• Toronto's municipal election is still six months away and it's already spawned its first attack ad against infamous incumbent Mayor Rob Ford.

    The campaign for Olivia Chow, the former New Democrat MP who's seen as the front-runner to unseat Ford, released the ad this week attacking one of the keystone elements of his popularity, the belief he's in personal touch with citizens and their concerns.

    Ford, who formally launched his re-election bid Thursday night, likes to boast that he spends much of his time on the phone dealing with people's complaints.

    But in the minute-long video, a woman identified only as Laura claims Ford never returned any of the roughly 20 calls she's made to the mayor's office to complain about the city's transit service.

    “Rob Ford is always bragging that he’s too busy to do this or he’s too busy to do that because he’s calling people back. Well, he didn’t call me back,” Laura says in the video.

    "I have Rob Ford programmed into my phone and he's never called me

    Read More »from As Toronto Mayor Rob Ford kicks off re-election campaign, rival Olivia Chow releases first attack ad
  • The newly installed premier of Quebec has signalled that federalism is no longer a dirty word in the province.

    Liberal Philippe Couillard was sworn in Thursday, after upsetting the minority Parti Quebecois government in the April 7 election.

    “We believe that our full participation in the Canadian federation contributes to Quebec’s success,” Couillard said in a speech at the National Assembly following the swearing-in ceremony for MNAs, according to the Globe and Mail.

    “Quebec will be a leader and an active participant in the Canadian federation and use every opportunity to help Quebec progress within it.”

    The bearded neurosurgeon led the Liberals to a substantial majority, taking 70 of 125 seats while reducing the sovereigntist PQ to 30 in spite of Couillard's candid embrace of Canada.

    While the PQ controls the separatist file, the Quebec nationalist vein runs deeply across party lines. Even past Liberal governments have been careful not to be seen cozying up too closely with Ottawa.

    Read More »from Political stakes are high for Quebec’s new federalist premier
  • Crown prosecutors in British Columbia have laid five charges against a man arrested in the Netherlands in connection with the online extortion of 15-year-old Amanda Todd, which led to her suicide in 2012.

    RCMP told a news conference Thursday evening that the man, who hasn't been identified, faces single counts of extortion, Internet luring, criminal harassment, possession of child pornography and possession of child porn for the purpose of distribution.

    Insp. Paulette Friel, chief of operations at Coquitlam RCMP, said her officers began investigating in December 2010, after Amanda and her parents came forward with allegations of harassment and extortion.

    The investigation mushroomed after Todd's suicide, its scope expanding "in ways we could not have imagined," Friel said.

    The case eventually involved the RCMP's major crimes section and the national child-exploitation units of Canada and the United Kingdom, she said. The RCMP had 30 investigators at work who eventually helped identify

    Read More »from RCMP announce charges against Dutch man in Amanda Todd case
  • Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers have issued warnings about the dangers of sexting for teens.Charges laid against a Halifax-area high school student is the latest evidence that police in Canada are serious about going after sexting teens, even if some of the kids still aren't serious about the risk.

    The Halifax Chronicle Herald reports a student at Auburn Drive High School in the suburb of Cole Harbour has been charged with possessing and distributing child pornography.

    Police said the 17-year-old was arrested April 11 but has been released from custody and is scheduled to appear in Halifax youth court May 8.

    The investigation began Jan. 9 after police received a complaint from the school. A 16-year-old female student told school staff a male student had shared a partially nude photo of her without her consent, the Chronicle Herald said.

    Police said the images were distributed to other students and investigators seized a number of cell phones.

    "In this case, all I can say is images were distributed in a child pornography sense by a 16-year-old male [who has since turned 17],"

    Read More »from Halifax high school student the latest teen to face child-porn charges for sexting
  • Canada's temporary foreign workers program continued to rack up criticism this week with fresh allegations that companies were abusing the system in a variety of spectacular manners.

    The program has been maligned by labour unions but defended by business associations, and in the middle has been the federal government, promising to get the program in order and put an end to the perceived abuses.

    The issue has been highlighted by a series of high-profile reports linking several notable companies to allegations of impropriety.

    Most recently, MacDonald's locations in British Columbia and Alberta have been accused of various indiscretions, including forcing temporary foreign workers to live together in a shared apartment and pay rent directly to the company.

    But even before the Big Mac attack, there were allegations that Canada's temporary foreign workers program was being used improperly.

    Last month, the Alberta Federation of Labour claimed 65 oil-sand contractors were laid of and

    Read More »from The values and vulnerabilities of Canada’s temporary foreign workers program
  • When it comes to politics I'm a knee-jerk moderate, so it's very rare I find myself agreeing with the folks over at Sun News Network. It happens about as often as the lunar eclipse we had this week.

