• Lift blood donation restrictions call as shortage continuesLift blood donation restrictions call as shortage continues
    Gay men who have been sexually active in the last five years are currently not allowed to donate blood in Canada—a controversial deferral that has riled some and inspired others to get involved in other ways.

    While sexually active gay men, or MSM (men who have sex with men) as they are known in Canadian Blood Services parlance, remain unable to help address the current blood supply shortage, they are able to help Canadian Blood Services in other ways.

    And a Vancouver blood research facility is reaching out to show them how—holding a Rainbow blood donor clinic to promote the fact that sexually active gay men who are not able to donate blood for surgeries or transfusions are still able to donate through them.

    The Rainbow Donor Clinic and Open House will be held at the University of British Columbia’s netCAD facility on Feb. 4, between noon and 7 p.m.

    “Sexually active gay men can donate there any time. We’re just having an event to celebrate that and raise awareness,” Dr. Tanya Petraszko,

    Read More »from Vancouver clinic offers sexually active gay men a way to join the blood donor system
  • Lang was accused of accepting speaking fees from RBC while passing editorial judgment on a related story.Lang was accused of accepting speaking fees from RBC while passing editorial judgment on a related story.

    Of all the grenades thrown at Canadian media personalities on the issue of journalism ethics in recent months, the one tossed at CBC’s Amanda Lang may have the most powerful aftershock.

    In the wake of allegations that the CBC business correspondent crossed ethical boundaries with how she handled her dealings with the Royal Bank of Canada, the national news network implemented serious changes – denying on-air personalities the right to accept payment for speaking appearances.

    With its credibility under attack, the CBC clearly felt strong measures were necessary. But have they gone too far? The CBC’s union seems to think so, claiming the network is wrong to implement a “blanket prohibition” and vowing to oppose the measure.

    "This new ban is a clear violation of our collective agreement, an infringement on our members’ rights and a dangerous precedent. The CBC took this unilateral decision without input and agreement from your union," the Canadian Media Guild said in a statement released

    Read More »from 'Why hurt everyone?' Union challenges CBC mandate to end paid speaking gigs
  • The City of Winnipeg had a bomb dropped on its reputation on Thursday when a national news magazine declared it the most racist city in Canada.

    And instead of hiding from the accusation or opposing the slight, Winnipeg’s leaders stepped up and announced it would confront the city’s growing ethnic divide.

    "We have a lot of work to do as a community," an emotional Mayor Brian Bowman said at a press conference. "A lot of work has been made in previous years and we’ve got a lot more work to do. We’re not going to end racism tomorrow, but we’re sure as hell going to try."

    The comments stem from a Maclean’s cover story released on Thursday, which claimed that Winnipeg was Canada’s most racist city.

    The Maclean’s article searches for evidence to back up its thesis in the fallout from the death of Tina Fontaine and the attack on Rinelle Harper, two young aboriginal girls attacked in Winnipeg.

    The 6,000-word feature article written by Nancy Macdonald begins there and touches on comments made

    Read More »from Maclean's article calling Winnipeg 'most racist city' receives mixed reaction
  • Winnipeg: My racist city

    Growing up safe and complicit in "Canada's most racist city"

    Leslie and Carol Chartrand's talk about the shooting of their son on Tuesday Feb. 1, 2005, in Winnipeg.Leslie and Carol Chartrand's talk about the shooting of their son on Tuesday Feb. 1, 2005, in Winnipeg.

    "What's the difference between a native and a bucket of crap?"

    I can't point to the first time I heard this joke, the punchline of which I won't include here. Nor can I recall every variation I heard; recounting all the junior-high "zingers" would result in a listicle of a length that would make BuzzFeed blush.

    I can't say I never repeated them. I'd like to, but that would be dishonest. There's a certain kind of one-upsmanship with "edgy" jokes that teenage boys, particularly of the privileged group (read: white, upper-middle-class) that I come from, tend to engage in. I was no exception. It's not a uniquely Winnipeg phenomenon by any stretch; the target may just be different elsewhere.

    You tell yourself you don't actually mean anything by the jokes, that the humour comes from the extremity of the offensiveness. That's what you try to believe. It's an easy trick to justify a poisonous behaviour that only serves to reinforce the barriers between the oppressor and the oppressed.

    Caesar Harper, father of Rinelle Harper, weeps at a press conference in Winnipeg. (CP)Caesar Harper, father of Rinelle Harper, weeps at a press conference in Winnipeg. (CP)Every

    Read More »from Winnipeg: My racist city
  • Boys from How to kill your teacher video are students from Castlegar, B.C. (CP)Boys from How to kill your teacher video are students from Castlegar, B.C. (CP)

    Whoopee cushions are so 20th century, knock-knock ginger takes too much work and prank phone calls are a little too tame for today’s refined tastes.

    Where that leaves today’s youth, it seems, is to stretch beyond the bounds of tasteful tomfoolery and delve into the world of potential criminality.

    Take the case of two pre-teen B.C. students, whose online hijinks have set in motion a police investigation and school board probe.

    According to the Nanaimo Daily News, a local school board is investigating a YouTube video titled “How to kill your teacher,” which has been linked back to two young residents of Castlegar, B.C.

    The video shows two young boys with toy guns in a bedroom, explaining to an audience how to do the nefarious deed. “We’re going to teach you guys, you little young bucks, how to kill your teacher,” one of the boys says to launch the tutorial.

