• First Nations give federal budget a fail

    Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde is shown in Ottawa after an interview on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin TangAssembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde is shown in Ottawa after an interview on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

    A federal budget any year, but especially in an election year, is a sermon for the party faithful.

    Believe, it says. We are with you, it says. Toss a few coins in the collection plate, it says.

    And so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to rattlers of the Conservative cage that the 2015-16 spending plan focuses on jobs, business and families.

    But it is still a disappointment, says Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

    “It’s a status quo budget when it comes to First Nations and the status quo is not going to do anything to close the socio-economic gap that exists between First Nations and non-First Nations people in Canada,” Bellegarde tells Yahoo Canada News.

    “Maybe the Conservatives have discounted the First Nations vote,” Bellegarde says.

    The federal budget tabled Monday highlighted $500 million previously announced last fall for the construction and renovation of schools on reserves.

    It does include $200 million in funding over five years to improve First

    Read More »from First Nations give federal budget a fail
  • In this March 15, 2013 photo, workers assemble cars at the new Toyota plant in Indonesia (AP)In this March 15, 2013 photo, workers assemble cars at the new Toyota plant in Indonesia (AP)

    Canada’s automobile industry may be on a long, slow slide to oblivion.

    The federal budget Tuesday included a $100-million fund aimed at innovation in the auto-parts industry over five years, but no substantive strategy to keep Canada’s biggest single manufacturing sector from long-term decline.

    Automakers have warned that without a coherent strategy, Canada will continue to lose new production capacity to Mexico and southern U.S., where wages are lower and governments offer fat financial incentives and streamlined bureaucracy for new investments.

    There is a lot at stake. According to Ottawa’s figures, the industry, centred in Ontario, was worth almost $85 billion in annual revenue in 2013 and employed 117,000 people, roughly a third of them directly in building passenger and commercial vehicles.

    It isn’t going to disappear tomorrow but there’s increasing evidence it faces shrinkage.

    General Motors of Canada announced earlier this year it was closing one of its two Oshawa, Ont.,

    Read More »from Does Canada’s auto industry have a future?
  • Click to a pharmacy online, the internet has a host of medicines and pills for sale but many of them are fake.  Click to a pharmacy online, the internet has a host of medicines and pills for sale but many of them are fake.

    Counterfeit medications are a growing global pandemic killing hundreds of thousands of people a year, warn health scientists.

    A series of 17 new studies found that as much as 41 per cent of some of the 17,000 drug samples tested from all over the world failed to meet quality standards.

    The repercussions are all too real.

    Substandard malaria drugs are believed to have killed an estimated 122,350 children in African in 2013, the research says.

    And while fakes are found largely in low- and middle-income countries, western patients are not immune.

    “Although previously thought to be limited to low-income countries with weak pharmaceutical regulatory systems and problems with anti-malarials, increasing reports of a large variety of poor-quality medicines and medicinal products, such as vitamin supplements, in high- and middle-income economies are illustrative of the pandemic nature of this problem,” says the summary article of the special report published this week in the American Journal

    Read More »from Murder by medicine: Report warns of proliferation of fake pharmaceuticals
  • This file photo shows Vancouver skyline, pictured in 2009. (AFP Photo/Don Emmert)This file photo shows Vancouver skyline, pictured in 2009. (AFP Photo/Don Emmert)

    Whenever these lists of the best cities to live, or worst cities to retire in come out, there's always the caveat that they should be taken with a grain of salt; after all, no survey is going to take into account every single resident's experience, and no one city in Canada could possibly be bursting with joy or completely miserable all the time.

    However there is something to be said for consistency.

    Yet again, Vancouver has ranked poorly on a city happiness survey. Despite being the object of envy for many Canadians (mountains at your back door, the ocean a quick jaunt away, and temperate weather all year long), it looks like when it comes to overall quality of life, Vancouverites just don't seem to be finding much to smile about.


    Related stories:

    Vancouver is unhappiest city in Canada: study

    Edmonton: the saddest Canadian city on Twitter?

