Ride-hailing not coming to British Columbia until fall of 2019

Written by admin on 13/07/2019 Categories: 上海夜网

British Columbia will not have ride-hailing until at least the fall of 2019. The B.C. provincial government had previously committed to having the services in place by Christmas 2017.

“People need to be able to get around safely and reliably,” said Transportation Minister Claire Trevena. “That’s why we’re putting more taxis on the streets, and laying the groundwork for new services to enter the market.”

WATCH: NDP’s move on taxis helps them in ridings where the industry’s power reigns 

“I know that people are looking for expanded transportation options to be available very soon and I want to re insure them that a lot of work is being done to have this accomplished but we need to get this right.”

LISTEN: Taxi industry’s plan to take over ride-hailing in Vancouver, keep Uber out

The provincial government released a report on Thursday by Dan Hara that looked into modernizing British Columbia’s taxi industry.

READ MORE:
Taxi companies pitch plan to keep ride-hailing companies out of Metro Vancouver

The report recommends getting rid of municipal boundaries for taxis, increasing the number of taxis on the road by 15 per cent and allowing discounted pricing for taxi trips ordered by smartphone app.

But Hara did recommend the province could consider regional boundaries that would continue to restrict where drivers could pick up passengers.

WATCH: NDP government delays ride sharing again

“At the heart of consumer and business concerns over B.C. taxi service is supply,” reads the Hara report. “Non-industry stakeholders stated clearly that they want more and better vehicle-for-hire service.”

“Smaller communities and First Nations want their communities better served, especially where present service is spotty or non-existent. Large urban communities experience shortages during peak hours, especially on weekend nights or during special events.”

WATCH HERE: New report highlights the economic benefits of ridesharing

The province has promised to quickly start working with the Passenger Transportation Safety Board to get more cabs on the road. The goal is to hit the recommended target of a 15 per cent increases, which would mean 300 new cabs in Metro Vancouver and 200 in the rest of the province.

LISTEN: How Uber feels about the Hara report

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The government will then introduce amended legislation in the fall that would ‘lay the ground work for new companies to enter the market’. Trevena said once that legislation was passed, ride hailing companies could start applying to work in British Columbia. The province’s public insurer, ICBC, also must wait until legislation is done to create a new package for ride-hailing drivers.

READ MORE:
Enderby believes ride-hailing would help rural B.C.

“One of the last pieces will be working with ICBC to provide insurance models for the industry,” said Trevena. “We need the insurance in place. Once ICBC has done that the doors will be open to ride hailing companies to come to B.C. if they so choose.”

The province is also adopting the recommendation to give the taxi industry the ability to provide discount fare when trips are booked through smartphone apps. The idea of charging ride-hailing drivers a fee to enter the B.C. market is also being considered, an additional cost that other jurisdictions that have ride-hailing does not have.

LISTEN: Keith Baldrey chimes in on the ride-hailing report

“You can be fair without giving them the exact same rules,” said Uber Western Canada General Manager Michael van Hemmen. “Other jurisdictions in Canada have done that. When you look at Brampton, Ontario. They were the most recent jurisdiction to release data from ride sharing and what happened with the taxi industry. What it found was taxi ridership was flat. Ride sharing is bigger than the taxi industry and public transit went up 17 per cent. It is absolutely possible to find a way to make all modes grow.”

READ MORE:
The illegal Richmond ride-hailing app that allegedly won’t take non-Chinese fares

The B.C. Green Party has been advocating for ride sharing and is frustrated that the government is not implementing new services at the same time as updating the taxi industry. Critic Adam Olsen said that both the NDP, and before that the B.C. Liberals, have been playing politics with the industry.

“The foot dragging on this has been about winning or losing swing ridings during elections,” said Olsen. “We have been putting this issue forward. We believe British Columbians should be able to access the rides that they need. I want to be very clear what is going on here is partisan games and that is what needs to end.”

The Vancouver Taxi Association is pitching a plan to help keep ride-hailing companies like Uber out of Metro Vancouver.

