Marcel Durand and the Case Against EMFs

Marcel Durand says that a Hydro Transmission line passing close above his workshop led him to become hypersensitive to less severe forms of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) such as those coming from cordless phones.  He built himself a Farraday cage to sleep at night. He also believes his experiences led to his leukemia.

When he discovered that others also suffer from similar incidents, he helped launch a lawsuit that alleges industry and governments have been colluding to hurt Canadians since 1999. He wants the court to force them to protect our health before more damage occurs.

I met Marcel and learned about the lawsuit because my husband is serving as one of the technical experts to that suit. A hearing to determine whether the case will become a class action took place early in May 2018 and Marcel spoke to me about his experiences that week. Listen to our conversation on Mixcloud.


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Come visit Verdun the last week of May 2018

It’s the last week of May and there are tons of events happening in Verdun!

Even if it’s raining, you can enjoy a wonderful spring day during the Cultiver Verdun event at the municipal greenhouses, 7000 boul. LaSalle tomorrow! The event includes a public consultation about what you’d like to see in urban agriculture projects in Verdun. The rest of the Grand Potager members, all of whom specialize in urban agriculture, will have tables set up to tell you what’s happening this season. There’s also a mini farmers’ market and CAUS will be selling our premium compost, seedlings, hanging pots, microgreen seeds, lawn seed, pruners, gloves etc. from our gardening shed in the back.  We also have a couple of dozen eggs from Farmer Ed to sell. Urban Seedling’s garden centre will be open, as it is daily from 9 until 5, so you can pick up seedlings and some of their great gardening soil that contains compost and coconut fibre fully-integrated within.

Everything takes place from 10 until 4. Hope to see you there.

Later in the week, on Thursday, the Reclaim lunch takes place inside followed by the Anglo Family Council Health and Wellness Day outside at the Church of Epiphany on Wellington Street.

Cultiver Verdun  continues again during the Promenade Wellington sidewalk sale next Saturday as part of the wider Cultiver Montreal.

Also this week in Verdun, chef Joey d’Alleva, Sophie Bergeron, Frédéric Leblond and Marc-André Paradis announced plans for a new pasta and pizza restaurant called Rita.

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Who were Marie Sophie Henault-Canada’s parents?

Who were Marie Sophie Henault-Canada’s parents?

My struggle answering this question typifies the trouble I’ve had researching all of my First Nation ancestors. See my stories about St. Anne and Louis Riel .

It’s clear that my four-times great grandmother Marie Sophie (or Séraphie) Henault-Canada was born in the Red River Settlement on April 6, 1818, to parents Marie and Charles Henault-Canada. But who was her father and where did he come from? And who was her mother?

According to notes left to me by my grandmother, Sophie was born to Marie Gris, who was born in an unidentified location on October 30, 1802, and Charles Henault-Canada, who was born in 1793 in Berthier, Quebec. I haven’t been able to find records of his birth in Quebec, so I’m not sure whether that information is accurate.

In fact, it’s hard to confirm any of the information because the documents I’ve found so far seem to conflict and some information can’t be confirmed.

The 1870 Manitoba Census shows a Manitoba-based location in which Sophie was born that looks a bit like “territorial something,” that could refer to the Red River Settlement. In that document, Marie is listed as “Marie Henault” and she appears next to her husband, Charles Henault. Marie, Charles and Sophie are all described as French-speaking Catholic Métis.[1]

Marie and Charles both have 1810 listed as their birthdates in the 1870 Manitoba Census, a rather extraordinary coincidence I think.  Marie Hénault is listed in the 1870 Manitoba Census as 60 years old, however, so the birthdate for her might be correct. If it is, a different Marie may have been Sophie’s mother.

A Hudson Bay Company Census conducted the same year[2] doesn’t list a Marie Henault, but it does show Marie Gris living on a farm on lot 8 in Pointe-des-Chênes with her daughter, granddaughter and another woman and her child. A second house on the same lot is home to Sophie’s aunt Catherine and her husband Francois Ducharme.[3]

Her older daughter Sophie was married to Dominique Ducharme-Charron by then. The couple was living on lot 27 with four of their children Johnny 19, Roger 17, Joseph 13 and Marie, 12.[4]

The Hudson Bay Census also lists Sophie’s father, Charles Henault/ Heneault/ Haineault/ Henault dit Canada/ Enaud dit Canada/ Enaud/ Enault “Métis, born 1810; farmer in his life time” as dead, although the document doesn’t say when exactly he died. My grandmother doesn’t show a date for that either. Perhaps he died that very year, 1870?

