• When Marc Emery – the self-described "Prince of Pot" – returns to Canada Tuesday, he will arrive in a country with a far different relationship with marijuana than the one he left five years ago.

    Emery recently finished serving a five-year sentence in a U.S. prison after being charged for mailing marijuana seeds from British Columbia into the United States.

    He was extradited and sentenced, leaving behind him a busy life of marijuana advocacy. He is now promising to return to that mission tenfold.

    Emery will cross the border from Detroit into Windsor, Ont., and meet his wife, Jodie. He is expected to offer a public statement to mark the occasion, though he has already spoken about his plans once he returns to Canada. He has vowed "political revenge" against the Conservative government that helped extradite him to face charges and Jodie has announced her desire to run for the Liberal Party of Canada in the next federal election.

    In an exclusive interview with Maclean's, Emery said he

    Read More »from ‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery returns to an increasingly accepting marijuana landscape
  • Demonstrators protest the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline.Demonstrators protest the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline.

    A web of pipelines runs under Canada, moving water, sewage, oil, natural gas and other substances. We take them pretty much for granted unless one of them breaks, then we repair it and move on.

    At least we used to take them for granted, until a growing chorus of protest put oil pipelines especially into public consciousness.

    Now environmentalists are fingering pipelines as dangerous agents of climate change, not to mention potential sources of ecological disaster.

    There are three major pipeline projects on the drawing board in Canada and all are meeting stiff resistance, not to mention widespread opposition to the U.S. Keystone XL pipeline that would take Alberta oilsands crude to the Gulf Coast.

    Protesters in Ontario are attempting to slow down work on Enbridge Inc.'s Line 9 project, which would reverse the east-west flow of a 40-year-old oil pipeline so crude from western sources, including Alberta's oilsands, could reach refineries and export terminals in the east.

    A group called

    Read More »from Pipeline protests less about moving oil and more about forcing energy change, activist says
  • Image of bomb threat letter recieved by Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford.Image of bomb threat letter recieved by Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford.

    An email that threatened to blow up Toronto City Hall if Rob Ford didn't resign as mayor is being investigated by police, though it has not been determined to be a legitimate enough threat to as yet warrant an evacuation.

    Toronto police say that officers are on scene to investigate the letter, which was reportedly emailed to the mayor's brother, Coun. Doug Ford, and the deputy mayor late last night.

    Toronto police Const. David Hopkinson confirmed that city hall security reported the letter late Monday morning and officers have since been sent to investigate the veracity of the threat.

    "Toronto police treat these calls quite seriously and we are investigating. The decision whether to evacuate or not evacuate will be made by the officers that are on scene. They have chosen not to evacuate at this time," Hopkinson told Yahoo Canada News.

    The letter came to the public's attention Monday afternoon when Ford and his brother, who also acts as his re-election campaign manager, announced the

    Read More »from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reveals bomb threat, city hall yet to be evacuated
  • Toronto's most lucrative fire hydrant, at 393 University Avenue.Toronto's most lucrative fire hydrant, at 393 University Avenue.

    Nothing riles up the blood of Canadian drivers quicker than finding a ticket slipped under their windshield wiper, except perhaps when that ticket is borne from what seems to be a bureaucratic oversight or some other logistical trap that reeks of cash grabbery.

    Like getting a parking ticket after struggling to understand the confusing labyrinth of city signage, for example. Or because you parked in front of a fire hydrant that is so hidden from sight that firefighters themselves may not be able to find it.

    Which is why this Canadian Press story captured so much attention on Monday. According to an analysis by reporter Steve Rennie, ticketing in front of Toronto fire hydrants has brought $24 million into city coffers since 2008.

    When we have a list of 10 fire hydrants that are recognized ... it's not the public, it is the fire hydrants. We are not running buckets from wagons anymore.
    — Sean L. O'Connor, the founder and president of TicketSave.ca

    And the city's most profitable fire

    Read More »from Toronto’s most profitable fire hydrant has raked in almost $300K in parking tickets
  • Ecstasy pills, which contain MDMA as their main chemical. Image courtesy of U.S. DEAEcstasy pills, which contain MDMA as their main chemical. Image courtesy of U.S. DEA

    The rash of suspected drug-overdose deaths at music festivals in Canada this summer has public health experts scrambling for solutions.

    British Columbia's chief health officer caused a ripple this week by musing that maybe Canada should look at an experiment in New Zealand that essentially legalized so-called party drugs in hopes regulation would make the events a safer space for those using drugs.

    “If we’re prepared to be very pragmatic and if we’re prepared to accept that we can’t stop people taking drugs, and if we’re prepared to try and go as far as we can to stop the unwanted side effects and the occasional tragic death from a drug, that would be one way of doing it," Dr. Perry Kendall said in an interview with Yahoo Canada News.

    “If we’re not prepared to do that then I think the best we can do is what we’re doing now: trying to educate users that if despite our best advice you’re going to use drugs, how to use them in less dangerous ways.”

    Both these approaches are problematic

    Read More »from Music festival ODs lead to questions of legalization, regulation of ‘party drugs’
  • Simeon Garratt, son of a Canadian couple accused of spying in China.Simeon Garratt, son of a Canadian couple accused of spying in China.

