Water in multiple Canadian cities contains more lead than Flint, Michigan
Well Canada, we have some bad news. The water you drink could be harming your health.
According to a year-long and detailed investigation released by the 120 journalists and 10 media organizations including the Associated Press alongside the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University in Montreal, hundreds of thousands of Canadians across the country have been drinking water contaminated with lead levels that actually surpass the levels in Flint, Michigan.
Flint notably became famous, when its water crises caused a state of emergency in early 2016, forcing residents to use only bottled or filtered water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing.
This occurred as the consumption of lead can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves.
Health effects of lead exposure in children include impaired cognition, behavioural disorders, hearing problems and delayed puberty.
While Flint remains a problem in the United States, the results found by the Associated Press and Concordia University are even more worrying.
According to lead exposure tests conducted in 11 cities across Canada, “out of 12,000 tests since 2014, one-third—33%—exceeded the national safety guideline of 5 parts per billion; 18% exceeded the U.S. limit of 15 ppb. “
This includes some homes, schools, and daycare centres spread as far as Montreal, Regina, Halifax, Edmonton, and even Moose Jaw.
Toronto maintained one of the lowest exceedance rates, as Ontario remains the only province to actively put forward data on lead levels publically online.
While Ontario maintains better transparency, it to had problematic areas with some homes Oakville being found to have lead levels above national guidelines in dozens of water samples.
A Montreal man is being praised as a hero after his bold actions saved roughly a dozen people from being seriously injured, or worse.
Erick Marciano was driving his SUV to a meeting Tuesday afternoon in Montreal’s downtown core, when he saw a car speed through a red light, with Montreal police hot on the vehicle’s tail.
When he saw the suspect vehicle making a sharp U-turn in front of him toward a crowd of roughly a dozen pedestrian and city workers, Marciano says he knew he had to act.
“I didn’t want him to hurt anybody,” Marciano told CBC’s Daybreak. “I figured, sacrificing a car was really no big deal. And that’s what I did.”
Marciano then swerved his SUV over the divider, blocking the vehicle from being able to speed into the crowd of pedestrians. The only people injured was the suspect, and police are praising his actions as heroic.
Marciano said the intersection was ripe with pedestrians crossing the intersection headed into Montreal’s downtown CHUM mega-hospital, with many workers out on their lunch break.
“It came into my mind, I said: ‘this isn’t going to happen here,” he said.
Marciano says he knew the vehicle would be able to absorb the hit, not even considering his overall safety. “I figured, he had a Honda, and there was no way he was going over the median,” he said. “For me, that was the safest thing to do.”
On Facebook, Marciano posted a comment about a story, saying “I guess I am a nice guy if only my wife would believe it lol [sic]”
After the impact, police were able to arrest the 19-year-old suspect at the scene. He will appear in court on Wednesday afternoon, and has been charged with “numerous criminal offences,” including impaired driving, failing to stop for police, assault with a weapon, driving with a suspended licence, dangerous driving, and driving a stolen vehicle.
Marciano’s actions have been praised universally. From police, who thanked him for risking his life, to the mother of the suspect.
The suspect’s mother thanked Marciano for stopping her son from injuring people. She said her son has had a history of mental health issues, and that it shouldn’t take these kinds of incidents for the government to realize that mental health needs to be made a higher priority.
Police were also grateful. “They were very, very thankful. Very thankful. Too thankful—it was embarrassing,” Marciano said to the Montreal Gazette.
Montreal mayor Valerie Plante also tweeted her praise of the bold action, tweeting:
“I salute the courage of Erick Marciano, whose heroic gesture saved the lives of many pedestrians [of downtown Montreal.] On behalf of myself and the Montrealers, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mr. Marciano.”
(Translated by Google)
Though Marciano’s SUV was damaged in the collision, Marciano’s insurance company told him that we would not be held responsible for the wreck.
“What matters is the outcome, and everything’s well, and everybody could go home last night.”
Montrealers will officially be able to cover their faces with masks or bandanas during protests again, as the city moves forward with scrapping a bylaw prohibiting it.
The bylaw, which was originally put in place 50 years ago as a measure to force demonstrators at protests throughout the city to rally with their faces revealed, allowing police to better identify participants who may be violating other lies, mayor Valerie Plante announced on Wednesday.
