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Update:

The source of the mysterious Windsor Hum in the southwestern Ontario city is Zug Island — in River Rouge, Mich., indicates a federally funded report released today. The low frequency hum has been reported at various times throughout the day and ranges from mildly irritating to headache-producing. Residents have complained for years that the "hum" causes anything from headaches to migraines. This affects people that live in the area, work in the area and have businesses in the area.  This demonstrates why commercial and residential zoning areas shouldn't be too close together.

The source of the mysterious Windsor Hum in the southwestern Ontario city is Zug Island — in River Rouge, Mich., indicates a federally funded report released today. The low frequency hum has been reported at various times throughout the day and ranges from mildly irritating to headache-producing. Residents have complained for years that the “hum” causes anything from headaches to migraines. This affects people that live in the area, work in the area and have businesses in the area. This demonstrates one of the reasons why commercial and residential zoning areas shouldn’t be too close together. U.S. officials are now reviewing it.

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The source of the mysterious Windsor Hum in the southwestern Ontario city is Zug Island — in River Rouge, Mich., indicates a federally funded report released today.

Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson released the report’s findings at a news conference at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor on Friday.

Watson said U.S. officials must now determine the precise location of the noise. Copies of the federal report have been given to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the mayor of River Rouge.

“We look forward to further discussions with them,” Watson said.

Zug Island is home to a U.S. Steel operation and is an area of concentrated steel production and other manufacturing.

Residents in west and south Windsor and the neighbouring town of LaSalle started complaining about the rumbling and humming noise more than three years ago.

It has been described as sounding like an idling locomotive, a transport truck and running refrigerator.

Windsor Coun. Al Maghnieh has been fielding complaints about the noise for years, and has been vocal about getting to the bottom of the phenomenon.

“We want to know exactly what the solution is to either stop it or reduce it to a point where it’s not affecting the quality of life of residents,” Maghnieh said

Watson said it is important to “protect the quality of life” in Windsor.

“We made a commitment to find a solution that would work for the people of Windsor.”

In January 2013, Ottawa earmarked $60,000 for two research projects to find the Windsor Hum’s origin.

In February 2013, Prof. Colin Novak of the University of Windsor, and a group of fellow scientists and researchers from Windsor and London’s Western University set up a state-of-the-art, $250,000 recording station in a woodlot in the western part of Windsor. It was a virtual ear, tuned to record the hum 24/7.

Peter Brown of Western University was also part of the research team.

The first report was “inconclusive,” Watson said. The second determined Zug Island to be home to the hum.

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Update:

General Motors (GM) Detroit Headquarters. GM is America's largest car manufacturer. It emerged from bankruptcy in the summer of 2009. If the federal government prosecutes GM Canada under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the company could face a fine of $1-million. The U.S. Transportation Department fined the company $35-million (U.S.) and is penalizing it an additional $7,000 a day until GM submits a report to the government on why it did not recall the vehicles until this year despite evidence of problems going back to at least 2007.

General Motors (GM) Detroit Headquarters. GM is America’s largest car manufacturer. It emerged from bankruptcy, after 40 days,  in the summer of 2009. If the federal government prosecutes GM Canada under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the company could face a fine of $1-million. The U.S. Transportation Department fined the company $35-million (U.S.) and is penalizing it an additional $7,000 a day until GM submits a report to the government on why it did not recall the vehicles until this year despite evidence of problems going back to at least 2007.

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General Motors of Canada Ltd. has told Transport Canada that the company did not know before February that some vehicles it was selling here contained defective ignition switches, raising questions about whether Ottawa can penalize the auto maker as the U.S. government has, with a record fine on General Motors Co.

The Detroit-based parent of GM Canada acknowledged last week that it broke U.S. laws by failing to notify the U.S. government in a timely manner that Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other vehicles built in the 2000s contained defective ignition switches. The defects led to car accidents that killed 12 Americans and contributed to the death of a Canadian driver in a crash last year before the vehicles were recalled in February.

GM Canada has made no such admission and has said it is assisting investigations being undertaken by Transport Canada.

“In order for us to have a good case to prosecute, it does matter when GM Canada knew,” Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said Thursday, hours before officials from her department said they had been told by GM Canada that the company was unaware of the defects until it issued the recall.

“What usually happens is that GM Canada finds out at the same time as everybody else, because that’s how it’s handled; the decision is made at the head office in the United States,” Ms. Raitt told reporters on a conference call from Germany, where she was attending a conference.

