• Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell talks to media outside the legislature in Victoria, Monday, March 30, 2015. British Columbia's privacy commissioner says a Vancouver Island municipality violated privacy rights by secretly installing computer spyware the mayor alleged was used to bug his computer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk MeissnerSaanich Mayor Richard Atwell talks to media outside the legislature in Victoria, Monday, March 30, 2015. British Columbia's privacy commissioner says a Vancouver Island municipality violated privacy rights by secretly installing computer spyware the mayor alleged was used to bug his computer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner
    It seems a plot line worthy of House of Cards.

    The newly elected mayor of the small Vancouver Islanddistrict of Saanich decamped from city hall earlier this year, alleging spyingat the municipal headquarters.

    Mayor Richard Atwell said in January that his city hall computer was bugged and set up a private email account for constituents to contact him.

    To some it seemed, to say the least, unlikely in the sleepy suburb of Victoria, known more for its coastal parks than its political hijinks.

    But B.C.’s privacy commissioner now says it’s true, the district had installed invasive surveillance programs on city hall computers that violated the privacy rights of employees.

    “The software had been configured to record the activities of district employees, including recording and retaining screenshots of computer activity at 30 second intervals and every keystroke taken on a workstation’s keyboard, and retaining copies of every email sent or received,” says the report released Monday by the

    Read More »from B.C. privacy czar's report vindicates Saanich city hall spyware accusations
  • Photo: The Canadian PressPhoto: The Canadian Press
    Estimates vary, but as few as one in three young voters bothers to go down to the polling station on election day.

    The abysmal turnout among Millennials in the last two federal elections has been singled out to Elections Canada as one of the main culprits in the overall demise in voting numbers.

    But the problem is not that young voters are any less civically engaged or politically aware than their older compatriots.

    There is a generational divide between Canadians under age 35 and those over, says the study released Friday by the Broadbent Institute.

    “When we ask why they don’t vote, a lot of them say the biggest reason is not because they don’t know about politics,” David McGrane, a professor of political science at the University of Saskatchewan and author of the report, tells Yahoo Canada News.

    “They know every bit as much as older Canadians. They know where to vote; they know how to vote.”

    But young voters across the country tend to lean to the left of the political spectrum, says

    Read More »from Youth not voting because majority lean far left politically, says study
  • Thu, Mar 26: On this edition of the News Hour Plus, the Global BC anchors discuss how to deal with hecklers and haters after meteorologist Kristi Gordon received a hurtful letter from an unhappy viewer about her pregnancy wardrobe.Thu, Mar 26: On this edition of the News Hour Plus, the Global BC anchors discuss how to deal with hecklers and haters after meteorologist Kristi Gordon received a hurtful letter from an unhappy viewer about her pregnancy wardrobe.
    Sometimes, people suck. That’s not news.

    But a British Columbia meteorologist has sparked a revolt against the haters by speaking out on Global BC’s newscast about rude emails she’s received as she continues her full-time job on-air through her second pregnancy.

    Kristi Gordon is six months pregnant. She has a three-year-old at home. She works full-time.

    Contrary to popular belief, she has no makeup person, stylist or personal shopper.

    As any TV personality can attest, a small number of critical emails, calls and letters come from members of the public. But a handwritten letter sent this week prompted Gordon to address the issue on-air.

    “It was so hateful,” Gordon tells Yahoo Canada News.

    At the outset of her second pregnancy, the meteorologist appealed to viewers to “be nice.” She’d been through on-air changes in her appearance before.

    Some sad, angry people struggle with nice.

    The letter, sent to “Globel,” called the mom-to-be “gross” and said the viewers had changed the channel.

    Read More »from Pregnant B.C. TV meteorologist  calls out the bullies for fat shaming
  • Kurdish peshmerga forces carry their weapons at outskirts of Kirkuk March 15, 2015. (Reuters)Kurdish peshmerga forces carry their weapons at outskirts of Kirkuk March 15, 2015. (Reuters)
    It’s a foregone conclusion Prime Minister Harper will win next week’s Commons vote to expand Canada’s military mission against Islamic State.
    Harper's plan is for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to attack ISIS targets inside neighbouring Syria. 
    Critics of the mission say besides being an illegal intrusion into a sovereign state, CF-18 air strikes increase the potential risk to pilots. Unlike Iraq, where allies are close at hand to help a downed pilot, Syria is entirely hostile territory.

    Last December, a Jordanian pilot whose aircraft went down in ISIS-held territory was captured and executed, but not before ISIS extracted maximum propaganda value from the incident.

    As of yet, there have been no Canadians captured by ISIS, despite the military missions in the region and Canadians choosing to join Kurdish forces independently. But after seeing what has happened to other foreign nationals, Canadians can’t help but wonderwhat would happen if it were one of their own citizens

    Read More »from ISIS mission in Syria: What happens if a Canadian gets captured?
  • Canada behind in bringing e-health online: report

    Carestream's new Clinical Collaboration Platform can boost collaboration around clinical data; break down walls between ancillary departments, sites and networks; and provide physicians with a single view of critical patient records and information. (Photo: Business Wire) <a href=http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50993146&lang=en> Multimedia Gallery URL</a>
    Canada has spent more than $10 billion developing electronic health records but continues to lag behind other countries in sharing information among healthcare providers and organizations, says a new report.

    Less than 30 per cent of primary care doctors have electronic access to clinical data about a patient who has been seen by a different health organization, says the report from the C.D. Howe Institute.

    “We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress in the last two or three years but we’re still behind,” Dennis Protti, co-author of the report and professor emeritus at the School of Health Information Science at the University of Victoria, tells Yahoo Canada News.

    “There are parts of the world where every GP, regardless of where they’re practising or how they’re practising, uses technology and communicates electronically with hospitals and specialists… We’re not there yet.”

