Nov 16

Sask. multiple sclerosis treatment in spotlight during MS awareness month

REGINA – May is multiple sclerosis awareness month. It is a disease that affects thousands of Saskatchewan residents, but Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada without an MS specialist.

President of MS Society’s Saskatchewan and Manitoba divisions, Erin Kuan, was at the legislature Tuesday to pin carnations on politicians. The flowers adorned every MLA’s chest during Question Period.

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“We have an estimated number of about 3500-3700 people living with MS in the province. I’d say the prairies have the highest incident rate in Canada, but… Canada has the highest incident rate in the world,” Kuan said.

The MS Society of Canada, along with the provincial government, is working to change that.

Earlier this year, an 11-person multiple sclerosis advisory panel submitted their recommendations to improve MS patient care.

READ MORE: Province names advisory panel for MS research

Among the recommendations:

– the establishment of an advisory council on degenerative neurological diseases.
– a registry of Saskatchewan people diagnosed with MS
– the recruitment of more clinicians
– provide ongoing funding for a multidisciplinary care team, research leader and research support services

So far, the government has committed to the council and the registry.

In 2011, the province made headlines for its plan to send patients to Albany, New York, to try an experimental and controversial treatment of MS that was showing promise.

$2.2 million was committed for 87 patients to receive the treatment. The plan fell through though, when the American clinic said it didn’t have enough volunteers.

READ MORE: MS liberation therapy clinical trial for Sask. patients cancelled

Health Minister Duncan said if an advisory council was in place at the time, there could have been a different outcome.

“Not to say that we regret as a government that we did try to take part in the Albany trials… but I think [the advisory council] will provide maybe a more fulsome view of some opportunities that may present themselves in the future,” he said.

While the government is acting on two of the recommendations, Duncan couldn’t go into details about funding with the budget just around the corner.

Nov 16

Stealthy night operation planned to recapture missing High Park Zoo capybaras

A stealthy nighttime operation has been planned to lure back the High Park Zoo’s runaway capybaras.

As darkness falls Wednesday food will be laid as bait in the enclosure the pair refused to call home, and “capybara-enticing noises” will be played to make the Bonnie-and-Clyde strays feel welcome, said parks spokeswoman Megan Price.

All the while, city staff will be covertly monitoring the pen from a nearby capybara surveillance truck, waiting to run out and close the gate on the fugitive dog-sized creatures.

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“The faster we catch them the better for them,” Price said.

“We want to bring them back in a kind, gentle way,” said local councillor Sarah Doucette

READ MORE: 2 capybaras on the lam after escaping pen at High Park Zoo

The plan comes after a missed opportunity Tuesday night when searchers were too slow off the mark to nab one of the runaway rodents when it made a return visit to its intended pen.

Mayor John Tory, who toured the pen Wednesday, cheered the cleverness of the mission.

“I’m amazed at the resourcefulness of the people at the zoo to develop a plan to get them back,” Tory said.

“We would ordinarily be relying on the raccoon nation to provide us intelligence on the whereabouts of the capybaras but they have been in a state of war with us over the new green bins,” he joked after a photo op with the lone remaining capybara, a male named Chewie.

Some 30 city parks and zoo staff are on the case, which began when the strays —; a male and female —; bolted as the duo were being for the first time transferred into the enclosure Tuesday morning.

The somewhat exotic animals —; which resemble giant hamsters —; are technically the largest rodents in the world, with the pair weighing around 30 lbs each.

The city says capybaras are not considered dangerous but could be “skittish,” and residents are advised to stay away and call 311 if spotted.

Price said they can be difficult to find because they can remain still, silent and submerged under water for hours with just their noses sticking out.

If they elude capture for more than five days they’ll have proven better escapees than the peacock that fled the zoo last year. The colourful bird managed to reach several nearby houses, fluttering from roof to roof, before being caught.

With files from David Shum, Cindy Pom and

Nov 16

Fort McMurray wildfire: Bank of Canada says Alberta wildfires will slow economic growth

The economy will be weaker than expected in the second quarter due to the Fort McMurray, Alberta wildfires, the Bank of Canada said Wednesday as it kept its key interest rate steady at 0.5 per cent.

The rate is a key factor used by Canada’s big banks in determining their prime lending rate, which is used for variable rate mortgages and lines of credit.

The central bank said growth in the first quarter appears to be in line with its April forecast, although business investment and intentions remained disappointing.

02:09

Global News Hour at 6 Edmonton

Fort McMurray fire continues to grow but re-rentry plans remain on track

01:08

Canada

How long will it take Fort McMurray to return to a state of ‘normalcy’?

02:55

Canada

Phased re-entry plan for oilsands camps near Fort McMurray begins

02:16

Canada

Fort McMurray wildfire: fire size estimated to cover 522,895 hectares

02:30

Canada

Fort McMurray recovery efforts continue, but mandatory evacuation still in place

02:02

Canada

Fort McMurray wildfire: Cold, wet weather in province did not reach wildfire areas

03:54

Global News Morning Calgary

Fort McMurray wildfires: Canada Task Force 2 members deployed



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  • Bank of Canada says economy is growing more than it previously thought

    But the bank said the second quarter that ends June 30 will be much weaker than predicted because of the wildfires that devastated swaths of Fort McMurray, Alta., forced the evacuation of the city and resulted in the shutdown of several oilsands operations.

    “The bank’s preliminary assessment is that the fire-related destruction and the associated halt to oil production will cut 1.25 percentage points off real GDP growth in the second quarter,” the bank said in its statement.

    “The economy is expected to rebound in the third quarter, as oil production resumes and reconstruction begins.”

    The bank had predicted growth of 1.0 per cent for the second quarter in its April monetary policy report.

    It is expected to update its full outlook for the economy and inflation in its next monetary policy report on July 13, when it also makes its next rate announcement.

    The Bank of Canada’s announcement comes in the wake of economic data that suggests the economy ended the first quarter on a soft note after starting 2016 on a hot streak.

    “In Canada, the economy’s structural adjustment to the oil price shock continues, but is proving to be uneven,” the bank said.

    Retail sales figures for March, reported last week by Statistics Canada, were lower than expected and followed reports of lower manufacturing and wholesale sales results for the same month.

    Statistics Canada also reported Friday that the annual pace of inflation climbed to 1.7 per cent in April compared with 1.3 per cent in March. Core inflation, which excludes some of the most volatile items, for the month was 2.2 per cent, up from 2.1 per cent in March.

    The Bank of Canada said inflation is roughly in line with its expectations, with total inflation slightly below its two per cent target and core inflation close to two per cent.

    The central bank also noted that the housing market continues to show strong regional differences, reinforced by adjustments ongoing in the economy.

    “In this context, household vulnerabilities have moved higher,” the bank said.