• A vote to approved in vitro fertilization with genetic material from three people in Britain. A vote to approved in vitro fertilization with genetic material from three people in Britain.

    A prominent Canadian medical ethicist is alarmed by a vote this week in Britain’s House of Commons to approve in vitro fertilization involving genetic material from three people.

    Margaret Somerville, founding director of McGill University’s Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, said the procedure, which aims to eliminate genetic diseases inherited from the mother, creates a “very worrying” precedent and opens the door to a future that could include designer babies.

    “It’s a major, major move away from what we thought was acceptable,” Somerville said in an interview with Yahoo Canada News.

    BBC News reported the Commons approved the technique Tuesday, 382-128 in a free vote.

    "We’re not playing god here,” Prime Minister David Cameron said. “We’re just making sure that two parents who want a healthy baby can have one."

    The measure must still be passed by the House of Lords to become law, but it’s thought the first baby conceived using the technique could be born next year.

    The

    Read More »from Medical ethicist red-flags new three-parent in vitro baby procedure
  • The Yellow Media Inc. logo is shown at the company's quarterly results meeting in Montreal, Thursday, May 6, 2010. The maker of the once ubiquitous telephone directory is beginning to drop home delivery in some Canadian communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham HughesThe Yellow Media Inc. logo is shown at the company's quarterly results meeting in Montreal, Thursday, May 6, 2010. The maker of the once ubiquitous telephone directory is beginning to drop home delivery in some Canadian communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
    When was the last time you cracked open the Yellow Pages when you were shopping for a product or service?

    That question occurred to me when the new Yellow Pages appeared on my stoop last month. I couldn’t remember picking up its predecessor, which sat unused and pristine on a shelf next to the phone for the last year. I suspect I’m not alone.

    Yellow Pages Ltd. confirmed that suspicion Monday with an announcement that it would begin cutting back on door-to-door deliveries of the once massive business directory in areas where research shows it and other print media were in declining usage. When we let our fingers do the walking, for most of us it’s on a keyboard.

    It’s yet another once commonplace part of our lives that’s perhaps not obsolete but certainly being forced to adapt to the way new technology has reshaped society and the way we do things.

    Neighbourhoods in the Ontario cities of Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville will be the first to not receive the books on doorsteps, says

    Read More »from Yellow Pages trimming home delivery only latest example of once-needed goods becoming obsolete
  • (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)(Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

    An amazing story of neighbourliness, charity and altruism recently came out of a small Ontario town this week, offering the country a shining example of community policing done right.

    The incident occurred in Cornwall, Ont., where officers were recently called to a home on a suspected domestic violence incident and instead found an elderly man and his sick wife struggling so much to makes ends meet that he had pawned his wedding ring.

    The officers responded by collecting money to purchase the couple some groceries and buy the husband’s ring back.

    The story, which has since been picked up by international media, was first reported in the Cornwall Seaway News.

    The couple has been married for 54 years and, with his wife suffering Alzheimer’s, the husband was having trouble putting food on the table.

    He sold several household items and eventually had to part ways with his wedding ring.

    It was surely a tough decision. Which is why it was so heartening to learn that the officers called to

    Read More »from Elderly Ontario man pawns wedding ring for groceries, charitable police buy it back
  • School zones are an obvious place to slow down, but Ontario is looking to expand lower limits further (CP)School zones are an obvious place to slow down, but Ontario is looking to expand lower limits further (CP)

    The Ontario government is currently considering reducing speed limits in residential areas as part of a plan to protect pedestrians in the case of automobile accidents. 

    In many ways, that debate is a unique one. In other ways it is well-debated territory that, in most previous cases, has fallen on the side of slower speeds for the sake of safety.

    According to CBC News, the potential shift would make the limit in areas where no speed limit is posted 40 km/h. Default speed limits in Ontario are currently 50 km/h.

    "It makes a big difference, we live in denser communities, cars are getting faster, our population numbers are much higher now,” said Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi.

    "Scientific research has shown us that even a reduction by 10 kilometres increases the likelihood of a person surviving (a collision) and reduces injuries as well.”

    That claim is backed up by a 2010 coroner’s inquest. And in 2012, Toronto’s chief medical officers recommended the city cut speed limits by as

    Read More »from Ontario's possible plan for slower speed limits faces a bumpy road ahead
  • The surprise in the Emma Paulsen case was not that the Vancouver-area dog walker was convicted of allowing six animals in her care to die of heat stroke in the back of her pickup truck, then lying about it.

    After all, she pleaded guilty last fall to leaving the dogs in the truck while she went shopping and, returning to find them dead, dumped them in a ditch on a country road. Then she concocted a story that they’d been stolen while she was in the washroom at an off-leash park.

    No, the surprise was when provincial court Judge Jim Jardine on Wednesday sentenced Paulsen to six months in jail – three months for allowing animals to continue to suffer and three more for mischief in connection with her elaborate cover-up, which included tearful TV interviews about the purported theft. She’s also banned from working with animals for life and from owning them for 10 years.


