By Patricia Treble - Sunday, March 3, 2013 - 0 Comments
For the first time in a decade, the Queen is in hospital, felled by a tummy bug. In its usual terse manner, Buckingham Palace announced:
“The Queen is being assessed at the King Edward VII Hospital, London, after experiencing symptoms of gastroenteritis. As a precaution, all official engagements for this week will regrettably be either postponed or cancelled.”
The statement comes three days after the palace revealed the Queen was cancelling Saturday’s visit to Wales to present leeks to the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh regiment on St. David’s Day. That announcement was the first indication she had a stomach bug: The Queen will no longer visit Swansea tomorrow as she is experiencing symptoms of gastroenteritis. She will be assessed in the coming days. Her Majesty is currently spending the weekend at Windsor, as usual.” The ancient castle has been her weekend home for the last 60 years.
For anyone who has had an elderly relative felled by gastroenteritis knows this isn’t something to be trifled with. According to the Centres for Disease Control, “Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Viral gastroenteritis is an infection caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea. It is often called the ‘stomach flu,’ although it is not caused by the influenza viruses.” It can start suddenly and is highly contagious–noroviruses notoriously turn cruise ships into medical disaster zones. While gastroenteritis isn’t serious for most, it can be for those who can’t drink enough fluids to replace what is being lost. For those, recovery involves a stay in hospital so they don’t become dehydrated.
The Queen, who turns 87 on April 21, isn’t one given to cancelling engagements just because she’s a bit under the weather. It has to be something major, such as a flare up of chronic back trouble that caused her to hand over duties at an investiture to Prince Charles last October rather than spend hours on her feet, leaning over to pin medals on recipients. Indeed, in 2012, her Diamond Jubilee year, she fulfilled 425 engagements and it was the bad health of Prince Philip–three hospital admissions in eight months including one for heart trouble–that had everyone concerned.
For the Queen, this current illness was serious enough that she was admitted to hospital, but not clearly bad enough that she couldn’t travel from Windsor Castle into London to the royal family’s favourite medical centre, King Edward VII Hospital. Still, her official visit to Italy that was set to start on March 6 is off. And that may not be a bad thing. She could not have been looking forward to landing in the middle of the chaos gripping Italy–its politics are being roiled by an inconclusive election (“Send in the clowns,” is a cover line on The Economist) and Rome is fixated by the upcoming election of a new pope. Though given Prince Philip’s propensity for colourful quips (here and here), it would have been a headline-generating visit.
By Julia Belluz - Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 8:24 AM - 0 Comments
This week, Windsor Ont. became the latest community in Canada to stop adding fluoride to its water supply. This means there are now more than 30 communities across the country that have abolished fluoridation, joining some 200 anti-fluoride municipalities in the US.
Though Windsor has been accused of perpetuating junk science, there are many countries around the world that have never added fluoride to the water supply or have moved away from fluoridation for reasons other than Cold War-era paranoia about mass medication. Science-ish sat down with Macleans.ca assistant editor, Jessica Allen, to talk about the evidence for fluoridation, what’s being lost in the fluoride debates, and what the anti-fluoride movement tells us about popular perceptions of science.
Read the related Maclean’s story here.
Science-ish is a joint project of Maclean’s, the Medical Post and the McMaster Health Forum. Julia Belluz is the senior editor at the Medical Post. Got a tip? Seen something that’s Science-ish? Message her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @juliaoftoronto
By Manisha Krishnan - Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
Windsor is the latest city to cave to anti-fluoride activists. And it won’t be the last.
It was an all too familiar scene. In late January, city councillors in Windsor, Ont., gathered to vote on whether or not to remove fluoride from the municipal water system. Health experts, including Canada’s chief dental officer, Peter Cooney, had descended on the town with stacks of evidence about the benefits of fluoridation as a harmless, cost-effective way to prevent tooth decay. Meanwhile a much more vocal, angrier crowd of activists railed against the decades-old health policy as paternalistic and dangerous. The debate raged into the night, but for those who have followed the mounting backlash against fluoride in Canada in recent years, the ending was all but guaranteed. And like that, Windsor’s local politicians became the latest to bow to pressure from the anti-fluoride lobby, voting to scrap the practice starting in April.