    Some surveys have found that in primary care only 12 per cent of physicians are notified electronically of

    Read More »from Canada behind in bringing e-health online: report
  • Canada's Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers speaks during a news conference upon the release of his report in Ottawa November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Wattie (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS)Canada's Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers speaks during a news conference upon the release of his report in Ottawa November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Wattie (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS)
    A move by the government of Ontario to review the controversial practice of solitary confinement is a good first step toward eliminating the practice, according to Canada’s federal prison ombudsman.

    The Ontario government has announced it is launching a review of the solitary confinement policy in provincial jails — which house those awaiting trial or who are serving terms of less than two years. Those inmates serving two years or more are held in federal prisons.

    The news came in a statement from Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

    It said the review will examine how segregation practices stand up against other mental-health policies.

    "I am very pleased to see the announcement in Ontario as the province operates one of the larger provincial jail systems," Howard Sapers, the federal prison Ombudsman, said in an interview with Yahoo Canada News.

    "It’s a good first step."

    Mental health considerations

    The Ontario review will include consultations with mental

    Read More »from Ontario review of solitary confinement a step in the right direction, says federal prison watchdog
  • (Submitted by Nora Fitzgerald/CBC)(Submitted by Nora Fitzgerald/CBC)

     Nora Fitzgerald had no idea when she tried to cross the border to the U.S. that her seal-skin purse, an accessory that was drawing many compliments, would be confiscated. Since seals are on the endangered list, U.S. customs seized the piece, slapped her with a $250 fine and a threat that she could be denied future entry unless she paid up.

    According to the U.S. Department of State, 300,000 people cross the border between Canada and America every day, and while basic travel rules are familiar to most, there are a few lesser-known restrictions on common items that could cause unexpected trouble at the border.

     

    With a gem like this, you'd definitely need proof of purchase. But it's true for tiny items, too. (Reuters)With a gem like this, you'd definitely need proof of purchase. But it's true for tiny items, too. (Reuters)

    Jewelery

    You may be heading south for a fancy event or wedding, but Canadian Border Services Agency suggests travelling with as little jewelery as possible. The pieces are small, can be hard to identify and it's often difficult to prove that you didn't purchase them while away.

    In order to avoid a hassle, the agency suggests preparing documentation before you leave the country.

    Read More »from Border woes: 5 items that could get you in trouble at the Canada-U.S. border
  • In this May 20, 2009 file photo a glass of white wine is swirled during a tasting in Oakville, Calif. (AP Photo)In this May 20, 2009 file photo a glass of white wine is swirled during a tasting in Oakville, Calif. (AP Photo)

    News of a recent lawsuit filed in California claiming several cheap wines have ‘very, very high levels of arsenic’ was a bit of a buzz-kill. But it turns out many are questioning the veracity of that lawsuit.The person who filed the lawsuit just happens to also be promoting his business that analyzes wine. And on top of that, he applied the standard fordrinking water (10 parts arsenic per billion) in the U.S. to wine.

    Canadians would have to drink vast amounts of wine every single day for this to be a legitimate concern,Warren Kindzierski, an associate professor with the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta told Yahoo Canada News.

    And he’s not alone in his belief.

    “I personally question the reasoning that less expensive wines have potentially higher levels of arsenic,” Jonathan Rodwell, director of vineyards and wine-making at Devonian Coast Wineries in Nova Scotia, said in an email interview. “There is no reasoning in this and I suspect this is more a strategic

    Read More »from Arsenic in wine is ‘not an important public health issue’: experts
  • The Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa is shown on November 4, 2011. The Canada Revenue Agency wants to set the record straight when journalists fail to include its upbeat take in their stories. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickThe Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa is shown on November 4, 2011. The Canada Revenue Agency wants to set the record straight when journalists fail to include its upbeat take in their stories. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
    Political pressure from charitable organizations has resulted in tougher drunk driving laws and health warnings on cigarettes.

    But a crackdown on political activities by environmental, labour and human rights groups under the current Conservative government threatens to silence those who would challenge the status quo, warns a new report by the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria.

    “Calling for a change in laws is considered political,” Calvin Sandborn, legal director of the centre, tells Yahoo Canada News.

    Charitable organizations are living in fear that speaking out will earn them an audit, and potentially see them lose their charitable status, he says.

    “If we’d had this kind of fear … we never would have cleaned up the Great Lakes; we never would have gotten drunk driving laws; we never would have gotten dioxins out of pulp mill pollution…. We’d likely still have lead in gasoline.”

    The report, prepared for the environmental group DeSmog Canada, says the federal

    Read More »from Charity audits threaten to silence those seeking change: report
  • A price tag lists the price of orange juice at a grocery store in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Dec. 8, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickA price tag lists the price of orange juice at a grocery store in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Dec. 8, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

    About 1.1 million Canadian households did not have enough food to eat in 2012, says a new report from Statistics Canada.

    Five per cent of Canadian children and eight per cent of adults experienced “food insecurity,” meaning they could not afford enough nutritious food, says the report released Wednesday.

    “We weren’t surprised by the results that we got. They have been consistent,” analyst Shirin Roshanafshar tells Yahoo Canada News.

    In Nunavut, almost 37 per cent of households reported going without. That’s more than four times the national average of 8.3 per cent.

    “Nunavut had the highest rate of food insecurity amongst all Canadian provinces and territories,” Roshanafshar says.

    The report by Roshanafshar and analyst Emma Hawkins looked at data from 65,000 Canadian Community Health surveys filled out annually from 2007-2012, focusing on 2012.

    While Nunavut reported the highest rate of food insecurity, all the territories were hit harder than their provincial counterparts to the

    Read More »from What's for dinner? Not enough for many Canadians: StatsCan report

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