Recent Entries in Can-con

Despite boasts of unanimous support for plans to topple the government, some high-profile dissent is being heard from within the ranks of the Conservative party.
Hours before Conservative leader Stephen Harper emerged to declare his whole party backed the push for an early election, Belinda Stronach said it's risky and could backfire.
Stronach told reporters that parts of the budget -- especially the billions earmarked for municipal infrastructure -- are very important to voters in her riding north of Toronto. | Push for quick election risky, Stronach says

Canadians are suddenly fretting about the spectre of Quebec separatism, 10 years after Quebecers very nearly voted to split this country. A startling poll by L�ger Marketing this week found an absolute majority of Quebecers, 54 per cent, claim to favour separation. Another public opinion survey by the CROP polling firm, put it at 47 per cent.

Either way, federalists have reason for concern.

The polls confirm the damage done by Prime Minister Paul Martin's scandal-tainted Liberal party through the sponsorship scandal. While most Canadians are disgusted, Quebecers are especially resentful. The Jean Chr�tien government spent $250 million to wave Canadian flags in their faces while well-connected federal Liberals dipped into the ad budget to line their own pockets and the party's coffers. - EDITORIAL: Quebec's quarrel isn't with Canada

The U.S. Trade Representative has issued its annual report on global intellectual property protection, known as the Special 301 Report. Once again, Canada finds itself in good company on the list (a more interesting list would consist of countries who meet the U.S. standard for IP protection).

This year's report is most notable for its comment on Canada's copyright reform plan, announced just last month. The USTR has the following to say about Canada:

"Canada is being maintained on the Special 301 Watch List in 2005, and the United States will conduct an out-of-cycle review to monitor Canada�s progress on IPR issues during the upcoming year. We urge Canada to ratify and implement the WIPO Internet Treaties as soon as possible, and to reform its copyright law so that it provides adequate and effective protection of copyrighted works in the digital environment. The Canadian court decision finding that making files available for copying on a peer-to-peer file sharing service cannot give rise to liability for infringement under existing Canadian copyright law underscores the need for Canada to join nearly all other developed countries in implementing the WIPO Internet Treaties. The U.S. copyright industry is concerned about proposed copyright legislation regarding technological protection measures and internet service provider (ISP) liability, which if passed, would appear to be a departure from the requirements of the WIPO Internet Treaties as well as the international standards adopted by most OECD countries in the world. The United States urges Canada to adopt legislation that is consistent with the WIPO Internet Treaties and is in line with the international standards of most developed countries. Specifically, we encourage Canada to join the strong international consensus by adopting copyright legislation that provides comprehensive protection to copyrighted works in the digital environment, by outlawing trafficking in devices to circumvent technological protection measures, and by establishing a �notice-and-takedown� system to encourage cooperation by ISPs in combating online infringements. It also is imperative that Canada improve its enforcement system so that it can stop the extensive trade in counterfeit and pirated products, as well as curb the amount of transshipped and transiting goods in Canada. The United States also urges Canada to enact legislation that would provide a stronger border enforcement system by giving its customs officers greater authority to seize products suspected of being pirated or counterfeit. We also encourage greater cooperation between Customs and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in enforcement matters, and encourage Canada to provide additional resources and training to its customs officers and domestic law enforcement personnel. Canada's border measures continue to be a serious concern for IP owners. With respect to data protection, we recognize that Canada has taken positive steps to improve its data protection regime. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry is concerned about certain aspects of the proposed regulations. The United States will use the out-of-cycle review to monitor Canada�s progress in providing an adequate and effective IPR protection regime that is consistent with its international obligations and advanced level of economic development, including improved border enforcement and full implementation of data protection."

Paul Martin, who as Canadian finance minister erased a quarter-century of budget deficits, is abandoning fiscal prudence with a multi-billion-dollar bid to save his government, investors said.
Now prime minister, Martin agreed yesterday to spend an extra C$4.6 billion ($3.7 billion) over two years on social spending and the environment, using half the money set aside to cover emergencies or pay down Canada's C$488 billion debt. The socialist New Democratic Party won the spending in exchange for backing the proposed budget of Martin's Liberal Party. Canada

A deal between Canada's teetering Liberals and the small New Democratic Party could save the government from defeat next month and allow passage of a bill to extend same-sex marriage across the country.
The minority Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin is engulfed in a scandal over alleged kickbacks dating back nearly a decade. Each day new revelations come out at a public inquiry that has the opposition Conservatives chomping at the bit for an election.

