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Impending election looms over Canada Day

Politicians give a nod to looming election on Canada Day
Jennifer Ditchburn, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Canada's federal leaders were waving the flag and priming their political messages Wednesday, on a Canada Day that landed smack in the buildup to this year's election campaign.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the traditional midday remarks from Parliament Hill's main stage, but also borrowed a line from his 2011 stump speech.

The Conservative mantra for this fall's election continues to centre around Harper as a trusted, seasoned politician with a steady hand at the helm.

Smoke helping control Saskatchewan fires

Smoke so thick it's making Saskatchewan fires less volatile, official says
The Canadian Press

REGINA - The number of people forced from their homes by Saskatchewan wildfire smoke continues to climb, but a provincial official says the smoke is now so thick that it's actually helping control the fires.

Steve Roberts with Saskatchewan's environment ministry says the layer of smoke that covers the northern part of the province has blocked out direct sunlight.

Roberts says that's lowered temperatures and boosted humidity, which means the fires are less volatile.

Groups ask court to ease voter ID rules

Groups seek court order to ease new voter ID rules for fall federal election
Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - A left-leaning advocacy organization and a national student group will be in Ontario Superior Court on Thursday and Friday hoping to relax voter identification rules for the looming federal election.

The court factum prepared by the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students argues that tens of thousands or more of eligible voters will be denied a ballot this October due to changes enacted last year by the Conservative government.

Arthur Porter dies in Panama hospital: biographer

Cancer specialist Arthur Porter dies in Panama hospital, biographer says
Cara McKenna, The Canadian Press

Arthur Porter -- a cancer specialist who was facing fraud charges related to a $1.3-billion hospital project in Montreal -- has died, his biographer says.

Jeff Todd, who helped Porter write "The Man Behind the Bow Tie,'' said Porter died early Wednesday at a hospital in Panama. He was 59.

Todd says he was informed of the death by Porter's friend and physician Dr. Karol Sikora. Porter had been battling lung cancer.

From typewriters to Twitter: LeBreton retires

From typewriters to Twitter: Marjory LeBreton on 50 years in politics
Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - When Marjory LeBreton first entered the world of professional politics, she was a rarity.

Not because she was a woman — it was mostly women behind the manual typewriters at the Progressive Conservative party headquarters in 1962.

It's because she was a working mother.

"I was the only working mom on my street," said LeBreton, who retires from the Senate this week upon her 75th birthday.

Innovation faded despite federal cash: memo

Business innovation has continued to fade despite billions in federal cash: memo
Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Spending billions of public dollars over two decades has done little to reverse Canada's long decline in the key economic category of business innovation, the federal government acknowledges in a newly released document.

The self-assessment, contained in a "secret" memorandum to Finance Minister Joe Oliver, underlines how chronically sluggish business innovation remains "of great concern" for Canadian productivity.

Mark Oldershaw named Pan Am flag-bearer

Veteran paddler Mark Oldershaw to carry flag for Canada at Pan Ams
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

When veteran paddler Mark Oldershaw carries Canada's flag into the opening ceremonies of the Pan American Games, he'll be thinking about his grandfather.

The 32-year-old from Burlington, Ont., was named the team's flag-bearer during Wednesday's Canada Day celebration on Parliament Hill.

Oldershaw is a third generation paddler, carrying on the legacy of familial sporting success that began the better part of a century ago with his grandfather Bert, a three-time Olympian.

Bison herd thriving in Saskatchewan

Re-introduced purebred bison thriving on the Saskatchewan prairie
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

CLAYDON, Sask. - It's as if they never left.

Eleven years after 50 purebred plains bison were re-introduced to a rolling patch of prairie grass and sagebrush in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, the herd is thriving.

In 2003, the shaggy beasts were trucked in from Elk Island National Park in Alberta to the Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area, a 5,300-hectare parcel of grassland south of Swift Current.

Advocates want end to Quebec no-pet clause

Quebec animal welfare advocates hope province is open to ditching no-pet clause
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL - Quebec shelters are bracing for the annual influx of animals left behind during the province's "moving day," although advocates are hopeful the government will eventually consider ditching a no-pet clause invoked by landlords.

Every year, thousands of Quebecers switch addresses on July 1, the date most apartment leases expire.

Bison herd thriving in Saskatchewan

Re-introduced purebred bison thriving on the Saskatchewan prairie
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

CLAYDON, Sask. - It's as if they never left.

Eleven years after 50 purebred plains bison were re-introduced to a rolling patch of prairie grass and sagebrush in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, the herd is thriving.

In 2003, the shaggy beasts were trucked in from Elk Island National Park in Alberta to the Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area, a 5,300-hectare parcel of grassland south of Swift Current.

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