• A Bay Street sign, the main street in the financial district is seen in Toronto, January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mark BlinchToronto’s lobbyist registrar is appealing for the city to implement restrictions on when and where lobbyists can approach city officials, a move practically the same as grounding obstinate teenagers.

    The Toronto Star reports that Linda Gehrke is advocating for restrictions on how and when lobbyists can attempt to rally support for their cause, suggesting it in inappropriate that lobbyists can approach decision makers practically anywhere and at any time.

    “Restricting the time and place that lobbying may occur will ensure that lobbying of the City’s public office holders is conducted in a business environment, during business hours. This will enhance the integrity and perceived integrity of lobbying and City government decision-making,” Gehrke wrote in her report.

    Lobbying has become a growing concern in Toronto, specifically surrounding a debate over allowing the construction of a casino inside city limits.

    Several councillors have complained about being approached by casino lobbyists

    Read More »from Toronto watchdog recommends curfews for city lobbyists
  • RAW: Police find two more dead bodiesIHIT's Sgt. Jennifer Pound says the two bodies were found near a road in Surrey, B.C.

    How did a normally quiet stretch of road in Surrey, B.C., sandwiched between a high-end subdivision, a public golf course and the highway leading south to the U.S. border, become a popular body-dumping ground for gangsters?

    Four bodies have turned up beside Colebrook Road near 125A Ave. in less than six weeks, CTV News reports. The discoveries have spooked residents of the semi-rural neighbourhood and frustrated police, who've stepped up patrols in the area.

    Just how does a place become gain such gruesome popularity? Is it word-of-mouth or are killers creatures of habit like the rest of us?

    Some years ago bodies turned up on a stretch of road a couple of miles from my house. Like Colebrook Rd., it was quiet, home to some berry farms, plant nurseries and light industrial buildings, with no one around at night. The problem stopped when the area was

    Read More »from Surrey neighbourhood becomes popular dumping ground for murder victims
  • Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada walks through Saint Peter's Square.

    For about a month, Marc Ouellet was the biggest thing in Canada. He was the name on the tips of the lips of every Canadian, Catholic and otherwise, leading into the papal conclave.

    Papal contender's Quebec hometown overrun by media

    The man who might be pope. Scratch that. The Canadian who might be pope. What a story that would have been. When Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was selected to lead the Catholic Church on Wednesday, taking the name Pope Francis I, Ouellet returned to relative obscurity of being merely a member of the College of Cardinals.

    Nothing to sneeze at, but not something that will make Protestants in Sarnia, Ont., chatter at the downtown diner.

    So what happened? Was it Ouellet’s humble suggestion that others would make a better leader that did in his papal hopes? Was it that the likelihood of any one of the 115 candidates being chosen was just too low to bank on? Was it that Canada got its hopes up over Ouellet because, simply, it was fun to dream?

    Read More »from Canadian pope not to be: Why Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet wasn’t chosen
  • Luc Leclair, Luka Magnotta's lead defence lawyer, broke down in court on Wednesday.

    What an unbearable burden it must be to defend in court a man suspected of murder and dismemberment, whether guilty or otherwise. What a personal toll defence lawyers must put themselves through every day.

    Not to mention the international attention that comes with a case as public as the Luka Magnotta murder trial, in which the notorious suspect is said to have decapitated Montreal student Jun Lin on video, and sent pieces of his body to political party offices in Ottawa.

    Defence lawyer Raphael Feldstein removed himself from the trial on Wednesday, citing a conflict of interest. CBC News reports that Luc Leclerc, the defence's lead counsel, broke down in tears as he announced his colleague’s recusal.

    [ Related: Luka Magnotta's hearing continues, one lawyer short ]

    A court-ordered publication ban limits what can be said about the apparent conflict of interest, but it will not lead to a delay in the trial.

    The defence said it was in the best interest of the case to move forward.

    Read More »from Luka Magnotta loses lawyer to potential conflict of interest
  • Garage and yard sales are a great way of cleaning house, getting rid of things you no longer need or care for.

    A woman in the Vancouver suburb of White Rock used hers to send a message to her cheating husband.

    The woman posted an ad on craigslist last Friday advertising a last-minute weekend sale.

    "Husband left us for a piece of trash," says the ad, according to VancityBuzz.com. "Selling everything while he is gone this weekend with his floozie."

    The woman declined to speak to a Vancouver Province reporter who took in the sale on Saturday and found bargain-hunters picking through the goods. They included leather theatre-style sofas, artwork, clothing and "lots of tools which he didn't have a clue how to use."

    "I want the house empty on Monday when he returns because that will be a shock for him to see," she wrote in the ad. "There will not be any of his clothes for sale, though, as we will have already burned those in the driveway."

