• CBC photo
    It's going to get much more expensive to get caught using, or even seeing, your phone or other device while driving in Ontario.

    Faced with a continued rise in distracted driving, the province is hiking fines from the current $155 ($125 plus victim surcharge and court costs) to $280 ($225 plus surcharge and costs).

    You'll get nailed simply for having the screen of your phone or other device such as a tablet visible to you while driving.

    "We've seen a lack of compliance," Toronto traffic officer Const. Clint Stibbe told CBC News.

    Stibbe said he's seen drivers not just with phones to their ears but also texting with two hands while holding the steering wheel with their knees.

    "We're seeing fatalities that are directly attributed to the use of a cellphone," he said. "It's an ongoing problem and it is taking lives."

    The penalties, which take effect March 18, do not apply to drivers using GPS navigation systems, which are increasingly common in vehicles.

    The Ontario Provincial Police

    Read More »from Ontario hiking fine for drivers using electronic devices as problem grows
  • REUTERS/Christinne MuschiQuebec Premier Pauline Marois managed to do something every politician had hoped they could do: Extract political capital from the glorious gold-medal performance of the Olympic men’s hockey team.

    But instead of celebrating Canada’s success at its national pastime to foster good vibrations, Marois seemingly intentionally slighted the “Canada” aspect of Team Canada and celebrated the success of four francophone players on an unnamed team.

    Welcome to Quebec, where the premier will take pains to snub Canada as she heads into an election to be fought on a culturally-divisive policy. No wonder, according to a new poll, half of Quebec’s English-speaking community has considered fleeing the province.

    The furor in question came from a press release issued after Canada’s men’s hockey team won gold at the Sochi Olympic on Sunday. Marois said in the statement she was "happy to congratulate the men's hockey team for this gold medal."

    She went on to identify four Quebec players - Marc-Edouard

    Read More »from Quebec Premier Pauline Marois celebrates hockey gold but snubs Canada
  • The dilemma of how to handle the mentally ill who've committed horrific crimes is front and centre again as officials in Manitoba consider granting Vince Li unescorted passes from the psychiatric facility where he's been held for five years.

    Li has been confined at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre since mid-2009, a year after being found not criminally responsible for killing 22-year-old Tim McLean a year earlier.

    McLean was a passenger on a Greyhound bus headed for Winnipeg, sitting next to Li, who attacked him as the bus rolled towards Portage la Prairie, Man. Li stabbed McLean, and before stunned passengers cut off his head and partially cannibalized the young man.

    Li suffered from untreated schizophrenia that caused him to suffer from hallucinations.

    But doctors say since his confinement at Selkirk, Li has been making steady progress and on Monday recommended to the Manitoba Review Board that he be given a longer leash.

    [ Related: Vince Li’s horrific crime puts spotlight on rehab

    Read More »from Greyhound killer Vince Li likely to get unescorted passes from psychiatric hospital
  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford strongly believes taxpayers from other Canadian cities should help fund Toronto's subway expansion, prompting him to end a streak of absences and attend a Canadian mayor's caucus meeting this weekend.

    Ford announced on Tuesday that he would be attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Big City Mayor's Caucus in Ottawa, where he will push for the lion's share of a $14-billion infrastructure fund recently announced by the federal government.

    “Toronto faces unique challenges, and we need the federal government to acknowledge this,” Ford told a press conference. “Toronto plays a central role in regional and national economic prosperity. When Toronto succeeds, the region succeeds and Canada succeeds."

    Ford ended the press conference when he was asked about a claim made earlier in the day that he doesn’t use illegal drugs.

    Ford appeared in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show early Tuesday morning, during which he said he has "absolutely" been

    Read More »from Mr. Ford goes to Ottawa: Toronto mayor eyes federal funds to pay for subways
  • Canadian families in higher income brackets are vastly more likely to be married or in common-law relationships, according to a new study released by a Canadian family advocacy group.

    The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada report that Canadians are split into haves and have-nots along marriage lines and suggest that government, corporate and societal assistance be used to elevate the prominence of marriage in Canada.

    "Top income earners are very likely to be married, while their low income peers are very likely to be unmarried," notes the report, released on Tuesday.

    "This 'marriage gap' is a concern since marriage itself is a powerful wealth creator and poverty protector."

    Analysis based on Statistic's Canada's Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics has found that most Canadians in the highest income quartile are married or in common-law relationships.

    According to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, 86 per cent of the highest income quartile are married or have a

    Read More »from 'Marriage gap' exists between wealthy and poor Canadians, report concludes
  • George Doodnaught sentenced to 10 years for sexually assaulting patients

    Dr. George Doodnaught, a Toronto anesthesiologist who was found guilty of sexually assaulting 21 women while they were under sedation, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

    Doodnaught was found guilty in November of assaulting women who were in his care at North York General Hospital between 2006 and 2010. The assaults included kissing, fondling and other sexual acts.

