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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Canadian government nixes Kyoto Protocol to avoid penalties

   Canada column for Sunday, Dec. 18/11


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s Conservative government has pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s binding climate treaty, to avoid paying $14 billion in penalties.
   Environment Minister Peter Kent said the penalties for Canada not achieving its targets would cost thousands of jobs with no impact on emissions or the environment.
   Instead, Canada is looking for a new global deal to force all countries to lower greenhouse-gas emissions.
   The announcement by Kent to invoke Canada’s “legal right” to withdraw came after his return from United Nations climate talks in South Africa.
   The talks resulted in an agreement to establish a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol by 2015.
   Russia and Japan also refused to continue with the protocol while Kent said he expected others to also withdraw.
   Environmental groups and opposition politicians condemned Canada’s action on Kyoto signed in in the late 1990s by a former Liberal government.


   The socialist New Democratic Party’s hopes of capitalizing on recent support in Quebec have waned.
   A Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll said the party’s support in the province has plunged to 26 percent, tied with the separatist Bloc Quebecois.
   That’s down 16 points since the party swept 59 of Quebec’s 75 Commons seats in last May’s federal election.
   A major factor in the decline was the death of the charismatic party leader Jack Layton in late August who was a popular figure in Quebec.
   Across Canada, the poll showed the Conservatives at 34 percent, New Democrats 28, the Liberals, 22 and the Green Party, seven.


   News in brief:
   - Canada’s Parliament has passed a bill to expand the House of Commons by 30 seats to give fairer representation to the fastest-growing provinces. If passed by the Senate, it would expand the Commons to 338 seats for the next election in 2015. The Opposition parties opposed the bill to give Ontario 15 more Members of Parliament and British Columbia and Alberta, six more each, while Quebec would add three more.
   - A crackdown on rival street gangs resulted in raids involving 900 police officers across Canada. Firearms, ammunition, drug money and other items were seized and 60 people arrested in the “Project Marvel” raids in Toronto and across Ontario as well as Calgary and Surrey, British Columbia.
   - Sum Ying Fung, Canada’s oldest person, has died in British Columbia at age 112. She was born in a Chinese village and came to Canada in 1932, settling in Vancouver. Fung’s secret to a long life is to “eat anything, eat everything and always drink boiled water to avoid infection from germs.”


   Facts and figures:
   The Canadian dollar has dropped to 96.74 cents U.S. while the U.S. greenback gained to $1.0337 in Canadian funds, 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 are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,606 points and the TSX Venture Exchange at 1,425 points.
   Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 13, 20, 22, 29, 32 and 33; bonus 16. (Dec. 10­) 3, 7, 15, 35, 36 and 40; bonus 13. Lotto Max: (Dec. 9) 3, 11, 18, 19, 23, 27 and 44; bonus 46.


   Regional briefs:
   - Prince George, British Columbia has been named Canada's most dangerous city for a second year by Maclean’s newsmagazine. The finding is based on its population of 75,000 and statistics showing seven murders, four aggravated sexual assaults and 343 other assaults last year. Mountie Superintendent Eric Stubbs says he believes the city is safe despite being known for gangs and the “Highway of Tears’ where several women have gone missing.
   - A suburban Toronto man who led police on a five-hour televised chase around Southern Ontario in a stolen flatbed truck has been banned from driving for life and sentenced to two years in jail. Jason Meadus, 40, of Brampton, was convicted of failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving without a license and theft. The chase involved 30 police cruisers over 270 miles from the Niagara Falls area to Toronto and back.
   - Nova Scotia lobster fishermen want the Royal Canadian Navy to keep their patrol frigates away from their traps. Exercise manoeuvers off Peggy’s Cove can tear up their traps, said fisherman Anslie Hubley. A Navy official said they always watch out for fishing gear and try to avoid hitting the lines.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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