The association has a tentative agreement in place to develop a ride-for-hire app called Kater. The deal would leave 20 per cent of the profits with taxi companies and calls for provincial licensing of 200 “Kater Cabs,” which would operate like typical ride-hailing cars that companies like Uber and Lyft have operating in other cities.

READ MORE:
‘Pay now or get out’: Vancouver man says cab dumped him, sped off with door open

Hara’s report cautioned against providing a monopoly to the taxi industry in providing ride-hailing services.

Ridesharing Now for BC, a group advocating for new services in B.C., initially called Thursday’s announcement a ‘positive’ step. But the group later went on social media to express frustration with the province.

“We are extremely disappointed in today’s announcement that ridesharing is going to take at least 18 months,” posted the group online. “BC deserve the same services that are available across Canada reducing impaired driving and increasing access to affordable, reliable service and they deserve it this year.”

READ MORE:
Uber app in B.C. drew half a million visitors over the last two years

Numbers provided by Uber show that more than 500,000 have opened the companies app in the last two years. The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade produced a report in February 2016, entitled Innovative Transportation Options for Metro Vancouver, which outlined specific steps that the provincial government could take to immediately begin modernizing our traditional taxi industry while paving the way for ride-hailing.

“For years, our province has been spinning its wheels on ridesharing and the modernization of the taxi industry,” said GVBOT President Iain Black. “Today’s announcement perpetuates the taxi monopoly while only partially addressing the underlying problems that the industry requires to be fixed, with no firm timelines in place.”

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Income assistance changes welcome but far from complete say advocates

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A slew of programs are being rolled out by the provincial government to help Nova Scotians on income assistance, but many say the added funds dedicated to the most vulnerable are far from enough to adequately address the challenge.

READ MORE: Affordable housing options ‘not meeting demand,’ says Halifax deputy mayor

Advising of recently-implemented and some soon-to-come programs, Community Services Minister Kelly Regan made the announcement in Halifax Thursday.

Among them is the Personal Items Allowance which gives those living in homeless shelters and transition houses $101 per month.

An amount provided to ensure essential items can be purchased, not funding meant to alleviate the difficulties of those currently in the system.

“The fact of the matter is we’re making improvements, we’ll continue to make improvements,” said Regan. “We’re not done yet but these are a good step along the way.”

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Moving toward better support for the most vulnerable population is being received warmly, although advocates stop short of indicating it’s going to completely fix the challenges many are facing.

“Is it adequate? Absolutely not,” said Miia Suokonautio, executive director for the YWCA.

“It’s to take that hard edge off your situation of poverty,” she said. “No Nova Scotian can be fooled to think that $100 a month is what’s going to make the difference between being poor and not being poor, But it is exactly that, a comfort allowance.”

Additionally, deducting child support payment amounts from income assistance cheques will no longer take place. It’s a move the YWCA says will go a long way in helping single-parent families upgrade their living situation.

“The average benefit to a family is $275 to those who receive child support benefits,” explained Suokonautio. “92.4 per cent of income assistance families that are single parents are mother led. It will make an enormous impact on those families.”

READ MORE: ‘No place to go’: An inside look at the affordable housing crunch in Halifax

Despite the numerous changes geared toward helping income assistance recipients, Fergus Dearden says the province is missing a key element to solving the problem.

“I’m a little disappointed to be honest,” said Dearden.

He said that providing a small amount of money to a population of people doesn’t help address the underlying issues of why someone is in the situation they’re in, nor does it make significant progress toward getting them back on their feet.

“We have the belief that everyone should understand financial value and that’s part of the problem,” he explained. “This kind of thing isn’t taught in schools or families and you’re just expected to know how it works and this kind of ideology needs to stop.”

“DCS (Department of Community Services) isn’t making it any easier for somebody like me,” he said. “Just because you throw more money at me and I can get my basic needs met doesn’t mean it’s actually what I need.”

As an entrepreneur, Dearden was hoping to discuss with Minister Regan how the government could help people like him prosper in the business world.

His attempt to begin those talks wasn’t fruitful at the funding announcement, nor was it in the recent past either, he says.

“I wanted to ask Mrs. Regan to basically look at those policies and help make changes,” Dearden explained. “I tried to get her attention, I even wrote her last year.”