    Column: Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous


    In another survey, conducted last year and which identified Kingston as the

    Read More »from We want to know: What makes you unhappy with your city?
  • Would you pay $5,000 to get a jump on the fifth season of Game of Thrones? You might not have a choice if you get caught downloading the first four episodes, which leaked ahead of the season premiere.

    “$5,000 dollars for watching Game of Thrones is really not a good deal – that really is the worse case scenario,” Gil Zvulony, a Toronto-based Internet lawyer, told Yahoo Canada. “But I highly doubt a court would ever award the maximum amount of money for simply downloading a movie, it’s like sending someone to jail for jaywalking.”

    Even still, $5,000 – or ostensibly 5,000 Gold Dragons in Game of Thrones’ Westeros currency (we couldn’t find the Canadian dollar to Gold Dragon exchange rate) – is a fair chunk of change for downloading in Canada. But it’s less than the maximum $20,000 per infringement that could be awarded prior to the 2012 amendments to Canada’s copyright law.

    “They didn’t want to have an absurd result where you had somebody downloading a $10 movie and having to pay

    Read More »from Game of Thrones leak: What really happens if you’re caught downloading?
  • Where do your tax dollars go?

    The Canadian flag flies at half-mast on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa October 23, 2014. A gunman attacked Canada's parliament on Wednesday, with gunfire erupting near a room where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking, and a soldier was fatally shot at a nearby war memorial, jolting the Canadian capital. REUTERS/Chris Wattie (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW MILITARY)The Canadian flag flies at half-mast on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa October 23, 2014. A gunman attacked Canada's parliament on Wednesday, with gunfire erupting near a room where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking, and a soldier was fatally shot at a nearby war memorial, jolting the Canadian capital. REUTERS/Chris Wattie (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW MILITARY)

    Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver delivers his freshman budget today. But just how much wiggle room does the country’s top accountant have and where do our tax dollars go?”

    With federal spending of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars annually, the largest expenditure for Ottawa are transfer payments.

    Last fiscal year, transfers accounted for 60 cents of every tax dollar. That includes approximately 15 cents for elderly benefits like Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplements; six cents for Employment Insurance benefits; five cents for children’s benefits.

    It also includes 11 cents of every dollar for federal transfers to provincial and territorial governments under the Canada Health Transfer, five cents for the Canada Social Transfer that pays for post-secondary education, social and children’s programs, and six cents for equalization payments.

    The next greatest expense for the federal government are operating and capital expenditures, which eat up 28 cents of every tax

    Read More »from Where do your tax dollars go?
  • A vendor of locally grown tobacco smokes a cigarette in a market in Banda Aceh June 24, 2014.REUTERS/Junaidi Hanafiah (INDONESIA - Tags: HEALTH)A vendor of locally grown tobacco smokes a cigarette in a market in Banda Aceh June 24, 2014.REUTERS/Junaidi Hanafiah (INDONESIA - Tags: HEALTH)


    Big tobacco has been waging a theological war to promote smoking in the Muslim world, targeting women in particular, says a news study.

    A review of internal tobacco industry documents going back decades has uncovered a campaign to link abstinence from tobacco to extremism, says the international study co-authored in Canada.

    The campaign went so far as to hire lawyers to make theological arguments against Islamic leaders opposed to tobacco use.

    “The paper shows how the industry has sought to distort and misinterpret the cultural beliefs of these communities, and to reinterpret them to serve the industry’s interests.  All to sell a product that kills half of its customers,” Kelley Lee, a professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University and co-author of the study, tells Yahoo Canada News.

    Public health campaigns against smoking have been very successful in western countries. But as smoking rates have declined in North America and Europe, cigarette manufacturers have increasingly

    Read More »from Big tobacco takes on Islam in effort to promote smoking
  • <span style=color: #000000; font-family: arial, verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 11.1999998092651px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 17.9200000762939px; orphans: auto; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 1; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; display: inline !important; float: none; background-color: #ffffff;>Guy Heinze Jr. talks to his attorney, Newell Hamilton, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 in Glynn County Superior Court in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/The Brunswick News, Michael Hall, Pool)</span>


    Murder convictions don’t usually result in public sympathy for the accused, but the case of Guy Heinze Jr. has sparked public calls for a new trial following a documentary that revealed flaws in the police investigation and trial.

