Canada column for Sunday, May 27/12
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
The student unrest movement in Quebec – where more than 2,500 people have been arrested in what are now daily and often violent protests – is spreading across Canada.
Student groups in Ontario and British Columbia are holding protest gatherings while national labor unions are financially supporting the Quebec uproar over planned tuition fee increases by the provincial government.
Demonstrations in the three-month conflict were capped on Tuesday by a massive gathering estimated at 200,000 students in Montreal where more than 500 arrests were made by riot police.
The U.S. Consulate in Montreal has advised Americans living there and visitors to be wary of being injured or caught up in the violence where students have been smashing windows, damaging property and fighting with police officers.
It also threatens to keep visitors away and disrupt Montreal’s summer festival season, particularly the Grand Prix race and jazz festival.
Protesters have ignored the emergency bill passed by the Quebec Legislature that outlaws unlawful assembly and provides for stiff fines.
The protests have also spread beyond Montreal and Quebec City to smaller cities across the province.
The British Royals visited one of the former “colonies” – Canada – to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
After arriving in St. John, New Brunswick, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, went to Toronto on the Victoria Day holiday on Monday.
There, they took in a fireworks display at a park on Lake Ontario to celebrate the birthday of Charles’ great, great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria.
The couple also visited Regina, Saskatchewan during the three-day trip.
News in brief:
- Winds were pushing a massive forest fire towards Timmins, Ontario where a state-of-emergency was declared on Thursday. Residents were being told to leave the west end of the city of 45,000 people as ashes fell from the sky and smoke filled the area. An evacuation might also be ordered in Kirkland Lake, south of Timmins, due to another wildfire caused by a lightning strike.
- An Ontario artist’s rendering of a nude painting of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sold for its asking price of $5,000. Maggie Sutherland of Kingston called her work, “Emperor Haute Couture.” Created for art’s sake, it depicted a naked Harper reclining on a lounge chair with row of men and a woman in suits looking on. She said the painting was to recreateEdouard Manet's 1863 painting, Olympia.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar continued its retreat in the past week, down to 97.10 cents in U.S. funds on Friday. The U.S. dollar advanced to $1.0298 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 are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,548 points and the TSX Venture index 1,305 points.
Lotto 6-49: (May 23) 2, 3, 7, 13, 32 and 40; bonus 8. (May 19) 14, 17, 21, 27, 37 and 46; bonus 39. Lotto Max: (May 18) 3, 4, 13, 15, 21, 29 and 48; bonus 26.
- A more-secure courtroom has been arranged due to death threats against a man accused in the mass slaughter of nearly 60 “unneeded” sled dogs near Whistler, British Columbia. The trial of Robert Fawcett, former manager of Howling Dog Tours, for animal cruelty will be held in North Vancouver.
- The Ontario government will extend the Highway 407 Toronto-bypass toll road another 13 miles east to Oshawa over the next three years. A consortium based in Spain that operates the existing 65-mile electronic toll highway will receive payments over 30 years from the government to build and maintain the new section, along with one east to the Peterborough area by 2020.
- Timothy Schell, 34, an electrician who came to Toronto from Lloydminster, Alberta to find work, has found a fortune instead. He now plans to buy a new house, classic cars and even get married after winning $50 million tax-free in the Lotto Max draw. Schell said he will be rewarding the gas station attendant who talked him into buying the ticket.