• Okimaw Ohci Healing LodgeCanada’s aboriginal community is vastly overrepresented in the country’s federal prison system and the issue appears to be getting worse.

    Incarceration does not seem to be reaching the societal core of the problem and yet, while the federal government may have already stumbled upon a holistic solution, they appear hesitant to put it into practice.

    Yet the issue of aboriginal inmates is at a breaking point, and something has to be done.

    A special report released this week by the Office of the Correctional Investigator says the federal prison population is 23 per cent aboriginal, while the community makes up just four per cent of Canada's overall population.

    That 23 per cent population rate has increased from 14 per cent just six years ago, suggesting the problem is getting worse. Aboriginal inmates were also found to be less likely to be granted parole and more likely to re-offend.

    "Aboriginal-specific legislative provisions are chronically under-funded, under-utilized and unevenly

    Read More »from Are healing lodges the answer to aboriginal prison overrepresentation?

  • Rob Ford denies allegationsToronto Mayor Rob Ford denies an accusation from a former political rival that he made a suggestive comment and touched her inappropriately

    Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

    That is a saying that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford might benefit from remembering as he spirals into a new round of allegations, accusations and controversies.

    The contentious leader of Canada’s largest city has been beat up in court recently, but survived several attempts to legally end his rule as mayor and sat, seemingly, with clear skies ahead.

    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, courtesy Sarah Thompson's Facebook page.That was until this week when the wheels fell off again, this time it seems with no one but himself to blame. Or perhaps a woman he alleges is making up accusations against him.

    Magazine publisher and former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson claims she was groped by Ford at a party Thursday night, adding that the mayor made comments suggesting he wanted to have an affair with her.

    Ford and Thomson were both in attendance at an annual bash

    Read More »from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denies groping former rival Sarah Thomson
  • Health Canada's plan to phase out home-based growers of legal medical marijuana in favour of licensed commercial operators has Canadian municipalities scrambling to come up with bylaws to regulate the industry.

    Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced last December that Ottawa was revamping the rules governing medicinal pot after a decade of exponential rise in the number of licensed growers, more than 26,000 last year from just 500 in 2002.

    The federal government will be getting out of the business of growing pot itself and bar production in private homes.

    The Federation of Canadian Municipalities welcomed the changes because it's hoped they will ease the strain on local police and fire services dealing with safety problems connected with licensed grow-ops and unauthorized production under legitimate licences.

    But it's left municipal governments racing to draft changes to local bylaws covering commercial grow-ops or clarify how existing rules will apply.

    British Columbia accounts for

    Read More »from Cities rushing to restrict where marijuana grow-ops can be
  • Mark McAllisterCanadian television broadcaster Mark McAllister attained an unfortunate moment of infamy two years ago when he garbled a live segment on Global Toronto. The incident was mocked at the time as a simple blooper, it was actually a partial seizure — a side effect of a medical condition McAllister did not realize he was suffering.

    McAllister was diagnosed with epilepsy less than a month later, and has been balancing the affliction with his family life and career ever since. McAllister will publicly discuss his condition for the first time in a weekend news feature, part of which will air on Global Toronto Thursday evening.

    [ Brew Archives: Global reporter feeling better after on-air incoherence ]

    McAllister spoke with Yahoo! Canada News ahead of that broadcast.

    Y! Let’s talk first about the on-air incident in 2011. Is that the first time something like that had happened to you?

    No, it was the first time it was as public as it was. I had been experiencing what my wife and I had been calling

    Read More »from Television reporter Mark McAllister opens up about epilepsy two years after on-air seizure
  • Gay rights activists, including Peter Tatchell (2nd L), take part in a protest outside Uganda House in Trafalgar Square, in London December 10, 2009.Am I wrong to question the timing of word that the Conservative government has been funding groups fighting Uganda's proposed legislation mandating harsh penalties for homosexuals?

    Last month, the Conservatives were raked over the coals after it was revealed Christian Crossroads Communications, a stridently anti-gay organization, was getting money from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for work it was doing in Uganda.

    Now the National Post reports it's learned Ottawa has been quietly funnelling money to organizations promoting gay rights in the African country and battling against a private members' bill that would toughen existing legislation against homosexuality.

    The Post says Ottawa has spent $200,000 since November to fund gay rights initiatives in Uganda and Kenya. It cites a senior Foreign Affairs Department source as saying Ottawa's involvement has specifically focused on the impending Ugandan legislation.

    [ Related: Anti-gay religious group's funding for

    Read More »from Tories funding gay-rights initiatives in Uganda after giving money to anti-gay group
  • The Bay's old logoCanada's oldest retailer is paying homage to its heritage, kind of, by replacing one played out logo with more modern fare. The Hudson's Bay Company, known more recently as The Bay, has recently changed the logo on its flagship department store in downtown Toronto as part of a rebranding of the centuries-old company.