“It’s kind of disappointing to see that she wouldn’t talk to me.”

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Saskatchewan posts smaller deficit than forecast, still $303M in the red

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Stronger that expected resource revenue helped the Saskatchewan government finish the last fiscal year with a deficit almost $400 million smaller than initially forecast.

The province finished 2017-18 with revenue of $14.02 billion and total expense of $14.32 billion — leaving a deficit of $303 million.

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    But that’s $393 million better than what was projected in last year’s budget.

    Revenue for the year was down $146 million, or one per cent, from the budget, while expenses were $489 million, or 3.3 per cent, lower than projected.

    Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said a stronger performance in the oil and potash sectors helped.

    Other factors included an increase in provincial sales tax to six per cent from five per cent, and lower-than-anticipated agriculture insurance claims.

    Harpauer said her government is on track to return the province to a balanced budget by 2019-20.

    “Each fiscal year is unique and while we are on the right path, unanticipated challenges or at times good fortune —; like the better-than-anticipated crop year —; can occur,” she said in a statement Thursday.

    “To ensure we remain on track, our government will continue to manage spending carefully, invest in priorities for Saskatchewan people, shift from our reliance on volatile resource revenue and help to keep our economy strong.”

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    The new budget released in April projects a deficit of $365 million this year and a thin surplus of $6 million in 2019-20.

    -With files from Thomas Piller

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Thieves stole 21 ancient human skulls from the basement of a church in Kent, U.K.

Written by admin on 13/10/2019 Categories: 上海夜网

Twenty-one ancient human skulls have been stolen from the basement of a church in the British county of Kent.

St. Leonard’s Church, located in the town of Hythe, is renowned for its massive collection of ancient skulls, many of which are put up on display in the church’s ossuary, or bone chamber.

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But earlier this week, thieves armed with a bolt-cutter broke into the ossuary and swindled 21 skulls from the display, Kent Online reported. The skulls are believed to be around 700 years old.

READ MORE: Mysterious ancient sarcophagus finally opened in Egypt after weeks of speculation

Rev. Andrew Sweeney, the priest-in-charge at the church, said the crime appeared to have been committed by professional thieves rather than mischievous children or teenagers.

“These people came with the right equipment to break the gate,” Sweeney told Kent Online. “We believe they came specifically for the skulls. They didn’t take money from inside, and there was no vandalism. They just took the human skulls and left.”

Sweeney said he was concerned the act of skulduggery may have been motivated by a desire to sell the remains on the black market.

“We have always assumed human decency in our visitors and compassion for those whose remains rest in peace in the sacred space of our church. We are saddened that the greed, selfishness or stupidity of some people has destroyed that assumption of common human values,” Sweeney wrote in a blog post. “We have now had to resort to expensive and complex security measures which we once thought unnecessary.”

WATCH: Scientists find 3 skeletons inside ancient sarcophagus

Authorities are asking the public to come forward with any information on the macabre theft.

“We recognize this is perhaps an unusual theft, but these skulls were not free for the taking,” said Inspector Maxine Harris. “They are part of an important collection, and we are keen to see them back in their rightful place in the crypt.”

The ossuary contained some 1,022 skulls prior to Monday’s theft, according to the St. Leonard’s Church’s website.

The skulls have been the subject of several forensic and anthropological studies, with researchers concluding that they belong to Hythe residents from different walks of life rather than predominantly war dead or slain Danish pirates, as has previously been theorized.

READ MORE: Buy a human skull at one of Canada’s biggest oddity shops

Many of the skulls were dug up from area graveyards in the 15th century, possibly to make room for the hordes of people who died during the Great Plague, according to the BBC.

Follow @Kalvapalle

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World’s fastest juggler brings pin-twirling skills to Pickering July 19 to 22

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Tomas Aguilar says his grandfather started his own circus in Mexico, and both of his parents were performers — his dad’s specialties were the high wire and trampoline, and his mother was a trapeze artist, animal trainer and contortionist.

But none of them, he says, could juggle, so it came as a surprise when Aguilar started practicing the skill when he was 16 years old.

