• The RCMP administer witness protection, which offers anything from short-term protection to permanent relocation and identity change.The RCMP is recommending an expansion of the 16-year-old federal witness-protection program to include members of street gangs, The Canadian Press reports.

    The Mounties administer witness protection, which offers anything from short-term protection to permanent relocation and identity changes, CP noted, adding the program cost $9 million in 2011-12.

    The program was legislated by Parliament in 1996 to offer protection to those assisting in criminal cases, as well as families or others who might need protection because of their relationship with the witness.

    The RCMP says there's no list of offences eligible for the program and people are accepted based on the nature of the case and threat level.

    Using access-to-information legislation, CP obtained the RCMP's blueprint to update the program with help from the federal Public Safety Department and the provinces, which can access the federal program.

    [ Related: Provinces demand greater co-operation from feds on witness protection ]

    It

    Read More »from Mounties propose revamping Canada’s witness-protection program
  • Residents of Richmond, a Vancouver suburb, have been complaining about the odour from a local composting plant.Composting has been officially a good thing for some time and now we're being encouraged to dump our food scraps in with the yard waste to feed our cities' big composting operations.

    But the people who live near those plants are paying the price for our environmental good-guyishness. Because when organic matter biodegrades, it stinks.

    Residents of Richmond, a Vancouver suburb, have been complaining about the odour from the Harvest Power Canada Ltd. composting plant, which services Metro Vancouver and other municipalities in the region, the Globe and Mail reports.

    Metro Vancouver's manager of environmental regulation and enforcement, Ray Robb, told the Vancouver Sun last month that there have been "dramatically more" odour-related complains this year.

    "It's really quite a nauseating smell," Richmond resident Angela Burnett told the Sun, who described the odour as rotting vegetables with the "acrid undertone of chemicals."

    The U.S.-owned operation is acknowledging the problem but says

    Read More »from The smelly side of environmentalism: B.C. city plagued by compost ‘stink’
  • Canadian politicians - working hard for you or just toeing the party line?Pity the poor political party.

    After years of being whipped and beaten and bent and rallied, political affiliation is now being identified as the key failing of Canada's democratic system.

    A new research study from Samara Canada points the finger squarely at party affiliation for growing dissatisfaction among Canadians, who increasingly see politicians as agents of a certain party rather than representatives of themselves.

    The latest Samara Democracy Report found that only 55 per cent of Canadians are satisfied with the way democracy works in Canada.

    One might think that half of the population giving our system the seal of approval would be a positive sign, but alas. The same survey conducted in 2004 found that 75 per cent of Canadians were on board.

    That drop is worth a second take.

    [ Related: Canadians less content with the way democracy works, Poll says ]

    "Parties play a critical role in Canadian democracy ... They dominate the public's understanding of politics, such that most

    Read More »from Canadians are dissatisfied with democracy – partisan politics to blame
  • Kate Middleton is pregnant, palace officials say

    William and Kate are expecting their first child.

    St. James's Palace has confirmed that Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting their first child.

    "Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby," the palace revealed in a statement.

    "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news."

    Middleton was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London with hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness that requires supplementary hydration and nutrients.

    [ Related video: Tabloids spread rumours of Kate's pregnancy last week ]

    "As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, Her Royal Highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter."

    According to the Daily Mirror, the royal couple became aware of the pregnancy only "recently," said a royal spokesman. It's likely that

    Read More »from Kate Middleton is pregnant, palace officials say
  • Rob Ford could have another bad week, if a divisional court rules against his appeal to stay in office.

    UPDATE: According to the Canadian Press, the lawyer who brought the conflict of interest breach against Ford has consented to a stay of the judge’s ruling, meaning Ford will remain in office until the conclusion of his appeal.

    Lawyer Clayton Ruby said the stay was meant to give the city a “measure of stability” during the process.

    Last week was a doozy for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. This one could be no better.

    After being ruled offside in a conflict of interest case and being told he must vacate his seat as mayor by the start of next week, Ford took further beating as council allies distanced themselves and his beloved high school football team lost their championship game.

    The week turned around near the end, when a judge clarified that Ford could run in a byelection, should one be held after he is removed from office.

    This week, he'll learn how soon that will be.

    The Toronto Star reports that Ford's lawyer will ask a Divisional Court on Wednesday to allow the mayor to remain in

    Read More »from Will this week be any better for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford?
  • N.W.T., Royal Canadian Legion.The Royal Canadian Legion, which has been losing members steadily as older veterans die and younger ones appear uninterested in joining, has a small piece of good news to celebrate.

