• First the good news: Gun-related violent crime is falling in Canada, down by more than 25 per cent between 2009 and 2012, according to Statistics Canada data released Wednesday.

    Victims of firearm-related violent crime, per 100,000 population (2012)

    Nunavut - 154.3
    NW Territories - 39.2
    Saskatchewan - 34.3
    Manitoba - 31.6
    Nova Scotia - 28.2
    Alberta - 23.9
    New Brunswick - 23.8
    British Columbia - 22.7
    Yukon - 16.6
    Ontario - 16.6
    Newfoundland - 14.6
    P.E.I - 10.9
    Source: StatsCan

    But if you're living on the Prairies, we've got some bad news. The firearms-related violent crime rate in Saskatchewan and Manitoba is the highest in the country. (Quebec was not included because of problems with data quality.)

    And when it comes to bigger cities, Halifax and Moncton top the rankings, followed by Saskatoon and Hamilton, Ont.

    The stats cover not just actual shootings but any crime where a gun is involved, from homicide and attempted murder to sexual assault, robbery and uttering threats.


    Read More »from Gun crime has fallen sharply in last few years, new StatsCan figures show
  • 24 Sussex Drive, the residence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    An Ottawa ambulance rushed a young girl from the home of the prime minister over the weekend after the teenager reportedly suffered from severe intoxication while attending an event at the premises.

    The RCMP confirmed to Yahoo Canada News they were aware Ottawa EMS attended 24 Sussex Drive – the official residence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his family – but said the incident would not be investigated by police.

    "The RCMP's role is to ensure the personal protection of the (prime minister) and his family. The RCMP is also responsible for security at their official residence," a spokesperson wrote in an email.

    "This was a medical call and not a police matter. It did not involve any of our protectees."

    The Ottawa Paramedic Service told the Globe and Mail that an 18-year-old girl was taken by ambulance from 24 Sussex Drive to hospital after suffering "possible alcohol intoxication" at an event.

    Legal drinking age in Ontario is 19. The Harpers have two children: 14-year-old Rachel

    Read More »from RCMP won’t investigate after 'intoxicated' 18-year-old girl reportedly rushed from PM's residence
  • A new reported released by a Canadian think tank on Wednesday has identified the best and worst cities for Canadian women. Spoiler alert: The study does not look paint a progressive picture of Alberta.

    Best cities in Canada to live if you're a woman:

    1. Quebec City
    2. Saskatoon
    3. St. John's
    4. Montreal
    5. Victoria
    6. Toronto
    7. Ottawa-Gatineau
    8. Sherbrooke
    9. Halifax
    10. Hamilton
    11. Regina
    12. Winnipeg
    13. Vancouver
    14. St. Catherines
    15. London
    16. Kitchener-Waterloo
    17. Calgary
    18. Windsor
    19. Oshawa
    20. Edmonton

    According to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Edmonton is the worst city to be a woman. Quebec City, meantime, was found to be the best place for women, with Saskatoon ranked second.

    Canada's three largest cities were mired in the middle of the pack. Montreal was ranked fourth, while Toronto placed sixth and Vancouver placed 13th. Calgary was also ranked near the bottom of the list, at 17 out of 20.

    Read More »from Which Canadian city is the best to live in if you're a woman? Not Edmonton
  • If you don't like listening to your neighbours doing their noisy yard work on your day of rest, you may want to consider moving to Saguenay, Que., where Mayor Jean Tremblay is considering a Sunday ban on lawn mowers.

    Tremblay recently proposed the idea of banning the use of lawn mowers through the entire day and, after public consultation, amended the idea to a ban at specific times.

    The Journal de Quebec recently reported that a pilot project could be completed this summer, though much of the enthusiasm for the idea appears to have waned. According to the newspaper, the local response has been critical and even a local bishop has opposed the idea, if it was being made for religious reasons.

    [ More Canada News: Proposed bylaw would effectively ban public smoking in Victoria, B.C. ]

    It is not entirely clear whether Tremblay was seeking the Sunday ban on religious grounds, though he has previously made national headlines for an extensive court battle over the right to recite a prayer

    Read More »from Sunday ban on mowing lawns considered by Saguenay, Que. mayor
  • Any boater would be thrilled to encounter a humpback whale and it's happening more often on the West Coast, suggesting numbers of the giant mammal might be on the rise off the B.C. coast.

    That could be the reason the federal government took them off Canada's list of threatened species last week. But the move has some suspecting other motives.

    Environment Canada announced Saturday that the humpback whale's status under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) had been changed from "threatened" to "species of special concern," the Canadian Press reports.

    The Canada Gazette on Saturday published the Conservative government's order-in-council amending the act's application to the humpback.

    The change was made in the wake of a 2011 report from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, an independent scientific advisory body that found humpback numbers in the Northwest Pacific region have been increasing since the 1990s, now estimated at more than 18,000 adult whales, CP said.

