Local pharmacist shares seasonal allergy relief tips

Dealing with allergies

Spring has sprung. As shifting seasonal patterns and warming temperatures delay spring across the country, experts are predicting a pollen boom.

Unfortunately, residents can anticipate more intense allergy symptoms this season. Allergies can have an impact on our everyday life, and for many, they are not simply an inconvenience—between itchy eyes and runny noses, it can be a pain to find relief.

B.C. pharmacists are here to help ease the burden of allergy symptoms. Your local pharmacist can support you with recommendations on the right allergy medications for your symptoms.

While seasonal allergies and symptom severity can vary from person-to-person, the best way to manage allergies is to get ahead of your symptoms and consult with your local pharmacist. To help you get through allergy season, I’m sharing tried and true tips for allergy sufferers:

The weather forecast is your friend—We’ve all heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” But do you know the rest of the line? Allergies cower. Rainfall washes away pollen, making the aftermath of rainstorms the perfect time for allergy sufferers to enjoy the outdoors. In general, checking the forecast is important for allergy sufferers as warm, windy days can negatively impact allergy symptoms.

Pollen pickup is the highest in the mornings—Opting for outdoor activities in the evening, like exercise or gardening, will help to lessen the impact of allergy symptoms.

Destress and get rest—We can often forget how important sleep is. When under stress, we typically don’t get enough sleep and this can worsen both our stress reactions and allergy symptoms.

Tackle symptoms early in the day—Start your day on the right foot by taking your allergy medication first thing in the morning. You should always consult your pharmacist regarding the type of allergy medication you’re taking, as some may include side effects such as drowsiness.

You may be taking the wrong allergy medication for your allergens—It can be overwhelming looking down the aisle of over-the-counter medication options. Be sure to speak to your pharmacist about what will work best given your allergy symptoms.

For more information on a specific allergy remedy or service, speak with your local pharmacist.

Nathan Klaassen is a pharmacist and owner of your local Shoppers Drug Mart in Kelowna.

B.C.'s attorney general catches ear of tech on non-consensual online images

Big tech vows to comply

When B.C. passed its landmark new law to fight the online distribution of non-consensual intimate images, one of the big questions was: Will any of the global tech companies listen to a tiny province like British Columbia?

It turns out, in the case of several major players, the answer is yes.

Attorney General Niki Sharma recently met with Google and Microsoft, the two largest search engine operators in the world, as well as the owners of Pornhub, one of the biggest pornography websites. All have indicated their willingness to abide by B.C. court and tribunal orders to remove non-consensual photos and videos.

“What I heard from them and the other companies I met is there’s a clear interest in making sure their sites are not exploiting people in a non-consensual way,” Sharma said in an interview.

“I’ll keep meeting with as many companies as I can to respond.”

Sharma issued an open letter to companies May 3 informing them of B.C.’s new law and the province’s expectation “that your organization will do your part to help keep people safe.” She urged companies to step up and meet with her ministry.

MindGeek, the IT company that owns Pornhub, responded.

“We take the new legislation seriously and will carefully review the information you have provided to ensure that we remain compliant with all applicable laws and regulations,” its chief legal officer replied in a letter dated May 12.

“We understand that compliance with the new legislation is essential to maintain the trust of our users and stakeholders, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to achieve this.”

It perhaps goes without saying, but there are thousands of internet pornography sites beyond Pornhub. Still, as one of the largest, Pornhub has already clashed with courts and legislators in countries attempting to curtail the content it posts. It has faced allegations it hosted material depicting sexual abuse, and abuse of minors, and profited from people viewing those photos and videos.

The company faces several lawsuits in the United States. Its two top executives resigned in 2022. In Canada, a House of Commons ethics committee report proposed legislation to combat consensual and child sexual abuse material at Pornhub and other sites.

MindGeek was sold to an Ottawa private equity firm called Ethical Capital Partners in March, whose members include lawyers and a retired senior RCMP officer. The new owners pledged to do better, but the company, which was once based in Montreal, has relocated its headquarters to Luxembourg.

