Our correspondent Emily McDonald-Longworth reports from Fan Expo Vancouver (aka FanExpo West), running this weekend until Sunday (April 20):

Day one (April 18) was spent mostly exploring the convention centre to see what we could find. Merchandise and celebrities were top of the list. There are endless opportunities to photograph cosplayers, and you find yourself bumping into a lot of voice actors.

We met both Megan Fahlenbock and Christian Potenza, the voices of Jen Masterson and Jude Lizowski, respectively, from the popular kid's animated TV series 6teen. They sounded exactly like their characters, apparently without even trying.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's wife Laureen was confronted with a challenging question as she welcomed guests to the International Cat Video Festival in Toronto.

Hailey King, who's been associated in the past with the ShitHarperDid project, interrupted the cat-ear clad prime minister's wife.

"Mrs. Harper, raising awareness about cat welfare is a good look for your husband's upcoming campaign strategy," King said. "Don't you think supporting an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women in this country would be a better look for your husband's upcoming campaign strategy?"

Laureen Harper responded that if King would like to donate to animals, this would be welcomed.

Toronto mayor Rob Ford often brags about how he takes calls from voters and fixes their problems.

But a new ad by one of his mayoral-race opponents, Olivia Chow, challenges that assertion.

A woman who is only identified as "Laura" claims that she phoned Ford 20 times about transit issues and never once received a call back.

Ford isn't the first politician to claim that he addresses citizens' problems after they've ignored by the bureaucracy.

In this regard, he has something in common with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Femen leader Anna Hutsol has posted an artistic video on YouTube entitled Women Spring Is Coming.

It's age-restricted, but can't be described as pornographic.

In the video, another Femen leader, Inna Shevchenko, declares that she and her colleagues in the international feminist group are in a war for civil rights.

She implores viewers to help her group allow women to hear their "scream of freedom".

Femen was founded in Ukraine in 2008 and has focused a great deal of attention on Russian president Vladimir Putin's antigay legislation.

The group also opposes the Catholic Church's stance on same-sex marriage and patriarchy in all of its manifestations.

“The elephant in the room” is a phrase that refers to a thing so obvious it goes without saying.

In a new play about British street artist Banksy and how he made an American street person that much more homeless…the thing that goes without saying in the play is its real-life homeless central character.

And that, it seems to me, just adds insult to the original injury.

The play, called The Room in the Elephant, by playwright Tom Wainwright, fictionalizes the true story of how Tachowa Covington, an American street artist in Santa Monica, built a life for himself on the margins of society.

The makers of the Cheerios breakfast cereal, and

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Toronto mayor Rob Ford has launched his reelection campaign by promising to cut the cost of government, keep down taxes, and eliminate red tape.

"I promise you, Rob Ford will have your back for the next four years," he stated.

He also alluded to the blizzard of negative publicity related to him lying about smoking crack.

"More seriously, there has been some rocky moments over the past year," Ford acknowledged. "I have experienced how none of us can go through life without making mistakes. And when they occur, we learn a lot about ourselves: humility, the kindness of people, and the spirit of second chances."

Ford Nation fanatics—and those train-wreck watchers who can't get their fill of the Toronto mayor—can see his entire speech below.

Every weekday, the Straight highlights a great local shot as the Photo of the Day. Interested in submitting your photos for consideration? Check out our Flickr group.

I recently stumbled across this video of lighter moments with Canucks head coach John Tortorella.

Made two months ago, it was clearly designed to soften fans' concerns about Tortorella's anger-management issues.

In the big-money world of professional sports, it's not surprising that an NHL franchise would engage in this type of public-relations exercise.

But what took me aback is that it has now become a paid ad on YouTube.

Perhaps it's an  indication that the Canucks plan on keeping Torts around for another season, notwithstanding this year's dismal results.

Canadian film has achieved a record at the Cannes Film Festival.

For the first time, three Canadian films will vie for the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The films—by some of Canada's best-known auteurs: David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, and Xavier Dolan—will compete against 15 other selections.

Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, which stars Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, and Mia Wasikowska, is a ghost story that also serves as a critique of L.A.'s celebrity obsession.

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