• Vancouver International Airport leads the country in the amount of undeclared cash being seized from incoming travellersIt gives new meaning to the term cash flow.

    Vancouver International Airport leads the country in the amount of undeclared cash being seized from incoming travellers, mostly from China, the Vancouver Sun reports.

    The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) seized more than $15 million in cash at the airport, Canada's second-busiest, from April 2011 to June 2012, according to data obtained by the Sun under an Access to Information request.

    By comparison, seizures at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, which has almost double the 17.5 million travellers YVR sees each year, amounted to only $6.6 million over the same period.

    All money in the form of cash, traveller's cheques or bank drafts over $10,000 must be declared when travelling into or out of Canada, the Sun noted.

    [ Related: Suitcases of Chinese cash flooding Canada's borders ]

    CBSA officers made 887 seizures at Vancouver's airport in the period covered by the Sun's data with the vast majority — 592 — involving passengers

    Read More »from Vancouver International Airport tops in seizures of smuggled cash
  • A high-profile test of Canada's assisted-suicide law was adjourned Monday because the federal government's lead counsel was seriously ill, according to the Toronto Star.

    Ottawa is appealing last year's B.C. Supreme Court that ruled Gloria Taylor of Westbank, B.C., had the right to physician-assisted suicide and the law making it illegal violated her Charter rights to liberty and security of the person.

    Taylor, who suffered from ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, died last October from an infection but the case has proceeded and is expected to end up in the Supreme Court of Canada.

    ALS victim's family keeps up fight for doctor-assisted suicideThe family of ALS victim Gloria Taylor say incurably ill people deserve the right to choose when to die. The federal government is appealing a B.C. court ruling that threw out a ban on doctor-assisted suicide.

    In an unprecedented move, the B.C. Appeal Court, recognizing the case could take years to resolve, exempted Taylor from the law, which would have

    Read More »from Landmark B.C. assisted suicide appeal adjourned due to lawyer’s illness
  • More than a decade since releasing his controversial gun control documentary "Bowling for Columbine," filmmaker Michael Moore gives his views on gun law and what needs to be done to end violence in schools. (Jan. 1)Michael Moore heaped praise on Canada over the weekend, but it turns out we didn’t want it. So instead, he attacked Prime Minister Stephen Harper. To that, we were a bit more accepting.

    The American documentary filmmaker has long held a utopian view of Canada, not necessarily based on any connection to reality but because it helps him cast his own country in a negative light.

    We know this thanks to his previous work, specifically the film Sicko, in which he criticizes the U.S. health care situation while lavishing praise on Canada’s government-funded system. We were grateful for the attention, but, yeah. As the Toronto Star reported at the time, Sicko was panned for painting Canada’s system in a much better light than it deserved at the time.

    Our relationship with Moore goes back as far as his 2002 film “Bowling for Columbine,” in which he claims Canada is so safe that nobody bothers to lock their doors. This came as a bit of a surprise to many of us, who wouldn’t dream of

    Read More »from Michael Moore reasserts Canadians don’t lock their doors, and then backtracks
  • The Archbishop of Vancouver says Marc Cardinal Ouellet understands the world scene and is a personal friend of Pope Benedict XVI. Ouellet is being touted as a leading candidate for the next pope.The College of Cardinals began meeting this week to set the stage for the selection of a new pope, a high-stakes campaign that already features a healthy dose of Canadian humility.

    Quebec's Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who is considered in some circles as a leading contender to ascend to the head of the Catholic church, told CBC News he was prepared to sit as pope should he be selected by the conclave.

    "I have to be ready even if I think that probably others could do it better," a humble Ouelett said in an interview. He added with a chuckle that those who enter the conclave thinking they will become pope tend to remain as a cardinal.

    The comments were made as part of an exclusive interview with CBC's chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge, which will air on The National on Monday and Tuesday.

    [ Related: Papal vote preparations begin in earnest at Vatican ]

    Ouellet was thrown into the spotlight last month when Pope Benedict XVI announced his surprising resignation. The Canadian was listed as

    Read More »from Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s humble answer on desire to be pope
  • Luka MagnottaThe trial for Luka Magnotta in the high-profile murder of Concordia University student Jun Lin could begin next week with the one thing the public may not expect from the disturbing case: privacy and silence.

    The Montreal Gazette reports that Magnotta's lawyer is requesting a publication ban when the preliminary hearing gets underway on March 11, meaning the public would not be privy to what evidence may be brought against the accused murderer.

    Publication bans at preliminary hearings are fairly common, but nothing about the grisly death of Lin, a Chinese national studying in Montreal, will have prepared the public for radio silence.

    The case became an international sensation due, in no small part, to the graphic details spread across the country and online before Magnotta was arrested in Germany amid an international manhunt on June 4, 2012.

