Aviva West

  • Q&A with Timothy Schmalz, the sculptor behind ‘Homeless Jesus’ installed at the Vatican

    Timothy Schmalz, a sculptor based in St. Jacobs, Ont., learned last week in the run-up to Easter that one of his controversial pieces had been installed at the Vatican. Schmalz’s work, titled Homeless Jesus, features a life-size figure wrapped in a thick blanket sleeping on a city bench. The figure can only really be identified as Jesus through the wounds on his bare feet.

  • B.C. atheist group seeks end to Bible distribution in schools

    A group of atheists in British Columbia is gearing up for a fight with the Abbotsford School District to end the distribution of religious materials in schools. The B.C. Humanist Association — which in 2012 supported a local father in successfully arguing against the distribution of Bibles in schools in the Chilliwack School District — issued a news release on Wednesday that called on the superintendent of the Abbotsford School District to stop handing out Gideon Bibles to children in Grade 5. “We’d been aware that religious materials were being distributed in Abbotsford schools since we did a survey of school board policies across B.C. a few years ago,” B.C. Humanist executive director Ian Bushfield told Yahoo Canada News.

  • Yarmouth-Portland ferry to cost N.S. $33M in first 2 years alone

    The province of Nova Scotia is expected to spend nearly $33 million over the next two years to fund a re-launched ferry service between Yarmouth, N.S., and Portland, Me. Last Thursday, taxpayers learned the province will also be liable for another $5 million US if Bay Ferries Ltd. — the company that will operate the route — defaults on its deal. Charlottetown-based Bay Ferries is chartering a high-speed U.S. navy transport ship to run the route. In 2014 and 2015, Nova Star Cruises ran a ferry between Yarmouth and Portland called the Nova Star that cost the province $41.5 million and failed to meet passenger targets in the two seasons it sailed.

  • After 4 year battle, stateless B.C. man granted permanent Canadian residency

    Qia Gunster became stateless at just 18 months old when his mother brought him to northern British Columbia from Arizona. Gunster, raised by a friend of his mother’s in McBride, B.C., and has lived in Canada since he was a toddler, but said he grew up knowing he was not a Canadian citizen. “I kinda always knew, I overheard conversations between my parents and other adults talking about my situation and how I wasn’t registered,” he told Yahoo Canada News.

  • While Trudeau is lauded for gender equality abroad, Canadian women have it worst among richest nations

    As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was fêted at a New York City gala this week for his inclusive “game-changing” leadership, Canadian women’s organizations and gender studies experts spoke out over pernicious gender inequality here at home. Trudeau, who while in New York announced that Canada would be seeking a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021, was honoured Wednesday night by non-profit organization Catalyst for his leadership in advancing gender equality in his cabinet.

  • Q&A with Merna Forster who campaigned to get women on Canadian currency

    For nearly three years, Victoria-based historian Merna Forster has been leading a quiet but growing movement to pressure the Bank of Canada to include a Canadian woman on our currency. This week, she was able to declare victory as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced on International Women’s Day that “an iconic Canadian woman” would be featured in the design of new banknotes expected in 2018. Forster, the author of two books and a website on historic Canadian women of note, launched a petition in July 2013 that called on the central bank to return the images of Canadian women to banknotes after they were removed during Mark Carney’s tenure as Bank of Canada governor.

  • 5 women’s groups weigh in on who is banknote-worthy

    With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement that a woman other than the Queen would finally reappear on a Canadian banknote, articles, blogs and social media are abuzz with potential currency candidates. The Bank of Canada has asked the public to submit nominees, with the criteria being “iconic” Canadian women of distinction who have been dead for at least 25 years. Since the announcement dozens of names have been floated online, including famed suffragette Nellie McClung, 1812 war heroine Laura Secord and Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

  • 7 gift ideas for Trudeau’s state dinner with the Obamas

    For the first time in nearly 20 years a Canadian prime minister will be the guest of honour at a White House state dinner hosted by the U.S. president. Next Thursday, Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau will be feted at an exclusive, high-profile black-tie affair featuring some of the most powerful people on Earth. In addition to an elaborate meal, toasts, speeches and a musical performance, gifts are traditionally exchanged between heads of state.

  • Ontario man files human rights complaint over sports logos

    An Ontario father of three is the latest Canadian to join in on the loud and boisterous debate over racially offensive sports team names and logos. Brad Gallant, a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq band, recently filed a human rights complaint against the City of Mississauga for its support of minor hockey teams that feature native mascots. Among those he singled out are the Mississauga Braves, the Mississauga Chiefs, the Lorne Park Ojibwa, the Meadowvale Mohawks and the Mississauga Reps. All five teams, including the Reps, feature logos with caricature indigenous men or symbols.

  • New questions from all sides as MMIW inquiry nears

    As the federal government prepares to launch a national, public investigation into this country’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, some high-profile conservative figures have bristled publicly at the suggestion that the RCMP’s data is incomplete and have questioned the need for a public inquiry at all. Last week, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett drew criticism for suggesting the true number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in this country is “way bigger” than the figure put forth by the RCMP. Bennett, who has been meeting with Indigenous communities and other stakeholders to discuss what the inquiry should look like, surprised reporters last week when she said that while the RCMP has done their best, there may be hundreds of cases of missing and murdered women that were not properly investigated.

