Highlights

Canada's 2013 federal budget: Many goals, fewer details

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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented his eighth budget in the House of Commons on Thursday. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)

Two years away from an election, Canada's ruling Conservative government tabled a new federal budget Thursday (March 21) appealing to many different sectors of Canadian society. A budget critics say is not always clear on how goals would be achieved.

Calling it an economic action plan, rather than a budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was optimistic about achieving the government's economic agenda.

The budget entitled Jobs, Growth, and Long-Term Prosperity covered a lot of ground in 442 pages, and will be debated for a maximum of four days in the House of Commons.

One of the big surprises was the government's decision to take the government's humanitarian aid agency CIDA - the Canadian International Development Agency - and put it into a new combined ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

RCI's Wojtek Gwiazda has this report.

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Canadian northern territory closer to controlling resource development

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(Photo: CBC video)
'It is indeed a great day,' said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the legislature of the Northwest Territories.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced a deal to give Canada's Northwest Territories control over lands and resource management.

He made the announcement in Yellowknife , the capital of the Northwest Territories on Monday (March 11).

The 'devolution' agreement passes on many of the federal government's powers to the territory, much as Canada's provinces already have.

Most Aboriginal governments in the territory have agreed to the new deal, but not all. They are concerned about ongoing negotiations on aboriginal land claims.

There will be a year of consultation before the legislature and Canada's House of Commons vote on the final agreement.

RCI's Wojtek Gwiazda has this report.

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Eye on the Arctic – More information needed on mining in North Quebec: poll

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Site of the Matoush uranium project. ( Photo Credit: Claude Bouchard. Radio-Canada )

Each week, Eye on the Arctic features stories and newsmakers from across Canada’s northern regions

Climate change is opening up Canada’s northern regions to greater energy and resource exploration.

This activity has sparked debate across the country about how best to balance business interests with environmental protection; and economic development and the needs of Canada’s northern aboriginal communities.

A recent Léger marketing poll; commissioned by the Canadian Boreal Initiative, an environmental group concerned with conserving the boreal forest, examined the attitudes of northern Quebecers to some of these questions.

To find out more, Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn spoke with Suzann Méthot, the Québec Regional director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative.
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Chavez death reactions in Canada as polarized as in Venezuela

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(Jorge Silva/Reuters)
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, hero or villain?

He thrived on confrontation, so it’s no surprise that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez’s death has provoked mixed reactions in his country and around the world.

In Canada, former prime-minister Jean Chrétien was one of the first politicians to react to the Latin America leader’s death.

"He was very colourful and very unusual and he did his best, even if we did not agree at all times on many issues,” he said in televised interview on CBC’s Power and Politics.

Listen to Gilda Salomone's report on reactions in Canada to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's death.
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Dreams made of diamonds

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Matevos Harutyunyan of Yellowknife examines a diamond he’s been polishing at Melisende Diamonds Ltd. in Montreal as his friend Vardan Sukiasan looks on. Levon Sevunts

Matevos Harutyunyan has to fly across Canada from Yellowknife, the capital of Northwest Territories, to Montreal to do what he loves the most.
Harutyunyan is an expert diamond cutter and polisher but ever since the Arslanian Cutting Works factory in Yellowknife shut its doors two years ago, the only chance he gets to practice his beloved craft is during short visits to Montreal.
That’s where his friends and former colleagues Gevorg Mkhitaryan, Gagik Tamrazyan and Vardan Sukiasyan have set up Melisende Diamonds Ltd. a small diamond polishing operation that opened in 2010 in downtown Montreal with big dreams of becoming a major player in Canada's emerging diamond processing industry.

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Business Diamonds fuel the Northwest Territories’ economy

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Haul truck driver Trudy Beaulieu works at the Snap Lake Diamond Mine. Photo courtesy of De Beers Canada

SOMBA K’E/YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories - Business is booming at the Kingland Ford dealership in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Franky Nitsiza, who lives in the Dene community of Whatì, about 180 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife, has brought in his Ford F-150 truck for maintenance and is already shopping around for a new one.

Nitsiza has been working at BHP  Billiton’s EKATI diamond mine for 14 years and credits his job at the mine for the bit of prosperity he’s been able to enjoy.

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Montreal's Brain Bee

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Some of the students and teachers taking part in Montreal's Brain Bee on Feb. 21st
Photo courtesy of the Montreal Neurological Institute

32 students from several Montreal-area high schools came together last week at the Montreal Neurological Institute, for the 6th annual Brain Bee. 

Like a spelling bee, they were gathered to put their knowledge to the test, but there was a lot more than words involved in this bee.  There were questions, 300 of them, about synapses, and anatomy and regions and functions and disorders. The winner of this event goes on to compete with the 11 or 12 other winners from across Canada in early June. The winner of that event goes on to the International Brain Bee in either Vienna or Hawaii.  The location has yet to be confirmed. 

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Canadian teens stressed out

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(courtesy Toronto District School Board)
Toronto District School Board students celebrate mental health and wellness.

Students in Toronto report feeling stress and anxiety that drives them to tears and to lose sleep. A wide-ranging survey of 103,000 students by the Toronto District School Board found they are uncertain and worried about their future. These results will be used by the board to plan future strategy for its already-existing mental health services.

In answering questionnaires, almost 60 per cent of students in Grades 7 and 8 said they worried about their future all the time or sometimes. By high school the percentage grew to 73 per cent.

Teens reported feeling tired, having trouble concentrating or making decisions. Almost half didn’t believe they could get over their difficulties and one in three wanted to cry all the time.

RCI's Lynn Desjardins reports.
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Balancing issues and concerns, as Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister meets new U.S. Secretary of State

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AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird (left) with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Feb 8, 2013.

Judging the impact of a meeting between Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has to concentrate not only on what was said, but also on what was not said.

The two men had their first meeting on Friday (Feb 8) at the U.S. State Department in Washington.

Among the topics discussed climate change, the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and the fact that Canada is the United States' largest foreign energy supplier.

Also discussed were the situations in Iran, Syria and Mali.

RCI's Wojtek Gwiazda has this report.

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Lawyers want to improve their image

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(courtesy Agency59)
Ad designed to improve the image of Ontario lawyers.

In Canada lawyers are often the butt of jokes. They are painted as aggressive, greedy and manipulative. But some lawyers are fed up and in the central province of Ontario the bar association will launch a publicity campaign to try to improve their image.

“Why I went to law school” is the slogan for the campaign. Lawyers explain the noble reasons why they decided to get into the legal profession. Some of the stories will be packaged by an ad agency and put on radio, in print and on the internet.

All lawyers from Ontario will be encouraged to go on line and explain the ways they have contributed to society and then spread the word. RCI’s Lynn Desjardins reports.

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