For scientists and health officials, the decision was a blow. “We’re not talking about a new subject here, this is a well-accepted public health intervention,” says Allen Heimann, the medical officer for Windsor-Essex County. But it could hardly have been unexpected. Since 2005, more than 30 communities have voted to do away with fluoridation, including Calgary, Waterloo, Ont., Slave Lake, Alta., and Quebec City. During this same period, the share of the Canadian population with access to fluoridated water has fallen to 32.5 per cent, down from 43 per cent, according to the Ontario-based Environmental Training Institute, which trains municipal waterworks operators across Canada. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 2:37 PM - 0 Comments
Joe Comartin and Brian Masse respond to Stephen Colbert’s suggestion that Windsor is “the Earth’s rectum.”
“It’s not unusual for a humourous comedian to use somebody as a whipping boy on a repeated basis. It’s a convenient and easy way for them to get a laugh,” Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MP Joe Comartin said. “But as always, it’s a cheap shot.”
Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse wants Colbert to visit Windsor before rushing to judgement. ”I would just invite Stephen Colbert to come to Windsor, get out of his basement, and to come over here and talk with people, see people,” Masse said. “Obviously; he’s off his medications and hopefully Obamacare will come from him and rescue him from his situation.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Ahead of the fall sitting, the NDP leader goes to Windsor.
“It was important to come here because this area feels the effects of the policies of the Harper government,” said Mulcair. “The manufacturing sector has been hit particularly hard here … Yet the government puts all its eggs in the resources basket while manufacturing loses hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
“We’re losing the balanced economy that Canada had built up since the Second World War. It’s been destabilized by the choices of the Conservatives.” Long-term, good-paying manufacturing jobs with pensions are being replaced by part-time jobs in the service sector that don’t come with a pension, Mulcair said.
Canada has put “all its economic eggs in the resource basket,” he said, and must include the environmental costs of developments such as the oilsands if it wants to compete internationally. “That’s had an effect of artificially raising the value of the Canadian dollar, which has made it increasingly difficult for manufacturing companies in this area to export. That’s one of the leading causes of the hollowing out of the manufacturing sector,” Mulcair told reporters. “We’re not against the development of the oilsands, that would be foolish. We are saying that we’re against the development that’s going on now because it’s not sustainable.”
“The manufacturing sector has been particularly hard hit for the past five years” in Ontario, Mulcair said while touring Pro-Fab Plastics Ltd. on Bruce Street.
Mulcair tells 570 News it was quite impressive, “it’s very promising and a great way to create jobs for the future, and they’re the best kind of jobs, high tech jobs” ”I think that its a model to be followed across Canada and the region needs to be congratulated for being such a leader in this area.” Mulcair says jobs in Canada tend to be created by small and medium size businesses, and that they are the key to helping the Canadian economy rebound not giving tax breaks to big corporations, like banks and gas companies.
By Nicholas Köhler - Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 11:29 AM - 0 Comments
Dancing incentives for Canadian women are popping up as some 800 foreign dancers return home
Rob Katzman has a knack for publicity. There was the time nearly a decade ago when the Windsor, Ont.-area strip club owner had to deny rumours he was poised to open a sex club for swingers, called Sin, which Windsor’s then-mayor said he’d oppose. Or this past January when, after a 10-year hiatus, he brought dwarf tossing back to the city, saying the four-foot-eight man he hired for the event “loves it.” Now he’s launched a marketing campaign promoting the free tuition and other incentives he’s offering Canadian women willing to strip at his clubs. Barry Maroon, his right-hand man, says Katzman Enterprises will pay up to $1,700 per semester to dancers maintaining a B average in their studies, and will also provide loans to women relocating to Windsor. “We’re in the strip club business, OK, but we try to stay above the rest,” says Maroon.
The plan, which Katzman first adopted years ago, is back in the spotlight because of the federal government’s recent move to ban temporary work visas for foreign women dancing in Canada—a move that’s sure to produce a shortage of performers. The feds say they’re protecting these women from human trafﬁckers. But Tim Lambrinos, executive director of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada, disagrees. “It’s political brownie points for the ultra-conservative fundamentalist base,” he says of the government’s new policy. “They don’t like dancers—why don’t they just come out and say so?”
Over the next months some 800 foreign dancers will be forced to return home, including 35 women dancing for Katzman. The coming scarcity has forced clubs and the Adult Entertainment Association to get innovative. The latter recently dropped the idea of recruiting at high-school job fairs. Graduates, however, need only apply to Katzman.
By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 2:44 PM - 0 Comments
Politicians and corporate executives are always decrying a “skills mismatch” crisis when talking about the paradox of companies who say they are having trouble finding enough applicants to fill vacancies even with unemployment in Canada still hovering above seven per cent.
