• You’ve probably never heard of Karl Ove Knausgaard, unless you happened on the flap he caused in the last few days by trashing the eating habits of Newfoundlanders in a New York Times Magazine article.

    Knausgaard is a Norwegian author best known for a six-part, 3,500-page memoir entitled Min Kamp (My Struggle), which should not be connected in any way with an identically titled book by a certain political leader in Germany in the 1920s.

    Social media is still rippling with reaction to Knausgaard’s observation that almost everyone he encountered in a restaurant in St. Anthony, N.L., during a trip to visit abandoned Viking settlements at L’Anse aux Meadows was fat, and apparently proud of it.

    “Everyone in the place, except the waiter, was fat, some of them so fat that I kept having to look at them,” Knausgaard said, recalling his dinner at a place called Jungle Jim’s.

    “I had never seen people that fat before. The strange thing was that none of them looked as if they were trying to hide their

    Read More »from Norwegian author's fat comment hits Canadians' self-esteem
  • Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: Thinkstock
    A controversial decision involving a First Nations girl refusing chemotherapy may not be final just yet, as the ministers from the Ontario auditor general's office are still in talks discussing the best way to resolve the matter.

    Provincial justice officials asked the parties involved to agree to extend the deadline for filing an appeal.

    “I can confirm that the appeal period for the Hamilton Health Sciences matter has been extended by agreement to March 13. The family and the Government of Ontario are continuing to discuss the most respectful and effective ways to provide for this child’s health care,” Christine Burke, spokeswoman for the minister, said in an emailed statement.

    “As the matter may be before the courts, and out of respect for the family’s privacy, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

    J.J.’s case is dishearteningly similar to that of Makayla Sault, the 11-year-old from the New Credit First Nation who died of a stroke in January, after quitting chemotherapy in

    Read More »from Ontario AG seeks steps into case of First Nations girl who quit chemo
  • Donny Ouimette was identified as one of the men killed in the shooting at a Toronto McDonald's. (Facebook)Donny Ouimette was identified as one of the men killed in the shooting at a Toronto McDonald's. (Facebook)

    The security guard at the centre of the double-fatal shooting at a Toronto McDonald’s is assisting police in their investigation, but faces intense scrutiny and possible criminal charges surrounding the use of his firearm.

    The guard, whose name has not been released, stopped for food at the east end McDonald’s on Danforth Avenue near Coxwell Avenue at about 3 a.m. on Sunday when an altercation broke out and two men were fatally wounded. The guard suffered a gunshot injury to his hand.

    Security expert Chris Menary, author of The Canadian Security Professionals Guide, said police will examine every aspect of the shooting, including whether the guard was following the strict rules that govern the use of firearms by licensed security workers.

    “Unless he was dropping cash there, he is going to have a real hard sell as to why he pulled his firearm unless the men tried to get his firearm or pulled a knife on him, because Ontario has strict rules for storage and use,” Menary said in an

    Read More »from Security guard's use of firearm in fatal McDonald's shooting draws police scrutiny
  • York University cancels classes amid strike (CBC)York University cancels classes amid strike (CBC)

    With classes out at York University and picket lines up at the University of Toronto, post-secondary students in Toronto officially have more to worry about this school year than their grade point average.

    So far, any bad blood being spilled in the dispute has beencontained to the striking teaching assistants (members of the Canadian Union ofPublic Employees) and their university employers.

    Many of those whose education, and, some say, potential future employment, has been impacted are taking it pretty well.

    “Everyone has a right to fight for a better life,” a University of Toronto student, identified as Svetlana Davidchuk, told CBC News.

    Then again, it’s no longer unusual to see picket lines up at schools, as well as other public institutions.

    Strikes resulting from severe austerity measures feature heavily in the headlines we read about Greece’s struggling economy. But Canadians in various industries aren’t immune from similar problems as budgets shrink and concerns rise over

    Read More »from University students out of classrooms again as Toronto teaching assistants strike
  • It’s not unusual to find a surprise inside a box of cereal. Often it’s good, like a coupon or a little toy. Sometimes it’s something nasty, which warrants a stern letter to the manufacturer of said cereal.

    And sometimes it's poignant, like the surprise high school teacher Stephane Gaudette got when he opened a box of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes on Monday morning. The wax paper package inside contained this message:

    “This is the very last bag of Canadian cereal for the Canadian market from Kellogg’s London Ontario plant. Fri. Dec. 5, 2014.”


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    The bag was signed by three workers who’d been employed at the nine-decade-old plant between 24 and 29 years.

    According to the London Free Press, Kellogg’s London plant shut down for good on Dec. 21, putting 500 people out of work. It made 27 cereals, including Corn Flakes, Frosted

    Read More »from Farewell message on Frosted Flakes also a fitting epitaph for branch plants
  • A Sound Transit bus is seen on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Seattle's downtown Westlake Park. (AP Photo)A Sound Transit bus is seen on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Seattle's downtown Westlake Park. (AP Photo)

    The King County program gives transit riders with a household income less than double the federal poverty level a fare discount of up to 50 per cent. A single person who makes less than US$23,340 or a family of four with a household income less than US$47,700 qualify.

    "Having a reliable, affordable transit system is more important than ever as housing costs rise and commutes get longer," Dow Constantine, board chairman of Sound Transit and King County executive, said in a statement.

