Archive for May, 2019

Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games security cost jumps to $239 million – Toronto

TORONTO – The Progressive Conservatives demanded the resignation of the Ontario cabinet minister in charge of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto on Monday after it was announced security costs for the event had jumped by $33 million.

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While Tourism Minister Michael Chan was assuring the legislature the Games were on time and on budget, the government announced the estimated costs of security will increase to $239 million from the last estimate of $206 million. The original cost of security built into the Toronto 2015 Pan Am budget was $113 million.

“Security is evolving, and that file will evolve right up to the Games,” Chan said.

Chan has no ability to control rising costs for the international sporting event and should resign or be fired, said PC critic Rod Jackson.

“It’s easy to be on time and budget if your budget is a moving target and keeps going up,” said Jackson. “It’s disingenuous at best, and shows the minister does not have a grip on the Pan Am Games and it’s time for him to go.”

The Ministry of Community Safety announced a contract is now “almost in place” for private security services at next year’s Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, which will be held in 14 communities across southern Ontario.

The $239-million figure includes the private security contract plus the cost of the Ontario Provincial Police and local police forces and their overtime, but could rise if the threat level increases, said Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur.

“The integrated security team under the OPP who are planning the event, that’s their forecast,” she said. “I am confident, but right now the threat for the game is low and if the threat does increase then we will have to adjust according to the threat.”

One thing that could raise the threat level – and the security costs – is if someone like U.S. President Barack Obama decides to attend the Toronto Games, but he could afford to provide his own security, joked Chan.

“Well if they want to, I think America is rich enough to do it,” he said with a chuckle.

The government pointed out that the private security guards hired for the Pan Am Games will not be given police powers, and will act much like security guards who work at professional sporting events or concerts.

The security bill is just a fraction of the nearly $900 million that was spent on security at the Vancouver Olympics, but officials believe there is a lower risk profile at the Pan Am Games with far fewer high-profile dignitaries expected to attend.

Ontario’s Liberal government was already under fire for not including the cost of building the athletes’ village in its original $1.4-billion budget for the games.

The total price, including security, transportation and the athletes’ village, will drive the cost of Toronto’s Pan Am Games to an estimated $2.5 billion.

However, the transportation plan still has not been developed and the costs, originally estimated at $75-$90 million, are expected to go even higher.

“Transportation is an evolving file and the latest I have right now is we are engaging the different municipalities to make sure the regular costs they incur will be their own expenses,” said Chan. “Anything on top of that, we will pick up.”

The province hopes to recoup about $65 million when the athletes’ housing is turned into 253 affordable rental apartments, a 740-square-metre YMCA and 500 residences for George Brown College students after the Games.

About 10,000 athletes and coaches from 41 countries are expected at the Pan Am Games, with events to be held at 34 different competition venues around the Golden Horseshoe from St. Catharines in the south to as far north as Minden Hills and Orillia.

©2014The Canadian Press

Winnipegger calls for public AEDs after wife does CPR at McDonald’s – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – Dave Pineau hopes some good will come from an “incredibly sad and awful experience” during his son’s fourth birthday lunch.

The family was at the Vermillion Road McDonald’s restaurant on Friday when 90-year-old Bryant Hodge collapsed at the counter.

Pineau’s wife, Diane, stepped forward and with another man, performed CPR for 10 minutes, when paramedics arrived and took over.

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She asked the staff if they had an AED – an automated external defibrillator, which uses an electrical shock to stop life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia and allow hearts to resume normal function – but the answer was no.

Pineau learned later Hodge didn’t survive.

The next day, Pineau decided to post the story on his Facebook page with a call for businesses to have AEDs in restaurants.

“Obviously my wife and I were relatively upset about what we saw and what our kids saw,” he said. “I thought (an AED) might have given him a better chance.”

The post has been shared more than 400 times and Pineau, who has learned that McDonald’s restaurants elsewhere have AEDs, is confident the company will respond – but it’s not just a McDonald’s issue, he pointed out.

Manitoba’s Defibrillator Public Access Act requires high-traffic public places such as gyms, arenas, community centres, golf courses, schools and airports to have AEDs on site as of Jan. 31. However, restaurants are not required to have them, and Pineau hopes that will start to change.

“This incident could literally have happened anywhere,” he said.

McDonald’s Canada is “deeply saddened” by the incident, a spokesman said in a statement emailed to Global News on Monday.

“The safety and security of our customers is a top priority, which is why we mandate every restaurant to have at least one shift manager on duty who is not only trained and certified in first aid but also undergoes regular re-certification as per their province of operation’s guidelines,” the statement from Western Canada communications manager John Gibson said.

“We applaud the quick work of our customers who provided CPR, as well as the emergency responders. Further inquiries regarding defibrillators are best addressed by Manitoba Health.”

