• The RCMP say they've snared a man they allege was preparing to pass along classified information about Ottawa's massive shipbuilding program to China.

    In what seems like lightning speed in an espionage case, the Mounties arrested Waterdown, Ont., resident Qing Quentin Huang after learning only last Thursday, Nov. 28, that someone was going to sell sensitive information to the Chinese. RCMP arrested Huang, a Canadian citizen, on Saturday afternoon.

    It's not clear exactly what information Huang is alleged to have offered about the $34-billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, a program to provide new vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard, as well as new ice-breakers and scientific research ships.

    “In these types of cases, sharing of information may give a foreign entity a tactical, military or competitive advantage by knowing the specifications of vessels responsible for defending Canadian waters and Canadian sovereignty,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Jennifer

    Read More »from Qing Quentin Huang charged for allegedly trying to pass classified Canadian information to China
  • Convicted child abductor Randall Hopley has escaped dangerous-offender status and the indefinite prison term it carries.

    Hopley, who abducted three-year-old Kienan Hebert from the bedroom of his unlocked home in Sparwood, B.C., in 2011, was instead declared a long-term offender on Friday.

    B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes sentenced him to a total of seven years in prison followed by 10 years of supervision, The Canadian Press reports. With time already served taken into account, Hebert faces five years behind bars.

    The Crown had argued Hopley, who had a record of sexually assaulting children, should be declared a dangerous offender because he posed a high risk to reoffend. It would have meant an indeterminate prison sentence subject to periodic reviews on his level of rehabilitation.

    Defence lawyer William Thorne argued Hopley, 48, did not physically harm Hebert and should not face potential incarceration until he's an old man, CBC News reported.

    But CP said Judge Holmes, who

    Read More »from Child abductor Randall Hopley labelled long-term offender
  • It was a shocking crime even in a city that was becoming inured to the violence of a vicious drug war that would take dozens of lives in the coming years.

    Six men were found dead in a high-rise apartment suite in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey in 2007 – five shot in the head, another in the back, their heads all covered before they were killed.

    The prime target was the 15th-floor apartment's resident, 21-year-old drug dealer Corey Lal. But three of Lal's associates and two innocent bystanders – Christopher Mohan, who lived in a neighbouring apartment, and fireplace serviceman Ed Shellenberg – were killed too, so there would be no witnesses.

    The massive investigation that followed – itself fraught with internal problems – led to charges against five young men and brought the bloody turf rivalries of Metro Vancouver's well-armed drug gangs into sharp focus.

    The reason Quang Vinh Thang (Michael) Le decided this week to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in apparent return for having

    Read More »from Guilty plea an important piece in the Surrey Six murders puzzle
  • First was their long-running radio show. Then there was their short-lived (one episode) reality show on Sun News. Now, the Ford brothers are taking their brand into their own hands with plans for a new web series.

    On Thursday, Councillor Doug Ford told a local radio station that the brothers were planning on launching a YouTube series that will reportedly be called ‘Ford Nation,’ the same title as their brief Sun News television show.

    The Fords say that they’ll be footing the bill for this YouTube series, expected to come out sometime “before Christmas.” It’s probably a good thing they’re paying for it to, because putting on a Ford show sounds like a costly endeavour.

    Sun News vice president Kory Teneycke told the National Post that the lone episode of ‘Ford Nation’ the station produced used “as many resources as we would usually use for 8 hours of daytime programming … the economics of that don’t work well over the long term.”

    More on Rob Ford:

    Will crack confession prevent Rob Ford from

    Read More »from Rob Ford, Doug Ford to host new show on YouTube
  • Before boarding a Toronto streetcar on that fateful night in July, 2013, Sammy Yatim had not previously shown any signs of violence or mental illness. His family was quick to support that claim, but when Yatim was gunned down in a crazed state at the hands of Toronto police, mental illness quickly became a popular theory.

    On the surface, Yatim's death appeared to be a case of excessive and fatal force when an attempt to de-escalate the situation seemed more appropriate. But the prospect of mental illness was enough to reignite a national debate on how police officers deal with people who at the very least appear to be mentally ill.

    The strife seemed to begin with the death of Paul Boyd, a Vancouver man with bipolar disorder who was gunned down following a standoff with police in 2007. Brandishing a hammer and a bike chain, Boyd was considered armed and dangerous. Boyd's final moments were captured on video and although he appeared to be unarmed, kneeling down at the time of the fatal

    Read More »from Video capturing death of Michael Eligon released; escaped mental patient killed in Toronto police shooting
  • The folks at Le Corsaire, a Lévis, Que., micro-brewery may be contrite on the surface but I bet they're high-fiving each other behind closed doors after being accused of sexism in the labelling of some of their beers.

