Provincial series event latest sign of BMX racing resurgence in Saskatoon

A group of local BMX racers were part of history Saturday, as Saskatoon hosted its first Saskatchewan Cup and provincial series races in nearly 20 years.

The event is a major milestone for a sport that was all but extinct in the city for the better part of a decade.

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    In 1997 Saskatoon hosted the BMX World Championships, establishing the city as a hot sport for the sport. However the years that followed saw a sharp decline in local participation, largely due to the closure of the city’s only track.

    Recently, BMX has made a comeback thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and a growing number of young riders.

    “It’s really fun. I’m glad I got the opportunity to join and I’m probably going to stick in it for further years,” said 15-year-old Devan Doucette, who has been riding BMX bikes for a few years but only started racing competitively in 2016.

    Veteran racer Makenna Foster, 14, remembers a time when fellow BMX riders were few and far between.

    “It’s so exciting this year to have 120 racers. We’re doing really good. There was only four of us when I started,” she said.

    READ MORE: Paracyclist Carla Shibley hopes to inspire other by overcoming hurdles

    The key to the turnaround was the opening of Globe BMX Raceway in 2010.

    The track, located next to the Lakewood Civic Centre, is on city property but maintained by the riders, their parents, and other volunteers. The Raceway was established as a club with roughly 15 members and has since grown to 120, ranging in age from three to 50.

    The provincial races serve notice that Saskatoon is officially back on the BMX map.

    “Everyone’s looking at us. Alberta BMX cannot believe what we’re doing here in this city because their numbers are staying stale. We’re growing every year by leaps and bounds. We are the talk of this country right now,” said race coordinator Erik Foster.

    BMX racing has been an official Olympic sport since the 2008 Games in Beijing, and that has some local riders dreaming big.

    “I’d never really thought about it that much, but going to a national level would be cool if I could get proper training,” Doucette said.

    Raceway president Dennis Rennie feels it’s only a matter of time before someone from Saskatoon is wearing the Maple Leaf.

    “I think if a lot of these kids starting now stay with it, I’m pretty sure we’ll see an Olympian coming out of Saskatoon in the near future,” he said.

    A future that once again looks very bright.


Largest canoe race regatta in Western Canada draws hundreds of athletes to Wascana Lake

Over 200 racers flocked to Regina’s Wascana Lake to test their speed and skills on the water, competing in the Canada Day Classic regatta.

The two-day competition saw most racers coming from Western Canada like Alberta or Manitoba, but there were others that came from as far away as Seattle and Oklahoma City.

“We drove about 22 hours north to come here and race,” Oklahoma City team coach Aasim Saleh said.

The American team of canoers and kayakers, was made up of 25 boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.

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He said they made the long drive because of the high skill level in Canada.

“We get to come up here, train with the Canadians. They’re some of the best paddlers in the world,” Saleh explained.

Athletes can race in singles, doubles or even in a 14-person war canoe, with varying age groups.

“People can start as early as seven years old and there’s competitors that’s 65 years old,” Don Anderson, Wascana Racing Canoe Club Vice-Commodore, said.

Among the racers is Zoey Bourgeois. She started paddling at the age of 10 years old, and six years later, it’s become part of her lifestyle.

“I’ve just been in the sport for so long, I don’ t know what I would do if I didn’t come down to the club everyday and go for a paddle,” Bourgeois said.

The 10-time medalist at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games said the sport has given her new meaning to the phrase “float your own boat.”

“You’re doing your own thing.”

“You’re out there, you’re all alone just in your boat with your paddle,” she said.

Coaches said the sport is an alternative to more popular sports but it’s just as important.

“There’s a lot of kids that haven’t really found their place in athletics or just in general, and kayaking is a place that a lot of kids… find a place,” Saleh said.

The two-day event has races going almost every five minutes, from shorter distances like 200m to 1000m sprints.

“It’s all about being in time, so there’s single boats, there’s K2 (which means) two-person kayak,” Anderson said.

“It’s all about being in time with your teammates. The better time you’re in, the faster you’ll go,” he said.

