• Presidential candidate Scott Walker inadvertently generated Onionesque headlines on Sunday during an interview for the TV show Meet the Press. The Governor of Wisconsin, a Republican, was asked for his opinion about building a wall along the US-Canadian border to deter the illegal entry of terrorists, migrants, and international criminals. Walker called the idea “legitimate.” 

    Jokes about protecting the U.S. or Canada from Justin Bieber, moose, cheese smugglers, poutine, Trump voters, and Republican party presidential candidates soon followed. At nearly 9,000 kilometres (including the border with Alaska), the U.S.-Canadian border is the world’s longest international border without a military presence, and the idea of fortifying it with a physical wall is seen as absurd, not to mention financially infeasible.

    (Walker has since stated that his comment was misinterpreted by the press.)

    Andrew Finn, a scholar and program associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center’s Canada

    Read More »from Canada-U.S. border isn't entirely a laughing matter
  • Ashley Burnham is having a big week. The 25-year-old from Enoch Cree Nation just west of Edmonton is the newly crowned Mrs. Universe, an international pageant for married women that focuses on community work, rather than looks.

    She’s the first Canadian to take the title of the competition, which took place last week in Belarus, and her focus throughout this journey has been laser clear: to bring attention to First Nations issues and culture to as many people as she can reach.  

    Mrs. Universe — not to be confused with Miss Universe — involves forums for the contestants to talk about a theme, this year’s being violence against women and children. During the weeklong competition, the women discuss ideas on how to combat issues and what they do within their communities. Participants in this year’s pageant came from around the world and included doctors, lawyers and even one politician. (South Africa was the runner-up.) There is no cash prize.

    The issue of violence against women is

    Read More »from Q&A with Canada’s Ashley Burnham a.k.a. Mrs. Universe
  • Addison Drake and her doll Little AddisonAddison Drake and her doll Little Addison

    By Terri Coles

    A Canadian child’s doll will soon be on her way back from a big adventure thanks to a viral social media campaign by staff at the Arnold Mackinac Island Ferry and Mackinac Island Tourism in Michigan.

    Their #HelpDollyHome social media campaign was a success, leading ferry marketing manager Heather Tamlyn to Addison Drake, a three-year-old girl from Windsor, Ont., who had lost her doll while on a family vacation to Mackinac Island in northern Michigan in mid-July.

    Addison's doll, named Little Addison, was purchased specifically to keep her company on trips and had already been to Chicago before her Michigan adventure. Shuttle driver Dan Reynolds noticed the doll left behind on the Mackinac Island ferry after a docking, and it rode around on Reynolds’ dashboard for a day or so after he was unable to find Little Addison's owner in the parking lot, Tamlyn said. After a few days in the ticket office the doll, renamed Dolly by ferry employees found her way to the lost and

    Read More »from Social media campaign cracks missing Windsor doll case
  • Digitally altered photo of Ruby RoxxDigitally altered photo of Ruby Roxx

    It’s called Project Harpoon and it’s a social media campaign to fat-shame plus-sized women by digitally altering their images into thinner versions of themselves.

    But a Vancouver model targeted by the website is fighting back and has successfully had the group’s original Facebook page taken down.

    Ruby Roxx was alerted by a follower of her blog that a photo of her had been Photoshopped and posted by the group.

    And it wasn’t just the poorly done digital slimming that was upsetting. Roxx, whose real name is Jenn Palsenbarg, says the images are accompanied by comments.

    “The comments about myself and other women were atrocious,” she tells Yahoo Canada News. “I’m a confident person and I can handle it, but it made me angry for the women reading these comments, who might be triggered emotionally by them.”

    Roxx, a model and founder of Beauty Mark magazine, wrote an open letter to the group on her blog.

    “Thank you for showing me that I have the drive and determination to fight bullies like

    Read More »from Vancouver model takes on fat-shaming social media trolls
  • Defence lawyer Leo RussomannoDefence lawyer Leo Russomanno

    A bill that presents a shift in how security is conducted at courthouses, electrical generating facilities and nuclear plants across Ontario goes into affect Monday, leaving one legal expert wondering if the new measures are overblown.

    Bill 35, Security for Courts, Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, grants officers at courthouses the right to search people entering without a warrant. If someone refuses a request to be searched, she or he can face fines or imprisonment.

    Courthouses, electrical generating facilities and nuclear plants aren’t the only places that are seeing amped up security measures.

    Starting Sept. 14, anyone attending public meetings in Calgary’s council chambers will be subjected to security screenings that includes metal detectors and a bag search by guards. Those new measures are said to cost $100,000.

    Physical pat downs won’t be performed and shoes, belts and jackets don’t have to be removed.

    At the Ottawa courthouse, X-rays and metal

    Read More »from Increasing security at Ontario courts may be overblown, limits access: expert
  • 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

    Read More »from Documenting Canada's abandoned Target stores
  • 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

    Read More »from Ottawa public servant under investigation for ‘Harperman’ protest song
  • 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

    Read More »from Are Canada's post-secondary schools taking advantage of foreign students?
  • 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?

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