    Vocal supporters have emerged in both Canada and Britain, and more than 1,700 people have signed a petition calling for a new trial. Various groups have sprung up on Facebook and a Twitter hastag and handle have been created to raise support for Heinze to hire a new legal team.

    Heinze was convicted in the 2009 beating death of eight members of his family at the New Hope trailer park in Brunswick, Ga. He was 22 at the time.

    After the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, the judge removed a female juror who felt Heinze was not guilty, replacing her with an alternate juror.  Heinze was convicted in October 2013 of eight counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Investigation comes into question

    Jurors told the

    Read More »from ‘Life and Death Row’ documentary stirs up support for convicted U.S. killer of eight family members
  • Marilyn Baptiste poses on the Xeni Gwet&#39;in First Nation, Nemiah Valley, B.C., in this undated handout photo. A woman who led a fight against a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine in British Columbia has won the North American prize in the world&#39;s largest international contest for grassroots environmental activism. Marilyn Baptiste, 45, will pocket US$175,000 at a ceremony tonight at San Francisco&#39;s opera house. She will join five other recipients from Kenya, Myanmar, Scotland, Haiti and Honduras at a ceremony attended by more than 3,000 people. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Goldman Environmental PrizeMarilyn Baptiste poses on the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation, Nemiah Valley, B.C., in this undated handout photo. A woman who led a fight against a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine in British Columbia has won the North American prize in the world's largest international contest for grassroots environmental activism. Marilyn Baptiste, 45, will pocket US$175,000 at a ceremony tonight at San Francisco's opera house. She will join five other recipients from Kenya, Myanmar, Scotland, Haiti and Honduras at a ceremony attended by more than 3,000 people. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Goldman Environmental Prize


    A British Columbia First Nations woman who spearheaded the fight against a multibillion-dollar gold mine is one of this year’s recipients of the richest environmental award in the world.

    Marilyn Baptiste will be honoured tonight with the Goldman Environmental Prize, a $175,000 award handed out annually to six grassroots activists around the world.

    Baptiste, the former chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in the B.C. Interior, is being recognized for her work against the New Prosperity gold and copper mine proposed by Taseko Mines Ltd.

    “At first of course it was ‘no, no, I’m good. Find someone else,’” she says with a laugh.

    But the award is shining an international spotlight on her community and their cause, she says.

    “These kinds of recognitions do help in our campaign and our fight.”

    Taseko has twice applied for environmental approval to mine what is believed to be the tenth-largest gold deposit in the world, located in the traditional territory of the Tsilhqot’in Nations 550

    Read More »from B.C. First Nations woman to receive world's richest enviro prize for mine fight
  • A woman smokes marijuana during the 4/20 Rally at the Civic Center in Denver, April 20, 2014. (Reuters)A woman smokes marijuana during the 4/20 Rally at the Civic Center in Denver, April 20, 2014. (Reuters)

    A pungent cloud of marijuana smoke will be wafting over many parts of Canada on Monday. Yes, it’s 4/20 again, the unofficial holiday that openly celebrates pot, reefer, ganga, weed, Mary Jane or whatever you like to call it.

    In most places, though, you’re unlikely to see police swooping in to corral the tokers. Even though pot possession remains illegal, the narcs probably won’t be busting anyone except dealers.

    Part of the reason is practical; charging dozens, if not hundreds of people is a logistical nightmare. Another part is a reflection of the times, the increasing tolerance, if not acceptance, of marijuana as a part of mainstream culture. It’s no longer on the fringe.

    Despite the federal Conservative government’s determination to crack down on illegal marijuana use and sales, the drug has edged steadily out into the open.

    Successive federal governments, including the current Tory regime, have been partly responsible by creating a regulatory framework for medical marijuana since

    Read More »from Ahead of 4/20, marijuana losing its rebellious stigma, gaining more acceptance

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