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Catholic Church ignores lessons from Canada

TORONTO, Canada — As a kid, I had no idea how unfortunately common my experience of the Roman Catholic Church would turn out to be. I grew up in the east end of Montreal, a member of a close-knit enclave of Italians in a French-speaking neighborhood near the shores of the St. Lawrence River. On Sundays, we’d gather for mass in the gym of a local school. Around 1970, a parish church was built, partly with donations from every family I knew. It quickly became the cultural, recreational and, of course, religious center of our small community.

Canada's veiled immigration problems

TORONTO, Canada — In Europe and parts of North America, the image of a Muslim woman with a veiled face is increasingly the trigger for anxious debates about national identity.

Harper's hijinks on anthem and budget

Top News: Canadians got quite used to hearing their national anthem in the closing days of the Olympics, in which home-grown athletes won 14 gold medals – the most of any country. But the Harper government decided that familiarity breeds contempt and announced plans in last week’s Throne Speech to rewrite the lyrics of "Oh Canada" in an effort to make it more gender neutral.

Is the pope his brother's keeper?

VATICAN CITY — The two Ratzinger brothers have always stood together. They were both ordained as Catholic priests the same day in the same small German town where they came of age. And they both rose up through the German hierarchy of the Catholic Church, with Joseph eventually joining the Roman Curia and elevated as Pope Benedict XVI, and his brother Georg Ratzinger named a Monsignor.

Canada gold rush in full swing

Striking gold in Quebec

MALARTIC, Canada — Canada’s gold rush is in full swing. It’s boom time in Malartic, a sleepy, one-horse town in northwestern Quebec. Prospectors have struck gold and are digging an open-pit mine of monster proportions. With demand for the precious metal hitting new highs, the mine is expected to bring jobs, people and life to the depressed town (population 4,000). People who were sitting on billions of dollars worth of gold have been uprooted to a new residential area.

A true story?

UPDATE on the Tim Hortons ad. GlobalPost Colombia correspondent Nadja Drost sent along a story about the ad from Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper. It turns out the Tim Hortons ad is based on an amalgamation of characters and the leading man is played by an actor — who was born in Ottawa!

Canadian health care has a dirty secret

TORONTO, Canada — Near the end of the Winter Olympics, the premier of the small province of Newfoundland made a much-anticipated appearance at the Vancouver Games. Danny Williams arrived straight from Florida, where he had gone in early February for heart surgery. It was his first public appearance since igniting a national debate about the quality of Canada’s health care by opting for surgery south of the border. He looked healthy and tanned.

A different take on immigration

I just returned from a week in Canada, where I spent a lot of time watching the Olympics and the accompanying TV ads. Check out this one for Tim Hortons, Canada's ubiquitous national coffee and donuts (and soups and sandwiches) chain: 

Were the Olympics worth it for Vancouver?

VANCOUVER, Canada — Despite the golden glow of the hockey finale, despite the rousing closing ceremonies farewell, there is an ineffable sadness in the streets of Vancouver. And the airport is jammed with tens of thousands of weary people, seemingly desperate to get out of town.
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