• An Ottawa couple's legal fight for expanded parental leave benefits to care for their twin girls is headed for the Supreme Court of Canada.

    If they win it could give parents who experience multiple births, or adopt more than one child at once, additional benefits under the Employment Insurance program at a potential cost to taxpayers.

    The Federal Court of Appeal on Thursday rejected Christian Martin and wife Paula Critchley's appeal of a lower-court ruling to each take a full 35 weeks of parental leave in order to care for twin daughters Lucie and Athena, born in April 2009.

    In his reasons for judgment, Federal Court Justice Marc Nadon said an arbitrator's interpretation of the Employment Insurance Act regarding parental leave was correct and the family's claim that their rejection violated equality provisions under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was not valid.

    "We lost all our arguments," Martin said in a statement sent to CBC News. "It isn’t a good day for parents of multiples.

    Read More »from Parents of twins take fight for double parental-leave EI benefits to Supreme Court
  • Canada is considering the withdrawal of full-body scanners, after the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced it would yanking the machines by June.In a characteristic display of me-tooism, Canada apparently is considering the withdrawal of full-body scanners used at airport security checkpoints, which some have likened to an electronic strip search.

    Last week, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced it's yanking the scanners, which produce essentially naked images of screened passengers, after public complaints and a push from Congress, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    The existing units will be replaced by June 1 with newer devices that display only a generic human silhouette and indicating where a potentially dangerous object might be located.

    In a statement last Thursday, the TSA said the move comes after contractor Rapiscan could not come up with a less invasive version of the screening software.

    [ Related: U.S. replaces airport scanners in bid for more privacy ]

    This week, a spokesman for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), said Canada is considering a change too, and is testing a new

    Read More »from Canadian airports reviewing use of less revealing full-body scanners
  • Toronto Mayor Rob FordThe countdown to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s final verdict — in a court battle over whether he should be removed from office for improperly debating and voting on the fate of questionable donations — could end up being more entertaining than the verdict itself.

    Friday was to be the main event, you see. The day a three-judge panel releases its decision on whether to uphold a ruling that would toss Ford on his ear. Possibly the last day of Rob Ford’s tenure.

    Thursday was to be the day councillors and pundits speculated on how the divisional court would rule, and how that would affect the future of the city.

    Instead, Toronto City Hall was introduced in detail to allegations of a terrifying and vast conspiracy that one councillor claimed was bent on destroying Ford and his allies.

    Ford frenemy Giorgio Mammoliti told reporters, including Global Toronto’s Jackson Proskow, that a collection of citizen, lawyers and councillors have moved against the mayor’s allies and may have even tapped

    Read More »from Toronto City Hall plays waiting game on Rob Ford verdict
  • A lesser-known problem made waves this week with news the Department of Fisheries and Oceans dropped charges against a major producer after dozens of sea lions were caught in protective netting and drowned.Fish farming is a controversial business in British Columbia at the best of times.

    Atlantic salmon are raised in giant pens that float in secluded coastal inlets. It's a lucrative industry but biologists claim it's responsible for diseases that damage nearby wild salmon runs and that escaped farm fish could potentially establish themselves in salmon streams, displacing native species.

    But a lesser-known problem made waves this week with news the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans dropped charges against a major producer after dozens of sea lions were caught in protective netting and drowned.

    Grieg Seafood B.C., an arm of a Norwegian-based aquaculture giant Grieg Seafood ASA, faced nine counts under the Fisheries Act of unlawfully destroying marine mammals in the deaths of 65 sea lines and several seals. The animals became entangled in the nets surrounding fish pens near Gold River, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in 2010.

    [ Related: B.C. fish farm avoids charges over

    Read More »from Environmentalists upset after charges in B.C. sea lion deaths dropped
  • Bad weather is currently keeping rescue crews on the ground as they hope for a clearing to search for three missing Canadians in Antarctica.

    An emergency beacon was activated around 10 p.m. Tuesday, giving rescuers a good idea of where the three are, but because the beacon battery only lasts for 24 hours, it has likely gone flat.

    Dr. Heather Ross, who just returned from an expedition to the South Pole and wrote for Yahoo! Canada News during her adventure said as long as the plane was able to land safely, the crew should have everything they need to survive for a short while.

    "Each plane is equipped with survival gear," she said to Yahoo! Canada News. "They have gear on board the plane to stay warm and eat."

    The main challenge for the crew, presuming they are in good health will be finding shelter. Hopefully they are able to use the plane, but if not they will likely be building an igloo.

    It's believed that there were just the three crew members on the plane and no passengers

    Read More »from Canadians missing in Antarctic well-equipped to survive if plane landed: Dr. Ross
  • Would you trust your marijuana needs to former Olympic athlete and notorious pot smoker Ross Rebagliati?

