Above watch: Elysia Bryan-Baynes has the latest on the tanker truck explosion
MONTREAL – More information is emerging about the tanker truck explosion on Highway 640 that left one man dead on Sunday.
Truckers who worked with the 50-year-old driver are in mourning but say that stretch of highway is notoriously dangerous.
“He’s been with the company since 2011, appeared to have a very clean record,” explained Rick Leckner, spokesperson of the GHL Transport company.
“He had left the terminal Sunday afternoon with his first delivery of the day when the accident happened.”
At around 4 p.m. Sunday, the truck, carrying 45,000 litres of diesel and gasoline, was involved in a major collision and caught fire near the junction of Highway 40 and 640 close to Charlemagne.
The crash involved the tanker truck a transport truck and four cars, two other people suffered minor injuries.
The explosion left a spectacular plume of black smoke above the region.
The heat of the blaze damaged the roadway and melted highway signs.
On Monday morning, Transport Quebec re-opened most of the roadways but closed it again later in the afternoon to start repairs.
Investigators are still on the scene trying to determine how the accident happened.
Police say speed is not the only factor they consider.
“The driver might’ve had a heart attack before, was there an animal on the road,” said SQ officer, Audrey Anne-Bilodeau
“These are the kinds of things investigators have to go through.”
Gallery: Photos taken by witnesses of black smoke following explosion
TORONTO – Meet Matt McGuire: software developer, activist and for one day in 2012, the Canadian penny.
When the federal government announced the penny would be no more, McGuire started a 桑拿会所 account called Savethepenny, sending out a flurry of joking tweets, such as, “want my two cents? this sucks.”
Sorry for my silence, I’ve been on a post budget binge. Maybe not best idea – Sir John A. used to do that and look where he ended up
— Canadian Penny (@SaveThePenny) April 3, 2012
The penny account garnered thousands of followers at its peak, he said, but his Internet infamy ended almost as soon as it began. McGuire sent out so many messages that 桑拿会所 blocked him from sending any more that day, so the Canadian penny’s 桑拿会所 presence more or less burst onto the scene and fizzled out in a matter of hours.
READ MORE: Wynne concerned by PR stunts like fake Lake Ontario shark
The account is one of many in a phenomenon that sees ordinary people seize on a moment in popular culture, post 桑拿会所 messages – often as an animal or inanimate object – then just as quickly fade away.
When reports emerged that a shark was spotted in Lake Ontario – it turned out to be a hoax – not one, but two Lake Ontario sharks appeared on 桑拿会所. At one point the two were even sassing each other.
you may have videos but you’ll never find me #ChompChomp — Lake Ontario Shark (@SharkOntario) July 16, 2014
The day a monkey in a little coat and diaper was found in an Ikea parking lot in Toronto, several people began tweeting as the Ikea monkey.
The phenomenon knows no borders – when musician Pharrell showed up to the Grammys in a comically oversized hat, someone created a 桑拿会所 account for the hat and despite a significantly lessened flow of tweets, more than 20,000 people are still following it.
parody account negotiations update: no response yet from @ikea_monkey. bringing in federal mediator
— Ikea Monkey (@IKEAmonkey) December 10, 2012
There are many long-term 桑拿会所 parody accounts – ones satirizing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford are numerous, to say the least – and while they serve the same purpose, these ones are quite fleeting, said Queen’s University media professor Sidneyeve Matrix.
“The word that comes to mind for me really is this kind of microfame, or like Internet celebrity,” she said. “The joy of that 24 hours of fame, that just seems to be part of the picture.”
People who start those types of accounts tend to be very engaged citizens with pop culture savvy who can spot the trend that will engage other users, Matrix said.
McGuire said what makes this type of parody account successful is timing and finding the right issue.
READ MORE: Canadian comic Norm MacDonald recalls poker game with James Garner
“I think they become popular for a short period of time because they’re just relevant at that precise moment in history,” he said.
It was fun, but weird, to tweet as an inanimate object, said McGuire, who also has a personal 桑拿会所 account.
