New Alzheimer’s study a wake up call for Maritimers – New Brunswick

Posted on 29/01/2019

MONCTON – Eating right, controlling diabetes, not smoking and watching your weight could substantially lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a recent study suggests.

That’s no surprise to a Maritime woman whose parents had a history of the debilitating illness.

Judy Grantham is taking the advice to heart and changing her lifestyle to lower her risk.

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“I see little things like the other day I was with friends and I couldn’t say one of my good friend’s names and it really bothered me,” she said.

Now, 68-year-old Grantham is exercising every day trying to prevent the onset of the disease.

“I think weight has something to do with it as well.”

She’s right. A new study from Cambridge University shows that the biggest risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s are inactivity, obesity in mid-life and diabetes.

All chronic health problems found across the Maritimes, says Chandra MacBean from the Alzheimer’s Society of New Brunswick.

“We need to take control of our own health status and our own lifestyle and make healthier choices,” MacBean said.

Otherwise, MacBean fears, an alarming number of Maritimers will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the coming years.

Maritime provinces already have the fastest growing seniors population in the country. There are 2,900 new cases of dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, diagnosed every year in New Brunswick alone, with more than 3,000 in Nova Scotia.

Those numbers are expected to dramatically increase over the next two decades. MacBean says it should be a wake up call for people now in their 30’s and 40’s.

“It’s critically important to manage your lifestyle as early as possible to reduce your risk of that down the road.”

The new research shows that one  out of three cases of Alzheimer’s is preventable with proper diet and exercise in mid-life.

Aligning rail safety regulations with Americans’ is risky, short sighted: Opposition – National

Posted on 29/12/2018

The Conservative government’s recent, quiet move to conceal new rail safety rules from Canadians is part of a bid to align Canada’s policies with those of the United States, according to a spokeswoman for the transport minister.

The move — and the reasons given — do not sit well with the Opposition.

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“I don’t understand why the government keeps going in line with the U.S. without trying to look here for a way for us to make it safer,” said NDP transport critic Hoang Mai. “We have the capacity here to look at our own rules, look at our regulations, make comments and make sure the regulations are safer and stronger.”

READ MORE: What’s safer (and not) since the Lac-Megantic disaster

The change was buried inside the Conservatives’ massive budget bill, which passed into law late last month. About halfway through the 363-page bill is one sentence that repeals one provision of the Railway Safety Act — the section forcing the government to publish any proposed regulatory changes at least 90 days before coming into force.

Those 90 days begin the day the proposed changes are published in the Canada Gazette, the public journal of the government, and allow the public and interested parties to make arguments for or against the proposed change.

Now, only the final regulation will warrant being made public, in black and white.

READ MORE: Lack of rail safety data leaving Canada at risk for future incidents: report

“The government is fast tracking changes without allowing people to say if they think the changes are in the right direction,” Mai said. “It risks burying regulations.”

Granted, most Canadians likely do not read the Canada Gazette on a regular basis. Still,  it’s a matter of having new laws, proposed amendments and many other actions on the record

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Lisa Raitt brushed off the change, saying it affects only “minor administrative-type amendments and responding to urgent situations.”

In a recent emailed response, Jana Régimbal wrote Transport Canada will still consult affected parties before amending any safety regulations.  To take part in those consultations, however, one usually must be invited.

READ MORE: ‘Significant weaknesses’ in Transport Canada’s oversight of rail safety: Auditor General

Following consultations with “affected stakeholders” on either side of the border, Régimbal wrote, the government will now be able to expedite changes “that facilitate the alignment of Canadian and U.S. regulatory regimes.”

This is not, however, the first time the Harper government has changed Canadian rules at the behest of the U.S. government.

Two weeks ago, a tax deal with the U.S. came into effect forcing Canadian banks to send sensitive financial information to the International Revenue Service.  Had Canada disagreed to do this, the government was looking at potentially harsh economic sanctions.

And as part of the wide-ranging Beyond the Border Action Plan, Canadian and American governments recently started sharing data about residents who cross the border from either side— a move privacy advocates have widely panned.

The changes to the Railway Safety Act means Canadians will not know about many regulatory changes — including those respecting maintenance, jobs “critical to safe railway operation,” preserving records and documents relevant to railway safety and those respecting the establishment of safety management systems.

“The government is fast tracking changes without allowing people to say if they think the changes are in the right direction,” Mai said.

The amendments would not give Canadians living in areas, like Lac-Megantic, Que., surrounded by train tracks along which dangerous goods travel a chance to voice concern before regulations are changed.

Barely more than one year ago, a runaway train carrying tanks of oil came barrelling into the centre of the small Quebec town. The unmanned train destroyed the downtown area, killed 47 people and contaminated waterways.

“In this way, they are moving in a way that is less transparent, more opaque. It’s a concern,“ Mai said.

How to tell if 8 summer fruits are ripe

Posted on 29/12/2018

TORONTO – Fruits of the season are ripe for the picking, but how can you tell if they have reached their sweet spot?

Every fruit matures differently, meaning there’s no universal way to interpret colour, firmness or fragrance. Still, there are certain tips that can help grocery shoppers bring home the best of summer’s bounty.

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  • 10 fresh ways to use fresh blueberries, beyond muffins

  • Recipe for black pepper honey fruit salad

  • Recipe: Strawberry-balsamic glazed pork tenderloin

Watermelon has one obvious sign indicating it’s ready to eat — a “yellow belly.” The National Watermelon Promotion Board says that’s the creamy-coloured spot you should find on its underside, proving it’s fully ripened in the sun.

