• Prosecutors are seeking a direct indictment against Dellen Millard, charged with first-degree murder in Tim Bosma's death.Prosecutors are seeking a direct indictment against Dellen Millard, charged with first-degree murder in Tim Bosma's death.

    The disappearance and death of Ontario father Timothy Bosma that left two men charged and one family grieving became the first in a series of extraordinary dominoes to fall over the past year, with two stagnant cases re-opened and resulting in murder charges, more loved ones swept up in the maelstrom and now, Crown lawyers making the rare pitch for an expedited trial.

    The Hamilton Spectator reported on Friday that prosecutors are seeking a direct indictment against Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, both charged with first-degree murder in Bosma's death, meaning the case would skip a weeks-long preliminary hearing and proceed directly to trial.

    Though no one involved in the case was able to discuss the request with the Spectator, direct indictments are rare in Canada and their use is quite notable.

    The Ontario Attorney General calls the power "an extraordinary one" which is infrequently used.

    "Generally, counsel may make a request for the Attorney General’s consent to a direct indictment

    Read More »from Prosecutors push to skip preliminary hearing in Tim Bosma murder trial
  • Master Grower Ryan Douglas smells a marijuana plant in Smith's Falls, Ont. (Reuters)Master Grower Ryan Douglas smells a marijuana plant in Smith's Falls, Ont. (Reuters)

    While governments and authorities do everything they can to turn their noses up at the medicinal use of marijuana, the announcement that a Quebec hospital will allow patients to smoke pot is a sign that some in the country's medical community, at least, are willing to embrace it.

    Officials at the Sherbrooke University Hospital Centre voted on Thursday to allow the use of cannabis vaporizers in patients' rooms, if the attending doctor feels the patient is "sick enough" to warrant the use of medicinal marijuana.

    Not only did the hospital approve the measure, CBC News reports that the facility's 650 doctors, dentists and pharmacists voted unanimously in favour.

    Charles Bury (CBC)Charles Bury (CBC)The Sherbrooke, Que., hospital made headlines earlier this year when a doctor allowed a terminal patient, Charles Bury, to use marijuana from his hospital room.

    Bury, the outspoken long-time editor of the Sherbrooke Record, died of terminal cancer a short time later.

    "It's a remedy that helps you to relax and you can't help but

    Read More »from Quebec hospital’s approval of cannabis use is ‘progressive’ step forward, advocate says
  • Passengers wait after their flight to Brazil was turned back early Thursday. (CBC/supplied photo)Passengers wait after their flight to Brazil was turned back early Thursday. (CBC/supplied photo)

    When someone manages to stroll through security at Canada's largest airport without being checked, apparently board a flight bound for Brazil and force a full-on terminal shutdown, you expect there to be one heck of a story.

    You can also expect that, whatever that story is, airport officials and security agents won't be quick to share it.

    That seems to be the case in Toronto on Thursday, one day after a man reportedly walked through a security checkpoint shortly before 11 p.m. without being checked.

    The breach led to a police investigation, the temporary grounding of all flights out of Terminal 1, and a Brazil-bound Air Canada flight being forced to return to Pearson Airport.

    Passengers on the rerouted flight told CBC News that, once the flight returned to Toronto, armed officers boarded the plane and arrested a passenger.

    Peel Regional Police confirmed via Twitter that they assisted with a security breach at the airport but, not surprisingly, officials with Toronto Pearson

    Read More »from Five bizarre security breaches of the Canadian border
  • The City of Vancouver has a sterling national reputation for eco-consciousness, environmental awareness and supporting green initiatives.

    It has been rated among the greenest cities in North America, has a transit strategy based strongly on getting people out of cars and onto bikes, and continues to implement cutting-edge composting and recycling programs.

    But there is a dark side to that green focus, and that dark side apparently comes with beady eyes, wiry hair and stringy tails.

    Rats, that is. Pesky, potentially disease-carrying rodents that have been calling the coastal city home for some time.

    Vancouver's rat population most recently made headlines this week by invading a downtown community garden, or more specifically its compost bins.

    According to CBC News, the rat problem grew so large that a neighbouring YMCA daycare has been forced to keep children indoors until the rodent dens have been cleared out.

    "Rats are not something that are a particularly clean rodent, so we

    Read More »from Rats take over Vancouver compost heap, forcing kids to stay away from playground
  • A dairy cow with a nose ring is shown at the Kooyman family dairy farm in Chilliwack, B.C. (Canadian Press)A dairy cow with a nose ring is shown at the Kooyman family dairy farm in Chilliwack, B.C. (Canadian Press)

    The fallout from an undercover investigation that revealed animal cruelty inside a Chilliwack, B.C. dairy farm has come quickly, intensely and surely left the farm itself reeling as a result.

    But as part of an "unprecedented" response to the controversy surrounding Chilliwack Cattle Sales, an unknown amount of milk will be destroyed as collateral damage.

    Major milk labels are refusing to accept milk products from the farm and, in a decision considered extraordinary and unprecedented in B.C., if not all of Canada, the B.C. Milk Marketing Board has announced it will not put dairy from the farm into circulation.

