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New Democrats lead in polls before May 14 British Columbia election

he British Columbia election campaign doesn't begin officially until April 16 but parties are already gearing up for the race. The opposition New Democratic Party finished selecting candidates in all 85 ridings. NDP opposition leader, Adrian Dix, said that his election team senses enthusiasm for change throughout the province. The NDP will launch a series of TV ads on Monday. The official campaign period of 28 days starts on Tuesday. At dissolution the Liberals held 45 seats, the NDP 36 and Independent 2 and 2 vacant. Although somewhat out of date, projections based on a number of polls up to March 19 give the following vote percentages: NDP 49.9%, Liberals 30.4%, Conservatives 10.4% and Greens 7.5%, Others have 1.8%. The seat projections are 64 for the NDP and 20 for the Liberals and 1 Independent.( NOTE: The polls listed atthis other site, do not seem consistent with other polls I checked. They give the Conservatives far too high a percentage.) The site referenced lists several …

Montreal police seize head of protest Panda

On Friday night, April 5, Montreal police seized Anarchopanda's head during a demonstration against a municipal bylaw. Montreal police said that the head was taken because the law forbids the wearing of masks during demonstrations. Daniel Lacoursiere said the mask was also taken because it "is considered to be an exhibit and could be used in court." The man under the head, Julien Villeneuve, whose head was left intact, is a philosophy professor at Maisonneuve College. He has already received two fines of $637 each as he was caught by police. He was fined both for a wearing a mask and participating in an illegal protest. Back on March 22nd he was only fined for taking part in an illegal protest. The bylaw being protested, P-6, are the guidelines imposed on protesters who demonstrate in Montreal. Protesters object to many of the provisions of the bylaw including the filing of a route itinerary some time before the protest. The bylaw also prohibits the wearing of masks. Ana…

5 year old Vancouver pianist to play at Carnegie Hall

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Five-year-old Ryan Wang claims that "Music is in my head". Wang is from Vancouver BC, Canada. Before his mother decided that he should take music lessons last year, Ryan had spent many hours playing on an electric keyboard. Ryan won a second-place finish at the recent American Protege Piano and Strings International Competition. Ryan is scheduled to play later this month at Carnegie Hall, as part of the 2013 American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition showcasing the winners. Carnegie Hall is in midtown Manhattan in New York City. It was built by Andrew Carnegie in 1891 and designed by architect William Tuthill. The Hall is one of the most prestigious places in the world for both classical and popular performers and performances. Ryan's mother was hesitant about having him take formal music lessons at first when he was just four. She said to the Vancouver Sun: "I was thinking four years is so young, right? You cannot even read the notes." Howev…

Last Canadian contingent makes preparations for trip to Afghanistan

Preparations are underway for a final deployment of Canadian troops to Afghanistan both at Canadian Forces Base Shilo Manitoba and also at a base in Edmonton Alberta. Canada's role in Afghanistan began in late 2001 when Joint Task Force 2 soldiers were sent secretly in October 2001. Regular troops arrived in the first two months of 2002. In 2006 Canadian troops were deployed to Kandahar province. In that year, there were 2,500 Canadian forces in Afghanistan. Canada ended its combat role in 2011 but roughly 950 troops remain as part of ISAF mostly in a training role. In Shilo soldiers ran an exercise for Operation ATTENTION in Kabul, an operation that focuses on training and mentoring the Afghan National Army. This operation will be the last in Afghanistan after more than ten years in the country. Lt. Col. Michael Wright said that one soldier had already gone to Afghanistan but 300 more were being prepared to go. The soldiers are being trained to train Afghan soldiers. They will als…

Prominent Canadia doctor Arthur Porter charged with fraud, accepting bribes, and conspiracy

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Arthur Porter, former head of the McGill University Health Centre (MUSC) in Montreal and also former chair of the Canadian Security Intelligence Review Committee is charged with fraud against the government, accepting bribes, and conspiracy. Quebec's anti-corruption squad issued warrants for the arrest of Porter along with four other men on February 27. There have been allegations of fraud concerning the McGill Univesity Health Centre for some time. Arthur Porter seemed to have connections with Prime Minister Stephen Harper who appointed him to the Security Intelligence Review Committee which reviews complaints against intelligence services. He was appointed in 2008 and served as chair in 2010 but resigned in 2011 after controversy about his business dealings. In November 2011 the National Post newspaper revealed that Porter had questionable business dealings including with an ex-Israeli international lobbyist and arms dealer, who had been charged in the US for illegally attemptin…

Brandon University coach sinks basket from mid-court

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In Brandon Manitoba, Brandon University basketball coach Gil Cheung sank a basket from half-court winning free tuition for a student.
The video of the Brandon Bobcat's coach sinking the basket has gonve viral on the Internet. Cheung made the incredible shot during a Shoot Out For Tuition contest at Brandon University last Friday, February 15th. The contest is sponsored by a local restaurant.
Cheung told CBC News:"The ball just felt real good. I stood there and as soon as I let it go ... I didn't think it could miss."The last time Cheung landed a three-pointer was in a Canada West conference game just 10 years ago last week.
In the contest, students were selected at random to participate in the contest. They could shoot themselves or name anyone else present to the shot for them. Mason Kaluzniak was the lucky student to name the coach to take the shot for him. Kaluzniak does not have to worry for his tuition for a year. Kaluzniak had attended the game because he simpl…

