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Doug Ford and Kinga Surma controversy

The Ontario provincial campaign is well underway.  It seems there really isn’t a clear leader. Although the Conservatives initially appeared to be leading the pack in the early stages, controversy has shaken Doug Ford’s platform.

Ford was under attack last week after allegations surfaced that Tory candidates may have used stolen customer information obtained as part of a data breach from a toll highway operator.

The Liberals have shared evidence discovered in a recording that implicates Ford  involving membership and nomination of local Etobicoke conservative  candidate Kinga Surma.  Wynne’s party has released a tape of Doug Ford asking people to sign nomination papers for Kinga Surma and telling them that they don’t have to pay for them. This is illegal and something he, himself, has said he’ll put a stop to. He recently blamed  Patrick Brown for PC candidates accessing 407 data, but now it seems more likely that Mr. Ford may have had more involvement.

Ford reportedly paid for memberships of new Tories and indicated that memberships were “free”. This is illegal and goes against the PC party bylaws. The National Post indicates that a former top Conservative official who was at the 2016 vote, has confirmed this.

The Liberals have released a statement about the recording that implicates Doug Ford. The anonymous source  recorded Ford and Kinga Surma at a Tim Horton’s, offering free memberships.

The candidate who lost the Etobicoke nomination, Pina Martino, has since filed a complaint, that consists of  an email to then party lawyer Mike Richmond that Ford used “intimidation” tactics against her that included following her home. the National Post relays. The party allowed Kinga Surma to continue as the Etobicoke candidate, despite the complaint.

Surma began her career in politics in 2010 by working on Sarah Thomson’s Toronto mayoral election. She moved on to help George Smitherman’s race against Rob Ford and was then hired by Peter Milczyn who was a councillor in Etobicoke.

Kinga Surma has refrained from commenting on the latest controversy surrounding her and Doug Ford. The question is, why was membership stacked in favour of Ms. Surma by Doug Ford? Could there possibly be more to the relationship between Ford and Surma than politics?

 

 

Here are the most Googled terms for 2017

So what’s the most Googled term for 2017? It seems like this year went by quickly, but at the same time it was a never ending year of controversy and natural disasters with a few light moments thrown in just to make sure humanity didn’t go insane. Since we spend most of our time on the Internet, it’s only natural that Google, one of the world’s most popular search engines, has released some of the most Googled search terms for 2017.

Here were the top 10:

  1. Hurricane Irma
  2. Matt Lauer
  3. Tom Petty
  4. Super Bowl
  5. Las Vegas Shooting
  6. Mayweather vs Mcgregor fight
  7. Solar Eclipse
  8. Hurricane Harvey
  9. Aaron Hernandez
  10. Fidget Spinner

This was not the only list released by Google. The popular search engine was able to compile a list of different popular categories including most Googled songs, season finales and people.

 Top three people include:

Matt Lauer

Maghan Markle

Harvey Weinstein

Top three television season finales include:

The Bachelor

This is Us

Game of Thrones

Top three movies include:

It

Beauty and the Beast

Wonder Woman

 Top three songs include:

Despacito

Humble

Bad and Boujee

and my personal favourite…

 Top three ‘how to’:

How to make slime?

How to make solar eclipse glasses?

How to watch the solar eclipse?

The ‘how to’ section remains to be the most popular according to Google data. ‘How to’ questions ranged from natural disasters to politics. ‘How to make slime?’ was the most popular question asked in the United Kingdom and the United States. Strangely, the iPhone 8 was searched for more times than the iPhone X. In terms of the most searched woman, Meghan Markle — no surprise since she stole the heart of one of the most eligible bachelors in the world. There was also an increase in the question of ‘How to buy bitcoin?’

In a statement released by Google, they said the most googled terms say a lot about the last year. “These questions show our shared desires to understand our experiences, to come to each other’s aid, and ultimately, to move our world forward.”
For the full recap, click here.

What do you think of the most googled terms for 2017? Comment below

Breastfeeding in public: the new trend ?

Recently, controversial YouTube personality Spiritual Tasha Mama, a mum of two from San Diego, has come under fire and even investigation for speaking out on her breastfeeding habits for her two children, ages three and three months. Tasha Maile admitted she once had sex while breastfeeding one of her children, something many called disturbing and distasteful. While this act is questionable, many of her online viewers are even more disturbed by her willingness to display images of her  breastfeeding her children in public and even posting live feeds of the act while working out. While some support her multitasking efforts, many have criticized her choice to display these images publicly.

This isn’t the only instance of controversial breastfeeding in public. It seems breastfeeding itself becomes a topic of conversation in the news every few months, with many people offering their opinion for and against women doing it in public.

Forgetting the controversy for one moment, think of the health benefits breastfeeding has for mother and child  During the first six months of a child’s life, breastfeeding is a convenient and portable way to feed your baby, A mother’s milk is clean, often the right temperature, and packed with custom produced vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins amongst other beneficial ingredients.