Sharma met via video conference with MindGeek officials this month to discuss its protective measures, which includes automated software, user flags and staff reviews of content, along with its processes to immediately disable access to content flagged for review.

“They are also very concerned about any non-consensual disclosure on their site and talked about how a court order from B.C. would fit into their existing process in terms of determining what is consensual or not,” said Sharma.

B.C.’s new law allows someone to quickly go to the Civil Resolution Tribunal, or B.C. Supreme Court, to get a ruling that material was shared without their consent and an order for companies to remove it. The orders are enforceable in British Columbia and carry fines for non-compliance. But the government has said it hopes the legal process will carry enough clout to force companies outside its jurisdiction to comply out of good faith.

Sharma said she appreciated the briefing from MindGeek on how it removes non-consensual imagery from its websites, which also include Brazzers, Redtube and YouPorn. But she said she’d prefer to see the company recognize that by the time B.C. issues an order it has already investigated the matter, determined the material is non-consensual, and doesn’t need a third-party private company to take up time redoing its own review.

“The advantage of having that determination in a public way through our judicial system is once that order comes to a company like Pornhub and others is it is very clear there was harm done,” she said.

“In some ways. it makes it clear to these companies what harm was done and their internal processes are not needed.”

With Google and Microsoft, the conversation centred on how the companies decide what websites are indexed or delisted from their respective search engines, which are the most-used search platforms on the internet.

“The bigger actors are key, because they set a standard,” Sharma said of the meetings.

“There will be a whole ecosystem of ones out there, and we need to get the word out.”

The government’s new law still has a number of hurdles to clear before British Columbians will know for sure if it gives them the necessary tools to fight back against online sexual exploitation.

But the attorney general is making surprisingly good progress out of the gate in gathering up support from major industry players. It bodes well for the idea that this law is a giant step in the right direction to fight a growing problem.

Rob Shaw has spent more than 15 years covering B.C. politics, now reporting for CHEK News and writing for Glacier Media. He is the co-author of the national bestselling book A Matter of Confidence, host of the weekly podcast Political Capital and a regular guest on CBC Radio.

Prioritizing women’s health with the help of nutrition

Helping women eat right

From heart health to pregnancy or breastfeeding, prioritizing health and wellness for women is essential at every stage of life.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always an easy task. As we face all the changes in our lives, such as becoming a new parent or starting a new career, it can be challenging to put ourselves first.

Here are some ways women can prioritize their health using food and nutrition.

Fertility and pregnancy

When trying to conceive, eating a balanced diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help improve fertility and increase the chances of becoming pregnant.

It is particularly important to consume enough folic acid (from supplements) and folate (from foods) – a B vitamin that can help prevent birth defects in the baby. Foods that are high in folate include leafy greens, citrus fruits, and fortified grains.

During pregnancy, nutrition is not only essential for the health of the mother but also the developing fetus. Some specific nutrients that are particularly important during pregnancy include choline, folic acid, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.


When breastfeeding, we can help ensure the mother’s milk provides essential nutrients.

Prioritizing nutrition during breastfeeding by focusing on nutrient dense foods rich in healthy fats, high fibre foods such as whole grains, fruits and veggies plus lean protein foods is also very important, as it ensures the mother’s milk provides essential nutrients to the baby.

In addition to food, we also want to make sure we drink enough fluids. While drinking plenty of water is important for everyone, it is especially important while breastfeeding.

As a general guide, aim for about 12 cups of fluid every day. These fluids can come from both beverages and foods, such as soups. Having said that, listen to your body and drink to satisfy your thirst.


During menopause, the body's hormone levels fluctuate, which can lead to several physical and emotional symptoms. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet can help alleviate some of these symptoms, as well as reduce the risk of certain health problems.

For example, foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D can help maintain strong bones. Additionally, incorporating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help with weight management and reduce the risk of heart disease. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as hot flashes, try to avoid smoking, limit excessive caffeine and alcohol, pay attention to how you feel when you eat spicy foods, and work towards managing stress levels.

