• Ships are moored in the Strait of Georgia off of Vancouver (CP)There's good news and bad news for Vancouver out of ECA International's most recent survey charting the cost of living for expatriates.

    The bad news is that Vancouver remains the most expensive city in Canada for employees coming from overseas, according to the Australian human resources consulting firm.

    Vancouver topped other major Canadian cities such as Toronto and Montreal for expats who move there for their jobs.

    The twice-yearly survey looks at the cost of a basket of of day-to-day goods and services, including food, drink, clothing, personal transportation and dining out. It doesn't cover some major living costs as rental housing, utilities, school fees and vehicle purchases because they're often covered separately in expat packages.

    The good news is that Vancouver actually slipped down the world rankings of most expensive cities, which perhaps might lure more companies to place staff there.

    [ Related on Y! Finance: Vancouver most expensive city in Canada ]

    It's not even in the

    Read More »from Survey finds Vancouver most expensive Canadian city for expats
  • A debate has broken out over the perceived militarization of Santa Claus, because a debate over his nationality just wasn't bizarre enough.

    Yes, let's set aside our disagreement over what country Santa and his North Pole home belong to and look at the latest controversy to hit ahead of Christmas a playful video that depicts Santa's sleigh being escorted by two Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter jets.

    The video is part of a decades-old tradition held by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to track Santa has he travels around the world.

    NORAD, usually tasked with the duty of guarding North America's airspace the rest of the year, spends December tracking and reporting on Santa's trajectory and whereabouts. Helper elves also field phone calls from children who want to speak to Santa.

    The military unit usually goes all out, launching games, videos and a Christmas-themed website to join in the festivities.

    [ Related: As NORAD tracks Santa, critics track NORAD ]

    There is Santa's sleigh, and there are two CF-18s. Via NORAD

    This year's

    Read More »from Sleep well, children: Santa Claus has a military escort
  • Canadian actress Pam Anderson is in Newfoundland today to offer Canadian seal hunters $1 million to abandon the controversial industry.

    Anderson, along with philanthropist and Simpsons creator Sam Simon appeared at the St. John's office of the Canadian Sealers Association in an attempt to offer the cash buyout in person.

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) confirmed the offering to Yahoo Canada News, saying the money is intended to help seal farmers transition out of the industry.

    According to the letter to be delivered to the Canadian Sealers Association, acceptance of the money requires the association secure bipartisan support by the end of the year to end the seal hunt.

    Aboriginal hunters would be free to continue hunting up to six seals per person.

    "Canadian politicians remain too timid to initiate a buyout for fear of upsetting swing voters in eastern Canada and because they don't seem to care about individual sealers," Simon said in the statement, according to CBC News

    Read More »from Actress Pamela Anderson makes $1 million offer to end Canadian seal hunt
  • Mayor Rob Ford attends an executive committee meeting at Toronto's City Hall on Thursday, December 5 2013. Ford says he didn't intend to suggest a Toronto Star reporter is a pedophile during a televised interview with Conrad Black. Reporter Daniel Dale served Ford with a libel notice last week, demanding the mayor apologize for and retract what Dale called a UPDATE: Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale has responded to Mayor Rob Ford's apology offered Tuesday in council, and said on Twitter that he will still proceed with legal action.

    "His statement today didn't come close," Dale tweeted Tuesday afternoon. "I'm proceeding with a defamation lawsuit."

    He continued:  "In his 'apology,' the mayor didn't retract anything at all. Instead, he blamed the media for its reasonable interpretation of his words. He also blamed his neighbour. He used the words 'lurking' and 'leering.' And, crucially, he didn't retract or specifically apologize for the categorically false, malicious, and in-itself-defamatory claim about me taking pictures of his young kids. I didn't ask for an 'I apologize if.' I asked for an "I apologize because I said false, damaging, and unfounded things, and here they are.'

    "So: while I appreciate the mayor's first step, no dad or teacher would accept that apology as sufficient. I would appreciate another try."


    Toronto Mayor Rob

    Read More »from Toronto Star reporter says he will continue with lawsuit despite Rob Ford apology
  • A Calgary man has embodied the holiday spirit by donating $40 million in lottery winnings to various charities. The sudden act of kindness, inspired by the loss of his wife, comes little more than a week before Christmas.

    Calgary's Tom Crist won the $40 million LottoMax jackpot in a draw on May 3, but didn't realize he won until he was contacted during on a golf trip in California.

    "I wasn’t even sure which game I’d won on, or what the numbers were," Crist told the lottery agency. "I’ve paid for the Subscription when I get the renewal notice every year, and then I just file it – sometimes I’d get a cheque for $10 or $20, but I never expected this."

    [ Related: Canada Pension Plan reform stalls without Ottawa's support ]

    Crist's $40 million jackpot makes him Calgary's largest lottery winner ever. It also makes him one of its largest charitable donors. According to CBC News, Crist is giving all of the money away to charities. Crist lost his wife to cancer last year.

    Via CBC:

    Crist said he

    Read More »from Calgary’s historic $40 million lottery winner Tom Crist donates it all to charity
  • 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


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