The Public Health Agency of Canada often supports breastfeeding infants, as breast milk also contains antibodies to prevent diseases in newborns and it also has been shown to reduce allergies in a child’s development. Essentially, many claim that breastfed babies are even smarter! Though I beg to differ, as I am a formula baby.

Breast milk is also a cheaper option to the expenses of formula. There are many health benefits for the mom as well, as research indicates breastfeeding can lower the risk of certain cancers including breast and ovarian.  The body also releases a healthy emotionally balancing hormone, which is beneficial to the mother after birth.

Over the years, there have been numerous stories that have attracted the media’s attention. One instance includes a Starbucks in Ottawa, where a young woman complained to a male barista about a mother in the café that was breastfeeding her child without a “modesty shield.” This story, however, had a happy ending when the barista provided the mother with a free coffee for having to deal with unpleasant complains and stares. Back in 2014, the spokesperson for Starbucks, Laurel Harper stated that Starbucks does not have an official policy on customer experience or breastfeeding.

There was even a controversial health campaign in Mexico City that featured topless celebrities who were encouraging breastfeeding for new mothers. This was met with backlash from critics who argued the campaign sexualized women and placed shame on mothers who could not breastfeed for medical reasons.  There always seems to be someone that is not too pleased with the display of a woman’s bare breast, or feeding her child uncovered in public, and while people have their opinions, views, and personal preferences when it comes to where they feed their children, women should not be shamed for providing essential nutrients for their babies.

This week, Apple announced a new set of emoji’s for World Emoji Day and notable emojis include a breastfeeding emoji! Now you can add that to your next social media post proud moms. While the debate over breastfeeding may be endless, August 1-7 2017 is marked as world breastfeeding week and the movement is celebrating it’s 25th year in encouraging breastfeeding on a global scale in an aim to attract political support, media attention and participation.

For more information on breastfeeding, visit Eat Right Ontario or consult publichealth.gc.ca.

 

Introducing Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor Who

The next Time Lord will be a woman!

Fans of Doctor Who were surprised over the weekend with the announcement that Jodie Whittaker, an actress most known for her role in the BBC drama Broadchurch, will be stepping into the role of the thirteenth doctor! This makes her the first female lead of the 50-year-old television show.

The Doctor, an adventurer who flies around in his time-travelling phone box saving the world with a number of different companions, has always been a man — albeit an eccentric man. After such a long sting, I have to admit it’s hard to imagine the character as a woman.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so. The decision itself has caused a lot of controversy. Long-time fans have said they will no longer watch the show now that the lead is female. The Internet has blown up with sexist remarks and angry sentiments from fans completely distraught that the BBC has decided to change a long-standing tradition of making The Doctor a man. A bit of an overreaction I think.

I, for one, am excited to see where Whittaker takes Doctor Who. While it will be an adjustment, sometimes change is a good thing. There has been a call for a female Doctor Who for years, and honestly, if the BBC decided to hire another white male actor, there probably would have been just as much of an uproar from female fans.

But, I really don’t understand the controversy. Doctor Who, for the most part, has always been a gender-friendly television show. It was only a few seasons ago the writers decided to make The Doctor’s nemesis a woman, despite years of the character being played by a man. I don’t remember such negativity on the Internet when Missy showed up instead of The Master.

And then, there are the companions.

The female companions were always strong-willed characters that were able to keep the madman of a Doctor in check. They asked questions, never assuming the Doctor knew what he was doing, and stood up to him when he was being selfish or high-tempered. They were, and still are, critical parts of the show. Never has a female companion simply become the love interest. In a refreshing twist for a television show, romance is just not part of The Doctor’s charm. Even The Doctor’s wife had to work hard for a little bit of action, and she played a much larger role in saving the world than she did as a lover.

Then there was Captain Jack Harkness, who was the first openly non-heterosexual character on the show. His portrayal of bisexuality (although in 2017 terms he would probably best be described as pansexual) inspired so many people that he was re-cast in the role as the lead for the spin-off series Torchwood.

And finally, in the latest Doctor Who series, writers introduced the first female gay companion.

After all of these transformations, there was nowhere else for Doctor Who to go. Having a female Doctor was necessary and should give the BBC the opportunity it needs to bring a new and refreshing take to the show after the last 50 years. Personally, I think all fans should hold their opinions until they see Whittaker in action.

But, I’m still left with one question. Considering the companions of the story are the real heroes of Doctor Who: will Whittaker’s partner in crime be male, or female? Sure, a powerhouse double female act would be absolutely amazing — but who else is itching for a male companion with a female Doctor? Or better yet, an alien!

 

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

“Koneline” documentary teaches non-judgment of northern Canada

In light of the recent wild fires in Fort McMurray, it is a good time to witness Koneline: our land beautiful, a documentary that sheds light on the lifestyle of northerners, and aims to understand rather than judge people who live in the world of oil and mining. The film is being shown in the Hot Doc’s festival on Saturday, May 7 at 3:15 p.m in the Hart House Theatre and is worth watching. As an environmentalist and western Canadian, it shook me to my core.