As the story goes, there are plenty of unemployed workers anxious for jobs and plenty of employers scrambling to fill a glut of jobs that could help them expand their business and therefore create even more jobs. The problem, say politicians and HR professionals, is that the people looking for work aren’t qualified to handle the jobs that are available. The answer is usually a call for governments to spend more on education and to open the door to more highly skilled immigrants.
Matt Marchand, president of the Windsor Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, cited a “skills mismatch” this month to explain why Windsor, which has been badly hit by the downturn in auto manufacturing, still has the highest unemployment of any Canadian city. (It topped 15 per cent in 2009 and is still around 9.5 per cent.) Part of the problem, he told the Windsor Star, was that despite a heap of unemployed workers, many of them coming out of the automotive and manufacturing sector, companies can’t find enough people to work as welders and machinists and are therefore having trouble expanding their business.
Enter former Times journalist at Harvard sociologist Barbara Kiviat, who argued this week in an essay in the Atlantic that the “skills mismatch” conundrum is largely a myth.
According to Kiviat, the skills mismatch narrative began in the 1980s and paralled the declining trend of on-the-job training and the rise of expensive universities and colleges, which shifted the cost and responsibility of training workers from the employers to the workers themselves.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM - 0 Comments
Watson said the federal government has been pursuing the matter “under the radar” since a 2011 report by Natural Resources Canada, which determined the hum is coming from a one-square-kilometre area in or near industrial Zug Island in River Rouge. He said in contrast to the federal government’s silent course of action the “tone and approach” of three letters sent late last March by provincial Minister of Environment Jim Bradley “have not been necessarily helpful.
“When you’re dealing in diplomatic relationships you have to be a bit more nuanced and a little more positive and sort of draw partners in. If the tone or tenor is a bit strong or instructive that could put people off,” Watson said Tuesday.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 11:43 AM - 0 Comments
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has dispatched Bob Dechert to deal with Windsor’s hum.
“The Windsor Hum is having a negative effect on the day-to-day lives of Windsor residents,” said Baird. “We are prepared to collaborate with stakeholders and other levels of government to identify the source of the problem so that potential mitigation measures can be designed and implemented.”
The hum mystery is months old. A telephone town hall meeting about the problem in March drew 22,000 participants. The sound has been traced to Zug Island, but the Michigan town that includes Zug Island says it doesn’t have enough money to investigate. NDP MP Brian Masse took the issue to Washington last month.
By Julia Belluz - Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:21 PM - 0 Comments
Nothing showcases the human potential for creativity better than conspiracy theories. A search of “fluoridation” on YouTube gives a pretty good sense of the fantastically diverse views of anti-fluoridation campaigners, some of whom believe that adding more of the mineral to the water supply is akin to Nazi-inspired mass medication–and that it can cause all kinds of afflictions, from cancer to hip fractures and a diminished IQ.
A few cities across Canada (most recently Windsor) and the U.S. have been moving to phase out fluoridation. This, in turn, has spurred some commentators to squawk in dismay and defer to authorities like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which touted fluoridation as “one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
Now, as much Science-ish likes to bust a dubious conspiracy theory, it also doesn’t like to rely on authority alone to draw conclusions. So what does the science show?
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 1:49 PM - 0 Comments
It is so rare for Queen Elizabeth II to take family with her on a public engagement that the BBC World Service broke into its newscast to go live with the coverage of the arrival of the monarch, her daughter-in-law Camilla, and her granddaughter-in-law Kate at Fortum & Mason, the exclusive London department store. They were there to unveil a plaque marking the revitalization of the area (has anyone counted how many times the Queen has whipped back the curtains on those markers in the last 60 years?), meet servicemen involved in sending gifts to troops overseas, and have tea with the store’s staff and owners, the British branch of the Weston family.
From the Telegraph:
Two things stood out: Continue…
By Alex Ballingall - Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 8:00 AM - 6 Comments
They call it “the hum”— a mysterious rumble that’s sparked a cross-border spat
They say it comes most often in the dead of night: a deep, relentless rumble that rolls in from the west. At the best of times, it’s a low frequency drone—not unlike the sound of idling truck engines, says one resident. At its worst, the mysterious force known as the Windsor Hum is described as an incessant roar. It rattles windows, frightens dogs, wakes up babies, doles out headaches and deprives people of sleep.
“It pulsates all night long,” says Christine Southern, who lives with her husband and two children in LaSalle, a suburb of Windsor, Ont., near the eastern bank of the Detroit River, where the sound is reportedly strongest. “You can feel it in your chest,” she says. “Once you hear it, you can’t not hear it. You listen for it every night.”
