Canada

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A contender in the race to become leader of Newfoundland and Labrador's Progressive Conservative party has announced he is dropping out, likely clearing the way for a coronation of the one remaining candidate.

Bill Barry issued a statement early Thursday that outlined his reasons for abandoning the bid and deciding to return to private business, saying he made the decision after what he described as serious personal reflection.

TORONTO - Canadians may have some commitment issues when it comes to their jobs, according to a new poll by employment website Workopolis.

The online survey found that about half (51 per cent) of those polled said they had been in the same job for less than two years, while 30 per cent said they had held one job for more than four years.

That compared with survey results from 1990-2000 where just 16 per cent reported holding that same job for less than two years, and fully 60 per cent who said they had been in the same job for more than four years.

Rain, melting snow and ice jams forced waters in parts of Eastern Canada to rise Wednesday, submerging roads, filling basements and prompting hundreds to be evacuated from their homes as officials told people to prepare in case they had to seek higher ground.

From Atlantic Canada to Ontario, rivers overflowed and in some cases, water levels rose to heights some said they hadn't seen in years. Many roads were flooded and in New Brunswick, the RCMP urged people not to attempt driving through those areas.

CALGARY - As a funeral director, Ernie Hagel knows how to deal with death.

But the loss of a promising employee — one of five young people stabbed to death in Calgary's worst mass murder — has hit him hard.

Jordan Segura, 23, worked part time for McGinnis and Holloway Funeral Homes while majoring in religious studies at the University of Calgary.

He was at a house party celebrating the last day of classes when he was killed early Tuesday. The son of a senior Calgary police officer has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

OTTAWA - Police have charged a 19-year-old man from London, Ont., in connection with the loss of taxpayer data from the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes was arrested at his residence Tuesday and is charged with unauthorized use of a computer and mischief in relation to data, the RCMP said Wednesday.

A search of the residence resulted in the seizure of computer equipment.

Solis-Reyes is a computer science student at Western University, a spokesman for the university said. He is scheduled to appear in court in Ottawa on July 17.

TORONTO - A Canadian flight simulator business fired an instructor who figured prominently in CNN's coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, saying he showed up late to his regular job and "shamed Canadians" by dressing like a teenager.

uFly company owner Claudio Teixeira said he fired Mitchell Casado on Wednesday in part for his refusal to dress professionally and making Canadians "look very bad all over the world."

Casado's relaxed style of jeans and plaid shirts attracted attention during CNN's constant coverage of the search for the missing flight.

REGINA - A 15-year-old boy is facing charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon after four people were injured in a stabbing at a mall in downtown Regina.

Police say a teenager entered the Cornwall Centre on Tuesday evening armed with a knife and began randomly attacking people who were nearby.

Deputy police chief Bob Morin says police don't know what prompted the attack.

"This was a very spontaneous, unpredictable event," Morin said Wednesday at a news conference at police headquarters.

WASHINGTON - The Keystone XL pipeline issue has created a tiff between a former U.S. president and the Canadian government.

The Prime Minister's Office reacted swiftly Wednesday to a letter signed by Nobel laureates, including Jimmy Carter, urging President Barack Obama to reject the pipeline.

Carter is the first former president to come out against Keystone XL.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office responded with a warning: Remember 1979.

LAC BROCHET, Man. - Mounties say a 10-year-old girl has been killed by two dogs in a remote community in northern Manitoba.

Thompson RCMP say it happened on Tuesday around 6 p.m. in Lac Brochet, a fly-in community nearly 900 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

A 10-year-old girl was rushed to rushed to the local nursing station, where she was pronounced deceased.

Police say residents of the community killed two large dogs of unknown breed.

The dogs belonged to a Lac Brochet resident, but the girl did not know them.

Police say the girl's name will not be released.

KITCHENER, Ont. - An Ontario woman who had been accused of poisoning eight children and an adult with eyedrops has pleaded guilty in four of the cases.

Brendan Crawley of the attorney general’s ministry says Christine Allen, 32, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Kitchener, Ont., to four counts of administering a noxious substance with intent to cause bodily harm.

The judge accepted the resolution jointly proposed by the Crown and defence, and Allen was sentenced to six years in prison less time in pretrial custody, leaving four years and 11 months to be served.

TORONTO - Jim Flaherty was remembered Wednesday with equal measures of laughter and tears as Canada's political elite gathered to set aside their partisan differences and pay their final respects to the former finance minister.

Mourners donned green scarves, a tribute to Flaherty's Irish heritage, inside the majestic St. James Anglican cathedral in downtown Toronto as they celebrated the diminutive, combative politician, who died of a heart attack last week at the age of 64.

MONTREAL - A former Transport Quebec engineer says he was routinely bribed by construction and engineering firms in exchange for help with lucrative government contracts.

Guy Hamel told the Charbonneau Commission on Wednesday he accepted numerous gifts and favours in exchange for favourable decisions from his position on a selection committee for government contracts.

He also helped firms through his role as a project manager for provincial works projects.

