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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Two Canadian warships back in British Columbia for repairs after a collision in the Pacific

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 8/13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Royal Canadian Navy has ordered an inquiry into what caused the collision of two warships in the Pacific.
   Something went “dramatically wrong” during a routine training exercise involving the HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Protecteur, said Commodore Bob Auchterlonie.
   It happened during a towing exercise while en route to Hawaii, with the Algonquin bearing the brunt of the damage.
   It had a large gash in the hangar along the port side while the Protecteur had damage to its front end.
   “There is an inherent risk of ships operating together at sea in close proximity, but this sort of incident I've not come across in my career,” Auchterlonie said.
   There were no injuries among the 300 sailors on board each of the ships that have returned to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, near Victoria, for repairs.
   The incident has compromised Canada’s naval readiness on the West Coast as a third ship, the frigate HMCS Winnipeg, was rammed by an American fishing trawler last spring and is still out of service.

(To view more of the Canadian news roundup, click "Read More" below)


   As a controversy swirls over several members of the Senate claiming “improper” housing expenses, an Ontario politician is being criticized for doing the same.
   Conservative Peter Shurman used a “taxpayer-funded retirement home subsidy” of $20,719 last year for his house in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Liberal house leader John Milloy said.
   Shurman represents the Toronto’s Thornhill district and has an apartment in the city but claimed the housing allowance for politicians who live more than 30 kilometres from the legislature buildings.
   Conservative Leader Tim Hudak didn't say if he approved of Shurman’s actions but that he would not be filing the claim in the future.


   News in brief:
   - Canada’s three major telecommunications companies are breathing easier after U.S. giant Verizon Communications Inc. won’t invade their territories. Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam said the company now is “not interested in entering the Canadian wireless market.” Canada’s Bell, Rogers and Telus said it would be unfair competition for Verizon to use infrastructure they had created.
   - A Toronto-area police officer is being investigated by Ontario's Special Investigations Unit after allegedly Tasering an 80-year-old woman in Mississauga. There were reports the woman, who suffers from dementia and broke her hip in the incident, was carrying a knife when Tasered by the Peel Regional officer.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has advanced to 96.14 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar is valued at $1.0401 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada has again kept its key interest rate steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate stays at 3 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,824 points and the TSX Venture index 951 points.
   Lotto 6-49: (Sept. 4) 2, 7, 12, 21, 25 and 47; bonus 6. (Aug. 31) 5, 6, 24, 29, 35 and 39; bonus 44. Lotto Max: (Aug. 30) 6, 19, 20, 25, 31, 35 and 36; bonus 45.


   Regional briefs:
   - Fire has destroyed the main building of the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market near Waterloo, Ontario. Called the largest market of its kind in Canada, damage was estimated at $2 million. The overnight Labor Day fire is believed to have started in an area of fast-food vendors but the cause is still under investigation.
   - The Ontario government has offered to pay the full $1.4 billion cost to extend Toronto's subway to suburban Scarborough. Transportation Minister Glen Murray said the money is for a shortened four-mile route to extend to Scarborough City Center along the current rapid transit line.
   - Richard Hykawy of Winnipeg said he is fed up with cutting the grass and shoveling snow on city property adjacent to his home. He wants to challenge the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to set a legal precedent. Hykawy has been billed hundreds of dollars in fines and to pay for city workers to maintain the property.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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