• Zunera Ishaq talks to reporters outside the Federal Court of Appeal after her case was heard on whether she can wear a niqab while taking her citizenship oath, in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick DoyleZunera Ishaq talks to reporters outside the Federal Court of Appeal after her case was heard on whether she can wear a niqab while taking her citizenship oath, in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

    A woman’s right to keep her face covered has turned into a hot-button issue during this election campaign.

    Zunera Ishaq, 29, who came to Canada in 2008, has fought in court for the right to wear her niqab during her citizenship oath, a fight that was challenged unsuccessfully by the federal government several times.

    The latest decision by the Federal Court of Appeal on Monday means the mother of three, who is taking her certification to upgrade a teacher’s degree from Pakistan, will get to keep her niqab on while being sworn in as a Canadian citizen later this month.

    Since that decision, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has vowed to ban niqabs in the federal civil service if re-elected.

    When Yahoo Canada News caught up with Ishaq on Thursday, she was feeling excited after learning that she would be taking her citizenship oath before Oct. 19, making her eligible to vote on election day.

    Q: Why is it important for you to wear the niqab during the citizenship ceremony?

    A: It is very

    Read More »from Q&A with Zunera Ishaq who challenged Harper’s niqab ban
  • A woman holds the hand of her mother who is dying from cancer during her final hours at a palliative care hospital in Winnipeg July 24, 2010.    REUTERS/Shaun BestA woman holds the hand of her mother who is dying from cancer during her final hours at a palliative care hospital in Winnipeg July 24, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best

    Canada slipped out of the global top 10 in the latest Quality of Death rankings released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a reflection of increasing costs and a lack of a national strategy on palliative care.

    The Quality of Death report ranks 80 countries on palliative and end-of-life care. Countries are scored on 20 indicators in five different categories, for a total possible score of 100. This year the United Kingdom came in first with a score of 93.9, thanks to factors like the integration of palliative care into its National Health Service.

    Canada’s ranking at 11th place, with a score of 77.8, puts the country below not just the U.K. but also Taiwan, the United States and France. (In the first Quality of Death report, published in 2010, Canada tied at 9th with the U.S. though the methodologies were different.)

    The country lacks a strong national strategy on palliative care, in part because health care is under provincial jurisdiction. But affordability dragged down the

    Read More »from Canada slips from Top 10 best places to die
  • <span class=st><i>André Chapman got out of jury duty after telling an Ottawa judge he had a ticket to the Jays playoff game.<br /></i></span>

    For Andre Chapman, his intense love of the Toronto Blue Jays was able to trump his civic duty. That’s because the Ottawa-based consultant, who’s been a fan of the team since as long as he can remember, was dismissed from jury duty so he can watch the playoffs in Toronto this week.

    During jury selection on Sept. 29, the judge gave Chapman the opportunity to explain if there was any reason he wouldn’t be able to serve. Even though his reasons had nothing to do with work commitments or doctor’s appointments, Chapman decided to speak up.

    “I gave him the reason — I’d been waiting more than 20 years to go see them live at a playoff game,” he told Yahoo Canada News.

    The judge responded by assuring him the court could likely work around the schedule, particularly since the Friday was leading into the Thanksgiving long weekend. The Crown was okay with it, but the defence passed on him as a juror.

    But Chapman wasn’t off the hook. He still had to wait around for a second round of jury selection

    Read More »from Blue Jays fan excused from jury duty to watch playoff game
  • People are silhouetted by an art exhibit at the Nuit Blanche art festivalPeople are silhouetted by an art exhibit at the Nuit Blanche art festival

    Compared to music, dance or other cultural events, the visual arts have a much more refined wine-sipping vibe. Stuffy even. Even the most provocative art exhibitions in history have triggered little more than harsh words, graffiti and some vandalism. Yet Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, where visual art installations are on display all over the core for a mere 12 hours one fall night, has gained a much more anarchic reputation.

    During this year’s Nuit Blanche, hundreds of young people surrounded a handful of police officers in Yonge-Dundas Square, who had come to check on reports of a gun. Bottles and other objects were hurled at the officers, one of whom suffered a broken bone in one hand.

    “We saw behaviour that was dangerous, behaviour that was reckless, behaviour that could have caused extreme, serious injuries,” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told a news conference a few days later. “It seems clear that for many there, it was a party atmosphere. There were smiles, laughter,

    Read More »from Has Nuit Blanche lost its cultural relevance?
  • Milk poured into a glass (Thinkstock)Milk poured into a glass (Thinkstock)

    If you’re one of the thousands of Canadians who dashes regularly across the border to buy cheap American milk and cheese, you might be hoping the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will eventually save you the trip.

    The humongous trade deal involving Canada and 11 other countries includes a provision that opens our country’s supply-managed dairy industry ever so slightly to foreign imports.

    But will that mean lower prices for milk and other dairy products on Canadian store shelves, and more choice?

    The answer so far seems to be a qualified probably not.

    Anyone Yahoo Canada talked to about it pointed out that specific details of how the TPP will work for each signatory have not been released yet and the deal will still have to be ratified by each country.

