• CSEC will spend almost $420M this year on electronic eavesdropping.Almost every federal department and agency has felt the squeeze from the Conservative government's cost-cutting push.

    Except one.

    Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), our now internationally notorious electronic snooper, will spend more than $460 million in this fiscal year, the Globe and Mail reports, based on budgetary information released last week.

    The forecast spending for the CSEC was expected to spend $420 million this fiscal year, the Globe said.

    Intelligence researcher Bill Robinson, who focused on the spy agency's spending trend on his blog Lux Ex Umbra, noted the agency's pre 9/11 budget was $97 million (year 2000).

    "Adjust that for inflation and it's $130 million, so it's a huge increase – 3 1/2 times," he told the Globe.

    [ Related: Civil liberties watchdog sues Ottawa over massive electronic surveillance of Canadians ]

    The secretive CSEC made news earlier this year when information leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden

    Read More »from Spy agency getting almost half a billion dollars, a bargain its supporters say
  • RCMP are investigating after two suspected mobile gas vans crashed in the last month.The police call them mobile Molotov cocktails, with good reason.

    Another suspected mobile black market gas van was involved in a minor collision this weekend, then burst into flames as the driver fled.

    With some of the highest gasoline prices in Canada, Metro Vancouver apparently has become a lucrative place for black market fuel dispensed from rolling gas stations.

    Two suspected mobile gas vans have crashed in the last month and police have arrested the drivers of two other similarly rigged vans.

    The latest incident happened Sunday in suburban Surrey. An unmarked white van crashed into a pickup truck, then fled the scene. But it caught fire as it was driving away, then exploded. The driver managed to get clear and fled, according to CBC News.

    Global News reported the burned-out van contained a large storage tank inside similar to one that exploded in a spectacular Oct. 7 crash on a residential street in Vancouver.

    [ Related: RCMP seek suspect in firey 'gas van' crash ]

    The fiery blast,

    Read More »from Police say vans carrying black market gasoline are rolling bombs
  • Three children in Laval, Que., were injured after a vehicle driven by an 80-year-old woman crashed through the window of a nursery school, local police have confirmed.

    Laval police reported on Twitter that three children were injured in a crash at 538 St. Martin Blvd. West, just north of Montreal. Police say the driver of the vehicle is 80 years old.

    The children were hurt inside Garderie Face a Face, a bilingual daycare for children between two and five years old. The daycare is located inside a strip mall at that address.

    The children were taken to Ste. Justine Hospital in Montreal. Police have described the injuries as minor.

    The driver also suffered minor injuries after her silver sedan crashed through a plate glass window and came to rest entirely inside the daycare.

    Read More »from Three children hurt after car crashes into Laval, Que., daycare
  • The Canadian government has offered to help the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, and the country’s response includes a highly-respected response team capable of providing medical assistance and potable water as the country recovers from the devastation.

    Nearly 1,000 people are confirmed dead and the death toll is expected to rise to at least 10,000, after a massive typhoon struck the central part of the country over the weekend. More than 600,000 people have been left homeless in its wake.

    Central to Canada's aid strategy is the Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), a unit often dispatched to provide medical assistance and clean water to the most devastated regions.

    A C-17 cargo plane left CFB Trenton Monday night with as many as 50 members of the 200-person response team and their equipment. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said they were ready to offer more assistance.

    “It is clear that the devastation is real, although the extent of the destruction has

    Read More »from What is Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team and why was it sent to the Philippines?
  • Pretty much everyone agrees that it is a circus at Toronto City Hall and now even Mayor Rob Ford is nodding in agreement. And nodding, and nodding and nodding.

    A limited edition run of Mayor Rob Ford bobbleheads went on sale at City Hall on Tuesday and drew a long snaking line of supporters and ironic toy collectors alike.

    The bobbleheads, which some suggest look more like Coun. Doug Ford, sell for $20, with the proceeds going to the United Way.

    Yes, the sale of these chotchkies comes during a tough time for the city's mayor. Fresh off admitting to smoking crack cocaine and apologizing for lying to the public, Ford could face more bad news this week.

    Latest news on Rob Ford:

    More twists in Rob Ford crack cocaine scandal may be coming

    Should we feel sympathy for Rob Ford?

    Rob Ford lightly booed at

    Read More »from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s support base the focus of CNN report
  • Canada's mining sector is a heavyweight worldwide, but apparently with that clout comes a growing negative image as an environmental miscreant.

