TIME Canada

Canadian City To Overturn Ban on Sledding

Hamilton lawmakers say they will legalize tobogganing

A city in Canada that banned sledding after it was sued more than three decades ago plans to scrap the ban and take its chances.

“You can’t take the fun out of winter,” said Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, CBC reports. “In a perfect world, I would love it if people didn’t sue the city, but we can’t stop anyone from suing us for whatever reason. We can’t shut down our entire city.”

The City Council voted Wednesday to look into establishing designated tobogganing areas as well as other options to legalize the pastime, according to CBC.

Currently, violators are liable to face up to a $1,600 fine thanks to a bylaw first established in the 1970s after someone sued the city following a tobogganing accident. Another suit forced the city to pay more than $700,000 in 2004.

[CBC]

TIME Canada

This Mystery Tunnel Has Canada’s Cops Baffled

toronto-tunnel-ejo-022415_2d56b36788e88734a509c5de01d5b463
NBC News Toronto Police photo of a tunnel found near York University in Toronto is shown during a press conference on Feb. 24, 2015.

The 33-foot-long underground pathway left no trace of the diggers

Toronto police are baffled over a “sophisticated” mystery tunnel uncovered last month near one of the venues for the Pan American Games, a sporting event that kicks off this summer.

Cops are so perplexed over who would have dug out a 33-foot-long underground pathway that on Tuesday they asked for the public’s help. “The individuals responsible for building it clearly had some level of expertise in ensuring its structural integrity,” Toronto Deputy Chief Mark Saunders said at a news conference.

No one was inside the reinforced tunnel when a conservation officer found its entrance near a pile of dirt in…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

Read next: Stop and Look at This Koala Trying to Steal a Land Rover

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Canada

Canadian City Eyes ‘Freezeway’ for Commuters to Skate to Work

Edmonton, Alberta considers proposal to flood a 7-mile path to create a skating route into the city center

One Canadian city is looking to make the most of the frigid temperatures that come with winter in much of North America. The city of Edmonton, Alberta is eyeing plans to flood a 11km (7-mile) path in the city to create a skate route for commuters, or a “freezeway.”

Matthew Gibbs, a landscape architecture student who grew up in Edmonton, first floated the concept in 2013, when he took home the top prize in the Coldscapes international design competition. This winter, he presented it again at the 2015 Winter Cities conference, according to BBC, an event centered on finding ways for cities to make the best of the long, cold months of winter.

While Gibbs’ freezeway idea was a hit this year, many lawmakers and residents worry about cost and steering resources away from more serious issues.

Read more at BBC.

 

TIME Canada

Canadian Boy Dies After Spending Several Hours in the Cold

Elijah Marsh.
Toronto Police/EPA Elijah Marsh.

3-year old Elijah Marsh wandered away from an apartment building in Toronto

A young boy died Thursday after spending several hours outdoors in frigid Canada temperatures.

Security footage showed three-year-old Elijah Marsh wandering away from his Toronto apartment wearing a T-shirt, diaper and winter boots around 4:20 a.m., the Toronto Star reports. Police found the boy around 10 a.m., when he showed no vital signs. He was taken to a hospital and later declared dead.

The temperature in Toronto at the time was around -4° F.

[The Toronto Star]

TIME Canada

It’s OK to Strip Search Students for Drugs if It’s ‘Respectful,’ Canadian Official Says

Quebec's Minister of Education Yves Bolduc waves to the crowd after being appointed by Premier Philippe Couillard during a swearing-in ceremony at the National Assembly in Quebec City, April 23, 2014.
Mathieu Belanger—Reuters Quebec's Minister of Education Yves Bolduc waves to the crowd after being appointed by Premier Philippe Couillard during a swearing-in ceremony at the National Assembly in Quebec City, April 23, 2014.

After a student said a search left her feeling "violated"

A top Canadian education official said Tuesday that it’s OK to strip search students suspected of concealing drugs—as long as it’s done in a “respectful” way.

“It is permitted to do strip searches, on one condition: It must be very respectful,” Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc said at the National Assembly, the Montreal Gazette reports.

Bolduc was defending the decision to strip search a 15-year-old student at a Quebec City high school, where staff reportedly believed she had offered to sell marijuana to her friend. The student told a local newspaper that she had jokingly sent a text message to a friend, offering to sell him “pot.” After a teacher confiscated the phone and saw the text, the student was escorted to a room and asked to take off her clothes behind a blanket. The search left her feeling “intimidated,” “violated,” “destroyed” and “ashamed,” according to the Journal de Québec.

A representative for local political party Coalition Avenir Québec said Bolduc should resign. “It was completely, completely wrong to say that it’s OK to force a teenage to get nude just because the principal thinks that maybe she has some drugs on her,” said Jean-François Roberge.

[Montreal Gazette]

TIME Laws

How Canada’s Right-to-Die Ruling Could Boost Movement in U.S.

Lee Carter embraces her husband Hollis Johnson while speaking to journalists at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Feb. 6, 2015.
Chris Wattie—Reuters Lee Carter embraces her husband Hollis Johnson while speaking to journalists at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Feb. 6, 2015.

Advocates say Supreme Court ruling could give momentum to U.S. states considering so-called 'death with dignity' bills

The Canadian Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision Friday that will allow physicians to provide life-ending medication to terminally ill patients.

The court ruled in part that banning a right to die in fact “deprives some individuals of life, as it has the effect of forcing some individuals to take their own lives prematurely, for fear that they would be incapable of doing so when they reached the point where suffering was intolerable.”

The groundbreaking 9-0 decision, which makes Canada one of just a handful of states to allow some form of “aid in dying,” comes as states in the U.S. consider allowing the practice for mentally competent patients with terminal illness. So-called death with dignity advocates said Friday that the decision by the U.S.’s northern neighbor could increase momentum across the border.