    Bewilderment. That's Simeon Garratt's central reaction to the arrest of his parents in China as alleged spies.

    Kevin and Julia Dawn Garratt are being held in detention in the city of Dandong, on China's border with North Korea, accused of "suspected theft of state secrets about China's military and national defence research," according to a statement released through the Xinhua news service.

    China's famously opaque justice system has released no details about how the longtime residents of China, who run a popular coffee shop that overlooks the main bridge between China and North Korea, could have led a secret life as spies.

    Speculation has ranged from the Garratts being pawns in a tit-for-tat retaliation for Canada accusing China of state-sponsored hacking of the National Research Council's computer system to being caught up in the Communist government's latest crackdown against unsanctioned Christian churches.

    None of it rings true to their eldest son, who grew up in China but now

    Read More »from Simeon Garratt, son of Canadians accused of spying in China, shocked by allegations
  • Copper-gold mine wastewater spilled into creeks, lakes, and flowed into central B.C. river systems.Copper-gold mine wastewater spilled into creeks, lakes, and flowed into central B.C. river systems.

    It could be days before residents of a remote part of British Columbia learn whether their water is safe to drink or even bathe in after a massive spill from a breached mine tailings pond dumped millions of litres of toxic water into local waterways.

    The giant containment pond for the Mount Polley copper and gold mine ruptured early Monday morning, sending an estimated five million cubic metres of water and sludge into neighbouring Polley Lake and Hazeltine Creek, which runs into salmon-rich Quesnel Lake six kilometres downstream.

    The Cariboo Regional District quickly issued a notice banning water use covering several lakes and creeks, including the Quesnel and Cariboo River systems as far as the Fraser River. District chairman Al Richmond told Yahoo Canada News between 200 and 300 residents of the community of Likely and surrounding area are affected.

    "We've got a long expanse of river frontage but largely uninhabited for the most part," he said in an interview Tuesday. "We do have

    Read More »from Failed tailings pond at B.C. mine creates fear of long-term environmental damage
  • It appears that we're not as optimistic as we used to be about our personal economics.

    In fact, according to a new survey released on Tuesday, Canadians haven't been this collectively unexcited about their future prospects since at least 2010.

    The Angus Reid poll asked 6,000 Canadians whether they thought their standard of living would be better or worse a year from now than it is today. Only 16 per cent said better while 25 per cent said worse.

    "ARG has asked this question of Canadians every three months since 2010. Looking back over the last four and a half years, we note a gradual decline in optimism among Canadians in regards to their future standard of living," notes the report.

    "Until the second quarter of 2011, respondents who said they thought their ‘standard of living would be better a year from now’ outnumbered those who said it would be worse."

    Angus Reid Vice President Shachi Kurl suggests that there isn't one reason for the dip in optimism.

    "Interestingly, the trend-line

    Read More »from Glass half empty? Canadians increasingly less optimistic about their future standard of living
  • Boonstock Music Festival in Penticton, B.C. CBC photoBoonstock Music Festival in Penticton, B.C. CBC photo

    Drugs have been a part of the music festival scene since before warnings about the bad acid at Woodstock in 1969, and so has death, since the organizers decided to hire the Hells Angels for security at Altamont, California, later that year.

    But this season's round of festivals seems to have been hit pretty hard in both categories.

    Some 80 people attending Boonstock in the Okanagan resort town of Penticton, B.C., last weekend ended up in the local emergency ward and one woman died of a drug overdose.

    Last month, a young Regina man was found dead in his tent at the Pemberton Music Festival north of Vancouver. An investigation ruled out foul play, CBC News said, but police are awaiting results of tests done during the autopsy to determine why he had died.

    And a probe is underway by Ontario's Special Investigations Unit after an unruly, possibly intoxicated man handcuffed by police at the VELD electronic music festival near Toronto suddenly died, according to CBC News.

    [ Related: Officers

    Read More »from After Boonstock, 80 end up in B.C. hospital as music festival safety questioned
  • Vancouver: A character home on the west side after demolition. (Facebook/Vancouver Vanishes photo)Vancouver: A character home on the west side after demolition. (Facebook/Vancouver Vanishes photo)

    Teardown. It's a dismaying word for many residents of Vancouver, where sustained high real-estate prices have sacrificed a lot of older homes to the wrecker.

    Teardowns used to refer to mouldy old shacks but in Vancouver, hundreds of solid, even fully updated homes are being bulldozed.

    Statistics from the Canadian Real Estate Association show the average sale price of a Vancouver single-family home in June was $796,714, compared with a national average of $413,215. Most of the value is in the land which is so high that owners feel compelled to replace smaller homes with ones that max out the square footage.

    The problem is affecting other active property markets like Calgary (average price $466,994) and Toronto ($568,374), but Vancouver's white hot market has altered the character of many neighbourhoods at a startling pace.

    Novelist Caroline Adderson's family has lived in the upscale westside neighbourhood of Kerrisdale for 15 years. She became alarmed at what she saw as she took her

    Read More »from Canada's character homes are disappearing fast, should we save them?


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