Landmine use in Yemen a cause for concern

Human Rights Watch is reporting that Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen are using landmines in at least six areas in that country, causing widespread suffering on the civilian population.

The use of antipersonnel landmines in a country that has signed the Mine Ban Treaty is a cause for concern in the international community.

“Houthi-Saleh forces have been flouting the landmine ban at the expense of Yemeni civilians,” said Steve Goose, director of the arms division at Human Rights Watch. “Yemen prohibited antipersonnel mines nearly two decades ago and no authorities should tolerate their use.”

H.E. Thomas Hajnoczi, ambassador of Austria to the UN in Geneva and the man who presides over the Mine Ban Treaty called for those laying landmines to immediately halt their use.

“The use and devastating toll of antipersonnel mines on civilian populations should be of great concern to all of us. Landmines violate key principles; their use runs counter to international and humanitarian law,” said Mr. Hajnoczi.

Landmines and other explosive remnants of war have had a devastating affect on Yemen. Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor reports that there were 6,854 casualties by the end of 2015.

Spring cleaning time in Ottawa

The City of Ottawa is once again holding a series of household hazardous waste depots throughout the year at various locations across the region.

The first opportunity for residents to get rid of hazardous waste happens on Sunday April 30 at the Rideau Carleton Raceway at 4837 Albion Road.

The depot will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Residents can drop off the following items:

  • Aerosol containers
  • Propane cylinders
  • Disinfectants
  • Fluorescent bulbs/tubes
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • Mercury switches/thermometers
  • Needles and syringes
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Paints and coatings
  • Oven and window cleaners
  • Pool chemicals
Electronic waste will also be accepted at this depot.
The program certainly seems to be working. In 2015, 555 tonnes of hazardous waste was collected, according to the City of Ottawa website.

Volunteers needed to remove sandbags around Ottawa

The City of Ottawa is looking for volunteers this weekend to help remove some of the 250,000 sandbags around the region.

Volunteers (age 16 and older) are asked to meet at one of the following meeting points and will be taken by shuttle bus to the affected areas.

1. Dunrobin (3285 Dunrobin Rd. from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

2. Fitzroy Harbour (6900 Harbour St. from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

3. Cumberland (Intersection of Morin Rd. and Philip Rd. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Monday)

4. Constance Bay (262 Len Purcell Drive from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

5. Britannia (Intersection of Cassels St. and Bradford St. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Monday)

Volunteers will be given gloves and are asked to wear long sleeve shirts, pants and boots.

Since April 1, the region has received more than 264 millimetres of precipitation, which has caused widespread flooding.

NOKIA Sunday bike days is back in Ottawa / Gatineau

If you live in the national capital region, it’s time to put some air in your bike tires and hit the (car free) road for another season!

The Nokia Sunday bike days starts today. Here is where you can ride your bike without having to deal with car traffic:

Car-free Ottawa parkways

Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway (9 kilometres ): 9 am to 1 pm

The westbound lanes of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, located on the south side of the Ottawa River just west of the downtown core, from Booth Street to Carling Avenue. The parkway is monitored by NCC volunteers.

Colonel By Drive (8 kilometres): 9 am to 1 pm

Both lanes of Colonel By Drive, located on the east side of the Rideau Canal, from Daly Street to the Hog’s Back Bridge. The parkway is monitored by volunteers from Gowling WLG.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway (8 kilometres): 9 am to 1 pm

Both lanes of the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, running along the south side of the Ottawa River, just east of the downtown core, from the Aviation Parkway to St. Joseph Boulevard in Orléans. The parkway is monitored by volunteers from the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario.
* NOKIA Sunday Bikedays will not be held on Colonel By Drive, Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway on Sunday, May 28, for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Car-free Gatineau Park parkways

The Gatineau, Champlain and Fortune Lake parkways, which are ideal destinations for cycling enthusiasts who enjoy steep hills, are closed to motor vehicles from 6 am to 11 am. One section (3.5 kilometres), to the north of Chemin du Lac-Meech, is ideal for families with young children, and is closed for two additional hours, from 6 am to 1 pm. (Length: 30.5 kilometres)

G7 research group releases final Ise-Shima report

The G7 research group at the University of Toronto has released its final compliance report on the 2016 Ise-Shima Summit, which took place in Japan May 26-27, 2016.

The report looks at 19 priority commitments of the 342 commitments that G7 members made at the summit.

As with all of these reports, there is both good news and bad. There was 100 per cent compliance on the Paris Agreement on climate change and on maritime security.

Despite having a feminist prime minister, Canada fared poorly on the issue of strengthening women’s engagement in emergency response situations. In fact, that issue received the lowest compliance score when all G7 members are added in.

Canada finished fourth overall, with an average compliance of 79 per cent.

To read the full 340 page report, click here.

The third hazardous waste depot happens this weekend

Have you finished your spring cleaning? The third of eight hazardous waste depots in Ottawa in 2017 takes place on Sunday June 4 at Waste Collections Canada at 3354 Navan Road between 8 a.m and 4 p.m.
Products that can be dropped off include:
  • Aerosol containers
  • Propane cylinders
  • Disinfectants
  • Fluorescent bulbs/tubes
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • Mercury switches/thermometers
  • Needles and syringes
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Paints and coatings
  • Oven and window cleaners
  • Pool chemicals

Doors Open Ottawa 2017

If you are an aviation buff, you will want to make your way to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Reserve Hanger for this weekend’s Doors Open Ottawa.

The hanger features over 60 aircraft and artefacts from the early years of flight, to aircraft used in both World Wars, to passenger jetliners, trainers and more.

For more information, click here.

Maplelawn Garden in Ottawa

Maplelawn Garden is one of the few remaining examples of a walled garden in Canada. The garden and adjacent manor house (which currently houses the Keg restaurant) were built on Richmond Road in Ottawa in 1931–1934 by a Scottish immigrant, William Thompson. In 1989 the property was designated a national historic site. Since 1993, the garden has been maintained by a volunteer group – The Friends of Maplelawn Garden. The garden is open dawn to dusk and is free to visit. The pedestrian entrance is at 529 Richmond Road.

Another household hazardous waste depot takes place this Sunday

The fourth household hazardous waste depot of 2017 happens this Sunday June 25 in Ottawa.

City of Ottawa residents can drop off their waste at the OC Transpo Park & Ride on Fallowfield Road (by the VIA train station) between 8 am and 4 pm.

Residential electronic waste will also be accepted at this location.

New book looks back on Expo 67

As Canadians get set to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday, Victoria, BC author Tom Hawthorn invites them to look back to 1967 – the year of Canada’s centennial, in his new book The Year Canadians Lost Their Minds and Found Their Country.

The Canada of 1968 was a profoundly different place than the Canada of 1966,” says Mr. Hawthorn in the preface. “The year in between, when Canadians took hesitant steps toward celebrating what we had achieved, led to a renewed interest in the question of who we were and where we were going.”

For Canadians under the age of 50, or for immigrants who came to this country after Expo 67, this book will give them a wonderful history lesson on the importance of Canada’s centennial year. The book is filled with anecdotes, archival photographs and personal stories of how individuals from all across the country celebrated being Canadian.