Vancouver residents will cast their ballots for mayor, council, park board, and school board on November 15. But, for bird lovers, the real election is going on right now.

Until May 10, you can vote for Vancouver's city bird of 2015. There are six worthy contenders, including the Anna’s hummingbird, black-capped chickadee, Pacific wren, pileated woodpecker, and varied thrush.

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.

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.

More than two weeks ago, the B.C. Liberal government announced plans to split the Agricultural Land Reserve into two zones.

The proposal to create Zone 1 (Island, South Coast, and Okanagan) and Zone 2 (Interior, Kootenay, and North) has generated much opposition among farmers, scientists, and local governments.

According to the B.C. Food Systems Network, the government's Bill 24 would "weaken protection for 90 per cent of lands currently in the ALR"—those in Zone 2.

The Vancouver park board oversees more than 230 public parks in the city. But at least one park commissioner has something to say about what's happening to parks at the provincial level.

Vision Vancouver's Niki Sharma, who's seeking a council nomination for the November civic election, has put a motion on the agenda for the park board's Monday (April 14) meeting. It would see the park board state that it is "opposed to the Park Amendment Act and directs staff to write to the Provincial Government to request a reversal of this legislation and to restore the original Park Act to provide better protection to British Columbia’s vital network of park land".

Being an ex-president is tough. You go from running the free world to being a regular joe in the blink of an eye. So what do you do when all the pomp and circumstance is over, when all the cheering stops? 

Andrew Johnson returned to the senate. William Howard Taft became chief justice. Dwight D. Eisenhower raised cattle. Richard Nixon worked to rehabilitate his reputation. Jimmy Carter remained in public service, doing countless good works.

After leaving office, George W. Bush—happy to be out of the limelight, it seems—began painting.

First, it was portraits of family pets (most notably his dog, Barney) and landscapes, but since then the former president has graduated to portraiture.

In the fall of 2011, Occupy Wall Street mobilized citizens to stand up for the 99 percent against the richest one percent. Sparked by a call to action from Vancouver's own Adbusters, the movement against economic inequality and corruption spread from New York City to countries around the world.

Vancouver got in on the action too. Occupy Vancouver grabbed headlines with its controversial tent city at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The local movement drew attention to many issues, particularly homelessness and gentrification. It also took centre stage in that year's civic election.

The last time welfare rates in B.C. went up it was 2007. For employable singles, the monthly rate has remained at $610 for seven years.

On April 1, the Raise the Rates coalition staged a protest called the Tour of Two Cities in order to draw attention to the rich and poor sides of Vancouver.

Starting in the Downtown Eastside, the tour made stops at "rich" locations in the downtown core, including Birks, the Vancouver Club, and the B.C. Liberal Party office.