Women are known for putting others ahead of themselves, but it’s time women prioritize their health.

If you’d like to learn more about meal planning for you and your family, managing health conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure, healthy weight management or overall healthy eating for long term health and wellness, I’m here to help.

To learn more, book a 15-minute complimentary chat with me at dietitianservices.ca.

Red kidney bean tofu curry with brown basmati rice


• 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) PC brown basmati rice

• 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

• 1 onion, chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

• 2 tbsp (25 mL) minced peeled fresh ginger

• 1 tsp (5 mL) each ground coriander and ground cumin

• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground turmeric

• 1/4 tsp (1 mL) Cayenne pepper

• 1 can (796 mL) PC Blue Menu whole tomatoes

• 1 pkg (500 g) PC Blue Menu red kidney beans - frozen

• 1 pkg (350 g) PC Blue Menu extra firm tofu

• 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh cilantro

• 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice

• 1 tsp (5 mL) salt


Step 1—Combine rice and 2-1/2 cups water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until all water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand five minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Step 2—Meanwhile, heat oil in separate large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, (about five minutes). Add garlic, jalapeño, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, (about three minutes).

Step 3—Add tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Stir in frozen beans and tofu. Return to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and liquid is slightly thickened, (15 to 20 minutes).

Step 4—Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro, lemon juice and salt. Serve over rice.

Maria Thomas is a registered dietitian at Peter’s Your Independent Grocer in Kamloops.

Les Leyne: Leaders shift their stances on B.C. drug policy

Leaders shift drug stances

Under fire in the legislature for the NDP’s permissive attitude about use of hard drugs, Premier David Eby did a quick pivot and started talking tough about enforcement.

He produced a list of recent seizures and maximized the amounts to increase their significance.

“In just the last six-month period,” he said, there was one seizure of chemicals capable of producing 525 kilograms of fentanyl and 150 kilograms of MDMA (ecstasy).

“That’s 262 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl, and three million doses of MDMA.”

In another case, he said, one million pills were seized and six people were arrested.

Also, an 18-month investigation led to multiple seizures of 52 kilograms of methamphetamine, 20 kilograms of psilocybin, three kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin.

Further on down the list was a $3-million seizure of drugs, including 72 kilograms of fentanyl-laced fake Percocet and some MDMA and benzodiazepine, with three arrests.

He listed the citations to counter the impression that B.C. has rolled over and given up on enforcing drug laws.

But if those cases were big enough to warrant raising them in the legislature, Eby should follow up with updates.

How many of those arrested made bail? How many of those arrests will result in charges? How many charges will be fully prosecuted? How many ­convictions will result, and how many prison terms will be imposed?

Those aren’t all provincial responsibilities, as drug enforcement is a federal task.

But it would be reassuring to learn that they don’t follow the catch and release pattern that is firmly established in criminal matters under provincial jurisdiction.

Filling in the full story of those seizures would take years. But to further the impression that the NDP are tougher on drugs than the opposition says, Eby cited a bill introduced recently.

It allows for “unexplained wealth orders,” under which seizures of money and property can be made from people who can’t show their assets were obtained legally.

It’s an advance on the ­established civil forfeiture mechanism, where seizures can be made on suspicion of criminality, without the necessity of going to trial and securing a conviction.

“I very much look forward to police and the Civil Forfeiture Office using those tools to crack down on people profiting from misery in our communities,” Eby said.

Seizing proceeds because pursuing criminal cases is too hard is hardly a crackdown.

Eby’s comments came after intense arguments developed about the four-month-old experiment where possession of small amounts of hard drugs in B.C. is now decriminalized for a three-year trial period. The focal point in the legislature is that it has created a situation where hard drugs can be used in public places like parks.

There is a growing list of municipal leaders who are ­getting increasingly upset about the obvious dangers. The NDP has spent several weeks talking and holding meetings about the problem, but staying non-­committal on what to do about it.

Eby on Thursday finally acknowledged that the terms of the experiment, established by the federal government after provincial urging, have to be changed.

