday morning.

“I waited outside Indian Head for about 30 minutes before I decided to start boarding east. I got about 4 km down the road when a guy who goes by Caribou Legs jogged over to me. We sat on the side of the road for about 10 minutes, and he told be about how he’s running across Canada, doing about 70 km a day.”

Two minutes later, a woman stopped and offered Koch a ride to Virden, Man.

Jul 11, 2018 / 8:32 am | Story:

Calgary’s economy is looking good as Stampede spirit grips Canada’s oil and gas headquarters city — although not quite as good as it was a few years ago.

The annual outdoor event set an attendance record for its parade day last Friday and cumulative attendance through Tuesday is second only to the overall record set in 2012 when the Stampede celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Ben Gerwing, president of manufacturer Alberta Boot Co., says business this year is good but he’s seen better, especially in 2012.

He says sales were running strong this year but have recently trailed off, adding he thinks he will wind up selling about five per cent fewer sets of his high-end boots than in 2017.

Statistics show an Alberta still recovering from a recession that technically ended in 2016, with unemployment better than in the same month last year, but not nearly as good as in 2012, and oil prices up 65 per cent from a year ago but still well below the $100-plus prices in the summer of 2014.

Steve Laut, executive chairman of oilsands and natural gas giant producer Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., agrees oil prices are good but points out that natural gas prices are terrible, creating a mixed picture for local energy companies.

Trevor Tombe, an associate professor of economics at the University of Calgary, says Stampede attendance is an indicator of the mood of the population but it’s not a great proxy for the overall health of the local economy.

“Calgary is where a disproportionate amount of economic pain is felt in the province, because of the types of job losses that occurred in oil and gas during the recession,” he said.

He says the province actually continued to post some of the best economic numbers in Canada even during the worst of the oil price recession of 2015 and 2016 but it still “has some ways to go” to match its own performance in 2014.

Jul 10, 2018 / 9:53 pm | Story:

The artistic director of a theatre in Saint-Jerome, Que., says he doesn’t want to cancel a play that sparked protests and accusations of racial insensitivity, and helped lead the Montreal jazz festival to cancel the show’s multi-night run in early July.

David Laferriere said in an interview Tuesday the theatre will put on the show “SLAV” by Quebec director Robert Lepage in early 2019. The play features a predominantly white cast picking cotton and singing songs composed by black slaves.

“Should white people in 2018 sing and celebrate slave songs, created by suffering and humiliation? It’s not for me to say,” Laferriere said.

“I haven’t finished my reflection on that and I don’t think adding my voice to this debate is pertinent at the moment.”

The Gilles-Vigneault theatre in Saint-Jerome, about 60 kilometres north of Montreal, is one of several venues scheduled to host SLAV, in early 2019.

Tickets can still be purchased for dates in Sherbrooke, Drummondville and Saguenay, despite criticism from Montreal’s black community, which accused the show’s white creators of profiting off the pain of black people.

One of the hottest tickets at this year’s Montreal’s jazz festival, the show was billed as a journey through “traditional Afro-American songs, from cotton fields to construction sites.”

On opening night in late June, protesters converged outside the downtown Montreal theatre hosting the play and screamed invective at people trying to enter the building, forcing police to form a protective cordon for ticket-holders walking in.

Activists denounced the show and its mostly white cast, and U.S. musician Moses Sumney cancelled a gig at the festival in protest.

Laferriere said he’s empathetic with those who have criticized the play.

“I am sensitive to their comments, to their suffering and opinions, I understand it very well,” he said. “But … the last thing for me to do is to kill this creation, and to not have this discussion.”

He said his theatre is considering ways to start a dialogue with citizens and hold activities around the play to raise awareness to the themes of the production.

Laferriere said he isn’t concerned about protesters disturbing the show.

“Protesters need to be heard,” he said. “Of course, in the logistics, we will have (protesters) in mind and will make sure things happen properly. As long as the public can enter the theatre respectfully, then I don’t mind if there are protests.”

Dan Philip, president of the Black Coalition of Quebec, said that the play’s scheduled shows outside Montreal are an insult to black people.

“It shows contempt for the black community and the black experience and slavery as a whole,” said Philip. “It shows they will do anything for profit.”

Quincy Armorer, artistic director of the Montreal-based Black Theatre Workshop, said the story SLAV tells has a place in art and theatre — but black people should play a prominent role in telling these narratives.

“There are appropriate, respectful and ethical ways of producing the work and I supposed I was happy to hear the production had been cancelled (in Montreal),” said Armorer, whose theatre company is in its 48th season. “And that was diminished when I found out it was going to continue in its current form.”

He said the fact that a play of this nature — created by a white man and featuring a predominantly white cast picking cotton on stage — can be performed in Quebec in 2018 shows, “people don’t really care.”

Jul 10, 2018 / 9:47 pm | Story:

Allegations of patients being forced to unnecessarily wear diapers, a lack of air conditioning and not being offered basic items such as shampoo, soap and toothpaste, form part of a class-action lawsuit against Quebec long-term care facilities.

A patients’ rights group, the Conseil pour la protection des Malades, held a news conference Tuesday to announce that it is seeking authorization to file the lawsuit that targets 22 provincially administered facilities.

It alleges that cuts to the Quebec health network since 2015 have led to a deterioration in the level of care and service provided to patients in the facilities.

Court documents allege that a number of long-term centres oblige residents to pay for medication and laundry services that should be included in the residents’ fees.

The documents also allege that a number of residents and family members have to pay staff under the table to get residents’ diapers changed.

Lead plaintiff Daniel Pilote, a resident at a long-term centre in nearby Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., said he’s been the victim of mistreatment and wants to use the courts to improve conditions and obtain justice for himself and others.

