• Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, PQ Leader Pauline Marois and François Legault, leader of the CAQ.

    It's official: On Wednesday morning, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois met with her province's Lieutenant-Governor to dissolve the National Assembly.

    Quebecers will cast their votes on April 7.

    Marois told reporters that after 18 months as a minority government, her Parti Quebecois needed a majority to move their agenda forward.

    "The Liberals and the [Coalition Avenir Quebec] are blocking the government’s plan. They said they would defeat the budget ... we need to stop this blockage by the opposition," she said in a brief statement, according to the Globe and Mail.

    "That is why I have taken the decision [to call an election] with my cabinet."

    [ Related: Let the games begin: Pauline Marois expected to call Quebec election for April 7 ]

    As of today, it doesn't look like the election will significantly change the make-up of Quebec's legislature.

    Using the most recent opinion polls, a polling analyst suggests that the race is a close one but that the Parti Quebecois are on track to win

    Read More »from PQ, Liberals in tight race as Quebec election campaign gets underway
  • If dogs could talk, this one would have quite a story.

    Three years after disappearing from his Albuquerque home, a dog named Yoshi was found more than a hundred miles away at an animal shelter in Las Vegas, N.M., KOAT.com reports.

    How Yoshi, a red heeler and husky mix, ended up so far away from home is still a mystery and will likely remain one.

    Monique Martinez adopted the pooch when Yoshi was just a puppy. She told KOAT.com that a short time later, Yoshi broke out of her yard while she was at school.

    Martinez looked all around the neighborhood but couldn't find her missing dog. About a week after Yoshi disappeared, Martinez heard he may have been hit by a car, according to KOAT.com.

    So how was Yoshi found? Fortunately the dog had been given a microchip implant. The microchip contained information about his owner and address. When Yoshi showed up at the shelter, workers checked the microchip and contacted Martinez. The dog was reportedly a bit underweight but in otherwise fine

    Read More »from 3 years and 120 miles later, a missing dog is found
  • We can all agree that, from time to time, bureaucratic processes result in insensitive snafus that feel heartless and even cruel.

    Jury orders issued for the recently deceased, parking tickets for those who have parked hastily outside hospital emergency rooms. Or, in a recent case, a cheque worth one penny issued to the mother of a soldier who recently committed suicide.

    The Canadian Press reports that the mother of Cpl. Justin Stark received such a cheque at the end of February, marked as "CF Release Pay."

    Stark, however, had committed suicide inside a Hamilton armoury in October 2011, after a seven-month tour in Afghanistan. Tribunals have been held to determine whether his death should be considered connected his military duty.

    The one-cent cheque came while Stark's mother was already in a "fragile state" and, on the outset, seems insensitive. It comes at a time when the Conservative government's sensitivity toward military veterans has been questioned.

    There has been a series of

    Read More »from No political points to be scored after dead soldier’s mother receives one-cent cheque
  • Could the rocks of Stonehenge been part of a early history symphony? (Agence-France Presse)

    Stonehenge has been the source of endless speculation since the strange formation of rocks was first discovered.

    But a new theory may be the most interesting of all, with some now saying the rocks at Stonehenge were chosen because of their acoustic properties.

    “There had to be something special about these rocks,” archaeo-acoustic expert Paul Devereux told the BBC. “It hasn't been considered until now that sound might have been a factor.”

    Devereux led a project by the Royal College of Art in London, which attempts to understand how ancient humans perceived their world. The study results, published in the journal Time and Mind found that a number of the bluestone rocks at Stonehenge emitted sounds similar to bells when they are struck.

    If the stone’s sonic properties were a motivating factor for those who transported them approximately 200 miles to the Stonehenge site, it may help further explain why some historic artifacts have said the rocks had mystical properties. Earlier this

    Read More »from Rock the bells: Stonehenge pieces may have been chosen for acoustic properties
  • 3D Printer Produces Custom-Made Pacemaker (ABC News photo)
    An international team of researchers has designed and tested the next generation in cardiac pacemakers, which may one day be able to predict and treat heart attacks before they even happen.

    Pacemakers are simple but incredible pieces of technology designed to keep a person's heart beating properly when it can't do so by itself. However, the basic design of the pacemaker hasn't changed all that much in the decades since it was first put into use. One or two electrodes (depending on what the person needs) are inserted into a vein leading to the heart, delivering specially-timed electrical pulses to keep the heart beating at the proper rate.

    But there are limitations. Pacemakers tend to be a bit crude, overall, only allowing the most basic control; they only contact the heart in a few places, limiting exactly what conditions they can help with; their long-term use is complicated by the fact that the electrodes can lose contact with the heart wall with time.

