• Yet another round of documents stemming from an investigation involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford have been released to the public, this time leaving some speculating that a conclusion is on the horizon.

    But with no immediate word on what is contained in the 10 gigabytes of information obtained by police from an iPhone belonging to Ford's friend Alexander Lisi, the issue presents a more-immediate road bump in Ford’s re-election campaign.

    More specifically, the latest details from the ongoing police investigation will be more fodder for the masses ahead of the first televised mayoral debate on Wednesday, when the five major candidates will debate the issue of city leadership.

    Details released Monday do show that as recently as March 7, police were working to obtain licence to study the contents of Lisi’s phone. Lisi has been charged with drug trafficking and extortion, from an alleged attempt to retrieve Ford’s lost cellphone in exchange for drugs. The allegations have not been proven in

    Read More »from Rob Ford police investigation will hang over televised Toronto mayoral debate
  • A measles outbreak in a low-immunized area of British Columbia appears to be mostly under control, following the announcement that 228 confirmed cases of measles have been "largely" contained to their original community.

    But the prevalence of an anti-vaccination movement continues to cause headaches for Canadian health officials, with more work needed to convince the public of the benefits of immunization.

    Fraser Health declared a measles outbreak on March 8 in the region of Fraser East, located just outside Vancouver. The outbreak was said at the time to be centred at a school and religious group in Chilliwack, B.C., and later spread to the surrounding area.

    More than two weeks and more than 200 confirmed cases later, the health agency says the outbreak is nearly under control.

    In a statement on Monday, Fraser Health said residents who had previously gone without immunization were starting to take the matter seriously and seek out measles vaccine at clinics established in the area.

    Read More »from B.C. measles outbreak appears ‘largely’ contained at 228 known cases
  • We've now reached the push-comes-to-shove phase of the Vancouver port truckers' strike.

    The B.C. government tabled legislation Monday afternoon ordering unionized truckers back to work and imposing a 90-day cooling off period on the dispute, CKNW News reported.

    “The cooling off legislation tabled today is the least interventionist of the options available," Labour Minister Shirley Bond said. "We believe that a 90-day cooling off period is a reasonable approach that will require the parties to return to the bargaining table.”

    But it's by no means clear if the government's action, which has been telegraphed since last week, will put an end to the dispute that has crippled container traffic in and out of Canada's busiest port for three weeks.

    [ Related: Port Metro Vancouver: truck drivers vow to continue strike ]

    The legislation affects only about 250 truckers who belong to Unifor, which said forcing truckers back to work will only worsen the long-running dispute over chronic rate

    Read More »from B.C. government orders striking port truckers back to work, but will they obey?
  • The toll of the dead and missing from the weekend landslide in Washington state continues to mount, with more than 100 still unaccounted for as of Monday.

    Canada isn't immune from such natural disasters, though it's been a long time since a slide has killed as many as those potentially lost when a sea of mud inundated the village of Oso, Wash., on Saturday.

    British Columbia, with its steep terrain and heavy rainfall, is particularly vulnerable, like some parts of its southern neighbour.

    B.C. motorists have been come to expect highway closures due to mud and rock slides, as this CBC News list of recent incidents demonstrates.

    Two years ago, four people died when a cascade of mud, logs and other debris swallowed a cluster of rural homes at Johnsons Landing on Kootenay Lake.

    About 320,000 cubic metres barrelled down a water channel at estimated speeds up to 150 kilometres an hour, burying a man and his two daughters, as well as a German tourist who'd rented a cabin in the hamlet. A

    Read More »from With Washington landslide toll mounting, a look at Canada’s own history of deadly slides
  • Manulife Financial CEO Don Guloien.You're probably familiar with those private health insurance ads on TV. The ones where a young woman is enjoying a hike when she suddenly trips on a stick and injures her knee, for example.

    The message is that life can go sideways unexpectedly and you need supplementary health insurance to cover that unforeseen tumble down a hiking trail.

    If you're working, you may be insured via your employer's group benefits program for services not covered by Medicare. Many families and retirees buy supplementary coverage through companies such as Blue Cross or Manulife. In all, about 60 per cent of Canadians have private coverage either through work or individually.

    But a new report has found the gap in money being paid out in benefits by private insurers compared with the premiums they collect has been growing over the last two decades.

    The study, led by Michael Law of the University of British Columbia's Centre for Health Services and Policy, found that the gap totalled $6.8 billion in 2011, CBC

    Read More »from Canadian private health insurers paying out less in benefits than premiums collected: study
  • There is nothing more exciting than a good mystery. Whether they are full-blown conspiracies or simple puzzles to exercise the mind, we love being stumped, and we love the moment when the code is eventually cracked.