“You kind of put yourself in the place: What would a penny think in this situation?” he said. “Well, a penny doesn’t think, so you get to have a little fun. You get to inject your own personality into it and you just kind of go with the flow of interactions from other 桑拿会所 accounts and other users.”
Matrix said cyberdisinhibition allows people to say – or tweet – comments they wouldn’t otherwise post under their own name.
“We have a voracious cultural appetite for news satire as we know from the popularity of late-night television,” she said. “But the other thing is that the anonymity that’s afforded by these kinds of accounts, I think, it’s going to free up people to share satire that might be too political for them to share on their personal accounts.”
That’s how the shirtless caiman was born.à
After a caiman was captured in a pond in Toronto’s High Park, some 桑拿会所 users, including former Liberal MP Bob Rae, noted the alligator-like reptile was shirtless. It was a reference to a group of anti-Rob Ford activists who had taken to calling themselves the Shirtless Horde, inspired by a shirtless jogger whose rant at Ford during a Canada Day event touched off a social media frenzy.
WATCH: Officials remove suspected caiman from High Park water
The woman behind the shirtless caiman 桑拿会所 account doesn’t want to be identified by name for the very reason Matrix mentioned; the shirtless caiman sends negative tweets about Ford – statements the financial district worker would not be comfortable sending under her own name.
But she didn’t want shirtless caiman to be a “one-day wonder,” like the pennies, the sharks and the Ikea monkeys, so she developed an anti-Ford persona for the shirtless caiman, who is gay, married and has adopted a caiman baby named Pedro with his partner, she said.
“You can’t maintain a caiman account because the caiman has disappeared to Reptilia (zoo), it was supposed to be put up for adoption,” she said. “Constantly it’s on my mind: What happened to the caiman? Why has no one followed up? Without that follow-up information there’s nothing else you can do with the caiman except fictionalize it at this point.”
With a never-ending flow of Ford news it’s not hard to fit in caiman references, she said, for example when Ford raised a fuss about expenses along Toronto’s waterfront.
“The caiman got a day pass from Reptilia and went down to Sugar Beach,” she said. “I very badly cut and pasted the caiman and his friends partying it up at Sugar Beach.”
It’s a lot of fun, she said, but also quite time consuming. She – usually – doesn’t tweet as the caiman while at work, limiting herself to evenings and weekends, but is constantly composing tweets in her head.
“It’s kind of fun to challenge yourself every day to think: How can I link a reptile to Rob Ford?” she said.
The Ikea monkey did not return a request for comment.
©2014The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – A new internal government report has once again raised questions about the Harper government’s penchant for sending large teams of Canadian election monitors to Ukraine.
The March report, prepared by an outside consultant for the Foreign Affairs Department, is the latest in a series of internal government assessments that raise red flags about the missions. The reports began in 2004 under the Liberals and have been repeatedly embraced by the Conservatives, most recently in May.
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WATCH: Monitoring the Ukraine election
Ottawa sent about 350 people to monitor the May 25 presidential ballot in Ukraine in a Canadian-led bilateral mission. Approximately 150 went as part of a separate multinational effort led by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is seen as the most credible international body for conducting such missions.
The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the independent audit of Canada’s Election Observation Missions program, known as EOM, which notes that the multilateral OSCE missions are widely viewed as a much better idea than the Canadian bilateral ones.
The consultants, Plan:Net Limited, presented the Foreign Affairs Department with its 195-page report on March 20.
READ MORE Harper meets in Kyiv with new Ukrainian president
On April 23, Harper announced Canada was sending 500 observers to monitor the Ukraine mission, and that 350 of them would be part of a bilateral mission under a Canadian banner.
“As has been noted, generating visibility through a bilateral presence in EOMs comes with its dangers,” the report said.
“EOM best practices suggest that a decision to give greater emphasis to bilateral election observation could have implications for the reputation of Canada amongst other donors, recipient countries, and multilateral organizations.