    "The Board has received requests from processors that milk orders do not include milk deliveries from Chilliwack Cattle Sales until the additional independent audits have been completed," the board said in a statement. "The Board will act in accordance with processor requests and due to lack of market, the milk will be destroyed."

    Vicki Crites, manager of policy and

    Read More »from Destroying milk from mistreated B.C. dairy cows to be recycled, but ultimately still go to waste
  • Supporters of the new policy at the Vancouver School Board cheer after the ruling. (CBC Photo)Supporters of the new policy at the Vancouver School Board cheer after the ruling. (CBC Photo)

    A move by the Vancouver School Board to be more inclusive in the way teachers and administrators address transgendered students has reawakened a long-simmering grammatical debate about how to address a person without labeling them with an unwanted gender.

    And it may be time for the debate to finally find a resolution.

    The school board voted this week to introduce a policy that allows the use of gender-absent pronouns in class. In other words, "xe, xem and xyr" will become acceptable replacements for he/she, him/her and his/hers.

    The change was part of a policy to improve inclusivity for transgender students. The policy states that trans students should be addressed by the names and pronouns they prefer, that they can choose which group they join during sex-segregated activities and can use whichever bathroom they identify with.

    The school board also states it will work to make single stall gender-neutral washrooms available.

    According to the Vancouver Sun, the board voted in favour

    Read More »from Vancouver School Board makes a modern case for genderless pronouns
  • The Government of Canada has announced it will support the construction of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, a massive energy project that crosses provincial borders and has been opposed by First Nations communities, environmentalists and British Columbia.

    In an afternoon announcement, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford announced the federal government's support for the project, which is dependent on Enbridge adhering to 209 conditions previously levied against the project by a joint review board.

    "After carefully reviewing the report, the Government accepts the independent Panel's recommendation to impose 209 conditions on Northern Gateway Pipeline's proposal," Rickford said in a statement.

    "Today constitutes another step in the process. Moving forward, the proponent must demonstrate to the independent regulator, the NEB, how it will meet the 209 conditions."

    Securing the government's approval is the latest hurdle in the years-long battle to build a massive

    Read More »from Federal government approves Northern Gateway pipeline project
  • Coun. Mammoliti, seen here on the left of his political ally Mayor Rob Ford (CBC)Coun. Mammoliti, seen here on the left of his political ally Mayor Rob Ford (CBC)

    A controversial Toronto city councillor won’t apologize for calling a downtown neighbourhood a “pedophile district,” despite an online uprising from the community and rejection of the comments from his fellow councillors. But the real question is why Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti would make such a comment in the first place.

    Mammoliti launched a seemingly-intentional smear campaign against Parkdale and its councillor, Gord Perks, in an official press release on Monday. The absurd comment was offered as part of a debate over whether to allow all-ages dance parties at Exhibition Place Grounds.

    Mammoliti said all-ages dances shouldn't be held at Exhibition Place, because it is located in the neighbourhood of Parkdale. He later questioned why Perks supported adults and children attending the same parties.

    "With 'all-ages' parties being held next to a pedophile district we are simply encouraging the continued abuse of our children," Mammoliti said in the statement.

    "Given the rampant alcohol and

    Read More »from Toronto neighbourhood defends itself against councillor Giorgio Mammoliti calling it a ‘pedophile district’
  • It is official, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will return to work by the end of the month.

    Ford, who has been in rehab treating his alcohol addiction, filed notice with the city clerk's office stating he would return to city hall "in the later portion" of the afternoon on June 30.

    "Kindly be advised that I will be returning to City Hall on Monday, June 30th 2014, in the later portion of the afternoon, to resume my duties as Mayor of Toronto," Ford wrote to city clerk Ulli Watkiss, in a letter obtained by CP24.

    "Please make the necessary arrangements for my office locks to be restored to their state prior to my departure, for 1:00 PM on the date of my return.

    "If you require further detail, please speak with my Chief of Staff, Dan Jacobs."

    The letter includes Ford's signature, as well as an underlined "Mayor Ford" written in all capital letters.

    Ford and his re-election campaign manager, brother

    Read More »from Rob Ford has lots of catching up to do upon June 30 return to Toronto mayoral race
  • Is Canada about to get a marijuana breathalyzer? According to a retired RCMP officer, the device may be right around the corner.

    CTV News reports that Kal Malhi, a retired B.C. RCMP officer, has co-invented a device that would allow police agencies to test for pot use on the side of the road.

    The device, known as the Cannabix Breathalyzer, would give North American law enforcement agencies a much-needed tool as marijuana use becomes legalized in some areas and decriminalized in others.

    "People are becoming very afraid to drink and drive nowadays because they feel that they will get caught and charged, but they’re not afraid to drug and drive because they don't feel that law enforcement will do anything about it," Malhi told CTV News.

    [ Related: The truth about driving while stoned ]

    There has yet to be a cannabis breathalyzer  to be deployed by law enforcement agencies, but that's not necessarily for lack of trying.

    Police in England are currently testing what has been dubbed a

    Read More »from Canadian-made marijuana breathalyzer could be right around the corner

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