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Susan Munroe

Susan's Canada News Blog

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Romeo Dallaire's Resignation

Saturday May 31, 2014

Romeo Dallaire

Although it's a shame that Romeo Dallaire is leaving the Senate, it does show that not everyone in the Red Chamber is spending their time trying to fiddle the books. It sounds like he will have even more work on his hands as he continues with all his substantive projects to deal with the serious issues he takes on. For all the bad behavior that's been exposed in the Senate over the last year or so, it doesn't mean that there aren't individuals trying very hard to do the right thing, every day.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More on the Senate
Role of Canadian Senators
Salaries of Canadian Senators
The Supreme Court of Canada on Senate Reform

Canadians on D-Day

Saturday May 31, 2014
Canadians on D-Day

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allies began the invasion of Northwest Europe, marking the beginning of the end of World War II. After more than a year of preparation a huge British, Canadian and American force crossed the English Channel aiming for a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast.

About 14,000 Canadians landed in Normandy on D-Day. Estimates vary, but there were over 1000 Canadian casualties, with more than 400 killed. These pictures of Canadians on D-Day show what the Canadians faced on that historic day.

Photo: Canadians Landing on D-Day
Gilbert Alexander Milne / Canada Dept of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-137013

More on Canada in World War II
Pictures of the Raid on Dieppe
Canadian World War II Posters
Canada and World War II Battles
Halifax VE-Day Riots

Royal Visits Are Changing

Saturday May 31, 2014

Prince Charles and Camilla in Halifax

The 2014 Royal visit by Prince Charles and Camilla a week or two ago was different than most. First of all it was quite short, only four days. That wasn't really surprising, since the couple was just here two years ago. What was surprising was the number of events or "engagements" they packed into that time. In their last day, in Winnipeg, the two Royals managed to get to a dozen events.

It made a difference that they went to quite a few things solo so they could cover more ground, and take in different interests. Prince Charles also seems to be co-ordinating his charitable activities here (and elsewhere) with those in the United Kingdom, working through Prince's Charities Canada. Many of the projects they chose to see in Winnipeg were ones that I hadn't heard of, so it means Prince Charles is getting more visibility for them.

Photo: Prince Charles and Camilla in Halifax, Nova Scotia 2014
Chris Jackson / Getty Images

More on the Monarchy in Canada
Queen Elizabeth Biography
Royal Visits of Queen Elizabeth to Canada
Line of Succession to the Throne
The Monarchy in Canada

Getting Ready to Fly in Canada

Friday May 30, 2014

As we're into another busy season for air travel in Canada, it's a good idea to get ready before you head to the airport, especially if you haven't flown for a while.

Airport Security

One organization that can help make your air travel a little less confusing is the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), the Canadian crown corporation responsible for screening air passengers and their baggage in Canada.

Their Web site includes a What Can I Bring? section with information on which items are permitted and which aren't. It also tells you how to speed up security screening of both people and baggage, including international regulations, and tips for different types of passengers, like seniors, small children and those with special needs. You can even check the current security wait times by airport in Canada.

It's a good idea to check the Web sites for the airlines you'll be using too.

Knowing what to expect at the airport and preparing before you get there could save you time and make your trip a lot less stressful.

Photo: Airport Security
Digital Vision / Getty Images

More on Air Travel in Canada
Air Travel Complaints in Canada
Face and Photo ID Must Match at the Boarding Gate
Canadian No-Fly List
Air Travel in Canada

Canada Trains Allied Air Crew in World War II

Thursday May 22, 2014

BCATP Flying Training School

From 1939 to 1945, Canada operated the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), a program designed to train British, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian air crew for service overseas in World War II. Winston Churchill called the plan "Canada's greatest contribution to the Allied victory in WWII," and Franklin Roosevelt praised Canada as "the aerodrome of democracy."

Read More...

Try the Trans Canada Trail

Sunday May 18, 2014
Now that the weather is finally improving, it's time to get out and explore some of the wonders of Canada. The Trans Canada Trail is a good place to start. About 80 percent of Canadians live within half-an-hour of this multi-use year-round recreational trail.

Trans Canada Trail

Begun in 1992 to celebrate Canada's 125th birthday, the aim is to have it completed by 2017, the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The trail goes through or near about 1000 communities in Canada and is easily accessible from all of Canada's capital cities. It's not just for fitness fanatics either. Sure it's great if you want to run, hike, bike (or snowshoe or ski), but you could also take your kids on an eco-tour, learn about historic sites, or just take the dog for a walk. Use the interactive map to find access to the Trans Canada Trail near you.