    King County transit users who qualify now pay $1.50 per ride. Other users pay a 25-cent fare increase to offset the cost.

    Earlier this year, a Detroit Free Press story about one man’s 34-kilometre daily commute on foot made headlines around the world.

    Throughout North America, the high cost of housing has pushed many low-income earners to seek shelter in the suburbs though their jobs and many services remain in the city.

    Calgary’s decade-old program offers households that fall below Statistics Canada’s

    Read More »from Low-income transit plans aim to put the brakes on poverty
  • Edmonton Freezeway, courtesy designer Matthew Gibbs.Edmonton Freezeway, courtesy designer Matthew Gibbs.

    When it comes to winter, Canadians fall roughly into two categories: Those who glory in the cold and snow, who can’t wait to get out on a rink or ski hill, and those who hunker down until spring arrives, except for unavoidable excursions like butt-clenching commutes on icy freeways.

    Matthew Gibbs wants more of us in the first group. He thinks he’s found a way of luring more people outdoors by turning city sidewalks into vast urban skating trails.

    The Edmonton native is the creative force behind an ambitious concept to transform stretches in the Alberta capital’s downtown into what he calls a “freezeway.”

    The idea, he says, would draw people out of their homes, providing physical activity and making Edmonton’s often bleak downtown winterscape into a cultural hub of cafes, restaurants, cultural activities and just plain fun.

    The concept ties in well with Edmonton’s WinterCity Strategy, says its co-ordinator, Sue Holdsworth. The strategy aims to turn Edmonton's climactic reality into a

    Read More »from Edmonton Freezeway: Designer thinks it will help winter be more bearable
  • Leonard Nimoy, right,  laughs as he is greeted by Erin Crane, of Vulcan, Alta., on April 23, 2010. (CP)Leonard Nimoy, right, laughs as he is greeted by Erin Crane, of Vulcan, Alta., on April 23, 2010. (CP)

    A small Alberta farming town, nestled halfway between Calgary and Lethbridge, is in mourning today.

    The most famous citizen of the planet of Vulcan, "Star Trek" star Leonard Nimoy, died on Friday at the age of 83, and now the town of Vulcan, Alberta has to say goodbye to Mr. Spock.

    "He was such a humble and great ambassador...and just a great person to visit with," Mayor Tom Grant told Yahoo Canada News.

    "Our condolences are definitely with his family and friends."

    A replica of starship Enterprise from the from Star Trek series at the highway 23 entrance to Vulcan, Alberta on Aug. 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougalA replica of starship Enterprise from the from Star Trek series at the highway 23 entrance to Vulcan, Alberta on Aug. 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougalThe tight-knit community was initially named after the Roman god of fire by a railway surveyor in 1910, and for many years its greatest claim to fame was a large collection of grain elevators. 

    But as "Star Trek" grew as a cultural touchstone through the latter decades of the 20th century, Vulcan embraced its connection to Spock's homeworld. The Vulcan Association of

    Read More »from Leonard Nimoy mourned in Canadian 'home' of Vulcan, Alberta
  • This Calgary skyscraper was the target of an attack plan designed by Glen Gieschen. (CBC) This Calgary skyscraper was the target of an attack plan designed by Glen Gieschen. (CBC)

    While they don’t condone what Glen Gieschen did, veterans’ advocates say the former soldier’s plan to attack a Veterans Affairs office in Calgary with guns and explosives shows what can happen when veterans try to get help for illnesses that are hard to link to their military service.

    Gieschen was sentenced to four years in prison this week after pleading guilty to several weapons charges last November. He was given 18 months credit for time spent in custody since his arrest in January 2014.

    Apparently he was upset at the way Veterans Affairs was handling his claim that he had developed multiple sclerosis as a result of a flu shot while still in the armed forces.

    Gieschen’s wife called police when she became concerned he was suicidal. He was arrested under Alberta’s Mental Health Act but later charged criminally after police discovered a cache of guns, chemicals to make explosives, body armour and schematics for the federal government building that housed the Veterans Affairs office

    Read More »from Vet's attack plan an extreme reaction to widespread frustration with Veterans' Affairs
  • Dr. Gary B. Collins, Department Head of Surgery, left and charge nurse Deb Renner Jan. 18, 2012. (AP)Dr. Gary B. Collins, Department Head of Surgery, left and charge nurse Deb Renner Jan. 18, 2012. (AP)

    Violence against nurses and other health-care workers by patients is a serious problem but the B.C. Nurses’ Union, tired of waiting for health officials to deal with it, is taking unilateral steps to protect its members.

    The 42,000-member union announced Tuesday it will pursue legal action on behalf of any nurse who authorizes it, including pressing charges against the attacker.

    The union, which is holding its annual convention in Vancouver this week, says it has also set up a 24-hour toll-free hotline for nurses to report abuse.

    Union president Gayle Duteil told CKNW’s Simi Sara Show that nurses are often expected to shake off the slaps, punches and scratches they get from unruly or mentally disturbed patients.

    "Nurse managers are often, ‘well you just have to get used to it.’ It’s an expectation of the job," she told the radio open-line host.

    Duteil said 55 per cent of workplace violence claims filed with WorkSafe BC involve health-care workers, a figure she believes underestimates

    Read More »from B.C. nurses vow to take patient violence to court

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