During a speaking event to the city’s executive committees, Mayor Plante said that the city’s police are well-equipped enough with the tools of the Criminal Code and the Highway Code to give ample ability to monitor and control public demonstrations.
The bylaw, which originally passed in 1969 as a means to maintain public safety and order, was amended during the Montreal student tuition hike protests in 2012 to include bans on all facial coverings during demonstrations. The bylaw also places obligation on protest organizers to provide city officials with march routes.
Then-opposition Projet Montreal criticized the 2012 amendments, claiming that they were put into place as a reactionary measure to the protests. In the years since those protests, the move to remove the bylaw has been supported by “a serious of court judgments, overturning the amendments as unconstitutional.”
Plante said a motion calling for the elimination of the bylaw will be tabled at the next meeting of city council on Monday.
Montreal’s history of masked protests
The city isn’t prone to masked protestors causing trouble, though. Recent May Day celebrations, a day chosen by communist and socialist groups as International Workers Day, have proven dangerous.
The 2012 protest in downtown Montreal, led by the anti-capitalist group CLAC Montreal (convergence des luttes anti capitalistes: Translation, ‘convergence of anti-capitalist struggles,’) quickly turned into a violent riot in which 108 people arrested and 33 charged, many of them masked.
In 2017, two masked members of the Black Bloc assaulted two Global News journalists, going so far as to announce a call to violence against journalists covering future protests, in order to “make demonstrations safer.”
The group released a post on Montreal Counter-Information titled “No face, no case: in defence of smashing corporate media cameras.”
The post read: “Sometimes, it is necessary to go against what the mainstream considers ‘acceptable,’ to break the law in order to do the ethical thing,” the post read. “Those who mask up to fight the racist far-right have decided, at great personal risk, that they will use any means necessary to shut down fascist organizing.”
A 2019 Anti-capitalist rally in downtown Montreal saw a group of 300 protesters throw smoke bombs and firecrackers, all while smashing windows of businesses on route.
Police arrested five people for what they described as “multiple criminal acts” and handed out multiple tickets for vandalism and mischief, such as breaking windows. Many of these protestors were masked.
On Remembrance Day, Don Cherry was fired from Sportsnet for a comment he made on Coach’s Corner regarding poppies. He complained that not enough immigrants were wearing them and suggested that it represented a general ingratitude by immigrants of the benefits they enjoy by living in Canada.
His comment, now dubbed the “‘you people’ comment”, caused predictable outrage. The state broadcaster pointed out that Cherry’s remarks could not possibly have merit because of the fact that there are visible minorities who fought for this country. Try not to think too hard about the fact that they conflated visible minorities with immigrants. I happen to be both, but many Canadians happen to be one or the other.
Many in the media interpreted (some in bad faith) it as an attack on all minorities through Canadian history. While there is a general stereotype that people of colour were not born in Canada, I dare claim that it is a fast disappearing one, at least from personal experience having lived most of my life in Ontario.
Unfortunately, while that stereotype is on the decline, another is on the rise. Even more unfortunately, the one that is on the rise has an uncomfortably high level of merit. After all, Don Cherry did not come up with an original idea, he merely expressed the “wrong” opinion in the “wrong” forum.
I know many fellow immigrant-minorities who find it quite puzzling that the mainstream media and a large section of society simply cannot fathom why racist attitudes are apparently becoming more prevalent and acceptable by progressives who hurl racist abuse against anyone who does not accept the “woke” dogma of the day and by the sentiment sometimes called “whitelash”. Did the white people of Canada spontaneously develop previously a non-existent or hidden collective race consciousness?
On the contrary, I cautiously claim that as each generation in society has its own cultural features, so do successive waves of immigrants. This is true regardless of the predominant country of origin or religion of any given wave of immigration. Not that immigrants are the same regardless of their origin, but that immigrants of the same origin will still tend to behave differently depending on when they came to Canada, and this is likely true even correcting for the amount of time spent in Canada.
In other words, an immigrant of “minority x” in 1990 who immigrated in 1975 will be systematically different from an immigrant of the same “minority x” in 2015 who immigrated in 2000. This is despite the fact that they are from essentially the same origin and have spent the same amount of time in Canada. This should not be a controversial statement.
