Friday, June 30, 2017

Newcomer study finds ruralites could do better

Rural people have room for improvement when it comes to welcoming newcomers, according to a research report that involved interviewing 202 people in Huron, Dufferin and Northumberland counties.

The report also outlines what can be done to improve, including intentional county policies, posting more information on county government websites, providing English-as-a-second-language classes, and rides to appointments, school and jobs.

“We can do better by understanding our history, being more welcoming, and providing those networks that have always helped people survive and be successful here because we sometimes have the narrative of the self-made pioneer who came with nothing but in truth, they always had community support, the support of their church, the support of their family,” says Sinead Cox of Huron County Museum.

“So we as a community need to continue to provide those things.”

 Andrew Bartley of Platinum Leadership said “we witnessed gracious appreciation for – and the abundant gratitude of – newcomers in all three counties.”

A service provider in Huron County is quoted in the report saying “you need to take them under your wing.

“Introduce them, make them feel welcomed because there is isolation

“It’s the women that suffer most, the wives. Children integrate once they star school. Husband is working.”

Immigrants were not the only newcomers interviewed. They also talked to people who moved from elsewhere in Canada and to some who moved back after being away for a long time.

Newcomers were defined as people who moved in within the last five years.

Norman Rogatie, the director of policy and stakeholder engagement for the study, which was done for the Rural institute of Ontario, writes that it was “by no means a scientific process.”

My wife and I have worked with newcomers for decades and can heartily endorse the comments of the Huron County service provider.

One thing that's missing from the report is the discrimination that many newcomers experience from a significant number of community members. We like to think we are a tolerant society, but many of our neighbours are not.


CFIA opens consultation

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is opening consultation, including on-line comments from stakeholders, about regulations that apply to trade with the United States.

The two countries have a joint council that aims to improve co-operation on regulations, aiming to improve economic competitiveness.

I hope Donald Trump doesn't post a tweet on this.

The Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) has been in place since 2012.

Canadians work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S, Department of Agriculture to develop annual joint work plans in the areas of animal health, food safety, meat inspection and certification, and plant health.

“Stakeholder consultation is key to the development of work plans,” the CFIA says on its website this week.

“The new web-based consultation tool will provide a consistent structure for stakeholders to provide feedback on the RCC initiatives that matter to them, and input on future opportunities.

“Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the work plans that impact them, and to provide input on on future opportunities until October 31, 2017.”              

New study disses neonicitinoids

A new study by a researcher at York University has discovered that neonicitinoids are more widespread in the environment than previously thought and probably damaging honeybee colonies.

The research, conducted in Ontario and Quebec, found that 99.5 er cent of the pollen collected had traces of neonicotinoids from seed treatments applied to corn and soybeans.

The pollen included plants such as maple trees, dandelions and clover.

"At the current level of agricultural practices, what we're doing now generates a byproduct of neonicotinoids in environments around corn fields that is most likely going to cause reduction of honeybee health and the health of other pollinators," said Amro Zayed, the lead author of the study published Thursday in Science.

Because neonicitinoids are water soluble, they are mobile, said Zayed,  who is an associate professor of biology at York University.

Zayed said once his team established the real-world levels of neonicotinoids found in the field, he replicated that in a research apiary at York, treating some "pollen patties" with neonicotinoids and tracking the comings and goings of honeybees.

"Honeybees treated with neonicotinoids suffered a range of negative effects including a 23-per-cent shorter lifespan and differences in behaviour," he said.

"Those bees also took progressively longer foraging trips as they aged, suggesting they are either unhealthy, can't fly as fast or are having a hard time remembering how to fly back to their colony."

The treated colonies also tended to lose their queens and were unable to replace their queens, meaning certain death for the hives, unlike the untreated colonies in the study, he said.

Ontario has moved to greatly reduce the application of neonicitinoids as seed treatment chemicals to ward off crop-destroying insects.

JBS corruption charges survive

The charges of bribery and corruption against Brazil’s president have survived an initial court challenge.

Brazil's Federal Supreme Court ruled on Thursday to validate the plea-bargain deal in which JBS S.A.'s controllers revealed a bribery scheme to Brazilian politicians, leading to a corruption charge against President Michel Temer.

Justice Edson Fachin will remain in charge of the cases arising from testimony by JBS' controllers.

Businessman and JBS Controller Joesley Batista revealed a recorded conversation with President Michel Temer during his plea-bargain deal in May in which the two discuss payment of bribes to former House speaker Eduardo Cunha.

Information revealed in the plea-bargain testimony led Attorney General Rodrigo Janot to formally accuse Temer of passive corruption.

According to Janot, Temer orchestrated a bribery scheme that totaled BRL38 million ($11.8 million US) over nine years.

Temer has denied all charges.

He and his government are, however, also facing much bigger corruption charges in connection with loans to other Brazilian businesses.

In the case of JBS, government officials were bribed to extend loans to JBS to fund its purchase of big North American meat-packing companies, including XL Foods Ltd. of Alberta.