• Sacrebleu! Round two?

    Thousands of Quebec university students took to the streets in Montreal on Tuesday, again, in what police are calling an illegal protest over tuition hikes. About 50,000 students across the province opted to go on strike. Montreal police told CBC ten people were arrested for assaulting police officers during the protest.

    Those of you who thought that was over are not alone.

    Months of demonstrations against proposed tuition increases ended last year when the three-term Liberal government was replaced by the Parti Québécois, seen to be far more accommodating to the cause of the rabble-rousers.

    CBC News reports that thousands of people took to the streets after the government announced it would index tuition to the cost of living.

    [ More Brew: Montreal's 'Officer 728' arrested after accusations of brutality ]

    Which means fees will increase about three per cent, or $70 a year.

    The Parti Québécois had vowed to hold the line on tuition and earned the support of

    Read More »from Montreal students return to streets to protest tuition hike
  • Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is promising to work with the opposition to strengthen the economy. In the government's throne speech, read by Lt.-Gov. David Onley, the Liberals say balancing the books is their number one priority.Ontario’s new premier is vowing to put transit planning back on the federal radar, a call to arms that could succeed where others have failed.

    The Globe and Mail reports that freshly-crowned Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week and spoke about the need for a national strategy to fund transit projects in Canada.

    “Infrastructure is one of the issues that I’ve said very clearly that I’m going to be raising with the federal government – particularly infrastructure and transit funding. I think that it’s extremely important that those two go hand in hand,” Wynne told the Globe.

    Wynne’s focus would certainly be Ontario systems, specifically the overburdened and aging Toronto transit grid, but it is a message that could help across the country.

    [ More Brew: Montreal transit upset subway used in violent video game ]

    The last formal bid to start a national public transit strategy came in 2011, when NDP MP Olivia Chow introduced Bill C-305, intent on

    Read More »from Could Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne reboot a national transit strategy?
  • Bride-to-be beat up in Vancouver barPolice are investigating after a woman was allegedly attacked on her bachelorette party

    Stagettes are a relatively recent phenomenon, the counterpoint to the traditional male ritual of one last blowout before marriage supposedly hobbles you forever.

    Bride-to-be Alysha Thompson and her friends went to Vancouver's Bar None nightclub last Saturday night, presumably to swap stories over strangely-coloured cocktails and maybe dance a little.

    But when the evening was over, the Mission, B.C., photographer was in hospital getting cuts to her head, arm and leg stitched up after an apparent altercation. Just what happened and why now is the subject of a police investigation.

    The Vancouver Province reported that Thompson, whose wedding is in three weeks, claimed she was attacked without provocation by a waitress. But police suggest there was more to it than that.

    [ Related: Bride-to-be beaten at Vancouver bachelorette party]

    In a post on the Facebook

    Read More »from B.C. woman’s bachelorette party turns bloody as bride cut, bruised in mystery brawl
  • Parks Canada says it's working on a proposal with Telus Mobility to improve cell coverage in mountain parks.Ah, wilderness. It's what Canada's national parks are all about. The moose, the bears, the mountains, the forests, the, ah, cellphone towers?

    Well, yes. As you motor through the parks marvelling at Canada's natural wonders, your teenage daughter reserves the right to keep up a steady text conversation with her friends on how eye-rollingly boring this trip is. And your son, he's deep into Call of Duty right now, so forget the big-horn sheep grazing on the ridge.

    Parks Canada says it's working on a proposal with Telus Mobility to improve cell coverage in mountain parks, the Calgary Herald reports. The plan calls for up to eight towers to be erected, six along Highway 93 South in Kootenay National Park, and two along the Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho National Park.

    “We’d like to see coverage at those locations,” Caroline Marion, Parks Canada’s manager of townsites and realty for the Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay field unit, told the Herald. “We think it’s got potential visitor safety

    Read More »from Parks Canada mulls plan to put cell phone towers inside national parks
  • The Bacon brothers' blood-soaked rise and fall in Vancouver's lethally competitive drug trade is largely history but police are still picking up the pieces and expect to for some time.

    The RCMP's announcement Monday that they'd arrested three men in the 2011 murder of 30-year-old Jonathan Bacon connects some dots in the deadly rivalry among B.C. gangsters but no one's under the illusion the seemingly endless tit-for-tat violence is over.

    The eldest of the three Bacons died when the Porsche Cayenne SUV he was riding in with two other gangsters was riddled with bullets in broad daylight outside a luxury resort hotel in Kelowna, B.C. Everyone else in the vehicle was wounded and a young woman riding with them was left a paraplegic.

    It was a shocking attack even by the standards of the ongoing gang war over the lucrative cross-border drug business that has seen some very public killings. While Metro Vancouver residents have become used to (if that's the right term) public executions,

    Read More »from RCMP arrests suspects in death of notorious B.C. gangster Jonathan Bacon
  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, left, and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, right, are seen at the campaign audit committee meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2013.Toronto Mayor Rob Ford appears to be on his best behaviour recently, with nary a public stumble or political fumble to be found.