    [ More Geekquinox:

    Read More »from Next-generation 3D-printed pacemaker may one day predict and treat heart attacks
  • A tarnished silver coin recovered from the mud of a Victoria waterway is being touted by some as proof that legendary explorer Sir Francis Drake reached the B.C. coast 200 years before Captain James Cook.

    Drake is best known as a leader of the English fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada, saving the country ruled by Queen Elizabeth I from invasion. He was a notorious raider of Spanish ships and colonies in the New World (some consider him little more than a pirate) but also a giant of exploration, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe in a secret four-year odyssey of discovery and plunder on behalf of the Queen.

    During that trip, Drake is known to have sailed up the West Coast as far as California or possibly Oregon in search of the western entrance to the Northwest Passage. He reportedly gave up at that point and turned his ship, the Golden Hinde, west across the Pacific and eventually home in 1580.

    Some have theorized Drake reached what is now British Columbia, though

    Read More »from Tudor-era coin found in Victoria mud may prove Sir Francis Drake visited B.C.
  • Employment Minister Jason Kenney (CP)

    The Harper government is looking to Europe, of all places, for some economic guidance.

    Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney will lead a delegation to Germany next week to learn how that country is able to consistently buck the international crisis that is youth unemployment.

    According to a 2013 report by the International Labour Organization in Geneva, the unemployment rate for youth (age 15 to 24) in the developed world is at 18.1 per cent. If you include the discouragement rate — the rate at which young people just stop looking for work — the UE number jumps to a whopping 21 per cent.

    [ More Politics: Let the games begin: Pauline Marois expected to call Quebec election for April 7 ]

    Canada, unfortunately, is no exception — our youth unemployment rate is about 14 per cent. If you include youth up to age 30, there were approximately 904,000 Canadians not in employment, education or training in 2011.

    Germany, according to Kenney, has a starkly different system

    Read More »from Jason Kenney looks to Germany for help at curbing Canada’s youth unemployment rate
  • Canada Post is apologizing after an anti-gay flyer was distributed to residents of a small Labrador community. The eight-page manifesto was delivered to residents of Happy Valley-Goose Bay last week, stating in some detail that homosexuality was a sin.

    According to The Pilot, the flyer was titled "Same-Sex Marriages and God's Word" and used biblical references to condemn homosexuality. The flyer also included statements claiming God hates homosexuals and that homosexuality is "almost always violent." A Halifax group called the People's Gospel Hour has taken credit for the flyers.

    A Canada Post spokesperson apologized through the Canadian Press to anyone who was offended by the material. The spokesperson said they flyers never should have been accepted for mailing.

    The bad press comes at inauspicious times for Canada Post. The agency is currently going through significant changes in a bid to cut operating costs. Most notably, Canada Post is phasing out door-to-door delivery in Canadian

    Read More »from Canada Post apologizes for distributing anti-gay manifesto in Labrador
  • Get ready for more hand-wringing over the collective thickening of Canada's waistline in the wake of a new report showing obesity rates have tripled since 1985.

    The study published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that between 1985 and 2011 there were "significant increases" in the categories of those considered excessively overweight.

    The researchers predicted the trend to increased obesity would continue up to 2019, when 20 per cent of Canadians would be classed as obese, compared with 18 per cent in 2011 and just six per cent in 1985.

    You're overweight if you have a body-mass index (BMI) of between 25 and 29.9. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese, which is split into three classes, with the worst being BMI of 40 or more. Class 2 obesity increased 350 per cent and Class 3 soared 433 per cent, CBC News pointed out.

    Obesity seems to increase as you travel from west to east (though Quebec rivals B.C. for the lowest rates), with New Brunswick reporting the

    Read More »from Could a fat tax curb Canada’s surging obesity rates?
  • Medicinal marijuana regulations about to be imposed by Health Canada may strive to place the responsibility of growing the product in the hands of a few organizations, but the war over who can grow what is about to get messy.

    Canada’s medicinal marijuana industry will be re-crafted at the end of the month, pulling the right to grow weed from the hands of thousands of Canadians and placing it in the care of large companies.

    The Canadian Press cites court documents defending the government's change in tack, which says there have been "significant unintended consequences" in expanding the number of people legally allowed to grow marijuana.

    More specifically, the government says growing pot at home can cause issues such as mould, fire and toxins in the building. Houses that are known to be home to grow ops are also under the threat of home invasion, and the product capable of appearing on the black market.

    The documents were presented as the federal government defends an impending change

    Read More »from Changes to Canada’s medicinal marijuana rules unlikely to stop smaller grow-ops

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