Sell Montana to Canada for $1 trillion: Petition

A new online petition is calling for the United States government to sell Montana to Canada.

The petition’s authors argued the U.S. could sell the state to its northern neighbours for $1 trillion in order to help pay off national debt.

“We have too much debt and Montana is useless. Just tell them it has beavers or something,” the change.org petition said.

More than 3,400 people had signed the petition by Wednesday evening.

Who knows where they think Canada is going to get that kind of money… but maybe Mexico will pay for it.

Canadian football player suits up for AAF opener

While Brett Boyko dreams of playing in the NFL again on day, he has found a home for now in the Alliance of American Football.

The brand new eight-team league held its opening games this weekend and Boyko, who is from Saskatoon, suited up for the San Diego Fleet in its matchup against the San Antonio Commanders.

The B.C. Lions drafted Boyko 14th overall in the 2015 CFL draft, but he never played for the team. Over the last three years, the offensive lineman has been on and off of various NFL teams’ practice squads and even started a game for the San Diego Chargers before finally landing with the AAF.

“Me and my agency, we had our mind set on the NFL, so I wasn’t really aware of (the AAF) but obviously jumped at the opportunity,” the 26-year-old told the Calgary Herald. “You get paid pretty well and it still gives you an opportunity to go play in the NFL, so absolutely you can make it work.

Some observers have worried that the AAF might threaten the CFL as it will likely bleed players from the league once free agency opens this month. But others say the Canadian game is unique enough that it will survive.

IRISH HOCKEY TEAM THANKS CANADA FOR PLANNED RINK

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An Irish hockey team says Canada was instrumental in plans to build a new rink for the country’s players.

The Republic of Ireland has been without a permanent rink since 2010, when its last such facility closed down, CBC News reported. Since then, players have trained on temporary rinks during the winter and have used in-line skates during warmer months.

Plans for a new rink started to be laid when a local Irish team — the Flying Ducks of the Irish Ice Hockey Association — visited Montreal to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2017 and met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The hockey players told the prime minster about their predicament.

Four months later, Trudeau mentioned the rink predicament during public comments he made on a trip to Ireland to discuss CETA. Hockey players credited his comments for getting local politicians on board and plans are now underway to build a new rink.

While lawyers are still finalizing details, the new rink is expected to be built in the same location as the old one that closed in 2010, according to CBC.

Saskatchewan man fights for “Assman” licence plate

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A Saskatchewan man is voicing his frustration that he can’t get a personalized licence plate that reads “Assman.”

But the requested plate was not meant as an indication of a preference for posteriors. It’s his name.

David Assman, who pronounces his last name as “Oss-men,” said the Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) recently turned down his request as an “unacceptable slogan,” according to CBC News.

“It’s my last name, I’ve always had it,” he said.

A SGI spokesman told CBC that the agency would not allow for anything on license plates that could be interpreted as “offensive, suggestive or not in good taste.”

“Even if a word is someone’s name and pronounced differently than the offensive version, that’s not something that would be apparent to other motorists who will see the plate,” he said.

Assman is actually a relative of Dick Assman — a Saskatchewan gas station employee, who gained fame for his name after David Letterman featured him on the Late Show.

Parents paying more for child-care in most Canadian cities: Study

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Most of Canada’s biggest cities saw significant rises in daycare costs in 2018.

A new study, conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, found parents in 61 per cent of the country’s 28 largest cities faced child-care costs that rose above the rate of inflation last year.

The survey showed Toronto had the most expensive median monthly costs at $1,675. This is almost ten times what parents pay in Montreal, where there is a universal child-care plan.

However, not all Canadians have been paying higher fees. Newfoundland’s provincial government introduced a new set-fee system that saw median preschool fees drop in St. John’s by 13 per cent in 2018.

Provincial governments in Alberta and British Columbia also introduced new policies last year to tackle high daycare costs.

Decision coming on Halifax CFL stadium by July 1

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Halifax football fans should know by Canada Day whether their city will get a CFL team.

One of the principle owners of the proposed franchise, Anthony LeBlanc, told the Chronicle Herald that he expects the Halifax Regional Council to consider their proposal to build a new stadium in late spring, and that the group will finalize its plan shortly after.

“Everybody agrees that we have to figure out if this is a go or a no-go by the midpoint of this year,” he said.

LeBlanc and his partners have been negotiating the purchase of a plot of land that they hope will serve as the home of a 24,000-seat stadium for the franchise — the Atlantic Schooners.

