• This past January, Target Canada announced it was seeking protection from its creditors after taking huge losses due to a rapid expansion plan that failed to capture the attention of Canadian consumers. By May, all of the company's 133 retail locations were closed with virtually every last bit of merchandise, including store fixtures themselves, being sold off.

    The bottom line is, the American chain missed the mark in trying to compete on both pricing and selection north of the border, especially with its major competitor Walmart. Now, a Tumblr called "Abandoned Targets of Canada" is chronicling the chain's slow, sad decay.

    Square One Mall in Mississauga, Ontario housed just one of the many stores that left tens of thousands of retail employees looking for new jobs when the chain closed. That same mall was also home to a Walmart Supercentre. So on more than one occasion I personally walked from one to the other looking for deals, only to realize that almost anything found at Target

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  • With the extended 11-week election upon us and over two dozen third-parties looking to influence voters, you may be wondering if any of them actually have a chance at affecting the election outcome in any way.

    These aren't actually political parties, but unions, veterans groups, animal rights groups - groups looking to defeat Stephen Harper's conservative government ,and groups representing a particular issue like heathcare, open internet or safe technology. All of them are looking to influence the election in some way, but it's a steep hill to climb.

    Nelson Wiseman, director of the Canadian Studies Program in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, predicts third parties won't have much influence at all.

    “They're limited in how much money they can spend now, which is one of the reason the election was called early because they could've spent all the money they wanted until the writ was dropped. Now that the writ's been dropped, they're limited, so they won't

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  • A federal government scientist in Ottawa has been put on administrative leave and is under investigation for writing and singing a protest song against Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

    Tony Turner, whose day job involved mapping the flight patterns of migratory birds for Environment Canada, is one of three people responsible for the viral Harperman video.

    Turner wrote the tune and lyrics for a songwriting competition last spring. Set to a peppy beat and backed by an ensemble called the Crowd of Well Wishers, the lyrics call on Canadians to ditch the Harper government with a chorus of “Harperman, it’s time for you to go.”

    Almost 50,000 hits later on YouTube, the federal public service took notice.

    Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), told Yahoo Canada News that Turner was sent home on paid leave and is now under investigation for breaching the public service ethics code

    She said the union would support Turner and called it a

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  • If common sense and education won’t do the trick, maybe good old-fashioned skin-crawling fear will convince people to vaccinate their children.

    That seems to be the thinking behind ImmunizeBC’s latest public awareness campaign.

    The promotion includes a mailing that says “not immunizing children puts all of us at risk.” The card features UV-sensitive ink that makes tiny spots, similar to a measles outbreak, appear in the holder’s hand as they hold the card.

    "The goal is to dramatically increase the percentage of children who receive both doses of the vaccine, strengthening herd immunity and protecting our most vulnerable citizens,” ImmunizeBC told the Huffington Post.

    The mailing is the second instance of vaccine awareness in B.C. this week. Earlier, B.C.’s provincial health officer, Perry Kendall, said he supports a call by the Canadian Medical Association to make proof of immunization mandatory for all elementary and high school students.

    Read More »from Uncomfortable spread of measles outbreak shown in pro-vaccine mailer
  • A $55-million lawsuit against Ontario’s Niagara College by some of its former international students raises questions about how Canadian educational institutions recruit overseas students and the immigration policies that help sweeten their marketing efforts.

    The class action lawsuit, filed earlier this month, claims students lost out on promised three-year Canadian work permits because the college failed to ensure its general arts and sciences diploma program would qualify them under Canadian immigration rules.

    Their legal claim says that although the college told them the four-month-long program – coupled with a previous year of Canadian studies and a bachelor’s degree from their home country – would make them eligible, they were denied the permits by Citizenship and Immigration Canada because most of the courses were online and considered “distance learning,” which did not count. The college has so far declined to comment.

    "The allegation is Niagara College developed a program

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  • Do pet licenses matter? You may care if your buddy goes missing, or attacks another dog. (Thinkstock)Do pet licenses matter? You may care if your buddy goes missing, or attacks another dog. (Thinkstock)

    The licensing of dogs and cats in Toronto has become a snarly stand-off between pet owners who refuse to pay licensing fees and the city that continues to push the bylaw on them.

