Posts Tagged "Canadians"


Why some Canadians go family-free over the holidays – National

by BBG Hub

Lori Harito felt refreshed after last year’s holiday season — largely because she got out of town.

Harito, a Toronto-based PR professional, and her partner decided to head to London, England, for 12 days and forego rushing between her family’s Christmas celebrations and his.

“We pre-planned that we would cook Christmas dinner and stay in all day watching Netflix. And that’s exactly what we did,” she said.

“I will always remember the tranquility because it was in direct contrast to the chaos of family get-togethers. That’s not to say I don’t love being with my family, but I spend so much time with them outside of the holidays… that missing a few weeks won’t affect our relationship.”

Meddling in-laws can ruin relationships during the holidays. Here’s how to avoid it

Like Harito, some Canadians opt to spend the holidays away from family and prefer a more peaceful, quiet pace. For those who have strained familial relationships or no close family, getting out of town may be the best option for their well-being.

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“If you have an experience or you feel a certain way that isn’t… the societal expectation, then you begin to think that something must be wrong [with you],” said Rana Khan, a Toronto-based psychotherapist.

“It is at those times that I like to remind people to not get caught in thinking what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘wrong,’ [but] turn their thinking towards what’s helpful and what’s unhelpful.”

Why the holidays can be emotional

The holidays can be a joyous time for many, but they also come with a lot of expectations, said Khan. These can include how you think you should act and feel, as well as how others should behave.

Between giving the “perfect” gifts, making good impressions on in-laws and hosting, the pressure can be a lot.

Overcoming holiday depression

Overcoming holiday depression

What’s more, if you head home for the holidays and you have a strained relationship with family, unresolved feelings can surface. Khan says people can find themselves frustrated with relatives if there’s a past history of conflict.

Death, divorce, and changes in family dynamics can also be hard to deal with during the holidays.

“Things that happen annually generally make people feel nostalgic and reflective as they begin to think about how things used to be,” explains Khan.

“If there is a difference between how things used to be and how things are now, it is common for people to feel lonely or sad as a result.”

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The decision to stay or go

When you are making plans for the holidays, Khan says you need to be honest about what you want to do and why.

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He suggests asking yourself things like: Who are you doing this for? Who benefits from your actions? What would others want you to do? Could others be harmed by your decision? Could you be harmed by your decision?

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If going home for the holidays will put you in a bad place — whether mentally, physically or emotionally — you may be better off elsewhere. Of course, not everyone can afford to leave town, but you can choose where to spend your time.

Spending the holidays with friends or chosen families can be very comforting.

“Making conscious, well-thought out decisions is often the most helpful thing you can do during the holidays,” added Khan.

Even though Harito has a great relationship with her family, getting out of town is a tradition she plans to continue. She says her family is supportive of her decision — even though they miss her on Christmas.

Holiday hangover hacks

Holiday hangover hacks

This year, Harito and her partner are going to Italy, before heading back to the U.K.

She can’t wait.

“On New Year’s Eve we will be in London with some of our friends who have already started planning things,” she said.

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“All we have to do is show up with champagne.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The lack of health data about Black Canadians can be life-threatening: study – National

by BBG Hub

Black Canadian women may be under-screened for cervical and breast cancer due to the lack of health data collected about Black Canadians more broadly, a new report suggests.

A new literature review from the University of Toronto noted Black Canadians make up the third largest minority group in the country, but researchers could find only 23 studies pertaining to breast cancer, cervical cancer and Black Canadian women within in the last 15 years.

This is especially alarming because there is some evidence to suggest Black women could be predisposed to worse outcomes from these diseases.

A 2016 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Black American women are more likely than white women to get triple-negative breast cancer, a highly aggressive type of cancer known to return after treatment.

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“Although this scoping review was focused on breast and cervical cancer in the Black Canadian population, the bigger issue is the fact that in Canada, so much is unknown when it comes to health disparities faced by minority groups, whether due to race [or] racism, ethnicity, or culture,” researchers said in the paper.

In reviewing the available data, researchers also found variation across different Black communities.

“Black Caribbean women appear to actually get screened at the same rate or even higher than white Canadian women, but Black women from sub-Saharan Africa appear less likely to be screened,” said lead author Dr. Onyenyechukwu Nnorom.

From left to right: Dr. Aisha Lofters, Dr. Onye Nnorom, and Nakia Lee-Foon.

From left to right: Dr. Aisha Lofters, Dr. Onye Nnorom, and Nakia Lee-Foon.

Photo: University of Toronto

Without research into the health of minority groups, differences like these go unnoticed and policy can’t be updated to reflect the group’s unique needs — effectively leaving them vulnerable.

Nnorom says this contributes to the larger problem of systemic racism in Canadian health care, which can affect everything from the individual patient to the medical trials that receive funding and the ones that don’t.

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“On the individual level … the woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer is saying … ‘I need you to believe me. I need some answers about how this could affect me [as a Black woman],’” said Nnorom.

“A lot of providers, because it’s not in our guidelines, it’s not part of our practice.”

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Cancer remains taboo in many Black communities

The lack of health data about Black Canadians can start a vicious cycle of misinformation that leads to taboo within the Black community.

Without accurate data, there’s little information available for patients, and without information, members of the community remain unaware of their unique risks. This can lead a disease or procedure to become a taboo — something cancer still is within the Black community.

Leila Springer has seen this first-hand, first as a cancer patient and then in her volunteer work.

Hallmark Network denies racism allegations

Hallmark Network denies racism allegations

“The word cancer alone presents a certain amount of fear … It’s almost synonymous with death,” said Springer.

“We have to work at educating them to the point that they understand that kind of diagnosis of cancer doesn’t mean a death sentence.”

