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Central Ontario cottage country deals with more rain as flooding persists

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When Dave Coon went to bed at his home in central Ontario’s cottage country Monday night, the guest cabin on his waterfront property was “high and dry” — by Tuesday morning, however, that was no longer the case.

“I was still in bed, and my neighbour phoned and said, ‘you’d better look out the window, because your guest cabin has now got a bit of an angle to it,'” Coon said Wednesday in a phone interview.

The 74-year-old retired police officer, who’s lived in Bracebridge, Ont., since 1977, said the cabin is now “sitting in a big hole all twisted up” after a tree dislodged by flooding knocked out one of the stilts the structure had been sitting on.

It’s an example of the property damage residents in the area have been dealing with as the community experiences what its mayor has described as a “historical” flood event.

The cabin was initially built in the late 1990s for Coon’s now-deceased in-laws and had been used by renters who recently moved out. No one was living there when it was surrounded by floodwaters and collapsed, which Coon describes as a “salvation.”

Engineers are now keeping an eye on the building to ensure it doesn’t drift out into the river, Coon said, adding that they’ve told him the cabin can’t simply be hoisted back onto the stilts.

“It will have to go — I’m going to use the word nicely — to the dump,” he said.

Coon said he’s not alone — roughly 15 people in his neighbourhood are dealing with fallout from rising water levels, although he believes the damage to his property is the most drastic he’s seen.

Bracebridge is among several communities north of Toronto that have been dealing with recent flooding, which local authorities worried could worsen Wednesday as Environment Canada warned up to 40 millimetres of rain could fall in some areas.

“The ground, already near saturation, has little ability to absorb further rainfall,” the weather agency noted. 

Freezing rain warnings and special weather statements were also issued for a stretch of flood-hit areas from the Bruce Peninsula into western Quebec.

States of emergency remained in effect in numerous municipalities, including Bracebridge and the nearby townships of Muskoka Lakes and Minden Hills. The town of Huntsville lifted its state of emergency on Wednesday, saying that water levels in the area were steadily decreasing.

In Bracebridge, mayor Graydon Smith said that while water levels have come down since the weekend, they are still above those last seen in 2013, when the region saw its worst flooding in a century. He said “tens and tens of thousands” of sandbags have been distributed since flooding began last week.

“It’s a huge undertaking,” he told reporters Wednesday. “In 2013, we didn’t put out even a fraction of the volume of sandbags that we have out now.”

About 200 members of the military are in the are to help with sandbagging, evacuations and other flood-response efforts.

Smith also noted that Transport Canada has expanded navigation restrictions to include several local waterways, including Lake Muskoka and the Muskoka River, in an effort to help first responders do their jobs.

“We’ve heard many reports over the last week of people that have been boating into areas which have disrupted those that are actively trying to keep water out of their area,” said Smith. “There’s also been a great deal of concern for the safety of anybody that’s in a boat or other vessel on the water because of the large amounts of debris.”

Homeowners who can only access their properties by boat are exempted from the order, as are contractors acting on behalf of those homeowners, Smith said.

Farther south, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority has issued a shoreline hazard warning for Lake Ontario, urging people in the Greater Toronto Area to use caution along the waterfront.

“All shorelines, rivers and streams within the GTA should be considered hazardous,” the TRCA said in a statement, warning that properties along the shore and on the Toronto Islands could experience flooding.

The islands were closed to the public for nearly three months in 2017 due to flooding that caused Lake Ontario to reach record highs. The TRCA warns that water levels on Lake Ontario are approaching the heights reached in 2017, and are expected to continue rising until late May or early June.

In southwestern Ontario, the Essex Region Conservation Authority said Leamington and Windsor had experienced some flooding and noted that localized storms could bring heavy downpours on Thursday.

Across the border, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo travelled to the town of Olcott in Niagara County on Wednesday to review flood preparations, and members of the National Guard have been placed on standby.

Cuomo reiterated his complaint about the International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canada entity that controls outflows from the lake into the St. Lawrence River, saying it’s not doing enough to protect New York property owners.

— with files from The Associated Press

Adam Burns , The Canadian Press

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Minority Government passes Bill C10 on internet freedom. Opponents pleading with Senate to block it.

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Bill C 10 which is expected to fundamentally affect how Canadians experience the internet, has been hammered through the House of Commons.  At 1:30 AM Ottawa time, the minority Liberal Government with help from the BQ and the NDP were able to pass the bill.  In opposition were the federal Conservatives and lone Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould.   The urgency to pass C 10 before an election call expected later this summer resulted in the Liberals actually shutting down debate at the committee level.  That’s only happened twice in the history of the country before now!  The Liberals also attempted to pass secret amendments which were caught by the Conservatives and ruled “out of order” by the House Speaker.

