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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Activists plan to expand occupations to Canadian cities

   Canada column published on Sunday, Oct. 9/11
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   THE CANADIAN REPORT
  (c) By Jim Fox

   Activists are planning to occupy financial districts in major Canadian cities over fears of another recession.
   A group known as Occupy Toronto Market Exchange said the protests against “financial greed” will begin Oct. 15.
   They would be similar to protests by activists camped out on Wall Street in New York City.
   So far, the group has organized a gathering in downtown Toronto next weekend, with a protest march on Oct. 17 when the stock exchange opens.
   The group’s website also suggests plans to occupy the stock exchange offices as well as those of the central Bank of Canada.
   “We will not be leaving the TSX (stock exchange) -- not after 7 days, not after 30 days,” an organizer said.
   The group is also planning occupations in cities including Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.


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   Ontario voters gave the Liberals a cautious victory in Thursday’s provincial election as the party fell one member short of forming a majority government.
   Dalton McGuinty is the first Liberal premier in more than 100 years to be re-elected to a third term, even though this time it’s with a minority – or coalition – government.
   McGuinty said his government will continue to concentrate on the economy and job-creation.
   There will be 19 fewer Liberals in the new government with 53 elected,  joining 37 Conservatives and 17 members of the New Democratic Party.
   In Alberta, Alison Redford was elected leader of the Conservative party and will succeed Premier Ed Stelmach who is resigning.
   She won an upset victory over Gary Mar, said to be the favorite, and former deputy premier Doug Horner.

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   News in brief:
   - Even though the federal government broke the rules when it set up a G8 Summit legacy fund and spent $50 million, the case is closed. Interim auditor general John Wiersema said there is no point of further audits since there is no paper trail to follow. The government spent millions on beautification projects in Treasury Board President Tony Clement’s district before last year’s summit of world leaders and wasn’t “transparent and accountable.”
   - The Roman Catholic Congregation of Holy Cross has agreed to pay up to $18 million in compensation for sexual abuse committed in Quebec. The organization will also issue an apology and financially compensate victims for abuses at three religious institutions over the past 50 years. The out-of-court agreement resulted after four victims threatened a class-action lawsuit.

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   Facts and figures:
   There are signs Canada’s economy is picking up as the jobless rate dropped last month to 7.1 percent, the lowest in almost three years, down from 7.3 percent.
   During the month, 60,900 new jobs were created after a decline of 5,500 jobs in August.
   The Canadian dollar is higher at 96.85 cents U.S. as the U.S. greenback returns $1.0326 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 1 percent while the prime lending rate is steady at 3 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,717 points and the TSX Venture Exchange at 1,483 points.
   Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 7, 10, 13, 19, 26 and 29; bonus 23. (Oct. 1) 8, 15, 24, 25, 30 and 35; bonus 13. Lotto Max: (Sept. 30) 5, 6, 7, 12, 14, 18 and 25; bonus 38.

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   Regional briefs:
   - Vancouver police want the British Columbia government to allow officers to search passengers boarding public transit for liquor to prevent future downtown riots. Deputy Chief Doug LePard said the expanded searches would only happen during major events. It follows a report about a drunken riot and millions in damage last June 15 during the final Stanley Cup hockey game.
   - Ten workers were hurt, one critically, in an explosion at a crude oil refinery in Regina caused by a pipe leaking diesel fuel and hydrogen gas. Flames and smoke billowed from the Consumers’ Co-operative Refineries plant where 1,450 people were working.
   - The rapidly deteriorating Champlain Bridge, linking downtown Montreal with the south shore across the St. Lawrence River, is to be replaced. Transport Minister Denis Lebel said the work could take as long as 10 years and cost $5 billion. It will create 30,000 jobs and be paid for by a reinstituted toll system, he added. As Canada’s busiest bridge, it handles 160,000 vehicles daily.

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Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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