    The six-minute video, which has been removed from YouTube but is still available on another site, doesn’t contain any tangible

    Read More »from B.C. boys draw RCMP attention with 'how to kill your teacher' video
  • NDP MP Paul Dewar asks a question during question period in the House of Commons. (CP)NDP MP Paul Dewar asks a question during question period in the House of Commons. (CP)

    An NDP Member of Parliament has grown so frustrated by government talking points on Canada’s military presence in Iraq that he has returned to his roots as a public school teacher and graded them. Harshly.

    Paul Dewar took umbrage with a “fact sheet” released by Conservative MP Denis Lebel, which sought to counter the current confusion about the Canadian military’s role in Iraq by, in part, saying the media has been dishonest about what role the military was playing in the battle against ISIS militants.

    The issue stems from government claims that the military is not participating in a combat mission despite a recent front-line gunfight with ISIS militants in Iraq.

    "The media now pretends that the Canadian mission against ISIL has turned into a ground combat mission, which has been contradicted by the Canadian Armed Forces itself yesterday," Lebel writes in his statement, released on Wednesday.

    Dewar, the representative for Ottawa Centre, who taught at local elementary schools before

    Read More »from NDP MP and former teacher Paul Dewar 'schools' Tory on ISIS combat memo
  • When I was a little kid I had a friend named Bobby. He was a year or two younger than me and the boys I played with but he liked to hang around with us.

    Except his mother, who looked closer in age to my grandmother than my mom, never let him cross the street in our quiet, blue-collar east Calgary neighbourhood. That meant he couldn’t rove with us to the hill behind the nearby school, or the waste area near the railway tracks where there were always fascinating things to find and play with.

    Looking back, I think having had Bobby so late, his mother was extra protective in an era when most kids were allowed to roam free once they were old enough for school.

    But it today’s agee of helicopter parents and bubble-wrapped children, Bobby’s mom may be the rule, not the exception. That overprotective mindset appears to be seeping not only into parenting, but into child-welfare law, judging by two recent cases.

    Related Stories:

    Can Canada’s child-protection systems be fixed to prevent horrific

    Read More »from Over-protective parenting may be seeping into child welfare laws
  • (Image courtesy Thinkstock/Digital Vision)(Image courtesy Thinkstock/Digital Vision)

    Canada’s largest right-to-death advocacy group lost its charitable status this week. And that may not be such a bad thing.

    The group confirmed that the Canadian Revenue Agency had stripped it of its charity status in a lengthy letter that claimed it had been “registered in error” when it first received the status in 1982 and was renewed in 2011.

    The Toronto Star notes that the CRA ruled the group – which refers to itself as “a health and educational charity focused on promoting choice and dignity at end of life” – was registered with a political purpose and is not focused enough on charitable work.

    You would think that a non-profit group that has held charity status for more than 30 years would be a bit sore about suddenly losing it, but Dying With Dignity seems to be taking the about-face in stride.

    The group’s board of directors have decided not to oppose the annulment. The group will retain its charitable status until about Feb. 15, at which point it will shift into its new role as

    Read More »from Dying With Dignity’s loss of charity status allows for more political freedom
  • Photo of Bloor Viaduct over the Don Valley Parkway (Paul Bica/Flickr)Photo of Bloor Viaduct over the Don Valley Parkway (Paul Bica/Flickr)

    Ontario anti-poverty advocates are seething over Toronto’s plan to spend some $3.8 million dollars lighting up a city bridge for the Pan Am Games when that money could easily be spent tackling the issue of homelessness.

    A long-anticipated project to illuminate the Bloor Street Viaduct is set to be completed before the city hosts the Pan American Games in July. But instead of making a bridge pretty, many are asking why the money isn’t going to funding more shelter services, instead.

    The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) publicly released a letter to Toronto City Council on Wednesday, admonishing them for spending millions to beautify the Toronto landmark instead of providing more financial assistance to the city’s homeless population.

    "We call on you to kill the lights on the Bloor Viaduct," OCAP writes in its statement. “Instead, we demand you use the $3.8 million to open up TCHC units that are now standing empty because lack of repair has made them uninhabitable while tens of

    Read More »from Anti-poverty group takes aim at $3.8M cost of Toronto's 'tacky' Pan Am bridge plan
  • Ensaf Haidar, wife of blogger Raif Badawi, takes part in a rally for his freedom in MontrealEnsaf Haidar, wife of blogger Raif Badawi, takes part in a rally for his freedom in Montreal

    Sometime after prayers on Friday, it’s likely Raif Badawi will be led in front of a crowd outside a mosque in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and flogged.

    It will be his second set of 50 lashes. Out of a thousand. He’s scheduled to receive them at a rate of 50 a week. It was postponed last week because a prison doctor determined wounds from the first 50 strokes, administered by a huge cane, hadn’t healed sufficiently to continue.

    “In his sentence it was made clear that the lashes were to be administered with force,” Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada told Yahoo Canada News. “The eyewitnesses said that it was very clear while he was being flogged that he was in pain, he was grimacing, his back was arching.” 

    Badawi’s crime? Operating a blog the autocratic Islamic state has determined was blasphemous. He advocated for free speech and a sectarian state, a position that has also earned him 10 years in prison.

    Related Stories:

    Raif Badawi flogging case to be reviewed by

    Read More »from Is Canada doing enough to stop the flogging of a Saudi blogger?


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