Crosscountry: Canada at a glance — August 2016

A 15-year-old Quebec teen is the unlikely discoverer of a previously unknown Mayan city. Plus, Canadian marijuana producer Tilray is to begin exporting its products to Croatia.

CIVILIZATIONS

Long-lost Mayan city

A 15-year-old Quebec teen, sitting in his bedroom in Saint-Jean-de-Matha, recently discovered a previously unknown Mayan city, reports Le Journal de Montréal.

A passionate student of the Mayan civilization, William Gadoury hypothesized that Mayans chose the locations for their cities based on constellations. From his findings, he concluded that there must be another previously unknown city in an isolated location on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Satellite analyses confirmed the existence of a pyramid and some 30 structures at the spot the youth had pinpointed.

Since the discovery was made, some have cast doubt on the findings. According to cbc.ca, one archeologist said it’s “impossible to check whether there is any correspondence between the stars and the location of Maya cities.”

Doubts aside, it appears Gadoury is headed for a bright future. Among other things, he has received invitations to the national science fair at McGill University and an international conference in Brazil.

MARIJUANA

No keepers for reefers?

Marijuana grow-op

Since the demand for medical marijuana is not as strong in Canada as expected, marijuana producer Tilray will be the first Canadian company to legally export its products, reports The Huffington Post. The company is targeting Croatia as the destination for its first shipments of the plant’s active medicinal ingredients.

European countries are considered a growth opportunity since more and more are legalizing marijuana. This could not come at a better time. “The patient numbers overall are lower than we imagined in Canada, and they’re certainly lower than Health Canada’s own projections,” says Tilray president Brendan Kennedy. At the end of 2015, slightly fewer than 40,000 Canadian patients were registered under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes program.

LEGAL FEES

Pricey settlement

After a 2008 car accident, Ottawa resident Mark Clatney sued the other driver. Following the settlement, reports Yahoo Finance Canada, his lawyers billed him $300,000-plus — almost 50% of the settlement. The lawyers held the settlement “hostage,” forcing Clatney to give in to their demands. He took them to court.

In a historic ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal affirmed that such fees were abusive since there is a “public interest” in ensuring fees are fair. The OCA blamed the law firms Clatney hired for making no effort to represent his interests and for providing erroneous legal advice.

RESEARCH

Back to basics

Researcher in lab

The federal government wants to improve Canada’s scientific status and intends to have an independent evaluation by an expert panel on what needs to be done, reports Le Devoir.

“For 10 years, our scientists have been ignored; our government wants to give them back their voice,” said Science Minister Kirsty Duncan. In that period, she said, Canada has slipped from third to eighth position worldwide in higher education and R&D.

The panel will address many issues, including ways to provide better support for fundamental research and how to ensure research teams have the opportunity to participate in large international networks.

About the Author

Yan Barcelo


Yan Barcelo is a journalist in Montreal.

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