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In Springer’s experience, education is the key to dispelling the taboo.

“We want women to know that they can access certain services … but a lot of them don’t because talking about it is sort of trouble,” she said. “They find it difficult to share with their family members.

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“I’ve heard some stories about women whose mother died from breast cancer, but they had no idea until after the funeral and they were going through papers.”

But in order to properly educate these women, Springer needs access to updated health data — which doesn’t really exist yet.

“When I was diagnosed [with cancer] that’s the one thing I wanted to know. I wanted information about the type of cancer I had, I wanted to know how many people that looked like me had this type of cancer, and I wanted to know how many of them survived,” she said.

“I couldn’t find that information.”

That’s why she started the Olive Branch of Hope, a community organization in Toronto that advocates for Black women, supports research efforts and serves as a place of support for patients.

READ MORE: Dalhousie researcher hopes to create new mental health service for Black women

“[When I had cancer], I’d find myself sitting in groups where there were mainly Caucasian women that attended,” she said.

Springer admitted it’s gotten better over the years, but the ways in which women deal with a cancer diagnosis is largely informed by culture — and the support groups at the Olive Branch strive to recognize that.

“We make our support groups different,” she said.

Research and data are needed to change health guidelines

It’s crucial to collect health data about different groups of people because hard numbers are what make it possible to update policy. If it’s true that Black Canadian women also tend to have worse breast and cervical cancer outcomes, screening guidelines should be amended to begin earlier for those women than it does now.

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“I’ll give you an example,” Nnorom said. “Within the Ashkenazi [Jewish] population, there has been research to show that these are people who carry genes that put them at higher risk for breast cancer.”

This means Ashkenazi Jewish patients begin frequent cancer screening at an earlier age, a guideline recommended by the government and one which effectively saves lives.

READ MORE: Man becomes 1st African American, oldest patient to receive a face transplant

In Nnorom’s view, Canada’s health care system can only be improved once medical researchers and front-line workers begin to address — and accommodate — the risks and needs of different racialized groups.

“One of my colleagues was saying we’re pretty much at the point … where it’s willful blindness, because we know that there are disparities linked to either race or ethnicity on ancestry and other issues and we’re not looking into it,” she said.

“The world lives here. We should be leading the world on these issues.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Single by choice: Why these Canadians don’t date – National

by BBG Hub

Actor Emma Watson recently opened up to British Vogue about being happily single.

The 29-year-old acknowledged the social pressure to be partnered up by her age, but told the outlet she’s come to a place of self-acceptance.

“I never believed the whole ‘I’m happy single’ spiel,” she said. “I was like, ‘This is totally spiel.’ It took me a long time, but I’m very happy [being single].

“I call it being self-partnered.”

Watson’s remarks sparked debate online, with some taking issue with the term “self-partnered.” Jezebel even published an article questioning why Watson simply can’t call herself single.

READ MORE: The millennials who have never been in a relationship

In the piece, writer Hazel Cills argues the term “self-partnered” stigmatizes the idea “that a woman could be alone forever and be okay with it.”

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Others applauded Watson for her comments and said they, too, will co-opt the term.

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When being single is a choice

But for some Canadians, being happily single is not only a mindset — it’s a deliberate choice.

“I’m 100 per cent honestly not dating because I don’t want to at all,” said Vanessa Vakharia, founder of the Toronto-based tutoring service The Math Guru.

“I have no interest in being in a relationship whatsoever.”

Dating apps can exacerbate unhealthy habits

Dating apps can exacerbate unhealthy habits

Vakharia, who is in her 30s, says she is happy focusing on her career and genuinely enjoys spending time doing things that matter to her most. Between work, hosting a podcast and being in a band, Vakharia carefully considers what she puts her energy into.

Dating is not high on her priority list.

“Any time I evaluate whether I want to take on a new project or not, one of the main questions I ask is, ‘Do I have time?’” she said.

“I have made the decision not to take on a relationship because I know that to be a good partner, that means diverting the time I spend on the current projects that fill my schedule to that relationship.”

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READ MORE: Why some people have sex even when they aren’t in the mood

While Vakharia is happy with her lifestyle, she says others often have a hard time believing she is OK with her single status. Whenever people ask her about her love life, she often feels pressure to justify her situation.

“People make you to feel like you should be on the defensive, like you’re supposed to be like, ‘Oh, I’m not dating, but I’m fine!’ or, ‘I’m not dating but I just met this [person],’” she said.

“We act like our goal [in society] is to meet this dream person and have this fairy-tale ending and settle down — especially at my age.”

According to Laura Bilotta, a Toronto-based dating coach at Single in the City and host of The Dating and Relationship Show on Global News radio, there’s many reasons why people opt not to date.

These reasons can include wanting to spend time on themselves, focus on their careers or because they feel exhausted from a previous break-up.

The current landscape of online dating isn’t always appealing, either.

Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

“In the online dating world, so many people play games and that gets really annoying and frustrating,” Bilotta said.

“And eventually you just take a break and say, ‘You know what? I’m better off being single right now.’”

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Twenty-nine-year-old Sasha Ruddock says women are often raised to believe that happiness is directly linked to marriage and kids.

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The Toronto-based body-positivity activist believes this can cause people to spend less time on themselves, and more time looking for a relationship.

“I believe it’s normal to want companionship, but we have to question our need for it,” Ruddock said.

“Do you know yourself? Do you like yourself? What are your heart’s desires? We weren’t taught self-love.”

READ MORE: Own a house with your partner? Here’s what happens if you break up

Despite all the valid reasons for staying single, the societal expectation that people should be in relationships by a certain age still harms single folks, Bilotta said.

