Marriage rates at record low

OTTAWA – Statistics Canada reports that the marriage rate has plateaued, with just 653 more couples getting married in 2003 compared to 2002, for a total of 147,391 marriages. The marriage rate stayed at its record low of 4.7 marriages for every 1,000 people – less than half the rate in the 1940s, when it reached a peak of 10.9 per 1,000. Only British Columbia and Ontario saw their marriage rates rise, although that was in part due to court decisions permitting homosexual couples to “marry.” In B.C., where full statistics are available, same-sex couples represented 974, or just 3.5 per cent, of the total of nearly 22,000 marriages. Prince Edward Island had the highest marriage rate at 6 per 1,000 population, while Quebec had the lowest at 2.8 marriages per 1,000 population. CTV reported that Quebec’s marriage rate is low due to “the high proportion of cohabitation.” Earlier statistics showed 30 per cent of Quebec couples live common-law, compared to a national rate of 11.7 per cent.

Miraculous recovery averts organ donor disaster

NORTH VANCOUVER – The CBC National News reported the story of the Beckers, a North Vancouver family whose son Shane almost died in a freak accident in September. His mother, Donna, agreed to donate his organs, which would have resulted in his death. Reporter Robert Zimmerman related, “The prognosis was so bleak; she signed the papers to have her son’s organs donated.” Donna said, “They presented me with all the implications that he wasn’t going to survive much longer.” Doctors gave him little or no chance to live, let alone a chance to walk or talk again. But later, Shane squeezed his girlfriend’s hand, forcing the neurosurgeon to reconsider their desire to harvest his organs. Shane was rushed into the surgical room where a team of doctors removed two fragments from his brain. After a medically induced coma to allow his brain time to recover, Shane is now talking, sharing a dream he had that he was in a coma and trying to tell his family, “I’m not dead.” While he still has some vision and memory loss, he was back home by Christmas. Anchor Peter Mansbridge described Shane’s recovery as a “miracle.”

Restaurants welcome breast-feeding moms

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Peel Region restaurants in Ontario are being given breast-feeding friendly stickers to display so new mothers will feel comfortable nursing their babies in public. Toronto and Guelph have similar programs. Teresa Pitman, executive director of La Leche League Canada, told the Toronto Star that mothers get hassled “a lot less than it used to be.”