Tennis upsets feature Canadian Bianca Andreescu

After (painfully) witnessing the upset of our mens junior hockey team in the quarter finals we Canadians have moved on to a thrilling and unexpected (maybe not to her) surprise in world tennis action. Eighteen year old Bianca Andreescu has been on the pro tennis circuit since 2017, but suddenly bounced into focus last weekend when she defeated Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki in New Zealand’s ASB classic.

Despite the fact that she was defeated in the final of that event, Andreescu went on to qualify for the Australian Open a few days later. Young, talented, ambitious and resilient, Bianca is earning respect on the tennis courts as well as pride and admiration from Canadians.

With a shining future ahead, all of our eyes and hearts are on and with her!

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Bianca Andreescu photo by Rogers Media

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Drug Checking Technology Challenge

Health Canada is putting their money where their mouth is, asking for help with a drug checking technology challenge. Most of us are aware of the opioid crisis here in Canada and around the world. For more information, please check out the detailed article in the link above. It describes the challenge to discover or modify the technology involved in detecting lethal, potent drugs like Fentanyl as well as other toxic substances. The article also contains additional links for those wishing to increase their knowledge of the crisis we are facing as well as one for substance abusers too.

Drug checking technology is out there, it just needs to be improved for increased reliability, accuracy, adaptability, ease of use as well as affordability. Any innovative (for or not-for-profit) Canadian post secondary institution, company, research or industry association is eligible to apply, although only the selected semi-finalists will be able to compete for the pilot phase and grand prize.

This challenge was launched on October 2nd, 2018 and the deadline for application is February 1, 2019. That means there is no time to waste! Semi-finalists will be announced February, finalists in June and grand prize winner in January 2020. Oh, and the prize is a cool million dollars.

It must be my thirty years of laboratory work; this challenge certainly piqued my interest. Do you have an innovative, ambitious personality with the resources to create a design ? Where can you apply? At the bottom of the webpage linked to above. Or right here!


Francophone vs Anglophone battle in Ontario getting old

Does anyone else think the Francophone vs Anglophone battle in Ontario (and the rest of Canada) is getting (literally and figuratively) old?  The number of ethnicities populating Canada reported on censuses rose from just 20 in 1871 to 250 in 2016!  Thanks to the massive increase in immigration since the mid 80s, the population of allophones (mother tongue is neither French or English) doubled to 20% in 2006 and is projected to be a whopping 30% in 2030.

Francophones (French being their mother tongue) now make up less than 20 percent of our nation.  Anglophones (English as a mother tongue) have dropped from 62% to 58%.  So what makes the Francophone population so special and more important than any others in Canada?   Why are they demanding their own universities and hospitals within Ontario?  Why has this issue invaded our provincial politics?  Have we not got better (more important) things to worry about?

Canada has always been known for their acceptance of all ethnicities and I hope we continue to carry and own that reputation.  My maternal grandfather was named Beaudette; you can’t get much more French than that.  His parents immigrated from France shortly before he was born in 1904.  I am very proud of my own French heritage, but not to the exclusion of the other parts of my ancestry,

Seat belts on buses recommended

Apparently seat belts on buses were recommended long ago after a Transport Canada investigation confirmed the fact that occupants are at unnecessary risk when riding on a large bus.  Doesn’t this seem like a no brainer?  It sure does to me.  I’m also pretty sure it must be to the parents of the hockey players killed in the Humboldt Saskatchewan crash last April.

The results of this investigation were kept under wraps for years, but recently outed by The Fifth Estate.  Why the delay?  They (Transport Canada) were waiting for the USA to change their laws so we could just follow suit.  Why does Canada have to wait for the USA to update their laws?  Good question, we shouldn’t.

School buses, coach buses, and possibly even city buses (although their use would be much harder to enforce) should be equipped with seat belts.  We could then add another step to train drivers that their vehicle must not (even cannot) operate unless occupants are compliant.  Surely with the technology available today sensors are available to monitor such things.  Retrofitting buses currently in use might be expensive, but one taxpayers might be willing to swallow.

I can vouch for the fact I would rather pay for that than the expense accounts of former Governors General and the pensions of former politicians.  Are you with me?

Kitchen Tower by J.L. Woodworking

A kitchen tower is an awesome idea for those of you with small children (kids or grandkids) that love to “help out” in the kitchen.  The ingenious design allows toddlers and small children to be safely at counter height for baking, snacking or just watching (as my grandson loves to do) you cook.

This kitchen tower design can be adjusted for height and folds up for easy storage too. Constructed of painted or unfinished (your choice) wood, they are made just south of Ottawa (North Gower). Scheduled deliveries are currently available to Toronto and Montreal.

My neighbour and friend has one (the original prototype) for her grandson.  Her nephew-in-law makes this line of children’s furniture in his spare time, over and above his day job.  Recently moving the start up business from a single car garage to a more spacious workshop, he and his wife are on their way to their ultimate goal of a full time family business.  The demand for these kitchen towers in particular has skyrocketed.  Please check out their website at JL Woodworking for more information, pricing and ordering.  This hard working couple would appreciate your business, so please be sure to like and share their info

This Grandma has ordered hers!

MMIW: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Information and knowledge about and support for the MMIW database is spreading.  If you are unaware (as I was) what this is, please check it out and add your support.  The number of indigenous or native women and girls that are missing and/or have been murdered is staggering.  Help to spread the word and bring about justice for these women and their families.

