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Montreal Flood – A State of Emergency Extended To Combat Floodwaters

Montreal Flood - A State of Emergency Extended To Combat Floodwaters

Montreal City extended a state of emergency for more five days across the island. Sunday afternoon, council meeting in the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro decided extension. It also allowed the city to order imperative evacuations. Let’s discuss the Montreal flood & reason behind the emergency state extension.

The order empowers fire department to spend more money for relief. Consequently, it also imposes more tasks to the department such as relief efforts, requisition private properties etc.

Montreal Fire chief Bruno Lachance mentioned that the upcoming 48 hours will be critical. He said, “We are still expecting an increase in water levels today and tomorrow.”

Pierrefonds Mayor Jim Beis said water levels exceeded more than the 2017 spring floods.

For blocking river water from backing up into the sewers the balloon system has installed. But, some of them failed.

Lachance said, “The balloons are difficult to install because of water pressure and the current.”

A permanent dirt dyke made some years ago is now failing in multiple places. Residents built a 0.5km dyke on it to prevent more damage from Montreal flood but failed soon.

Also Read: Final Stage Of US-China Trade Talks Said US Treasury Secretary Munchin.

Now people are trying to make a new and second dyke five meters in to stop the water. Dykes are being closely monitored, but explained most of the current flooding in Pierrefonds has been caused by sewers backing up, said Lachance.

There is an updated Montreal map available online with road closure information. Also, you can consult Quebec 511 for closure updates across the province.

In addition, residents have to suffer due to due to a long power cut on Saturday night that too without any prior notice.

Hydro Quebec asserted that the power cut was held on the emergency request of firefighters.

In Île Bizard’s trailer park, it will take time to restore power. Additionally, residents will have to get a certificate from electricians before requesting power restoration.

Want to know more about previous situations of Quebec & Ottawa floods?

(CLICK HERE) OTTAWA FLOOD.                  (CLICK HERE) QUEBEC FLOOD.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante vowed to work more on preventing these similar situations in future and also to ensure strict zoning laws.

Plante said, “It’s hard to see people suffering and having to deal with a lot of stress right now. At the same time, everybody participating and contributing — it’s great.”

she also added, “That being said, solidarity in moments like this is important, but then we need to work so it doesn’t happen anymore.”

Further, Montreal Mayor said, “We cannot continue this way. Not only do we need to protect more but we cannot let people and municipalities build houses in places where it will have not only an impact on their lives but an entire territory. For the future that needs to stop.”

So, this was everything about Montreal flood and efforts of residents, firefighters and officials. For more updates on it stay tuned to Daily Patron.

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Canada

Professor hits back at critics of ‘diversity’ essay in top science journal

TORONTO — A Canadian professor who sparked a backlash by using a prestigious international scientific journal to question the impact of diversity hiring on the quality of scientific research has hit back at his detractors, saying he was the victim of a social media tempest.

In a lengthy statement, Tomas Hudlicky, 69, of Brock University, says he stands by his views, which he argues were misinterpreted.

“Social media rage led to the intimidation of the executive staff of a major journal, attacked me personally (and) induced Brock University into issuing a strong moral condemnation of my views and my values with threats of taking further action against me,” Hudlicky says. “It rapidly became a full-fledged storm.”

Hudlicky’s seven-page opinion essay published in June in Germany-based Angewandte Chemie, which bills itself as one of the world’s prime chemistry journals, surveyed recent trends in organic synthesis. In it, he decried “preferential” treatment given to women and minorities.

Publication of his essay sparked a furious backlash. In an open letter, the school’s now former vice-president academic condemned what he called the “highly objectionable” and “hurtful” statements and apologized publicly, as did the publication, which withdrew the piece.

Angewandte also suspended two senior editors. Directors, including Canadian academics, resigned from its board. Accepting the paper, the journal said, had been a “clear mistake.”

Hudlicky has his supporters, who decry what they see as an attack on freedom of expression. The Canadian Association of University Teachers and Brock University Faculty Association defended him, while Derek Pyne, a professor at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., said he was suspended for a year for supporting criticism of Brock.

“It is tragic to see that, in several Western democratic societies, open discourse and debate can apparently be easily superseded by censorship, persecution and condemnation, propagated by social media,” Hudlicky says.

“The appearance and pursuit in recent years of certain new and politically correct ideologies has led to the establishment of a society in which any opposition or any dissenting opinion regarding the new norms are silenced and punished rather than discussed. This is a very dangerous trend.”

Hudlicky, a Tier 1 Canada research chair in chemistry, says Brock has damaged his professional standing. He says he has filed a grievance against the school in which he demands retraction of the critical letter along with a public apology.

“The university has nothing further to add to this discussion,” Kevin Cavanagh, a Brock executive director, said on Monday.

Angewandte Chemie did not respond to a request for comment.

Given the peer-reviewed essay generated “apparent misunderstandings and misinterpretations,” Hudlicky has edited and republished the document on his website.

“I stand by the views I wished to express in the essay, some of which are common knowledge, while others were duly cited from primary and secondary sources,” he says. “Those who condemned the essay and slandered me should have read the content more carefully, and not jumped to politically motivated conclusions.”

Among other things, Hudlicky argues hiring should be based on merit, not on a candidate’s identification with a particular group. He does say he could have been clearer and more diplomatic, and should have shown the “positive influence” of diversity on the field of synthesis.

“I do not oppose diversity in the workforce and did not oppose it in the essay,” he says. “I opposed preferential treatment of any group over another.”