One of the first questions people ask is, “Why are you single?” Bilotta said, which can make people feel like they should date, even if they don’t want to.

Carolyn Van, 34, has experienced this first-hand.

The Toronto-based educator and business consultant says she loves her life and happily chooses to be single. She is grateful for her life and feels no void.

When it comes to others accepting her situation, however, it’s often a different story.

“People have a tough time believing that I’m happy  — and then I’m treated like a lab subject,” she said.

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Lack of friendships impacts men’s mental health — here’s how to deal with it

Lack of friendships impacts men’s mental health — here’s how to deal with it

“I get a lot of questions. A lot of skepticism. A lot of assumptions of my life experiences.

“If anything, I think this reveals much more about those who ask these questions, so I mostly observe and take it as an opportunity to learn about people.”

Sometimes Van says she will challenge people and ask them questions back about their decisions to be in a relationship. Some folks get the hint.

“I say cheeky things like, ‘Maybe one day, you learn that you don’t want to be a partner or parent anymore. You should just keep your options open!’” she said.

“They aren’t used to getting these questions and comments. It’s my way of putting a mirror in front of them.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canadians fear debt almost as much as they fear death: survey – National

by BBG Hub

When Canadians were asked in a survey to rank their biggest fears, death was ranked the highest — and debt was a close second.

In fact, respondents said they are more afraid of debt than they are of public speaking, climate change and even spiders.

The October survey, conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma, collected data from 1,052 Canadians over the age of 18.

READ MORE: How Canadians go from student debt to default

Forty-three per cent of Canadians reported that they lose sleep over their finances, with the top concerns keeping them up at night being debt (57 per cent), a lack of savings (55 per cent) and retirement planning (22 per cent).

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Among the most common financial fears were surprise or unexpected expenses (44 per cent) and not having enough to retire (38 per cent).

Generational differences

These fears aren’t completely unjustified. Recent data from IPSOS found that the average Canadian is $200 or less each month away from insolvency, including 26 per cent who report having no funds leftover at the end of the month.

Should Canadians be worried about the debt the government has accumulated?

Should Canadians be worried about the debt the government has accumulated?

The report also provides some interesting insights into how different generations think about finances. Millennials and Gen X reported being most concerned about having enough savings to retire, while Gen Z is most worried about unemployment.

Although the age ranges are debated, millennials are generally understood to be born anywhere between 1981 and 1996, while members of Gen Z were born in 1997 onward. Gen X is loosely defined as being born between 1965 and 1979.

The closer Canadians get to retirement, the more worried they become about their retirement savings. Only 26 per cent of Gen Z reported feeling worried about having enough money to retire, while 36 per cent of millennials and 40 per cent of Gen X said the same.

READ MORE: Your car-loan payment may be way too high. Here’s what’s happening

However, younger respondents were more likely to avoid dealing with financial problems.

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Thirty-two per cent of millennials with occasional financial fears reported avoiding calls from a lender, and 30 per cent said they’ve avoided looking at their credit card statement at some point.

The results also show, however, that younger generations are becoming more comfortable with asking peers for financial advice.

Flashfood app helps save money on groceries and reduce food waste

Flashfood app helps save money on groceries and reduce food waste

Forty-one per cent of Gen Z and millennials said they occasionally ask peers for advice, compared to only 20 per cent of Gen X respondents.

This could have to do with how different generations view money. According to the report, roughly 50 per cent of Gen X view finances as a “private matter,” compared to 37 per cent of millennials and 29 per cent of Gen Z.

The results of the survey may surprise you, but they didn’t shock Monisha Sharma, head of business development at Credit Karma.

READ MORE: Canadian consumer debt just keeps growing — but here’s why it’s not a problem yet

“I was most surprised to see Canadians are as afraid of debt as death, [but] this makes sense when you consider so much of what we are afraid of is rooted in the fear of the unknown,” she told Global News.

Sharma has seen first-hand how finances can be intimidating and overwhelming.

“Without having a full picture of their finances and credit health, it can be very stressful to know where to start,” Sharma said.

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These are the 3 money disorders to look out for: expert

These are the 3 money disorders to look out for: expert

“Anecdotally, we’ve heard from members who will sometimes spend money that they don’t have when they feel stressed. That can perpetuate the cycle of debt because it leads to stress when the next bill comes.”

The number of people who lose sleep over financial fears is especially worrisome for Sharma.

“This is concerning from a financial standpoint, but also for Canadians’ overall health and well-being,” she said.

Sharma recommends first getting “in-the-know” about what could be causing your financial struggles, and then devising a plan to improve them.

Possible reasons why Canadians struggle with money

Personal finance expert Barry Choi believes the financial woes of Canadians stem from one central issue: the cost of living is rising, but wages are staying the same.

“Costs just keep going up,” he told Global News. “Tuition costs, post-secondary education, student debt … that’s nothing new.”

“It’s getting higher and higher, and it seems like wages aren’t catching up.”

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Another thing that can contribute to financial fears is the Canadian real estate market, which seems to grow more unattainable by the day.

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“For young people, especially in Canada, if you live in major markets [like] British Columbia or Ontario, real estate is a big concern for many people,” Choi said. “They’re seeing the cities they grew up in and they already don’t feel like they’ll ever be able to afford a home [there].”

Ultimately, Choi says some tough decisions will need to be made by upcoming generations if they want to be able to climb out of debt and eventually retire.

Steps you can take to feel better about your finances

For starters, moving away from expensive markets, like Vancouver and Toronto, to smaller, more affordable markets can make a huge difference in how much you’re able to save — but that’s easier said than done.

Choi also recommends living with your parents for as long as possible, if that’s an option available to you.