The board suggests seeking a symmetrical melon without bruises or dents. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell if a watermelon has gone off other than slicing it open. The texture will be mushier than what you expect — that doesn’t mean it’s not safe for consumption, but it’s on its way out.

Like watermelon, berries are also harvested when ripe. This makes them non-climacteric fruit — unable to ripen off the vine, unlike climacteric fruit such as bananas, which can ripen after being harvested.

A ripe berry is easy to spot.

“Colour is the main indicator,” said Kevin Schooley from the Ontario Berry Growers Association in a phone interview from Kemptville, Ont.

Strawberries and raspberries should be evenly bright red but their fragile nature means you will still see patchy berries in grocery stores. Strawberries in particular don’t always get the chance to fully ripen since they are sometimes shipped a little immature to travel better, said Schooley.

Blueberries are hardier, but it’s trickier to know when they’ve reached their peak. Even after turning blue, they can take three or four more days to reach their full sweetness on the vine.

Gooseberries should be a shade of yellow depending on the variety, but since there isn’t as dramatic colour change as other berries, there’s only one way to be certain.

“With any berries, you always want to taste to make sure,” said Schooley. He encourages going out to taste raspberries and blueberries that are in season now, especially because it’s been an “above average” season.

Another popular fruit in season, cherries, are also non-climacteric. They are picked ready to eat but a deeper red doesn’t necessarily mean more flavour.

“Colour isn’t critical on cherries,” said Glen Lucas from the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association in Kelowna, B.C. which has over 550 tree fruit farms as members.

Instead look for cherries that are firm, said Lucas.

Apricots and peaches might seem too firm at the grocery store but this shouldn’t be cause for alarm since they are climacteric fruit.

“They are picked a little underripe and have to mature,” Lucas said.

He suggests giving them a few days at room temperature to soften up.

The most important thing to keep in mind in the grocery store is to avoid fruits that look too ripe.

“Physically, you’ll be able to tell that the fruit is bruised or deteriorating,” said Lucas.

©2014The Canadian Press

French school board president asks anglophones in Repentigny to “have a heart” – Montreal

Posted on 29/12/2018

REPENTIGNY – On Monday evening, all heck broke loose at Repentigny City Hall.

At a city council meeting, anglophone parents made it loud and clear to Mayor Chantal Deschamps they are against a decision to allow the construction of a new French school right next to their English one.

The proposed project would rob Franklin-Hill Elementary of precious green space currently used by the anglophone students.

READ MORE: English elementary school at center of controversy in Repentigny

“We’re not giving up, we’re going to keep on fighting,” parent Anne Chamandy told Global News.

On Tuesday, a new voice entered the heated debate.

Rene Labrie wants frustrated parents to reconsider the plan.

Domenic Fazioli/Global News

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Rene Labrie, the president of the Des Affluents School Board who is pushing for the construction of the French school, says he wants frustrated parents to reconsider the plan.

“I think it’s a cry from the heart, we’re trying to say everybody deserves a school,” Labrie told Global News.

“I’m appealing to their sense of collaboration, I’m appealing to them to say if it was the reverse, would you be willing to listen?”

Labrie says the francophone community in the Repentigny area desperately needs a new school.

The perfect location, he adds, is on the green space next to the Franklin-Hill.

“You hold the key to the problem,” Labrie says.

“Alternate locations for the the school are not viable.”

WATCH: Repentigny parents fight for school green space

If the plan is turned down, Labrie says older schools in Repentigny, including Ecole EntrAmis, would have to be expanded and renovated.

“That’s not the scenario we prefer,” he says.

Education Minister Yves Bolduc has been asked to intervene in the case.

He’s expected to hand down a decision to settle the dispute in the coming weeks.

Rob Ford to Ontario: Thanks for the subway; now spend less – Toronto

Posted on 29/12/2018

Watch above: Charles Sousa responds to Rob Ford’s criticism. 

TORONTO – Rob Ford is glad the province is paying the lion’s share of the city’s three-stop Scarborough subway, which is costing Toronto more than a billion dollars after the city scrapped a seven-stop light rail line it could have gotten for free.

But he’s still shaking his gravy-finding finger at Ontario for not spending less.

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  • Ontario Liberals introduce provincial budget

  • Deb Matthews admits public sector workers could get wage increase

“I am highly concerned with the lack of any apparent plans to reduce spending, drive efficiencies and reduce the burden of government on Ontario taxpayers,” Ford said in a press release on Tuesday. “While Ontario has committed to eliminating its $12 billion deficit, we see no proof of this in the 2014 budget.”

Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government has promised to eliminate the $12 billion deficit and balance the budget by 2017-2018 while also investing nearly $15 billion in transit and transportation in the region over ten years.

But Finance Minister Charles Sousa pointed out Tuesday the city of Toronto is getting billions in infrastructure funding from the city and the mayor is asking for more money.

Sousa also called on the federal government – from whom his government is hoping to get up to $10 billion in infrastructure cash over the next decade – to commit more to infrastructure projects.

Ontario budget


Ontario budget


The Liberal government re-introduced the May budget, with no changes.


Focus Ontario: Deb Matthews discusses tough choices facing government over public sector

Both the opposition and several economists have warned Wynne will have to cut jobs or hike taxes in order to reach its targets. In a recent interview, Deputy Premier Deb Mathews wouldn’t say whether the government would cut jobs to balance the budget.