If the federal government prosecutes GM Canada under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (1993, c. 16), the company could face a fine of $1-million. The U.S. Transportation Department fined the company $35-million (U.S.) and is penalizing it an additional $7,000 a day until GM submits a report to the government on why it did not recall the vehicles until this year despite evidence of problems going back to at least 2007.

Ms. Raitt’s office said she was unavailable later Thursday to discuss what the government will do now that GM Canada has said it had no knowledge of the defect until the recall in February.

In some cases, the defective ignition switches led to engine shutdowns, which meant drivers were unable to steer their cars and airbags did not deploy.

Dany Dubuc-Marquis of Granby, Que., was killed last year after he lost control of the 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt he was driving and went off the road. His father, Normand Dubuc, complained to Transport Canada, when he noticed that the car’s airbags did not appear to have deployed.

In an interview, Mr. Dubuc said he’s certain even more people have been injured or killed as a result of the faulty ignition switches. He acknowledged the $35-million fine the U.S. government imposed on GM, but called the amount “ridiculous” compared with the damage the faulty vehicles have caused.

The family of Nick Baker, a Cornwall, Ont., man, is suing GM Canada, its parent company and the supplier of ignition switches after he died when his Saturn Ion compact veered across a county road in a crash for which a cause has not been found.

The company has recalled 368,000 vehicles in Canada and 2.6 million because of the ignition switches and millions of other vehicles since then to address other problems.

U.S. regulators and politicians have been aggressive in seeking answers from GM since the recalls were announced in February, although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized for not being aggressive enough when it first became aware in 2007 that there might be problems with defective ignition switches in GM vehicles.

GM’s chief executive officer Mary Barra was summoned to Washington to appear before two Congressional committees to explain why it took so long for the auto maker to recall the vehicles.

Attempts by opposition MPs to force Ms. Raitt and company officials to appear before the House of Commons Transport Committee failed earlier this year, when the Conservatives sent a motion on the issue by NDP MP Hoang Mai to an in-camera session.

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Update:

Saskatoon City Council putting dedicated bike lanes pilot project on hold. (CBC)

Saskatoon City Council putting dedicated bike lanes pilot project on hold. (CBC)

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If you were hoping to peddle down dedicated bike lanes in Saskatoon this summer, you’re going to have to wait at least one year.

Saskatoon City Council is putting a dedicated bike lanes pilot project on hold.

Council decided to stall the project for at least year because of concerns over parking.

The plan had been to install the dedicated lanes for cyclists on Fourth Avenue and 24th Street. It received unanimous support from councillors and the mayor in January.

Dave Denny, who is with a downtown business group, said business owners raised concerns over the impact of lost parking spots.

“All we’re saying is, ‘Yes to bike lanes, but let’s manage this,” Denny said. “Let’s find ways to mitigate the cost, the 105 parking spots, and make sure that we’re not going to make it worse for cars.”

Denny said the group is not against dedicated bike lanes, but it also wants a plan to replace the lost parking spots.

City to crack down on noisy motorcycles

If you have a motorcycle that rattles the neighbourhood, expect a ticket.

Police are now able to do decibel tests roadside and hand out fines starting at $100. A second offence will cost you at least $200 and a third offence will be no less than $400.

The bylaw amendment doesn’t apply to other vehicles because there’s no acceptable roadside test for cars and trucks.

Police are being trained and fines likely won’t be handed out until next year.

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Update:

The former federal privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, has also argued that PIPEDA needs to be updated to shine more light on the use of “extraordinary” exceptions for law enforcement under the legislation.

The former federal privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, has also argued that PIPEDA needs to be updated to shine more light on the use of “extraordinary” exceptions for law enforcement under the legislation.

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OTTAWA—The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is challenging a federal law that allows for the warrantless disclosure of Canadians’ personal data to law enforcement and government agencies.

The CCLA is arguing that sections of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) violate Canadians’ Charter rights by allowing the mass disclosure of personal information to authorities without a warrant.

“We have warrants for a reason,” said Sukanya Pillay, the CCLA’s executive director, on Wednesday.

“You can have a situation where you have law enforcement not following the criminal route, where you seek a warrant to get this information, but going through the PIPEDA route, getting information, and then laying charges.”

The court challenge comes after revelations that government agencies asked nine telecom, Internet and social media companies for users’ data 1.2 million times in 2011. It’s not known how many of those requests involved a warrant.

PIPEDA, which governs the private sector’s handling of Canadians’ personal information, allows law enforcement and government agencies to request customers’ data under a broad set of circumstances — including matters of national security, the enforcement of any Canadian or foreign law, and for “gathering intelligence” to enforce those laws.

