• Canada’s top court welcomes Alberta judge

    A pedestrian walks past the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Thursday, July 23, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickA pedestrian walks past the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Thursday, July 23, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

    The appointment of Alberta Judge Russell Brown to the Supreme Court of Canada this week makes seven of the nine judges on the country’s highest court appointees of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    But if the perception is that the Conservative government is stacking Canada’s top court in its favour, its record before the court would beg to differ.

    Though only two of the high court judges predate the current government — Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin was appointed by Jean Chrétien and Rosalie Silberman Abella by Paul Martin — the court has struck down Conservative government policies time and again in recent years.

    Most recently, the court ruled in June that the government’s ban on medical marijuana products was unconstitutional.

    From Senate reform to native claims, mandatory minimum sentencing to immigration, the high court has culled Conservative policy that strayed away from Charter rights and the Canadian Constitution.

    The Macdonald-Laurier Institute for Public Policy named the

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  • A recent surge in shares of this picture on Facebook has got people talking about dying elephant tusks.A recent surge in shares of this picture on Facebook has got people talking about dying elephant tusks.

    This pink elephant can’t be blamed on a drunken hallucination, though wildlife conservationists might suggest a certain level of intoxication to those who think their pink tusks could be real.

    Reports abound online regarding elephant tusks being painted pink in an effort to devalue the ivory for poachers. A Facebook post, Stain Tusks to Stop Elephant Poaching, includes a photo of an elephant with pink tusks, but goes on to explain that the photo has been altered. The author then suggests that even though the photo is a fake, the notion of staining tusks should be explored in an effort to stop the killing of innocent elephants in Africa.

    But wildlife conservationists say painting elephant tusks is hardly feasible for animals in the wild.

    “The idea is impractical to impossible on a field-level scale because of the sheer logistics and cost to implement,” says Anne Lambert of the International Conservation Fund of Canada, a charity that focuses on global conservation work. “Darting and

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  • A man from Glen Ellen, Illinois, was detained recently after taking to Facebook and allegedly threatening to point a gun at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, among other people, in a series of hate-filled rants. In one of them, 29-year-old Mohammad Waqas Khan wrote “I want a high net worth individual to shoot. I want this to be a real human tragedy,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

    Earlier this summer, a case involving threatening messages on the social-media site made it to the United States Supreme Court, where Anthony Elonis was acquitted of threatening his estranged wife via numerous graphic and vile posts. In one of his more timid ones, he asked if his restraining order was “thick enough to stop a bullet”. (Elonis spent more nearly four years in jail before his conviction was overturned in June.)

    These two cases may be extreme, but they’re examples of how social media can be used to harass, bully, and threaten others. For those on the receiving end of noxious posts, messages, and tweets,

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  • There was the $30,000 towards the “poodle on a pole” public art installation. There was the $4.5-million park-and-ride where almost nobody parks and rides.

    And then there was the $170-million fare card system that is $24 million over budget, two years behind schedule and still not up and running.

    Now the agency that runs Metro Vancouver’s public transit system has spurred a whole new round of TransLink trashing with an online ad for a new CEO.

    The ad posted last week outlines a base salary of $319,244, plus an annual bonus that could bring the total to just over $415,000. The position includes a $2,500 wellness allowance, a $14,400 transportation allowance and $1,200 for parking.

    “I think it shows the complete disregard the TransLink board has for the taxpayer,” says Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the agency’s most ardent critic.

    “We’ve been searching for a transit system boss somewhere in North America who makes more [in total compensation]… .

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  • Need a pint to down with your downward dog? Lululemon’s got you covered.

    In mid-August the Vancouver-based yoga-wear maker plans to release 88,000 cans of Curiosity Lager beer – a collaboration with Stanley Park Brewing – to quench the shin splints after the Lululemon’s annual SeaWheeze Half Marathon.

    “We both share a deep hometown pride in our forest-in-the-city, Stanley Park and a unbridled enthusiasm for cold beer after a sweaty run on the Seawall,” a press release said.

    It’s a bizarre brand extension; after all beer is a serious sidestep for a company basing its values around personal wellness (not that a little indulgence here and there is a bad thing). But Lululemon’s side step certainly isn’t the strangest we’ve come across.

    Here are nine other supremely offbeat brand extensions:

    Reebok Bacon

    Nothing quenches the cult of CrossFit quite like pure, unprocessed bacon, so is it that surprising that Reebok would develop its own branded version of the breakfast staple?

    Launched last year in

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  • A London, Ont., couple are the latest targets of online shaming after they pleaded guilty to charges for leaving their puppy locked in a bathroom while they went on vacation last January.A London, Ont., couple are the latest targets of online shaming after they pleaded guilty to charges for leaving their puppy locked in a bathroom while they went on vacation last January.