For months, no one knew where it was coming from. Far-fetched theories were tossed about. Some people insisted it was alien spaceships, says Southern, a leading voice on the Windsor Hum Facebook group, which has more than 780 members. Others said it came from secret military testing beneath the surface of the Great Lakes. As it turns out, the likely source may be just as difficult to address.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 18, 2011 at 2:08 PM - 24 Comments
Rob Nicholson, July 2008. “We don’t govern by statistics in our government.”
Rob Nicholson, July 2009. “We don’t govern on the latest statistics.”
Stockwell Day, August 2010. “We’re very concerned . . . about the increase in the amount of unreported crimes that surveys clearly show are happening. People simply aren’t reporting the same way they used to.”
Rob Nicholson, September 2011. “We’re not governing on the basis of the latest statistics.”
Jeff Watson, this morning in the House. “Madam Speaker, with our tackling violent crime act, measures to strengthen parole, pardons and sentences for violent criminals, funds for more frontline police and to prevent at-risk youth from a life of crime, only this Conservative government is making our communities and streets safer. According to StatsCan’s just released 2010 crime severity index, Windsor–Essex is the safest region in Canada. Among the safest Canadian communities over 10,000 people, the town of LaSalle ranks 2nd, Tecumseh 4th, Kingsville 7th, Lakeshore 8th, Essex 12th. Windsor is the 7th safest big city of 32, and topping the list of 238 safest towns and cities is my hometown, Amherstburg. Thanks to our dedicated police, strong community involvement, our government’s investments to prevent crime and tough laws to crack down on criminals, Windsor–Essex is the safest region in Canada.”
Local officials in Windsor and Essex County have cited a number of possible explanations for the recent success there, including shifting demographics, community assistance, police involvement in schools and “luck.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 11, 2011 at 3:24 PM - 24 Comments
Wading into a discussion about rail service between Quebec City and Windsor, Conservative MP Jeff Watson ventures an interesting stance on government spending.
On Wednesday I asked Essex MP Jeff Watson, who sits on the federal transportation committee, why Canada couldn’t do something similar on the Quebec City-Windsor line – say, invest $100 million per year in the corridor to gradually boost speeds. ”Why?” Watson shot back. “Rail is not profitable. Why would we invest $100 million a year in something that’s not profitable?”
The difficulty here would be applying this standard to spending on health care, the military or policing and law enforcement. With the exception of collecting taxes, is there much of anything a government does that turns a profit?
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 1:27 PM - 15 Comments
NDP MP Brian Masse wants the government to get aboard the high-speed bandwagon.
Masse sent a letter to federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel and launched a “Need for Speed” campaign calling on the government to join with the private sector and ensure highspeed rail investments become reality.
It should include investments to run a high-speed service through Windsor to Chicago, he said. ”Significant upgrades to Canada’s rail capacity are long overdue and impacting our ability to compete in the global economy,” said Masse in his letter to Lebel. He noted this country remains the only G8 country which has no high-speed rail networks.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 12:25 PM - 8 Comments
In the meantime, the federal government should back “prep work” needed for a Windsor to Montreal high-speed network, such as building road-rail grade separations, Masse said. Improving travel time from Windsor to Toronto by an hour to 90 minutes should be the initial goal, he said. “It’s doesn’t have to be high-speed, but can be higher speed,” Masse said. “Then it becomes real viable. That’s when we have a real ability to start connecting it internationally.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 1:27 PM - 17 Comments
The Windsor Star endorses a Conservative majority.
As you prepare to cast your ballots, consider what the Conservatives have provided in terms of economic stability and growth. Assess how having Tory MPs in Ottawa can strengthen our region even more. We believe the choice is clear. A majority Conservative government works for Windsor and Essex County.
By Chris Sorensen - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 3:20 PM - 7 Comments
A battle over a new bridge linking Windsor and Detroit heats up
Michigan’s newly elected Republican governor, Rick Snyder, recently endorsed a proposed US$2-billion bridge linking Detroit, Mich., with Windsor, Ont., over the Detroit River. The new span, first pitched back in 2004, is deemed necessary to alleviate chronic congestion at the nearby Ambassador Bridge, which was erected in 1929 and is now the busiest crossing between Canada and the United States, the world’s biggest trading partners.
