• A suburban Ottawa minor football team is under the gun to change its name because an aboriginal man finds it offensive.

    Ian Campeau, an Ojibway, has filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against the Nepean Redskins football club. He wants the team's name and Indian-head logo to go.

    Campeau said in a news release he is filing the discrimination complaint on behalf of his five-year-old daughter.

    "The players call each other 'redskins' on the field," said Ian Campeau, who is a member of the DJ group A Tribe Called Red.

    "How are they going to differentiate the playing field from the school yard? What's going to stop them from calling my daughter a redskin in the school yard? That's as offensive as using the n-word."

    Campeau also wants the tribunal to order the National Capital Amateur Football Association, which includes other teams using the name Redskins at various levels, to make the same change. He's not seeking financial damages, the release said.

    Campeau said modern

    Read More »from Nepean Redskins football team’s name offensive, says complaint to Ontario Human Rights Tribunal
  • What do you make of the photo of an apparently Asian woman holding up a small boy so he can pee in a suburban Vancouver shopping mall garbage can?

    Does it reinforce some views you may have about the norms of another culture or is this simply a case of when you've gotta go, you've gotta go?

    The photo, taken at Richmond Centre, went viral over the last few days, sparking a sometimes nasty debate in social media.

    Posts on Reddit suggested the woman was from Mainland China (Richmond is a popular destination for Chinese immigrants), where the practice of allowing young children to urinate and defecate on the street is supposedly common.

    "For what it's worth, it's not uncommon to hear naturalized Chinese-Canadians — or even recent immigrants from Hong Kong — bitching about this behaviour too," bucky2300 posted on Reddit. "It's a mainland China thing, and an

    Read More »from Boy pees in mall garbage can: let’s not jump to cultural conclusions
  • There's something seductive about a philosophy that says you can decide which laws and rules governing society don't apply to you.

    You don't have to pay taxes; you don't need a driver's licence, car insurance or licence plates. You don't recognize police authority. You're not obliged to pay your debts because the system that created them goes against "natural law."

    All you need to do is create some legal-looking documents to declare yourself a "sovereign citizen," a "freeman of the land."

    As ridiculous as it sounds, so-called freemen are no joke. As The Canadian Press reports, thousands of Canadians have adopted this fringe ideology.

    They often wind up in court on tax-evasion charges, their arguments cutting no ice with judges. Others have had confrontations with police over things like refusing to produce a driver's licence.

    [ Related: Ottawa dentist faces financial ruin for taking part in tax-evasion scheme ]

    The freeman movement, not surprisingly, has American roots. It's on a continuum

    Read More »from ‘Freeman’ movement rejects taxes, laws and debts, but is it a threat?
  • A small Ontario community was left devastated this week after its landmark farmer's market, tourist draw and cultural hub was gutted by a massive fire. The loss will leave a mark on the local township, but recovery plans are already in the making and locals are clamoring to help those worst affected by the blaze.

    The St. Jacobs Farmer's Market, a cultural touchstone for the Waterloo Region, went up in flames early Monday morning. Local firefighters fought the blaze and managed to keep it limited to one of the several wood buildings on site. That building, however, was completely destroyed. Thankfully, no one was injured.

    Sixty vendors lost their storefronts, their wares and their way of life. Fire officials say the damage is estimated at $2 million, but the impact could be far worse.

    The St. Jacobs is a historic location, and an integral one in the fabric of the Waterloo Region. Residents gather at the market, do their shopping and support local business. Many of the vendors in the gutted

    Read More »from Ontario community rallies behind fire-devastated St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market
  • Toronto police were out in force Tuesday, targeting drivers in a “back to safety” blitz on the day students return to classes. Photo via CBC.The beginning of the school year turned tragic in Toronto on Tuesday after a young girl was killed in a vehicle accident outside a middle school in the city's northwest end.

    Toronto Police confirmed that the girl has been declared dead after being struck at the intersection of Sentinel Road and Lamberton Boulevard, near Elia Middle School and a short distance from CW Jefferys High School.

    The student has been confirmed as Violet Jia Liang, 14, who was entering her second year at CW Jefferys' Grade 9/10 enrichment program.

    The accident happened shortly before 8 a.m. — a full hour before classes were to start for the day.

    Principal Monday Gala said it was possible Liang, an excellent student with a 90 per cent average, was coming to school early at the time of the accident.

    "We are talking about a student that really enriched this building, a student that did very well in her classes," Gala told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

    He added that the school has expressed their sympathy to her family

    Read More »from Toronto girl dead after accident outside middle school on first day of classes
  • A driverless car. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP - Eric RisbergI vaguely remember a TV car commercial in the 1970s — for Buick, I think — that touted a model so advanced it "almost drives itself."

