• MP David Wilks represents the Kootenay-Columbia riding for the Conservative party. (Handout)MP David Wilks represents the Kootenay-Columbia riding for the Conservative party. (Handout)

    David Wilks began his drinking career, as he calls it, at age 14, and the drinking got progressively worse as he got older.

    “It started to run how I did my day-to-day activities,” the Conservative MP for Kootenay-Columbia told Yahoo Canada News. “Everything revolved around alcohol, and if I couldn’t revolve it around alcohol I wouldn’t do that, whatever it would be.”

    He would spend more time with other drinkers, who drank like he did or more than he did, to justify it in his own mind, but eventually Wilks hit rock bottom.

    Few who watch politics in Ottawa regularly, or who follow what goes on in the House of Commons, would know this. But on March 13, Wilks — a big man, an intimidating-looking figure who isn’t really intimidating at all — stood up in the chamber of the House and said a few words.

    “Mr. Speaker, on January 27th and 28th of this year, individuals from across Canada came together in Ottawa to create a united vision for what addiction recovery means in Canada. Hosted by the

    Read More »from MP David Wilks is 26 years sober
  • Photo: Loblaw'sPhoto: Loblaw's
    From crooked carrots to contorted potatoes, it’s time to eat your ugly veggies.

    Loblaw’s this week launched its Naturally Imperfect line of produce in select stores in Ontario and Quebec.

    Apples and potatoes are the first unattractive crops on store shelves and cost about 30 per cent less than their pretty peers.

    “In many regards, people have become conditioned to buying something that looks perfect,” Dan Branson, the company’s senior director responsible for produce, floral and garden items, told Yahoo Canada News.

    “But many of us have gardens in our backyards and we know that what’s produced in our back yards, some of it can look perfect, other parts of it look a little bit different – maybe misshapen or with some scars on it – but at the end of the day it all tastes exceptional.”

    The exponential growth across the country of farmers markets, with their sometimes aesthetically disadvantaged array of produce, suggests Canadian consumers know that.

    Ugly fruit and vegetable sales have

    Read More »from Homely but wholesome: Loblaw’s launches line of less-than-perfect produce for less
  • OpenMedia is among the groups supporting the national day of action in protest of Bill C-51 (OpenMedia.ca)OpenMedia is among the groups supporting the national day of action in protest of Bill C-51 (OpenMedia.ca)
    Critics of the Conservative government’s anti-terror legislation will be gathering in over 50 cities across the country Saturday in an effort to raise awareness about the controversial bill and encourage the government to go back to the C-51 drawing board.

    LeadNow, OpenMedia and Amnesty International are among the organizations involved in or throwing support behind what’s been dubbed the national day of action against Bill C-51 on March 14.

    OpenMedia executive director Steve Anderson told Yahoo Canada News that over 15,000 individuals have RSVP’d for the cross-country events online.

    “More and more Canadians from all walks of life are concerned about this bill,” he said. “We’re just hoping to make that more clear to the government and educate more Canadians, because … the real kind of challenge for those of us who understand the dangers of the bill is to educate [other] Canadians.

    The government’s anti-terror bill, which was introduced in Parliament at the end of January, has received

    Read More »from Thousands expected at cross-country C-51 protests
  • In the town of Farmington, New Hampshire, if you’re caught playing by the rules, you just might be rewarded for it.

    Farmington Police Chief Jay Drury told NBC News he got the idea to thank citizens for their good behaviour early this winter after he spotted a man make his way through heavy snow to get to a crosswalk.

    "I said to myself, that gentlemen deserves a medal for battling the snow that we’ve had and everything else," Drury said in a recent interview.

    "And it was a couple of days later, and it kept weighing on me, and I thought to myself, I can’t give him a medal but maybe I can do something else.”

    Time to move to NH: @farmingtonpd is rewarding good behavior with pizza, tweeted @HintMan (WMUR)Time to move to NH: @farmingtonpd is rewarding good behavior with pizza, tweeted @HintMan (WMUR)

    The police department teamed up with a local convenience store, Crowley’s Variety & Grill, to set up the program. Officers hand out gift cards for free pizza slices and fries at the restaurant as a thank you to unsuspecting citizens “caught” using crosswalks, turn signals, and obeying other traffic laws.

    The Holy Rosary Credit Union donated US$250 to help fund the program. 

    “We’ll

    Read More »from Farmington, New Hampshire police rewarding good behaviour with free pizza, fries
  • Nandi the elephant is six months old.

    To celebrate this milestone, keepers at Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona, gifted the pachyderm with a decorated box packed with hay.

    It turns out, the snack was the perfect gift. A series of photos posted to Facebook captured the young one’s excitement.

    (It turns out babies of all species are the same: they like playing with boxes.)

    Nandi’s certainly not the first to celebrate a zoo birthday.

    Just yesterday, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park celebrated the first birthday of its youngest gorilla, Joanna. Joanna had a rocky start — she was delivered via emergency cesarean section — and spent her first 11 days in a veterinary hospital with pneumonia.

    Zoo staff gave the gorilla a cardboard dollhouse and a cake made with puréed yams at her birthday party.