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Longueuil mayor a no-show for Greenfield Park Canada Day celebrations

LONGUEUIL – Canada Day in Greenfield Park had its fair share of controversy this year.

The City of Longueuil decided to enforce a protocol that prevented Greenfield Park councillors Robert Myles and Wade Wilson from speaking during the celebrations.

“I don’t understand why, the last two years it’s been good and now because the mayor is coming she’s taking over protocol, it’s not the way we work in Greenfield Park. It’s all about traditions,” said borough president Robert Myles.

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    Longueuil protocol states that only federal members of parliament, provincial member of the national assembly, and the city mayor can address crowds during Canada Day and St-Jean-Baptiste Day.

    READ MORE: Greenfield Park borough councillors barred from speaking at Canada Day celebrations

    Mayor Caroline St-Hilaire promised that she would come to Greenfield Park to celebrate Canada Day, but she never showed up.

    “Which was very disturbing, Greenfield Park is all about respect and tradition,” said Wilson. “This tradition has been going on forever and for her to try and stop it is appalling and very disrespectful to our citizens.”

    Instead St-Hilaire sent a representative, and that has the borough president Robert Myles furious.

    “You know in a way, I’m glad she didn’t show up,” said Myles. “The citizens that were here weren’t going to be happy because they weren’t going to let myself speak and I’m pretty sure she would have gotten booed.”

    Myles said the mayor sending representatives for Canada Day is nothing new, but in the past he was allowed to address his constituents officially.

    “To me it is very petty, she is playing political games, that’s fine with her but the citizens of Greenfield Park know what’s going on.”

    READ MORE: Language debate dominates Longueuil city council

    Myles and Wilson took matters into their own hands.

    “They said we could come on stage however we couldn’t speak and that wasn’t good enough for us,” said Wilson. “So we went to the side of the hill and we did our speech and we had great feedback from the citizens. Unfortunately she (the mayor) incited some divisiveness in between the French and the English.”

    In a video posted on Facebook by someone in the crowd, Wilson is seen giving  a passionate speech on Canadian values and the crowd can be heard cheering.

    Myles for his part vowed that the city of Longueuil had not heard the end of it yet.

    He plans to bring it up at the next council meeting on Tuesday.

    City of Longueuil officials would not comment on-the-record.


RuPaul Charles reflects on Orlando, weighs Canadians on ‘Drag Race’

TORONTO – International drag queen extraordinaire RuPaul is taking a moment to hang up the wig and evening gown to get serious with Canadians.

The sassy performer, known for steering the ship on reality TV competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will appear at Toronto’s Pride celebrations on Sunday to address the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse night club in early June.

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It’s part of a speech where RuPaul Charles, his name off the drag runways, will reflect on the new meaning of Pride and the importance of LGBTQ people coming together as a community in the wake of tragedy.

READ MORE: Why some in LGBTQ community choose not to be referred by acronym

Charles, who is scheduled to speak at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto at 7 p.m., spoke to about Pulse night club and lightened the mood with some hints at whether a Canadian contestant could soon be on “Drag Race.”

CP: You have a particularly close connection to Pulse because a few queens from “Drag Race” were once employees of the club. What was your reaction when you heard about the shooting?

Charles: It’s absolutely horrible for so many reasons. Just as humans on this planet that we’re still in this place that’s so primitive where we … haven’t figured out a way to override the negativity. All these killings around the world – with bombings of airports and mass murders – really speak to the human condition.

(They’re) alarms that should force us to collectively come together.

WATCH: Liem Vu chats with Kim Chi, the Korean-American drag queen, about her time on Rupaul’s Drag Race and what people can expect from her performance during Pride

CP: Celebrities like Drake and Nicki Minaj have been criticized by some gay activists for not speaking out against Orlando on social media, while responses from Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift were called too slow. Do you think celebrities need to address tragedies like this?

Charles: People deal with grief in many different ways. And some people in show business parade their relationships around like an accessory and others like to keep it separate from business and commerce. It’s perfectly fine to say “I actually don’t want to talk about my love because that’s not part of the fantasy world I created in commerce.” The same with grief.