Why the rush?  Opponents are concerned the Liberals, BQ, and NDP are far more concerned with regulating social media use, than they are with boosting individual Canadians creating new content.  It appears the urgency has to do with giving themselves the ability to guide internet content, just in time for the federal election campaign.

OpenMedia.org, a group striving to keep the internet “open, affordable, and surveillance-free” calls the government’s bill “outrageously flawed”.  The group published an article called “What’s wrong with Bill C 10?”  which asks and answers 8 key questions surrounding C 10.  The article provides excellent background knowledge for Canadians concerned about the future of the internet.

OpenMedia says the goal of the bill is to expand “Canada’s Broadcasting Act to apply to all streaming audio or video content on the Internet, including Netflix, Spotify, Youtube, and other popular streaming services.”  Streaming services will be forced to make higher payments to the Canada Media Fund which would mean higher rates paid for Canadian users.  According to OpenMedia streaming services will charge higher Canadian specific fees, and may even avoid Canada altogether.

OpenMedia calls C 10 a “cash-grab for traditional broadcast industries” which actually does nothing to serve the new wave of content creators who could really use a boost on the international stage.  As a last ditch attempt to stop the bill, OpenMedia.org is urging Canadians to email the Senate right now to ask for a REAL democratic examination of Bill C-10.

Conservative critic Pierre Poilievre is especially concerned with the federal government giving itself the power to block unapproved ideas from popular content creators like himself, just in time for the next federal election. Surprisingly, and maybe most concerning of all, both OpenMedia and Pierre Poilievre point out the bill ‘DOESN’T ADDRESS WHAT CANADIAN CONTENT IS’.  The current definition of “Canadian Content” was last updated in 1984, more than a decade before the internet changed everything.

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Alberta

Loss of Brother to Addiction and Mental Illness Inspires Sister to Raise Money by Selling Face Masks.

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Starting June 10th, until midnight Sunday, June 13th customers across Canada can help raise funds for Mental Health Organizations in their own provinces by purchasing much needed luxury cotton face masks.

Jodee Prouse, from Sylvan Lake, Alberta, co-owner of Service Mask Supply (SMS) is the provider of one of Canada’s best-selling luxury 3-layer Cotton Face Masks. She announced today that they will be donating $1.00 from every mask purchase on June 10, 11, 12 and 13th to Mental Illness Programs and Organizations in communities across Canada. “We all look forward to when we no longer need to wear face masks,” says Jodee, “and we are getting really close. I am proud that we can provide a much-needed product and at the same time allow others the opportunity to come together to raise money for Mental Health in their own communities.”

SMS is excited to announce that for 4 days this week, $1.00 from every mask will be donated to different Mental Health Organizations across Canada. Customers can place their order online, each mask is $5.00, and will ship directly to their homes or businesses. Jodee is proud of her team and orders quickly ship the next business day, leaving from their warehouse in Alberta. All monies collected will go back into each province to where the order was shipped. As an example, Alberta portion will go back to Canadian Mental Health Association Alberta Division, Manitoba to Rainbow Resource Centre and so on. This allows every Canadian the opportunity to make a difference and take part.

From the beginning, SMS had an amazingly simple business model, originally supplying schools and oilfield companies: provide comfortable and affordable masks (each is only $5.00) with patterns that make people smile. Smile. It is what Jodee and her business partner son Ryan believes we need more of right now during these unprecedented times. “My son and I, at different times in our lives, have both struggled with anxiety and depression. We lost a much-loved member of our family when our brother/uncle lost his battle with mental illness and alcoholism when he took his own life in March of 2012. He was only 39. This helped solidify our commitment to helping to eliminate the shame and stigma surrounding mental health.”

Now more than ever we want to bring communities together. And remind people they are not alone.

SMS is proud to be celebrating over 17,000 customers across Canada this week. They know that much of their success has been driven by their passionate customers, repeat business and recommendations to family, friends, and co-workers. “It fills my heart to receive not only Facebook messages and emails daily on how much they love our masks,” says Jodee, “but also the heartfelt words where strangers feel comfortable and safe enough to share some of their own mental health or addiction challenges.”

SMS has over 150 unique colors and patterns with such unique designs as sunflowers, flamingo’s, tie dye, dog lover, pretty kitties, fishing lures, butterflies, hearts, breast cancer, yoga, fine wine, pride, cupcakes and many more. Great for work, play, indoors and outdoors too with sizes for the whole family.

Learn more visit: www.servicemasksupply.ca

For more information you can email [email protected]

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june, 2021

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