    Related Stories:

    Puppy mill uncovered on a farm in Quebec’s Eastern Townships

    Advocates seek improved legal status for

    Read More »from Dog walker's jail sentence shows courts getting tougher on animal cruelty
  • Peter Kent (right) while working as Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double. (via CBC)Peter Kent (right) while working as Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double. (via CBC)

    You may not know Squamish, B.C., councillor Peter Kent, but you would likely recognize him. And he’s sure to get your attention when he sets himself on fire next month.

    In February, Kent – an Arnold Schwarzenegger doppelganger who acted as the star’s personal stuntman for over a decade – will fulfill a campaign promise and set himself ablaze at a public event. 

    The trainer and professional stuntman – voted to Squamish town council in November – spent 15 years stunting for Schwarzenegger, beginning with the original Terminator film in 1984. 

    He is also a credited actor, and the founder of Vancouver’s School of Hard Knocks stuntman academy. Kent settled in Squamish with his wife because of the region’s natural beauty.

    Kent unsuccessfully ran in 2011 but won a council seat in 2014 after releasing a video promising the pyrotechnic stunt if voter turnout improved over the previous election.

    On Friday, Feb. 13, Kent will don an array of fire retardant clothing and gels and, in front of a

    Read More »from B.C. city councillor to fulfill campaign promise of setting himself on fire
  • A participant takes a ride at a Slide the City event in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2014.A participant takes a ride at a Slide the City event in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2014.

    A Slip ‘n Slide about to be sent on a cross-continent summer tour is expected to splash into more than a dozen Canadian cities, while facing opposition elsewhere for the excessive use of water.

    And could Canada’s recent spate of bubble wrapping – which has put city toboggan hills in peril – spell trouble for the travelling slide show?

    Slide The City announced in mid-January a plan to launch a world tour, bringing a 1,000-foot horizontal vinyl water slide to 150 cities around the globe.

    At the moment, the company has scores of North American destinations marked on their website’s map including 17 Canadian locations, from Vancouver Island to Fort McMurray to Mississauga, and all the major venues in between.

    Only a few of the Canadian events have a scheduled event date. But organizers are already accepting registrations and rallying volunteers for every event.

    "We spend so much time walking, running, or driving around our cities," co-founder TR Gourley said in a statement. “But how many

    Read More »from Slide the City aims to bring giant Slip 'n Slide to 17 Canadian cities
  • Vancouver, that glittering, glass-walled city on the Pacific, is heading into a potentially vicious war over transit.

    Other big Canadian cities will, without a doubt, be watching closely as residents in Metro Vancouver vote in a referendum to boost the provincial sales tax by half a percentage point in the region to pay for a 10-year, $7.5-billion program of improvements to roads and bridges, but mostly to fund public transit expansion.

    The mail-in vote, run by ElectionsBC, will take place between March 16 and May 29, but there are already signs the Yes side may have a steep hill to climb to convince voters to add another transit tax. 

    Residents already fund the system via fuel, property and parking taxes, not to mention fares. An earlier proposal for a vehicle-licensing levy was quashed in the face of a looming public backlash.

    The sales tax proposal has broad support among the establishment, including Metro Vancouver’s business community, unions and the Vancouver’s main civic

    Read More »from Canada's transit wars: People want good service but not the cost
  • Shoal Lake 40 residents haven't been able to do this for 18 years. (CBC)Shoal Lake 40 residents haven't been able to do this for 18 years. (CBC)

    When Winnipeg health officials announced a boil water advisory for the entire city on Tuesday, it was the Manitoba capital’s first-ever foray into the world of liquid terror.

    Residents were outraged upon learning that their access to clean drinking water had been potentially tainted by E. coli. Those who refused to drink boiled tap water rushed to stores, making bottled water an impossible commodity to keep stocked.

    Restaurants and businesses were forced to close or adjust their services – like those coffee shops that were only able to sell food and bottled beverages. Schools shut off drinking fountains and urged parents to send children to class with a supply of potable water.

    It was an unprecedented moment for Manitoba’s capital, but not an unprecedented moment for the province itself. The First Nations community of Shoal Lake 40, located at the source of Winnipeg’s water supply, has been under a boil water advisory for 18 years.

    The issue of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation is a

    Read More »from Winnipeg's water scare pales compared to First Nations' 18 year boil advisory
  • Olympic athlete Clara Hughes rode her bike 11,000 km to get people talking about mental illness.(CP)Olympic athlete Clara Hughes rode her bike 11,000 km to get people talking about mental illness.(CP)

    Today is the day when all across Canada, people make a big deal about mental health. The day when people gleefully post and retweet a corporate hashtag, dust off their hands and declare a job well done for another year.

    By now, most of us are aware of Bell Let’s Talk Day, the annual instance of corporate do-goodedness that generates an enviable amount of publicity for the company, in exchange for a five-cent donation to mental health groups for every appropriately-tagged tweet and Facebook post.

    Texts and calls made on the Bell system also secure donations, so it’s not all about leaving a virtual footprint. But you’d be forgiven for forgetting that.

    By 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, more than 25 million “interactions” had already been logged – which should work out to about $1.25 million in donations.

    It’s easy to be swept up in the enthusiasm of it all. Everyone from the Prime Minister of Canada to actor Jay Baruchel have joined the online cause, and rallied others to join as well.

    Read More »from #BellLetsTalk: Time for less talk and more action on mental health

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