CP: Did you feel a responsibility to react?

Charles: I was stunned for days after (Orlando). I don’t even know if I’ve talked about it on social media. I’ve talked about it on television and interviews. When I was asked about it on television I said “I don’t want to minimize the impact and tragedy by putting my words into some celebrity soundbite. This is much bigger than that.” I’m still stunned by the whole thing. (Note: Charles retweeted media stories where he was quoted, but didn’t directly tweet about Orlando in the aftermath.)

CP: What do you plan to talk about on stage at Toronto’s Pride festivities?

Charles: My focus is on love and inclusiveness. We’ve had this adolescent outlook on life for far too long and it’s time for us to take the human race to the next level. I believe that LGBT people can do that. We’ve always been on the forefront of human development, at looking at life from a broader perspective. We look at it from a place where we’ve been shunned. In my life I’ve been able to really examine society in a way most people who aren’t outsiders don’t get a chance to do.

WATCH: Thu, Jun 30: An image found online, along with heightened concern after the Orlando shooting, have prompted police to increase security measures at Canada’s largest pride celebration. Peter Kim reports.

CP: You’ve had an absence of Canadians on “Drag Race” over the years. Could we possibly see a Canuck contestant next season?

Charles: It’s an immigration issue, honestly. That’s what it comes down to, that’s why we have American queens. In fact, I don’t want to give anything away, but we’ve spoken to some queens who have papers to work in the United States.

CP: Looking back on your experiences since bursting onto the mainstream in the early 1990s, do you feel things have changed much?

Charles: Humans are pretty much the same. That’s why these tragedies are a huge benchmark in the history of humans on this planet. We have an opportunity and an obligation to the people who lost their lives, to really shift and take off this mask. Are we gun totin’, stand-your-ground cowboys or are we going to evolve this race to the next level?

READ MORE: Canada still needs a Trans March to highlight discrimination, barriers: advocate

CP: There has been a growing focus on transgender issues, but there’s a big difference between trans people and drag – drag being a colourful stage performance and transgender people a serious lifestyle. Where do you think drag fits into the broader conversation?

Charles: Drag is very important because it’s an elevated consciousness that says, “I’m going to be on this planet and play with all the textures and all the colours, and I’m not going to confine myself to night or day, black or white, male or female.”

I’ve never personally differentiated a person who dressed up in a three-piece suit and goes to Wall Street from a person who dresses up in a polyester uniform and works at McDonalds. I think it’s all drag.

CP: So what makes drag performers unique from the rest of society’s drag?

Charles: Drag queens who perform in clubs are actually putting emphasis on that. We’re having fun with it. It’s more obvious in a laughing kind of way – a way to say “Ha ha ha, we’re shape-shifters.” But when you really break it down, that’s the message, everybody is shape-shifter. To limit yourself to one thing, it’s your business, but you have a choice.


PETA offers reward in Rosemont dog abuse case

MONTREAL —; American animal welfare group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), is offering up to $5,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the recent Rosemont dog abuse incident.

On Friday, June 17, Pierre Szalowski was walking his two dogs in his own backyard when one of them ate meatballs filled with razor blades that had been thrown over the fence. The dog, Molly, was transported to a veterinary clinic where she underwent emergency surgery.

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    READ MORE: Dog cut open after eating meatballs embedded with razor blades in Rosemont

    “Nobody has ever complained about our dogs,” Szalowski told Global news in mid-June. “I think whoever did this is ill, and we worry about what else they might do.”

    The culprit still has not been identified, but PETA is hoping that the reward will entice anyone with information to come forward.

    In a phone interview from Norfolk, Virginia, PETA’s Rachel Bellis told Global News that incidents like this one are all too common.

    “Whoever maliciously tried to kill these two dogs is a threat to the community and may very well strike again,” said Bellis.

    PETA asks that anyone who has information about a possible suspect in this case contact Montreal police.

