• A Mohawk Warrior flag flies in front of a Canadian border crossing station.

    The minds that have drawn up a strategy for Quebec's separation from Canada might imagine a strong, unified nation doused in blue fleur-de-lis French song, sung in celebration.

    But the more likely result of a successful sovereigntist movement would more likely be a fractured region further split along linguistic and cultural lines. That reality came into focus this week when the Chief of a First Nations community near Montreal announced that they would hold their own referendum should Quebec secede.

    The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne released a public statement on Tuesday saying Quebec sovereignty would create "very real concerns" for the First Nations community.

    “If Quebec ultimately chooses to separate, I would advise our Council and community to hold our own vote in order to determine whether we would stay within the borders of Quebec or separate ourselves,” MCA Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell said in the statement.

    The question of Quebec separatism has been top of mind in

    Read More »from Quebec Mohawks say if Quebec separates, they’ll separate from Quebec
  • An Ontario court released more documents from a police investigation involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Tuesday, including a detailed account from a police officer who watched the much-discussed video of the mayor smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine.
     
    There was other information contained within the latest batch of documents related to Project Brazen 2, a Toronto police investigation involving Ford and his friend and former driver, Alexander Lisi, but few revelations previously unknown to the public.
     
    The documents reveal the date on which the video was purportedly shot – Feb. 17, 2103, the Sunday of Family Day weekend – and describe the bizarre habits and frequent meeting of Ford and Lisi as “indicative to that of drug trafficking.”
     
    But beyond more fulsome details and a more complete account of the police investigation, the latest batch of documents is otherwise bereft of revelations. Though Olivia Chow, a candidate to replace Ford as mayor, claims the documents are further

    Read More »from Notorious Rob Ford drug video detailed in latest Project Brazen 2 documents
  • First Nations protesters are blocking railway service outside of Ottawa on Wednesday, in an apparent bid to pressure the Canadian government into taking a more serious look at the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

    The blockade is at Marysville, a small community about halfway between Ottawa and Toronto, and involves several members of the nearby Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve.

    Via Rail says the blockade is stopping passenger trains scheduled to travel between Ottawa and Toronto, including routes that begin in Montreal.

    Train service between Montreal and Ottawa has not been affected.

    "Every effort is being made to bring passengers with itineraries passing through the site of the blockade to destination. VIA Rail’s foremost priority is to ensure that customers reach their destinations as comfortably and safely as possible," the company said in a statement.

    Read More »from First Nations group blocks Toronto-Ottawa Via Rail trains, demanding justice for murdered aboriginal women
  • CBC photoA battle is underway in Ontario that could shape the way all Canadians give blood.

    The Ontario government is preparing legislation to stop private, for-profit companies from setting up blood-donation centres in the province. Despite that, one outfit is going ahead with plans to open a clinic in downtown Toronto to collect blood for plasma, the Toronto Star reported Tuesday.

    Canadian Plasma Resources expects to be in operation within days, chief executive Barzin Bahardoust told the Star.

    If it succeeds in staying open, presumably it could open the door to servicing other provinces.

    It's one of two companies with plans to set up shop in Canada. The other is CanGene Plasma, which already operates a clinic in Winnipeg. The company, which makes plasma-based products, was recently acquired by U.S. rival Emergent BioSolutions.

    [ Related: Payment for blood donors comes to Canada ]

    Paying for a blood donation (sort of an oxymoron, really) is not illegal, but has come under fire from critics who

    Read More »from For-profit plasma clinic opening in Toronto as Ontario prepares ban on paid blood ‘donations’
  • Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, left, holds her granddaughter Solace Campbell, 2, after announcing her candidacy on Thursday, March 13, 2014 in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
    Toronto's ongoing mayoral campaign could be considered the first to run outside the prying eyes of journalism. It won’t, of course. Far from it. In fact, it may be the most-covered election in the city's history thanks to the international reputation of Rob Ford and the national profile of competitor Olivia Chow.

    But we all know Ford’s position on journalists and specifically his desire to avoid uncomfortable questions, which became the genesis of a Ford Nation YouTube series. And questions were recently raised in the Chow campaign after Warren Kinsella, a member of Chow’s war room and a commentator on Sun News Network, interviewed the mayoral candidate on air.

    We should add to this for good measure complaints, mostly from the mayor’s camp, about a perceived favouritism toward candidate John Tory by a radio station on which he used to host his own show.

    Suddenly it seems like none of the major mayoral contenders need reporters or news agencies to get their messages to the public. They

    Read More »from Toronto mayoral candidates Chow and Ford find safe havens with allied interviewers
  • Alberta Premier Alison Redford leaves with members of her caucus after a meeting in Edmonton.

