• Canada comes off pretty well in a new report measuring countries' social progress.

    The Social Progress Index, compiled by the U.S.-based Social Progress Imperative, ranks Canada seventh in the world based on 12 categories grouped under basic human needs, foundations of well-being and opportunity.

    New Zealand tops the list of 132 countries (up from 50 in the first-ever index issued last year), followed by Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Canada.

    The United States is all the way down in 16th, behind Ireland and ahead of Belgium, while the United Kingdom is 13th, just behind Germany but ahead of Japan.

    If you're wondering who's at the bottom of the index, it's Chad.

    The Social Progress Imperative says the index provides a strong measurement tool to help countries make choices to advance social progress.

    [ Related: Canada among top three best places to live in new quality of life ranking ]

    “The Social Progress Index is a complimentary measure to GDP," Michael

    Read More »from Canada scores well ahead of U.S., U.K. on Social Progress Index
  • An ongoing criminal investigation involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that has been hanging over the city for months is taking a back seat to other events, suggesting the case is either being dropped or at least set aside for the time being.

    Reports suggested on Thursday that Ontario Provincial Police officers providing oversight to Toronto police’s Project Brazen 2 investigation had decided there was nothing for them to do at this time and had taken a step back from the process.

    "I just knew all along, I didn't miss a day of work, I just kept coming in because I know I did nothing wrong," Ford told reporters at city hall. "I knew the day was going to come that I would be cleared and I guess today's the day."

    While Ford has taken the news as evidence that he has been "cleared" in the investigation, Toronto police have said the probe is ongoing. Still, the revelation seems to have ended one chapter and started another, leaving sever significant questions unanswered.

    Has Ford actually been

    Read More »from Rob Ford investigation in purgatory - What comes next for Toronto’s controversial mayor?
  • About 30 people gathered in Iqaluit to shoot a pro-seal hunting #sealfie.

    Ellen DeGeneres can stick her selfie where the sun doesn't shine.

    That is the underlining message behind a campaign gaining momentum among Canada's northern communities, which takes umbrage with the American entertainer's apparent opposition to the country's seal hunt.

    But while a movement that has seen thousands post their pro-sealing photos on social media may have begun as a protest to the DeGeneres's decision to donate money to an anti-sealing group, it has grown beyond that in recent days.

    DeGeneres recently donated $1.5 million to an American group that protests Canada's seal hunt after snapping a celebrated "selfie" photograph during the Oscars. In response, Canadians are posting their own photos in support of the seal hunt.

    The images are cheekily refered to as "sealfies."

    On Friday, the Nunavut government joined the peaceful protest against the anti-sealing campaign, posting its first sealfie on the territory's official Twitter page.

    Read More »from Nunavut joins #sealfies social media movement in support of seal hunt
  • Canada has experienced an increase in the frequency of measles cases this year, with instances being reported in more than half of the provinces and outbreaks currently ongoing in British Columbia and Ontario.

    But the latest front in the war against the preventable, but highly contagious, virus could be Alberta. Several cases of measles were recently confirmed in the province's largest cities and alerts have been issued to those who may have been exposed while visiting an Edmonton grocery store and two Calgary bars.

    Alberta Health Services confirmed three cases of measles on Thursday, bringing the number of confirmed residents who have contracted the virus up to nine in recent months.

    Other cases have been reported in Ottawa, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, among other places.

    Concerning cases of measles outbreaks continue to be monitored in recent weeks, highlighted by confirmation that one British Columbia region had as many as 228 cases.

    [ Related: New Calgary

    Read More »from Fresh measles alerts issued for Calgary bars and Edmonton grocery as Canadian outbreaks continue
  • Members of Royal Canadian Air Force
    Giving civilians honorary posts in the military is an age-old tradition, kind of like an honorary doctorate.

    It's a recognition for a person's accomplishments or position. You get to wear a uniform but you don't get to command troops in battle or anything.

    In Kentucky, for instance, honorary colonels are so thick on the ground (Colonel Sanders of fried chicken fame was one), they have their own organization dedicated to charitable works.

    A number of British royals traditionally become colonel-in-chief of Canadian units. For instance, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband, has been colonel-in-chief of the Royal Canadian Regiment since 1953. Her daughter, Princess Anne, is colonel-in-chief of the Royal Canadian Medical Service. And the Queen herself is captain-general of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery.

    Honorary colonels are a little different. Canadians from many walks of life are appointed to help strengthen ties between the military and Canadian society. They can be former

    Read More »from Wanted: Someone to look after RCAF’s honorary colonels for $100k
  • The story of Norma Marshall is chilling, especially as many Baby Boomers around us are starting to look into their own future as they age.