    It is why we play Sudoku. It is why people are outraged when daily crosswords are removed from our favourite newspapers. It is why the Hollywood hit National Treasure earned itself a sequel, regardless the acting talents of Nicolas Cage.

    There is a doozy of a mystery playing out on the Western University campus in London, Ont., where more than a dozen notes containing apparent secret messages have been found slipping into the pages of library books.

    The messages, all printed on computer paper, are primarily a series of odd characters – similar but not identical to Microsoft Word’s wingding font – but the notes also include images of mundane household items, and paint-spattered objects are included with the notes.

    The mystery has been investigated by code breakers,

    Read More »from Mystery deepens around cryptic coded messages found at Western University
  • A Calgary radio station that burned $5,000 in cash as part of an elaborate publicity stunt is facing a backlash from local listeners, even as it plans to run a similar contest with $10,000 on the line.

    AMP Radio recently ran a contest called "Bank it or Burn it," in which listeners could weigh in on what the station should do with $5,000. The result of public voting was 54 per cent in favour of burning the money, rather than splitting it among listeners or donating it to charity.

    Now, the station is set to run the same contest with $10,000. Even as some members of the public predictably criticize the contest.

    “What a disgusting choice to burn it while people are starving and children living in poverty are suffering,” one listener wrote on Facebook.

    [ More Brew: Was sexism a factor in the downfall of Alberta Premier Alison Redford? ]

    “Pathetic. Count another listener lost here,” wrote another. While some respondents were in favour of the result, the overwhelming majority seemed

    Read More »from Calgary radio station that burned $5,000 doubles down with another contest
  • THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson photo
    Alberta Premier Alison Redford had barely walked out of legislature rotunda after announcing Wednesday she was stepping down when some observers began playing the gender card.

    Redford, whose resignation takes effect Sunday evening, is the third Alberta premier to be shown the door in less than 10 years by the long-ruling Progressive Conservative party. The decision came after weeks of internal turmoil over her travel-spending habits and leadership style.

    The tipping point appeared to be the $45,000 price tag of Redford's trip to South Africa for her friend Nelson Mandela's memorial, along with other questionable uses of government aircraft. After defending the spending decisions for weeks, while at the same time apologizing for the way they were made, Redford paid back the money. But the damage was done.

    The controversy opened a festering sore within her caucus. Two MLAs – a backbencher and a junior minister – defected. Departing Calgary MLA Len Webber complained Redford was a bully

    Read More »from Was sexism a factor in the downfall of Alberta Premier Alison Redford?
  • At this time of year, people gather in workplaces and at social gatherings across the country and share the oft-repeated joke that there are two Canadian seasons: winter and pothole.

    Those people then leave the safety of those gatherings, get into their cars and begin an uncomfortable and bumpy drive home, before their vehicles inevitably tip bumper-first into a chasm the size of Main Street.

    In short, spring potholes are bad. So bad that, should someone actually come up with a solution, they would immediately be named President of Canada. Or at least Mayor of Winnipeg. That is, at least, the thinking of one would-be Manitoban mayoral candidate.

    The Winnipeg Free Press reported on Friday that Mike Vogiatzakis organized to have the creators of an inventive new pothole solution come to town and demonstrate its healing powers.

    "This stuff really works," Vogiatzakis told the newspaper. "It will save the City of Winnipeg millions of dollars."

    The solution isn't futuristic, so set aside

    Read More »from Someone has a permanent pothole solution? Make that man Mayor of Canada
  • A note for criminals: If you want to pull off the perfect heist while also evading the attention of police and the public, don't steal an adorable puppy. At gunpoint.

    Toronto news outlets and social media has been awash in images of a tiny black puppy dressed in a pink sweater ever since the image was released as part of a police investigation late Thursday night.

    Police report that the darling Labrador puppy, named Onyx, was stolen from its owner in northwest Toronto on Tuesday night by two men, one of whom was armed with a gun.

    An official statement says the victim and his girlfriend were near a bus station at Jane St. and Weston Road at about 10 p.m. when they were approached by two men. One held a gun to his stomach.

    "The victim was handcuffed and robbed of a BlackBerry, gold chain and three-month-old Labrador Corso dog, Onyx. The female dog has two white spots on her chest."

    Det. Const. Matt Pinfold says the victim is most distressed about losing his dog.

    [ More Canada News: Rob

    Read More »from Toronto puppy stolen at gunpoint the focus of police and public attention


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