    It's opened a new legion branch — in Mexico.

    The branch at Lake Chapala, so new it doesn't show up yet on the legion's list of branches, opened officially this week with Canada's consul-general in the state of Guadalajara in attendance.

    Branch 182 has 45 members, according to the legion's news release.

    "The fact that through your branch we have now expanded the Legion's presence into Mexico speaks to the vitality of the Legion through active members in the Lake Chapala community," Dominion president Gordon Moore said.

    The legion says it has about 1,450 branches, including two in Europe (Germany and the Netherlands) and three in the United States.

    But the legion's membership figures to the end of October show a decline in numbers. Last year's paid membership totalled more than 332,000 but it was down to just

    Read More »from Losing members at home, Royal Canadian Legion opens new branch in Mexico
  • Mayor Rob Ford arrives at his office in Toronto November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
    Embattled Rob Ford faces a stiff, herculean task as he fights multiple battles in a bid to retain his seat as Toronto mayor, and all the while former allies distance themselves and plot quietly on how to replace him.

    Regardless of his personal controversies, the strong support base he has named Ford Nation rallies, at least according to Ford's brother, ready to be called on to battle on his behalf the moment Rob is allowed to run again.

    A judge has ruled that Ford can run in a potential byelection. But even if he does run and win it will never be the same for Mayor Rob Ford. His space on the local political scene will be forever tarred by the legal decision that threw him from office. His allies will not be as close; his adversaries will not be as quiet.

    That is why Rob Ford should give up returning to municipal politics and run for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

    The idea has already been considered by his camp. Reports suggest that the Ford brothers and their closest

    Read More »from Why Toronto's Rob Ford should run for provincial politics
  • Suspected murderer Luka Magnotta has been in custody for months, the details of his gruesome alleged crimes still etched but fading in the minds of Canadians. We were held captive for weeks by the bizarre web of lies and misdirection spun around the Toronto youth, and the international manhunt that ended in his arrest for the murder of Montreal's Jun Lin.

    The death and dismemberment, in which Magnotta is suspected, has shocked many Canadians. Magnotta has been named Canada's most notorious murder suspect by some, a ticking time bomb by others.

    When it all began, he was simply known as a kitten killer.

    A documentary by CBC's the fifth estate details the bizarre path of Luka Rocco Magnotta, from lonely Scarborough, Ont., teenager to Montreal murder suspect.

    [ Related: Cost of extraditing Magnotta on military plane ]

    Hunting Magnotta asks questions about how Magnotta managed to raise the interest of Toronto police before he was a suspect in the grisly death of Lin, and whether enough

    Read More »from Bizarre Luka Magnotta case draws more questions
  • Saskatchewan Mounties tweet every overnight call

    The crossover between real life and social media is complete. Kids are doing it, parents are doing it, corporations are doing and, yes, even police in Saskatchewan are doing it.

    Police organizations across Canada have embraced social media as a way to reach out to the public, bringing information right to the people through Facebook status updates, YouTube videos and Twitter posts.

    The practice may be helpful in solving crime, but perhaps the biggest benefit is the connection it builds between the service and the people they are meant to protect.

    Most recently dispatchers in Saskatchewan spent an entire night updating the public on their status. RCMP in Saskatchewan tweeted a message after every 911 call it received Thursday night, detailing for its 3,600 followers (at the time) the ins and outs of a night on patrol.

    Roughly 200 separate calls were received over the

    Read More »from Saskatchewan Mounties tweet every overnight call
  • The warehouse belongs to Library and Archives Canada, the government's biggest repository of historical documents.I bet you thought all those federal civil servants in Ottawa had nice, cushy jobs shuffling papers all day.

    But there are risks, real risks, sometimes in handling those papers.

    The Canadian Press reports that secret documents in the Privy Council Office (PCO) archives are infested with mould that was thought to have been wiped out a decade ago.

    It's returned like some microbial zombie to menace unwary bureaucrats.

    The mould is a potential health threat, especially to people with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, CP notes.

    The mould first appeared in 2001 after a broken pipe drenched key files in a storage area used by the PCO, the powerful hub that supports the prime minister and cabinet.

    An expensive, painstaking cleanup was thought to have eradicated the mould, CP says, but employees working in the archive found it on files that had been dried and treated after the flood.

    [ More Daily Brew: Canadian Border Services most wanted list could soon be bigger and broader ]

    Read More »from Feds to spend $100k exterminating documents with ‘zombie’ mould

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