  • American expats in Canada renouncing U.S. citizenship to avoid punitive taxation

    For American citizens living and working in Canada, these are stressful times. As tax season heats up, a growing number of American expats will begin the long, drawn-out process of renouncing their U.S. citizenship in a bid to avoid costly, complicated and onerous tax compliance obligations. “In the last 24 months we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of people who are interested in or want to renounce their citizenship,” says Roy Berg, a lawyer and director of U.S. tax law at Moodys Gartner in Calgary.

  • Big 3 grocers the next target in cage-free eggs campaign: Mercy for Animals

    A decision by Tim Hortons and Burger King to serve only cage-free eggs by 2025 is shining a spotlight on how the breakfast staple makes it from farm to plate. After winning commitments from several major restaurant brands to offer only cage-free eggs, animal rights group Mercy for Animals is taking aim at a new target: Canada’s biggest grocers. Krista Hiddema, managing director of Canadian operations at Mercy for Animals, says that in the next couple of weeks, Canadians can expect to hear several more big announcements from organizations pledging to offer only cage-free eggs.

  • Snowbirds cash in on strong U.S. house prices, low loonie

    A weak loonie and rising U.S. house prices are spurring some Canadian snowbirds to sell their U.S. homes and cash in on the exchange rate. With the loonie trading at around 70 cents US, some Canadians who purchased winter homes in areas hard-hit by the U.S. housing crisis during are jumping on the chance to profit on the weak Canadian dollar. The slow but steady recovery of the U.S. housing market has also encouraged snowbirds to sell.

  • Wild pigs wreak havoc, threaten livestock across western Canada

    Despite declaring open season on feral pigs, herds of wild swine are continuing to wreak havoc on crops and private property in British Columbia, as well as several other western provinces. The feral pigs, native to areas of Europe, Asia and North Africa, are the ancestors of escaped pigs brought to Canada and domesticated for farming purposes.

  • Yoga instructor surprised replacement unaware of ‘cultural appropriation brouhaha’

    The woman who had her University of Ottawa yoga class cancelled over concerns about cultural appropriation is surprised her replacement, an Indian-Canadian instructor, knew nothing about the controversy. Jennifer Scharf, in a blog posted on Sunday, responded to a media report that the class she had been teaching for seven years at the school’s student centre has been reinstated. “I heard today that my old yoga class is back on,” Scharf wrote.

  • Eating your placenta a cure for postpartum blues, some claim

    In a quest to ease the emotional, physical and mental transformation that comes with giving birth, some Canadian women are eating their own placentas, a dubitable practice that promises to increase their milk supply, buoy their spirits and reduce their postpartum recovery time. Thanks to its numerous and vocal proponents including Kim Kardashian, placenta encapsulation — once solely the domain of the crunchiest of hippies — has transformed from what was once considered a bizarre, fringe practice into a lucrative field in North America. While it’s impossible to say exactly how many Canadian women are opting for the service, doula and placenta encapsulator Rean Cross of Toronto has seen a huge surge in interest since she started doing it in 2009.

  • As oil falls, Alberta eyes new riches in film, TV and music

    As oil prices continue to plummet and Alberta records its second straight year of economic downturn, two brand new multi-million dollar film and music facilities set to open in Calgary have some folks optimistic about the city and the province’s future. The $28.3-million Calgary Film Centre, located on 3.4 hectares in an industrial area in the southeast part of town, is scheduled to open in April after three years of construction. The sound stages are expected to further bolster Alberta’s young but burgeoning film and television industry.

  • Question period heckling has greater impact on women MPs: survey

    Seven in 10 MPs feel that heckling has become a significant problem in the House of Commons, and that women politicians are disproportionately impacted by the practice, according to a survey with a low response rate. Women MPs reported that they were more likely to hear comments about their appearance, gender, age or language, and were more likely to report being heckled “frequently.” In addition, 20 per cent of respondents — especially those who identified as female — said that heckling negatively impacted their job performance and reduced their willingness to participate in question period. “There are women who recognized that heckling can also enliven the debate, so you have a range of perspectives.

  • Pregnant women heading south being warned of Zika virus

    Pregnant women with plans to travel south this winter are being urged to protect themselves from a mosquito-borne virus that — while mild for adults — may be the cause of serious brain defects in babies and has prompted travel warnings from U.S. and Canadian public health agencies. The Zika virus, spread by subtropical Aedes mosquitoes, is native to parts of Asia and Africa and is now found in a number of Latin American and Caribbean countries. Among them, Mexico, Brazil and Puerto Rico have reported locally acquired cases of the Zika virus, including up to an estimated 1.3 million suspected cases in Brazil last year.

  • Owner never gave up 5 years after Calgary pug’s abduction

    For Holmlund, Tyson was more than just a pet. “I lost my 3 ½ month old son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2008, my dog was a huge emotional link as he was great with my son, helped me cope and was just highly intuitive towards me emotionally. When Tyson was stolen I was pregnant and I went into preterm labour a month and a half early only two days after his abduction.