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Reserves need $28M for fire protection: report

Fires on Manitoba reserves 'high risk' but only $4M given out: internal document
Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG - An internal report from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada estimates it will take a $28-million injection of federal funding to reduce the number of deadly fires on Manitoba reserves, but only a fraction of that amount has been approved.

In an department quarterly report from December 2011, obtained by The Canadian Press through access-to-information laws, fires on reserves are highlighted as a "high risk."

CMHC expects steady housing market in 2015

Steady housing market in 2015, some moderation in 2016: Canada's housing agency
Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Home construction in Canada will stay steady in 2015 as it follows the country's economic and demographic trends, the national housing agency said Thursday.

Looking beyond next year, however, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is predicting "some moderation" for 2016.

Manitoba reserves lag in ability to fight fires

Playing with fire: Manitoba reserves lag in firefighting capabilities
Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG - Baby Errabella Harper was fast asleep in a three-bedroom house with no running water on St. Theresa Point First Nation when fire broke out.

While the blaze ripped through the house, the community's fire truck sat, broken, in a garage, and with no fire hoses. No one knew where the keys were anyway.

Four older children escaped into the frigid January morning in 2011 and another toddler was rescued, but Errabella, who was only 2 1/2 months old, died.

GG pays respects to Cpl. Cirillo at memorial

Governor General mourns the loss of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at National War Memorial
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The governor general has paid his respects to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the soldier who was gunned down while on guard duty last week at the National War Memorial.

David Johnston and his wife Sharon stood for a moment of silence in front of the memorial this morning after viewing the day's first posting of sentries at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Earlier today, Johnston met with Cpl. Ryan Button, who was on duty with Cirillo when the Oct. 22 shooting took place.

Today on the Hill: Charge it!!!!!!!!

Today on the Hill: Will Ottawa accept "voluntary" plan to cut interchange fees?
Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The federal government's battle to lower the fees retailers pay to use credit cards — and theoretically cut costs for consumers — may be coming to an end.

Ottawa could announce an agreement among the credit card companies, big banks and the Competition Bureau today that may result in a reduction of so-called interchange rates.

MasterCard has proposed an as-yet-undisclosed "voluntary" solution to the government after retailers and the Competition Bureau demanded lower fees.

Harper to make major fiscal announcement

Harper expected to target families with major fiscal announcement
Jennifer Ditchburn, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Joe Oliver will make a major announcement Thursday that is expected to include some of the fiscal measures for families promised in the last election campaign.

Multiple sources tell The Canadian Press the package will resemble the income-splitting commitment that was a centrepiece of the Conservatives' platform in 2011, made contingent on a balanced budget.

One government insider said to expect the prime minister to roll out "a significant package that will bring relief to families and fulfil previous commitments."

Actor publicly accuses Ghomeshi

'Trailer Park Boys' actor first to go public in accusations against Ghomeshi
Will Campbell, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - "Trailer Park Boys" actor Lucy DeCoutere has accused former CBC-Radio host Jian Ghomeshi of choking her "to the point she could not breathe" and slapping her "hard three times on the side of her head," the Toronto Star reported late Wednesday.

The "Q" radio host has been accused of abusive behaviour by a series of anonymous women over the past few days but DeCoutere is the first to agree to be identified.

BDSM meant to push sexual boundaries

BDSM not abuse but way to spice up sex life in safe, consensual way: adherents
Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Fired CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi's admission that he engages in rough sex has Canadians hearing a term that many may be unfamiliar with — BDSM, or bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism. So just what does BDSM involve and what draws adherents to this kind of sex?

Members of the so-called BDSM community say there are a lot of misconceptions about what kinky sex entails and about the people who embrace the lifestyle.

Kuwait gracious but uneasy host to CF-18s

Kuwait plays gracious but uneasy host as Canadian jets join anti-ISIL campaign
Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press

KUWAIT CITY - Canadian warplanes have taken up position in Kuwait, a country straining in its own way to hold back the tide of Islamic extremism from its borders.

The CF-18 jet fighters and CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes are expected to join a U.S.-led coalition's bombing campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant within days.

But outside the tightly buttoned-down airfields there is angst about what is shaping up to be the third war in the region in two decades.

Man attempts canoe getaway in Halifax

Man attempts ocean getaway in canoe after break-and-enter in Halifax
The Canadian Press

HALIFAX - Halifax police say a man attempted an ocean getaway Wednesday afternoon after allegedly breaking into a home and using a canoe to flee the scene.

A spokeswoman for the police says it's rare for pursuits to occur in the cool waters of the Northwest Arm, especially with the suspect paddling away in an effort to evade arrest.

Theresa Rath says officers sought the assistance of boat owners and were about to launch a chase after the man, but he paddled ashore to a nearby park where officers and a police dog were waiting and arrested him.

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