Canadian police forces are undergoing a transformation dealing with changing service demands at a time when the national crime rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1969.

    But the head of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) says while the stats seem to indicate a kinder, gentler society, they fail to tell the full picture of what’s happening on the streets.

    “The reality is that crime is coming down but the demand for our service has not decreased,” Clive Weighill, who is also Saskatoon’s police chief, told Yahoo Canada News.

    “We are seeing this right across Canada as about 25 per cent of our resources are dealing with crime issues. The rest is dealing with social issues.”

    Weighill, a 31-year veteran officer, explained those issues could be calls, such as checking out a suspicious person or vehicle and neighbourhood or custody disputes.

    “These are the things that are time consuming and tying us up.”

    Police forces are also under increasing pressure, but are

    Read More »from CACP head cautions against reading too much into declining crime rate
  • Sled dogs rest on the frozen Frobisher Bay in Iqaluit in this file photo. (Reuters)Sled dogs rest on the frozen Frobisher Bay in Iqaluit in this file photo. (Reuters)

    For the fourth year in a row, Manitoba is the worst place in Canada for animal abusers to be.

    Last month, the Animal Legal Defence Fund – founded in 1979 by a group of attorneys eager to foster the legal protection of animals – rated all 13 Canadian provinces and territories on the strength of their animal protection laws.

    Manitoba – again – came out on top.

    “Manitoba is doing a variety of really good things,” Aileen White, director of communications for the Winnipeg Humane Society, tells Yahoo Canada.

    “They’ve reviewed the Animal Care Act a few years ago, and made changes which are fantastic. Every step that helps catch and prosecute animal abusers is a very, very good thing. And obviously the Humane Society applauds that.”

    She points to harsher sentencing in the courts as one of the reasons why. In 2010, a Manitoba couple were charged with animal hoarding in a horrendous case involving 61 neglected and abused dogs on one property. The judge imposed jail time, a fine and a ban on

    Read More »from Manitoba ranks highest again in prosecuting animal cruelty; Nunavut ranks lowest
  • Chris Hyndman's death maybe attributed to sleepwalking and one expert says it's more common than you may think.

    In an interview with The Toronto Star, Glenda Hyndman, mother of the late “Steven & Chris” star, revealed that she thinks her son died sleepwalking off his apartment terrace and plunging to his death before landing in a laneway at 68 Broadview Avenue in Toronto on Monday night. Though no official cause of death has been disclosed, his mother said her son struggled with sleepwalking for years.

    “Christopher was a sleepwalker, and he did that a lot. He even ate in his sleep. He was caught by Steven many times eating in his sleep, absolutely … I don’t know if he ever got a restful, solid sleep.” she told the reporter.

    According to Dr. Raymond Gottschalk, the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Clinic in Hamilton, Ont., it’s a cruel irony that the less sleep one gets, the deeper they sleepwalk, so it wouldn't have been uncommon for someone with the sleep habits of Hyndman to

    Read More »from Death by sleepwalking a rare but real possibility, says expert
  • Mont-Tremplant police patch PHOTO COURTESY: Dave ConnerMont-Tremplant police patch PHOTO COURTESY: Dave Conner

    A landmark decision issued by the Court of Quebec has reinstated a police chief who was the victim of a “vicious and degrading” harassment campaign by his own officers.

    In a decision his lawyer calls “historic,” Michel Ledoux was also awarded back pay for the four years he has been out of his job since he was unfairly dismissed as chief of police of Mont-Tremblant, Que.

    “We’re very happy for Mr. Ledoux,” says his lawyer Thomas Villeneuve-Gagné. “He wants to go back to work and finish the job he was hired to do.”

    Ledoux had been an officer for 30 years in Montreal before he was named police chief of the Laurentians resort town in 2007. An outsider hired to help improve discipline and preparedness in court, Ledoux quickly earned the ire of his subordinates and members of the police union.

    In 2011, after Ledoux issued suspensions to two officers — one of whom was on the executive of the police union — the chief and his assistant became the victims of targeted personal attacks. Vulgar

    Read More »from Quebec police chief harassed by his officers reinstated: court
  • A screenshot of Stephen Harper's Twitter handle.A screenshot of Stephen Harper's Twitter handle.

    On Twitter, Thomas Mulcair is the NDP leader and Justin Trudeau is just a guy who wants to “change the world, a little bit every day.”

    But Stephen Harper is still the prime minister of Canada, staking his social media presence firmly in the grey zone between official business and online electioneering.

    Harper is still using the Twitter accounts he uses as the country’s leader — @pmharper and @premierministre — and both still identify the Conservative leader as the prime minister of Canada.

    Harper’s Facebook page also describes him as prime minister of Canada.

    The Conservatives continue to be the sitting government unless and until another party is elected and there is nothing preventing members of that government from using the tools of government during a campaign, says Penny Bryden, a professor and political historian at the University of Victoria.

    “It’s one of the great advantages the people in office have at election time,” she tells Yahoo Canada News.