CCLA is arguing the provision is overly broad.

“It just creates a completely open exception for the private sector to hand over personal identifying information to government, so that could be law enforcement or an intelligence agency, for the protection of national security or . . . a foreign law,” Pillay said. “We find this very problematic.”

The group is also taking aim at a provision that allows for authorities to gather the information without the knowledge or consent of Canadians. If an individual asks a company if their informaion has been shared with law enforcement, a section of the law allows authorities to block that information from being released.

The former federal privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, has also argued that PIPEDA needs to be updated to shine more light on the use of “extraordinary” exceptions for law enforcement under the legislation.

Jessica Fletcher, director of communications for federal Industry Minister James Moore, noted PIPEDA has been in place since 2000.

“The rules governing voluntary disclosure by organizations have been clearly defined in law for over a decade,” Fletcher wrote in an email Wednesday evening.

“As this matter is before the court, we have no further comment.”

But Pillay said the challenge was a result of both longstanding concerns over “unjustifiable” disclosures of personal information, as well as recent revelations from U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden detailing a massive state surveillance apparatus south of Canada’s border.

“There’s no question anymore that privacy is a right that must be vigilantly protected and that any disclosures of information must be subject to accountability,” Pillay said.

A joint investigation between the Star and the Halifax Chronicle Herald revealed Wednesday that telecom companies were concerned about “antagonizing” the federal government and law enforcement agencies by disclosing too much information on how often they’re asked for their customers’ information.

Three companies — Bell, Rogers, and Research In Motion — agreed to turn over aggregate data to the federal privacy watchdog, so long as they could do so anonymously. Emails reviewed by the two papers suggest Rogers intended to approach other companies to suggest they do the same. The privacy commissioner’s office signed off on the plan.

In the end, nine companies provided the aggregate data anonymously through a law firm. Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier said the office did not release the information in 2011 because she felt aggregate data was not helpful. It was released in April at the request of the two papers.

Telecom companies have said that there is no clear direction from either the privacy commissioner’s office or federal authorities as to how much they can disclose about the requests.

Pillay said the federal government already indicated it will respond to the CCLA’s application, but no court date has been set. The proceedings are expected to take place in Toronto later this year.

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Update:

PDF. With Safe Boating Awareness Week getting underway from May 17-23, 2014, the OPP is shedding light on some notable marine fatality facts and engaging the public in helping boaters make wise choices on the water.

PDF. With Safe Boating Awareness Week getting underway from May 17-23, 2014, the OPP is shedding light on some notable marine fatality facts and engaging the public in helping boaters make wise choices on the water.

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ORILLIA, ON, May 15, 2014 /CNW/ – Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) are rarely found by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers when recovering deceased boaters in marine incidents.

With Safe Boating Awareness Week getting underway from May 17-23, 2014, the OPP is shedding light on some notable marine fatality facts and engaging the public in helping boaters make wise choices on the water.

Of the 23 boaters who died in OPP investigated marine incidents last year (2013), 20 of them were not wearing PFDs. This has been the trend for the past five years with eight out of ten victims who died in boating incidents between 2009 and 2013 being found with no PFD (or wearing them incorrectly).

All children must wear a life jacket (or PDF) when they are out on or around the water. 8 Out of 10 Boating Incident Victim Not Wearing PFD's (or wearing them improperly).

All children must wear a life jacket (or PDF) when they are out on or around the water. 8 Out of 10 Boating Incident Victim Not Wearing PFD’s (or wearing them improperly).

The late arrival of spring has made for a cold start to the boating season. In some areas of the province, ice is still present and the open waters remain cold. Cold waters are dangerous and it is especially important to wear a PFD during cold water seasons – it can make an unexpected mishap survivable.

Make sure you are well-dressed and consider taking a few extra warming items on board. Hypothermia is a particularly significant risk right now.  Boaters and those working and playing near the water need to remember – the colder the water, the less rescue time there is!

Before heading out, it is important to do a thorough check of your boat and safety equipment and even more important when the waters have just thawed. While the OPP has patrols underway on the water, they are reminding boaters that the unusual spring has delayed many operators and those who run into difficulties may experience delays with police assistance.

OPP statistics are also showing a five-year low in alcohol-related marine fatalities.  Four people died in impaired boating incidents in 2013, compared to seven in 2012 and 2011, 14 in 2010 and 13 in 2009. In spite of the decrease, even one life lost due to alcohol use on the water is one too many.  The OPP is asking the public to call 9-1-1 if they know or suspect that someone is operating a vessel while impaired.  In doing so, you could be saving lives.

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