Hudlicky acknowledges what he calls harmful “structural inequalities and systemic bias,” but says the best way to diversify university faculties is to hire the best candidates, who can train and mentor a diverse and inclusive group of next-generation scientists and scholars.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 3, 2020.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

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Charities worry about loss of trust, donations in wake of WE deal controversy

OTTAWA — The head of a group promoting charities says the sector is worried about long-term negative impacts of the ongoing WE controversy on Parliament Hill.

Imagine Canada’s Bruce McDonald says the concerns are that donors will pull back on giving money, or volunteering their time, due to a lack of trust in how it’s used.

Imagine Canada, a charity itself, has calculated the COVID-19 pandemic will cut donations by up to $6 billion this year, and that was before the controversy hit.

McDonald says another worry is that governments will become hesitant to partner with charities over political concerns.

WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger spent four hours at the House of Commons committee last week, where they were peppered with questions about their organization’s complex structure and social enterprise arm known as ME to WE.

McDonald says having multiple foundations and arms is not representative of the sector, but adds many charities do rely on social enterprises to fund their operations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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COVID-19 conspiracies creating a ‘public health crisis’ in Canada, experts say

MONTREAL — A lively crowd gathered outside Francois Legault’s office in downtown Montreal in mid-July to send a message to the Quebec premier: his government cannot force them to wear masks in indoor public spaces to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“Long live freedom without a mask,” read one sign at the rally, which drew several dozen people. “My body, my choice” read another, alongside a drawing of a medical mask with a line across it.

The anti-mask movement is not unique to Quebec, nor are masks the only source of conflict in the country when it comes to public health directives around the novel coronavirus. But the issue is one of several at the heart of a growing online movement of disinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

Researchers say conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are spreading at an alarming rate across the country — and they warn misinformation shared online may lead to devastating consequences and push Canadians to shun important safety measures.

“I think that people should be enormously concerned,” said Aengus Bridgman, a PhD candidate in political science at McGill University and co-author of a study published last month on COVID-19 misinformation and its impact on public health.

The study found the more a person relies on social media to learn about COVID-19, the more likely they are to be exposed to misinformation and to believe it, and to disregard physical distancing and other public health guidelines. About 16 per cent of Canadians use social media as their primary source of information on the virus, Bridgman said in a recent interview.

His research team surveyed nearly 2,500 people and examined 620,000 English-language Twitter accounts, but Bridgman said COVID-19 misinformation also spreads on other social media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Instagram and Tumblr.

For example, a Facebook group called “Against mandatory mask-wearing in Quebec” has over 22,000 members to date, while another group with a similar mission has nearly 21,000 members.

The posts on these pages vary, from questioning the science behind wearing masks and lambasting Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s public health director, for the mandatory mask rule, to accusing the World Health Organization of bias and Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates of creating the virus.

Another study published in May at Carleton University indicated 46 per cent of Canadians believed at least one of four unfounded COVID-19 theories: the virus was engineered in a Chinese lab; the virus is being spread to cover up the effects of 5G wireless technology; drugs such as hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19 patients; or rinsing your nose with a saline solution can protect you from infection.

Bridgman said the speed at which these conspiracy theories circulate online makes it difficult to verify where they originate. And while some right-wing groups in Canada are pushing these falsehoods, Bridgman said people across the political spectrum are vulnerable to them.

“This is a Canadian challenge,” he explained. “People across levels of education, across age groupings, across political ideas, all are susceptible to misinformation online. This is not a phenomenon that is unique to a particular community.”

Protests have taken place across Canada since the provinces put COVID-19 lockdown measures in place earlier this year, from Vancouver, to Toronto and Quebec City, where hundreds rallied at the provincial legislature July 26 against mandatory mask-wearing.

Alexandre Barriere was among dozens of protesters denouncing the mask rule on July 19 outside Legault’s Montreal office.

He compared mask-wearing to a dog muzzle and said he didn’t believe the COVID-19 pandemic exists. “We live to be free. We’re not in the world to be controlled like animals,” the 29-year-old said in an interview.

Another protester, 65-year-old Antonio Pietroniro, said the pandemic was “bogus” and warned that, after making masks mandatory, the government would force people to get vaccinated against the virus.

“They’re going to say you have to take the vaccine even though it hasn’t been proven to be safe,” he said, echoing the anti-vaccination movement that has gained prominence in Canada, the U.S. and other countries in recent years.

Alison Meek, a history professor at Western University, said there are similarities between COVID-19 conspiracy theories and the anti-vaccination movement. Misinformation intentionally spread about COVID-19, she added, is also comparable to the conspiracy theories that circulated in the 80s and 90s during the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“When you’re scared, when you’re frustrated, you want someone easy to blame… We want to point to somebody and say, ‘Aha! You’re the one — there’s a bad guy here that did it,’ as opposed to, ‘this is just how these pandemics actually work,'” Meek said in an interview.

Governments have had to adapt their public health directives to keep up with rapidly evolving science about the virus.

Public uncertainty around the scientific process, combined with mounting frustrations with lockdown measures and a struggling economy has created a perfect storm in which conspiracy theories can flourish, Meek said.

“All of those things are coming together right now to make these conspiracy theories a real public health crisis that’s getting more and more difficult to deal with.”

She said conspiracy theories need to be countered with facts and evidence, adding that people should be encouraged to think critically about where they are getting their information.

Both she and Bridgman lauded social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook for removing videos and other posts that spread misinformation about COVID-19 — but both academics also said more needs to be done.

“People are dying because of these conspiracy theories and we’ve got to stop them,” Meek said. “We’ve got to somehow figure out how to challenge them.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published August 3, 2020.

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, The Canadian Press

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