    CBC News reports that the former snowboarding bad boy is trying to use his celebrity status to open a medical marijuana dispensary in, where else, Whistler, B.C.

    Consider it a high-minded concept from someone who knows the business. Or at least the product.

    The company, Ross' Gold, could be open by March and aims to capitalize on changes to Canada's marijuana laws.

    Ross Rebagliati getting into pot bizThe Olympic gold medalist snowboarder is aiming to open a medical marijuana dispensary

    [ Related: Ross Rebagliati aims to open medical marijuana dispensary ]

    A website for Ross' Gold suggests the main concern of the business is not finding a market, but awaiting the legalization of marijuana.

    The company’s business model reads:

    The Canadian Government is only now privatizing the medical marijuana industry, and the company intends to build traction and revenues through the sale of legal

    Read More »from Ross Rebagliati finds a groovy way to score on his stoner reputation
  • Casinos create a kind of devil's bargain for the the communities that host them: In return for an often lucrative revenue stream and source of employment, they accept the possibility that crime related to gaming may rise, traffic will increase and that it may claim some gambling addicts as social victims.

    Apparently the people of Surrey, B.C., the sprawling suburb east of Vancouver, wasn't prepared to sign on to a deal like that.

    The chief executive officer of the Crown-owned B.C. Lottery Corp., Michael Graydon, says he was "dumbfounded" Surrey's mayor and city council rejected an application to license a casino as part of a new luxury hotel and convention centre complex, the Globe and Mail reports.

    "Something transpired in the last few days and I don’t know what,” Graydon told the Globe.

    Graydon's surprise seems rooted in his sense that Surrey's civic leaders favoured the Gateway Casinos proposal, to be located on Highway 99 just north of the Canada-U.S. border.

    But council voted 5-4

    Read More »from As Metro Vancouver rejects large-scale casinos, Toronto eyes gaming’s jobs, revenues
  • The former captain of the Conservative ship says his near-decade as leader of Canada led to late nights, odd eating habits and intense pressure that likely contributed to the affliction.Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has opened up about a private struggle in his otherwise public life, describing how things changed after he was diagnosed with diabetes just over two years ago.

    The always verbose, and usually authoritative, former captain of the Conservative ship says his near-decade as leader of Canada led to late nights, odd eating habits and intense pressure that likely contributed to the affliction.

    In an exclusive interview with CTV News’ medical specialist Avis Favaro, Mulroney described the battle of adjusting to life with diabetes, with which he was diagnosed in 2010.

    Mulroney told Favaro:

    I was devastated, because I was 70 and I had made it that long living the life that I did... Life as a prime minister is not always easy. There are ups and downs, and there is lots of pressure and tension.

    Mulroney goes on to describe his desire to foster public awareness of disease. And while the timing of the interview is likely innocent, it is also awfully good.


    Read More »from Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney discusses life with diabetes
  • (Handout photo)
    University campuses have always contained fault lines where conflicting political and ideological views rub together, occasionally provoking a tremor that rattles the metaphorical china.

    There's been fresh tectonic activity at Ottawa's Carleton University (my alma mater), where a so-called "free-speech wall" was destroyed by a campus activist who, according to the National Post, objected to it as an anti-gay "act of violence."

    Arun Smith, who's apparently in the seventh year of study towards a degree in human rights and political science, posted a 600-word rant on his Facebook page on Monday claiming responsibility for tearing down the wall — essentially a 4x8 panel wrapped in paper and supplied with markers for writing.

    "I take full and sole responsibility for this action, I understand that there will likely be consequences, and I am prepared for the imposition of those consequences, however unjust they might be," Smith said. "In fact, it is in response to injustice that I have found

    Read More »from Carleton activist tears down ‘free-speech wall,’ sparking campus flap
  • UPDATE (5:00 p.m. EST): CBC is reporting that Chief Theresa Spence will end her hunger strike tomorrow morning on Thursday, January 24.

    Spence will be making a public statement about the end of her hunger strike at 11:00 a.m. EST on Thursday.

    It has come to this; a conclusion to Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike is set to be reached not with a bang but a whimper. The end will come on Thursday, without her original demands being met.

    Several separate reports released on Wednesday outlined what appears to be the death knell for Spence’s six-week liquid diet. She began the stomach-grumbling journey on December 11, 2012 to protest the government’s treatment of First Nations communities and force Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor-General David Johnson into a meeting of her design.

    While Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and other First Nations leaders met with Harper, Spence was not satisfied with the tenor leading into the meeting and

    Read More »from Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike to end on Thursday


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