    “I don’t think there are

    Read More »from Harper still a social media prime minister during campaign
  • Le juge Campbell Miller de la Cour fédérale de l'impôt a rejeté la demande d'interdit de publication du chef d'une communauté polygame de BountifulLe juge Campbell Miller de la Cour fédérale de l'impôt a rejeté la demande d'interdit de publication du chef d'une communauté polygame de Bountiful

    A media report that the leader of a polygamous religious sect in Bountiful, B.C., could have collected over $40,000 last month in Universal Child Care Benefits is renewing debate over the Conservative plan.

    Winston Blackmore has 24 wives, according to an indictment against him on a charge of polygamy.

    The Vancouver Sun, based on the best information available from several sources, estimates he has 133 children; 20 younger than seven years old and 78 between ages seven and 18.

    Beginning in July, families received their first cheques for the increased benefit of $160 a month for each child under six and $60 a month for each child between six and 17.

    Because the payment last month included the retroactive boost to the beginning of the year, families received a lump sum.

    A rough estimate suggests Blackmore and his wives could have collected more than $40,000.

    On a regular basis, the Blackmore family might see almost $8,000 a month in child care benefits.

    Those estimates are highly

    Read More »from B.C. polygamist could be big winner with Universal Child Care Benefit
  • Water consumption doesn’t really concern me. I live in an east coast province that is rarely short of water, and my water bill pales in comparison with my power bill, which nearly gave me a heart attack in my first winter in my house.

    That water bill, about $80 per month, is manageable. It’s not high enough to cut showers short or get rid of the waste-of-money hot tub in the back yard.

    I’ve never watered the lawn, but that says more about my interest in gardening (zero) than my eco-sensibilities. Should I feel guilty?

    Well, apparently so

    Canadians need an attitude adjustment

    Canadians are the second biggest consumers of water in the world after - you guessed it - the United States. Unlike them, with their vast cities, sprawling sun belt and wicked (environmental) ways, we're never going to run out of water... are we?

    Well... “Canadians mistakenly think we have an unlimited supply of water and rarely give water a second thought to running taps while brushing teeth or other water

    Read More »from Why Canada's water situation is so much worse than we think
  • Sockeye salmon PHOTO COURTESY: BLMOregonSockeye salmon PHOTO COURTESY: BLMOregon

    Dangerously high water temperatures in the Fraser River in British Columbia are posing a huge threat to the region’s renowned sockeye salmon run.

    The warm waters, which neared 20 C on Tuesday, combined with record low river levels could mean a massive die-off of returning Pacific sockeye salmon swimming up the Fraser River to spawn.

    “The fish will simply not make it to the spawning grounds if the temperatures are too high, which means they’ll never have the opportunity to spawn because they only spawn once in a lifetime,” says Anthony Farrell, a zoologist with the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. “To not be able to get up the Fraser River to their native watershed is catastrophic.”

    Conditions are so dire the federal government has been forced to temporarily ban all sport fishing in streams throughout the south coast and is considering halting commercial fisheries. Mike Lapointe, chief biologist for the Pacific Salmon Commission, told the Maple Ridge News that it is

    Read More »from Rising water temps threaten B.C.’s famed sockeye salmon run
  • Hardy and Amelia Leighton's death due to fentanyl, other drugs, coroner saysHardy and Amelia Leighton's death due to fentanyl, other drugs, coroner says

    A 17-year-old Vancouver boy has died of a suspected overdose of fentanyl. The death this past weekend is the latest in a string of fatalities across the country related to the highly toxic opioid.

    The teenager and a friend are believed to have taken OxyContin, also known as oxycodone or “fake 80s”, laced with fentanyl. Police said the two were rushed to hospital the night of August 1 because they had passed out in a park after they consumed the pills, which were green and had the number 80 on them, according to CBC British Columbia. The friend was later released and is recovering.

    Just days earlier, the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed the presence of fentanyl in a North Vancouver couple who died in July, leaving behind a two-year-old child.

    Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is far more toxic than morphine and heroin—up to 100 times more toxic than other narcotics, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. It’s used medically for anesthesia and the management of chronic

    Read More »from Killer drug Fentanyl '100 times more toxic' than other narcotics
  • Cuban rower Manuel Suarez, fourth from left, defected after winning a silver medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games in St. Catharines, Ont.Cuban rower Manuel Suarez, fourth from left, defected after winning a silver medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games in St. Catharines, Ont.

    July was not a good month for Cuba on the international sporting front.

    We’re not talking about standings. At the recent Pan Am Games in southern Ontario, the Latin American nation came fourth in the medal tally, with 36 golds.

    No, Cuba’s challenge was keeping its athletes from deserting their team – and their country.

    Four of its rowers and half of its 16-member field hockey team at the Pan Ams reportedly took the opportunity to make a dash to the U.S. border. Even before the games opened July 10, two members of Cuba’s baseball team had already left during a warm-up tournament in North Carolina. And four soccer players jumped ship during the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football’s Gold Cup tournament hosted in various U.S. venues, also in July.

    Eight members of the Cuban team defected during the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.

    Defections by Cuban athletes during international competitions are not new. Eight members of the Cuban team defected

    Read More »from Canada avoids blame in high-profile defections


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