“If your parents aren’t charging you rent or a minimal amount of rent, that obviously will benefit you a lot,” he said. “I feel like a lot of my peers moved out a lot earlier than previous generations, only to get saddled with debt.”

READ MORE: Instagram influencer racked up $10K in debt for online fame, and Canadians aren’t immune

Choi isn’t suggesting living with your parents into your 50s, but “it’s not really a bad thing” to stay at home a little bit longer than usual, he said.

The easiest action people can take, at any age, is closely examining their budget over a period of a few months.

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“If they don’t have a budget, they should start making one,” Choi said.

Need to do groceries? Here are 3 things to consider to save money

Need to do groceries? Here are 3 things to consider to save money

Sharma backs this up.

“Our survey found 44 per cent of Canadians would rather organize their closet than plan a budget,” she said. “However, knowing how to make a budget that works can be a key way to prepare so you don’t feel so anxious about your finances.”

If you have a budget, track it closely for a few months to see where you’re losing a lot of money.

READ MORE: Here’s a $50 grocery list for an entire week of healthy eating

“Often you realize, ‘Hey, I’m spending too much on subscription services. I don’t really need Netflix, HBO and cable all at the same time,’” Choi said.

“If you live in a condo, do you really need a separate gym membership if you’ve got a gym in your building?

“It’s the small things. Cutting back on that will help increase the cash flow.”

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In attempting to cut “the small things,” Sharma recommends managing money expectations with family and friends.

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“It might seem awkward at first, but talking with friends and family about expectations for spending can help a lot,” she said.

Does your debt make you undateable?

Does your debt make you undateable?

Finally, Sharma says it’s important to track your credit score — even if it seems intimidating at first.

“It’s important to have an idea of your credit health because having poor credit could increase what you pay for loans, prevent you from renting an apartment and even disqualify you from financial products,” she said.

Learning how to improve your credit — like “making on-time payments and paying off balances,” said Sharma — and implementing those changes can be a huge help.

Invest in your future

When it comes to saving for retirement, Choi recommends focusing less on learning about how to save and more on how to advance your career.

“Saving is important, but your best investment is in yourself,” he said. “Increase your skills, get a job promotion. Increasing your earning potential is almost more important.”

That said, the earlier you learn about personal finance, “the better off you are.”

READ MORE: This student racked up $100K in student debt — here’s how

“A lot of people are turning to friends, which is a good start,” Choi said. “Blogs, personalities, even TV segments are out there. But you can even just pick up a book.” (Choi’s favourite is Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School.) 

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“If you read one book, you’re instantly already in better shape because you start to understand the basics. Once you understand the basics, you can build that foundation.”

Money 123: How to buy a car without plunging into debt

Money 123: How to buy a car without plunging into debt

Combining all of these small actions — reading books, understanding your costs and reducing monthly fees — will slowly improve your finances over time.

“There’s no reason to be afraid,” Choi said. “Once you’ve established [a relationship] with money, you can rebuild from there.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canadians are hitting the polls — and they have the selfies to prove it – National

by BBG Hub

Canadians went to the polls on Monday to decide which party will form the next government of Canada.

As the day progressed, more and more people shared their #VoterSelfies on social media, encouraging friends and families to get to the polls.

READ MORE: Canada election: Here’s what you need to know to vote

However, Elections Canada warned voters that pictures with ballots are strictly prohibited.

“The vote is secret,” the agency said on its website. “If people were allowed to show how they voted, they could be forced to vote in a certain way or votes could be bought.”

According to Elections Canada, you can take a selfie with poll signs, but you should avoid snapping pics anywhere near the ballot boxes.

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“If you’re enthusiastic about voting and want to share your experience with your friends, take a photo of yourself outside the polling station,” the agency said.

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The pictures are inspiring, with many of them depicting excited first-time voters, including 18-year-olds and new citizens.

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Even some of the federal party leaders got in on the trend.

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Roughly 4.7 million Canadians voted early

New numbers released by Elections Canada last week found voter turnout during the four-day advance polling period was up 29 per cent over numbers recorded during the last federal election in 2015.

According to Elections Canada, preliminary figures show 4.7 million electors turned out to vote between Oct. 11 and Oct. 14.

READ MORE: Real-time results in Canadian election

Over the four-day early voting period during the previous election, a total of 3.65 million Canadians voted, representing 20.8 per cent of all votes cast.

In a previous interview with Global News, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs Darrell Bricker said advance polling numbers have been “going up steadily” for some time.

“In 2006, about 10 per cent of us voted early. In 2015, it was up to 20 per cent of us voting early,” he said. “It’s just been a general trend. I don’t know that it’s necessarily specifically related to this campaign.”

Timelapse of Global News’ Decision Canada Election night set

Timelapse of Global News’ Decision Canada Election night set

Bricker said, however, that parties have been getting “much better at getting out their vote early” and that the numbers may be, in part, a reflection of that.

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He added that it is too early to know whether the increase is indicative of an increasing level of interest in the election.

“It could be,” he said. “But we won’t know until after the election.”

How many seats does a party need to win?

A party needs 170 seats in Parliament in order to win a majority government.

A minority government is won by a party that gets fewer than 170 seats but still has more seats than any other party.

Real-time results

Global News will have live, real-time election results for all 338 ridings as polls begin to close across the country, starting with results in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Polls close at 8:30 p.m. local time in Atlantic Canada, 9:30 p.m. local time in Quebec and Ontario, 7:30 p.m. Mountain Time and 8:30 p.m. Central Time in the Prairies and Alberta, and 7 p.m. local time in British Columbia.

We will have live results by party and province, so you can see who will be representing your riding. Find out who will form the next Canadian government and who won in your riding.