    Read More »from Ottawa reduces threat level for humpback whales off B.C. coast
  • While it looks like the Air Canada baggage handlers involved in the now-infamous carry-on baggage-bombing incident will be fired, the finger pointing has not stopped.

    Their union says the airline is at fault for its loose enforcement of carry-on restrictions, forcing handlers to deal quickly with increasing amounts of excess carry-on bags being checked at the gate so as not to delay the flight.

    That apparently means getting creative with how they shift those bags, which were likely carried on in the first place because they contained something valuable of fragile.

    Even passengers come in for criticism for ignoring the limits and for whipping out their smart phones at the slightest provocation.

    [ Related: Baggage handlers to be fired over luggage incident, airline says ]

    It all started with a phone video shot by traveller Dwayne Stewart as he waited for his Air Canada flight to take off from Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

    Shooting out the window from his seat, Stewart

    Read More »from Finger-pointing continues in wake of viral baggage-toss video
  • Gordon Stuckless arrives at court in Toronto on Tuesday April 22, 2014.

    Gordon Stuckless, one of the most notorious pedophiles in Canada, has pleaded guilty to 100 more charges of abusing young boys as part of the infamous Maple Leaf Gardens sex ring.

    Stuckless, now 65, was in a Toronto courtroom Tuesday to answer to 108 charges involving 18 victims over a span of 20 years between 1965 and 1985.

    He admitted to most of them, including indecent assault, sexual assault and gross indecency, but pleaded not guilty to several charges, including sexual assault with a weapon and the rare count of buggery, The Canadian Press reported.

    “Those are counts that involve a word called ‘buggery,’ which is an older term, for what would be called anal sex with these boys – much more serious charges," defence lawyer Ari Goldkind said, according to CBC News.

    "Mr. Stuckless maintains while he did some horrible and terrible things and ruined many lives back then, he never did those things to young boys."

    [ Related: Child abuser Gordon Stuckless faces new and rare buggery

    Read More »from Maple Leaf Gardens pedophile Gordon Stuckless pleads guilty to 100 more counts
  • Smokers in Victoria, B.C., could soon be pushed from the fringes of society and relegated to private property  if they are lucky enough to own any  should a plan to expand the city's smoking bylaws come to pass.

    British Columbia's capital is considering expanding its laws, which are already among the strictest in the country, and could go so far as to include all public parks as well as seven-metre buffers around every door and window in the city.

    The result would be a nearly-complete patchwork of smoke-free zones that would leave smokers without a legal place to light up, save for the confines of their homes and cars. And those who rent in non-smoking apartments and don't have cars? No cigarettes for them.

    According to the National Post, some councillors are now pushing for the creation of safe zones where Victoria's smokers can "kill themselves in peace."

    That comment comes from a local councillor who sympathizes with the region's approximately 30,000 smokers. Ben Isitt has urged

    Read More »from Proposed bylaw would effectively ban public smoking in Victoria, B.C.
  • Fired Up For the Playoffs, via Catholic Church of Montreal

    When they say that hockey is a religion in Canada, it's not entirely hyperbole.

    There is the praying and the cursing. There are those who call on the Lord for an overtime goal and those who use His name in vain with that goal fails to materialize.

    And then there is the act of fandom itself. The ardent support, the willful following of a team  the jersey and logo, really  based almost entirely on faith and tradition.

    And that's just in those cities that saw their teams fall short of the playoffs. In Montreal, cheering for the Canadiens is truly a religious experience.

    Which is why it is not all that surprising that the Catholic Church of Montreal has jumped so heavily onto the bandwagon, even creating an online mosaic where Canadiens fans can light virtual votive candles in support of their team.

    More than 740 candles have been lit and posted to www.laflammedesseries.com, where supporters are urged to, "Cheer for the Habs by lighting a candle."

    [ More Canada News: Former deputy prime

    Read More »from Catholic Church of Montreal rallies Canadiens fans to light virtual votive candles
  • Back in the bad old days of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was run by an elite ruling class known as the nomenklatura.

    This tiny percentage of Soviets — politburo members, military officers and key bureaucrats in every facet of the government, military and industry — had enormous privileges in the Communist Party's so-called workers' paradise.

    Senior members of the nomenklatura had their own traffic lanes, their children got spots at the best universities and first crack at good jobs, and their families were allowed the exclusive right to shop at special stores.

    While their comrades were lining up at state outlets on the rumour there was a fresh supply of toilet paper, the nomenklatura was browsing for displays of Western goods such as colour TVs and blue jeans that were unattainable for their fellow citizens.

    It turned out the Revolution of 1917 may have wiped out the Russian aristocracy but communists managed to reinvent it. The nomenklatura system still exists in North Korea and

    Read More »from Canada’s most exclusive gift store open only to Ottawa's elite


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