• If you're a motorist, chances are one of these little scenarios will sound familiar.

    You're on virtual auto pilot on your daily commute home, hardly aware of the last few kilometres you drove. Or you've zoned out and don't notice the vehicle in front of you has slowed, forcing you to slam on your brakes.

    Or maybe you're on a long, tedious highway drive, willing your eyelids to stay up but unwilling to pull over because you want to make more time, not noticing how you're drifting in and out of your lane.

    While impaired driving and, more recently, distracted driving get most of the headlines as road-safety scourges, driver fatigue is a more insidious threat and probably much more common.

    It was brought into stark relief this week when a Quebec coroner compared drowsy driving to driving under the influence in an inquest into a 2011 collision where a van carrying farm workers home hit a school bus full of children, killing five in the van.

    [ Related: Quebec coroner compares driving drowsy

    Read More »from Drowsy drivers are a bigger danger than you think
  • Here's something that should be common sense – and common knowledge – in North America these days but seems too often to go forgotten: It is culturally insensitive to wear an aboriginal headdress as a rave/music festival fashion accessory, or any other time for that matter.

    Don't do it. Wear a string of beads in your hair instead, or flowers. Or some feathers that aren't the intentional appropriation of a culturally honourific symbol that was intended to be restricted to the chiefs of some First Nations.

    Thankfully, it seems some folks in Canada are finally getting the picture, and a British Columbia music festival is calling for attendees to leave the war bonnets at home, saying their aesthetic and cultural significance simply can't be separated.

    The Bass Coast Festival made the request this week on its Facebook page, saying there simply wasn't a place for the controversial fashion accessory at the three-day event.

    Here is the statement in full:

    For various reasons, Bass Coast

    Read More »from B.C.'s Bass Coast Festival bans aboriginal headdresses
  • The ongoing war over the perception and acceptance of marijuana use in Canada is a lot like a NASCAR race – constantly in motion but never seeming to go anywhere.

    The government is opposed to it, though many who sit in the House of Commons are for legalizing it. The health care system approves of its use, though Health Canada strongly opposes the same. Much of the public supports it, many use it, and yet efforts to bring about change have fallen short.

    Regardless of the perception and the government's stance on the illegality of marijuana, the reality is that the drug is being accepted in Canada, and apparently among the country's police forces.

    The Globe and Mail reports that the number of charges being placed against drug dealers is decreasing in Canada, while forces struggle with an apparent lack of zeal in cracking down. While there were more people found in possession of marijuana last year over the previous year, the Globe reports there were fewer charges.

    “Police are less

    Read More »from Trafficking offenses down amid Canada’s creeping acceptance of marijuana
  • Love it or hate it, Tim Hortons has become a cornerstone of Canadiana, a brand so connected to the country's identity that people request tattoos of its logo, a human rights trial garnered interest because it threatened to expose the restaurant's recipes and a man gifted temporary custody of a baby deer chose its one and only outing to be to the local Timmies.

    The only thing fanatics of the 50-year-old coffee chain are missing is a clubhouse, a Mecca. A Graceland.

    But that's a problem no longer, with the announcement that Tim Hortons will be converting its original location into a showpiece museum. And to the certain delight of Hamiltonians, it won't be in Toronto.

    The Hamilton Spectator reports that the chain will transform its first location – located at 65 Ottawa St. in Hamilton, Ont. – into a two-storey showcase restaurant and national museum, highlighting the restaurant's roots and selling memorabilia. It will also feature a bronzed statue of founder Tim Horton, the Stanley

    Read More »from Tim Hortons museum plans unveiled – for Hamilton, of course
  • Smoke rises in Syria REUTERS/Khalil AshawiSmoke rises in Syria REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
    Three news stories are bringing into sharp focus the pull that conflict abroad can have on many Canadians in this multicultural country.

    This week we learned the RCMP has laid the first charges under a new section of the Criminal Code that bars Canadians from leaving the country to aid a group the government has designated as terrorist.

    Twenty-five-year-old Hasibullah Yusufzai of Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, has been charged under Section 83.201. The Mounties allege the young man, who apparently came as a child with his family from Afghanistan, left the country in January with plans to join an Islamist militia fighting in the Syrian civil war.

    On Thursday, an Ontario judge sentenced Mohamed Hersi of Toronto to 10 years in prison for attempting to leave Canada to become a "terror tourist" under a different Criminal Code section. He was arrested at Toronto's Pearson International Airport in 2011 on allegations he was headed to Somalia to join the Islamist al-Shabab group, though he

    Read More »from Canadians shouldn’t be allowed to fight for other countries, no matter the cause, historian argues
  • It has been a bad week for the aviation industry, with at least three major crashes in recent days – one shot down by rebels in Ukraine and two others crashed for unknown reasons in Mali and Taiwan.