Read the Global News guide to the election in the following languages:

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— With files from Global News Staff

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Twitter mentions per candidate

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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B12 shots are often unnecessary, but Canadians still spend millions on them – National

by BBG Hub

Vitamin B12 shots are touted by certain celebrities as energy boosters and offered by some spas — but are they really necessary?

For much of the population, no.

According to the latest government data, 96 per cent of Canadians have sufficient vitamin B12 levels based on Health Canada’s recommendations. Stats show that adults aged 40 to 79 only have slightly lower B12 levels.

READ MORE: The best foods to eat for an upset stomach

But according to other research, vitamin B12 deficiency affects about a fifth of older adults and often goes unrecognized.

“Approximately 20 per cent of Canadian seniors are B12 deficient,” said Dr. William Silverstein, the co-author of a new Ontario study on seniors and B12 injections.

Older adults are more prone to B12 deficiency because as we age, our ability to absorb the vitamin can decrease. Silverstein adds that elderly patients “tend to be prescribed medications that reduce the body’s ability to absorb B12,” too.

Still, many older adults are being treated for a B12 deficiency they likely do not have.

Overprescribing B12 shots

Silverstein’s recent study found that nearly two-thirds of Ontario seniors who received vitamin B12 shots had no evidence of a B12 deficiency. The study, published in medical journal JAMA, looked at more than 140,000 people aged 65 and older who were prescribed injections between 2011 and 2015.

WATCH: Vitamins and mineral supplements don’t help prevent cardiovascular diseases, new study says

Researchers found that 64 per cent of seniors who got the vitamin shot actually tested normal for B12 levels or were not tested for the vitamin deficiency at all.

The overprescribing of B12 shots is costing Ontario’s health-care system, Silverstein says.

“We calculated that this practice could be costing nearly $46 million to the system, and so this low-value care may be taking away from other health-care priorities in the province,” he told Global News.

READ MORE: Why aren’t Canadians cooking anymore?

Silverstein said he and his team were unable to determine the cause of the overprescribing but suspect patient demands could be a contributing factor.

“There have also been studies that have shown that only 25 per cent of Canadian physicians are aware of the evidence base surrounding B12 supplementation and so, perhaps, that is contributing as well, but generally, we are unable to say definitively,” he said.

According to Erin MacGregor, a registered dietitian at How to Eat, B12 shots are not only costly, they’re time-consuming. What’s more, MacGregor says that if someone is really low on B12, over-the-counter oral supplements are often sufficient and more affordable.

Previous research found that converting patients to B12 pills from injections could result in millions of dollars in savings.

WATCH: Eating more plant-based food

Silverstein echoes this stance and says the only time people need injections is if they have malabsorption and B12 pills don’t work for them.

Vitamin B12 deficiencies

Our bodies need B12 to make red blood cells, nerves and DNA and to carry out other functions, Harvard Health says. B12 can’t be made by the body and must be gotten from food or supplements, the university adds.

B12 is found in animal-based foods like fish, meat, poultry and dairy. This means that if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may be at greater risk for a B12 deficiency, Silverstein said. There are certain health conditions that can result in a B12 deficiency, too.

HealthLink BC points out that B12 is normally absorbed by your digestive system, meaning your stomach and intestines.

“Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia usually happens when the digestive system is not able to absorb the vitamin,” the government site says.

READ MORE: Americans snack much more than they used to, and it might be affecting their health

“Patients become B12 deficient when they… take certain medications or have certain conditions that affect its absorption, including Crohn’s, colitis and pernicious anemia,” Silverstein said.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency include fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. For seniors, symptoms can include anemia, memory difficulties and trouble with walking, Silverstein said.

WATCH: How healthy are plant-based burgers?

Stephanie Hnatiuk, a Winnipeg-based registered dietitian, says that if someone is concerned about their B12 level, they should get blood work done. She does not advise getting any vitamin or mineral injection without consulting a doctor first.

“Most Canadians do not need to take vitamin B12 injections,” Hnatiuk said.

“The only people who need vitamin B12 injections are those who are unable to maintain normal vitamin B12 levels from food or oral supplements.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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4 in 10 Canadians say they won’t get the flu shot this year: poll – National

by BBG Hub

We’ve come a long way when it comes to awareness around annual flu shots, but a new poll suggests almost 40 per cent of Canadians don’t plan on getting the shot this year.

According to the recent poll by B.C.-based retailer London Drugs, 37 per cent of Canadians said they won’t get vaccinated this year, due to confusion that still exists around the flu vaccine.

“Unfortunately, many Canadians might not get a flu shot this year due to misconceptions about the benefits of receiving a flu shot and concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines,” London Drugs pharmacist Gianni Del Negro said in a statement.

READ MORE: Influenza vaccines might arrive after flu season starts in Ottawa, officials say

“The reality is that the flu shot is safe and it is the most effective tool we have in protecting against the flu, preventing its spread and ultimately it saves lives.”

Misconceptions still exist

Speaking with Global News, Del Negro adds that some of these misconceptions of the vaccine not being safe can be linked back to the anti-vaxx movement.

“The anti-vaxx movement disseminates a lot of false information about vaccines,” he said. “They often quote unreliable and unverified scientific studies to back up their claims.”

And with social media, it gets harder for the average Canadian to figure out which site or information is truthful and which is misleading, he said.

READ MORE: The sly ways anti-vaxxers are spreading misinformation online

“Often, anecdotal stories of serious reactions and complications get reported as being common when in fact they are extremely rare and in many cases not even due to the vaccine itself.”

Pharmacist Jordan Clark of Shoppers Drug Mart in Ottawa added that questionable sources these days look and feel the same as reputable ones.

“You can read a website that looks and feels like Health Canada or a public health agency website that has information that is not correct,” he told Global News.

