• Ecstasy in stores?  Dr. Perry Kendall, British Columbia's chief provincial medical health officer, is adamant that pure ecstasy, or MDMA, can be "safe" when consumed responsibly by adults.

    He's taking his controversial opinion a few steps further by advocating for the legalization of the drug and for the selling of the drug through licensed, government-run stores. Essentially, Kendall wants an LCBO for ecstasy. Yet, people who shop at the LCBO still get drunk. How will "strict controls" be enforced once the buyers take their drugs home?

    A new way to deal with ecstasy?Recent deaths from tainted ecstasy in western Canada have B.C.'s top health official calling for the pure form of the drug to be legalized for safer use. A former dealer describes the dangers of contaminated ecstasy.

    Kendall insists that he doesn't want to promote the drug for recreational use — he believes that usage will decrease with regulation. But wouldn't having an "Ecstasy Depot" in your neighbourhood encourage a

    Read More »from Pure ecstasy is safe, should be legalized and in stores: B.C. health official Perry Kendall
  • Canadian boots may have yet to tread upon the moon, but if everything goes according to plan, four Ottawa-made wheels could touch upon lunar soil within the decade.

    As the Ottawa Citizen reports, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency rolled out Artemis Jr., their brand new Canadian-built lunar rover, to U.S. media this week. A similar Canadian preview is scheduled for the fall.

    The vehicle is designed to seek out water and dig up hydrogen-and-oxygen rich soil along the satellite's north and south poles. After extracting the hydrogen and oxygen from the soil, astronauts should be able to make their own water.

    Because it's remote-control operated, Artemis Jr. can be sent to the moon on its own. Depending on how well it navigates those lunar craters, the rover could also be developed for journeys to Mars.

    But first, NASA will send the prototype to a much friendlier environment. Artemis Jr. has been booked for a Hawaiian vacation, where engineers will send it halfway up a volcano to see how

    Read More »from Ottawa-made Artemis Jr. moon rover rolled out as the latest Canadian space achievement
  • The public face of Col. Russell Williams was very different from the picture painted in a Belleville, Ont., coutroom this week. Russell Williams already holds a special place in the rogue's gallery of Canadian killers.

    Now he's embellished his evil reputation by trying to get money from one of his victims.

    Williams, once a star officer and VIP pilot with the Canadian Armed Forces, pleaded guilty in 2010 to two counts of first-degree murder of two young women, forcible confinement and sexual assault related to two others and dozens of counts of break and enter.

    The highly regarded officer, who had flown prime ministers and even the Queen, led a dark double life, breaking into dozens of homes and stealing women's underwear and other trophies. He took photos of his prizes and even modelled them. His obsession escalated to sexual assault and murder.

    He's serving a life sentence in a segregated cell in Kingston Penitentiary, an easy drive from Canadian Forces Base Trenton, where he once commanded.

    But the courts aren't through with Williams, who faces civil suits from victims and their families.

    [ Related: Russell

    Read More »from Murderer Russell Williams files to have victim pay his legal bills
  • An attempt by protesting Quebec students to mock police with a Nazi salute has fallen flat.

    The province's federation of university students has been forced to apologize for some protesters throwing up the stiff-arm salute and calling police officers "SS" after angry Jewish groups condemned them.

    "We think it was an error in judgment that they used that sign," federation president Martine Desjardins told CBC News, adding it does not "represent the values of Quebec and Canada."

    The use of Nazi symbols, including swastikas on anti-police pamphlets, was apparently aimed at highlighting protesters' allegations of police brutality in dealing with demonstrations that have filled Montreal streets since February.

    Protesters condemned over Nazi saluteJewish organizations and the student group CLASSE are denouncing the use of so-called Nazi salutes at some Quebec demonstrations. Some protesters are using the gesture to mock police and compare them to the Nazis.

    Thousands of students and

    Read More »from Quebec protesters' use of Nazi symbols to mock police draws condemnation
  • The veneer of public good will towards the RCMP in British Columbia keeps getting thinner. Now officers are being accused of brutalizing First Nations people who called 911 for help.

    The latest flap arose this week after the B.C. Civil Liberties Association called a news conference to complain about what it saw as a pattern of three questionable incidents within a five-week period by officers in the northwestern communities of Prince Rupert and Terrace.

    "All of the incidents involve families of aboriginal descent, all called the RCMP for help with a family member, each case resulted in serious injury, and each took place in a specific geographic area over a short period of time," association president Robert Holmes said in a news release. "These factors suggest to us that there is a serious systemic problem."

    Association executive director David Eby told a news conference Tuesday the Mounties need to look carefully at their 911 response to domestic situations.

    "People shouldn't be

    Read More »from RCMP responding to 911 calls in B.C. accused of brutality towards aboriginals
  • Edmonton high school teacher Lynden Dorval has decided not to challenge his suspension from Ross Sheppard High School.The Edmonton Public School Board's No-Zero policy seeks to encourage students to complete their work by prohibiting teachers from assigning them a large red circle as a grade.

