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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Trudeau home break-in intruder not arrested: a drunken mistake, police say

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 31/14

   By Jim Fox

   An intruder who broke into Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s Ottawa home while his family was asleep won’t face criminal charges.
   Police have determined the 19-year-old man entered the wrong house while intoxicated.
   The man went to the police after seeing video surveillance of him in Trudeau’s Rockcliffe Park neighborhood, police Staff Sergeant Kal Ghadban said.
   The intruder placed several kitchen knives on the floor pointing to a note he wrote telling them to lock their doors.
   “In his mind, he was leaving a note of apology and remorse,” Ghadban said.
   The unidentified man who has no criminal record was “formally cautioned” by police.
   The incident led to a review of security for Canada’s political leaders.
   Security protection is given to the prime minister and governor general but not to other party leaders, except during election campaigns.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Security for Canada's political leaders under review

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 24/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Security for Canada’s political leaders is being reviewed after a break-in at the Ottawa home of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
   At the time, Trudeau was in Winnipeg and his wife and their three children were asleep upstairs at home.
   The Mounties are conducting a “risk assessment” to determine whether Trudeau needs a security detail as a result of the incident.
   The intruder left a threatening letter atop several large kitchen knives and other items taken outside advising them to consider locking their doors.
   “Honestly, we're a little bit shaken,” Trudeau said of the incident, calling it a “wake-up call for us or at least a highlighting of some of the real challenges that we face.”
   Security protection is given only to the prime minister and governor general and not to any of the other federal party leaders, except during election campaigns.
   Party leaders, cabinet ministers, members of Parliament and federal justices can be provided with police security if the public safety minister determines there is a danger.
   Former prime ministers are not given security protection as incidents involving federal politicians are rare in Canada.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stats Canada recounts and finds 42,000 jobs created last month

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 17/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The numbers just didn’t add up in the recent Statistics Canada jobs report and that resulted in a temporary halt in processing new employment insurance claims.
   The government agency scrambled to fix the mistake in its July Labor Force Survey issued on Aug. 8 that said only 200 jobs were created last month.
   In fact, the corrected numbers released on Friday showed the economy actually gained almost 42,000 jobs in July, not the 60,000 losses originally reported.
   Statistics Canada said the problem was due to a human error in updating the computer programs used for its survey.
   The Conservative government had put all new Employment Insurance claims on hold until the agency fixed the problem.
   That’s because the monthly jobs’ numbers determine regional unemployment rates that impact the number of weeks an unemployed person needs to have worked in order to qualify for benefits.
   There was no change in Canada’s jobless rate of 7.0 percent in July, down a tenth of a point from the previous month.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ontario wants to bring wounded children to Canada for hospital care

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 10/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Ontario has offered to provide free hospital treatment in Canada to children injured in the Israeli-Palestinian fighting as a humanitarian gesture.
   Five hospitals, including Toronto’s world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children, have agreed to treat the children, with some medical staff members offering to work at no charge.
   “It’s one of those rare instances where we can make a modest but important difference,” said Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, one of the founders of the group War Child Canada.
   Ontario would take the most serious cases from both Gaza and Israel if the children cannot receive treatment at home and would be able to make the journey to Canada.
   Details about arranging transportation for the children and one or more of their family members and entry into Canada are being sorted out while Israeli and Palestinian authorities have indicated they’re willing to co-operate.
   The idea began with a plea from Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in the 2009 Gaza conflict. He is now a professor at the University of Toronto.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Canada's leader continues with tough stance against world terrorism

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 3/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues with his hard line against terrorists even as the United States and United Nations condemned the violence in the Middle East.
   “Obviously no one likes to see the suffering and loss of life that has occurred,” Harper said, referring to the deaths in Gaza in fighting between Israel and Hamas militants.
   Harper believes Israel is justified in its actions and said Canada would do the same to fight back against terrorism.
   “We hold the terrorist organization Hamas responsible for this – they have initiated and continue this conflict and continue to seek the destruction of the state of Israel,” he said.
   As well, Russia was involved in the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet with the loss of 298 lives, Harper said.
    “There is zero doubt that those people who are responsible for violence and destabilization in Ukraine are acting as agents of the government of Russia.”
   Harper also blamed China for a recent cyberattack on the National Research Council of Canada’s computers that was denied by the Chinese government.