“They wonder, ‘How can you juggle?’” said Aguilar. “‘We never [could] do that.’”

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Now 50 years old, Aguilar is known as Tommy Tequila, the world’s fastest juggler. “Normally, you can maybe juggle one or two revolutions, but I do it with four revolutions very low,” he says of his juggling clubs, which look like bowling pins, “so, it looks really, really fast.”

READ MORE:
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Aguilar says he can perform about 200 tricks using the pins, including passing it through his legs and around his back, and people can now catch him in action. He’s part of the Royal Canadian Family Circus SPECTAC! cast, performing eight shows at The Pickering Markets from July 19 to 22.

He says his specialty is juggling seven ping pong balls at the same time using his mouth. “You have to practice maybe eight hours a day, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s like when you go [to] the cinema and you play with the [popcorn]. You throw the popcorn and you catch it with your mouth. It’s exactly the same thing.”

His whole family is now involved in the circus. His wife, Alejandra, formerly an engineer, is also in the show, performing as a trapeze artist. His eight-year-old daughter, Kiara, travels with her parents and is home schooled. “She doesn’t practice any discipline yet but we still try to [see] what she likes.”

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He says he hopes people will come to see his act and be inspired to learn new skills. “The thing I like the most is I can show people around the world what you can do with a little practice.”

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Census shows women undervalue their earnings when they make more than their husbands

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As if it isn’t bad enough that women continue to earn less than men for the same work, a recent U.S. Census Bureau report showed that when women earn more than their husbands, they actually lie and report lower salaries. And their husbands do it, too.

WATCH BELOW: BBC reveals gender pay gap among top stars

The data comes from a new report that compares census information to tax forms. It showed that in households of heterosexual married couples, if the wife earned more than her husband, both she and her husband reported that he made more. In fact, women and men both docked the wife’s salary, while both also lied and increased the husband’s earnings.

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“The fact of the matter is both husbands and wives do this,” Misty Heggeness, report co-author and senior adviser in the Census Bureau’s research department, said to ABC News. “It’s not a phenomenon that is specific to one spouse or the other.”

When it came to self-reporting, husbands increased their pay on average by 2.9 per cent, while wives would decrease their earnings by approximately 1.5 per cent. To put it in perspective, Heggeness wrote in a blog post, that would translate to docking a woman’s salary from $40,000 to $39,400, while it would boost a man’s salary from $30,000 to $30,870.

But this isn’t just about feeding a husband’s ego.

READ MORE: The gender pay gap is not a myth. Here are 6 common claims debunked

“We made a critical finding that adds to the understanding of gender norms and the quality of income statistics, in particular, wage gaps among different-sex married couples,” Marta Murray-Close, an economist at the Census Bureau and study co-author, said.

Experts point out that this report is indicative of long-held gender stereotypes in the workplace as well as the home.

“It’s unfortunate that women who earn more than their husbands are reluctant to say so, given the advances they’ve made in higher education and workforce participation,” says Anuradha Dugal, director of Community Initiatives and Policy at the Canadian Women’s Foundation. “More women than men in Canada now have a post-secondary education, and women are much more likely to be gainfully employed than they were in previous generations.”

She says these findings send a message that women’s achievements should be downplayed, which is especially disheartening when you consider that they have likely had to navigate traditional gender barriers to get to where they are.

Dugal points out that women are still responsible for the bulk of work at home, including child and elder care; full-time working women earn 74 cents to every dollar earned by men; 44 per cent of Canadian children live in “daycare deserts,” which makes it more difficult for women to remain in the workforce. These are all barriers, that when overcome, should be celebrated by both women and men.

“Confronting these stereotypes head-on with your partner and dividing labour at home is an important first step to overcoming this, but more needs to be done to create systematic change,” she says.

“This requires businesses, schools and society at large to identify where they may be contributing to the problem and commit to rid their policies and practices of gender discrimination. Legislation that will protect parental leave, guarantee access to affordable, quality childcare, and encourage pay transparency, are all important when it comes to deconstructing these stereotypes.”