    In 2013, Ernie the North American porcupine got dolled up for his sixth birthday. A photo of him wearing a birthday hat went viral on Reddit.

    And who can resist a tiny hedgehog in a party hat?

    Follow

    Read More »from Nandi the elephant is very excited to turn 6 months old
  • Tom Hanks is on a roll.

    First he reunited with Wilson, everyone’s favourite volleyball, at a New York Rangers game. Then he charmed us with his starring role in Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest (and very catchy) music video.

    And now we’re learning that the two-time Academy Award winner took some time out of his day a couple of weeks ago to help some Girl Scouts sell cookies.

    According to the Los Altos Town Crier, Hanks was approached by three Scouts as he left a bookstore in Los Altos, Calif., on February 28.

    He immediately purchased four boxes of cookies from the girls, donated an extra $20, and posed for photos with the young fans.

    When passersby spotted the star taking photos with the girls, they also wanted to snap pics with Hanks. Hanks agreed — but on one condition: they, too, would have to buy cookies from

    Read More »from Tom Hanks helps Girl Scouts sell cookies
  • Commander in chief dismisses Netanyahu's address to CongressCommander in chief dismisses Netanyahu's address to Congress

    A metaphorical gauntlet lies in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. Thrown by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his speech to a joint session of Congress on Mar. 3, the gauntlet is the challenge of how to address the Iranian nuclear program and prevent the development of nuclear weapons.

    This is not an easy problem; indeed, it may be an impossible one to solve—short of Iranian regime change (and even that sanguine possibility may well not be a solution).

    Indeed, Iranian nukes are a legacy concern. Although not much discussed, Tehran’s interest/commitment to developing nuclear weapons dates to the Shah’s era. Iran has persisted, for nationalist, geopolitical, and military reasons, in manufacturing fissile material, developing the technical mechanical processes and designs to construct a nuclear warhead, and manufacturing missile delivery systems for such warheads.

    Moreover, Iran sees itself both as living in a dangerous neighborhood and wanting to seize leadership

    Read More »from Obama’s Israel-Iran nuclear problem: The United States has nothing but bad choices
  • In the small ocean of printer’s ink consumed since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech of March 3rd to the U.S. Congress swim four not-so-imaginary fish.

    The most frightened one is Israel. A 2012 opinion survey by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs revealed that two-thirds of Israelis believed that “if Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon it would use it against Israel.” The strongly peace-seeking Shimon Peres as Israel’s president asked in 2012 how the world could allow the Iranian leadership to “openly deny the Holocaust and threaten another Holocaust.”

    A former Iranian president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, in 2001 claimed that a single bomb would end Israel’s existence. Israelis fear both a direct strike by Tehran and one by a non-state actor with a nuclear weapon provided by it. Many also believe that the Middle East as a whole, with Iran in the lead, rejects Israel’s right to exist as a country.

    Other concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran relate to the toxic consequences

    Read More »from Obama’s Israel-Iran nuclear problem: Tough economic sanctions brought Tehran to the table
  • Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: Thinkstock
    Police are hoping to solve future crimes by doing a little legwork now and enlisting the help of high-tech silent witnesses throughout their communities.

    Saint John, N.B. is among Canadian communities joining the digital crime fighting age through programs like iWatch – a voluntary system that gives investigators witnesses that never sleep.

    Crimes are much easier to solve when police have a dependable witness that remembers precise details – something CCTV systems have been doing in Europe and major cities like London for some time.

    But unfortunately for law enforcement and victims, smaller communities don’t always have the resources to establish and maintain camera systems strategically placed to cover the city.

    Programs like iWatch enlist residents and businesses to register their external surveillance cameras on a mappable database.

    Sgt. Lori Magee says the iWatch registry will assist in reducing the time and resources spent on canvassing for information each time a crime occurs. (YouTube)Sgt. Lori Magee says the iWatch registry will assist in reducing the time and resources spent on canvassing for information each time a crime occurs. (YouTube)"It assists officers in terms of canvassing the area and the time that's required to do that,” Saint John Police Force spokesperson Sgt. Lori Magee told

    Read More »from Police enlist private cameras as silent witnesses to future crimes
  • An investigation found several Canadian communities are under water advisories. An investigation found several Canadian communities are under water advisories.
    More than 1,800 Canadian communities started the year under drinking water advisories, a new report says.

    The investigation by the Council of Canadians found 1,838 advisories in place in January, 169 of them in First Nations communities.

    “There are thousands of people across Canada that aren’t able to drink their water,” said Emma Lui, a water campaigner for the council and author of the report.

    British Columbia accounted for almost 30 per cent of those advisories, with 544 advisories.

    Saskatchewan had 16 per cent, with 294, and Newfoundland represented almost 13 per cent, with 233.

    Ontario’s report includes only boil water advisories, while other provinces include “do not consume” warnings, water quality and other advisories.

    “There’s a lot of gaps in water protection across the country and a big one is having national enforceable drinking water standards,” Lui told Yahoo Canada News.

    “What there ends up being is a patchwork of different standards, depending on what a province has

    Read More »from Thousands of Canadians can't drink their water: report

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