The date 1810 next to Charles’ name might refer to the date he arrived in the Red River Settlement rather than his birthdate. He may have come from elsewhere to Manitoba to work for the North West Company Fort Gibraltar trading post, which was set up in 1809.  Or maybe it’s correct because my grandmother also shows his father, Pierre Énault-Canada as born in Berthier on August 9, 1730, which would be possible if his son were born in 1810. She shows his father as another Pierre Énault-Canada and his mother as Marguerite Piette-Tremp, whose parents and grandparents are all identified, though with no dates.

Hall’s appendix gives me access to two other potential ancestors beyond my grandmother’s notes. Her father was a Cree man named Thomas Gris and her mother was Marie Nepissing. Then again, if this Marie is not Sophie’s mother, they are not my ancestors.

Guess I have a bit of work to do.


[1] Canada, L. A. (2016, June 23). 1870 Census of Manitoba. Retrieved January 23, 2018, from

[2] Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, E.6/1-16. Land records of the Red River Settlement sent to the Governor and Committee, 1811–1871.

[3] The 1870 Manitoba Census identifies Catherine and Francois living in St. Anne as Métis, French-speaking and Catholic. It also shows Catherine’s father as Charles Henault, lines 126, 127, p231,5. The information was collected on October 27, 1870, and residence was established as of July 16, 1870.



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What does Canada’s World Survey 2018 tell us?

Canadians value multiculturalism, welcome refugees and send more money overseas than our government does. Those are just a few of the results shown by responses to Canada’s World Survey 2018.

The Environics Institute for Survey Research, the Canadian International Council, Simon Fraser University Public Square and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary Research released results of a 1501-person telephone survey last week.

For a copy of the full report and more information, refer the World Survey 2018 webpage.

I spoke to Keith Neuman, the Executive Director of Environics about the national survey the day after the survey came out. We spoke about multiculturalism, an incredibly welcoming attitude towards refugees and the astonishing fact that individual Canadians send 21 billion dollars overseas every two years, a figure that doubles the country’s national investment in development aid.

We also spoke about free trade, the Canadian view of the White House and why American-born Neuman sees himself as Canadian after living here and doing research for decades.

Engagement Overseas

One in five Canadians send money abroad and the average amount is about twenty-five hundred dollars. So if you add all these numbers up over a two-year period, it amounts to 21 billion dollars…And if you look at the federal government’s official development assistance budget over two years it’s about half that…So Canadians are having one of the ways that they are making a difference in the world is by individual donations overseas either to families or to non-profit organizations.

Top Two Concerns

 The top two concerns were the environment, including global warming and pollution and war.

White House

I think overall opinions in United States tend to be much more positive than negative. But we found that it is sensitive to U.S. politics and news in the White House. And we found in the 80s and 90s that 70 percent of Canadians were positive about the United States. That really changed significantly when George W. Bush the House and the U.S. were some very aggressive foreign policy the Middle East and elsewhere. And we saw that opinion favorable opinion number dipped to about 50 percent when Obama came in. These opinions climbed back up to where they were before it was around 70 percent. And then more recently shortly after Donald Trump took over the White House he found that it pretty plummeted to less than 50 percent


The only country in the world that has private sponsorship of refugees is also the only one that can really use more than in every other country. Refugees are stopped by the government.

What is a Canadian?

You know I think part of the genius of Canada is it doesn’t have an overtly set identity. I think that that’s actually a strength. It makes it difficult to tell a story but it’s actually I think one of the things that have served Canada in good stead because we don’t have such a defining character or expectation that people have to become something…To me, it’s living in a place that is more understated and more civilized and just operating at a lower slower speed compared to the U.S. And you know that is I think becoming increasingly valuable as a cultural trait in a world that’s moving way too fast. You know it gets to too many extremes in different ways in different places. So Canada is in a way a better place to live than it is to visit.



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