    But we're more or less on the same page over word that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford took time to pose for photos with people outside Jim Flaherty's funeral.

    Commentators on the conservative-oriented news network especially took Trudeau to task for leaning in for a selfie on his way into the solemn church service for the former finance minister, who died suddenly of a heart attack last week.

    A smiling Trudeau is shown gazing into a woman's smart phone before heading into the Toronto's St. James Cathedral.

    Ford, a close family friend of Flaherty (who once publicly broke into tears over the mayor's drug problems), also allowed himself to be photographed in a shot that went up on Instagram.

    [ Related: Obama’s Mandela ‘selfie’ controversy overblown: photographer ]

    Read More »from Rob Ford, Justin Trudeau taking heat for selfies outside Flaherty’s state funeral
  • A Canadian flight simulator instructor who made frequent appearances on CNN during its extensive Flight 370 coverage has been fired from his job for dressing unprofessionally and, according to the company's owner, making Canadians "look very bad all over the world."

    Mitchell Casado, an instructor for uFly in Mississauga, Ont., announced on Twitter that he had been fired, hinting that it was linked to CNN's waning interest in the company’s services.

    CNN logged many hours in the cockpit of one of the company's flight simulators, which is the same model as the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared en route to China last month.

    uFly company owner Claudio Teixeira said, however, that Casado's termination was caused by showing up late for work and his refusal to dress professionally. Teixeira told the Associated Press that the relaxed jeans and unbuttoned plaid shirts Casdado wore on international television "shamed" the country.

    "Even though I let him be on TV he shamed us Canadians and

    Read More »from Fired flight instructor Mitchell Casado’s fashion faux pas doesn’t make Canada’s hall of shame
  • Chances are a six-month-old boy who was struck by a car Tuesday won't have any memory of the accident that nearly cost him his young life or the guardian angels who rescued him.

    The baby was being pushed in a stroller by his mother as they crossed an intersection in Nanaimo, B.C., on Tuesday when they were struck by a car running a red light, the Nanaimo Daily News reports.

    The baby, strapped into a car seat plopped into the stroller, was hurled into the street, ending up under the car.

    The mother cried for someone to help her screaming baby. That's when passersby quickly leapt into action.

    [ Related: Officers and bystanders rescue 6-year-old boy pinned under car ]

    Around five people grabbed the rear end of the new model Volkswagen Jetta and lifted it off the ground so another could pull the baby from underneath.

    The child suffered only minor brushes and scraps but was kept in hospital overnight for observation as a precaution, RCMP Const. Gary O'Brien said. Perhaps the car seat did

    Read More »from Good Samaritans rescue baby boy pinned under car
  • Television cameras are inching their way into Canada's courtrooms, ever so slowly.

    A Manitoba judge's verdict in a murder case was streamed live Wednesday afternoon, the first time ever the province's court system has allowed such a crucial element of a criminal case to be televised, CBC News reported.

    It's part of a pilot program to test the viability of cameras at all levels of the province's court system.

    Associate Chief Justice Shane Perlmutter found Cassandra Knott not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2011 death of her husband, CBC News said.

    The camera focused only on the judge, who heard the case without a jury, as he delivered his ruling. Media outlets, including the Winnipeg Free Press, relayed the live stream.

    [ Related: Woman found not guilty of murder in Manitoba's first televised verdict ]

    The experiment has the backing of the chief judges of all three levels of Manitoba's court system, the Free Press said.

    "Courts must be open to the public," Court of Appeal Chief

    Read More »from Manitoba court system opens the door to TV cameras, but just a crack
  • A series of violent public knife attacks highlighted by five fatalities at a Calgary house party have led to some question about whether Canada has a problem with knife violence, and whether it is time to crack down on the prevalence of blades.

    But experts say nothing necessarily suggests an upward trend in knife violence and roundly dismiss the idea that 2014 could become "the year of the knife."

    In Calgary, where five university-aged adults were stabbed to death at a northwestern neighbourhood house party on Tuesday, law officials have expressed concern over the severity of the attack, though not specifically the use of a knife itself.

    "This is the worst mass murder in Calgary's history," police chief Rick Hanson said on Tuesday. "We have never seen five people killed by an individual at one scene. The scene was horrific."

    Police say the suspect, 22-year-old Matthew de Grood, arrived at the house party with a "device" he had brought from work. But it was a knife found inside the

    Read More »from Will 2014 be remembered as 'the year of the knife'? Not likely, experts say

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