DAVE AGAR

March 11th Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 3/11/2014 7:43:00 AM

Storm

When it gets this late in the winter, storm systems are more difficult to read...mostly because of the temperatures as the storm advances.

With that in mind, we are in for snow tomorrow and depending on exactly how the storm tracks we in the Greater Toronto Area could get anywhere from 5 to 15 centimetres. In Toronto proper it looks like 10 centimetres...but again that could vary...up or down.

This storm will hit the entire southern half of the province...up to Orillia. Niagara is expecting to get hit hardest dumping as much as 25 centimetres of snow...or as little as 15.

That same threat also exists in eastern Ontario from Kingston to Cornwall.

The storm will arrive late tonight...meaning the overnight hours here in the GTA and snow, pretty much all day. Driving will be miserable because north winds will howl up to 60 kilometres an hour which will cause blowing snow, drifting and visibility problems.

If there is any saving grace it is that the kids are not in school so there's nothing to worry about regarding school buses and whether the schools are open or not.

Spring officially arrives in 9 days.

Free trade

How would you feel about Hyundai and Kia cutting their prices by 6 percent? That is a theoretical possibility as a result of Prime Minister Stephen Harper signing a free-trade agreement with South Korea early this morning in Seoul.

The Canada levy of 6.1 percent on South Korean vehicles expires 2 years after the agreement kicks in. South Korea's 8 percent levy would be eliminated on all light vehicles coming in from Canada.

Before details of the agreement were released, Jerry Dias, President of UNIFOR, the auto workers union said "we cannot stand by a deal that allows Korean car makers to flood Canada, while doing little or nothing to get our cars into Korea.

Dias says 'if Korean companies want to sell more in Canada, they should be required to make those cars here."

Make no mistake, this free-trade agreement seems to do a lot to expand the Canadian economy....by an estimated 1.7-billion dollars a year. It should create thousands of new jobs in a vast array of industries....assuming there are no hidden trade barriers thrown up by Seoul.

We should be able to ship more chemicals and plastics, IT and communications technology, aerospace, metals and minerals, agriculture and agri-food products, wine and spirits, fish and seafood, wood and forestry products.

Malaysia

Here's the latest on that mysterious disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner with 2-hundred-39 people on bad.

Police in Kuala Lumpur have identified one of the two men who boarded with stolen passports. He's a 19-year old from Iran and police think he was simply trying to escape Iran with a stolen passport so he could seek political asylum in Germany where his mother lives.

Another young Iranian in Kuala Lumpur has told the BBC that both men using stolen passports were Iranian and they were both hoping to settle in Europe.

This doesn't rule out terrorism only that these two with the stolen passports weren't part of any plot...at least that police have been able to determine.

Stem cells

At the end of January there was a huge medical story ...what was called at the time, a breakthrough in stem cell researcher.

Scientists in Japan said they were able to converted skin cells to stem cells by simply dipping the cells in acid for 30 minutes...that would eliminate the need to take stem cells from embryos in an ethically questionable way that would take considerably longer to do.

Since then other scientists have failed to reproduce the same results and as a result, the lead scientist in the original study is asking that the findings be withdrawn so he can do the study again to see if it can be duplicated.

At this point the findings have not been discredited.

It all depends on what happens when the researchers go back into the lab.

Fluoride

Add another Canadian city to a growing list of those deciding they no longer want fluoride in their drinking water.

Last night city council in Saint John, New Brunswick ignored the advice from doctors and dentists. The Mayor cast the deciding vote on an economic basis.

It costs 1-hundred-77-thousand dollars a year to add fluoride to the Saint John drinking water and Mayor Mel Norton says it was a financial decision he's forced to make.

Besides, he argues, health care is not a city responsibility.

On the face of it, this doesn't make a lot of sense especially these days when more people are drinking bottled water which has no fluoride.

On the other hand, there are inherent risks in providing fluoride in this manner as a way to help prevent tooth decay...including no way to control the amount of fluoride an individual consumes because it all depends on just how much water they drink in a day.

More and more municipalities are shying away from fluoride and it may be time to take a long hard look at this method of dental care. Has it been a simple, easy way to offer some protection?

You bet it is but that doesn't mean we should keep doing it for convenience.

As for the Mayor of Saint John saying health is not a city issue. He's wrong about that on several fronts. Health inspections of restaurants and bars, the first one that comes to mind

 

 

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