The cost of the facility was first estimated between $170 million and $190 million, but the group has revised that amount to $130 million.

The Schooners are expected to start playing in Moncton in 2020, while the new stadium is being built in Halifax.

Patients say taxes are making medical marijuana unaffordable

Vincent Lefaive is a retired Durham Regional Police Service sergeant and medical cannabis patient. Photo/Jewl Studios

Vincent Lefaive says medical marijuana saved his life.

The retired Durham Regional Police Service sergeant was diagnosed with PTSD in 2016 after 28 years of responding to 911 calls. He used a prescription for medical marijuana to successfully treat the nightmares, anxiety and other symptoms that came along with the affliction.

But Lefaive is worried about the cost of the drug, which recently became more expensive with a new tax.

As of October 2018, when the federal government legalized recreational marijuana, all marijuana producers have been charged excise tax. Advocates say that tax has been passed along to medical cannabis patients, who were already paying sales tax for their prescriptions.

As medical marijuana is not covered under insurance plans, advocates say the taxes have made the drug’s cost prohibitive.

This prompted Lefaive and other patients to join a campaign — launched by non-profit Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana — asking the federal government to do away with all taxes on medical marijuana in its upcoming budget, which is expect to be unveiled this month. 

The CFAMM has argued that medical marijuana should be treated like other prescription drugs, which are not taxed at all. 

Lefaive said the costs are pushing patients, many of which are seniors, to choose between the drugs they need and other necessities.

“They are now deciding, I’ve got a medicine that works for me, and it’s working well, but do I have to cut my grocery budget? Do I have to cut my heating or hydro budget, or my clothing budget?” he said.

Advocates say the excise tax and sales taxes combined have increased the cost of medical cannabis by up to 25 per cent in some provinces.

Lefaive has already spent more than $1,000 in HST alone since he first started using medical marijuana.

“Even with my financial stability, I am worried that I cannot afford this,” he said.

Advocates warn that if the cost of medical marijuana is too prohibitive, it could also push patients to riskier alternatives that are covered under drug plans, such as opioids.

The federal government has said in the past that the tax framework is necessary to stop recreational users from abusing the medicinal prescription system.

A spokesman for Finance Minister Bill Morneau did not provide comment before deadline.

Single Canadians with low debt are putting off buying homes because of high costs: Survey

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While single Canadians with no debt might be best positioned to buy homes, a new survey has found they are hesitating to do so because of high prices and economic uncertainty.

A new survey by real estate company Re/Max found 43 per cent of single Canadians have less than $5,000 in debt, suggesting debt is not driving their decisions when it comes to buying real estate.

More than half (52 per cent) of respondents said economic uncertainty and expensive home prices were the biggest barriers for them.

The survey also found a split when it comes to the buying intentions of singles Canadians living in urban areas compared to those in suburban neighbourhoods, who are less hesitant due to lower costs.

U.S. poachers could face charges in Saskatchewan

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Two American men could face charges in Saskatchewan for illegally hunting a number of animals before hauling their carcasses back to the United States.

The duo, who have been convicted of deer poaching in Missouri, allegedly shot a number of animals, including white-tailed deer, a coyote, an antelope and a badger in 2016, according to Yorkon This Week.

Two Canadians have been charged for allegedly helping the two men.

Victoria ranked most romantic city in Canada, according to Amazon purchases

Couples in Victoria, B.C. are ready for Valentine’s day.

For the seventh year in a row, Amazon named the city the most romantic place in Canada, as residents have purchased the most romance-related products from the online retailer.

LaSalle, Que. was second on the list and Fort McMurray, Alta. rounded out the top three.

  1. Victoria, British Columbia
  2. LaSalle, Quebec
  3. Fort McMurray, Alberta
  4. North Vancouver, British Columbia 
  5. Spruce Grove, Alberta
  6. Whitehorse, Yukon
  7. Kelowna, British Columbia  
  8. Sherwood Park, Alberta
  9. Courtenay, British Columbia
  10. Bowmanville, Ontario 
  11. Grande Prairie, Alberta
  12. Airdrie, Alberta
  13. Waterloo, Ontario
  14. Oakville, Ontario  
  15. Vancouver, British Columbia
  16. Langley, British Columbia
  17. Burlington, Ontario
  18. North Bay, Ontario
  19. Aurora, Ontario 
  20. Port Coquitlam, British Columbia