Any type of negative press, viral posts or even anecdotal stories on social media — for example, someone talking about getting sick after getting the flu shot — can all add to misconceptions about the vaccine.

Hope in the numbers

The poll also found 29 per cent of Canadians believed healthy people don’t need the flu shot, 20 per cent believed the flu shot can cause negative side effects and 16 per cent believed they didn’t need it, “because they are not around many people or vulnerable people.”

However, 79 per cent of Canadians thought getting the flu shot every year was important, especially to protect vulnerable populations like seniors, babies and small children.

“Around the same number (84 per cent) say that they are aware that the flu vaccine helps prevent hospitalizations and save lives. Last flu season there were 3,657 influenza-associated hospitalizations and 223 deaths in Canada,” the statement noted.

READ MORE: Flu fears across Ontario spread after death toll rises in Australia

“Since pharmacists have been able to inject and offer flu vaccines, we have been able to engage with patients and debunk some of the myths and concerns they may have,” Del Negro added. “This has educated the public about the importance and safety of vaccines.”

He believes that the majority of Canadians believe in the importance of vaccines, but a very small (but vocal) anti-vaxx movement will never be convinced vaccines are safe.

“As healthcare professionals, we need to remain diligent in providing this accurate and important health information to the public about vaccines and other health issues.”

Clark agrees and adds that since pharmacies across the country have been able to offer flu shots, he has seen a spike in Canadians getting the shot overall.

“You can get it at 8 a.m. on your way to work or you can get it at 5:30 p.m. on your way home… You can get it on a Saturday or Sunday,” he said. “I think we’ve actually seen the accessibility piece improve.”

Sometimes, he even sees people coming into the retailer during lunch with a group of co-workers — getting the flu shot often becomes a word-of-mouth referral.

Raising more awareness

Del Negro says it is up to government health authorities, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and the media to continue raising awareness around getting the flu shot.

“As the most accessible health care profession, pharmacists can have a real, positive influence in this regard. Patients should seek medical advice from their health professional and not from social media,” he said.

“In addition, the public needs to be more aware that by getting vaccinated, they are also providing a public service and benefit by protecting others that cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.”

Clark notes that skipping the flu shot may not necessarily mean someone is anti-vaccine, often they could just be lazy. A flu shot can become quite personal: if you are too busy, get sick too often or just don’t think it will protect you, you are less likely to get the shot.

But a flu shot isn’t just about protecting yourself — Clark says it is even more beneficial to people in your life. Healthy people can fight off the flu within a week, but others don’t have the same privilege.

“You’re getting it for you pregnant co-worker, your grandmother that lives in a nursing home [or] your neighbour that is going through chemotherapy,” he said. “If they were exposed to the flu, they would have major complications.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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How much these Canadians spent on back-to-school shopping – National

by BBG Hub

If back-to-school shopping isn’t already on your mind, we’re sure talking about setting a budget is a good reminder.

A recent survey from RetailMeNot found North American parents can spend an average of $507 on back-to-school shopping.

It may seem like a lot, but buying new backpacks, shoes and supplies for one or multiple children every year can add up.

A previous report from Ernst & Young in 2018 found Canadians were expected to spend four per cent more than usual, following a strong retail year in 2017.

READ MORE: Teacher brings class to tears by asking students to leave ’emotional baggage’ at the door

Another 2017 survey from found parents spent more on back-to-school shopping than holiday gifts. 

What people are spending

Karl Zenith Nieva, 46, of Waterloo, Ont. said he is spending $0 this year on back-to-school shopping.

“I only buy them stuff when they’ve outgrown their clothes/shoes or if the items they’ve had in previous school years are wrecked beyond usefulness,” he told Global News.

Zenith Nieva has two children, 13 and 16, and said he has made a deal with them.

“I will provide the basic necessities and if they want something more than that, they have to cover with their own money,” he continued. “My 16-year-old works so this is easy for him. My 13-year-old earns a salary for household chores. Example: jeans. If Old Navy jeans are $25 and they want a brand name pair for $50, they cover the difference.”

READ MORE: Boy dashes first-day-of-school jitters by consoling boy with autism

Zenith Nieva added he doesn’t feel pressure to buy his children new things. “We also talked to them about not being too showy with shiny new things at the beginning of the school year because there are other kids in school who can’t afford back-to-school new stuff.”

Kyla Cornish of Cranbrook B.C. has two children in elementary school. Although she doesn’t create a budget for back-to-school, she does track how much she spends.

“I remember how exciting it was to get new things when I was a kid,” she said.

“I’m buying their love. I admit it.”

Budget breakdown (per child): 
Supplies: $75
New clothing: $50
Backpacks: $40
Shoes: $35
School fees: $50
Estimated total cost: $500

READ MORE: ‘I get to choose the bag I like’: Oshawa students pick up backpacks ahead of school year

Shilpa Khanna, 24, is a student at the University of British Columbia. Going into her sixth year of post-secondary education, she said each year has been very different for how much she spends.

“I did not have a specific budget but I tried my best to limit my purchases,” she told Global News.  “My parents offered some assistance through an RESP as well as a lot through basketball scholarships.”

Khanna said she often bought new clothes going back-to-school, but also realized it wasn’t a mandatory cost.

Budget breakdown: 
Utilities: $100 (per month)
Rent: $1,000 (per month)
Groceries: $200 (per month)
Textbooks $250 (per semester)
School fees and tuition: $5,000
Spending money: $200
Estimated total cost: $6,750

How to avoid overspending

Overspending can be avoiding by making a budget, setting a shopping list (rather than buying on impulse) and only replacing items your children need.

You can look for deals in online marketplaces, second-hand stores or even hand-me-downs through other family members.