    For years, the city has worked hard at promoting pet licensing with public awareness campaigns, graduated licensing fees, a mobile licensing truck and loyalty programs but compliance is dismally low. According to the Toronto Animal Services (TAS) website, estimates show that just 30 per cent of dogs and 10 per cent of cats in Toronto are licensed. That means in Toronto last year an estimated 128,205 cats and 127,377 dogs illegally roamed city streets, alleys and parks as unlicensed pets. And though 80,000 pet licences were issued last year, the city is aiming its sights higher this year and hoping for 100,000 pet licences.

    “(The numbers are low) because there is a lack of information about what the fees go to support,” says TAS manager Elizabeth Glibbery. “People don’t understand the importance of licensing

    Read More »from What are pet licenses for, and does your dog or cat really need one?
  • A Toronto mother is furious that her disabled son was taken off the waiting list for a city-subsidized accessible apartment because he does not meet the requirement that tenants be practising Muslims.

    Austin Lewis, 21, who has used a wheelchair since he was eight years old, told the Toronto Star that he has applied to more than 100 accessible buildings in the city and was shocked to learn that he was no longer on the waiting list at the Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace building in North York.

    The Muslim-only apartment building is one of eight social housing projects funded by the city and permitted to restrict tenancy on religious or ethnic lines.

    Neither Lewis nor his mother Laura Whiteway was immediately available for comment on Thursday.

    But Whiteway contacted Global News after she received the notice at her Brampton home. Sent by Housing Connections, the form letter explains that the community’s vision for the building “includes providing housing for households in which at least one

    Read More »from Disabled man learns subsidized apartment building for Muslims only

    The homes around Vancouver’s W. 19th Avenue and Valley Drive are mostly comfortable one- and two-storey detached houses with tidy, compact lawns. The view from the sidewalk offers nothing unusual.

    Yet a map created by a Vancouver mathematician using Statistics Canada figures suggests that almost half of the households in this unassuming West Coast neighbourhood pay more for their shelter than they earn.

    In fact, about 45 per cent of residents in this neighbourhood report that their mortgage, taxes, utilities and fees or their rent exceeds their annual income. With statistics like that, you’d expect falling-down hovels inhabited by people living beyond their means or mansions inhabited by the fabulously wealthy. But the area’s not much different from nearby Trutch Street and W. 15th Avenue, where not a single household has shelter costs so out of sync with earnings.

    The math doesn’t work. You can’t pay more than you’re making. The money has to come from somewhere.”
    Jens von
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  • When I say Jared, you think Subway, right? Well, these days Subway would rather you not.

    While Jared Fogle has become a household name over the past fifteen years as he’s submarine-sandwiched his way down 245 lbs via an all-Subway diet, the spokesperson that has amassed $15 million as the face of the fast-food chain made the wrong kind of headlines this week.

    The 37 year-old pled guilty to allegations that he paid for sex acts with minors and received child pornography. In addition to the allegations of pedophilia, his charity – the Jared Fogle Healthy Lifestyle Nationwide School Grant Program – was found to have spent an average of just $73,000 annually between 2009 and 2013 and never issued a grant despite his publicized intentions to give away $2 million.

    The sandwich brand’s response in light of the compounding scandals was swift.

    “We have already ended our relationship with Jared and have no further comment,” they said in a statement via social media.

    But it was little too late,

    Read More »from When brands and their spokespeople are inseparable
  • Edmonton orders sheep farmer to get the flock outta thereEdmonton orders sheep farmer to get the flock outta there

    Edmonton city councillors may be feeling a tad sheepish after receiving an unusual visitor at city hall.

    In a bid to be allowed to keep a flock of 50 sheep on his hobby farm in southeast Edmonton, computer programmer David Koch brought Bambi, a week-old orphaned lamb, to receive admirers and participate in a meet-and-greet outside of 1 Sir Winston Churchill Square on Wednesday.

    Koch, who wasn’t immediately available for comment, got a recent warning from a city animal bylaw officer that his sheep — which he’s had on his 1.4 hectare, semi-rural property for more than 20 years — are illegal.

    The bylaw official warned Koch that he would have to get rid of the sheep by late September or pay $500 per sheep, up to a maximum fine of $10,000.

    According to an Edmonton bylaw, livestock cannot be kept within city limits unless the land is zoned for

    Read More »from Edmonton sheep farmer fights to save his urban flock


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