“Does Canada want to continue to be a credible and respected player in the field of EOM? Or do political imperatives trump development goals, at least in the short term?”
Despite raising those questions, the report offers “a qualified yes” in support of Canada continuing to contribute to both kinds of missions, to promote the country internationally while participating in multilateral global efforts to promote good governance.
Foreign Affairs is defending the missions, saying they help advocate Canadian values, such as supporting democracy.
READ MORE: Rebels take control of bodies of victims of Flight MH17 crash
“Canada actively supports both bilateral and multilateral election observation missions as effective mechanisms for supporting free and fair elections,” department spokesman John Babcock said in an emailed response to questions.
“This is part of Canada’s broader support for the promotion of democracy, a key Canadian value.”
Canada also sent hundreds of observers to Ukraine’s parliamentary elections in 2012 and its presidential election in 2010, in addition to participating in OSCE missions.
After the Liberals’ first and only Ukraine observer mission in 2004, a separate internal report concluded that they “should not be considered as a precedent but only as a ‘last resort option’ for future Canadian observer missions.”
Since then, that advice has been repeatedly ignored.
The most recent March report addresses another problem in international election monitoring practices that Canada continues to ignore: allowing expatriates to monitor elections in their native lands.
On the most recent mission to Ukraine, at least half of those taking part were of Ukrainian-Canadian descent.
The government says having a large Ukrainian-Canadian contingent on its last monitoring team was an asset, in part because they speak the local language.
“Canadian diaspora groups and communities represent valuable and knowledge-rich resources, including with respect to linguistic capabilities, and as such they are an important consideration in developing missions,” said Babcock.
READ MORE: Canada demands pro-Russian militants leave MH17 crash site
Canada has about 1.2 million people of Ukrainian descent, and the strong outpouring of government support for Ukraine in its current conflict with Russia is seen by many observers as a way to court domestic electoral support within Canada.
The Plan:Net report cited pros and cons of the bilateral missions, and found it scores points for the government among certain “ethnic constituents.”
Under pros, the report said: “Of direct interest to Canadian ethnic constituents; for example, Ukraine/Haiti; as well as to GoC for being seen by Diaspora as involved.”
The report says Canadian bilateral missions are of more use to Canada than others nations, saying their main purpose is to “promote the sending country entirely.”
Observers in Ukraine had the words “Mission Canada” displayed prominently on their clothing, while their activities were reported by Canadian and Ukrainian journalists, the report says.
“While this certainly is an effective method of promoting Canadian involvement, it is not consistent in any way with EOM best practices.”
©2014The Canadian Press
WATCH (above): Despite a call by the City of Vancouver to buy the property from CP Rail, the future of the corridor remains uncertain. Jennifer Palma reports.
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Rail company wants tracks on Arbutus Corridor cleared of property
WATCH: Residents fear Canadian Pacific preparing Arbutus corridor for trains
UPDATE: The City of Vancouver says it is now prepared to buy the Arbutus corridor from CP Rail. The exact figures the city is willing to pay has not been released but it is expected to be in the millions. The July 31 deadline imposed by CP Rail for area residents to remove the community gardens along the old rail line is looming. And despite the City of Vancouver’s call to buy the property, the future of the corridor remains uncertain.
Residents along the Arbutus rail corridor on Vancouver’s west side are receiving letters from the city this week.
The letters, signed by Mayor Gregor Robertson, reiterate the city’s opposition to CP Rail’s plans to re-introduce cargo trains along the corridor.
CP began notifying residents last month to remove community gardens and any other structures from the right-of-way so they can re-start cargo train service. The last time trains ran on the tracks was 11 years ago.
Robertson says the city has gotten an independent appraisal on the land, and is willing to pay “fair market value” for the land.
“The City is committed to seeking a fair deal with CPR for the Arbutus Corridor lands, so that we can maintain and enhance the Corridor for local residents. We have had discussions for many years and we continue to seek a reasonable agreement. Again, we are hopeful that CPR will accept an offer of fair market value,” said the mayor in a statement.
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