    The 94-year-old Toronto resident was victimized by a crooked couple that insinuated themselves into the lonely woman's life, moved into her home and essentially robbed her blind.

    But it's also a story about how a stranger's kindness and concern can rescue someone like Marshall from a nightmarish situation.

    It all began four years ago when Marshall, whose closest living relative is a nephew in Montreal, hired a housekeeper to help keep her apartment tidy.

    But the 32-year-old woman did more than clean, CityNews reported.

    “The housekeeper became quickly involved in the woman’s daily activities, as well as gained access to her banking and finances,” said Det. Const. Valerie Dahan at a news conference Wednesday.

    [ Related: Alberta elder abuse probe promised following charges, allegations ]

    Then, earlier this year, the housekeeper told Marshall she and

    Read More »from Norma Marshall’s story of elder-abuse a warning to aging Canada
  • Olivia Chow is appealing to Toronto citizens in Hong Kong to help her oust Rob Ford.

    While the likelihood of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford being charged in connection to a criminal investigation appears to be waning, those seeking to replace him at city hall are less likely to let rest a series of embarrassing appearances and comments that suggest “disrespect” for the city.

    The issue has even prompted one candidate to launch an international appeal, mirroring Ford’s own habit of taking his campaign to international media.

    A stockpile of Toronto police notes were released to the public on Thursday as investigators appeared to differ on whether Ford should be charged in connection to an alleged extortion attempt to recover a video showing the mayor smoking from a crack pipe. That investigation may be technically ongoing, but Ford announced on Thursday that he had been "cleared" in the matter.

    But at the same time, as the idea of a sitting mayor being criminally charged appeared to fade away, those seeking to replace him elevated their attacks against the bizarre personal

    Read More »from Olivia Chow, John Tory key in on Rob Ford’s ‘embarrassing’ behaviour
  • A memorial in honour of Canadian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan in Trenton, Ont.

    The Conservative government has quickly back-pedalled from a plan to make the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan pay their own way to next month's commemorative ceremony in Ottawa for the campaign.

    On Wednesday night, CTV News reported that it had obtained a letter dated last month inviting relatives of those who fought and died in Canada's decade-long mission to the May 9 National Day of Honour ceremony in Ottawa.

    The letter from the Department of National Defence Director of Casualty Support Management invites families of the fallen to the capital to "commemorate our service and our sacrifices in order to achieve the security and stability we brought to Afghanistan."

    The letter bills the event as a "momentous occasion," but goes on to say "your attendance would be at your own expense."

    The reaction from some of the families of the 158 killed in Afghanistan was not surprising.

    “It was kind of like, ‘We’re having this big special event and you can come if you want, but you

    Read More »from About-face: Government will pay for fallen soldiers’ families to attend commemoration after all
  • You may not realize it, with your sweaty palms clenched so tightly around your bursting wallet, but Canada has a bit of a reputation for bad tipping.

    We've been called the world's worst tippers on a New York-based customer service blog. We've had our names besmirched by waiters in Vermont, who cringe at the sight of Quebec and Ontario licence plates in the parking lot. We've been called out for a document recently distributed to new Canadians that was criticized for recommending gratuities considered well below the accepted practice.

    And now, a new survey about Canada's tipping habits doesn't do much to discredit that reputation, at least when stacked up against Americans.

    The survey, recently conducted by Square Canada, did determine that Ottawa is the best tipping city in Canada, though that is about the same as saying being dubbed the most talented player on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    [ More Canada News: Pollsters have Liberals poised to win Quebec election ]

    Square is a mobile

    Read More »from Canada’s top tippers? Ottawa residents the best of a bad bunch
  • Mayor Rob Ford gathers his papers after the Toronto Mayoral election debate in Toronto, March 26, 2014.

    Give credit to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford the man knows how to stay in the spotlight.

    Fresh off a bizarre decision to vote against city council motions to honour Nelson Mandela and the Canadian Olympic team, Ford made more headlines thanks to his Hollywood pal Jimmy Kimmel.

    The late-night talk show host, who has cultivated an everlasting fascination with Toronto's embattled mayor, asked former U.S. president Bill Clinton about Ford during a recent appearance. Clinton's response lacked the gleeful tone some Americans have taken when it comes to Ford's foibles.

    "I will say this, he has absolutely destroyed every stereotype people have about Canadians," Clinton told Kimmel during his Wednesday night appearance.

    "Canadians are upbeat, optimistic, can-do. They are embracing, they are inclusive.... Everything I ever believed about Canadians, old Rob has proved stereotypes are not good. Positive or negative."

    The ruling does not come from a source that can necessarily be considered impartial,

    Read More »from Bill Clinton lays judgment on Rob Ford as Toronto investigation hits speed bump


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