    The apparent cracks within Alberta's long-ruling Progressive Conservative party over Premier Alison Redford's leadership seem to be widening.

    The next few weeks could determine whether Redford, who beat established PC heavyweights for the leadership in 2011 and then led the party to re-election the following year, is pushed out by her colleagues, sharing the fate of her predecessors, Ed Stelmach and Ralph Klein.

    Another member of the Conservative caucus, junior minister Donna Kennedy-Glans, crossed the floor Monday to sit a an independent.

    "I’ve been thinking about it for a very, very long time,” the rookie MLA from Calgary told reporters, according to CBC News. “In my own guts, it felt right.”

    The departure followed the resignation from caucus of Calgary MLA Len Webber, who criticized Redford's leadership and accused her of throwing tantrums.

    Kennedy-Glans didn't mention Redford by name but said she could no longer tolerate a culture of entitlement within the party.

    “It’s about

    Read More »from Are the Alberta Tories’ problems due to Premier Redford, or do they go deeper?
  • As positions seem to harden, the Vancouver port strike is starting to bite.

    Several hundred non-union truckers who move containers to and from Vancouver's three main ports walked out almost a month ago over financially damaging cost-cutting among shippers and delays at the terminals. They were joined soon after by the more than a thousand unionized drivers, effectively shutting down container traffic.

    There was hope on the weekend the dispute was headed for settlement after the federal and B.C. government, along with port officials, tabled a 14-point plan to address the truckers' concerns.

    But they crashed Sunday when initial talks went sideways. Gavin McGarrigle of Unifor, which represents the unionized truckers, said the management team demanded drivers return to work as a precondition for talks, the Globe said.

    “The first statement out of their mouths was, 'This isn’t a negotiation,’" McGarrigle recounted. "What about our concerns, we asked? 'Those are legitimate, but we won’t be

    Read More »from Businesses start feeling the pinch with little progress in Vancouver port strike
  • A newly-announced national day of celebration to be held this spring to commemorate Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan sure sounds a lot like another Canadian military celebration to be held less than a month later.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Tuesday the creation of a “National Day of Honour” to commemorate Canada's now-concluded military mission in Afghanistan. The day will be held on May 9, 2014, and feature a parade, a moment of silence and, most importantly, a vocal declaration of support for Canada’s Armed Forces.

    From the outset, is sounds a great deal like Canadian Armed Forces Day, held at the start of June every year. It is an event that is routinely marked with small parades and even the occasional air show. In short, it is the annual, less-glossy version of the newly-minted National Day of Honour.

    The announcement that Canada would hold a National Day of Honour came as the last batch of soldiers returned to Canadian soil on Tuesday, landing in Ottawa

    Read More »from Canada’s new pro-military Day of Honour comes just weeks before Canadian Armed Forces Day
  • Banners hung from Montreal's Mount Royal Cross, via Greenpeace.

    Environmental Greenpeace activists in Quebec hung a massive anti-logging banner from a Montreal monument on Tuesday, successfully executing their age-old practice of climbing on things and hanging banners to garner public exposure.

    According to a celebratory statement, 10 Greenpeace members scaled the city's Mount Royal Cross and turned it into a piece of protest art that derides Canada's logging industry.

    The banner-hanging shtick has been done many times before, and in Canada that is usually as far as Greenpeace activists go. Meantime, scores of cohorts in France breached the perimeter of a nuclear power facility, assumed control and forced police into tense standoff.

    Oh, they also hung banners from the building that read, “Stop Risking Europe.

    At this point, there is no separating the idea of "activist vandalism" from the concept of vigorous environmental protest, and I’m certainly not promoting the idea of storming a nuclear facility to make a point. But in Europe, we see

    Read More »from Greenpeace Canada hangs banners from cross while European cohorts occupy nuclear power plant
  • Robert Pickton was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder in 2007. CBC photo. The families of some of serial killer Robert (Willie) Pickton's victims will finally receive some financial compensation for the shoddy police investigation into the women's disappearances and deaths.

    Vancouver lawyer Jason Gratl, representing 13 plaintiffs, said 11 have agreed to a settlement of $50,000 for each of the victims' children, The Canadian Press reported Monday.

    A 12th plaintiff, who because he is not yet 18 must have the settlement vetted by his public guardian, is expected to respond shortly, Gratl said.

    The final payout could reach millions of dollars, depending on eligibility. And the families are still suing Pickton and his grown siblings.

    The group launched a lawsuit against the City of Vancouver, responsible for Vancouver police, the federal government, which oversees the RCMP, and the B.C. government last May.

    [ Related: Families of Robert Pickton’s victims suing police and murderer’s siblings ]

    The suit alleged police and the Crown failed to warn that someone was

    Read More »from Robert Pickton’s victim’s families reach compensation settlement

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