    Their theory is that by giving students a zero, teachers are effectively giving them a reason to quit. An incomplete encourages them to make up the missing work.

    Though this is a simplified summary, a more comprehensive report has been outlined in an Alberta-wide handout.

    That means if a student fails to hand in an assignment or show up for a test, even though a zero would be a most appropriate marker to denote the absence of something, under strict the new guidelines he or she receives an "incomplete" instead.

    Lynden Dorval, a 35-year veteran of Edmonton's classroom circuit, discovered just how strict these more lenient guidelines were when it came to the other side of the classroom. As the Edmonton Journal has reported, the Ross Sheppard High School teacher was suspended for continuing to dole out zeroes for

    Read More »from No-Zero policy gets failing grade in the classroom of public opinion
  • As parting shots go, this one's a doozy. The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy is reporting that Canada is far from reaching its target for reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions.

    Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives announced they were abolishing the environment advisory board as part of the sweeping budget cuts. The government argued independent body, set up in 1988 to bring together environmental and economic stakeholders, had served its purpose. Critics suggested the Tories didn't like what the round table was telling them.

    [ Related: Environment advisory panel's closure 'dumb,' Harper told ]

    But in what's probably its final report, released this week, the board warned Canada is likely to reach only half its 2020 target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels.

    According to The Canadian Press, the report found existing and proposed provincial and federal measures leave Canada far short of its promised goal.

    "Canada

    Read More »from Canada falling well short of greenhouse-gas emission targets: environment advisory panel
  • Engine Specialist Jennifer Souch assembles a Camaro engine at the GM factory in Oshawa, Ontario on Friday, June 10, 2011.Want to buy a Canadian-made vehicle? Get ready to spend thousands more than an American buying the same car.

    CBC News looked at the relative prices of 26 vehicle models made in Ontario by Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota and found that for 20 of the models, it was cheaper to purchase the vehicle in the United States, Hawaii included, than it was to purchase the Ontario-built cars in Ontario.

    Case in point: Buy a Woodstock-made Toyota Rav4 in Woodstock and pay $24,865, plus a freight and pre-delivery charge of $1,465. Buy the same vehicle in Honolulu and pay only $22,650, with extra charges totalling just $810.

    Senator Pierrette Ringuette says she invited reps from the Big Three automakers in the United States to explain the price disparities before the Senate finance committee, but they declined.

    "How do you justify a car made in Canada being sold for 20 to 25 per cent more in Canada than in the U.S.?" she asked.

    Consumer advocates want the Competition Bureau to investigate the

    Read More »from From cars to books, Canadians pay more for everything
  • Many questions remain about the cause and extent of the Red Deer River oil spill.The pipeline break that belched almost half a million litres of sulphur-rich crude oil into southern Alberta's Red Deer River could take until the end of the summer to clean up, CBC News reported.

    And some of the oil has washed into the Gleniffer reservoir, the source of drinking water for thousands of area residents.

    So far officials have not issued boil-water or drinking water advisories for the city of Red Deer and adjacent counties, CBC said, but the province is monitoring water as well as air quality.

    "Below the boom containment, (water) meets Canadian drinking water standards," said Alberta Environment spokesperson Jessica Potter on Sunday about some initial results that were sent to the lab. "Those are first results, so that's a really good sign."

    Pipeline owner Plains Midstream Canada has said the spill is largely contained but water from north of the town of Sundre to the reservoir is not to be used for drinking, officials warn. The company has been trucking in water for local

    Read More »from Alberta oil pipeline spill has environmental and political impact
  • A dog was rescued from a car at Sherway Gardens on Monday afternoon. A woman was charged with a bylaw infraction.Between the Ontario pup that died after suffering in a sweltering car and the most extreme rabbit hoarding case in recent memory, the headlines have not been good for animals this week.

    Sudbury residents Matthieu Arbour, 21, and Angele Lazurko, 20 have been charged with animal cruelty after a rescue team pulled Lazurko's chocolate Labrador retriever from a locked vehicle outside Vaughan Mills mall on Sunday.

    It was a sweltering 28 degrees Celcius, and though a rescue crew tried to revive the year-and-a-half-old pup, he died at the scene.

    Lazurko, a pet shop employee (of all things), was promptly let go from her post and, along with Arbour, has a court date set for July 10.

    Despite her alleged negligence, Lazurko's father described his daughter as an animal lover and says she's devastated by what happened. In fact, she and Arbour had been in town that weekend to attend Woofstock — an annual dog lover's festival in downtown Toronto.

    Over in Edmonton, 44-year-old Shirley Zenner received

    Read More »from Dog’s overheating death, Alberta rabbit hoarding puts spotlight on Canada’s animal cruelty laws

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