    “Someone who does this once is most likely willing to do it again, said Bellis. “This person is sick.”

    WATCH BELOW: A Rosemont dog owner is worried after his dog ate meatballs stuffed with razor blades. 


Donald Trump forced to delete tweet after allegations of anti-Semitism

Donald Trump was forced to reissue a tweet Saturday after 桑拿会所 users issued charges of anti-Semitism.

The deleted tweet featured an image of Hillary Clinton with the words “History Made” as well as “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” with the latter phrase being contained inside a six-pointed star. The graphics were laid over a pile of cash.

The tweet was immediately criticized by some many on 桑拿会所, who said the six-pointed star can be linked to the Jewish star of David.

Trump deleted the original tweet after issuing one with a circle over top of the star.

On Monday, Trump dismissed concerns about possible anti-Semitic imagery writing on 桑拿会所 that earlier star could be a “Sheriff’s Star, or plain star.”

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New Saskatoon blood donor clinic starts accepting platelet donations

Saskatoon residents looking to donate blood or platelets now need to go to the Canadian Blood Service‘s new location.

READ MORE: Canadian Blood Services relocating Saskatoon blood donor clinic

The new clinic, located at 1206 Emerson Ave. just off 8th Street, started accepting platelet donations Saturday and will start with full blood donations on Tuesday, July 5. The existing downtown clinic closed its doors at the end of June.

One of the benefits both donors and staff are quick to point out is the easy access to parking at the new location.

Lyle Hodge was one of the first donors in the new clinic. He donates platelets every two weeks, and says the new location has a better and more cheery feel.

Luke Banville / Global News

Anyone who wants to book an appointment can visit the Canadian Blood Services website.

The new blood donor clinic on Emerson Ave replaces the existing clinic on 20th Street East.

Luke Banville / Global News

Hours of operation at the new clinic will be as follows:

Tuesday         8 a.m. – 12 p.m.Wednesday   9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.Thursday       9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.Friday            8 a.m. – 12 p.m.Saturday        8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

With files from Thomas Piller

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Wiesel wrote more than 40 books about Holocaust, his life

For more than a half-century, Elie Wiesel voiced his passionate beliefs to world leaders, celebrities and general audiences in the name of victims of violence and oppression. He wrote more than 40 books of fiction and non-fiction, but his most influential by far was “Night,” a classic ranked with Anne Frank’s diary as standard reading about the Holocaust.

READ MORE: Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, dead at 87

Here’s a look at some of his published works and awards and distinctions:

Published works

1960: His first book “Night,” was first published in the U.S. in 1960. It has been translated into 30 languages and has sold millions of copies.1961: “Dawn,” a novel.1970: “A Beggar in Jerusalem,” a novel that won a French literary award, Prix Médicis.1980: “The Testament,” a novel.1995: “All Rivers Run to the Sea,” the first of his two-volume memoirs.1999: “And the Sea is Never Full,” the second of his two-volume memoirs.

Awards

1978: President Jimmy Carter appointed him to head the President’s Commission on the Holocaust and plan an American memorial museum to Holocaust victims.1985: President Ronald Reagan presented him with U.S. Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his “humanitarian efforts and outstanding contributions to world literature and human rights.”1986: In awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him as “a messenger to mankind” and “one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterise the world.”1992: President George H.W. Bush presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour, saying Wiesel survived the Holocaust and “still today keeps watch against the forces of hatred.”2001: Wiesel is granted the rank of grand croix in the French Legion of Honor, France’s premier award.2013: Israel President Shimon Peres awarded him the Presidential Medal of Distinction, the country’s highest civil medal, for his “ongoing work in preserving the memory of the Holocaust.”
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Clinton interviewed by the FBI about private email server

WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton was interviewed by the FBI about her use of a private email server as secretary of state, her campaign said Saturday, as federal investigators neared the end of the probe that has hung over her White House bid.

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, gave a voluntary interview for 3 1/2 hours on Saturday morning at FBI Headquarters in Washington, her campaign said.