Tanis Ell, a credit counsellor with the Credit Counselling Society Regina, previously told Global News, if your child wants a new laptop or another device, plan ahead. 

“Perhaps buying used or refurbished items will be a little more cost-effective than brand new,” she said. “Or, utilizing loyalty rewards, like Air Miles [to purchase items like laptops or cameras].”

WATCH BELOW: Tech tips that won’t break the bank for college and university students

Ell even recommends asking family members to pitch in.

“Asking grandparents if they want to chip in and help cover the cost [and] explaining to kids that this will be part of their Christmas or birthday gift.”

Julie Jaggernath of My Money Coach, noted you can also create a challenge for your children to get involved.

“Let them know what your budget is and then make it a contest to see who can get what they need and still have money left over,” she said.

“This is a great time to show them how to comparison shop, what to watch out for in the fine print of ads, and why not buying the least expensive version of an item is sometimes a good idea.”

— with files from

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Many Canadians have bad posture — here’s how to fix it – National

by BBG Hub

We can all just admit it  — most of us can improve our posture.

Whether it’s sitting at a desk all day or keeping your head down glued to a phone, experts have been warning Canadians to keep an eye on their posture for years.

Lori Ann Vallis, an associate professor at the University of Guelph’s department of human health and nutritional sciences, told Global News most people still don’t understand what “good” posture is.

“I would say that good posture is when your body’s centre of mass (the sum of all of the body segment masses, located around the level of the belly button for men and a little lower in the hips for women) is aligned over the base of support,” she said.

READ MORE:  What causes back spasms, and how to treat them

She said when the centre of mass and base of support are aligned, your skeleton and muscles can work more effectively to keep you stable and upright. This also means when you move, it is pain free.

“Good posture can also make you more stable, which translates to fewer falls and can even help with breathing and optimal cardiovascular functioning,” she said.

Alison Beaton, a physiotherapist and owner of Scotia Physiotherapy in Halifax, said that in other words, good posture means your tissues, bones, ligaments and muscles are comfortable, rather than being stretched or compressed.

Accepting ‘bad’ posture

While understanding what good posture can seem straightforward, experts say the majority of us have just accepted we have “bad” posture. Many of us slouch at our desks, avoid stretching our backs and, for the most part, are unaware of what so-called good posture looks like.

Vallis thinks this is due to a general lack of understanding of human anatomy and good body mechanics.

Andrea Lebel, a registered physiotherapist based in Ottawa, said the importance of having good posture is not taught in school either.

“If posture training does not start at a young age and is not reinforced throughout life, it is difficult to change poor habits later on,” she told Global News.

READ MORE: Standing at a desk isn’t any better than sitting all day — experts

“Sadly, people are very busy these days and have other priorities. Unless they are experiencing pain or have a spinal deformity that is affecting their daily lives, most people will not do anything to change their posture.

“The prevention of medical conditions is often delayed until it becomes a problem.”

Another reason is that people may think it’s too complicated or too late to change their body mechanics.

“This is not the case,” Vallis said. “You can make simple steps toward better posture just by adding some simple stretching into your daily routine.”

Many of us also live in a rushed or structured environment — the thought of taking a break to stretch isn’t a priority.

“There needs to be a culture shift in office environments and the workplace where stretch and rest breaks are encouraged or enforced by employers,” she said. “This would pay off in the long run as there would be fewer workplace, repetitive or cumulative stress injuries.”

And experts agree that Canadians in general are more sedentary than ever. Most of us sit at work, through our commutes and as soon as we home.

“This lifestyle shift is relatively new in our society,” she explained. “I am a huge advocate for the development of better habits related to reduced screen time, more sleep and more physical activity.”

Mistakes Canadians still make

Lebel added that when it comes to posture, there are some mistakes Canadians continue to make, like pulling their shoulders back and sticking their chests out.

“There are even devices being sold that do this for you,” she said. “Pulling your shoulders back facilitates the forward head position and loss of the natural curvatures of the spine. There are a few cases where pulling your shoulders back is beneficial, but not past the ear lobes.”

WATCH: Ways you could be hurting your body every day

She said her clinic sees people, even children, with hunched backs and loss of lumbar lordosis (the natural curve of the lower back).

“I believe that the excessive use of cell phones and tablets is a major contributing factor in our society,” she said. “Also, more and more jobs these days involve sitting at computers, which also causes this hunched over posture and forward head position.”

Tips for a stronger posture in 60 days

While it is impossible to “fix” someone’s posture completely in a set number of days, it is important to start recognizing common pitfalls people make. Setting a goal, for 60 days, for example, can benefit you in the long run.

For starters, Beaton recommends moving as much as you can.

“Set a timer to remind you to stand up from your desk [or] put a sticky note on your desk to remind you to move,” she said. “Position your printer at a distance from your desk, stand to talk on the phone, use your headrest in your car.”

READ MORE: 5 things that cause back pain and easy posture exercises to fix it

She said to let each red light or stop sign be a reminder to correct your posture and drink lots of water so you have to get up frequently.

Beaton also recommends a wellness check.

“See a physiotherapist for a posture assessment and movement screen before you have pain. Be pro-active rather than reactive.”

Vallis said to be more mindful about your posture throughout the day.

“Personally, I am trying to be more aware of my body alignment when I am doing some of the more boring tasks I do all the time at home, when my mind is not focused on other things,” she explained.

“For example, when doing the dishes — which is a bit of a mindless task — I think about how I am standing: Is my weight evenly distributed between my feet? Am I sticking my hip out? Are my shoulders up around my ears or relaxed? Where is my head/jaw? Am I holding tension in my neck?”