MMIW

 

This database, created by Annita Lucchesi, a doctoral student at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, includes data from both Canada and the USA from 1900 onward.  I learned of the database from my sister, currently the Dean of Liberal Education at the same university.  The MMIW project does not (currently) receive any funding from any government or academic facilities.  Hopefully, that will change, and soon.  So far, 3148 cases have been documented, but many more (close to 25,000) are suspected.

This issue should be treated as a national crisis in both countries! In fact, I remember an election promise by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he would treat these missing women as a priority.  What is the government waiting for?  This MMIW database is a good start.  Hopefully it will generate more support (from the right people)than any previous research on the subject.

Governor General Expenses are How Much?

Here in Canada we have a (some say redundant) Governor General position.  The person to fill this position is chosen by the Queen (or current monarch) of England, with advisement from the prime minister, as their representative of the monarchy in Canada.

Predominantly ceremonial in nature, the necessity of the role has been debated for years.  Tax payers dole out an annual salary of $288K for a current Governor General and an annual pension payment of $140K for former position holders.  That’s pretty lucrative for a short term position.  The issue is even more controversial recently as expense reports (over and above her pension) for former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson were revealed by the National Post as over extravagant.  To the tune of a million dollars overly extravagant.  After her mere six year stint as our Governor General.

Governor General

These expense claims are not currently made available to the public.  In this day and age of promised transparency (at least in an election year) and accessibility to information seeking technology (google), one would think this information would be easy to find.  Doesn’t it make you wonder what other former Governors General are claiming as their expenses?

Our prime minister has promised to “look into it” but that doesn’t give too many people (myself included) a warm fuzzy feeling.  Especially as his priorities do not appear to be focused on the concerns of taxpayers.  I have a feeling Clarkson’s expenses are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Canada going to pot today

Canada is going to pot, literally.  Personally, I have thought so since our last (2016) federal election, but that’s another story.

Today, October 17th 2018, Canada is legalizing marijuana, much to the chagrin of many citizens.  This was an election promise our prime minister made to win votes from the younger age group.  He’s now making good on that promise with as much thought and preparation (not much) as many other ridiculous and ill-advised things he is responsible for.

pot

AKA pot, weed, or cannabis, marijuana can now be smoked anywhere (with few exceptions) regular cigarettes are allowed.  Users are supposed to act responsibly.  Parks, arenas and recreational centers are pot-free, but this will be very difficult to enforce.  As will driving under the influence of pot if roadside testing is as inefficient and flawed as rumored.   So difficult in fact that the mayor of Ottawa predicts legalizing pot will cost the city (at least) a cool 8 million dollars per year.  The federal government has created (another) the mess, but is leaving the municipalities to deal with the fall out.  Great, just what this country needs, more examples of how to fritter away the tax payers’ hard earned dollars.

Hoping to remove the (still) illegal street sources, the new laws say brick and mortar stores must apply for a licence to sell pot.  These licences will not be available until spring, so these stores currently open for business must close their doors and reopen when they have been granted a licence.  Those that do not close while waiting for their licence will be shut down by authorities and will relinquish their right to ever obtain such a licence. Until then pot is only available (legally) through government run facilities.  Yep, that will eliminate the illegal sources. Not.

So, who wins with this new legislation?  The group of individuals that already (not so covertly) smoke pot recreationally.  Partakers have been asked to “use pot responsibly.” The problem is (or will be) that this group of people are not typically recognized for being responsible or their sensitivity to other people’s concerns, more focused on their own wants and needs.  Who cares if pot has been proven to aversely affect the health of children, pets and anyone else with a set of lungs? Not them.

Who loses?  Anyone that prefers and strives to keep their own and their loved ones’ lungs smoke and drug free.  And the tax payers who are left holding the bag.  This YouTube video by Bryan Cox and Jason Leblanc is one of those funny/not funny things.  You either laugh or cry.

 

 

 

 

Extreme summer breaking records

No doubt we have had an extreme summer this year in Ontario.  Extremely high temperatures and accompanying drought conditions were followed by an extreme amount of rainfall over a very short time period, then topped off with an over abundance of annoying, hungry mosquitoes.

extreme summer

We should be moving up this list as our daytime temperatures are still soaring high.  The good news is our evening/night temperatures are currently cooler, much better for sleeping.  Most people will agree, moderate is much more tolerable than extreme.

Despite the extreme weather we have experienced, after last summer’s lack of sunshine and heat, no one can complain we did not get enough of either this summer.  I must admit thought, this extreme summer has limited my time in my gardens!

 

A moose on the loose

There is a moose on the loose on the eastbound 417 in Ottawa this morning.  Well, no longer on the loose, he is hemmed in by police cruisers (as if that would detain him if he really wanted to leave) until wildlife authorities can get there to tranquilize and remove him.  He was first spotted running on the 417 around 630 this morning.  From the pictures I have seen, the moose appears to be a young male.  Reports say he is slightly injured and will be taken somewhere to recuperate by the ministry of natural resources.  Poor little (not really) guy, he must be terrified!

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photo courtesy of CBC news

 

Only in Canada eh?  Stay at home a little longer this morning if you are headed east, you won’t be getting anywhere fast!  I was headed that way to a garden, but will switch things up and head west instead.