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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Canadian government aims to shoot down long-gun registry

   Canada column published on Sunday, Oct. 30/11


   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Canadian government is taking aim at the “costly and ineffective” long-gun registry.
   “We don’t want laws that target law-abiding citizens, hunters and sports shooters,” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said while announcing a bill to abolish the list.
   The Conservative government has never been in favor of the registry of owners of rifles and shotguns started by a previous Liberal government and plans to destroy the seven-million files.
   With more than $1 billion spent to establish and maintain the registry, the government believes it has done little to fight crime and the money would have been better used to hire more police officers.

   Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control, said murders with rifles and shotguns have plummeted “as we strengthen controls” such as the registry.
   Statistics Canada said the decrease in firearms-related homicides factored in an overall drop in the country’s murder rate to pre-1966 levels.
   There were 554 reported murders last year, or 1.62 per 100,000 people, down from 610 slayings in 2009.


   As the Occupy Toronto economic protesters remain camped out in the downtown financial district, sympathizers are warning they will hack the Toronto Stock Exchange’s computer systems.
   A YouTube video claiming to be the group known as “Anonymous” vows to "erase" the exchange from the Internet on Nov. 7.
   "The one percent have been putting their wealth into the Toronto Stock Exchange,” it said, adding: “This is why we choose to declare war against the Toronto Stock Exchange.”


   News in brief:
   - The TD Bank predicts it will take two years longer than initially forecast for the federal government to balance its books. Bank economists said it could take until 2016-17 to eliminate the deficit that was a record $33.4 billion last year largely due to stimulus spending. “Investors and markets should remain confident that a medium-term plan is firmly in place to return to surplus,” the report said.
   - Canada’s colorful currency is going plastic, starting with $100 bills next month. The new polymer 100s feature two portraits of Robert Borden who was prime minister from 1911 to 1920 and an image of a researcher on the reverse. New $50 bills will follow in March and the rest by the end of 2013 in polymer with added security features in a bid to thwart counterfeiters.


   Facts and figures:
   Optimism over a plan to counter the European debt crisis pushed Canada’s dollar and stock markets higher.
   The dollar has climbed back above parity against the U.S. currency. It returned $1.0073 U.S. on Friday while the U.S. greenback was worth 99.28 cents Canadian, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime lending rate is 3 percent.
   Stock markets advanced, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,483 points and the TSX Venture Exchange 1,612 points.
   Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 1, 2, 38, 39, 40 and 49; bonus 44. (Oct. 22) 8, 18, 20, 30, 32 and 46; bonus 22. Lotto Max: (Oct. 21) 6, 23, 27, 30, 34, 38 and 45; bonus 21.


   Regional briefs:
   - A redistribution of House of Commons seats will increase the number of representatives from four provinces by 30 to reflect population growth. The government plans to give 15 additional seats to Ontario, six more to British Columbia, six to Alberta and three to Quebec. It would expand the 308-seat chamber in time for the election in 2015.
   - Nine people were injured when a small plane returning to the Vancouver International Airport crashed and burned beside a highway in Richmond. A wing of the plane clipped a car as it went down short of a runway on Russ Baker Way and debris hit a pedestrian. The pilot of the Kelowna-bound plane had reported an unspecified problem.
   - The traditionally Mennonite city of Steinbach – the last “dry” community in Manitoba – is getting its first bars and cocktail lounges. Residents voted to loosen liquor laws in the city of 11,000 people that didn’t have a liquor store until 2008, five years after restaurants could serve liquor with meals. This could lead to “drunk people” staggering down the street or getting behind the wheel of a car, warned former mayor Les Magnusson.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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