This is because of two changing variables: the state of society in the country of origin, and the state of society in the destination country. Our society has definitely been changing, so it should not be a surprise if the way we integrate immigrants into our society changes as well. In fact, there may be a very strong case that our “immigration culture” has been changing mostly not because of changes in where our immigrants come from or their culture, but because of changes in our own culture and championing the “cultural mosaic”.
Not many people would argue with the fact that our society has become much more accommodating of social minorities, such as people in the LGBTQ community or people living with disabilities. Hopefully, not many people would argue with the claim that this is largely a positive thing for society as a whole.
Under Canadian Human Rights Law, individuals must be accommodated by society, including the government, employers, service providers, and other individuals. This accommodation must seek to prevent discrimination based on a “prohibited ground” to the point of “undue hardship”. Setting aside whether we as a society have enumerated the proper “prohibited grounds”, whether “undue hardship” is an appropriate threshold, or whether that threshold is interpreted as it should be, it is definitely reasonable for individuals to expect at least some accommodation from society because we do not all share the same characteristics, disadvantages, and capabilities, and a blanket allowance for all forms of discrimination will create discontent and will exclude too many people for society to function well.
For much of history, this accommodation was arguably too little, and we had been moving in the right direction for a long time. However, somewhere along the way, it became inappropriate to consider the extent to which individuals can be expected to accommodate society. Society is made up of individuals, and it is impossible for millions of idiosyncrasies to be accommodated perfectly. One individual’s right is necessarily another individual’s duty not to infringe upon that right. Where we create more rights, we create more duties for others.
I am not trying to argue that the poor white people of Canada are being victimized because they now have more duties not to infringe upon others’ rights not to be unfairly discriminated against. Rather, it is that rights must have a limit, or we create unlimited duties that can have negative consequences or even become impractical.
The phrase “Islam is right about women” is one illustration of this conflict. The phrase was coined to point out a popular contradiction in our modern outrage culture. The idea is that you can either be offended because you think the statement is discriminatory against either muslims or women, but thinking that it is discriminatory against muslims is sexist and thinking that it is discriminatory against women is Islamophobic. The phrase does not claim that Islam is worse for women than any other religion, and there is a good case that Christianity, as with most other religions, are sexist as well, at least by modern western standards. However, the illustration only works because muslims are considered, rightfully in my opinion, to face disproportionately high levels of unfair discrimination.
Other examples include: lessons promoting LGBTQ equality being pulled from classrooms because of complaints by immigrants that such ideas infringe upon freedom of thought or religion, claims by trans activists that lesbians are transphobic for refusing to sleep with people with penises, or labelling the term “bisexual” as exclusionary of non-binary individuals.
Excuse the cliche, but the point is this: we can’t only keep asking what our country can do for us, and not what we can do for our country. The country is nothing more than a collection of us, and we can’t expect all of us to do everything for each individual while making no attempt to fit into our society.
Canadians are bound together by what we have in common, but without the effort of individuals, the few remaining values that hold us together will only continue to weaken and we will become ever more divided into factions competing to score the biggest take for their particular team. Soon, there could be nothing we have in common with each other, other than our shared struggle to compete with each other for resources.
Diversity does not make balkanization inevitable, but our current societal trajectory probably does when “diversity is our strength” is zealously pushed without expecting some common values and customs to be upheld to keep us all together.
Don Cherry was merely pointing out one aspect of that fact.
Montreal has been subject to a spree of organized crime shootings. In this year alone, there have been 17 murders in the greater Montreal area, according to Global News. These shootings have become increasingly brutal and audacious.
Despite this, the police have, so far, declined to comment on whether Montreal has experienced a disproportionate amount of crime this year. This doesn’t just pertain to organized crime, however, as sporadic crime is also on the up in the city.
The Montreal police have been criticized for their lack of transparency in reporting these crimes to the general public. In Toronto, for instance, the police will publish crime statistics every month. This does not happen in Montreal, and the level and growth of crime remains opaque.
The only method available to the press and the general public is to file a freedom of information request—a process that is painfully slow and tedious. When the Montreal newspaper, La Presse, attempted to compile a list of the number of murders, attempted murders, and shootings, they were unable to do so due to the lack of statistics.
Many crime experts have blamed the increase of organized crime on a power vacuum within the mafia underworld.