Blog Posts by Steve Mertl

  • Port Metro Vancouver truckers' strike could cause disruptions across Canada

    Non-unionized container truckers walked off the job 'indefinitely' on Wednesday morning.

    A labour dispute at Canada's busiest port has the potential to disrupt the delivery of goods across the country.

    About 1,200 independent truckers who move cargo into and out of Vancouver's three main ports began a strike Wednesday morning over low hauling fees and money-losing wait times at the busy port.

    The non-unionized drivers, largely owner-operators belonging to the United Truckers Association, say Port Metro Vancouver needs to streamline its operations to reduce waiting times or pay them an hourly rate while they sit idle until their container is loaded.

    "Because of these delays, we're lucky if we get two moves in a day, which would give us a couple hundred bucks," Manny Dosange of the association told CBC News at the group's morning rally.

    "And out of that, you've got to take diesel out, you've got to take all your costs out, and then you've got to try running your household on that. It's not happening and resources are totally dried up."

    [ Related: Vancouver truckers' union

    Read More »from Port Metro Vancouver truckers' strike could cause disruptions across Canada
  • Chopping down power poles just the latest incident in rising copper-theft trend

    Copper thieves are getting more and more brazen in a bid to steal the valuable commodity.

    With scrap copper fetching between $2.50 and just under $3 a pound, thieves seem willing to go to greater lengths to steal it.

    A stunning example surfaced in the Vancouver suburb of Langley, where thieves chopped down two BC Hydro power poles in an industrial area to get at the copper in their transformers, The Canadian Press reports.

    The theft, which took place Feb. 16, caused damage estimated at more than $75,000.

    RCMP also noted the situation was extremely dangerous because members of the public could have come in contact with the live wires from the damaged poles, which were toppled onto the wall of an adjacent building.

    [ Related: Copper stolen from metal art installations ]

    Maclean's magazine reported last year that copper theft has become a worldwide epidemic as scavengers target almost anything that uses the valuable metal, from street-light wiring and telephone cable to plumbing pipe and

    Read More »from Chopping down power poles just the latest incident in rising copper-theft trend
  • B.C. debates ‘silver alert’ proposal to quickly find missing seniors

    My email in-box regularly gets alerts from the Vancouver police asking the public's help to in locating someone with dementia who has gone missing.

    Most often they're found within hours, safe and sound. But sometimes the searches end tragically, or in the case of Shin Noh not at all.

    The former pastor, who was in the mid stages of Alzheimer's disease, vanished from his suburban Vancouver home last September and hasn't been seen since.

    But his son, Sam Noh, thinks a "silver alert" could have prevented the tragedy.

    The Opposition New Democrats have introduced a private member's bill in the B.C. legislature to set up a system similar to Amber Alerts that use electronic billboards, radio and TV announcements to help locate abducted children, The Canadian Press reports.

    Sam Noh was in the legislature to see his MLA, Selina Robinson, table the Silver Alert Act.

    "We're going to back this thing up 100 per cent," he told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. "Just the hell that we're going

    Read More »from B.C. debates ‘silver alert’ proposal to quickly find missing seniors
  • Newfoundland and Labrador pumps another $60K to promote floundering seal industry

    REUTERS/Pilar Olivares photoNewfoundland and Labrador is giving $60,000 to a sealing group in the latest bid to sustain an industry viewed with distaste in much of the world.

    The Canadian Press reports the provincial government is handing over the money to the Seals and Sealing Network to lead an awareness campaign as the market for the products shrinks rapidly.

    Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings said Tuesday the program aims to combat misconceptions about the industry, which has been condemned for decades by animal-rights groups that view the annual seal hunt as cruel.

    Hutchings said it's important to support the commercial seal hunt now as the federal government appeals a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that upheld the European Union's ban on seal products from Canada.

    [ Related: Canada’s appeal of WTO ruling on seal product ban is an exercise in futility ]

    The Seals and Sealing Network says a poll it commissioned shows most Canadians support the seal hunt and object to the WTO's decision to uphold the EU

    Read More »from Newfoundland and Labrador pumps another $60K to promote floundering seal industry
  • Ontario hiking fine for drivers using electronic devices as problem grows

    CBC photo
    It's going to get much more expensive to get caught using, or even seeing, your phone or other device while driving in Ontario.

    Faced with a continued rise in distracted driving, the province is hiking fines from the current $155 ($125 plus victim surcharge and court costs) to $280 ($225 plus surcharge and costs).

    You'll get nailed simply for having the screen of your phone or other device such as a tablet visible to you while driving.

    "We've seen a lack of compliance," Toronto traffic officer Const. Clint Stibbe told CBC News.

    Stibbe said he's seen drivers not just with phones to their ears but also texting with two hands while holding the steering wheel with their knees.

    "We're seeing fatalities that are directly attributed to the use of a cellphone," he said. "It's an ongoing problem and it is taking lives."

    The penalties, which take effect March 18, do not apply to drivers using GPS navigation systems, which are increasingly common in vehicles.

    The Ontario Provincial Police

    Read More »from Ontario hiking fine for drivers using electronic devices as problem grows
  • Greyhound killer Vince Li likely to get unescorted passes from psychiatric hospital

    The dilemma of how to handle the mentally ill who've committed horrific crimes is front and centre again as officials in Manitoba consider granting Vince Li unescorted passes from the psychiatric facility where he's been held for five years.