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Alberta government posts proposed curriculum changes online

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People who want to see what Alberta is doing with school curriculum changes can look for themselves online.

Education Minister David Eggen says his department has posted the raw proposals for changes to what students in kindergarten to Grade 4 are taught.

Eggen says he had hoped to polish the proposals after getting feedback from teachers, parents, and others, but says it’s best to get the existing information to the public.

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READ MORE: Alberta announces sweeping 6-year overhaul of school curricula at cost of $64M

Until now, Albertans could only see the proposed changes if they went to meetings and agreed to leave behind all written material provided by organizers.

That led to confusion over what was being proposed in the first part of a sweeping multi-year curriculum overhaul.

READ MORE: Future teachers excited about Alberta curriculum overhaul

Eggen has said any changes will continue to emphasize the fundamentals of reading, writing and math, but will also include climate change, gender diversity and sexual orientation.

There will also be renewed emphasis on the role of First Nations and francophones in Alberta and Canadian history.

LISTEN BELOW: Education minister David Eggen speaks with 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen

View link »

Eggen said some of the curriculum in schools is more than 30 years old and the consultation process started with a blank page.

“There’s no element of secrecy here, we simply wanted to have working drafts that were incorporating different layers of input,” he said.

Eggen’s office had already begun releasing the draft proposals to the media this week to allay any public concerns. He said the next logical step was to distribute it to everyone online.

“Our intention was to have input and feedback incorporated into each draft as we moved along. It’s an organic process,” Eggen said Thursday.

“My hope was to release it in that (refined) format, but it’s out now, so we’ll put out the working documents in their entirety.”

But Opposition Leader Jason Kenney and the UCP accused the NDP government of rewriting school curriculum in secret — but focused on proposed changes to social studies.

LISTEN: Education minister David Eggen joins Danielle Smith to discuss the proposed curriculum

View link »

Kenney accused the NDP of swapping out critical thinking and instead making students “effective agents of change,” stating students must be equipped to make their own decisions, instead of being told by the NDP what to think.

“That’s why I’ve said from the beginning that if the NDP tries to foist this kind of an ideological and unbalanced curriculum on Alberta students, that a future conservative government will shred that curriculum,” Kenney said in a recent Facebook video.

READ MORE: Cree curriculum at heart of new Alberta First Nation education plan

He has also promised to throw out any curriculum changes, if they stray too far from subject fundamentals, should he become premier in next spring’s election.

Eggen called Kenney’s comments “deeply offensive” and said experts from across the province have been consulted.

“This is good work that Jason Kenney is choosing to politicize for his own narrow ambitions.”

READ MORE: Not up to Premier Notley to dictate how Catholic schools teach sex education: Jason Kenney

Eggen is expected to approve the revised kindergarten to Grade 4 curriculum by the end of the year.

He announced the $64-million review for all grades two years ago. It is expected to be completed by 2022.

To view the proposed changes to Alberta’s K-4 curriculum, click here.

— with files from Global News’ Kendra Slugoski

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‘Welcome to Halifax, you can’t smoke here’: Business community reacts to new law restricting smoking

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If you’re a smoker who enjoys puffing throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality, prepare for your smoking location to be heavily restricted.

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“We’re changing completely the way you look at smokers in Halifax. Whereas currently, smokers walk down the street and they will smoke anywhere they want until they see a sign that says ‘no smoking’ and then they put their cigarettes out. What we’re going into is a situation where you can’t smoke unless you see a sign,” Brendan Elliott said, a senior communications advisor with Halifax.

This week, regional council voted 13-3 in favour of amendments to the nuisance bylaw that would significantly restrict smoking in public places throughout the municipality.

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The incoming changes mean smoking will only be allowed on municipal properties such as sidewalks, streets, parks and trails where there is a designated smoking sign.

Otherwise, smoking of any kind is prohibited.

“We know there’s going to be a demand for smoking cannabis and for smoking tobacco. There already is. So we’ll be looking for places, and we already are actively looking for places where we’ll have those designated smoking areas,” said Coun. Shawn Cleary.

The amendments came as a shock to some Halifax business community members.