Photo: Trans Canada Trail - Caledon Trailway, Southern Ontario
Flickr user Michael Gil (CC BY 2.0)

See Also:
Explore Parks in Canada
Canadian Museum of Nature
Walking About.com
Hiking About.com
Mountain Biking About.com

Winnipeg General Strike 1919

Wednesday April 30, 2014

May Day is International Workers' Day and it's an ideal time to appreciate how good working conditions are in Canada. A look back at the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 and you can see just how far we've come.

Winnipeg General Strike

The strike brought out the worst in governments in the days before collective bargaining was accepted and before Canadians had labour standards, employment insurance, health insurance and public pensions

In the Winnipeg strike, which nearly crippled the city, the 30,000 striking workers were generally peaceful and worked to maintain essential services. But authorities reacted aggressively. Read More...

Supreme Court Gives Feedback on Senate Reform

Wednesday April 30, 2014
It's amazing how much time and attention the Senate has received in the last year or so, initially because of a few errant Senators and their expenses. For years very few Canadians knew or cared that the Senate even existed or what it did, and the topic of Senate reform, especially in the context of the Constitution, mostly raised yawns.

Senate Entrance

The decision released last week from the Supreme Court of Canada on Senate Reform could end up going a long way to getting the Senate out of the limelight again. The court, unanimously, said that any of the suggestions from the government on making changes to the Senate would require at least the consent of seven provinces representing fifty percent of the population. Abolition of the Senate would require the support of all ten provinces. The Prime Minister's initial response was "we are essentially stuck with the status quo for the time being." By this week he had advanced to leaving it up to the provinces: "If the provinces believe, as I do, there should be reform, they should bring forward those reforms forthwith." It's quite likely most of the premiers have enough to do grappling with the issues of jobs and the economy instead.

Photo: Courtesy Senate of Canada

More on the Canadian Senate
Role of Canadian Senators
Salaries of Canadian Senators
Canadian Parliament Glossary

Canadian Taxpayer Data Stolen With Heartbleed Breach

Thursday April 17, 2014

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has reported that 900 Canadian Social Insurance Numbers were taken from its servers by someone exploiting the Heartbleed security vulnerability. The CRA is going through an analysis of other fragments of data, some of which relate to businesses, that also may have been breached. The breach apparently took place in a six-hour period after the bug was discovered but before the CRA closed public access to their online systems.

The CRA's Commissioner Andrew Treusch said in a statement that the agency will notify the individuals affected by the breach by registered letter. A dedicated 1-800 number has been set up to provide them with further information, including what steps to take to protect the integrity of their SIN. Please note that individuals will not be notified by email or telephone that they have been affected, in order to avoid scams.

Affected individuals will be given free access to credit protection services. The CRA will also apply additional protections to their CRA accounts to prevent any unauthorized activity.

On April 15, the RCMP charged Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes, a 19-year-old London, Ontario student, in relation to this "malicious breach of taxpayer data." Solis-Reyes is scheduled to appear in court in Ottawa on July 17, 2014. The RCMP says the investigation is still ongoing. It is being handled by the RCMP's National Division Integrated Technological Crime Unit (ITCU) and "O" Division.

More on Heartbleed
Canadian Income Tax Services Back Online
Canada Revenue Agency Temporarily Closes Online Services

Canadian Income Tax Services Back Online

Thursday April 17, 2014
Canadian online tax services, which were temporarily closed to the public on April 8, 2014 due to the Heartbleed security bug, were restored on April 13. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) worked with Shared Services Canada to apply, and test, a patch to address the vulnerability.

Canada Revenue Agency

Because of the delay and inconvenience to Canadian taxpayers, the deadline for filing 2013 Canadian income tax returns has been extended from April 30, 2014 to May 5, 2014. Individual taxpayers filing their 2013 tax returns by May 5, 2014 will not be charged penalties and interest for filing their taxes late.

The CRA says that since the patch is now in place, users can safely log on with their current user ID and password, however it is good practice to change your password periodically.

The CRA has posted some answers to frequently asked questions.

Photo: Canada Revenue Agency Headquarters
Courtesy Canada Revenue Agency

More on Canadian Income Taxes
Filing Your Canadian Income Taxes - The Basics
My Account Tax Service
NETFILE - Filing Your Canadian Income Taxes Online
EFILE - Use a Service Provider to File Your Taxes
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