Gay News From

Canada became the first country in the world to approve a cannabis-derived medicine on Tuesday when it gave a green light to a mouth spray developed by Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals Plc .
The go-ahead had been expected after Canadian regulators said last December that Sativex, which is sprayed under the tongue, qualified to be considered for approval.
But the news still boosted GW shares as much as 14 percent, reflecting the importance of the product to the small biotechnology firm.
Sativex, which is designed to help patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), will be marketed in Canada by Germany's Bayer AG and is likely to launched in May, according to GW Pharma Executive Chairman Geoffrey Guy.

Reuters AlertNet - Canada approves GW Pharma drug in cannabis first

Washington is having second thoughts about plans that would require Canadians entering the U.S. to have passports.

U.S. President George W. Bush said Thursday that he had ordered a review of the proposed U.S. Homeland Security department rules, which were announced last week.

Under the new rules, Canadians without a passport would be barred from entering the U.S. after Dec. 31, 2006, unless they have a special U.S. "laser visa" border crossing card that includes a fingerprint or other "biometric identifier" such as a retinal scan.

CBC News: Bush orders review of new passport rules

  Neo-Nazi leader shot dead

Wolfgang Droege, a notorious neo-Nazi leader who was the public face of Canada's modern racist-right during its most violent and turbulent years, was killed Wednesday in a shooting at a Toronto apartment.

The German-born Canadian citizen was found dead in the second-floor hallway of his building Wednesday afternoon. He had been shot twice.

Calgary Herald - network

An advocacy group representing Vancouver sex-trade workers is calling for a repeal of Canada's prostitution laws to make life safer for street prostitutes.

The PIVOT Legal Society is making its case before a parliamentary sub-committee holding hearings in Vancouver Tuesday and Wednesday, seeking input on the sex trade in Canada.

Prostitution is legal in Canada, but communicating for the purpose of prostitution is not. Brothels are also illegal.

CBC News: Sex-trade advocates take aim at prostitution laws

By any normal measure, Jeremy Hinzman is no refugee. The 26-year-old American does not face persecution if he returns to the United States. He faces court martial and, probably, jail for deserting his regiment in late 2003 just before it was deployed to Iraq. But that is not quite the same thing.

He is not likely to be prosecuted in the U.S. for his political or religious beliefs. He does not face torture. These are the criteria to qualify as a refugee under the United Nations convention that Canada follows

His lawyer, Jeffrey House, argues that Hinzman was being asked to participate in an illegal war (the invasion of Iraq) and that under the U.N. convention this, too, should allow him to qualify as a refugee. - Canada should put out the welcome mat

A board hearing Canada's refugee cases rejected a bid Thursday for asylum by a U.S. Army deserter who refused to go to Iraq, raising legal roadblocks to the growing trickle of American servicemen fleeing north of the border.

The board ruled that Jeremy Hinzman, 26, could not argue that he would be unfairly persecuted in the United States for refusing to serve in what he said was an illegal war.

Canada Denies Asylum To U.S. Army Deserter (

While the Pilgrims occupy centre stage in traditional American Thanksgiving celebrations, it was Ontario's Protestant Clergy, and later, commercial and state interests who helped shape Canada's own unique and inchoate tradition of Thanksgiving in the mid 1800s.

In a finely crafted research paper, A Wealth of Meanings: Thanksgiving in Ontario, 1859-1914, 23-year-old York University PhD History candidate Peter Stevens reveals that Ontario church leaders appropriated the American autumn holiday and transformed it into an instrument of Canadian nationalism. And in doing so, Stevens has laid bare numerous myths and mistaken notions about the origins of our Thanksgiving holiday, which was first celebrated in the United Provinces of Canada in 1859.


The Conservative party abandoned the fight for an abortion law yesterday after four decades of bitter national debate that sparked court challenges, police raids and passionate protest. The historic vote at the party convention left anti-abortion advocates with no mainstream political vehicle for the first time ever as the party opted to stake its fortunes a little closer to the political centre.

Anti-abortion fight fizzles

Going into the weekend convention in Montreal Harper tried to show a unified party for a national TV audience. It was not to be. Former Alliance members forced public debate on issues that Harper wanted to gloss over: Issues like same-sex marriage.

While Harper may have been concerned that giving the floor and open mics to some of the extreme elements of the party he was well justified.

