• A TTC employee talks with a police officer at the Queen Street subway station on Friday Dec. 13, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives

    The cops in Canada's largest city are getting no respect these days.

    The Toronto Police Service is under a microscope, again, after officers opened fire Friday on an apparently disturbed man aboard a subway train.

    Now comes word it's facing a lawsuit over an incident two years ago when a group of black teenagers were roughed up and arrested when one refused a demand to produce ID.

    And of course, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is accusing the department of carrying out a vendetta against him because he's been pushing for cost cuts.

    The subway wounding Friday of an 18-year-old man immediately recalled last summer's shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, killed by police gunfire July 27 as he brandished a knife aboard an empty Toronto streetcar.

    The officer who allegedly fired those shots, Const. James Forcillo, was suspended and subsequently charged with second-degree murder.

    Witnesses to Friday's shooting say the young man appeared to be holding a gun before police arrived, The Canadian Press

    Read More »from Toronto police face questions over weekend subway shooting, lawsuit filed by black teens
  • Activists gather in support of marijuana legalization in Montevideo, Uruguay. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

    Could Canada’s medicinal marijuana patients soon be getting their supply from the fields of Uruguay? The South American country is poised to legalize every aspect of the pot industry and some say the country’s new position as a pot proponent could open up avenues of export.

    Uruguay’s government voted to legalize pot last week in a bid to undermine illegal traffickers and the troublesome black market. According to Reuters, Uruguay will become the first country to completely regulate marijuana from "cultivation to consumption."

    When the law comes into effect early next year, every citizen will be allowed to buy 40 grams per month through state-licensed pharmacies. The country of 3.3 million people will, almost overnight, become a living test case for pot advocates in the rest of the world.

    "Other countries will be watching very closely to see how it plays out for Uruguay now that this is a real political option," John Walsh, a drug policy expert at the Washington Office on Latin America,

    Read More »from Could pot-friendly Uruguay supply Canada with medicinal marijuana?
  • Unifor's answer has been to open its doors to pretty much everyone. (CBC)These are difficult times for unions in Canada. Public-sector unions are under siege from governments in Ottawa and Alberta, while industrial unions have seen memberships shrink as manufacturing declines in Central Canada.

    Labour unions have reacted by consolidating where possible and looking for ways to expand. Earlier this year, the Canadian Auto Workers and Canadian Energy and Paperworkers merged to form Unifor, the country's largest union with more than 300,000 members.

    The idea of unionism has been under attack in today's fragile economic climate as businesses argue they're an impediment to productivity and competitiveness.

    Unions have reacted by arguing that the widening income gap shows collective agreements are one of the best ways to ensure Canadians can earn middle-class incomes, especially as the number of people working part-time, sometimes at more than one job, rises.

    Unifor's answer has been to open its doors to pretty much everyone, whether they're working full-time,

    Read More »from Unifor’s community program aims to connect unions to Canadian society
  • The Sanders portrait is seen second from the right in the 'Searching for Shakespeare' exhibit. (AP Photo)

    A Canadian-owned portrait of William Shakespeare that supporters claim is the only true likeness of the immortal bard painted in his lifetime is passing out of the family that's held it since it was created four centuries ago.

    The Sanders portrait, as it is known, is owned by Lloyd Sullivan of Ottawa, who inherited it from his mother more than 40 years ago. It's resided in Canada since the end of the First World War.

    Although details have not been finalized, the Globe and Mail reports Sullivan is selling the portrait to a Canadian family, who in turn will donate it to a Canadian public art institution for display. No price has been mentioned.

    “It’s a great thing for Canada,” Sullivan told the Globe, who has spent about one million dollars researching the claim that the Sanders portrait is an authentic life image of Shakespeare.

    “I’m 80. I’ve got arthritis. Everything else is okay but it’s like being crippled and I’ll be walking around with a cane all the time in the future.”

    [ Related: 10

    Read More »from Canadian-owned painting purported to be only life-likeness of Shakespeare changing hands
  • A Canadian flag flies on under the Peace Tower in Ottawa Wednesday March 3, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldOh, CNN. How you flatter us. You've taken notice of Canada's polite behaviour, clean air and highway-adjacent restaurants (really?), compiled them in a Top 10 list and showered us with praise. And we offer you a perplexed but genuine thank you. Because that’s the polite thing to do.

    The American news network included Canada in a series called "Things countries do best," which has previously identified South Korea as being the best at "business boozing" and female golfing, and America as having the best beer.

    This is clearly not a scientific examination of the world we're dealing with here. In actuality,  it is an examination of how Americans perceive the world. Or at least one American who works at CNN. So while it is humbling to be included, finally being recognized for such successes as using "adorable phrases" and apologizing, we should take this all with a grain of salt.