    Li has been confined at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre since mid-2009, a year after being found not criminally responsible for killing 22-year-old Tim McLean a year earlier.

    McLean was a passenger on a Greyhound bus headed for Winnipeg, sitting next to Li, who attacked him as the bus rolled towards Portage la Prairie, Man. Li stabbed McLean, and before stunned passengers cut off his head and partially cannibalized the young man.

    Li suffered from untreated schizophrenia that caused him to suffer from hallucinations.

    But doctors say since his confinement at Selkirk, Li has been making steady progress and on Monday recommended to the Manitoba Review Board that he be given a longer leash.

    [ Related: Vince Li’s horrific crime puts spotlight on rehab

    Read More »from Greyhound killer Vince Li likely to get unescorted passes from psychiatric hospital
  • N.S. fishing lodge owners targeted online win another suit against Mississippi blogger

    Trout Point Lodge.It is one of those strange stories that seems to be a product of the Internet age.

    A Mississippi blogger owes the owners of a Nova Scotia fishing lodge almost a million dollars after targeting them online in a homophobic smear campaign that tied them inexplicably to a corruption scandal.

    The latest judgment, according to the Toronto Star, was handed down earlier this month in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. It awarded Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret $390,000 for copyright infringement by blogger Douglas K. Handshoe over unauthorized use of photos from the Trout Point Lodge website.

    Leary and Perret, both transplanted Americans, had previously won $427,000 in damages in 2012 when the Nova Scotia Supreme Court found Handshoe, an accountant by profession, guilty of defamation and invasion of privacy, among other things.

    [ Related: $425K in damages in Trout Point defamation case ]

    Handshoe, who ignored the earlier suit but not this one, had torn into Leary, Perret and their partner, Daniel

    Read More »from N.S. fishing lodge owners targeted online win another suit against Mississippi blogger
  • Consensual sex needs not just a ‘yes,’ but an ‘emphatic yes’

    Get ready to add another term to the lexicon of negotiation between sexual partners: Enthusiastic yes.

    By that I don't mean "Yes! Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes!"

    What I'm talking about here is the declaration before any clothes are shed.

    The turmoil generated last fall by troglodyte frosh-week "rape chants" continues to ripple across Canadian university campuses.

    StudentsNS, an alliance of Nova Scotia post-secondary students, has set up a website promoting the idea that consent to have sex should go beyond a casual affirmation to embrace, if you'll pardon the expression, something more emphatic.

    "Sex without enthusiastic consent is not sex at all. It's sexual assault or rape," says the site morethanyes.ca.

    [ Related: Saint Mary's pro-rape chant sparks 20 new recommendations ]

    The culture around sex on campus has been under national microscope since reports surfaced from St. Mary's University in Halifax about a frosh-week chant that condoned non-consensual sex and sex with underage partners.

    Read More »from Consensual sex needs not just a ‘yes,’ but an ‘emphatic yes’
  • Death of suspect in quadruple murder leaves unanswered questions

    Eleven-year-old Beatrice Godin shot Saturday in a home in St-Isidore along with her 13-year-old sister Médora.

    Martin Godin died Sunday night in a Quebec City hospital, three weeks after trying to shoot himself to death.

    The dark shadow of suicide, with its tragic aura of failure, was deepened by the fact Godin's death frustratingly left us with unanswered questions. For Godin also allegedly murdered his two young daughters, his ex-wife and her boyfriend.

    Godin, always the prime suspect in the killings, never spoke. His death leaves police in the Chaudiere-Appalaches region south of Quebec City trying to fill in the missing pieces of what's thought to have been a murderous love triangle before they close the file.

    [ Related: Suspect in Quebec quadruple slaying dies in hospital ]

    Godin was always the prime suspect, but investigators will have to turn up other sources to reveal what finally may have driven him to annihilate his family and the timeline for his rampage, which covered two communities 70 kilometres apart.

    Several Facebook pages have been set up in to remember sisters Béatrice and Médora Godin.The Montreal Gazette reported shortly after the killings that the Sûreté du

    Read More »from Death of suspect in quadruple murder leaves unanswered questions
  • Is pot tax revenue too tempting for government to refuse?

    A fully budded marijuana plant. REUTERS/Rick WilkingCanadians looking for practical arguments in favour of legalizing recreational marijuana use just got some powerful ammunition from south of the border. The kind governments often can't resist.

    Colorado, which along with Washington state legalized pot following 2012 referendums, announced last week it estimates the tax haul from recreational pot (which carries a 25 per cent sales tax) between Jan. 1, the first day of legal sales, and June 30, 2015, will be $117.8 million (all US figures ). Medicinal pot sales will add another $15.8 million, according to the New York Times.

    The projection is far above initial estimates and presumably is based on the explosion of sales last month. The state government projected recreational marijuana sales could generate $610 million, with an additional $345 million coming from medical pot, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported.

    “It’s well on its way to being a billion-dollar industry,” Michael Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a

    Read More »from Is pot tax revenue too tempting for government to refuse?

Pagination

(1,583 Stories)