©2014Shaw Media

Snapped tow line latest snag for Protecteur

VICTORIA – Canadian navy ship HMCS Protecteur was about 400 kilometres northeast of Pearl Harbor on Monday afternoon after towing operations resumed for the aging vessel, which was damaged in a fire.

The navy said in a news release that weather conditions had improved in the Pacific Ocean since Sunday, when a tow line broke, and that damaged vessel was now being towed toward Hawaii at a speed of about nine kilometres per hour.

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Protecteur endured an engine-room fire last Thursday that caused minor injuries to 20 sailors who were attempting to douse the flames.

“It is anticipated that USS Michael Murphy, which has been providing assistance to Protecteur up to this point, is expected to detach from the scene and proceed back to Pearl Harbor with family members and civilians.”

Nearly 300 people were on the vessel, including 17 family members who were allowed to join the crew on its return leg to Esquimalt, B.C., a common practice after a long mission. They are between 14 and 73 years old.

“We remain in close contact with HMCS Protecteur and continue to provide the required support to the crew onboard as well as the family members,” the navy said.

“Family members in Canada continue to receive daily briefings by senior staff through the Military Family Resource Centre.”

A team of military personnel were headed to Pearl Harbor to provide support to families and crew members and to deal with the ship, the navy said.

A damage assessment will be done before Protecteur is brought home to Esquimalt and an investigation into the cause of the fire is being initiated, said the navy.

Lt.-Cmdr. Desmond James at CFB Esquimalt, located on Vancouver Island west of Victoria, said earlier Monday that the aging vessel was being towed through heavy seas on Sunday when the tow line broke.

“Towing operations are hard enough but you’ve got these big war ships and they’re being tossed around in the water, pushed left, pushed right, up, down, back and forth. That really puts a strain on the tow line.”

James said the USS Sioux, a deep-water ocean tug, has taken over towing duties and the slow return to dry dock in Hawaii, about 600 kilometres southwest, had resumed.

The 44-year-old vessel was in the Pacific Ocean, north of Hawaii, when the fire broke out.

Commodore Bob Auchterloine, the commander of the navy’s Pacific fleet, has said sailors suffered dehydration, exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

He said a doctor on board provided treatment.

The 172-metre Protecteur was damaged last August in a collision with HMCS Algonquin while en route to Hawaii.

Algonquin sustained most of the damage, but Protecteur’s front end was damaged. Both ships were forced to cancel a voyage to Australia and return to port in Esquimalt for repairs.

Last October, the military announced Protecteur, along with its sister ship HMCS Preserver, on the East Coast, will be retired in 2015.

(The Canadian Press, CFAX)

©2014The Canadian Press

WATCH: NASA astronauts congratulate ‘Gravity’ on Oscar wins – National

TORONTO – It’s high praise, indeed: astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) congratulated Gravity on its Oscar wins Sunday night.

Gravity won a total of seven Academy Awards on Sunday night, including Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón); Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Cinematography; Film Editing and Original Score (Steven Price).

WATCH: NASA Astronaut Mike Massimino on Gravity Award Win

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The film is about two astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, who are stranded in space after their space shuttle is damaged by debris from satellites that collided.

READ MORE: ‘Gravity’ dominates but ’12 Years a Slave’ wins Best Picture at Oscars

Though the film is rife with scientific inaccuracies, many astronauts have said that the special effects — from the tools used, to the interior of the ISS — were highly detailed and accurate. The film made $705 million worldwide.

READ MORE: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson takes aim at ‘Gravity’

The film used real images taken from space. On Monday, NASA created a Flickr gallery of images entitled “Gravity – NASA’s Real-Life Images from Space.”

©2014Shaw Media

B.C. residents support ban on GMO foods: new poll – BC

B.C. and Alberta residents say they would support a ban on genetically modified foods, according to a new poll from Insights West.

In an online poll, 50 per cent of Albertans and 56 per cent of British Columbians say they would support a ban on GMO foods in Canada.

66 per cent of B.C. residents say they hold a negative opinion of GMO foods, and 55 per cent of Albertans feel the same.

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“A ban on genetically modified foods is a very attractive proposition for Albertans and British Columbians aged 18-to-34,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “Across the two provinces, those who hold negative views on genetically modified foods tend to look at them as unhealthy.”

There are currently no laws in Canada mandating GMO labels, but some companies have added a “non-GMO verified” logo to their packaging.

British Columbians are checking the labels, for information on calories (60 per cent), fat (62 per cent) and sodium (59 per cent).

712 adults were surveyed online for the poll between January 7-January 9, 2014 and January 24-27, 2014. Margin of error is +/- 3.6 percentage points for the British Columbia survey, and +/- 3.9 percentage points for the Alberta survey, 19 times out of 20.

©2014Shaw Media

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