Koneline, directed by Canadian Nettie Wild, is a documentary about Northern B.C and the confluence of themes that interplay into the life and work of mines, the traditions of the Tahltan First Nations, and the life of the hunter. Wild shows the audience life in northern Canada, and purposefully refrains from taking a specific stance between the polarized opinions of miners and political activists.

Driller at sunset. Photo provided by Koneline.
Driller at sunset. Photo provided by Koneline.

“The north is a foreign land to many people in the south. If people can experience the land in a visceral way, it may mean they read the news in a different way,” said Wild. “There is dogmatic rhetoric flying from all sides. I thought I could bring art. I thought if I could bring a non-judgmental camera, I might be surprised and surprise the audience too. I think people are weary of being told what to think.”

Koneline films multiple perspectives of the miners who work the land, the Tahltan First Nations whose people are divided between working in the mine and protesting it, and experienced hunters who guide expeditions for tourists. Showing various peoples’ connections to the land could easily become an overwhelming experience for the viewer, but Wild uses breathtaking cinematic shots and aerial views that allow the audience to digest the various perspectives of life in the northern part of B.C before leading into the next scene.

Oscar Dennis, member of the Tahltan First Nations. Provided by Koneline.
Oscar Dennis, member of the Tahltan First Nations. Provided by Koneline.

Wild focuses on three main points of view in the film. The First Nations are a key player in Northern B.C and the audience meets Oscar Dennis, a member of the Tahltan who is trying to preserve the language and culture of his people. Some members of the Tahltan are actively fighting the development of the mines and they set up a barricade at the Red Chris mine during the course of filming to protest a tailings pond that was due to be built. Other Tahltan members work the mines so they can afford to feed their families. Hunters are also a key player in the film. It features Heidi Guntfrucht, one of the only female hunting guides in Canada, who is worried about the effect of the mines of wildlife migration in the area. The diamond miners also talk about their love of nature as a reason for working up north.

Wild began the project in 2012, and shot the footage for a year in 2014. During the course of her research and shooting, Wild began to see a common thread between all of her various film subjects. “I was moved,” said Wild. “We are all carrying luggage. We have onion layers and assumptions building up. All of those people have a real love of the land. There is a shared commonality.”

The name, Koneline, is a Tahltan word that has a two-fold meaning. In the Tahltan language, the pronoun “K” simultaneously means “I” and “the land” as one entity. Koneline itself means is beautiful. Therefore, the word means “I am beautiful” and “the land is beautiful” at the same time, demonstrating the deep connection this First Nations people hold to the land as a part of their individual identity.

The power lines. Provided by Koneline.
The power lines. Provided by Koneline.

The cinematography often shows the power lines that have been built in Northern B.C as contrasted to the vast wilderness in the array of aerial shots in Koneline. Wild attempts to show both the man-made technology and nature as essential parts of the northern landscape in her documentary. “There is a real elegance of engineering. It is an insane technological feat. All of the contradictions are there. There are these stark technological structures in the middle of pristine wilderness but they are also beautiful and surreal,” said Wild.

Koneline is a piece of cinematic art that pushes boundaries on what we perceive as compared to what we know. As an environmentalist, I can honestly say that this documentary affected me deeply by showing the value of considering all points of view rather than taking a specific stance that inadvertently narrows my judgment. The film will redefine your definition of being an environmentalist and is worth seeing at Hot Doc’s this year. With Fort McMurray in mind, refraining from judgment and being empathetic to the northern way of life may open your mind in a way you didn’t quite expect.

“We’re in a dangerous place when we have that polarized rhetoric. It is East vs. West and South vs. North. Everyone else is talking about it and the people of the north are living it. It is their jobs that are being won or lost, they are paying the premium on the horrible [packaged] food and their land that is being changed,” said Wild. “Canada is the north and we are defined by it. Let’s see what kind of assumptions we have and question them. We need to step back and say, isn’t that interesting. What does being non-judgmental look and sound like? Art can articulate that in a different way. You can feel that in your gut.”

WATCH: New video spoofs controversy over mixed race Cheerios family

A few weeks back there was a controversy over the new Cheerios ad featuring a biracial family. The controversy? Um, apparently some people think that biracial families either simply don’t exist or shouldn’t be allowed to be shown on TV.

Just a second while I check my calendar. Yep, still 2013. I was worried I’d slipped back to the 1600s there for a minute.

While to most of us it might not seem like a big deal to see a family with various skin tones of eye shapes enjoying breakfast, to some racist trolls it was enough to force Cheerios to shut off commenting on the YouTube video because of all the hateful remarks.

As someone who has a beautiful family where skin colour doesn’t matter (and nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers, parents, and brother-in-laws are all loved for who they are, not what they look like) I am proud of Cheerios for taking a stand by admitting the obvious: that mixed race families exist and they also eat.

Check out this hilarious spoof video that takes the “haters” to task and takes things up a notch with a twist ending we’re still waiting too see in a breakfast cereal commercial.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.