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Morning Brew: March 14, 2008

Posted by Sisi / March 14, 2008

Photo: "Converse Corduroy," by Midnight Poutine Flickr pooler Coreyu.

Your morning news roundup for Friday, March 14th, 2008:

What are the most dangerous cities in Canada? You'd think that Montreal and Toronto, with well publicized stories of racial tension and gang violence, would make good candidates. Meeeh -- think again: Montreal is 19th out of 100 and Toronto is 26th. Maclean's ranked only the 100 largest cities and regions in Canada (those with a population of 50,000 and over) and found that Regina, Saskatchewan is the #1 most dangerous place in the country. The results are based on 2006 per capita crime rates from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. They take into account six crimes: murder, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery, breaking and entering, and auto theft. The Vancouver Board of Trade warns that only about a third of actual crimes are reported to police. Some Quebec stats: You are more likely to get your car stolen in Joliette than anywhere in the United States; Arthabaska is 2006's murder city, despite being ranked 21st overall; and, happily, the region of Maskoutains (which includes St-Hyacinthe) is the second safest place in Canada.

The Brits have determined that moms who stop smoking while pregnant tend to have "cheerier, more adaptable babies." Women who don't quit have grumpier and more temperamental babes; heavy smokers end up with the most difficult children. The team behind the study is led by Dr. Kate Pickett of the University of York. Researchers followed 18,000 British babies born between 2000 and 2002 and questioned mothers about their babies' dispositions. Participants were divided into light smokers, heavy smokers, never-smokers, or quitters.

It's not as exciting as angry babies or murderous cities, but the possibility of a spring provincial election has been averted. Quebec's minority Liberal government tabled a $62.9 billion budget yesterday that got the ADQ's support. The new plan is aimed at boosting the economy, as well as helping seniors and families. Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget emphasized the need for "spending restraint and fiscal responsibility." Health continues to occupy most of the province's expenses with $25.4 billion. Several budget measures cater to demands made by the opposition, which had "a lot of impact" on its content and probably on avoiding an election. At the time this post was written, the PQ still hadn't decided whether to support the budget; party members met yesterday night for discussions.

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