Canada column for Sunday, March 17/13
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Justin Trudeau’s dream to one day succeed his late father, Pierre, as Canada’s prime minister appears to be moving a step closer.
Montreal Member of Parliament (MP) Marc Garneau has dropped out of the Liberal leadership race to support Trudeau, 41, saying the outcome of the April 14 vote was “a fait accompli.”
The former astronaut said a poll conducted by his campaign showed Trudeau with the endorsement of 72 percent of Liberals.
Calling Trudeau the “overwhelming favorite,” Garneau was second with 15 percent support followed by Vancouver MP Joyce Murray at 7.4 percent and former Toronto MP Martha Hall Findlay with 5.2 percent.
Garneau’s departure was a surprise to many as he said earlier a “coronation” of Trudeau was not in the party’s best interests.
He also suggested that Trudeau lacked leadership credentials, experience and policy depth.
Calling it “constructive” criticism, Garneau now says Trudeau has “risen to the occasion” and proved an unmatched ability to rally people to the party that dropped to third place in the Commons in the last election.
Also in the race are David Bertschi, Martin Cauchon, Deborah Coyne and Karen McCrimmon.
A review into the “ethnic voter” controversy in British Columbia has found “serious misuse” of government resources by Premier Christy Clark’s government.
The investigation by Clark’s Deputy Minister John Dyble found the line between working for the government and the governing Liberal party was clearly crossed in an effort to win ethnic votes in the upcoming May election.
Dyble called for disciplinary and corrective action against those involved in the plan to woo the voters as outlined in a leaked document.
The scandal has already led to the resignations of Clark’s Deputy Chief of Staff Kim Haakstad, Multiculturalism Minister John Yap and another unidentified person.
Names in the news:
- Peter Penashue has resigned as Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister over ineligible donations he received in the 2011 election. The Labrador politician, who was also president of the Privy Council, was accused of violating Elections Canada rules accepting illegal contributions from corporations. Penashue said he plans to seek re-election.
- Quebec terrorist Paul Rose, who was convicted in 1971 in the murder and kidnapping of then Labor Minister Pierre Laporte, has died at the age of 69. Rose was a leader of the Front du liberation du Quebec as an activist for the province’s independence from Canada and the promotion of French-language rights. He was released from prison after serving 12 years for his involvement in the murder.
- Two police officers have been killed while on duty when their cruisers were involved in collisions. Constable Jennifer Kovach, 26, of Guelph died after her cruiser crashed into a bus on an icy street. Mountie Constable Adrian Oliver, 28, of Surrey, British Columbia died in a crash with a transport truck.
Facts and figures:
Improved employment prospects and higher oil prices helped to push the Canadian dollar up to 98.06 cents U.S. on Friday. The U.S. greenback was worth $1.0197 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s kept its key interest rate steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.
Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 12,834 points and the TSX Venture index down at 1,111 points.
Lotto 6-49: (March 13) 1, 4, 11, 16, 26 and 46; bonus 31. (March 9) 15, 18, 24, 28, 29 and 46; bonus 2. Lotto Max: (March 8) 9, 15, 17, 28, 35, 39 and 41; bonus 36.
- Businessman Paul Magder will make another attempt to have Toronto Mayor Rob Ford removed from office. Magder is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn an Ontario court ruling that allowed Ford to remain as mayor although being involved in a conflict of interest by taking part in a vote in which he had a financial interest.
- The former anti-sealing vessel Farley Mowat has been sold at a sheriff’s sale in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia as it faced $90,000 in unpaid berthing and electrical fees to the province. The aging black vessel named after Mowat, an environmentalist Canadian author, was seized by the Fisheries Department in 2008. It had gotten too close to seal hunters near Cape Breton and collided with a Coast Guard vessel.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com