“I thought it was sort of done very sneakily,” said Erik Greiner, bar manager at the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse in downtown Halifax. “There was no consultation. Nobody really had any warning about it and we still don’t really know when it’s taking effect.”

According to the city staff report that regional council voted on, there was “community engagement” regarding the proposed changes.

However, those engagements weren’t open to the public and didn’t include members of the business community.

Greiner says his main concern is over who will be responsible for enforcing the new changes.

“If we see patrons outside that are smoking, I want to know am I obliged to actually go out and say to them, to educate them on what the new bylaws are? Do I have to direct them to a smoking zone, [and] if I do, where is the smoking zone? And am I sending people who might have had a beer or two two blocks up the road to have a cigarette, and can I do that in safety?” Greiner said.

According to city officials, an extra eight bylaw enforcement officers are being hired to take on the new amendments.

Fines could be issued between $25-$2,000, but are being seen as a “last resort.”

READ MORE:
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“It’s a lot easier to come in strict in the beginning and then loosen the reins than to come in with something that’s not as strict and then make it stricter,” Elliott said. “We’re not out here trying to outlaw smoking, we just want to put sings where it makes sense.”

Greiner feels the decision is “heavy-handed” by the government, regardless of the fact that designated smoking spaces will be made available and that it will negatively impact not only local citizens but tourists as well.

“It’s going to impact tourism, it’s going to impact people who don’t know Halifax, who are visitors to our city and do I have to educate every single person who comes through the door?”Greiner wonders.

“Welcome to Halifax, by the way, you can’t smoke here,”

Currently, over 1,000 signs are being produced to indicate where smoking will be allowed throughout the municipality.

The new law is expected to be rolled out a few weeks before marijuana legalization on October 17.

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Alberta farming, tourism offer bright lights as dark economic clouds loom: economist

Written by admin on 14/09/2019 Categories: 上海夜网

A leading Alberta economist points to the province’s agriculture and tourism sectors as bright spots for the bottom line this summer, but warns there could be trouble ahead.

“2018 is shaping up to be a very interesting year, and some dark clouds could be on the horizon,” says ATB chief economist Todd Hirsch.

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    Alberta sits in the midst of global uncertainty with no NAFTA deal yet, a raft of new international tariffs and increasing talk of trade wars.

    “A lot hangs in the balance for Canada and for Alberta,” Hirsch says. “We are very trade-dependent regions and economies.

    “And we just don’t know where this is all going to go.”

    READ MORE: Animated maps show Canada has so much more to lose in a trade war than the U.S.

    Hirsch says rebounds in the energy sector are heavily tied to the pipeline file.

    “What’s holding back the energy sector in 2018, and going into 2019, is the sector’s going to want to see even more certainty around pipeline capacity.”

    READ MORE: Kinder Morgan Canada reports net income of $13.7M in Q2, down from $25.1M in last year’s Q2

    Hirsch cites positive movement on the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

    But if additional certainty is not introduced?

    “We’re not going to see a lot of enthusiasm for new investments in the energy sector. For that to happen, we have to see some more progress on pipelines. It’s moving the right direction for sure, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

    And now for some good news

    So far this year, Alberta farmers are falling on the good news side of the coin.

    “Agriculture and agri-foods is actually one of the stronger sectors of Alberta’s economy in 2018,” Hirsch notes.

    “If you’re a farmer and you’ve got to finance some new equipment rentals or equipment purchases, the increase in interest rates is going to add a crimp on that, but agriculture and agri-foods is one of the bright lights at the moment.”

    Tourism is also providing an economic boost.

    READ MORE:  International tourism in Alberta expected to do well in 2018: report

    “With that softer Canadian dollar, more Albertans [are] staying closer to home this year,” Hirsch says.

    “That’s combined with more Canadian, American and international visitors flooding in,” he said. “I think 2018 is shaping up to be probably a third record-setting year for tourism. So that’s good news.”

    Looking into the future

    The Bank of Canada recently edged up interest rates and while Hirsch says it’s impossible to say for certain if the rate could go up even further, his guess is yes, it will.

