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Loan the Podium

 Top News: One could be forgiven for believing that for the past two weeks, in Canada, nothing else has happened other than the Olympics.  

Olympic chest-beating: Deadly or just poor taste?

TORONTO, Canada — From the moment of its birth five years ago, the so-called Own the Podium Olympic program smacked of something un-Canadian. The goal, set by the Canadian Olympic Committee, was to dominate the Vancouver Winter Games and win more medals than any other country. Canadians like winning as much as anyone. But operation Own the Podium suggested a brashness more suited to our American neighbors. Loudly proclaiming world domination violates a Canadian sense of modesty and proportion.

Olympic fever takes hold

Top News: After years of planning and months of hype, including a torch relay that covered almost every corner of Canada, the Vancouver Winter Olympics get underway this weekend in what many Canadians hope will be one of this country’s brightest moments.

The last flight to Port-au-Prince

QUEBEC CITY, Canada — Sometimes, the difference between life and death is almost too absurd for words. Just ask Martine Garneau. Garneau lives with her black Labrador in a modest bungalow, in a suburb of historic Quebec City near the Montmorency Falls, which are higher than the famous ones in Niagara. It’s the house she grew up in.

Life in Canada's contraband country

KAHNAWAKE, Canada — Bad blood flows down the river separating Montreal from Kahnawake. Recent moves by the Mohawk reservation to evict non-native residents have dredged up old animosities, some of which run extremely deep. From the other side of the icy Saint Lawrence River, the tiny, but feisty reservation — population 7,500 — is seen as a seething morass of tobacco and drugs smuggling, where natives rub shoulders with gangsters.

Olympic gold takes backseat to green

VANCOUVER, Canada — Once upon a time it took a village to stage the Winter Olympics. The Winter Games were actually preferred by many insiders who experienced both Olympics, providing a delightful contrast to the bigger, flashier, celebrity-saturated Summer Games that were most always held in the world’s glamour capitals.

Canada boosts Arctic marine vigilance against US, Russia and China

Top News: Stephen Harper used his down time after proroguing Parliament on Dec. 30 to prepare for a big economic push while also shutting down the opposition inquiries into allegations of torture in Afghanistan of prisoners who had been turned over to local authorities by Canadian soldiers.

Canada's spin on "homegrown" extremism

TORONTO, Canada — A man found guilty of Canada’s biggest terrorist conspiracy since the 9/11 attacks seems to have given new meaning to the term “homegrown” extremist. Shareef Abdelhaleem was found guilty last week of being a key player in a plot for mass murder on the streets of downtown Toronto, Canada’s financial capital. The twist comes from evidence that Abdelhaleem’s inspiration did not solely come from extremist interpretations of Islam. It also came, the court heard, from the practices of high-rolling Wall Street investors.

Canadians no longer swoon for Obama

TORONTO, Canada — Almost a year ago — when U.S. President Barack Obama came to Canada and said, “I love this country” — it seemed the collective swoon would last forever. But a year in politics, as the cliche goes, is a lifetime. Not that Obama now leaves Canadians cold — far from it. It’s hard to overstate just how reviled George W. Bush and his administration was here. It will take more than a year before Canadians stop being grateful to the man who threw Bush’s ilk out of office.

Harper shuts Parliament again

Top News: For eight years, Canadians have watched as the bodies of dead soldiers have returned home from the battlefields of Afghanistan with quiet reserve. But as news circulated New Year’s Eve that four soldiers and a well-respected rising star in Canadian journalism had died in a massive explosion in what was considered a safe part of the country brought with it uncharacteristic outpourings of emotion and renewed debate over whether Canada should still be there.  
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