Canada column for Sunday, June 8/14
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
A young man said to be obsessed with gun rights, global conflicts and anger for the police was arrested for killing three Mounties and wounding two others in Moncton.
Justin Bourque, 24, was captured by heavily armed police in the backyard of a home in the New Brunswick city of 70,000 residents.
It ended a 30-hour manhunt by 300 officers for the man described by friends as an intelligent, laid back, home-schooled guitar enthusiast.
The officers were shot Wednesday night as they answered a call about a man dressed in army fatigues walking along a street carrying two high-powered rifles.
He fled into the woods and eluded capture as the police asked residents to stay in their homes while schools and businesses were closed for the day.
Bourque was unarmed when he surrendered saying, “I’m done,” but weapons were found nearby.
The slain officers were Constables Fabrice Gevaudan, 45, Douglas Larche, 40, and David Ross, 33. Wounded were Constables Darlene Goguen and Eric Dubois.
Police investigators say that suspended Senator Mike Duffy stayed regularly at hotels and not his “primary residence” in the investigation into his disputed expenses.
Duffy spent 35 nights in Charlottetown hotels in the winters between 2009 and 2012 instead of staying at his declared residence in Cavendish for which he claimed housing expenses, court documents show.
Lead investigator Corporal Greg Horton has obtained a search warrant to inspect the hotel records for Duffy’s stays when he travelled to Prince Edward Island.
“Senator Duffy has collected almost $90,000 from the Senate, claiming his primary residence is a cottage that he does not live in for at least four months of each year,” Horton said.
Duffy was suspended from the Senate last November along with Senators Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin over expense claims.
Mac Harb resigned from the Senate last August after paying back $231,000 for ineligible housing and travel expenses.
Police have proceeded with fraud and breach of trust charges against Brazeau and Harb and continue to investigate Duffy and Wallin’s expenses.
Canada’s jobless rate edged higher to 7 percent last month, up 0.1 percent, even as the economy created about 25,800 net new jobs.
Most of the jobs, however, were part-time and more people were looking for work in May, Statistics Canada said.
The results follow a surprise loss of 29,000 jobs in April while over the past year 86,000 new jobs were created, a 0.5 percent increase, but largely in part-time positions.
Biggest job gains were in Alberta, up 16,400 workers, while Newfoundland and Labrador lost 4,100 full-time jobs.
News in brief:
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper toured a Canadian military cemetery in France on Friday on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day attack on Juno Beach. There were 340 Canadian soldiers killed that day and 18,000 casualties in the Second World War’s Normandy campaign. Canadians can take enormous pride that their troops played “such a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the D-Day landings,” he said.
- Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the proposed prostitution bill will criminalize the purchase of sexual services. The “made-in-Canada” model is aimed at targeting johns and pimps while protecting the vulnerable, he said. It is in response to the Supreme Court of Canada ruling to strike down key parts of the prostitution laws. The court said they were unconstitutional and told the government to replace them.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar is lower at 91.48 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0931 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada has kept its key interest rate steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate unchanged at 3 percent.
Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,895 points and the TSX Venture index at 985 points.
The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is up at $1.3552 (Canadian).
Lotto 6-49: (June 4) 7, 11, 12, 13, 35 and 41; bonus 18. (May 31) 19, 28, 30, 32, 37 and 45; bonus 44. Lotto Max: (May 30) 2, 5, 10, 11, 23, 25 and 31; bonus 46.
- Only a week before Ontario’s provincial election, police served a court order at the legislature into the alleged cover-up of the Liberal government’s decision to cancel two gas plants. The move to stop the work already underway helped the Liberals win the 2011 election but cost taxpayers about $1.1 billion. Investigators want records concerning the deletion of emails and wiping of computer hard drives in the premier’s office.
- A landmark Quebec bill, called an act “respecting end-of-life care,” was passed in a 94-22 vote. The right-to-die bill could be challenged by the federal government as assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal. It would allow someone with unbearable physical or psychological suffering and deemed mentally sound to make such a request.
- British Columbia teachers are planning a vote on whether to escalate their contract protests to a full-scale strike. “Teachers are prepared to take a stand,” said Jim Iker, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. The teachers are into their third week of rotating strikes to back contract demands and plan to close every school in each district for one day in the next week.
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org