READ MORE: We’re treating lower back pain all wrong. Here’s how to do it right.

Posture check-ins can also be done when you brush your teeth, do the laundry or brings bags of groceries home.

Exercises like Pilates and yoga are other ways to be more mindful of your body position, as well as improve your cardiovascular health and overall balance.

Lebel advocates using a lumbar roll when you sit.

“This includes sitting at a desk, in the car, on the couch watching TV, or at the dinner table.”

Also when you need to pick up an item, stop bending forward at the waist.

“[People] should bend their knees and hip joints, while maintaining the natural curvatures of the spine, so that there are less forces on the lumbar vertebrae, lumbar discs.”

She also wants to call out the texters.

If you spend a lot of time on your phone, make sure you are using it at eye level.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Majority of Canadians believe in climate change — here’s why some still don’t – National

by BBG Hub

Scientists around the world are warning countries of the effects of climate change, yet some people still aren’t convinced global warming is real.

Recently deemed as one of the biggest issues of our time by the United Nations, experts say we are seeing the consequences of a warming planet in 2019: melting glaciers, wildfires and endangered species, to name a few.

While the majority of Canadians believe in climate change, there is some debate around how much humans have contributed to the state of the environment, said Matto Mildenberger, an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

READ MORE: From the anti-vaxxers to flat earthers: what makes people distrust science?

While he teaches in the U.S., Mildenberger is Canadian and his research focuses on climate change beliefs in Canada. He says there are some common reasons why people may be global warming skeptics or outright deniers.

One of the main reasons? Politicians who downplay or deny environmental issues.

People listen to leaders

“Many people form their policy preferences listening to politicians and to leaders who they rely on to help them make sense of difficult issues like climate change,” Mildenberger told Global News.

WATCH (Aug. 1, 2019): Prime Minister Trudeau addresses climate change in Canada’s Arctic

“When you have political leaders who are promoting climate skepticism, or climate denial, that’s going to trickle down and become part of the public’s perspective — particularly the public that relies on those leaders.”

In Canada, Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of climate change. As a result, Elections Canada recently warned that discussing climate change during the upcoming federal election could be deemed partisan activity.

In the U.S., President Donald Trump has previously called climate change a hoax and pulled the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017.

READ MORE: We need to rethink agriculture to help slow global warming, says UN report

Mildenberger said that both in Canada and the U.S. groups and sectors that depend on producing carbon pollution for their profits lobby hard for their interests. In turn, this can affect a politician’s stance on environmental issues.

This is a problem, Mildenberger explained, as climate change policy should not be up for debate; our planet needs protective measures.

“Those companies are seeking to try and delay climate reforms even at the expense of the public well-being,” Mildenberger explained.

“They’ve been successful in and sort of inducing or recruiting political leaders to join them in this quest to delay action, and then those political leaders, in turn, are communicating climate denialism and climate skepticism to the public.”

WATCH (Aug. 19, 2019): ‘This is lunacy’ — May urges Elections Canada to reconsider partisan warning on climate change discussion

A 2018 Gallup poll found that global warming has become a partisan issue in the U.S.: “about seven in 10 Republicans think the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated in the news.”

For Democrats, 64 per cent think the seriousness of global warming is underestimated.

Misunderstanding of the seriousness of climate change

While some people may not understand the science behind climate change, resulting in denying its existence, Mildenberger thinks the larger issue is that people underestimate how many scientists believe in climate change.

READ MORE: Canada warming up twice as fast as rest of the world, and it’s ‘irreversible’: report

The majority of scientists say climate change is human-made, but not everyone realizes that, he explains.

“Ninety-seven per cent or more of scientists are certain that climate change is real and human-caused, but the public often estimates far more division within the scientific community than that,” Mildenberger said.

This is largely because of the way climate change has been covered in the media.

For example, Mildenberger says that over the last few decades, newspapers and TV news shows have created a “balanced” perspective on climate change, meaning they would share the views of a climate scientist as well as the views of an industry official or someone to counter the scientist’s point.

This has made the issue look like it was up for debate when it isn’t.

WATCH (Aug. 9, 2019): Protesters march in Switzerland to demand action on climate change

“The whole way that climate coverage has been structured for the last few decades has actually misled the public and done them a disservice by giving them a sense that there is controversy when in fact there isn’t any controversy,” Mildenberger said.

Climate changes affects more people every day

The bad news is that climate change is affecting more people every day, but experiencing the effects of global warming can affect how seriously you take it, Mildenberger said.

For those who have survived a wildfire or watched floods wash over their community, they may be more likely to take action and advocate for environmental policies.

READ MORE: Turning off lights won’t save the planet but these ‘green’ actions will

On the other hand, if you’re a climate change denier, losing your home to a fire or seeing images of starving polar bears doesn’t mean your mind will be changed.

It doesn’t necessarily convert people who are not already engaged in thinking about climate change an issue, because they’re not filtering or experiencing these events through with an understanding that they’re actually victims of a changing climate,” Mildenberger said.

The need to take action

Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and that warming is “effectively irreversible,” a recent scientific report from Environment and Climate Change Canada noted.

WATCH (July 12, 2019): Climate change could lead to triple frequency of severe air turbulence

This means that it’s incredibly important for people to understand the realities of climate change, and work to take action — regardless of political lines, Mildenberger said. Leaders need to communicate the realities of global warming so skeptics or deniers can better understand its threat.

“There is a threat to the economic prosperity and well-being of Canadians… over the coming decade, and the capacity to talk about the science behind that threat [as a] partisan issue just strikes me as remarkably short-sighted,” he said.

“It’s an issue that cuts across political and ideological divisions as it should. It’s something that’s going to harm everyone equally.”

— With a file from the Canadian Press

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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