    The Conservative government crowed that its negotiators beat back attempts to fracture Canada’s supply-management system, which allocates dairy production via quotas to each farmer to maintain milk prices and keep the industry

    Read More »from Trans-Pacific trade deal unlikely to mean a price break on dairy products for Canadians
  • Francois Blais.  Jacques Boissinot / La Presse CanadienneFrancois Blais. Jacques Boissinot / La Presse Canadienne

    Quebec’s minister of education is on the defensive, after a public school teacher says she dug better desks out of the garbage of a private school than she had in her public school classroom.

    François Blais says he doesn’t believe that the dumpster diving was necessary.

    “I don’t think public schools have been reduced to that,” Blais told reporters in Quebec City. “The budgets for school furniture have remained the same.”

    Blais’s comments were in response to claims from a primary school teacher at the Pins school, in Oka, that she picked up 13 desks from the garbage heap at a nearby private school for her students.

    Anik Roussin told La Presse that the desks discarded by St. Therese Academy of Rosemere were in better condition than the desks her students sat in at the public school where she teaches.

    “You know, our desks are old, rusty, scratched. We had to spend time painting and screwing them back together ourselves,” she told the media outlet. “That does not make any sense.“


    Read More »from Controversy in Quebec as teacher claims desks found in trash better than those in her classroom
  • Why I want my kid to study sex-ed

    I’m reading a 240-page book looking for pervy passages. I search for graphic images, explicit sentences, and titillating titles.

    In my quest to understand why some parents are protesting (including my Muslim co-religionists) what has been nicknamed Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum, I search for content that might be considered inappropriate for my eight-year-old son.

    Instead, what I find in the alluringly titled, “The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1 – 8: Health and Physical Education”, are topics dealing with children’s physical and emotional safety, living skills, creative and critical thinking. Among other things, the curriculum covers fire safety, nutrition, washing your hands before leaving the bathroom, and working with students for whom English is a second language.

    The curriculum doesn’t get juicy until, well, it doesn’t. No sizzle. Which surprises me because from what I’ve read on the Canadian Families Alliance website and have seen of the protests on TV and in the papers, childhood

    Read More »from Why I want my kid to study sex-ed
  • The cliché “lucky to be alive” is an appropriate way to sum up the fate of a cougar that inspired a dramatic chase through parts of Victoria earlier this week.

    People on social media buzzed with excitement about the large cat, which was tranquilized and not killed Monday after it stalked its way through back alleys and over fences in a neighbourhood near downtown.

    Richard Hamelin tweeted, “A normal day in #britishcolumbia cougar on the loose in #Victoria and whales in #Vancouver.”

    “They better not kill it,” warned Sarah Butts.

    James Bay neighbours watched from their balconies as Victoria police and conservation officers with dogs tracked the animal.

    Sgt. Scott Norris with British Columbia Conservation Officer Service says when it comes to tranquilizing animals on the loose, it’s a case by case basis.

    “It often comes down to public safety and how things play out,” he told Yahoo Canada News. “If a cougar is showing signs of aggression towards people, and it’s taking livestock and

    Read More »from Victoria cougar gets happy ending up island
  • Comedian Tommy Chong Says He is Battling Rectal CancerComedian Tommy Chong Says He is Battling Rectal Cancer

    Tommy Chong has put his foot in his mouth again.

    Growing up in Calgary in the 1950s and ‘60s was like living in the racist, segregated U.S. South, the actor, comedian and perpetual stoner says.

    “You know my dad’s Chinese, my mother is Scottish-Irish, and we were living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which is like living in Biloxi, Mississippi, as far as racism goes,” he said in an interview with pop culture website The A.V. Club.

    Mississippi – where black people were lynched and civil rights advocates were murdered. Where disenfranchisement of African Americans was enshrined until 1965.

    Mississippi – which only officially abolished slavery in 2013. (It was the last state to ratify the 13th amendment, in 1995, but didn’t notify the U.S. Archivist until 2013.)

    Chong’s comments are sure to inflame Calgarians, who elected Canada’s first Muslim mayor in 2010 and was one of the earliest signatories to the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination, in 2006.

    But not

    Read More »from Tommy Chong’s comments of a racist Calgary challenged
  • Arthur McDonald, the Canadian co-winner of this year’s 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics, says a “very friendly collaboration” resulted in getting him to the top of the science podium.

    The professor emeritus at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., shares the prize with Japanese scientist Takaaki Kajita (They are being singled out for their contributions to experiments that show neutrinos changing identities.)

    Their work has “changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter and can prove crucial to our view of the universe,“ the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in announcing the award early Tuesday.

    McDonald, who is also the director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (also known as SNOLAB) said in a news conference that their discoveries involved a “tremendous amount of work … among scientists from Canada, the United States, Britain and Portugal.”

    Neutrinos are created in reactions between cosmic radiation and the Earth’s atmosphere. Others are produced in nuclear reactions

    Read More »from Canada’s notable Nobel winners


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