    However, if the NAFTA situation worsens, Hirsch says the Bank of Canada may shift that rate back down again.

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Nova Scotia woman to celebrate 110th birthday this weekend

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Florence Webber is getting ready for a celebration. On Sunday, July 22, she will turn 110 years old.

“You know, I don’t know one person at the present time that’s that age, but it’s a wonderful age,” said Webber.

READ: Hockey tournament gives seniors 70 and older a chance to lace up the skates

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Webber was born in 1908 and has lived in Nova Scotia all her life. She and her husband Eugene married in the 1930s and had three children. He passed away in 1999.

“I had three, three children, two girls and one boy and I still got them, thank goodness,” she said.

Although she knows the names of her many grandchildren and great grandchildren, she can’t count exactly how many there are now.

Webber likes to spend her days reading the newspaper and sewing.

“I like sewing very much,” she said. “I made my children’s clothes while they were growing up, right up until they were in their teens.”

WATCH: Is Alice Moore the world’s biggest Toronto Blue Jays fan?

She had a few falls recently, but Webber says she is in good health. She currently lives in the same senior’s centre as her 76-year-old son, Roland.

“It works out pretty good because I look after getting her groceries and that sort of thing,” said Roland Webber.

This weekend, Florence, her family, friends and community members will come together to celebrate her milestone birthday.

“Last year we had a bigger one but it tired her out a bit too much,” said Roland.

“At 110, we don’t want to go too far.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick therapy rabbit ‘Honey Bunny’ spreads joy and unlocks memories

So what’s Florence’s secret to such a long life? She says good friends are important, but so is one other thing: having salt on every meal.

“If it got me along this far, why shouldn’t have salt or vinegar,” she said smiling.

“She’s a country girl,” added Roland. “Her father was a fisherman years ago and they say don’t eat any salt, but I think the salt is what’s keeping her alive. Because in those days, you ate salt fish or you didn’t eat at all.”

Florence Webber’s birthday celebration will take place on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Spruce Grove Senior’s Complex on James Roy Drive in Porters Lake, N.S.

All are welcome to attend the festivities and wish Florence a happy 110th birthday.

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Environmentalists want to save Saint-Pierre River that runs through Meadowbrook Golf Club

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Several nature lovers and green space advocates say they’re concerned about the fate of the Saint-Pierre River, a small body of water that extends all the way to the St. Lawrence River.

Environmentalists want to clean up and protect the 200 metres of the river meander through the Meadowbrook golf course.

A Quebec Superior Court judge ruled that the exposed portion of the river could be covered or decontaminated, but Les amis du Parc Meadowbrook want to protect it and leave it open for the general public to enjoy.

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“People enjoy being by a river, a babbling brook with marsh plants around the river —; people enjoy that. So, just to look at it, just to be by the river is of great value,” said Al Hayek, from Les amis du Parc Meadowbrook.

“That’s why we should not cover it. We should clean it up.”

The issue is still being debated before the courts.

The Saint-Pierre River is polluted. It’s believed raw sewage flows directly into it due to sewage and water pipes that were cross connected years ago from home owners in Côte St-Luc and Montreal West.

The environmentalists argue if cross-connecting pipes are fixed, the river would be decontaminated.

The Saint Pierre River.

Tim Sargeant/Global News

The mayor of Côte St-Luc argues his city is looking into repairing the problem.

”We do plan to be more active in trying to find the cross connections are if they do exist in the city,” Côte St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein told Global News.

The developer who owns the golf course refused to comment, telling Global News the issue is still before the courts.

However, people who play there argue the most realistic option would be to improve the course itself, which they claim would protect the river.

“The golf course should be developed as a golf course,” said Sidney Margles, a Meadowbrook Golf Club player.

“Therefore, it would have its own water supply and maybe then the water of a contaminated river could be diverted or cleaned up at that point.”

Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific wants a ruling that forces the city to stop the rivet flow at the surface of the golf course.

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Slime is growing in popularity, but consumer group warns of health hazards

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Slime has been growing in popularity online, with videos of the sticky toy going viral on social media.

The toy may seem like harmless fun, but U.K.-based consumer group Which? is warning that it often contains a potentially toxic ingredient.