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“She is pleased to have had the opportunity to assist the Department of Justice in bringing this review to a conclusion,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said. “Out of respect for the investigative process, she will not comment further on her interview.”

READ MORE: More Hillary Clinton emails released, including some previously deleted

Spokespeople for the FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment Saturday.

The interview was expected and it does not suggest that she or anyone else is likely to face prosecution. Some legal experts view criminal prosecution as exceedingly unlikely. The interview may indicate that the Justice Department’s yearlong probe is drawing to a close.

But the ongoing investigation represents a major risk for Democrats as Clinton is merely four weeks away from being formally nominated as the party’s presidential candidate.

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, has seized on the email issue and repeatedly said the probe undermines Clinton’s fitness for office. Trump has called his opponent “Crooked Hillary” and said she cannot be trusted in the White House.

The former first lady and New York senator has argued that she is more trustworthy than Trump on handling the issues that matter to most Americans: foreign policy, national security and running the economy.

But the email investigation has lingered throughout her campaign, and Trump has asserted that Clinton will receive leniency from a Democratic administration.

WATCH: Donald Trump blasts Hillary Clinton as a ‘world class liar’

The investigation also poses an unwelcome distraction just as Clinton has vanquished her primary rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, holds a huge fundraising advantage over Trump and polls show her well-placed to become America’s first female president even as many voters question her trustworthiness.

The questioning came a day after Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that she intended to accept the findings and recommendations of career prosecutors who have spent months investigating the case. Lynch came under scrutiny for an impromptu meeting with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, on Lynch’s plane in Phoenix. Critics said the meeting between Lynch and the ex-president was inappropriate given the investigation even though Lynch and a Clinton spokesman said it was social in nature.

Trump, reacting to the meeting between Lynch and the former president on Friday, said in Colorado: “He opened up a Pandora’s Box. And it shows what’s going on. And it shows what’s happening with our laws and with our government.”

While she was President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton exclusively used a private email server for her government and personal emails, rather than the State Department’s email system. The Associated Press revealed the existence of the server in March 2015.

READ MORE: Benghazi report faults lax security, slow response; no new Clinton allegations

Clinton has said relying on a private server was a mistake but that other secretaries of state had also used a personal email address.

The FBI is investigating the potential mishandling of sensitive information. The matter was referred for investigation last July by the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community following the discovery of emails that they said contained classified information.

The State Department’s inspector general, the agency’s internal watchdog, said in a blistering audit in May that Clinton and her team ignored clear warnings from State Department officials that her email setup violated federal standards and could leave sensitive material vulnerable to hackers. Clinton declined to talk to the inspector general, but the audit reported that Clinton feared “the personal being accessible” if she used a government email account.

Agents have already interviewed top Clinton aides including her former State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, a longtime aide who is currently the vice chairwoman of Clinton’s campaign.

The staffer who set up the server, Bryan Pagliano, was granted limited immunity from prosecution by the Justice Department last fall in exchange for his co-operation. The FBI as a matter of course seeks to interview individuals central to an investigation before concluding its work.

WATCH: Hillary Clinton facing fresh round of controversy over email scandal

The emails were routed through a server located in the basement of Clinton’s New York home during her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat from 2009 to 2013.

Dozens of the emails sent or received by Clinton through her private server were later determined to contain classified material.

Clinton has repeatedly said that none of the emails were marked classified at the time they were sent or received. As part of the probe, she has turned over the hard drive from her email server to the FBI.

The FBI interview comes as Clinton is set to embark on a major week of her presidential campaign. She will join Obama for their first joint campaign appearance on Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Clinton will follow it up with an event on Wednesday in Atlantic City, New Jersey, aimed at undercutting Trump’s business practices. On Friday, Clinton will campaign for the first time with Vice-President Joe Biden in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Clinton is considering potential vice-presidential choices and preparing to formally receive the Democratic nomination on July 28 at the party’s convention in Philadelphia.


5 tips to stay safe on the water this summer

Spending time at the lake is a summer staple for many Albertans, but heading out onto the water can be dangerous if you’re not prepared.