    He graciously thanked the city’s compliance audit committee for doing their duty this week, after they voted against pursuing charges against the mayor, and even offered the city’s chief medical officer a rare apology. Which is big of him, even if it helped avoid a battle with the integrity commissioner.

    And if you ignore that Ford may still be set on exacting some revenge against said commissioner, it is possible he is finally focused on running a city, not a circus.

    For now, all the legal hurdles that stood in his way are behind him.

    A forensic audit found that Ford broke several donation and spending laws during the 2010 mayoral campaign. But on Monday, a three-person panel ruled 2-1 in opposition to bringing charges against the mayor.

    "I'm happy the process is finally over…it's a great day for democracy, I'm happy the committee understands we ran a clean,

    Read More »from Toronto Mayor ‘Teflon’ Rob Ford has clear skies ahead
  • People pray Sunday at Steinbach Christian High School where they met for an information session on Bill 18. A debate about how religious schools should handle homosexual students is at the forefront again, as a Manitoba Christian academy fights back against new anti-bullying legislation that would force them to allow the creation of a gay-straight alliance.

    Staff, students and parents at Manitoba's Steinbach Christian High School are opposing the legislation on the grounds that it infringes on their religious freedom.

    CBC News reports that educators at the independent religious school say there is a clause that would force schools to allow all anti-bullying clubs, including gay-straight alliances.

    “Independent schools should have the right to direct and ensure any organizations meeting in their school will not be contradictory to their faith principles,” principal Scott Wiebe said, per CBC News.

    [ Related: Manitoba's anti-bullying law opposed by religious schools ]

    So what exactly is the deal with the legislation? Bill 18 — the Public Schools Amendment Act — defines bullying and outlines a

    Read More »from Manitoba Christian school opposes anti-bullying law protecting homosexual clubs
  • Toronto Community Housing head Gene Jones said he won't do anything without consulting with residents.Blades, drugs, bullets and even guns were found stashed in common areas around Toronto’s community housing units — readily accessible to anyone who knew where to look.

    A two-day sweep of Toronto Community Housing (TCH) buildings by Toronto police netted a disturbing and notable collection of weapons and contraband. The bounty underlines the stark truth that, yes, violent crime in prevalent in the community.

    One weapon found during the sweep on Feb. 21 and 22, was a shotgun found hidden in the ceiling tiles of a building where a 15-year-old boy was found shot dead earlier this month.

    The Toronto Star reports:

    In total, they recovered two handguns, a shotgun, one replica handgun, an air pistol, multiple rounds of ammunition, swords, blades, a baseball bat, drugs and other paraphernalia from multiple buildings.

    And this was just in publicly accessible areas of community housing complexes. A sock filled with shotgun shells hidden in the laundry room, drugs hidden in a storage closet.

    Read More »from The problems aren’t buried deep in Toronto public housing
  • (Canadian Press Photo)If you're a lower-income Canadian looking for a family doctor, a new study suggests you'll have better luck by pretending to be a banker.

    Research published Monday by the Canadian Medical Association Journal found fake patients who phoned for appointments and let slip that they were newly-transferred bank executives had much better luck getting a family doctor's appointment than those who said they were on welfare.

    The study, conducted in 2011, found researchers posing as bank employees were significantly more likely to be offered an appointment by the doctor's administrator (about 23 per cent) than those who said they were welfare recipients (14 per cent), Postmedia News reported.

    Overall, 69 of the 375 calls to family-practice doctors resulted in appointments, 33 of which were offered screening visits — essentially an audition to determine if the patient would be enrolled in the doctor's practice — and 12 went onto waiting lists, CTV News said.

    When it came to being offered a

    Read More »from Family doctors’ offices prefer new patients to be well off, new study finds
  • Canada will feel the sting if U.S. Congress fails this week to avert an array of massive, mandated spending cuts.Are you having trouble getting your head around this thing called sequestration?

    America's TV talking heads and political bloggers are getting people south of the border jittery as the first round of automatic federal budget cuts — about US$85 billion — take effect later this week.

    But why should we care up here in Canada? Here's why. Do you like to scoot across the border to shop for bargains? Well, scooting's out. Expect longer waits — maybe hours — to get through customs as border points face reduced staffing.

    Planning an air trip? Closure of some U.S. air traffic control centres will tangle airline schedules and force cancellation of flights, which given the interlinked nature of the world's air-travel system, will inevitably ripple into Canada, The Canadian Press reports. U.S. customs pre-clearance centres at airports could also be closed down.

    Businesses are expected to feel the effect as well with a reduction in customs services as 8,000 positions are cut to meet

    Read More »from Sequestration: Canadians will feel the pinch from automatic U.S. spending cuts

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