    There is, as P.T. Barnum is reputed to have said, no such thing as bad publicity.

    I'd be surprised if sales of Le Corsaire's seasonal brews, with names such as The Hooker and La Tite Pute (the little slut) don't take off after a CBC News story on the outrage the names have sparked among women's groups.

    "The name La Tite Pute disgusts me," Julie Miville-Dechêne, head of Quebec's Council on the Status of Women, told CBC News.

    “[Prostitution] exploits women. There isn’t a lot of choice involved, there is a lot of exploitation, a lot of violence. It’s not something we should be laughing about."

    She's also probably not crazy about The Parrot, one of Le Corsaire's other offerings, which features a label with a naked woman in a bird cage.

    [ Related: Quebec brewery's offensive beer

    Read More »from Quebec brewery Le Corsaire slammed for sexist beer names, unlikely sales will suffer
  • What is going on in Morris, a small Manitoba town of about 1,800 people that's become synonymous with bigotry?

    For the second time in a year a restaurant in Morris, about 30 minutes south of Winnipeg, is closing because of apparent prejudice against the proprietor.

    Jamaican-born Thea Morris opened Thea's Diner on a corner of the town's main street last June, offering Caribbean and Canadian cuisine.

    But now she feels forced to close her doors and leave after a series of incidents that she considers discriminatory and disrespectful, the Winnipeg Free Press reports.

    Some would-be customers came into the restaurant but left before their orders were taken. Business slackened "because you're black," one longtime Morris resident told her.

    "It's not going to get any better, whatever force I'm fighting," Morris told the Free Press. "I'm not going to succeed. I'm going back to Winnipeg where stuff like this is insignificant. Winnipeg is big. This is small. It kills business."

    The last straw, she said,

    Read More »from Bigotry displayed in Morris, Manitoba, while shameful, is not unique
  • As serious as this issue is, there's something perversely appealing about picturing a Mountie, complete with red serge uniform and Stetson hat, sparking up a joint.

    It's not some satirical sketch on the old Royal Canadian Air Farce show. Cpl. Ronald Francis, who serves with New Brunswick's J Division, is in a tussle with his bosses over whether he can smoke medical marijuana while in uniform – red serge or normal duty blues.

    Only in Canada.

    Francis obtained a pot prescription after conventional drugs failed to help him cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    [ Related: Medical marijuana privacy breach sparks lawsuit ]

    Francis told CBC News weed has helped him calm down and reduces his PTSD symptoms, which developed when he worked in the troubled aboriginal community of Davis Inlet.

    His prescription allows him up to three

    Read More »from Mellow Mountie: Use of medicinal marijuana in the workplace on the rise
  • It's fair to assume that Katherine Svenson is against the idea of allowing transgendered male high school students to use the girl's washroom at school.

    The Delta County, Colorado, school trustee has nothing against them being transgendered. It's just that if they want to use the ladies', well, they should be castrated.

    CBS affiliate NewsChannel 5 reports Svenson made the comments at an October school board meeting after handing out an article about new policies in California and Massachusetts that protect students who claim a gender different from the one they were born with. That includes allowing them to use whichever washroom they choose.

    ". . . [T]hey're actually talking about joining girls sports teams going in the girls locker rooms and bathrooms, and I just want to emphasize not in this district," Svenson said, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by NewsChannel 5. "Not until the plumbing's changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that

    Read More »from U.S. school trustee says transgender male students can use girls washroom ... if they’re castrated
  • One in seven Canadian children live in relative poverty, giving a hollow ring to lofty promises Ottawa made almost 25 years ago to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000.

    This week saw the release of national and provincial report cards showing governments seem to have made very little impact on child poverty, and in some cases things have gotten worse.

    Child poverty rates by province, 2011

    B.C. - 18.6%
    Manitoba - 17.3%
    Ontario - 13.6%
    CANADA - 13.3%
    Nova Scotia - 13.0%
    Quebec - 12.2%
    Newfoundland - 11.4%
    Saskatchewan - 11.3%
    New Brunswick - 10.5%
    PEI - 9.5%
    Alberta - 9.4%

    In British Columbia, for instance, more than 18 per cent of children live below the federal low-income cutoff, according to First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition. That's almost one in five kids, the worst percentage in Canada.

    “This is higher than any other province and more than five percentage points higher than the Canadian average,” First Call says in its

    Read More »from Promise to eliminate child poverty in Canada ringing increasingly hollow


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