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Robocalls bill on hold

OTTAWA -- The Conservative government's planned legislation to stop electoral dirty tricks is now on hold.

The legislation was to be tabled today in the House of Commons. But Tim Uppal, the minister of state for democratic reform, says his office discovered an unspecified problem with the proposed bill at the last minute.

Uppal's office isn't saying how long the bill will be delayed.

The long-awaited legislation was to incorporate recent recommendations by Marc Mayrand, the chief electoral officer, aimed at addressing problems that arose from the so-called robocalls affair.

Mayrand has warned there could be another wave of false or misleading telephone calls in the next election if tough new rules and punishments are not in place by the end of next year.

 

Google's walk in the parks

SOME of Canada's most beloved national parks and historic sites are going online in hopes that allowing people to hike the woods on their computer screens will encourage them to do it in real life.

A deal between Parks Canada and Google Maps is allowing the global Internet giant to take its special cameras to natural and historic wonders from L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland to British Columbia's Pacific Rim National Park.

Google staff plan to drive the roads, hike the paths and peer into the rooms of 120 national parks and historic sites by the end of 2014 using backpack-mounted cameras being used this year for the first time in Canada.

Virtual visitors will be able to stop and look around just as if they were actually in a place of outstanding natural beauty.

The parks and historic sites that Google plans to map are found from coast to coast, including Gros Morne in Newfoundland, Grasslands in Saskatchewan, Banff and Jasper in Alberta and the historic walls and citadel of Quebec City.

 

MLA sorry for behaviour

YELLOWKNIFE -- A member of the legislature from the Northwest Territories has apologized for his poor behaviour and for missing meetings.

Kevin Menicoche said in a statement Wednesday he plans to address his personal problems and seek professional treatment, but does not specify for what.

The CBC reported Menicoche and another MLA missed meetings in Inuvik last week because of excessive drinking.

"I feel I may have embarrassed my constituents and deeply regret that," Menicoche, 51, said in his statement.

 

BPA found in urine

TORONTO -- A Health Canada study suggests most Canadians have the chemical bisphenol A in their urine and all have traces of lead in their blood.

The 2009-2011 report on environmental chemicals shows the plastics ingredient bisphenol A, or BPA, was detected in the urine of 95 per cent of Canadians aged three to 79.

While lead can be harmful at any age, but especially to children, the study shows almost all Canadians had levels below that where treatment is recommended.

 

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 18, 2013 A12

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