The chemical in question is boron (also known as borax or boric acid), which is a key ingredient, giving slime its sticky texture.

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READ MORE: Toronto teen’s Instagram account goes viral because of slime videos

The consumer group revealed that it tested 11 popular slime brands being sold on Amazon, and found that eight contained “excessive levels” of the chemical.

It then contacted Amazon, which said it had removed the products that did not meet European Union safety regulations.

Which? issued the warning to parents, saying they should still remain vigilant when buying slime for children, as there are countless brands selling the product.

WATCH: Calgary’s Slime Gurlz show off their gooey creations

Not all the companies label the product’s ingredients, either.

Making slime at home can help, but the group said caution should be exercised in this matter as well.

“Some ingredients listed for slime, such as some contact lens solutions, contain borax. Often slime recipes don’t list the quantities you need to be adding,” the group’s post read.

Similar warnings have been issued about slime in the past, including by Health Canada.

In 2016, the health agency said Canadians should avoid using boron when making slime at home.

WATCH: Toronto girl, 15, builds slime empire on social media

The release explained that boron can cause developmental and reproductive health effects, and exposure should especially be limited for children and pregnant women.

There have been reported cases of slime recipes going wrong.

For example, the case of an 11-year-old from Rockland, Mass. who sustained third-degree burns after making slime from a viral do-it-yourself recipe found online.

Doctors said the burns were caused by boric acid.

READ MORE: Viral homemade slime recipe gives 11-year-old girl 3rd-degree burns

But it’s not just slime that contains the chemical, it’s also found in the environment.

People can be exposed to it naturally through food (like fruits and vegetables) and drinking water. It can also be found in cleaning products, cosmetics, swimming pool and spa chemicals, drugs and natural health products.

The U.S. National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also say contact with boric acid can be corrosive to the eye and cause irritation to the skin.

Being in contact with extreme amounts (often by ingestion) can result in a red and blistering rash and skin loss.

— With files from Global News reporter Dani-Elle Dubé

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Canadian man born without arms and legs inspiring kindness in cross-country trek

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Chris Koch was born without arms and legs. He never let that stand in the way of anything he wanted to do.

“There have been times when I did not even realize I was missing arms and legs,” he said.

“I just went about my day to day. I played street hockey with everyone else, I played baseball, I went to a regular school.”

Koch, 39, started a motivational speaking career several years ago. He now channels most of his energy on his website.

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    READ MORE: Alberta man with no arms or legs crosses finish line at Calgary Marathon

    His latest endeavour is inspiring kindness in Canadians, by hitchhiking across the country.

    Two weeks ago, he left Calgary on his skateboard and with nothing more than a small backpack.

    For someone who doesn’t accept rides past 6 p.m., he has hitched at least 12 rides and in almost two weeks he made it to Montreal.

    “Do as many kind things as you can for other people and it will come back to you,” he said from a coffee shop south of Montreal.

    “And just get out there and live life to the fullest.”

    He is documenting his journey on Facebook and his story has been shared many times over. The last few days, people have offered rides to him through his Facebook page.

    On Thursday morning, he met Lorraine Bonneau outside a Tim Horton’s near Montreal and she offered him a lift to Quebec City. Bonneau said she has a daughter whose leg was amputated and she was inspired to help him.

    READ MORE: Alberta man without arms, legs gets green light to participate in Calgary Marathon

    “His Facebook page is ‘If I can’ —; If he can, we can so yes it’s great,” she said.

    Koch said he isn’t raising money on this journey, he simply wants to raise awareness about kindness. He says occasionally people have given him money to buy a sandwich or water. He plans on donating the amount he’s given to the War Amps when he returns to Alberta.

    “If a guy with no arms and legs can snowboard, surf, travel around the world, hitchhike across Canada…if I can do those things —; anyone is capable of anything.”

    Koch hopes to reach Newfoundland by the end of July since he has a wedding in Calgary he has to go to.

    While he says he realizes he’s inspiring Canadians, he has also been by the kindness he’s been shown during the trip. He says it helps him to never give up.

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