Canada loses jobs in January

During January, the Canadian economy shed 21,900 jobs after two months of increases. The loss was largest in education and manufacturing jobs.
In spite of the loss of jobs, the unemployment rate in Canada has actually fallen even further to 7%. In December. the rate was at 7.1% which was also a decrease from the month before. These seeming contradictory movements are caused by many Canadians simply no longer seeking jobs and leaving the labor market for various reasons.Statistics Canada reports that 57,500 people stopped looking for jobs. This is over twice as many as there were lost jobs allowing the unemployment rate to decline.
Canadian housing starts also declined from 197,118 in December to 160,577 in January. On the employment front, Ontario and British Columbia registered declining employment while Alberta, Saskatchewan and also New Brunswick had increases. The construction industry was improving with 17,000 jobs added during January.
Doug Porter, the chief economist at BMO Capi…

Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg Manitoba

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The annual winter festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Festival du Voyageur, began on Friday February the 15th with a torchlight walk over the Red River. The festival runs for a total of ten days with numerous different events. The program can be found here in English and here in French. More than a hundred artists are set to perform at the Voyageur Park and 10 other sites around the city. There are popular jigging and fiddling workshops. This year will be the 44th year of the Festival. The Festival is a sign that winter will soon be over. However, there is no problem with melting so far this year. The ice on the river was plenty thick for the traditional torchlight walk. As you can see from the attached videos, snow sculptures are also a big part of the festival. The weather has cooperated for this feature as well. Other shows include a Louis Riel look-alike contest. Riel was born in 1844. He was the founder of the Province of Manitoba and a spiritual and political leader of the Metis…

Ontario and Federal Canadian government help Toyota finance new Lexus plant

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Both the federal and provincial Ontario governments will contribute to the financing of a new manufacturing plant that will produce Toyota's luxury Lexus model hybrid. A total of as much as $34 million will be advanced to help Toyota finance the production of the first hybrid car to be built in Canada. The financing will be shared by the Conservative federal government of Stephen Harper and the Liberal provincial government of Ontario. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at the Toyota plant in Cambridge, Ontario, that federal funds would come from the Automotive Innovation Fund. The financing is described as as a repayable contribution. Toyota will be expected to repay all or part of the amount, or the government will receive some financial return. Harper said: "The rebound of Canada's auto sector is one of this country's biggest economic success stories of the past five years.We are here because our government is committed to creating high-quality, well-paying jobs fo…

NDP may remove references to "socialism" in preamble to party constitution

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The New Democratic Party, the main opposition party in the Canadian federal parliament, may rewrite to preamble to the party constitution. The preamble still has a few phrases that make favorable reference to "socialism". The predecessor of the New Democratic Party(NDP), the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), had as its party platform a document that would make many present NDP members run for cover. The document was called the Regina Manifesto. The term "manifesto" became a cause of great concern because it was associated in the public mind with the Communist Manifesto. It made no difference that the official party line and the early leaders were all staunchly anti-communist. The CCF was founded in 1932 and the Regina Manifesto adopted the next year at a convention in Regina. The Manifesto as well as calling for pensions, universal health care, and the nationalisation of major industries also said: " No C.C.F. Government will rest content until it h…

Winnipeg trash collector faces $400,000 in fines

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Emterra, the company contracted by the city of Winnipeg to collect residential garbage, is facing fines of $350,000 to $400,000 for poor service during the month of November alone. Councillor Dan Vandal, chair of the infrastructure and public works committee says he has finally received rough numbers about the fines. Earlier, administrators had come under fire for not providing information to the councillors. Emterra just began to collect most city waste back in October. Since that time the city has been plagued by thousands of complaints of missed pickups. An appended video shows one such case. The city had warned Emterra that it would be fined $100 for every home it misses garbage or recycling pickups starting on November 1 last year. Given the estimated range of fines, they must have missed quite a few pickups. The councillors had been hoping to get exact numbers but that seems not be possible if Emterra does not want the figures revealed. Michael Jack,. the city head of legal serv…

Canadian and US auto sales increase in 2012

US auto sales for 2012 are predicted to rise by 13% or 14.5 million new vehicles This is the best year since 2007. Canadian sales also rose in 2012.
Many people put off buying cars during the recession and their aging vehicles need to be replaced. As credit is cheap and the economy slowly recovers, sales are increasing. In December this year the big 3 American automakers saw a 5% increase in sales, a bit better than analysts had predicted. Compared with the previous December, GM sales increased by 5%, while Ford sales increased just 2%. The winner was Chrysler with a sales increase of 10%. Toyota increased sales by 8%. For the year, Toyota had a large increase of about 27% compared to just 3.7% for GM, 4.7% for Ford, and 21% for Chrysler. Consulting firm Polk, expects sales to continue increasing in 2013 to 15.3 million vehicles or a nearly 7% increase. Jonathan Browning, who is with Volkswagen in the US, warned however: "It would have been nice if all the …