    The first thing I thought of was that joke about the couple with a new RV who put on the cruise control and went to the back to have a drink.

    But apparently we are just a few years away from being able to buy a vehicle that does indeed drive itself. Or maybe not, because apparently Canada is far from ready for it.

    Major automakers have jumped on the self-driving car bandwagon as Google racks up hundreds of thousands of miles on its experimental prototype, based initially on a Toyota Prius.

    Self-driving vehicles are touted as being safer because the car's computers can react more quickly to an emergency situation, and a potential boon to improving traffic flow in congested roads.

    Modern vehicles are already highly computerized and some can already do things like keep the car from wandering out of its lane and brake automatically if the vehicle is closing to

    Read More »from Driverless cars are coming but Canada far from ready, transportation expert warns
  • A northwestern Ontario region that's an international mecca for environmental research will remain accessible to scientists despite federal funding cuts.

    The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) is renowned as a "natural laboratory" for studying the impact of pollution and climate change on whole ecosystems.

    But the federal government last year announced it was closing the site as part of its budget-cutting operation. The decision triggered a major backlash from the scientific community.

    [ Related: Experimental Lakes Area cuts leave scientists tongue-lashing Canada ]

    The last official day of operation of the research facility near Kenora, Ont., was to be Sept. 1, unless someone came to the rescue with funding.

    The Globe and Mail reported Monday that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced an interim agreement to keep the ELA operating. The provincial government is promising $2 million a year.

    Scientists will be allowed to work in the ELA this fall while final details of a deal are reached,

    Read More »from Experimental Lakes Area, world-famous research spot, saved with funding from Ontario, Manitoba
  • A mosque in Quebec's Saguenay region was sprayed with what appears to be pig's blood.
    It's impossible to prove a direct link between the vandalism directed against a mosque in Chicoutimi, Que., and the provincial government's plan to introduce a charter of Quebec values that would outlaw the wearing of religious symbols by public-sector employees.

    But it's hard not to make the connection after days of heated debate over the Parti Quebecois' aim of embedding secularist culture through legislation.

    The attack took place over the weekend, when someone sprayed what was claimed to be pig's blood on the entrance to the mosque, located in a nondescript building.

    According to CBC News, the anonymous vandal left a letter condemning Islam and warning Muslims to "assimilate or go home."

    “This mosque has been baptized with fresh pig's blood from Quebec,” said the letter, a copy of which was sent to the local Radio Canada outlet.

    [ Related: Vandals splatter mosque in Quebec with possible pig blood ]

    The mosque's director played down the incident, though police called it a "heinous act,"

    Read More »from Chicoutimi, Que., mosque vandalized as debate over religious symbols heats up
  • Wes Tyrell cartoonWe've had some fun this past week, haven't we? Laughing jovially over the series of revelations that this politician smoked a little pot once, or that politician has smoked tons of it, all the time.

    We've added a few cheeky asides, har har, about how cool it is or how square others appear to be.

    Even those tightwads who claim to have never touched the stuff have made their jokes. Our prime minister says he doesn't look like a guy who experimented with drugs.

    He did previously, however, say he had been once offered a joint but was too drunk to take it. Kudos to us, we are all so progressive. We cut loose; we are average guys and gals.

    Yet in Canada, marijuana possession is illegal. We are not nearly as cool with pot as Colorado or Washington, where the drug has been decriminalized. Or America as a whole, after the Obama administration announced they would not stop states from legalizing it, should they choose to.

    In Canada, we are still talking about whether pot should be decriminalized,

    Read More »from Canadian politicians are awfully casual about history with marijuana
  • The landmark Sam the Record Man sign, circa 2007. Photo by the Canadian Press

    If I told you that you could live in my house, but you had to leave up my decorative, vintage wallpaper, how would you react?

    Would you agree? Would you stick to that promise? Or would you move in, bide your time and tear the wallpaper down, anyway?

    One presumes you would rather not live in my house at all, but for the sake of strained analogies, bear with me.

    This is the debate going on in Toronto right now, where Ryerson University has now entirely and officially shirked its promise to honour one of the city's most beloved builders.

    During a round of massive expansion in 2008, the downtown university came to an agreement with the city to build on the site of the famed, but now-closed, Sam the Record Man shop after promising the legendary music hub would be honoured in a very specific way.

    Sam the Record Man, which was once a Canadian retail juggernaut, was famous for its flagship store in downtown Toronto and that store's massive neon sign. Ryerson University had promised that, in

    Read More »from Ryerson University abandons promise to re-post iconic Sam the Record Man sign

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