“We will do something,” he told the house.

He committed to everyone that the government will work with municipalities to put some protections in place.

On the theory that the best defence is a good offence, much of his remarks on the last day of the sitting focused on the opposition BC United’s varying stances about harm-reduction approaches.

They backed harm reduction generally and decriminalization specifically, but Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon has gotten increasingly critical lately and started putting more emphasis on treatment.

He equated the B.C. government to the infamous Purdue Pharma situation.

He said doctors have noted “remarkable similarities between the government’s current approach of publicly supplied addictive drugs and the OxyContin crisis.”

Millions were enticed into addiction, but Falcon said B.C.’s stance is “to be doing exactly the same thing.”

Eby called the comparison “despicable” and noted that when Falcon was health ­minister in the previous BC Liberal ­government, he did trial runs on safe supply that showed enough promise they led to the ­decriminalization test. The opposition has also backed harm reduction in various venues since then.

He said Falcon is opposed or supportive, “depending on which room he’s in.”

There’s a lot of side-stepping going on, on both sides. Eby is shifting to deal with a backlash to decriminalization and citing seizures reminiscent of the “war on drugs” era.

Falcon is moving away from supporting it and sounding increasingly dubious about harm reduction.

Les Leyne is a columnist with the Victoria Times Colonist

Opinion: Contraband tobacco is Canada’s billion dollar problem

Illegal tobacco sales

Contraband tobacco is a threat to every Canadian.

The illicit tobacco trade is a growing phenomenon – growing globally but, more crucially, growing in Canada too. Contraband tobacco accounts for roughly 20 per cent of tobacco consumption in our country. Canada is an active player in the manufacturing and distribution of contraband cigarettes and conservative estimates suggest roughly six billion contraband cigarettes are sold each year, and more than $2 billion annually is lost by federal and provincial governments – money that could be used to fund important initiatives across education and infrastructure.

Ontario, currently, sits as the epicenter of the problem, where at least 33 per cent of the market is lost to contraband. B.C. isn’t far behind, with contraband sales accounting for roughly 25 to 30 per cent of the market.

Besides the economic impact, the illicit tobacco market is controlled by organized crime. Criminal groups involved in contraband tobacco use profits generated from the contraband tobacco trade to fund other illegal activities, including guns and drug trafficking.

When organized crime is involved in any form of illicit commerce, violence always follows and there is a very real human cost. There are ample recent examples across the country that serve as a grim reminder that contraband tobacco brings violence and criminality to our doorsteps.

This is a problem that needs to be addressed urgently and is one every Canadian should care about. It is also a problem that every Canadian can do something about.

Governments, both provincially and federally, have to recognize that contraband tobacco is not a victimless crime – it has serious implications.

We continue to urge all levels of government to work with provincial law enforcement agencies to take decisive action to combat the problem. Quebec was able to reduce illegal sales from roughly 33 per cent to around 12 per cent by moving in this direction and enacting legislation that empowered police officers.

Governments can also take action by targeting the supply side of the equation. In most cases, the factories producing illegal cigarettes are known to law enforcement. Tackling the supply at the source would materially move the needle and help keep Canadians safe.

On a individual level, Canadians can take immediate action and play a role in reducing the demand for illegal tobacco products. Canadians need to stand behind their local retail and convenience stores.

By choosing to purchase only legally regulated tobacco products, Canadians can help to eliminate the demand for contraband tobacco and reduce the profits made by criminal organizations. Also, with illegal product sales putting downward pressure on local establishments, this will go a long way to supporting and sustaining small businesses across the country.

Illicit cigarettes are a threat to public finances and public safety. It is a complex problem that some Canadians consumers are financially supporting every day. We need to do better. We need to work together to reduce the demand for illegal tobacco products and increase enforcement efforts.

Only then will we be able to reduce the influence of organized crime and, crucially, reduce the prevalence of smoking in Canada and keep our communities safe.

Danny Fournier is the head of illicit trade prevention at Rothmans, Benson & Hedges.

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