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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.


   A bizarre case in which a human foot was mailed to the Conservative Party headquarters has led to an international police manhunt for a Montreal porn actor.
   Police are seeking Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, in connection with that as well as with a second package containing a hand that was addressed to the Liberal Party and was found at a post office.
   Investigators said the body parts are from a murdered man's torso found stuffed in a suitcase in a pile of trash. The victim was from Asia and studying at Concordia University, police said.


   News in brief:
   - The Canadian government ordered an end to a week-long strike by CP Rail workers and the appointment of an arbitrator. With negotiations stalled, the government had to act “for the greater good of the economy,” said Labor Minister Lisa Raitt. The main issue in the dispute involving 4,800 engineers and conductors was pension cutbacks.
   - Concessions are being considered by the Quebec government to try to end the often-violent protests by students opposed to university tuition fee increases. Emergency talks are being held in which the government is considering “all sorts of ideas” to resolve the three-month protest, said Finance Minister Raymond Bachand. There is concern the nightly protest marches, in which 2,500 students have been arrested, will harm the economy by keeping summer tourists away from Quebec.
   - A large wildfire that forced 300 people from their homes in Kirkland Lake, Ontario is being blamed on careless campers. The blaze that consumed 6,200 acres was started by a campfire at Beatrice Lake, police said. Rainy weather brought some relief to stopping another forest fire from reaching Timmins, Ontario.


   Facts and figures:
   A decline in oil prices pushed Canada’s dollar lower to 96.26 cents in U.S. funds Friday while the U.S. dollar advanced to $1.0387 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 lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,371 points and the TSX Venture index 1,280 points.
   Lotto 6-49: (May 30) 2, 21, 36, 37, 45 and 47; bonus 15. (May 26) 23, 31, 33, 38, 46 and 49; bonus 17. Lotto Max: (May 25) 1, 2, 3, 6, 12, 20 and 41; bonus 10.


   Regional briefs:
   - Premiers from Canada’s western provinces are supporting Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s vision of a national energy strategy. The plan have the provinces and federal government reduce regulatory measures and expand research and development as well as markets for the country’s energy resources.
   - Hail Caesars, the latest high-profile Las Vegas casino operator is seeking to open a billion-dollar gaming emporium in Toronto. Caesars Entertainment Corp. representatives are seeking to promote “economic development” in a proposed Lake Ontario waterfront casino. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is considering options to expand gaming in the province.
   - Newspapers in Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa are going to lose their Sunday editions as Postmedia cuts back and lays off staff after reporting a net loss of $11.1 million in the first quarter. As well, the company won’t publish a Monday edition of the Toronto-based National Post throughout the summer as it has done in the past three years.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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