• Talks before groups such as CAPP leave Mansbridge open to questions about impartiality. (CBC) When I was still a scribbler at The Canadian Press, a wise senior supervisor gave me a very good piece of advice when it came to outside work: Don't do anything you don't want to see on the front page of the Globe and Mail.

    I'd been offered a chance to write some material for a business group, nothing provocative or related to the things I covered as a reporter. My name would not appear on what would essentially be limited-circulation brochures or pamphlets.

    But my boss's injunction forced me to gut-check the offer. Even if it had only a peripheral connection with my work as a journalist, it would still present at least the appearance of a conflict of interest. I couldn't accept that.

    Which brings me to Peter Manbridge. Critics are pillorying the chief correspondent and anchor of CBC News' The National over his paid speaking engagements before energy-industry audiences.

    The flap blew up following a tweet by environmentalist Sierra Rayne a few days ago.

    Read More »from First Murphy, now Mansbridge: CBC personalities under fire for oil industry connections
  • The case of an aboriginal woman who went missing in Nova Scotia last week reached a disappointing and, to some, inevitable conclusion on Thursday when Halifax police charged two suspects with first-degree murder.

    Loretta Saunders went missing 10 days ago and police had initially held out hope she would be found safely. Hope dimmed, however, as days passed and the only sign of her was her stolen car, recovered in Ontario with two people charged in the process.

    Then, on Wednesday, her body was found in a snow bank along the side of a road in New Brunswick.

    Halifax police announced on Thursday that first-degree murder charges had been laid against 28-year-old Victoria Henneberry and 25-year-old Blake Leggette, a couple identified as the victim's temporary roommates. The pair will appear in court on Friday to face the charges.

    "We are hopeful that these charges will bring some sense of closure to Loretta’s family and friends. We extend our sincere sympathies to them," police said in a

    Read More »from Two charged with murder in death of Loretta Saunders, while fingers point to larger issue
  • A desperate plea by a disabled Edmonton single mother to keep her young daughters out of foster care is getting a strong response on social media.

    Sarah Vibert is trying to find a home for her girls, aged eight and nine. Vibert was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and suffered a spinal injury the following year that left her paralyzed. She now lives in a care home.

    "Until entering my care facility, I had always been their primary caregiver; and this despite the fact I was in a wheelchair since 2009, I was able to provide for their needs--both physically and emotionally," Vibert wrote in a blog post soliciting help to find her girls a home.

    Vibert said she was forced to hand over her daughters to their father in 2011 but last June he left the country and the children were put in the care of family friends. However, they can no longer keep them, she said.

    "It was never supposed to be a permanent arrangement," Vibert wrote.

    "I now have less than two weeks to find them a home

    Read More »from Disabled mom’s plea to find home for young daughters spurs emotional responses
  • We Canadians watching the latest culture-war eruption in the United States have little right to be smug.

    While we no longer have egregious legislated discrimination in this country, we're not exactly Simon Pure when it comes to prejudice.

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has vetoed a bill passed by state legislators that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gays, lesbians and same-sex couples – or anyone else, for that matter – on religious grounds.

    After waffling for a few days, Brewer concluded the proposed law addressed a non-existent problem.

    "I have not heard one example in Arizona where a business owner's religious liberty has been violated," the governor said, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

    The bill, she added, was a broadly worded proposal that "could result in unintended and negative consequences."

    By that she may have meant the economic hammer blow that was about to fall on Arizona. There was widespread opposition in the business community. Large

    Read More »from Canadians shouldn’t scoff at Arizona’s struggles over ‘right to refuse service’ legislation
  • Strap yourselves in, Toronto. The Ford brothers are on the warpath. And this time, it’s political.

    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, took turns launching verbal attacks against the city’s police chief on Thursday, accusing Bill Blair of breaking the law, politically attacking the Ford family, embarrassing the mayor’s children and wasting taxpayers’ money.

    All because the Toronto Police Service launched an investigation into mayoral drug allegations and Blair was offended the city's mayor would call him a “c---sucker” during a drunken, late-night public appearance.

    The Ford attacks came fast and furiously, with barely a moment to spare between volleys, each brother elevating the rhetoric and accusations against Blair to another level.

    "If he's going to arrest me, arrest me. I have done nothing wrong and he's wasted millions of dollars," Mayor Ford said on Thursday in regards to a police investigation launched after Ford’s name was linked to an Etobicoke street

    Read More »from Rob and Doug Ford launch all-out assault against Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair
  • With all the attention Rob Ford has received in the early competitive stages of Toronto’s mayoral election, one would think things were running pretty smoothly in his second campaign for the city’s top job.