    An Ontario couple who went on vacation and left their 12-week-old puppy alone in a bathroom are being lambasted on the Internet, the latest targets of online shaming.

    Kyle O’Neill, 26, and Gabrielle Penney, 20, of London pleaded guilty last week to four counts of animal cruelty after they locked their Chihuahua mix puppy in a bathroom and took off on a two-week holiday at the beginning of January.

    The dog was discovered after their landlord received noise complaints and called the London Humane Society. After acquiring a search warrant, workers from the humane society were able to access the apartment on Jan. 6 and rescue the puppy. It has since been adopted.

    Both O’Neill and Penney received sentences of six months of probation, $400 in fees to be paid to the London Humane Society and a 10-year pet ban.

    Dissatisfied with their punishment, London resident and animal lover Jenalyn Cundy-Jones created a post on Facebook on Friday night with their names and photo and urged everyone to

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  • (Photo via Thinkstock)(Photo via Thinkstock)

    The dogs were kept in a long cement corridor divided into side-by-side barred compartments; Finn Bannerman knew instantly that this was not where they wanted to leave Bruce, their one-and-a-half-year-old German shepherd, border collie mix.

    "My clearest memory is just the noise,” Bannerman says. “There was a lot of barking. There did seem to be a lot of dogs in one room. They each had their own space but it was quite small."

    Having travelled with Bruce from Toronto to Virginia to attend a friend's wedding, Bannerman was not able to visit the kennel prior to leaving him there and because of the hotel's no-dog policy they had no choice but to board him.

    "I found a kennel [online] and it said that they let the dogs play outside quite a bit and it sounded like an okay place. We hadn't left him anywhere prior to this and upon getting to the kennel, we didn't really get to see much of the space."

    They cringe when they recall picking him up the next day. "A concerning outcome after picking

    Read More »from Boarding, pet-sitting or home-visiting: Finding the best care option for your dog while you're on vacation
  • Norman the one-eyed racehorse, who inspired people and children's books, was euthanized Friday after breaking a leg.Norman the one-eyed racehorse, who inspired people and children's books, was euthanized Friday after breaking a leg.

    A one-eyed horse from Ottawa, who inspired several children’s books, is being remembered this week as a gentle giant that leaves behind a legacy of strength and perseverance.

    Norman the one-eyed horse, who died Friday, was once known as Alydeed’s Leader, bred to race like his ancestors.

    The brown beauty came from Canadian racing royalty: his grandfather, Northern Dancer, is considered to be one of the most successful sires of the 20th century, having won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. His father, Alydeed, won the Canadian Queen’s Plate in 1992.

    In his professional career, which took him from Calgary to Fort Erie, Ont., Norman won two races and placed either second or third in 15.

    “He wasn’t very fast but he was a very big racehorse,” his owner Heather Young tells Yahoo Canada News. “He was just this massive animal with the biggest heart and chose to be gentle even though he’d been through a lot.”

    Young first met her beloved companion in 2010. She was visiting the Heaven

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  • If Toronto is looking for a follow-up party to the Pan Am Games, the city should look at hosting the Commonwealth Games. That’s the advice from a business expert who has studied the economics of the Olympic Games.

    “If you want to have a party, try hosting the Commonwealth Games. It’s a cheaper party,” says Tsur Somerville, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. Affordability is all relative, he tells Yahoo Canada News.

    Toronto and Ontario could, no doubt, find the resources to host the largest athletic competition in the world given the speculation last week about a possible 2024 Olympic bid.

    “The question is whether that’s the best use of resources,” he says. “My advice to Toronto would be Toronto and Ontario have a whole bunch of things that they’re in debt on, that they need to spend money on that strike me as more important. I think I’d get my electrical and transport situation worked out first and then worry about the Olympics.”


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  • Reports this past week of car hacking in Missouri and of camera hacking in southwestern Ontario illustrate just how vulnerable users of wirelessly connected devices can be.

    “Anything that goes out over the airwaves can be hacked,” said Chris Menary, a security expert and president of Toronto-based Menary Group Inc. 

    In the car hacking, attackers took control of a Jeep Cherokee on a busy highway killing the engine and bringing it to a sudden halt.

    It was actually an exercise for Wired magazine by two security experts using a laptop and Wi-Fi to send code through a backdoor in the vehicle’s entertainment system forcing the moving Jeep Cherokee to a halt.

    Last year, the same security experts, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, revealed 20 of the “most hackable” vehicles — putting the auto industry on notice.

    The automaker announced Friday a recall of 1.4 million vehicles to ensure owners have updated security. 

    While hackers hijacking our cars is scary — there’s little that frightens

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