The most incendiary remarks came from a former interim leader of the party, and an Alliance stalwart. Dr. Grant Hill, during a debate on same-sex marriage, insisted that gays need treatment and that their sexuality can be "corrected".

Gay News From

Veteran broadcaster and author Bill Cameron has died after a battle with cancer. He was 62.

Cameron died around midnight Friday of cancer of the esophagus, which had moved into his brain and liver, said a CBC spokeswoman.

CBC News: Journalist Bill Cameron dies

A trial date has been set for Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, who is accused of fighting with police officers in Naples, Fla.

Lifeson, whose real last name is Zivojinovich, will stand trial on assault charges on May 16.
Police allege that he pushed one officer down a stairwell and spat blood at another following a New Year's Eve party in the early hours of 2004.

Police allege that he pushed one officer down a stairwell and spat blood at another following a New Year's Eve party in the early hours of 2004.

CBC Arts: Trial date set for Rush guitarist

Discount airline Jetsgo grounded its fleet and obtained court protection from creditors on Friday, stranding 17,000 passengers during the March break school holidays, one of the busiest travel periods of the year in Canada.
In a court affidavit, Montreal-based Jetsgo, which has 1,200 employees and is the country's third-largest airline, said it lost about C$55 million ($49 million) over the past 8 months, on top of a C$9.6 million loss in the year to June 27, 2004.

ABC News: Canada's Jetsgo Shuts, Strands Thousands

More than 50 of the world's largest media organizations have banded together to overturn an Ontario court ruling that they say threatens free speech and development of the Internet.

"This is a case of free expression," Brian McLeod Rogers, a Toronto lawyer representing the media coalition, told the Ontario Court of Appeal yesterday.

Globetechnology: Media giants join forces to fight Ontario ruling

... Notwithstanding the Internet's remarkable potential, there are dark clouds on the horizon. There are some who see a very different Internet. Theirs is an Internet with ubiquitous surveillance featuring real-time capabilities to monitor online activities. It is an Internet that views third party applications such as Vonage's Voice-over-IP service as parasitic. It is an Internet in which virtually all content should come at a price, even when that content has been made freely available. It is an Internet that would seek to cut off subscriber access based on mere allegations of wrongdoing, without due process or oversight from a judge or jury.

This disturbing vision of the Internet is not fantasy. It is based on real policy proposals being considered by the Canadian government - Say no to Big Brother plan for Internet

Dear Condi,

I'm glad you've decided to get over your fit of pique and venture north to visit your closest neighbour. It's a chance to learn a thing or two. Maybe more.

I know it seems improbable to your divinely guided master in the White House that mere mortals might disagree with participating in a missile-defence system that has failed in its last three tests, even though the tests themselves were carefully rigged to show results.

But, gosh, we folks above the 49th parallel are somewhat cautious types who can't quite see laying down billions of dollars in a three-dud poker game.

As our erstwhile Prairie-born and bred (and therefore prudent) finance minister pointed out in presenting his recent budget, we've had eight years of balanced or surplus financial accounts. If we're going to spend money, Mr. Goodale added, it will be on day-care and health programs, and even on more foreign aid and improved defence. The Winnipeg Free Press - News

It's now clear how the Bush administration sees things: Canadian sovereignty exists only at its pleasure. If we do what Washington wants, we retain our sovereignty. If we don't, all bets are off.

This is what U.S. ambassador Paul Cellucci clarified last week in his angered response to Paul Martin's announcement that Canada won't join the U.S. missile defence scheme. Cellucci noted that Washington would simply deploy its anti-missile system over Canadian airspace anyway, and expressed puzzlement over Canada's decision to "in effect, give up its sovereignty."

No doubt the Soviets felt similar puzzlement as they rolled into Czechoslovakia in 1968. What's with these crazy Czechs? Don't they get it? All they have to do is co-operate with Moscow and they can retain their "sovereignty."

Canadian advocates of missile defence have long argued that joining the scheme is the best way to protect our sovereignty � the logic apparently being that Washington is going to intrude into our airspace anyway, so it's better if we look like that's what we wanted all along. It's only rape if you resist. - Linda McQuaig says standing up to U.S. will gain us respect abroad

Prime Minister Paul Martin said Canada must be consulted before the U.S. decides to fire on missiles that enter Canadian airspace, despite Ottawa's refusal to participate in America's missile defence program.

CBC News: U.S. must not intrude on Canadian airspace: Martin

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