    But it seems there have been some growing pains. Recent reports suggest Ford's campaign manager, brother Doug Ford, may have misplaced information from a voter database mined during the 2010 election and the Fords have had trouble bringing seasoned campaign organizers on board, most recently losing a top political fundraiser.

    Thankfully for Ford, he still has his international notoriety to rely on. Despite his faint protestations, the celebrity Ford has crafted in the wake of a crack cocaine scandal appears to be his best weapon.

    This week alone, Ford has appeared on the Today Show, NBC's popular morning talk show, and captivated a cadre of Ottawa journalists, who are not used to their mayor stopping to pose for photographs and sign autographs at airports and bars.

    He has secured

    Read More »from Rob Ford using his 'celebrity' status to push opponents off the front page
  • A plan to keep a century-old tomato juice factory operating will save 250 jobs in a southwestern Ontario town that prides itself as a tomato hub.

    An announcement made early Thursday morning confirmed that the Heinz factory in Leamington, Ont., would remain open, after the company had marked it for closure this June.

    Ontario-based Highbury Canco Corporation announced Thursday morning that it has reached an agreement with Heinz to operate the factory.


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    Highbury Canco Corporation (HCC) is a group of investors that intends to transition the factory into a manufacturing, co-packaging and distribution facility in July. The move will employ 250 people, plus additional seasonal workers, and could expand in the future.

    “We believe that our investment in Leamington will

    Read More »from Canadian group takes over once-doomed Ontario Heinz factory
  • Non-unionized container truckers walked off the job 'indefinitely' on Wednesday morning.

    A labour dispute at Canada's busiest port has the potential to disrupt the delivery of goods across the country.

    About 1,200 independent truckers who move cargo into and out of Vancouver's three main ports began a strike Wednesday morning over low hauling fees and money-losing wait times at the busy port.

    The non-unionized drivers, largely owner-operators belonging to the United Truckers Association, say Port Metro Vancouver needs to streamline its operations to reduce waiting times or pay them an hourly rate while they sit idle until their container is loaded.

    "Because of these delays, we're lucky if we get two moves in a day, which would give us a couple hundred bucks," Manny Dosange of the association told CBC News at the group's morning rally.

    "And out of that, you've got to take diesel out, you've got to take all your costs out, and then you've got to try running your household on that. It's not happening and resources are totally dried up."

    [ Related: Vancouver truckers' union

    Read More »from Port Metro Vancouver truckers' strike could cause disruptions across Canada
  • Leamington, Ont., is referred to by a few different nicknames. Some call it the "Sun Parlour of Canada," others call it the country's Tomato Capital.

    Whatever the name, local residents are surely anxious to confirm a recent report that a set-to-be-closed tomato juice factory will remain at least partially in operation.

    CBC News first reported that an announcement would be made on Thursday regarding the southwestern Ontario town's Heinz processing plant that would ensure the facility would continue some level of production.

    The report suggests the announcement will save 40 per cent of the 740 jobs set to be lost when Heinz shuts down shop in June.

    Heinz announced in November that it would be closing the Leamington plant because it had become unprofitable.

    [ Related: Ontario offers up to $190M to help cities with ice storm costs ]

    On Wednesday, the closure of two Heinz plants in Belgium and Germany was announced as part of a review on global operations.

    Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture

    Read More »from ‘Good news’ ahead for Ontario town set to lose Heinz factory
  • Copper thieves are getting more and more brazen in a bid to steal the valuable commodity.

    With scrap copper fetching between $2.50 and just under $3 a pound, thieves seem willing to go to greater lengths to steal it.

    A stunning example surfaced in the Vancouver suburb of Langley, where thieves chopped down two BC Hydro power poles in an industrial area to get at the copper in their transformers, The Canadian Press reports.

    The theft, which took place Feb. 16, caused damage estimated at more than $75,000.

    RCMP also noted the situation was extremely dangerous because members of the public could have come in contact with the live wires from the damaged poles, which were toppled onto the wall of an adjacent building.

    [ Related: Copper stolen from metal art installations ]

    Maclean's magazine reported last year that copper theft has become a worldwide epidemic as scavengers target almost anything that uses the valuable metal, from street-light wiring and telephone cable to plumbing pipe and

    Read More »from Chopping down power poles just the latest incident in rising copper-theft trend

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