Just one problem. The Ambassador Bridge is, unusually, a privately owned and operated crossing, and Michigan’s wealthy Moroun family, headed by 83-year-old Manuel “Matty” Moroun, is fighting tooth and nail to protect the value of its 1979 investment in this key piece of international infrastructure. The reclusive family also owns a trucking empire and huge swaths of property in both Windsor and Detroit, much of which has fallen into disrepair. With the state’s legislature set to vote on the New International Trade Crossing proposal this spring, the Ambassador Bridge’s owners recently launched a US$400,000 ad campaign to convince Michigan voters that a competing, publicly funded bridge would be a huge boondoggle.
To get their point across to legislators, the Morouns also hired Fox News analyst Dick Morris as a lobbyist. Morris, a one-time Clinton adviser who now speaks at Tea Party events, has painted the bridge as yet another case of reckless government spending, which threatens to resonate in a state hit hard by the recession and grappling with a US$1.4-billion budget shortfall. “I’m delighted we have a Republican governor, I just wish he’d act like one,” he said of Snyder during a recent interview with a local Detroit radio station.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 13, 2010 at 2:03 PM - 0 Comments
In the latest print edition of Maclean’s there are something like 1,300 words, under this byline, about Michael Ignatieff’s summer. Here, for your amusement, curiosity or comparison, is the indulgently long version, including a never-before-seen alternate ending.
It could be read as the latest in a series that includes previous sketches in September 2008, February 2009, June 2009 and October 2009. It could also be read as a reference to my favourite rap song of 2008.
Anyway. Make of it what you will. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 3:18 PM - 0 Comments
Mr. Ignatieff was greeted with a food basket, then posed with a group of small children who had apparently spontaneously arranged themselves at the entrance to the fair grounds. He was then led a short ways away to where crowds had formed seven deep on four low hills overlooking a field of well-watered mud.
With Justin Trudeau in tow, Mr. Ignatieff worked the crowd. A firefighter—firefighters standing by to assure the safety of what was about to ensue—was concerned that the Liberal leader watch where he stepped. “I’m in Ottawa, I deal with horseshit all the time,” Mr. Ignatieff assured. A woman in the back row stood and queried Mr. Trudeau to account for the GST, a nuanced discussion of provincial consumption tax policy ensued.
Mr. Ignatieff then returned to a spot overlooking the mud pit and was handed a green flag. Six windowless cars—little more than spray-painted metal frames on wheels—entered and assumed their positions. At the appointed time, Mr. Ignatieff held the flag above his head and then dropped it to the ground, officially starting Heat #3 of the Comber Agricultural Fair demolition derby. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 12:19 PM - 0 Comments
Greetings from downtown London, Ontario. The Liberal Express and my vacation have arrived in roughly the same part of the country and since you can never fill a magazine piece with enough local colour, I am once more on the road.
Actually, to be perfectly honest, I’m here primarily because tomorrow’s tour stop at the Comber Fair happens to coincide with the opening heats of the Comber Fair demolition derby. I somehow managed, despite more than a decade spent living in Essex County, to not once make it out to Comber to attend the demolition derby. And so now being paid to possibly attend the Comber Fair demolition derby didn’t seem like the sort of opportunity I should frivolously pass up.
Mr. Ignatieff is due at the market here in London around 4:45pm. Tomorrow morning there is a breakfast event in London, then the fair and then a rally with Paul Martin in Windsor.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 5:41 PM - 28 Comments
Joe Comartin advocates for sports gambling.
Windsor-Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin last spring introduced a parliamentary motion to delete one paragraph from the Criminal Code which bans sports wagering — as was done a few years ago with dice games. ”We have been working with the Canadian Gaming Association and the CAW to get the government to move on this, but they haven’t, and we’re not sure why,” Comartin said. “It’s kind of frustrating.”
Comartin said Ontario casinos are facing a perfect storm, with increased competition and tighter passport rules and that sports wagering could provide a much-needed edge. ”We are worried,” Comartin said. ”At some point, we expect some state in the U.S. will follow Nevada’s example. Probably one of the states in the midwest will allow it. Then they will all come on board, to remain competitive.”
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 1:55 PM - 208 Comments
With 51 precincts reporting specific estimates—restricting the count to media-reported figures and, where available, police counts—it’s possible to account for approximately 21,000 anti-prorogation protestors at yesterday’s rallies. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 4:36 PM - 16 Comments
Is this the birth of a brave new Michael Ignatieff?
Leader Michael Ignatieff says he hopes for the return of the Quebec Nordiques, but his funding priority would be the often-discussed and never-built high speed rail link from Quebec City to Windsor.
The popular idea of bringing the Nords back to the provincial capital arose when the city’s incumbent mayor began campaigning on a promise to build a modern arena that could attract an NHL team.