    With these incidents falling so closely onto the heels of the mysterious disappearance of and massive search for a China-bound flight in March, those considering taking a flight any time soon could be forgiven for thinking that air travel is becoming more dangerous.

    But those people would be wrong, it seems, with experts and statistics suggesting that flying has never been safer.

    Crashes and disasters in the airline industry have been top of mind for much of this year, after a weeks-long search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared without a trace over the South China Sea in March,and more recently for the abjectly raw destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, shot down over Ukraine.

    An Air Algeria flight carrying 110 passengers crashed in Mali on Thursday, and

    Read More »from Recent tragedies belie major improvements in flying safety over the years
  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has had trouble with drugs, guns and the police, but his biggest adversary to date may be a tornado filled with flying sharks.

    A fictional version of Toronto's mayor is set to appear in the exclusive Canadian version of Sharknado 2: The Second One, the unnecessary sequel to last year's campy TV movie that swept North America up in a whirlwind of flying ocean predators.

    In the sequel, to air in Canada on Space next week, the Ford character is killed by a flying shark while doing the two things he loves the most: giving back to the community and talking to the media.

    A short clip released on Thursday shows Ford announcing relief aid for New York when a shark flies through a window and impales him through the chest.

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the press conference.

    Space's website reacted with absolute glee upon posting the exclusive clip, writing:

    We'd also like to give a shoutout to the Rob Ford "lookalike"—actually more of a Doug Ford

    Read More »from Rob Ford character impaled by flying shark in Canadian version of Sharknado 2
  • Canadian environmental activist David Suzuki is set to launch a cross-country tour to promote protecting the environment and has called on a laundry list of Canadian musicians and celebrities to join in the cause.

    The Blue Dot Tour will feature the talents of Neil Young, Margaret Atwood, Feist, Jim Cuddy, Raine Maida and many others, and will cross the country over a two-month period as Suzuki "shares the wisdom of a life full of action and celebrates Canadians who are standing up for the people and places they love.”

    The intention of the concert series is to raise support for a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right of fresh air, clean drinking water and healthy food for all Canadians.

    At each stop, Suzuki will be joined by a cabal of Canadian wannabe celebrity activists, who – er, sorry; accidentally switched into "Sun News Network mode" for a moment there.

    But in all seriousness, this lineup is awash with noted targets of right-leaning Canada, singers and

    Read More »from David Suzuki calls on Canada’s collection of celebrity activists for eco-concert tour
  • GlobalGlobal
    If you're one of those people who worries society is devolving into a lawless, dystopian cesspool, take some comfort in Statistics Canada's latest crime report.

    The crime rate last year continue its two-decade decline. And, perhaps more significantly, the measurement StatsCan uses to track the severity of crime also dropped.

    Police-reported crime for the most common types of violent and property offences
    was down eight per cent over 2012, dropping 30 per cent since 2003. The Crime Severity Index (CSI) declined by nine per cent nationally year over year.

    "With the exception of Yukon [up six per cent] and Newfoundland and Labrador [up one per cent], declines in the volume and severity of police-reported crime were reported across all provinces and territories, as well as in virtually all census metropolitan areas," the report says.

    The continuing drop in the CSI is important because it weights the data based on the seriousness of the crime.

    “I would say this metric is more informative and

    Read More »from A safer Canada: Stats show most forms of crime in decline
  • CBC photoCBC photo
    Toronto's transit authority is investigating after a bus driver was caught on video running a red light and nearly striking a pedestrian, the latest recorded incident of apparent employee transgressions playing out amid a mayoral campaign focused on how to improve the city's transit system.

    The video, which was posted to YouTube on Monday, is said to have been recorded on Eglinton Avenue earlier that day and shows two Toronto Transit Commission buses approach a light as it turns from green to amber. One bus crosses the intersection while the light is yellow, while the second appears to speed up and enter the intersection as the light turns red.

    In the video, shot from the dashboard camera of another vehicle, the bus can be seen veering suddenly away from the curb after crossing the intersection as a pedestrian is forced to jump back from the crosswalk.

    The Toronto Star reports that the video was recorded by Steve Taylor, 20, who was travelling to his job at an asphalt repair company

    Read More »from Toronto Transit Commission investigating video of bus running red light, almost hitting pedestrian


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