“I find it inconceivable that I’ve been mistreated for the past two years,” he told reporters.

Pilote, 56, who is paralyzed from the neck down, has been living in the facility since 2014 after being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.

Conseil spokesman Paul Brunet said that in a majority of the facilities, administration offices are air-conditioned, but that’s not the case for the patients’ rooms.

“What I’ve heard is that people who have the means to pay $250 or $300 for three months will be supplied air conditioning and those who can’t end up in a cafeteria or a place where there’s air conditioning,” he said.

“You should not have to be suffocate in a 34-degree room in a long-term facility.”

The advocacy group said it believes that thousands of the 37,000 people residing in the facilities have suffered undignified conditions, including being forced to defecate in their diapers.

Brunet added that the patients’ basic constitutional rights to security and dignity have also been violated.

Lawyer Philippe Larochelle said in the court documents that the amounts being sought for each person vary from $250 to $750 for every month they have been in residence.

But Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said Tuesday that the majority of long-term facilities provide quality services.

“We are continually working to make improvements,” he told reporters. “But if there are unacceptable actions that are being carried out, we should all condemn them.”

Couillard noted that $6 billion has been invested in public health since 2014 and a large part of that was for home-care and long-term care.

He said he wouldn’t comment further because the matter is before the courts.

Jul 10, 2018 / 9:26 pm | Story:

Alberta is making driver training for new commercial truckers mandatory as early as January 2019, citing the recent horrific Humboldt bus crash as the impetus to get it done as soon as possible.

“The matters that we are working on today were things that we were working on at that time,” Transportation Minister Brian Mason told a news conference Tuesday.

“But clearly the terrible tragedy has focused everyone on the need to do even more to make sure that our highways and our trucking system are as safe as possible.”

Sixteen people, including members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, were killed in rural Saskatchewan three months ago when their bus was involved in a crash with a semi-truck owned by a Calgary-based shipper. Another 13 were injured.

The driver of the semi-truck, Jaskirat Sidhu, faces 29 criminal charges including 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death.

Mason said the rules of the program will be hashed out with Albertans and industry representatives in the coming months to make sure that the changes don’t needlessly restrict business while keeping the roads safe.

Mason said other rules will be tightened or tossed out.

He said the province is doing away with an effective 60-day grace period that allows commercial carriers to operate while still working to get their safety fitness certificates.

“We are going to remove that temporary (60-day) certificate,” said Mason.

“It will require all new carriers to prove their compliance with safety standards before they start operations in Alberta.”

Mason said the province also plans to have new carriers take a mandatory course on the provincial rules and laws governing their operations.

The province is also considering a mandatory compliance review for new carriers within nine months to a year from the day they open their doors. Those reviews would then take place at regular intervals after that.

Mason said the regular reviews would stop so-called “chameleon” carriers that get decertified for failing to meet safety standards only to set up shop and continue operating under a new name.

Chris Nash, president of the Alberta Motor Transport Association, said the industry welcomes the changes.

“We believe minimum standard training is required for both new and existing commercial drivers and carriers to operate on Alberta’s roadways,” said Nash.

Sidhu had been driving for Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd., at the time of the crash.

The owner of the company has said Sidhu began working for him a month earlier and had the proper credentials to operate the truck. The company’s other truck has since been ordered off the road.

Mason declined to say how, if at all, the new proposed changes would have affected Adesh Deol Trucking or its safety accreditation.

Once implemented, Alberta would become the second province, after Ontario, to mandate truck driver training.

Ontario’s program consists of 103.5 hours of mandatory training, and drivers there must also show they can handle a loaded truck on major highways.

Saskatchewan is also eyeing changes to trucker accreditation.

Jul 10, 2018 / 2:27 pm | Story:

Hovering lights in the sky. Pulsing lights. Objects shaped like spheres, discs, triangles and boomerangs.

A survey released by Manitoba-based Ufology Researchon says there were 1,101 UFO sightings – an average of three a day – reported in Canada in 2017.

About eight per cent of those were deemed unexplainable.

“Many people continue to report unusual objects in the sky, and some of these objects do not have obvious explanations,” says the survey. “Many witnesses are pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgment.”

On March 15, at 7:20 p.m., crews on two separate airliners 65 kilometres northeast of Enderby, B.C., reported a bright, white strobing light above them. Radar indicated no other known aircraft were in the vicinity.

  • Sightings reported in 1989 (first year of survey): 154
  • Sightings reported in 2017: 1,101
  • Highest number of sightings: 2015 with 1,267
  • Top three provinces for sightings: Quebec (518), Ontario (241) and British Columbia (128)
  • Cities with most UFO sightings: Montreal (74), Toronto (57), Vancouver (46), Edmonton (29), Hamilton (28), Ottawa (26), Calgary (24), Winnipeg (9)
  • Average number of witnesses per sighting: 2
  • Typical length of sightings: 15 minutes
  • Shape of sightings: Boomerang, cigar, cone, cylinder, diamond, disc, fireball, irregular, line, oval, point source, rectangle, round, sphere, square, triangle


Jul 10, 2018 / 12:44 pm | Story:

Two inquistive beluga whales spotted just off a Cape Breton beach have been drawing crowds, with some onlookers swimming with the social animals or pursuing them in boats.

However, marine mammal experts say the close encounters could be harmful to the gregarious whales — and to the people getting a closer look.

Catherine Kinsman of the Whale Stewardship Project says the whales could become too familiar with people and boats, increasing the risk injury.

Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society says if the whales linger in the area, they may get separated from their social group and their food source.

Fisheries officials are cautioning people to keep their distance from the distinctive white whales.

As of Wednesday, new regulations will require a 100-metre buffer zone around marine mammals.

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