    If the list appears underwhelming, please forgive our southern neighbour. They have done the best they can with

    Read More »from Ten things Canada does better than anyone, according to patronizing Americans
  • Rob Ford dancing, image via YouTube user Mychael Warren.Forget the drug use, the consorting with criminals, the lying, the false accusations and the racist comments. Everything is OK again because Rob Ford had been spotted dancing in a church. His rise from the ashes is almost complete.

    There's not much that needs to be said about the latest video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, which popped up on YouTube over the weekend. It is a video of a man in full "image rebuilding mode" doing what people love to see him do: Being an awkward, everyday, normal fella.

    The two-and-a-half-minute video captures Ford dancing in a church choir at the West Toronto Church of God. Impressively, he keeps the motion going for the full video. "He lost some weight," someone is heard saying at the end of the song.

    [ More Brew: Doug Ford denies buying votes with $20 bills ]

    Ford has promised to stop drinking, get in shape and lose some weight after admitting to smoking crack cocaine, lying about it, buying illegal drugs and driving after he had consumed alcohol. And being

    Read More »from Mayor Rob Ford dances into spotlight at Toronto church
  • One of the chores on my domestic to-do list was a respray of my dingy-looking black mailbox. Looks like I won't need to do that, now. Canada Post will stop delivering mail to my front door sometime in the next five years.

    We've heard the rationale behind the Crown corporation's drastic plans to transition the remaining households still getting home delivery– about a third of the 15 million homes it reaches – to community mailboxes.

    On top of that, they're jacking up the price of a first-class stamp by about one-third, to $1 from 63 cents, though you get a 15-cent discount if you buy a pack.

    The well-worn rationale for these drastic moves centre on Canada Post's continuing losses as more personal and business communication migrates to the web and the burden of funding a pension plan that's billions of dollars under water.

    The Conference Board of Canada's report earlier this year said current trends point to Canada Post, and by extension the federal government, staring at a $1-billion

    Read More »from How Canada Post’s changes will affect you
  • It's that time of year! Santa Claus is hard at work! -- Getty ImagesHo Ho Holy Christmas, Canada. We’ve found ourselves embroiled in a debate over whether Santa Claus is a Canuck. And a faint and forgotten Canada Post outpost may help prove it.

    While there is nothing harmful about a tongue-in-cheek holiday conversation about what country truly holds claim to a jolly old elf that flies around the world giving toys to children, this one is somewhat concerning. Because some people have sprinkled a dash of legitimate, serious credence onto the debate.

    With several countries suddenly very concerned about who gets to mine, pump and strip natural resources out of the Arctic Circle, there are suddenly some real-world repercussions to what flag hangs from the top of the North Pole.

    Last week, Canada submitted a claim to the United Nations that much of the Arctic Circle rests on a seabed belonging to our continental shelf. That swath of claimed land does not include the North Pole itself, but further claims are expected to be filed.

    Russia responded by announcing a

    Read More »from Let’s get very serious about the ‘Santa Claus is Canadian’ debate
  • Omar Khadr appears in an Edmonton courtroom, Sept.23, 2013 in an artist's sketch

    There have been two very different narratives about Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who is now housed in an Edmonton prison.

    Narrative one: The Toronto-born Khadr — who pleaded guilty to war crime offences and murder for killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15 — is a dangerous terrorist who deserves to be locked up for a long time, if not forever.

    Narrative two: Khadr, who is now 27 years old, was 'a child caught up in an adult war' and has been mistreated by U.S. officials at Guantanamo.

    We now, for the first time, have Khadr's side of the story in his own words.

    The Canadian Press has obtained a court filing that includes a statement from Khadr in which he explains why he pleaded guilty.

    "I was left with a hopeless choice," Khadr...says in the sworn affidavit.

    "If I wanted the chance to eventually return to my home of Canada, I would have to be found guilty of crimes as determined by the U.S. government, which could then lead to me serving my

    Read More »from Omar Khadr explains his guilty plea, is downgraded to medium security
  • Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, Somalia's new prime minister (Reuters)Word that Canadian-trained economist Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed has been tapped to become Somalia's latest prime minister highlights the ties between the still-troubled African country and Canada.

    If his appointment is confirmed by Somalia's parliament, Ahmed, a Somali-born Canadian citizen, would become the country's second prime minister in 14 months and the sixth in as many years, including another Canadian, the National Post reports.

    According to Ahmed's CV, posted on Shabelle.net, he has a master's degree in economics from the University of Ottawa and is a Ph.D candidate in international trade and development. He also earned a diploma in computer programming at Ottawa's Algonquin College.

    Ahmed came to Canada in 1998 and worked for the Bank of Canada before leaving in 2003 to work for the African Union, the Post noted.

    "After a long consultations, I have taken the decision to name Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed as prime minister," the president told reporters in Mogadishu, according to Aljazeera.

    Read More »from Somali-Canadian’s appointment as prime minister highlights ties between the countries

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