    The woman, who said she was married for 10 years,

    Read More »from Scorned B.C. woman holds surprise yard sale to get rid of cheating husband’s stuff
  • Speeding might be a little more common if B.C. agrees to lower municipal speed limits to 40 km/h.

    Victoria is leading a push to reduce the speed limit on urban streets to 40 km/h from 50 km/h, and not just in the city that's been dubbed God's Waiting Room.

    According to the Victoria Times Colonist, Victoria city council wants to put forward a resolution at September's Union of B.C. Municipalities convention to make 40 km/h the default limit in cities and towns throughout the province.

    Coun. Shellie Gudgeon, who's pushing for the change, admits getting the resolution passed will be tough.

    "It's a rather divisive issue," Gudgeon told the Times Colonist. "I've probably had the most hate mail [on this] than I've had since I've been elected. It's shocking, actually."

    The change would apply to residential streets and not major city arteries. It's aimed at making these roads safer for children, seniors and cyclists who share the road with cars.

    The default limit is a provincial standard so municipalities don't have to post speed signs on every road, Gudgeon said. She noted the

    Read More »from British Columbians being urged to slow down on the streets and the slopes
  • Pope of Firsts: Bergoglio Becomes Pope Francis

    The College of Cardinals made history on Wednesday by selecting a man from Argentina as the head of the Catholic Church.

    Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was named pope on the second day of the conclave in Vatican City on Wednesday, becoming the first leader of the Catholic church to come from South America. Bergoglio appeared on the balcony above St. Peter's Square as tens of thousands of supporters cheered from below. He chose the name Pope Francis.

    “Let us pray for the entire world so that there is a great fraternity, a great brotherhood. I wish that this journey that we begin today… is fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city,” he said from Vatican City, per a CBC News translator.


    Full coverage:


    Pope Francis succeeded Pope Benedict XVI, who suddenly retired last

    Read More »from Will Pope Francis be a progressive force in Catholic Church?
  • When you think of animals brought to entertain kids at a birthday party you're probably thinking a pony, a goat or maybe a little monkey.

    But Matthew and Allison Litzinger wanted their three-year-old son's third birthday to be special, so the Toronto couple arranged for an exotic animal handler to bring over a baby kangaroo and an owl and, oh yes, a tarantula.

    The boy, who the Litzingers didn't want named, got to hold the Rose Hair tarantula and that seemed to go well. Until a few seconds later when he began to blink, rub his eye and start to cry, the National Post reports.

    He didn't stop crying for hours. His discomfort went on for days, the Post says.

    The Litzingers later learned their son had been the target of the tarantula's lesser known defence mechanism called urticating hair.

    Spooked tarantulas can inflict venomous bites but they are also able to release a cloud of tiny barbed hairs by rubbing their abdomens. In people, they normally can cause nothing more than an itchy

    Read More »from Toronto boy gets nasty surprise from tarantula brought in as birthday treat
  • Jorge Mario Bergoglio elected as new pope, to be called Pope Francis

    Habemus Papam: Pope Francis Introduced to World

    Former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the new leader of the Catholic church, and the world will know him as Pope Francis.

    White smoke swirled from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday at 7:05 CET (2:05 ET) after the fifth round of voting by the 115 cardinals in the conclave. Since a two-third majority is required to elect a new pope, the appointed pontiff received at least 77 votes.

    [ Full Coverage: Pope Francis I to be new leader of the Catholic church ]

    About an hour after the smoke appeared, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran took to the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to announce the name of the 266th pope. As per tradition, Cardinal Tauran shouted "Habermus Papam!" (which means "we have a new pope!"). He then revealed that the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires would be the new head of the Catholic church.

    The new pope will lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

    Bergoglio marks several firsts for the

    Read More »from Jorge Mario Bergoglio elected as new pope, to be called Pope Francis
  • The Canadian Forces started work last weekend on rebuilding roads and bridges in rural Newfoundland communities. A small but notable change in how the Canadian government refers to our military could signify a rebranding effort for the army or a gradual shift in the role guns play in our culture.

    A decision to refer to the army as the “Canadian Armed Forces” was made recently, shifting from the more ambiguous “Canadian Forces” that had been embraced by former regimes.

    A spokesperson for Defence Minister Peter MacKay confirmed for Postmedia News that the name Canadian Armed Forces “is now being used consistently."

    This is the second, albeit quieter, military name change under the Harper government, after the official navy and air force titles were changed to include "royal" two years ago.

    What is bizarre is that the new, old military names seem to be a return to our past, a re-imagining of what it once was and what it was once responsible for.

    Yet we all know the military, and the whole of the Department of National Defence, must strive toward the future. And it is. Being armed is just one of the

    Read More »from ‘Canadian Armed Forces’ rebranding places emphasis on guns, not people

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