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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Justin Trudeau touted as possible Canadian leader, just like dad

   Canada column for Sunday, June 24/12


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Might there some day be another Trudeau leading Canada?
   With the Liberals looking for a new leader, polls indicate Canadians would be almost twice as likely to vote for the party with Justin Trudeau as the leader.
   Now that interim leader Bob Rae surprisingly said he will not seek the job, pressure is mounting on the Montreal politician who is the eldest son of the late former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.
   Trudeau, 40, would attract 33 percent of the vote according to a Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll – far more drawing power than other Liberals.
   The poll showed that former astronaut and Montreal politician Marc Garneau was a distant second at 18 percent to Trudeau, the highest profile federal Liberal in Canada.
   There are no official contenders so far as the Liberals seek to rebuild from a devastating federal election loss last year that put them third behind the governing Conservatives and the New Democrats.
   Even with Trudeau, the poll found that 67 percent of respondents would be “unlikely” to vote Liberal, with the number rising to 82 percent to 89 percent with another leader.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

European debt-ridden countries can learn from Canada: Prime Minister Stephen Harper

   Canada column for Sunday, June 17/12


   (c) By Jim Fox

   European countries need to adopt the “Canadian approach” in dealing with looming political and economic turmoil, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says.
   That’s the message Harper is taking to world leaders at the G20 economic summit in Los Cabos, Mexico on Monday and Tuesday.
   Should Greek voters reject tough austerity measures set out in a financial rescue plan in a government election on Sunday, the stage could be set for the country’s exit from the bloc of nations using the euro currency.
   Canada’s message is that “economic growth and fiscal discipline are not mutually exclusive, they go hand in hand,” Harper said.
   The government is suggesting Canadians didn’t experience a financial, banking or a real estate meltdown as in other countries due to its “strong record” of fiscal discipline.
   That allowed Canada to “quickly put in place extensive, effective stimulus measures when they counted the most,” Harper said.
   “We had budget surpluses and a low and falling debt burden when the crisis hit,” he said, adding: “It is one reason we have weathered the economic crisis so much better than many others.”

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Protesting students aim to disrupt Montreal Grand Prix

   Canada column for Sunday, June 10/12


   (c) By Jim Fox

   “Go back to school,” Canadian racing legend Jacques Villeneuve told protesting Quebec students trying to disrupt this weekend’s Grand Prix in Montreal.
   The Formula 1 races that attract 300,000 people and up to $90 million in revenues to Montreal are a target for the coalition of radical students opposing university tuition-fee increases.
   Police clashed with protesters – in their fourth month of a strike and now-daily rallies – trying to disrupt the opening Grand Prix red-carpet event when 37 people were arrested.
   Villeneuve told reporters the student movement has been damaging to Quebec society and “makes no sense.”
   Student protesters, now joined by those opposed to the “practices of global capitalism,” want people to jam the subway line going to the island in the St. Lawrence River where the big race is held on Sunday.
   One event was cancelled earlier – an open house in the pit area to view the cars and meet with drivers and mechanics.
   “When you attack the Grand Prix, you're not attacking the Government of Quebec but all Quebecers,” Premier Jean Charest said, appealing for calm.
   The government wants to raise tuition fees from the lowest in Canada by about $254 a year over seven years to $3,800 a year.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Canada has baby boomers' boom and baby boom, too

   Canada column for Sunday, June 3/12


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada is booming, not just with “baby boomers,” but babies as well.
   While new census data shows Canada demographic is graying with more seniors, there is also a burst in the number for children younger than five.
   There’s somewhat of a baby boom, an increase of 11 percent, reversing a declining trend.
   The country’s median age has risen to 40.6 from 39.5 five years ago and from 33.5 two decades ago.
   Record numbers of Canadians at or nearing 65 will “accelerate” population aging over the next 20 years, said Laurent Martel of Statistics Canada.
   In the past five years, the number of seniors has surged to nearly five million, up 14.1 percent.
   With three out of 10 Canadians in the near-senior category, it will have far-reaching implications for health, finance, policy and family relationships, statisticians said.
   The second-fastest growing age group is 100 and older, with 5,825 people and is expected to rise to 17,000 by 2031 and to 80,000 by 2061.