MONTREAL - Former Liberal deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau is rejecting allegations she helped an engineering firm obtain a lucrative contract to build a water treatment plant in exchange for fundraising donations.

Normandeau, who served in the post under Jean Charest, says she is willing to meet with investigators from the Charbonneau Commission corruption inquiry and Quebec's anti-corruption police squad.

QUEBEC - Pauline Marois bid a tearful goodbye to politics on Wednesday, saying she has no regrets and that Quebecers will always fight to get a country.

In a political career that spanned more than 30 years, Marois held various cabinet positions before becoming premier in 2012 with a minority Parti Quebecois government.

Her stewardship of the province as Quebec's first female premier would last just 18 months.

On Wednesday, she met with incoming premier Philippe Couillard, whose Liberals romped to victory in last week's election with 70 of the province's 125 seats.

OTTAWA - NATO has laid out plans to beef up its presence in eastern Europe, and Canada is noticeably absent from the list of countries that have acknowledged they'll send military forces.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the alliance's secretary general, said Wednesday it will deploy additional air, sea and land forces to former East Bloc countries in response to the worsening crisis in Ukraine.

OTTAWA - Nothing to see here, move along.

That was gist of the response Canada's information commissioner received when, during the course of a recent investigation, she asked the Department of Public Works for a series of emails sent by political staff.

The same thing happened when deputy Liberal leader Ralph Goodale asked for documents on the Senate expenses scandal from the Privy Council Office. He too was looking for emails involving a political staff member.

OTTAWA - Public-opinion research contracted by Ottawa suggests the pro-resource-development Conservative government has not yet convinced Canadians of the national benefits of the energy industry.

Two polling companies conducted cross-country focus groups last fall — in addition to one large national poll — and reported a common theme: most Canadians just don't see what's in it for them.

MONTREAL - A judge ruled Wednesday that the accused in Quebec's 2012 election night shooting should have access to a state-funded lawyer.

Justice Guy Cournoyer said the court believes having proper legal counsel with funding advanced by the province is as much in Richard Henry Bain's interest as it is in the public's.

Cournoyer said that while Bain, 63, is currently unable to pay for a lawyer, he has offered to reimburse the province in the future for his legal fees.

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's first-ever televised criminal proceeding Wednesday offered viewers a striking contrast — explicit facts about a violent relationship presented in a staid, formal manner.

Cassandra Knott was acquitted of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of her abusive husband, Orzias Knott, as a television camera focused for 45 minutes on Court of Queen's Bench Justice Shane Perlmutter.

TORONTO - A selection of quotes from Wednesday's funeral tributes to former finance minister Jim Flaherty.

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"As a human being, he was the complete package." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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"What a sad time this is in the life of our country." — Harper

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"Jim was driven by conviction, of loyalty to the cause and of duty to the country. He believed he had taken on a responsibility for all of our families, not just his own, and he was prepared to make sacrifices — ultimately, although he did not know it, to sacrifice himself." — Harper

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TORONTO - Here is a text of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's tribute at the funeral of former finance minister Jim Flaherty, as provided by the Prime Minister's Office:

Gov. Gen. Johnston, Lt. Gov. Onley, colleagues from the Parliament of Canada, distinguished representatives of the diplomatic corps and of provincial and municipal government, acquaintances and admirers of The Honourable Jim Flaherty from across the country, dear friends.

As I said last week, what a sad time this is in the life of our country.

TORONTO - Out-of-pocket health expenses rose sharply from 1997 to 2009, with low-income households taking the hardest hit, a new study from Statistics Canada reveals.

Low-income households saw their health-care-related costs rise by 63 per cent over that period, compared to an increase of between 36 and 48 per cent for higher earners, the report says.

In 2009, households with the lowest incomes spent about $1,000 on health care, compared to almost $3,000 for top earners.

NEWMARKET, Ont. - A woman accused in the killing of her mother and attempted murder of her father during an apparent home invasion told police she could not explain why the intruders didn't shoot her, court heard Wednesday.

In a videotaped statement played for court, Jennifer Pan denied telling a relative the attackers liked her and said the outcome baffled her.

"Why didn't they shoot you?" Det. William Goetz asked.

"I don't know. They kept saying I co-operated and shut up. I don't understand it, no," Pan said, her voice breaking.

OTTAWA - Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says he has not ruled out a future cut to interest rates despite evidence disinflationary pressures appear to be waning and his belief that the global and Canadian recoveries are picking up steam.

"We are neutral, that mean's a rate cut cannot be taken off the table at this stage," Poloz said during a news conference Wednesday. "It will depend on the data flow."

Poloz made the comment after the central bank decided to keep its trendsetting overnight rate at one per cent, where it has been since September 2010.

TORONTO - It's "outrageously irresponsible" for celebrities like Jenny McCarthy to encourage parents not to immunize their children against potentially deadly diseases, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews said Wednesday.

McCarthy, currently co-host of talk show The View, has been vocal about her belief that vaccines can cause autism in children like her son — a claim largely based on a research paper that has since been denounced as fraudulent.

"The science is very clear," said Matthews.