    Ontario Superior Court Justice David McCombs called the case "unique," saying Doodnaught's conduct was "reprhensible to the extreme."

    "There are no reported Canadian cases in which an anesthesiologist sexually assaulted sedated patients in an operating room during surgery," McCombs said.

    Defence attorneys were seeking an 8- to 10-year sentence, while the Crown argued for a 15-year sentence.

    [ Related: Anesthesiologist George Doodnaught found guilty of molesting 21 patients ]

    During the trial, which ran through most of 2013 due to a number of adjournments, most of the 21 victims between the ages of 25 and 75 took the

    Read More »from George Doodnaught sentenced to 10 years for sexually assaulting patients
  • Trout Point Lodge.It is one of those strange stories that seems to be a product of the Internet age.

    A Mississippi blogger owes the owners of a Nova Scotia fishing lodge almost a million dollars after targeting them online in a homophobic smear campaign that tied them inexplicably to a corruption scandal.

    The latest judgment, according to the Toronto Star, was handed down earlier this month in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. It awarded Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret $390,000 for copyright infringement by blogger Douglas K. Handshoe over unauthorized use of photos from the Trout Point Lodge website.

    Leary and Perret, both transplanted Americans, had previously won $427,000 in damages in 2012 when the Nova Scotia Supreme Court found Handshoe, an accountant by profession, guilty of defamation and invasion of privacy, among other things.

    [ Related: $425K in damages in Trout Point defamation case ]

    Handshoe, who ignored the earlier suit but not this one, had torn into Leary, Perret and their partner, Daniel

    Read More »from N.S. fishing lodge owners targeted online win another suit against Mississippi blogger
  • Something magical happened this weekend that a lot of Canadians will remember for the remainder of their lives. Yes, sure, Canada's Olympic men's hockey team won gold in Sochi. But the real magic happened for the thousands of Canadians who woke up early and got to drink alcohol while they watched the game!!

    Does that fact deserve two exclamation points? For many of the people who awoke at 7 a.m. in Ontario, 5 a.m. in Alberta and earlier still on the Pacific coast, it surely does.

    Now, Alberta is considering whether to harness the excitement of Olympic gold to loosen booze laws permanently.

    Doug Horner, Alberta’s finance minister with responsibility for the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, said on Monday that he would consider amending the province’s liquor laws.

    “It was important to give Albertans a chance to watch Sunday’s game together, so I was pleased the AGLC was able to accommodate this request,” Horner said in a statement.

    “Allowing all licensees to begin liquor service at

    Read More »from Should bars be opened early more often?
  • Get ready to add another term to the lexicon of negotiation between sexual partners: Enthusiastic yes.

    By that I don't mean "Yes! Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes!"

    What I'm talking about here is the declaration before any clothes are shed.

    The turmoil generated last fall by troglodyte frosh-week "rape chants" continues to ripple across Canadian university campuses.

    StudentsNS, an alliance of Nova Scotia post-secondary students, has set up a website promoting the idea that consent to have sex should go beyond a casual affirmation to embrace, if you'll pardon the expression, something more emphatic.

    "Sex without enthusiastic consent is not sex at all. It's sexual assault or rape," says the site morethanyes.ca.

    [ Related: Saint Mary's pro-rape chant sparks 20 new recommendations ]

    The culture around sex on campus has been under national microscope since reports surfaced from St. Mary's University in Halifax about a frosh-week chant that condoned non-consensual sex and sex with underage partners.

    Read More »from Consensual sex needs not just a ‘yes,’ but an ‘emphatic yes’
  • Eleven-year-old Beatrice Godin shot Saturday in a home in St-Isidore along with her 13-year-old sister Médora.

    Martin Godin died Sunday night in a Quebec City hospital, three weeks after trying to shoot himself to death.

    The dark shadow of suicide, with its tragic aura of failure, was deepened by the fact Godin's death frustratingly left us with unanswered questions. For Godin also allegedly murdered his two young daughters, his ex-wife and her boyfriend.

    Godin, always the prime suspect in the killings, never spoke. His death leaves police in the Chaudiere-Appalaches region south of Quebec City trying to fill in the missing pieces of what's thought to have been a murderous love triangle before they close the file.

    [ Related: Suspect in Quebec quadruple slaying dies in hospital ]

    Godin was always the prime suspect, but investigators will have to turn up other sources to reveal what finally may have driven him to annihilate his family and the timeline for his rampage, which covered two communities 70 kilometres apart.

    Several Facebook pages have been set up in to remember sisters Béatrice and Médora Godin.The Montreal Gazette reported shortly after the killings that the Sûreté du

    Read More »from Death of suspect in quadruple murder leaves unanswered questions

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