    Surely it is a coincidence that the big reveal comes as a dominant American rival makes its way into the Canadian market. Target. We are talking about Target.

    Tired of being called The Bay, the company has come up with a new, old title, and a modern logo to boot.

    Now, just call "North America's longest continually operated company" Hudson's Bay.

    “We’re very proud to say that Hudson’s Bay is continuing to advance in 2013, not only with our numerous new business ventures, but with our updated look,” creative director Tony Smith said in a statement.

    [ Related: Retailer The Bay returns with a rebranding as Hudson's Bay ]

    The new logo features the company’s full name in a

    Read More »from Hudson’s Bay announces rebranding initiative; newish name and logo
  • The Pivot Legal Society is accusing the Vancouver Police Department of using bylaws against street vending to harass residents just trying to make an extra buck.If you walk through Vancouver's impoverished Downtown Eastside it's not uncommon to see someone squatting on the sidewalk behind a little collection of household items that are for sale.

    There might be canned goods, produce, clothing, old videos. Some things have been recovered from dumpsters, others stolen maybe. Street vending seems part of the culture in Canada's poorest postal code where life for those who've hit bottom is a daily struggle.

    A group that advocates for the neighbourhood's residents now says it has proof the police are making that life even harder.

    The Pivot Legal Society is accusing the Vancouver Police Department of using bylaws against street vending to harass residents just trying to make an extra buck.

    Pivot, allied with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), says data it obtained under access-to-information legislation shows the vast majority of the $250 tickets issued for violating the city's street-vending bylaw from 2008 to 2012 were handed out in

    Read More »from Police accused of targeting street venders in Vancouver’s impoverished Downtown Eastside
  • People walk past a newspaper box across from the Chicago Tribune tower in Chicago, Illinois December 8, 2008. Publisher and broadcaster Tribune Co., a privately held company, which publishes the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection according to the Los Angeles Times December 8. REUTERS/Frank PolichThe announcement that Toronto had surpassed Chicago to become the fourth-largest city in North America was certain to tousle some hair in the Windy City, but who would have guessed the humble way in which we approached the revelation would be the final straw.

    We were proud of our success, the growth of our population and economy, not in the least crowing about Chicago’s increasing stagnancy. A piece in Canadian Business suggested that all things considered there was equality between the two cities.

    Even that was too much for the Chicago Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg, who threw a tantrum on Thursday about how unconscionable it was for Toronto to show any pride. In the name of the wounded hearts of Chicagoans, he would have his revenge.

    [ Related: Toronto passes Chicago: The good and bad of a growing city ]

    Steinberg writes:

    I’ve spent some time there, so don’t want to give the impression that people who live there are anonymous ciphers grinding through joyless lives devoid of charm or

    Read More »from Hey, Chicago: Windy City pouts over Toronto’s new status
  • Stompin' Tom ConnorsStomp on.

    Those two words are found among the thousands that have already been written about the death of Stompin' Tom Connors, the Canadian musical icon who passed away Wednesday night.

    Stomp on. Canadian icon. Your legacy. Thank you.

    Connors, who passed away of natural causes at the age of 77, was born Thomas Charles Connors in Saint John, New Brunswick on February 9th, 1936. Over a decades-long musical career, he captured the hearts of everyone from Canadian politicians to Canadian construction workers and loggers. And athletes, especially hockey players.

    His hits included "The Hockey Song," "Sudbury Saturday Night," "Bud The Spud," "Tillsonburg" and "Moon-Man Newfie." He was given every honour Canada had to offer, and he turned some of them away.

    He was a folk-singing superhero who, for years, stood as the proud icon of Canadian music. No, not music. Of Canada as a whole. Proudly nationalistic, fiercely loyal and beloved from coast to coast to coast.

    [ Related: Stompin’ Tom ConnorsRead More »from Stomp on: Canada remembers Stompin’ Tom Connors
  • Stompin’ Tom Connors dies of natural causes at 77

    Canadian music icon Stompin' Tom Connors has passed away Wednesday evening of natural causes at his home at the age of 77.

    The music legend is probably best known for his song "The Hockey Song," but also recorded hits such as "Sudbury Saturday Night," "Bud The Spud", "Tillsonburg," "Big Joe Mufferaw" and many more.

    "He is synonymous with the word Canada," said Brian Edwards, President of Rocklands Entertainment, to Yahoo! Canada News. "He was so popular it was beyond belief."

    Rocklands Entertainment notified people through a statement on the website Stompintom.com.

    To give people an idea of how popular Stompin' Tom was, Edwards talked about a poll which showed 97.6 per cent of Canadians knew who he was and only 58 per cent knew who the Prime Minister was.

    "Everyone can relate to it (his songs)," said Edwards. "From a governor general to a steelworker in Hamilton, it's such a rarity."

    His family gave the staff at stompintom.com a message he wanted passed along upon his death:

    Hello
    Read More »from Stompin’ Tom Connors dies of natural causes at 77

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