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No dead North Atlantic right whales were found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this year





Rules put in place by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to protect marine wildlife seem to have paid off, as no North Atlantic right whales were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this year.

There were 12 whales found dead in the area in 2017.

But those regulations also resulted in financial hits for the fishing and cruise ship industries.

Last March, the DFO announced the closure of certain fishing areas due to the presence of the whales, which are an endangered species.

Those measures forced half of the Gaspé lobster fishermen to shorten their three-week season. Some fishermen found the new rules excessive. 

The prefect of the regional municipal county of Rocher-Percé, Nadia Minassian, called the measures “draconian and uncompromising.”

“They did not listen to fishermen in our industry,” she said earlier this year.

The Quebec government then committed to paying for training for factory workers and fishermen so they can qualify for employment insurance.

Up to $500K in fines

The new rules also require boaters to maintain a 100-metre buffer zone from a whale, although that distance can vary. Orcas, for example, require a 200-metre buffer zone.

Under the Fisheries Act, those who break the rules could face penalties of $100,000 to $500,000. Repeat offenders may be subject to higher fines or even imprisonment, according to DFO.

In July, Gaspé fishermen recorded a 25 per cent decline in catches, and continued to criticize Ottawa’s decisions.

Alain Rebaud, a lobster fisherman from Percé, Que., said the area targeted by the DFO’s measures was too large.

“The quadrilaterals were too big, then they closed the fishing, and the day they closed it, there were no more right whales in the quadrilateral,” Renaud said.

Fishing boats docked at the Grande-Rivière wharf. (William Bastille Denis/Radio-Canada)

The cruise ship industry also suffered cuts as a result of the speed reduction rules imposed by Ottawa.

Nine stopovers were cancelled in the Gaspé region, and the industry wasn’t able to get the financial assistance it requested from Quebec or Ottawa.

Stéphane Ste-Croix, head of Escale Gaspésie, a cruise ship company, said it appears their concerns fell on deaf ears.

Whale camera?

Some fishermen are now hoping a thermal camera that spots whales, currently being developed by the Merinov marine research centre, will solve their problems.

“We could detect right whales on the coasts to try to prevent entanglements,” said Chloé Martineau, a researcher for Merinov, which is funded by the Quebec government.

“We could put this technology on boats to avoid collisions.”

Fishermen say the device could help strike a balance between protecting right whales and preserving their livelihood.


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Ottawa Book Expo 2020 – Authors, Publishers look forward to a top-notch Canadian book fair





Diversity has always been a complex issue, no matter where you look.Case in point, world-famous writer, Stephen King, has recently come under criticism for his views on diversity. The best-selling author had stated, “I would never consider diversity in matters of art, only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” Many criticized the novelist as being out of touch and “ignorant,” but one cannot deny that King’s opinions on diversity, mirror the thoughts of a whole lot of people in the creative industry.

The Toronto Book Expo is coming back in 2020, with a multi-cultural concept that aims to include marginalized authors.  The Expo intends to celebrate literary works of diverse cultural backgrounds, and the entire literary community in Canada is expectant. Book-lovers and writers alike, are invited to three days of uninhibited literary celebration where diverse cultural works will be prioritized. At the event, authors will be allowed to share their culture with a broad audience. The audience will be there specifically to purchase multi-cultural works.

Multicultural literary expos do not come every day. In Canada, there is a noticeable lack of literary events celebrating other cultures. This leads to a significantly lower amount of cultural diversity in the industry. The Toronto Book Expo would aim at giving more recognition to these marginalized voices. Understandably, more recognizable work will be prioritized.

The Toronto Book Expo is making a statement that diversity is needed in the literary community. The statement is truly motivating, especially if you consider the fact that this could mean more culturally diverse works of literature.

There is a lot of noticeable cultural ignorance in literature. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and books are one of the best means of improving multi-cultural diversity in literature. The Toronto Book Expo is going to fully utilize books to fight ignorance in the literary industry.

Real progress cannot be made if there is a substantial amount of ignorant people in the industry. In spite of advancements made in education in recent years, there is still a considerable percentage of adults who remain unable to read and write.The Toronto Book Expo aims to bring awareness to social literacy issues such as illiteracy.

It is important to uphold high literacy levels in the community and to support those who are uneducated. A thriving society cannot be achieved if the community is not able to read their civil liberties and write down their grievances.

The major foundation of a working and dynamic society is entrenched in literature. Literature offers us an understandingof the changes being made to our community.

The event would go on for three days at three different venues. Day 1 would hold at the York University Student & Convention Centre at 15 Library Lane on March 19. Day 2 would be held at the Bram and BlumaAppel Salon Facility on the second floor of the main Toronto Reference Library near Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto on March 21 and day 3 of the expo would take place at the internationally famous Roy Thomson Hall.

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A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $75,300 Salary





Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.Attention, Canadians! We’re featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.Today: a biologist working in government who makes $75,300 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bathing suit. Occupation: Biologist
Industry: Government
Age: 27
Location: Ottawa, ON
Salary: $75,300
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,930
Gender Identity: Woman

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Ottawa doctor pens nursery rhyme to teach proper handwashing





An Ottawa doctor has turned to song to teach kids — and adults, for that matter — how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Dr. Nisha Thampi, an infectious disease physician at CHEO, the area’s children’s hospital, created a video set to the tune of Frère Jacques and featuring the six-step handwashing method recommended by the World Health Organization.

Thampi’s 25-second rendition, which was co-authored by her daughter and Dr. Yves Longtin, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, is featured in the December issue of The BMJ, or British Medical Journal. 

Thampi said as an infectious disease physician and a mother of two, she thinks a lot about germs at home and school.

“I was trying to find a fun way to remember the stuff,” she said. “There are six steps that have been codified by the World Health Organization, but they’re complex and hard to remember.” 

Thampi said she came up with the idea to rewrite the lyrics to the nursery rhyme on World Hand Hygiene Day in May, when she was thinking about how to help people remember the technique. 

She said studies have shown that handwashing is effective in reducing the risk of diarrhea-related illnesses and respiratory diseases. 

“So I’d say it’s one of the most important and easiest things we can do.”

The video includes such often-overlooked steps as “wash the back,” “twirl the tips around” and “thumb attack,” which pays special attention to the first digit.

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