    [ Related: 'High-risk' category to keep mentally ill offenders under wraps ]

    The murder investigation began when pieces of Lin were mailed to the

    Read More »from Publication ban sought for Luka Magnotta’s preliminary hearing
  • A father pushes his children in a stroller as they make their way to daycare in -20C degree weather in Ottawa on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickIf you have ever ridden on public transit, you are well aware of the trouble that comes from tangling with a parent pushing a baby stroller. Always harried, usually overburdened and more than frequently possessed by a sense of self-importance, cohabiting with such people, be it in transit or anywhere else in public, can be a battle.

    The National Post’s Brian Hutchinson recently wrote about his own experience with the stroller-carting public, and those who battle against the scourge of strollers in general. He sided with a Toronto ophthalmologist who banned cumbersome baby strollers from his practice.

    It’s his space, after all, and he is free to make his own rules. But in public areas, we are still forced to battle with men and women pushing battering rams.

    There was a recent case fielded by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in which a man accused bus passengers with strollers of inappropriately using priority seating. Larry Ballash claimed parents with strollers took up seats meant to be

    Read More »from Why do people hate strollers on buses so much?
  • The recent arrest of three alleged gangsters in the 2011 murder of gang leader Jonathan Bacon has refocused attention on the Bacon brothers, the notorious trio who rocketed to prominence in Metro Vancouver’s drug trade. In a city inured to spasms of violence, with dozens killed in last few years, the three Bacons, Jonathan, Jamie and Jarrod, seemed to stand alone for their willingness to stop at nothing to dominate the illegal cross-border traffic in marijuana and cocaine.

    Crime writer Jerry Langton’s latest book, The Notorious Bacon Brothers: Inside Gang Warfare on Vancouver Streets (Wiley; March 2013; Paper; $24.95) looks at the how the Bacons were part of the reshaping of a gang culture that was cutting across traditional lines of ethnicity, economic class and geographic turf. We asked the Hamilton-born former deputy editor of New York Daily News about the infamous Bacons and the implication of these most recent arrests.

    Yahoo! News Canada: What was your reaction when you heard

    Read More »from One-on-One: Writer sees lessons in the fall of notorious B.C. gangsters the Bacon brothers
  • A shopper passes by the Williams-Sonoma store in Broomfield, Colorado. (Reuters)Even if you've never set foot in a Williams Sonoma store, you'll be interested in the U.S. home-furnishing retailer's plans to charge the same for most products sold in its Canadian stores as it does in its American outlets.

    CBC News reports the company, which operates Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm stores, will reduce prices to parity or near-parity on all products except big-ticket items whose shipping costs from the U.S. remain high.

    "We heard from our customers in Canada and this is what they want," said Rebecca Weil, spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma Inc., told CBC News. "All prices will be decreasing with some being on par to the U.S. and some just slightly higher."

    Although it's weakened a little recently, the Canadian dollar has been largely equal to the American greenback for several years from lows in the 60-cent range in the 1990s. Parity has brought complaints from Canadian consumers upset about paying more in Canada for identical products sold

    Read More »from Williams Sonoma announces Canada-U.S. price parity: Will other stores follow suit?
  • Northern Alberta is best known for its booming oil-sands industry, which has made it a mecca for high-paying jobs and the attendant fallout of high living costs and housing prices.

    But it's hard to see how the region's hot economy justifies allowing someone who makes more than $100,000 a year to live in a government-subsidized home, paying just $725 a month.

    The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, using freedom-of-information, has discovered several tenants of Heart River Housing, which administers social housing in a dozen northern communities, are earning high incomes while paying low rents for their digs.

    While the documents show the vast majority of the agency's clients are seniors on pensions or low-income earners, the federation turned up one renter had reported an annual income of $112,320 while living in a three-bedroom $725-a-month home for since December 2000.

    [ Related: Opposition MPs support bill for affordable housing strategy ]

    Several others in subsidized homes had incomes

    Read More »from Watchdog says six-figure income earners are living in Alberta subsidized housing
  • In response to a question, Tom Flanagan told a room of students that he has some doubts about putting people that view child porn in jail.Bless the existence of Canada's freedom of expression. Even recent comments by former Conservative strategist Tom Flanagan about the right to watch child pornography has its defenders.

    Days after Flanagan told a crowd of students at the University of Lethbridge that watching child porn was a victimless activity, and following a furor that saw him dropped from nearly every association he was a part of, those advocates of freedom of speech have moved in to claim the high ground.

    Flanagan said, in a comment captured on video, that he has "no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures.... It is a real issue of personal liberty. To what extent do we put people in jail for doing something for which they do not harm another person?"

    Those who have come to Flanagan's defence say he has every right to make such a statement. And they are correct, to the extent that people have a right to voice their opinion.

    Read More »from Has the Tom Flanagan hatred gone too far after child porn comments?

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