    Yukon-based Gabriel Resources is at the centre of a controversy over plans to develop Europe's biggest open-pit gold mine in Romania, which includes leveling four mountains and creating a lake of cyanide, which is used to extract gold and silver from the ore.

    But The Associated Press reports a Romanian parliamentary commission will reject legislation that would have cleared the way for the Rosia Montana project.

    The development has been subject to years of protest and debate over whether its economic benefits outweigh the potential environmental damage, AP said.

    The last few weeks have featured widespread protests in Romanian cities, prompting Prime Minister Victor Ponta to pull back from plans to get the project approved.

    "The ruling coalition intends to reject the project," Ponta said Monday, but added the government supports foreign investment in

    Read More »from Canadian mining firms giving country a black eye abroad, report finds
  • Ashley Madison is striking back against a bizarre $20 million lawsuit from a former employee who says her wrists were damaged on the job, by releasing images of the woman apparently leading a normal life.

    Ashley Madison, a Canadian-based dating website for married men and women, says it rejects Doriana Silva's claim that she was left physically disabled by creating 1,000 fake online profiles and alleges it has evidence that she has continued to live a normal life.

    "Throughout this lawsuit, Ms. Silva has continued to lead an active life and has shown no side effects from her so called injury, as evidenced by her photo postings, depicting multiple vacations around the world, on social media sites," reads a statement provided to Yahoo Canada News. "In fact, in several postings Ms. Silva can be seen clearly enjoying herself on a jet ski – an unlikely activity for someone who has allegedly suffered serious injury."

    The company also provided several images of a woman it said was Silva riding a

    Read More »from Ashley Madison strikes back against ‘fake profile’ injury lawsuit with photos
  • The tradition of battle honours goes back centuries, when soldiers fought and displayed regimental colours earned in past battles.We know the Conservative government is keen on Canada's military history, even if critics attack its policies towards veterans, so it's probably not surprising Prime Minister Stephen Harper is mulling ways to mark the armed forces' exploits in Afghanistan.

    The Canadian Press reports Harper is considering bestowing battle honours on combat units that fought in the decade-long Afghan mission.

    What might surprise you is that the initiative potentially could be provoke controversy, especially since the war's not over and Canadian troops are still there, if no longer on the front line.

    CP obtained a memo under access-to-information legislation detailing options for recognizing individual regiments for specific battles and participation in the war itself.

    "Battle honours are awarded to provide public recognition to combatant military units for active participation in battle against a formed and armed enemy," says the May 13 note from Wayne Wouters, clerk of the Privy Council.

    "The awarding of

    Read More »from Is it too soon for Conservative government to consider Afghan war battle honours?
  • As the Philippines strives to recover from the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed an estimated 10,000 people and decimated a stretch of land home to some nine million people, Canada has joined the efforts to help in any way possible.

    President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of calamity as the military and volunteers work tireless to recover the missing and ensure food and shelter for those left in the wake.

    Outside the country, the reaction has been similarly passionate. Canada's Filipino community is begging for the country to offer aid, pleas that have quickly picked up by the government and local aid agencies – and the United Nations has been urged to consider the role climate change had in the disaster.

    Naderev Sano, the U.N. envoy from the Philippines, broke down in tears on Monday as he addressed a conference focused on addressing climate change. The Canadian Press reported that Sano vowed to fast until a "meaningful outcome" to climate change was in sight.


    Read More »from Canada poised to send military plane to assist Philippines in wake of Typhoon Haiyan
  • Snow falls as a veteran waits for the start of the Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.Remembrance Day is supposed to be a solemn occasion to mark the sacrifices of Canadians in a century of warfare.

    But it can't escape trouble and controversy, whether it's the intrusion of politics or base criminality, such as poppy donation-can thefts.

    When members of Branch 291 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Richmond, B.C., paraded Monday for Remembrance Day, they did it with donated flags.

    Just days before the sombre ceremony, someone broke into a locked storage container on the suburban Vancouver legion branch's property and stole its 10 flags.

    When news of the theft broke over the weekend, offers to replace the flags poured in from other legion branches, community organizations and even scout troops, CTV News reported. So many that the legion had to turn some away.

    Members were "kind of shocked," said John Kane, vice chairman of the branch's Remembrance Day committee.

    “This time of year most flags are being used by most branches,” Kane told CTV News. “It's pretty hard for them to give

    Read More »from Flag theft, protests dog Remembrance Day ceremonies


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