MORE: Death is Not Only for the Dying

“I think it will have a significant impact in the U.S.,” says Barbara Coombs-Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, a death with dignity advocacy group. “This isn’t happening in a far-off country. It sends a strong message throughout the continent.”

The “aid in dying” movements in Canada and the U.S. have similar histories. Both began around the late 1980s and early 1990s, and both have tried to achieve policy reforms through the courts and at the state or provincial level. But Friday’s Canadian court decision, which allows the practice nationwide, is a significant breakthrough for death with dignity advocates in Canada. It remains an unlikely scenario in the U.S., however, where reforms will likely come at a state level.

Peg Sandeen, executive director of the Death With Dignity National Center in the U.S., says she believes the court’s decision “will have a tremendous positive effect on a state-by-state level,” but that policy changes will continue to happen outside of Washington. The issue hasn’t gained much traction in Congress, and the Supreme Court isn’t likely to take up the issue anytime soon.

MORE: Why a Young Woman With Brain Cancer Moved to Oregon to Die

But there is considerable progress at the state level.

End-of-life practices are legal in Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Vermont, while legislation has been introduced in California, Colorado, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Wyoming, plus the District of Columbia. Coombs-Lee says it’s being considered in some form in 25 states.

The movement began making significant strides thanks to the widely publicized story of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old newlywed with brain cancer who moved from California to Oregon, which is just one of five states that allow terminally ill patients to obtain life-ending medication.

One state that aid-in-dying advocates are currently watching closely is New York, where terminally ill patients recently filed a lawsuit that would allow the practice. State lawmakers are also reportedly considering introducing a death with dignity bill. But any sort of movement in U.S. federal courts like what happened in Canada will likely only occur once there’s more progress at the state level.

“I think a federal constitutional protection could be acknowledged at some point,” says Coombs-Lee, “but only after there is already a critical mass of states where it is already authorized.”

The Canadian decision struck down laws that banned doctors from participating in ending a patient’s life and reversed an earlier Supreme Court ruling, saying that current bans violated rights of life, liberty and security as protected by the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Last year, Quebec passed right-to-die legislation, making it the only Canadian province to allow the practice.

TIME Law

Canada Overturns Ban on Assisted Suicide

(TORONTO) — Canada’s highest court has unanimously struck down a ban on doctor-assisted suicide for mentally competent but suffering and “irremediable” patients.

The Supreme Court’s decision Friday sweeps away the existing law and gives Parliament a year to draft new legislation that recognizes the right of consenting adults who are enduring intolerable suffering to seek medical help ending their lives.

The judgment says the current ban infringes on the life, liberty and security of individuals under Canada’s constitution. It had been illegal in Canada to counsel, aid or abet a suicide, an offense carrying a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

The decision reverses a ruling the Supreme Court made in 1993. At the time, the court was primarily concerned that vulnerable people could not be properly protected under physician-assisted suicide.

TIME Canada

An ‘ISIS Recruiting Network’ Has Been Broken Up in Canada

A 25-year-old Canadian is in custody

Federal authorities in Canada say they have crippled a jihadist-recruitment network following the arrest of a Canadian man they allege had ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

Awso Peshdary allegedly helped people joined the terrorist group, which controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, according to Agence France-Presse. The 25-year-old is reportedly in custody in Ottawa.

“We were able to disrupt an organized network associated with [ISIS],” said James Malizia, an assistant commissioner with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“This network was involved in recruiting individuals for terrorism purposes and in sending them into Syria and Iraq for the benefit of this terrorist group.”

Peshdary had been arrested during a previous investigation but was released due to lack of evidence.

Authorities also issued international arrest warrants through Interpol for two Canadian suspects who are believed to have already fought for ISIS in the Middle East.

[AFP]

TIME viral

Watch a Daring Ice Climber Become the First to Conquer the Frozen Niagara Falls

"I may have reached the top, but Niagara won the war"

A number of brave souls have gone over the Niagara Falls, but on Tuesday Canadian ice climbers Will Gadd and Sarah Hueniken became the first people to scale the world famous landmark.

Initially kept secret by sponsor Red Bull, the daring stunt was officially announced when news of the harrowing climb began to spread, according to National Geographic.

The two climbers followed a route along the edge of Horseshoe Falls, a 150-foot waterfall that is considered to be the most powerful in the world. Hueniken, who grew up 20 miles away, belayed Gadd as he made the first ascent. Hueniken then followed around 40 minutes later.

To us regular folk it looks like victory, but Gadd felt as if Niagara may have won the battle.

“That climb beat me up. I may have reached the top, but Niagara won the war,” he told Red Bull. “At the end of the day I was hypothermic. That waterfall did a lot more damage to me than I did to it!”

TIME Aviation

Balloonists Break World Record with Pacific Ocean Crossing

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images A hot-air balloon of the U.S. balloonist Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev soars in Saga, Japan, on Jan. 25, 2015

The U.S.-Russian duo are set to land in Mexico on Saturday after taking off from Japan a week ago

When Troy Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev land in Mexico on Saturday in their large helium balloon Two Eagles, they will have broken at least one and possibly two world records.

After setting out from Japan on Sunday and flying across the Pacific, the duo are on course to set new records for longest distance flown as well as longest duration in a helium balloon, the BBC reports.

Bradley and Tiukhtyaev needed to surpass a 1981 distance record of 5,208 miles by 1% (which put their target at 5,260 miles) in order to lay claim to the first record, which they did on Thursday according to a tweet from the team’s account. The record for longest duration, set in 1971, is 137 hours, five minutes and 50 seconds.

The American-Russian pair had originally planned to land in the U.S. or Canada, but bad weather forced them to change course.

[BBC]

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