The Lifesaving Society said there were 28 drowning deaths in Alberta in 2014 and 15 drowning deaths in 2015.

READ MORE: Six-year-old girl nearly drowns in Lake Chestermere

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    When it comes to who’s drowning, the CEO of the Alberta and Northwest Territories branch of the Lifesaving Society said the most recent statistics show men between the ages of 18 and 29, and 54 and 65 are the most at-risk of drowning.

    “Your young males are those risk-takers and they think that it can’t happen to them and it won’t happen to them,” Barbara Costache explained.

    “Your 54-to-65-year-olds are those baby boomers. So the trends over the last few years are showing us that that’s an increased target that’s drowning and that’s because they’re still recreating and doing what they were doing with the same level of risk and behaviour that they did when they were younger.”

    READ MORE: Alberta boater pulled from Sylvan Lake; declared dead

    The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) offers the following five tips for anyone heading out onto the water.

    Wear a life-jacket

    Legally, there must be one life-jacket or personal flotation device on board for each person. The director of the CSBC urges people to wear their life-jackets.

    “Often times they’re on the boat,” Ian Gilson said. “The problem is if they happen to get tossed overboard, and that can happen.

    “Eighty per cent of boating-related fatalities, statistically, involve people who haven’t been wearing their life-jackets. It’s so preventable, which is the real tragedy about that.”

    The CSBC conducted a study that found the number one reason people don’t wear life-jackets is because they said they can swim. But Gilson said it doesn’t take much for a person to be unexpectedly tossed overboard.

    “I could be out fishing, looking at my rod and I don’t see a cruiser wave coming at me from behind. All of a sudden I get tossed out of the boat along with it and the current keeps on taking the boat further and further away from me, and it turns out that I can never catch up to it and as a result I perish.”

    “The bottom line is, life-jackets save lives and you don’t have time to put them on when a boat capsizes or an incident occurs,” Barbara Costache, CEO of the Alberta, NWT chapter of the Lifesaving Society, said.

    Watch below: Required safety equipment for power boats

    Don’t drink and boat

    Impaired driving is not only a concern on the road, but on the water too. The CSBC said 40 per cent of boating-related fatalities involve alcohol.

    “Wait until you get back to the pier to have that beer,” the CSBC said.

    Take a boating course

    Just as drivers must know the rules of the road, boaters must know the rules of the waterways. Boating safety courses can help make you more aware of safe boating practices, prevention measures and ways to reduce risks on the water.

    Watch below: Power boat rules of the road

    For a list of accredited boating safety courses, visit Transport Canada’s website.

    Be prepared

    The CSBC urges people to make sure the boat has all the required safety gear on board and plenty of fuel before heading out on the water. It’s also important to make sure the weather conditions are safe for the vessel you’re taking out.

    Gilson encourages people to be safe and not take unnecessary risks.

    “When you’re out there, don’t take silly risks,” he said. “One risk that I particularly find people take, even as they’re going along very slowly, is they’ll let their children sit on the bow of the boat with their legs hanging over. One brief moment of inattention can cause that child to slip into the water and I don’t care how slowly you’re going, it really, really is near impossible to stop in time and you’d never, ever forgive yourself.”

    Beware of cold water risks

    While it may be hot outside, the water can still be frigid, which presents a significant risk if someone falls in.

    “Even at this time of the year, the lakes can be very, very cold. So hypothermia is a real consideration,” Gilson said.

    If you end up in the water, it’s recommended you do everything you can to save your energy and keep your body warm. You may survive longer in cold water if you:

    Wear a life-jacket or PFD so that you will not lose valuable energy trying to keep your head above waterClimb onto a nearby floating object to get as much of your body out of or above the water as possibleCross your arms tightly against your chest and draw your knees up close to them to help you keep your body heatHuddle with others with chests close together, arms around mid to lower back, and legs intertwined

    For more information on boater and water safety, visit the Lifesaving Society’s, CSBC’s or Transport Canada’s website.

    Lifesaving Society’s 2016 Alberta drowning report

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