Canada briefs – January 17

The CRTC is proposing a regulatory change that would give Canadian TV and radio stations more leeway to broadcast false or misleading news.

CRTC proposes easing ban on misleading news

OTTAWA — The CRTC is proposing a regulatory change that would give Canadian TV and radio stations more leeway to broadcast false or misleading news.

Current regulations contain a blanket prohibition on broadcasting “any false or misleading news.”

The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission wants to considerably narrow the scope of that prohibition.

It is proposing to ban broadcasters from knowingly airing false or misleading news which is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.

Communications law expert Michael Geist says the proposed ban is far too limited, doing nothing to address all kinds of harm that can be caused by false news, other than to life and limb.

The CRTC says the change was requested by a parliamentary committee which feared the current sweeping prohibition was too broad and vague and wouldn’t stand up to a challenge under the Charter of Rights.

Search engine dedicated to Canadian history

OTTAWA — Call it the Google of Canadian history.

An ambitious new search engine has been launched to allow one-stop searching for centuries of Canadian history.

The Canadiana Discovery Portal combs through more than 60 million pages of information from 14 different institutions.

Ron Walker of says only a fraction of Canada’s history has actually been converted into a digital format.

But he says it is essential for both the preservation and access to Canadian history.

Canadian charged with rape in U.S.

HAMILTON, Ont. — An Ontario man has been arrested and charged in the U.S. with the rape of a 16-year-old girl he met online.

Police in New Paltz, N.Y. say Stephen T. Rodgers first met the girl on a social networking site and then drove from Canada to meet her.

The pair checked into a New Paltz motel where police allege they engaged in “sexual contact” considered inappropriate due to the girl’s age.

Police were called to a reported disturbance at the hotel Saturday evening and arrived to find the victim’s mother looking for her daughter.

Thirty-two-year-old Rodgers, who is from Hamilton, Ont., has been charged with rape in the third degree, which is considered a felony in the U.S. He was arraigned and remanded to the Ulster County Jail on $950 cash bail and is to return to court Jan. 18.

Search for missing woman suspended

STE-ANNE-DE-SOREL, Que. — The search for a Quebec woman who disappeared after the all-terrain vehicle she was riding plunged into the St. Lawrence River, has been suspended and will resume Monday.

Quebec provincial police say the 53-year-old woman from Ste-Anne-de-Sorel, about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal, was riding an ATV with a man Saturday evening when they fell through the ice.

A witness managed to pull the man to safety, but was unable to reach the woman.

The rescued man suffered hypothermia and was brought to hospital.

A search team discovered the ATV on Sunday, but found no sign of the woman before nightfall.

Police say the divers remain hopeful they’ll be able to find her on Monday.